Fourth Grade Journey

A Fourth Grade Teacher's Journey Through the World of Books

Monday, June 25, 2018

An Inside Look #53 (Author INTERVIEW)

An Inside Look with Preston Norton
(Author of Neanderthal Opens the Door to the Universe)

*During the summer of 2016, I added this feature to my blog which was called "Season #ONE".  This first season ran from June of 2016 to March of 2017.  

*I started up the interviews again in June of 2017.  It was great to get back to Season #TWO.  This season ran throughout the summer.  

*Season #THREE ran during the school year of 2017/2018.  

*It has been such an honor to connect with authors and "chat" about their novel, characters, and thoughts about the story.

*This is the SECOND interview of what I'm calling Season #FOUR.  

*Thank you to Preston Norton for being the Fifty-Third author that I've had the pleasure of interviewing.  I truly appreciate it.  

*Here are links to the first FIFTY-TWO interviews…


*One of my summer reading goals was to get back to reading young-adult novels.  While browsing the book store, I came across this title.  I had seen it written up on Amazon.  After reading a few reviews, I bought it.  Once I started it was a quick read because I could not put it down.  After finishing the book, I reached out to Preston to let him know how much I enjoyed the story.  I also asked if he would be willing to be author #53.  

*Preston was kind, gracious, and giving with his answers to the questions.  It is an honor to post the responses here on the blog.  

*Here is a link to my review of Neanderthal Opens the Door to the Universe.

*Thank you Preston Norton for writing this story for readers and taking the time to share your thoughts with us here...

Neanderthal Opens the Door to the Universe
by Preston Norton (Released June 5, 2018)

How did you come to know Cliff?  
I have a friend who likes to get Freudian in his analysis of my books. When he read Neanderthal, he suggested that all of my characters were fragments of myself, and that the size of their role in the story directly paralleled how big of piece of me. Therefore, according to my friend, Cliff is very reflective of myself. I don't think my friend is wrong. (Although creating a cast of characters out of a zoo of Preston clones was certainly not my intention!) In that sense, I never really "came to know" Cliff. Writing him was the most organic and natural thing I've ever done.

What do you think is Cliff's most admirable quality?
Cliff's got a big heart. He likes to hide it, or just pretend it isn't there so he doesn't get hurt like always does, but it's there. It's always there  caring too much for its own good.

Is there anything you wish Cliff would have changed or done differently in his story?
Not a thing. Although my editor and I had some creative differences, Cliff — in and of himself  is one thing we will always agree on. He's one of those characters who you never really question or debate how they will behave in any given situation.

What do you think Cliff can offer to other children that are experiencing similar situations to what he went through?  
Cliff is the ultimate pessimist. And yet, he still finds hope. I hope Cliff will give others the insight to examine the doors of their own lives, and the courage to open them and to step into the darkness of the unknown. Stepping out of our comfort zones is hard (and uncomfortable, obviously), but when you're standing up for your fellow human beings, it is always always ALWAYS right.

In your opinion, why do you think high school students get “targeted” or “labeled” and find it so difficult to break from these “bars” when they are so much more than the label?  
So much of being a teenager is trying to find your own identity. I think the problem is that, when someone tells you "you are this," like, who the hell are you to argue? You don't have a f***ing clue who you are! So, as a teenager, I think it's easy to accept what others believe of you. This is why the coming-of-age experience is so important. There is so much shaping going on here. It's not easy to find yourself, but I also think it's not as difficult as we make it out to be. We are seeking so desperately to find acceptance from others, when really, the most important thing is to accept ourselves for who we are. No one has ever turned themselves into something they're not, and lived to tell their grandchildren about what a great decision that was.

What do you think Cliff is doing as this present time?
College! (Remember, the journey to publishing a book is a long one, so I technically wrote this book quite a while ago.) I have no idea what Cliff would be majoring in  and he probably has no clue either  but I love to think of him figuring out that next chapter of his life. He is a great big bundle of insecurities, but no one can deny that he's a smart kid. He'll figure it out, I'm sure!

No comments:

Post a Comment