Since 1997, you’ve been coming to BarnesandNoble.com to discuss everything from Stephen King to writing to Harry Potter. You’ve made our site more than a place to discover your next book: you’ve made it a community. But like all things internet, BN.com is growing and changing. We've said goodbye to our community message boards—but that doesn’t mean we won’t still be a place for adventurous readers to connect and discover.

Now, you can explore the most exciting new titles (and remember the classics) at the Barnes & Noble Book Blog. Check out conversations with authors like Jeff VanderMeer and Gary Shteyngart at the B&N Review, and browse write-ups of the best in literary fiction. Come to our Facebook page to weigh in on what it means to be a book nerd. Browse digital deals on the NOOK blog, tweet about books with us,or self-publish your latest novella with NOOK Press. And for those of you looking for support for your NOOK, the NOOK Support Forums will still be here.

We will continue to provide you with books that make you turn pages well past midnight, discover new worlds, and reunite with old friends. And we hope that you’ll continue to tell us how you’re doing, what you’re reading, and what books mean to you.

Reply
Moderator
KxBurns
Posts: 1,006
Registered: ‎09-06-2007
0 Kudos

Questions for Poppy Adams

[ Edited ]
Starting Monday, March 17th, author Poppy Adams will be joining us to answer your questions about The Sister. Please post your questions for Poppy here!
 
 
Poppy, we are delighted to have you join us! I have a couple of questions. You said in your letter that you  have no sisters yourself. Did your relationship with your three brothers inform the sibling relationship you depict in the book at all, or do you think the dynamic between sisters is unique?
 
Is there any one correct interpretation of the bell tower incident? Some of us think Ginny pushed Vivi, some have suggested that Vivi jumped, yet others believe she really fell... What do you think happened?
 
Thanks so much for your time!
Karen


Message Edited by KxBurns on 03-14-2008 11:38 AM
Inspired Correspondent
Maria_H
Posts: 791
Registered: ‎07-19-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Questions for Poppy Adams

Hi Poppy,

Another question about something you wrote in your letter: Do you have any information about the woman that lived in Seaborough Court? And was she the inspiration for Ginny?

Thanks for your time!
Maria


Looking for a discussion? Find a Book Club for all your interests!


Moderator
dhaupt
Posts: 11,865
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Questions for Poppy Adams

Ms. Adams,
First of all let me say thank you for being a part of this unique and incredibly fun venue.
I really enjoyed reading your book and discussing it with all the other members of first look. I have two questions for you.
1- In the book I mistook the sisters ages as being older than they apparently were - was this on purpose or am I just that dense.
2 - And why Moths? I really enjoyed reading about their habits and such and just wondered are moths special to you or did you just pick them at random.

Thanks again for the wonderful opportunity.
Frequent Contributor
nmccarthy
Posts: 35
Registered: ‎12-29-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Questions for Poppy Adams

Poppy,
I thorougly enjoyed reading your book. I especially liked the intertwining of moth science with familial relationships. Books that entertain, while teaching me something new are my favorites. I finished the book three days ago and I am still turning if over and over in my mind.
 
How did you come about your knowledge of moths and butterflies?
 
Were you thinking of the characteristics of a particular moth or butterfly to represent Ginny's emergence? How about Vvien?
 
Best wishes for your upcoming release, and I look forward to reading many more titles by you.
Nancy
 
 
Distinguished Wordsmith
Everyman
Posts: 9,216
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Questions for Poppy Adams

[ Edited ]
First of all, Ms. Adams, thank you for letting us read this advance copy of your book, and for coming in to discuss it with us.

Some of us in the discussion have a number of questions about the characters and motivations which we have been unable to resolve. Karen alluded to one of them: the tower incident, and how accurate Ginnie's report of it is: whether Vivi fell, was pushed, jumped, or something else. (Presumably, there is an objective truth as to what happened, though not necessarily why. If there had been documentary filmmakers recording the whole incident, we would at least know what each person was doing during the incident.)

But before asking specific questions, I have a more general question.

In writing the book did you intend to give your readers sufficient information for them to come up with the "correct" answers to most of their questions about what objectively happened during the various incidents described, and we just aren't good enough readers to "get it"?

Or did you intentionally leave many questions unanswered and ambiguous, so that each reader has to decide for themselves without ever finding out the "right answer" or what really happened?

Or, I suppose there's a third alternative, that you don't know yourself, that you're just recording this record of the way Virginia Stone saw and described her life, and you yourself have no other or better information to offer your readers.

One specific example may make clear the distinction I'm making. On pages 221-222, Vivien apparently tells Ginny what she, Vivien, believes the family had decided was wrong with her, Ginny. But Ginny goes off into her mental hiding place, so we never find out what Vivien said to her. The questions become: 1: do you know what it was that Vivien said? 2: if so, are you willing to share it with us, your readers? 3: if so, what was it that Vivien said? and 4: if not, why not? (That last is not intended as a challenge question, but as an I would like to understand what your purpose and thinking are question.)

Message Edited by Everyman on 03-14-2008 12:15 PM
_______________
I think, therefore I drive people nuts.
Frequent Contributor
paula_02912
Posts: 492
Registered: ‎12-18-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Questions for Poppy Adams

Ms. Adams, thank you very much for giving all of us the opportunity to read your ARC...I really enjoyed reading about the dynamics of the Stone family, especially the relationship between Vivi and Ginny...I also loved reading about moths and finding parallels between them and Virginia...however, there are a couple of questions that I have...
 
1. What was the purpose of having Michael in the story?
 
2. Did Vivi come back to Bulburrow Court to tell Ginny what really happened to Maud or did she come back for other nefarious reasons?
 
3. What exactly was Vivi searching for? Was actually some type of heirloom left by Maud or alchol (sherry)? The second question just came to mind...
 
4. What was your inspiration for the character of Ginny?
 
5. Was Ginny the cannibal caterpillar who eventually turned into a moth?
 
6. What happened to Vivi and Arthur's marriage?
 
That is all for now...I really appreciate you taking the time to come and visit with us to discuss the book...
 
Peace and love,
Paula R.

"Adversity causes some people to break, but causes others to break records."

Author Unknown
Wordsmith
Tarri
Posts: 457
Registered: ‎02-26-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Questions for Poppy Adams

[ Edited ]
I think my questions are going to be the ones that you want me to answer for myself, but I would like to hear what you think.
 
* What is wrong with Ginny? 
 
* Why is Vivi home?
 
* What happened to the clocks on the day of Vivi's death/murder?
 
* Did Ginny push Vivi off the bell tower or did she fall?
 
* Who pushed Maud, Ginny or Clive?
 
* Did Ginny stop the research when Clive left?
 
* Did Bernard fondle Ginny, or was it all in her mind?
 
Edited to add:
 
Great book, I really enjoyed the story and the discussion.  Best of luck to you. 


Message Edited by Tarri on 03-14-2008 09:40 AM
Frequent Contributor
mwinasu
Posts: 149
Registered: ‎02-02-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Questions for Poppy Adams

I loved this book and heaven help me ,I truly identified with Ginny.  I am wondering if you were just telling a story or if you intended for there to be a deeper meaning or symbolism to the story.  It looks like it to me,  but I have read to much to assume anything.  Oh,  and what happened to the dog?  I know he isn't real but what was he supposed the represent.
Frequent Contributor
BookSavage
Posts: 108
Registered: ‎01-11-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Questions for Poppy Adams

Ms. Adams,
   Thank you for allowing us this first look opportunity and for coming on here and being an active part of the discussion.  I must admit that for the first 50 or so pages I found your book to be very unenjoyable, but I found that the last fifty pages are the complete opposite and the pages in between make a nice bridge between the two sections.  I have several questions, some of which relate to other questions already posted.
 
  • I fimly believe from the signs you give in the book that Ginny has Asperger's syndrom.  Based of of that I have several questions.
    • Did you intend for Ginny to have Asperger's Syndrom?
    • If not, would you consider making that your official position?
    • Would you consider adding in specific information about support groups that can help parents of children with autism.  This is such a problem for our children today, and so many parents are unaware of the resources out there.  I think this book could shed light on what is available.
  • I really enjoyed the way you created Ginny's character, and I felt that she was really believeable throughout most of the book.  But I do wonder why you seemed to make her so much more socially capable during the time that Vivien was bringing author home to visit.  I felt at this point in the novel that there was a real disconnect, and I wondering if it was intentional?

Thanks again for this opportunity to participate and read your book.

Go Cubs Go!
Frequent Contributor
bookhunter
Posts: 322
Registered: ‎06-09-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Questions for Poppy Adams

Ms. Adams,
 
Thanks so much for the opportunity to read your book--it was a real treat.  I enjoyed getting inside Ginny's head and viewing the world through her eyes.  You have created a very unique character!
 
I was wondering about your transition from documentary producer to novelist. 
 
What were the subjects of your documentaries?  Was it difficult to go from such a visual medium to a novel?  From non-fiction to fiction?
 
I look forward to getting to "know" you during your visit to this group.
 
Ann, bookhunter
Distinguished Correspondent
Thayer
Posts: 195
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Questions for Poppy Adams

Ms. Adams,
 
I was wondering while reading your intriguing novel: what was your motivation for the character of Ginny? I am very curious as to where her personality and possible disorder/dysfunction generated in your mind.
 
I really enjoyed the book, and am really glad to be a part of this ARC club as this is a genre that I perhaps wouldn't normally sample. I generally read historical fiction, biographys and the like. It has opened new doors! Yours is a book that I will recommend to my many "bookie" friends. Thank you for your time and for fielding our questions.   Dawn
~~Dawn
Live the life you love ~ Love the life you live.
Contributor
runnybabbit620
Posts: 20
Registered: ‎01-04-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Questions for Poppy Adams

This was quite a spellbinding first book for you!  I feel privileged to be among the first to read it.  :smileyhappy:
 
Do you plan to write another book, if so, is there a specific storyline or subject you are looking to focus on?
 
Are you thinking of selling the rights to make a movie of The Sister?  It would make for a great, keep-you-guessing, plotline.  It would certainly have viewers asking all these questions and then some!  :smileysurprised:
 
Best of luck to you in your future endeavors!
Wordsmith
kiakar
Posts: 3,435
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Questions for Poppy Adams

Miss Adams, were you already familiar with the material you used on the moths and butterflies you embraced your story with. Or was it just research? What made you decide to use this much information on the moth and butterfly history? I loved the book, by the way, hope you will write another one.  Linda
Frequent Contributor
kbbg42
Posts: 34
Registered: ‎02-01-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Questions for Poppy Adams

Dear Ms. Adams;
Thank you so much for giving us the opportunity to read "The Sister". How long did it take you to write the story?
Distinguished Wordsmith
Carmenere_lady
Posts: 529
Registered: ‎11-05-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Questions for Poppy Adams

Greetings Ms. Adams,  Thank you for joining us here at First Look and for sharing your debut novel with us.
 
Your story is so rich, I hardly know where to begin, but first let me start with the chapter titles.  I thought them to be sort of Beatlesque, kind of Sgt Pepperish "Belinda's Pot, In Rememberance of Pauline Abey Clarke" etc - which seems to fit Ginny's mental state.  Did you spend much time creating the titles and why not just choose numbers? 
 
Also, it's bothering me why we did not find out who won Bernard's Challenge.  But, I think I've just figured out that there was no Challenge, was there.  Was it something Clive made up to keep Ginny busy?  It seems that when Ginny had a purpose she was focused.  After Clive left there was no one to give her more busywork and she slowly lost a reason to do anything at all.
 
Lastly, I really, really liked Ginny's vision as she brought the second dose to Vivien.  ".....an image of Vivien's coffin passes me......"  It brought to mind Macbeth's vision "Is this a dagger that I see before me?"  Was that vision supposed to bring to mind Macbeth?
 
O. K. this is really the last question - This is my third book in recent memory concerning mature adults, all of which were centered around flashbacks.  Why would an author choose to write in this form and not just tell the story straight thru as it happened?  Hope you know what I mean.
 
Anyway, loved the book even with the moth talk, it was really quite interesting.  Good Luck in your future endeavors.  It looks like you've got another great career emerging!
 
 
Lynda

"I think of literature.....as a vast country to the far borders of which I am journeying but will never reach."
The Uncommon Reader


"You've been running around naked in the stacks again, haven't you?"
"Um, maybe."
The Time Traveler's Wife

It is with books as with men; a very small number play a great part.
Voltaire
Wordsmith
Fozzie
Posts: 2,404
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Questions for Poppy Adams

Poppy, thanks so much for writing the book and being willing to field our questions!
 
My first question has been asked in two different ways by others, but I want to put it forth again in another way.  I believe Ginny has a disorder in which she is incapable of interpreting and understanding the emotional aspects and facial expressions of people.  I do not know the name of this disorder, and I do believe it is also a characteristic of some people with Asperger's syndrome, as someone suggested, but I believe it is a disorder which stands on its own, so to speak.  Could you tell us which disorder you modeled Ginny's behavior after, if any specific one, or was it a combination of several?
 
Secondly, I thought you did an excellent job in conveying Ginny's unique voice.  Did you research what the voice and thoughts of someone like Ginny would be like?  Was Ginny's voice modeled after a particular person, a group of people, or created uniquely by you?
Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
Frequent Contributor
tgem
Posts: 270
Registered: ‎08-06-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Questions for Poppy Adams

Ms. Adams,
 
I found your book to be a hard one to put down, and that's a good thing.  Some readers have already posted with their  questions.  I'll repeat just one.  Did you intentionally create Ginny as someone with some sort of diagnosed mental illness, or as one reader put it - was she just nuts?
 
I must admit, that although I really enjoyed reading your book and look forward to another - the many unanswered questions left me uneasy.  Not is a speculative way, but feeling like I didn't have quite enough information to speculate.
 
Thanks so much for this opportunity to preview and discuss.  It's been fascinating.
 
tgem
Scribe
vivico1
Posts: 3,456
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Questions for Poppy Adams

[ Edited ]
Ms. Adams,
First may I say that I loved the book. I think it is the best first look book we have done in here to date. You kept me intrigued and guessing all the way though. It was eerie, creepy at times and the ending was great! I think the moth aspect of the story was important, to see the parallels between them and Ginny's behavior most of all, but the others too. However, as has been hinting at, sometimes the technical information about moths got a bit in the way of the story,it sometimes went on so long, to those who are loving the story but are a bit put off by too much technical stuff in a novel. Did you ever have any apprehension on how much of the scientific information to use in getting the meaning across of how it plays out in the telling of the story? I did find myself skimming parts to get to the rest of the story, not everything about the moths mind you, the comparisons were important. Great chilling book and ending tho.

Also, why do the women seem so old for their late 60s? I know Ginny has been house bound for a good twenty years, but I have too actually do too illness and live alone and am 51 so have had an extremely limited social life, but I felt I was reading about women approaching 80. I know you will get asked about this more than once probably, maybe both these questions, since they were two of our biggest questions among each other, so pardon me if I am repeating the same things already asked.

I did like your book very much and will be looking forward to future books from you. Good luck with your work and thank you for spending time with us to talk about this one.:smileyhappy:

OH, had to tell you too, was a bit disconcerting, reading all the club's posts about someone with my name, and also very weird to read about her, especially getting killed! hehe. Is Vivien a British spelling of the name? I have only seen it spelled that way once here, you dont run into many Vivians and the one Vivien was a man. Thanks.

Message Edited by vivico1 on 03-15-2008 12:33 PM
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
Wordsmith
BookWoman718
Posts: 220
Registered: ‎01-28-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Questions for Poppy Adams

First let me join the other readers in thanking you for making an ARC of your book available to us.   It has been quite an experience on many levels, as you can see from the discussions.  I, too, think I would have liked more closure on some of the situations that were left deliberately ambiguous (who pushed whom, etc) but the question I would most like resolved goes to the credibility of a key piece of the plot.  Why would someone as self-centered as Vivi ask her obviously 'odd' (if not mentally incompetent), socially inept, and physically unattractive (protruding lower lip, etc.) sister to be a surrogate?   Surely Vivi would not be dreaming of a little girl with Ginny's characteristics.  Nor would she have wanted the intricate lifelong entanglements that such a surrogacy would entail - the possibility of birth defects, the possible conflicting emotions of the two sisters as the child grew, the need for secrecy and the fear of revelation, etc.  It just seemed unbelievable to me.  Or is it that Vivi's request of her sister was meant to show that Ginny was NOT as odd as so many of her own words and her actions led us to believe?   That her oddity, as so many other things, lived mainly in her imagination, at least at that point in her life? 
 
Thank you SO much for taking part in this discussion!
Frequent Contributor
mwinasu
Posts: 149
Registered: ‎02-02-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Questions for Poppy Adams

 Thank you for writing a story about alcoholism that does not make you feel all warm and fuzzy.I forgot to ask if you are the adult child of an alcoholic.  I know this is personal, but you must have some first hand knowledge to be able to  define the dynamics so well.
Users Online
Currently online: 4 members 221 guests
Please welcome our newest community members: