I saved one more letter from the reading group in Illinois for today’s blog, because it was one of the most thoughtful. Here it is, from Kyrstina:
. . . I am curious where you got the ideas for the book. For example, how you decide to have Annie and Rew being captured by Andrew Snow. That really kept me interested and I couldn’t stop reading to see what was going to happen.
My favorite part is when Annie got interested in Andrew Snow and she wanted to know what happened to him? While I was reading I was thinking, “what made him do this?” Annie reminds me of my friend Annie because they both are determined to learn more. I had one question about the book. I wonder if Gran knew that Andrew Snow was going to come looking for them.
I thought that was a great question and deserved an in-depth answer, so here’s part of my response:
Your questions are great, especially the one about Gran. I thought for a long time about how Gran felt about things and why she did what she did. To answer you, I’d say that she didn’t know that Andrew Snow was going to escape, because she couldn’t have predicted that. But she did find herself a house that was the closest to the prison on the other side of the woods, just so she could know she was near him. Because of what he did, and all that happened when Amanda left, Gran found it too painful to live her old life, and so she made herself and the kids disappear. But even though she couldn’t bring herself to visit Andrew or let him know where she was, she still needed to be close to him, because she loved him. Rew understands this toward the end of the book, when he yells at Gran, asking her why she brought them there if she never went to see him anyway. Some people have wondered if it was a coincidence that Andrew Snow came to the house where his family lived. Maybe. But Gran did know where Andrew Snow was, and she picked the house to be close to him. And Andrew Snow, who loved the woods because of his father, turned that way because his father had taught him how to know his way in the forest, and he had always wanted to see the bottoms of the trees he could see from behind the prison wall. So maybe a part of Gran was always hoping that her son would come out to them. Sometimes people wish things without even knowing they’re wishing.
When I started writing fiction, I sometimes thought about it as having a conversation with my imaginary readers. What I couldn’t have guessed was how much I’d enjoy the real conversation, when it finally came. Thank you, Kyrstina, Tony, Emily, and the whole reading group!