Sunday, November 13, 2022

"The Verdigris Pawn"

Alysa Wishingrad spent many years working in theater, film, and TV before returning to her roots as a writer. When she’s not writing she’s probably out walking her dogs, taking a run, or seeing as much theater as she possibly can.

Wishingrad applied the Page 69 Test to The Verdigris Pawn, her debut novel, and reported the following:
From page 69:
“I'd have thought they'd put a boy with skills like yours in the horse stable, not out here. That's just like them. Putting people down, never giving them a chance to show what they got. Why do they do that?"

"I honestly don't know," Beau replied.

"Me neither. But I'll tell you what it is--it's a waste." The boy picked something off the tip of his tongue, then flicked it away. "What do they call you, anyway? I'm Nate."

"Beau," Beau's mouth replied before his mind could stop him.

Where was a lie when he needed one?

Beau recoiled, ready for Nate to hit him.

But Nate simply shook his head in pity.

"Sorry to hear it. Lots of others over at Mastery House were named after him too.”

Nate turned and started walking toward the cow barn. "The heir be hung. You won't hear me saying that name, not til I've got him pinned to the ground begging for mercy. Beau stopped. "Mercy?"

"You don't think that goat-livered heir deserves any, do you? Wait, you're not one of those apprentices who thinks you're better than us lowly orphans, are you?"

"No," Beau vowed. "And you're absolutely right, the heir deserves no mercy."

"Exactly!" Nate flung a rock the size of his fist across the field, watching as it flew off into the tree line. "All that's done in his name, leaving us to starve while he stuffs his face!"
Page 69 of The Verdigris Pawn is a pivotal moment in Beau’s journey – he’s seeing himself through Nate’s eyes, and he’s really beginning to understand how the people of the Land see him. It’s also the moment right before he decides to throw his lot in with Nate, to run away, and dare to find his ace. It’s the jumping off point, and for Beau the real beginning of his transformation from pawn to player.

The Verdigris Pawn is in many ways a classic MG adventure, but it’s also an examination of power, what it means to hold it, lose it, and if it can ever be wielded responsibly. It’s about a boy who, even though he’s born into incomparable privilege, sees himself as powerless. It’s also about a girl who, even though she was born into nearly untenable circumstances, is willing to embrace the magical power that could endanger her very life. It’s about finding your voice, and the courage to use it for the greater good. And finally, it’s about how easily history can be distorted, and how important it is to examine our every preconceived notions about truth.
Visit Alysa Wishingrad's website.

Coffee with a Canine: Alysa Wishingrad & Cleo and Lucy.

--Marshal Zeringue