Friday, May 25, 2007

Heather McElhatton's "Pretty Little Mistakes"

Heather McElhatton is a writer and independent producer for Public Radio International. Her commentaries and stories have been heard nationally on This American Life, Marketplace, Weekend America, Sound Money and The Savvy Traveler.

Her new radio show is called “Stage Sessions” and is held in front of a live audience at the Fitzgerald Theater in St Paul, Minnesota.

McElhatton’s debut novel is a choose-your-own-ending book for adults called Pretty Little Mistakes.

She applied the "Page 99 Test" to the book and reported the following:
Strange. At a reading two nights ago I read page 99 of my book, which in itself is a coincidence. My book is a choose-your-own-adventure for adults, and when you read one "thread," you skip all over the book – so you never know which pages you'll read, and which you'll skip over. That night the audience chose which way to go, and we went directly to page 99. When I read the page aloud, I noticed one bit in particular gets oddly straight to the marrow of the book.

Do you go right or do you go left? Will both roads lead to the same destination? Most certainly not. And how will you choose? No one knows. Who can know the mathematical equation of choice, or the intricate configuration of the one who is choosing? Perhaps only God can know why a willow branch grows one way and not the other, why some fish dive deeper into the fathoms and other towards the light.

Page 99 of Pretty Little Mistakes is only a half-page, and while I don't think it represents my strongest writing, it does actually seem to stop, drop the storyline, turn to the reader, and whisper the book's direct message. Perhaps even though I hadn't heard Ford Madox Ford's quote - my book had.
Read more about the book at the author's website and at the Pretty Little Mistakes site.

--Marshal Zeringue