Thursday, November 9, 2023

"The Wild Between Us"

Amy Hagstrom is a writer and travel industry editor whose work has appeared in US News, OutdoorsNW Magazine, Travel Oregon, and Huffington Post, among others. A lifelong outdoors enthusiast, she served as a volunteer EMT with her local county search and rescue unit before launching her writing career. After raising three children in the Pacific Northwest, Hagstrom traded the Cascade, Siskiyou, and Sierra Nevada mountain ranges for the Sierra Madre mountains, making her home in central Mexico with her wife.

Hagstrom applied the Page 69 Test to The Wild Between Us, her debut novel, and reported the following:
Turn to page 69, and you’re dropped into the heart of an emotionally-driven scene between my two point-of-view characters, Meg and Silas. It marks the first time the two, who will go on to have a complicated relationship, are ever alone together, and falls at the end of the first of many flashback chapters to their teenage years.

In a moment of flirtation, over-confident teenage Silas compares unassuming Meg to the constellation Cassiopeia, insisting that she, too, shines brightly when viewed from the right angle. Meg disproves his theory with her knowledge of Greek mythology, but even so, as Meg and her boyfriend Danny depart later that night, Silas sends her off with a new nickname.
…suddenly, he was by Meg’s side, pulling her cap down over her head with a playful tug.

“Good night, Cassiopeia,” he added with a smirk, and even though he said this loudly enough to bring Danny into the loop…the shared reference between them—just them—flowed over Meg like honey, seeping with a subtle warmth into every empty space under her skin.

“Good night,” she managed, and then stepped quickly out into cold air, welcoming the driving rain on her cheeks. She was not beautiful, and she was not luminous, that was ridiculous, and she had set the record straight, so why, Meg wondered the entire ride home, did she still feel the glow of being seen as such?
Because this scene gets to the core of how Silas sees Meg at this stage of their lives, and how Meg sees herself, it does a good job showcasing the heart of their story, but perhaps not the meat of their story. Throughout the course of the book, they are both irreversibly changed by the intensity of the Search and Rescue missions they find themselves at the center of, which is not represented by this scene. For this reason, I’d give a B+ score to this Page 69 Test.
Visit Amy Hagstrom's website.

--Marshal Zeringue