Fourth Grade Journey

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

Monday, May 27, 2019

An Inside Look #91 (Author INTERVIEW)

Inside Look with Jody J. Little
(Author of Mostly the Honest Truth)

*During the summer of 2016, I added this feature to the 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.  

*The next season (season #FOUR) of interviews took place during the summer and fall of 2018.  With each interview I became more and more impressed with the authors I was having interactions with.  

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

*This is the Twentieth interview of what I'm calling Season #FIVE.

*Thank you to Jody J. Little for being the Ninety-Firrst author that I've had the pleasure of interviewing.  I truly appreciate it.  

*Here are links to the first Ninety interviews…

SEASON #ONE (2016-2017)

SEASON #FOUR (Summer 2018)

SEASON #FIVE (2018/2019)

*Jody J. Little was kind, gracious, and giving with her answers to the questions.  It is an honor to post her responses here on the blog.  

*Thank you Jody for writing this incredible and thought-provoking book.

*Here is my book review...

Book Review

Mostly the Honest Truth

by Jody J. Little (March 12, 2019)

How did you come to know Jane?
Jane came to me though a writing prompt from a critique partner. My prompt was to write a scene about a new girl in town with a scar and a skateboard. I wrote several scenes with this character, but it wasn’t until a very magical moment when I was with my son and his friends at a local arcade when Jane really began to speak to me. She shared details of her past with her father, including how she got the scar. She never stopped talking to me after that.

What do you think is Jane’s most admirable quality?
What I admire most in Jane is her resilience. She has endured moments that would break many of us, but she has an ability to lift herself up, remain positive, and move forward. It’s truly inspiring to me.

Is there anything you wish Jane would have changed or done differently in her story?
There are so many things I wish Jane would have done differently, but most importantly, I wish she would have asked for help when she suffered so much pain from her injury. Her stubborn silence on that issue was frustrating (and frightening), yet Jane had to grow and learn on her own time.

What do you think Jane can offer to other children that are experiencing similar situations to what she went through?
I believe Jane can offer hope. I want other children who live with an alcoholic parent to recognize that they are not alone, like Jane often felt. Often children of alcoholics feel a tremendous burden to help their parent. A child may also feel responsible for the drinking. But I hope that children will understand that if their parent drinks, it is never the child’s fault. Addiction isn’t incurable. Their parent can recover, even though here will always be good and bad days.

How did you research Jane and the circumstances she found himself in?
Initially I did not do much research for this book. I wrote several drafts of Jane’s story before I began to dig into the lives and traits of children of alcoholic parents. What I discovered in my research is that Jane was true to so many of those characteristics—the desire to help their parent, the need to lie, the need to cover up or diminish the seriousness of the problem, and the reluctance or lack of knowledge to ask for help.

Do you and Jane share any similarities?
I do think that Jane and I share some similarities. We can both hold in a lot of our thoughts and fears and put on brave faces when needed. Most importantly, though, Jane and I have overflowing sock drawers, filled with matching socks of all the people in our lives who stick with us, love us, and keep us happy. Jane and I have much to be grateful for.

What was the hardest scene to write about Jane?
Hands down, the hardest scene to write was the climax scene in which the honest truth comes out. I teared up on every revision and every reading of that scene. Perhaps even more difficult than Jane’s truth, was envisioning and writing the reactions of G, Officer D, and Old Red when they listened to her story.

Who do you think was Jane's biggest supporter and why?
Oh, no doubt this would be Officer D. Office D adored Jane from the moment she met her. I think Officer D saw a bit of herself in Jane. Officer D has stories and a past that do not come out in Mostly the Honest Truth. She has an intelligent, fierce external shell made up of her cop-uniform and weapons, but inside she carries a heart of gold and a desire to love. Jane feels Officer D’s fierceness from the get-go, but as each day goes by in Three Boulders, Jane warms to her and sees how much love is inside her foster-person.

Why do you think young people, like Jane, are willing to go to such great lengths in order to protect those loved ones that may be harming them and/or need help themselves?
This is a great question, and I’m not sure I know the answer to it. It could be a sense of isolation. If you truly believe your loved one is the only person in your life (as Jane did), perhaps there are no boundaries to what you might do. It’s a terribly sad thought, but it’s also a reality for many children. This is an area where schools can help. I am thankful that we are now looking long and hard at a child’s social-emotional development far more than we did ten years ago. As a teacher, I’m a huge advocate for this emphasis. Our students are so much more than their behaviors and their academic progress. We can be a matching sock for each of them in different ways.

What do you think Jane is doing as the present time?
As I write this, it is early afternoon. I picture Jane sitting on the Community Boulder with the other sunshine kids working on their school assignments while the sun beats down on the boulders, warming them, pulling them together, as friends…as a community. I think she is happy.

1 comment:

  1. I read the book. It was hard to put down so I took an afternoon off and finished it. I really wanted to give Jane a hug.