MY FIRST INTERVIEW: VERY EXCITED TO TALK BOOKS WITH MYTHICAL BOOKS * Here's how it shook out. And a big, big thank you for taking the time to read and wonder.
Mythical Books’ Interview Questions for
Mooncalf by Linda L Zern
1. A reviewer said: “There are several moments in the book that hit me as a reader like a punch to the chest and subsequently ripped my heart out.” Having in view that the book is for middle school readers, did you felt the need/wish to leave room for hope? Why so?
2. The most of Amazon reviewers (if not all of them) are adults and they enjoyed the book. How different is to write a book for young / middle grade readers and to send them a deeper message?
3. My personal opinion is that many authors of our day forget to use figures of speech. What do you think about these? Are they obsolete, do the contemporary stories still need them?
4. What do you think about young adult literature trend in our day?
5. Do you have a message for parents?
English is not my native language so I was “amused” about the “Mooncalf” word because it can be translated differently: from dreamer, monster to idiot. If you think useful for readers, I would want to ask you “What is the significance of the title?”
Dear Cremona c/o Kathy,
First, thank you for taking the time to read and comment on Mooncalf. I can’t thank you enough.
1. Your observation about the “heart ripping” aspect of the story is actually my observation. Often, my first question to reader’s is, “Is it too sad?” And I’ve been surprised by their focus on the love between the main characters, rather than the tragedy of it all. Several readers of that age group have said to me, “But they loved each other.” That surprised me, but that seems to be what they are taking away from the book, for the most part. However, one of my readers did comment, “I liked them so much I just wanted them to go off and make a baby sitter's club or something.” Alas, it’s not that kind of story, but more importantly, it wasn’t that kind of time in our history.
2. It’s a little book about big hard issues. As for the deeper themes and messages, I was hoping to tell a story that could be read on several levels--crazy I know. My granddaughter (4th grade) sees a story about bullying, on the school bus, at school, etc. Older children seem to be able to bring more to the table as they read, focusing on the dynamic between the adults and the children, because, grownups sometimes get it wrong, the little calf encapsulating that hard fact. And adults tend to key in on the societal aspects of passing racism on to the next generation through the metaphors of the orange grove and grafting.
3. I agree with you about modern literature. I was raised on The Yearling, Where the Red Fern Grows, and Sounder. Books that left me shocked and shaken and changed. These were stories that touched my soul, and I have never forgotten them. I would like to believe that our children are still capable of being taught the power of symbol and metaphor. I would like to believe that our children still need books that touch their souls, rather than just entertain for a time. But let’s face it. Literature has become a hard sell.
4. A lot of young adult literature is fun, and I love escapism as well as the next reader, but I hope that society isn’t ready to completely abandon little books about big hard issues.
5. Yes, I have a message for parents: read with them, not at them; read with them and then discuss. Buy two copies or more, so that everyone has their own book. Start a family book club and make it a tradition.
6. I love words. Mooncalf is a word that brings so much to the table. Once upon a time, mooncalf was a term used by farmers and ranchers to describe malformed or stillborn animals. Over time, the word morphed to mean someone who is overly trusting, even ridiculous. Who has not been a mooncalf at one time or another?
Again my sincere thanks,
Linda L. Zern