In fact I have never visited a Haitian orphanage. When I was in the process of creating Radley’s character I decided I wanted her out of the country when the U.S. began to unravel. Ever since I read a beautiful book by Frances Temple called TASTE OF SALT and the exquisite MOUNTAINS BEYOND MOUNTAINS by Tracy Kidder and the extraordinary work of Edwidge Danticat, I have been more than a little interested in Haiti. I decided to place my protagonist there at the beginning of SAFEKEEPING. By coincidence, a young Brattleboro woman, Mariam Diallo, was recognized in our local newspaper (the Brattleboro Reformer) for her volunteer work in Haiti. I contacted Mariam and she became an indispensable resource for creating Haiti with authenticity and power.
- “How did you get the idea for JUST JUICE?”
- “Did people actually gather cats in baskets and let them go at the right time to sneak food through the wall?” asked Leah of Hackettstown, New Jersey. “And was it a common tactic?”
- “About what do you really like to write and why?” asked Emma of Summit Middle School in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
- “How long did it take you to write THE MUSIC OF DOLPHINS?”
- “How old were you when you started taking writing seriously?”
- “Why did you write OUT OF THE DUST in poems?”
- “In Letters From Rifka, what inspired you to write in letter format?”
- “Would you write a sequel to LETTERS FROM RIFKA?”
- “Do you like nicknames, and if you had one as a kid, what was it?”
- “Did you get the idea for Just Juice from your past?” asked the fourth grade students of Hillside Elementary School.
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