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And whatever connections I can make between these chapters of my life.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Shannon, Pt. 2

Okay, I know some of you can't see that entire interview from yesterday's blog,
so I'm reposting the questions and answers.

And this link to  
Shannon's blog with the family recipe for Chocolate Pound Cake!
Because who doesn't need Chocolate today? 

You can comment here or there and you'll be entered in the Giveaway for THE BALLAD OF JESSIE PEARL. Rumor has it, Shannon will throw in a set of bookmarks for your class if you're a teacher, or as many as you might need for your Book Group or friends and family.

Augusta: In my past career as both a school librarian and a reference librarian in a public library, I was frequently asked to recommend books for Book Groups. I see this novel as a great choice for a Mother Daughter Book Club, or even a women's group.

Can you think of a couple of discussion questions those groups might focus on?

In the first line of the book, “Sometimes when the kerosene lamp casts shadows, I think I see Ma’s ghost,” we learn that Jessie’s mother is dead. How do Jessie’s memories of her ma influence her actions throughout the book? Do you see any similarities with the relationship you have with your own mother?

Great answer. Great quote, too.
How about " book food" they might serve! (Maybe not corn pone.) Do you have any family favorites to share?

Shannon: We Southerners love a good pound cake! Make mine chocolate.

Augusta: Yum! 
I know you have a curriculum guide and lots of teaching ideas. How do you see your book used in a classroom setting?

Shannon: I posed this question to Keely Hutton, an eighth grade ELA teacher, and she has a great answer: “With THE BALLAD OF JESSIE PEARL, you have the perfect opportunity to tie in non-fiction pieces about the time period, TB, women’s rights and roles in family/society, healthcare during epidemics, and historically what was happening during those years in the US and the world.”

Augusta: So many opportunities for classes who read your book. I know you'll be speaking to school groups. Describe your ideal class visit.

Shannon: Ideally the teacher and I would have worked together beforehand so that each student would have a family story to share. I would talk about how my son’s eighth grade history project inspired my book, about the 1920’s, rural North Carolina, tuberculosis etc., and give the students a chance to share their family stories with me.

Augusta: I think that story about your son's class project is pretty remarkable.

I loved how strongly you portrayed the characters. You write with such emotion and it shows in how they react to situations. For writers, do you have any tips about getting to that emotional depth?

Shannon: Don’t overwrite. Trust your readers “to get it.” I have the tendency to overdo it and my brilliant editor, Stephen Roxburgh, reminds me that less is more.

Augusta: There are a lot of us who could use a needlepoint of that thought!
If you were Book Talking this book, as school librarians often do, what would be the 1-minute take on Jessie Pearl?

Shannon: THE BALLAD OF JESSIE PEARL is about the terror of tuberculosis, the thrill of young love, and a desire to see the world beyond your own hometown.

Augusta: What were your favorite books to read in middle and high school? Do you think those books influenced you to be a writer?

Shannon: Oh my yes! I loved the Little House on the Prairie books and HEIDI GROWS UP. The villainess, Liza Phillips, in my book is based on the two characters I loved to hate when I was younger: Nellie Olson from the Little House books and Liza Colby from the now defunct soap opera All My Children. When I was growing up, I watched soap operas with my granny. Honey, I told you I am Southern!

Augusta: So did I! She called them "my stories." We were particularly fond of As The World Turns.

When you were writing the novel, did you have a reader in mind?

Shannon: Not really. I wrote a book that I would enjoy reading. I’d like to be the Jan Karon or Lisa Wingate of YA literature.

Augusta: Who is your ideal reader? Teen girls, their moms, middle-graders, literary types? A younger version of yourself? All of the above?

Shannon: I don’t have an ideal reader. Anybody who enjoys my book is a newfound friend.

So true! Thanks for those great answers, Shannon. 
You can check out Shannon's website for more information:
Now it's your turn, blog readers. Just leave me a comment and you, too, could read this remarkable book.

Let's keep this going until December 7. That way, you'll have time to read it and still wrap it up for holiday giving. Though you will probably want to keep this forever and buy more for gifts! 
It's that good.



Wendy said...

Great interview! Please enter me in the contest - I've read and enjoyed the book, but would love to have my very own copy ; )

Monika Schröder said...

I'd like to enter the contest. A namelos books, set in North Carolina (where I live) - a must have! Thank you!