I’d like to welcome Lindsey Lane to Good Books & Good Wine today to share an excerpt from her book, Evidence Of Things Not Seen.
Thank you so much for inviting me to stop by Good Books & Wine. Yum.
I’d love to share an excerpt of Evidence of Things Not Seen with your readers. Probably the normal thing would be to start with an excerpt from the beginning of the book but I think, instead, I’ll choose an excerpt where the book started. You see, I woke up from a dream where I saw a boy standing in a pull-out by the side of the road. I remembered asking, “What are you doing there?” And then just like the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland, he turned, walked across the pull out, away from me and disappeared between some bushes. I got up and started writing. At first I thought the thing I was writing was short story called The Comic Book. But I kept hanging around that pull-out and discovered a lot more secrets, including a boy named Tommy who really did disappear from that pull-out. This original story became a chapter in the novel, a thread in the larger tapestry, if you will.
The Comic Book
Maricela hurries along the edge of US 281 until she reaches the wide patch of dirt along the edge of the road. Even in the predawn darkness, she can see a few other workers. Some girls are sitting on the logs rolled under a bank of trees and bushes. Two of them hold lumps of children still asleep in their arms. A few men stand in the center, their heads topped with silhouettes of cowboy hats and gimme caps. Maricela looks for a space on one of the logs. She shuffles toward an opening, careful not to trip in the potholes.
Taking off her small pack, Maricela stuffs it under her legs and sits. Today’s ride is supposed to be a couple of hours. Then they’ll work. Then they’ll find someplace to sleep. Then they’ll do it again the next day and the next day. Once all the fields are planted, they circle back and pick them clean.
Maricela has been planting and picking for four seasons. Before that, she travelled with her parents and stayed out of their way while they worked. Every time she moves, she wishes she could stay a little longer in one place.
A pickup roars by and then screeches to a stop on the highway. Two more workers hop out of the back. One of them trips and swears. “Chinga.” The other one laughs. Maricela recognizes Alfredo, the one who tripped. Both of them are loud, and the way their boots kick the rocks, almost tripping over them, Maricela can tell they are drunk. Some of the younger men drink all night to stay awake for the truck and then sleep until the next field. The pickup accelerates down the highway and the smell of exhaust drifts over everyone like dust. Then there is silence. All of them are listening for the sound of the vehicle that will take them away from this waiting place.
Maricela watches the horizon. She is waiting for dawn to crack the edge so she can read the comic book she found under the mattress in the trailer where she slept last night. She loves comic books. Especially the romantic ones. This one looks like an action comic with a masked figure on the front. Maricela imagines it belonged to a boy. He must have left it behind. Maybe as a gift. Or maybe he is hoping it will be there when he comes back. Maybe when she finishes it, she’ll leave it behind in another trailer for someone like her. Maybe. Now she wants the sun to rise so she can read the pictures and figure out some of the English words.
“Chicle. Chicle.” Juany’s boy is whining for gum. As usual, Juany is ignoring him. Without looking, Maricela knows that Juany is fixed on Alfredo, while her little boy is searching her pockets for something to eat. Nińo. That’s all Juany’s ever called him. She still hasn’t given him a name. At least not one that Maricela has ever heard. Always, Juany is looking at Alfredo. Especially after he has been drinking all night. Always, she wants to make sure Alfredo’s eyes are on her.
Maricela glances at Alfredo, standing in the middle of the pull-out. In the dim light, Maricela can see Alfredo is not looking at Juany. Or their boy. He is staring directly at her.
Maricela sucks her breath in and bends over the comic book. If Juany sees her looking back at Alfredo, she’ll come over and slap her. Not Alfredo. The look would be Maricela’s fault.
As the story unfolds, Maricela’s life takes a strange turn in that pull out.
About EVIDENCE OF THINGS NOT SEEN
When high school junior Tommy Smythe goes missing, everyone has a theory about what happened to him. He was an odd kid, often deeply involved in particle physics, so maybe he just got distracted and wandered off. He was last seen at a pullout off the highway, so maybe someone snatched him. Tommy believes that everything is possible, and that until something can be proven false, it may be true. So as long as Tommy’s whereabouts are undetermined, he could literally be anywhere.
Told in a series of first-person narratives from people who knew Tommy, Evidence of Things Not Seen by award-winning author Lindsey Lane explores themes of loneliness, connectedness, and the role we play in creating our own realities.
About Lindsey Lane
Award-winning author Lindsey Lane is proud to announce her debut YA novel EVIDENCE OF THINGS NOT SEEN will be published by Farrar Straus Giroux Books for Young Readers on September 16, 2014. Her picture book SNUGGLE MOUNTAIN (Clarion, 2003) is now available as an iTunes app, which Digital Storytime describes as “heartwarming and adorable with rich illustrations and lyrical text.” In 2010, Lindsey received her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Lindsey is a featured presenter at many schools where she gets kids (of all ages) excited about writing. When she is not writing, reading or being a mom, Lindsey loves sweating at Bikkram yoga, seeing movies and plays, and enjoying some of the outrageously good food at Austin restaurants with friends.
Blog Tour Schedule
September 16, 2014 – Good Books and Good Wine
September 17, 2014 – Gone With the Words
September 18, 2014 – Katie’s Book Blog
September 19, 2014 – Rather Be Reading
September 22, 2014 – Alexa Loves Books
September 23, 2014 – The Book Cellar
September 24, 2014 – Such a Novel Idea
September 25, 2014 – Pop Goes the Reader
September 26, 2014 – Tales of a Ravenous Reader