Wednesday, March 25, 2009

An Interview with Kirby Larson / Hattie Big Sky

Thanks to Kirby Larson, the author of HATTIE BIG SKY, for answering the Bookaneers' questions about her book!

Bookaneers: If you got a claim for land and you had to go alone to get it, would you go for it?
Kirby: No!!! I am a big chicken when it comes to being alone on strange property. . . though, I am pretty stubborn and if someone told me I couldn't do it, I might try, just to show them.

Bookaneers: What was your favorite part of HBS?
Kirby: I do love the scene where the wolf gets Violet's tail. But I do think the favorite part was finishing.

Bookaneers: Do you think Traft Martin was really bad or just doing what he knew?
Kirby: I think Traft is like most human beings I know, including myself: he got caught up in something that he didn't really think through. Not that he's my favorite person in the world, but he's not all bad. I think he was frustrated by his mom making too many decisions for him and he took that out on other people.

Bookaneers: Would you stand up for the German-Americans and against the anti-German sentiment?
Kirby: I wish I could say I would but it's scary to take a stand. Once, in high school, I tried to stand up for a kid who was being tormented on the school bus and it got really ugly. The crummy thing is that doing the right thing doesn't always pay off when and where we can see it. That doesn't mean we shouldn't do it, however. One of the proudest moments in my life was when I was in New York visiting my son a few years ago. We got off the subway to go to his apartment; it was dark and creepy. I hurried up the stairs, past a homeless guy standing on the landing. (This is not the part I'm proud of.) When I got up to the street, I looked back and my son wasn't there. I backtracked and found him talking to the homeless guy, calling him by name, and giving him some money. I learned later that my son had taken that man to the hospital once when some kids had beat him up. I felt so proud that my son was so brave and good. So maybe I can't be as brave as I'd like to be all the time, but I have raised really good-hearted kids.

Bookaneers: What makes a good person?
Kirby: If I knew that, I could sell the formula!!! Seriously, don't you think it's all about trying to treat one another well, with respect? Some people call it the Golden Rule. Sometimes when I'm sharp with my family, I ask myself if I would treat a stranger the way I'm treating them. I think being a good person means trying to love people for who they are. In the case of someone like Traft, it doesn't mean saying that the mean things they do are okay, but it means recognizing that they are a human being -- just as flawed as everyone else.

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