I want you to get to know some of the characters of my novel That Summer. For the next few Mondays I’ll interview one of the characters and you can leave comments if you want. I think this might help you when you read my novel to know how these characters feel as they move through the story. If you leave a comment on this blog that is totally related to the interview I'll give you an extra entry in the next Thursday book drawing.
Today I’m interviewing Louisa Lynn Johnson, younger daughter of Aaron Johnson who lives on up the valley a few miles from the Callaways. She lives on a small piece of land in the Southern Appalachians in East Tennessee and her family is poorer than the Callaways. Her dad has a few animals and tries to grow a few crops.
JO: Louisa, did you grow up near Caney Creek?
LOUISA: No ma’am, I grew up in Maple Hollow, a good distance from Caney Creek and the town of Newton.
JO: Tell me a little about where you grew up, please.
LOUISA: Well, I’ve lived my whole life in Maple Hollow. Our house wasn’t much to look at but it kept us dry and a little warm in the winter. We never had much company. You see, the road we lived on was the only way up into the hollow. The road went a little past our house and then you had to turn your buggy around and come back, going by our house.
JO: You say you lived in Maple Hollow. What is a hollow?
LOUISA: Well, I’m sure you know what a valley in the mountains are—a place where the mountains dip down, form a flat stretch of valley, and then rise back to their height of a mountain. I love my home, my sister, and parents. But I wish I had lived in a valley. Things are beautiful in a valley in the spring and summer, green and crops grow well there. Branching off those pretty valleys are hollows. They are not as flat and wide as a valley, just a cut out piece of rough land that meanders up and away from the valley. We don’t see much sunlight at home.
JO: How many were in your family?
LOUISA: Four of us. There were me and my sister, Callie. Then my dad and mother. But when I was about fourteen years old, my mother died when she tried to birth her stillborn baby. We all missed her awfully bad. Callie and I were saddened and aggravated when Dad married a year after Mother died.
JO: How did you feel about another woman to take your mother’s place?
LOUISA: We didn’t like it. Mother had barely been dead a year when Dad married again. He married an old maid school teacher from town. She was nice, I guess. But she wasn’t our mother. Nobody else could take our mother’s place. We didn’t tell Dad how we felt. He didn’t seem to mind another woman in our house.
JO: Louisa, you seem unhappy living in Maple Hollow. What's wrong?
LOUISA: I’m sorry but I’m just not satisfied now. My sister, Callie, moved into town when she graduated high school. With school out for the summer, I don’t have anybody my age to talk to, to tell secrets to. Dad and Mavis, that’s my stepmother, don’t go into town much. Dad has never worked on a public job. So I’m just stuck here in a place I used to love when Callie was here.
JO: As dissatisfied as you are with Callie being gone, what can you do to remedy your situation?
LOUISA: I don’t know. I’m just trying to figure out what I can do. Callie doesn’t come home much now that she’s working in town. The next time she comes home I'll try to get Dad to let me go back and stay with her for the rest of the summer. Callie lives in a boardinghouse in Newton. I hope I can share her room and maybe she can pay for my meals there. She makes good money working at the hosiery mill. I might try to get a job there too.
JO: Callie, do you have a boyfriend you can talk to?
LOUISA: I think I have a boyfriend.
JO: You think you have a boyfriend. Why don’t you know whether you do?
LOUISA: Well, country life is not like it is in town. I’m not saying either one is better. They’re just different. Anyway, I met a boy at the county fair. He looked at me a lot and I sure looked at him. He’s handsome. We talked some. Living in the hollow like I do I can’t get out and see him again. But I think he might be my boyfriend.
Till next time … keep on smiling.