Please welcome Naomi MacKenzie as we close out the tour for
On the eve of a new school year, several groups of college students cross paths as they seek out a secret end-of-summer lake party—including Robin and Charlie, two inseparable friends who discover of the course of the twenty-four hours that their relationship is something much deeper than simple friendship.
Larry holds up the flyer to study the map Florence drew. Barry is leaning to look at it, too, when it's ripped from between Larry's fingers.
A greasy man in a campus security uniform stands over them with a pinched expression. His faded nametag reads: Ron Anderchuk. "Another one," he all but growls. "Where in heck did you get this, boys?"
Barry tries his best to look innocent. Which isn't all that hard, since he knows nothing.
"Found it on the ground," Larry lies.
"Uh-huh, uh-huh," the security guy says. "Extra trouble for littering." He glares hard at the paper for nearly a minute before looking back at them. "You do know parties like this are illegal, don't ya, boys? And frowned upon by this here establishment." He raps his knuckles on the table. "I think it best you stick around here this weekend. That would be best, don't ya agree?" He widens his beady eyes while he waits for their assent.
Barry looks to Larry. Seeing him nodding, he mimics the gesture.
The security officer's answering grunt sounds disbelieving. He mutters as he walks away; the flyer with their map is gripped in his fist.
Larry holds up his hand, stopping Barry's question in its tracks. "Not to worry; I have a photographic memory. I've got the map in here." He taps a fingertip against his temple.
"Even after all of that? And we do have another problem, if Florence is to be believed."
Larry hums and strokes his chin. He picks up Barry's tray and they walk to the windows. The orientation officers are indeed spread across the entire expanse outside, handing out pamphlets and organizing games of lawn bowling and oversized croquet. The entrance to the student parking lot is completely blocked.
Barry should throw in the towel, admit defeat and convince Larry to do the same. And he would, if not for one thing. The one detail that has roped him into the excitement over the lake festivities fully and completely is Kate Zimmermann, captain of the Dicaroon Seadogs field hockey team. Barry was looking through the school's website while Larry was plotting behind him and he caught sight of her picture. He informed Barry that she was one of the girls who was carrying the van's bench seat into her dorm room and invited him to the party early that morning.
Barry is in love with Kate Zimmermann. He has been since seeing her on the Dicaroon University website the previous summer. Well, he's in love with the image of her and her red hair and blue eyes and adorable freckles that are so voluminous that they connect on her face. He has dreamed of red-haired kids calling him Daddy and hitting balls with sticks. Possibly. And she's throwing the party, so even if Barry will never get up the nerve to speak to her should he live for a thousand years, he has to go. For his future dream-wife.
"Well, then," Larry says. He sets Barry's lunch tray down on the bussing station and rubs his hands together. "I guess we are in need of a foolproof plan."
"A stratagem," Barry says. He feels immediately foolish for being such a huge dork.
But then Larry grins at him. "Ooh, yes, I like that. A stratagem."
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We had an opportunity to ask the author a question:
Hi Naomi, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book. Hi! Thank you so much for having me here.
I'm from eastern Canada, now living in the Toronto area. I'm a photographer and wannabe makeup artist, and I spend my time searching the city for vegan bakeries and whining about the lack of proper beaches. Lodestones is a coming-of-age story about a whole mess of students who spend 24 hours searching for an end-of-summer lake party.
You have ten days to live. How do you live them?
I think firstly, and most importantly, I would gather together all of the people I love most. And then I would take them with me everywhere. To all of the cities where I've never been but have always wanted to visit: Prague, Berlin, Venice, all of Greece. I would visit as many places as I could fit in. I would sit on benches and marvel at the architecture and feel the air on my face. I would visit galleries and museums and ruins. I would lie on beaches and walk in the surf.
And eat. I would eat everything everywhere. Pastas, desserts, cheeses and all the bread. All of it. At that point, might as well.
I would like to say that I would try some crazy stunts like skydiving or zip-lining across gorges, but I probably wouldn't. Spending my final days doing something I enjoy would be preferable to being scared out of my wits.
My last stop would be home, back to the maritimes to soak my feet in the Bay of Fundy.
During all of this travelling and eating, I would make sure that everyone knew without a doubt that I loved them. Because, in the end, there is nothing more important than that.
More about the author:
Naomi MacKenzie is a writer and photographer from the eastern coast of Canada. She considers herself a Maritimer first and a Canadian second, or so she told the standardized testing people in essay form during the eleventh grade. She enjoys vegan baking, walks in the woods and, contrarily, hiding from the sun. Lodestones is her first novel.
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