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AnnieS
Posts: 25
Registered: ‎01-29-2008
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Re: Questions for Poppy Adams

Ms. Adams,
 
Thank you again, as many others have already stated for allowing us to view and review this very interesting story.  I usually like tidy endings, yet love plot twists and mysteries.  My biggest question in this story is why Viv came back.  That never really closed in my mind.  Was it because she was older and didn't wish to be alone and came home?  Did people in town such as Michael (which I doubt) have contact with her and she decided to come back because her sister was getting less dependent of herself?   It just seemed odd that even Vivi didn't seem a bit out of place stating she was coming home without invitation and without an explanation to the sister who had been there all her life.  In past posts you led to passages, can you help me out.
 
Thanks so much
Annie
 
PS:  I truly admire the fact that you have opened your work to us.  Reading the posts it must be difficult to read the negative and I know I would be very protective and my Irish emotions would be flared.  I am not sure I would have the courage to do it.  Thank you again.
 
 
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pigwidgeon
Posts: 293
Registered: ‎01-28-2007
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Re: Questions for Poppy Adams

Ms. Adams:

I am so happy to have been able to participate in the early reading of your first novel (good for you!) and this discussion. I really enjoyed "The Sister", and I do think I probably would have picked it up under either of the other titles mentioned here (especially the moth one). I tend to read mostly non-fiction, and am trying to incorporate more fiction reading into my diet. That said, I think your book was a great bridge for me between the two. I really liked the moth bits, and have referenced them enthusiastically when recommending this book to friends. I think, because of all the non-fiction reading I do, that cover and title are less important to me than the contents of the book itself.

Your way of description was truly visual. I am a great lover of film (including documentary, which I will be interested to see some of your work as well), and got such a detailed, rich experience reading the book, which was littered with beautifully presented images. Bravo!

I found the last 2 ("Tuesday" and "Today" )chapters to be my favorites, even though they were quite short. The way that Ginny fells about her "departure" from her home, especially the interaction with Michael, and her contented description of her new "home", were so telling. I found myself sympathizing with Ginny quite a bit throughout the book, and I am glad that you were able to introduce such a complex character for our enjoyment.

Lastly, your attention to this book club (reading some of our previously posted discussions, which were quite in depth and lengthy, and taking the time to thoroughly, and thoughtfully, respond to many of our members' questions) is very much appreciated, and wonderful in itself. Time is a commodity that very few people feel they have enough of (I wonder what Ginny would say about that :smileywink:), and I feel as though I have spent mine wisely with the discussions here, and reading your novel. I wish you much success with the launch of your book, and whatever your current endeavors are..... Thanks, sincerely.
Contributor
Margaret42
Posts: 19
Registered: ‎12-19-2007
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Re: Questions for Poppy Adams

Poppy,
Thank you for letting us read this book in advance, it was well worth it.  I only have one comment and that is when I began chapter 20 "About Monday" and I realized what Ginny had done, I was completely blindsided.  I find with many books you become lulled by the story, the tone and the pace and can sort of anticipate what may happen.  When I have to sit up, and say "oh wow did I skip a page?" I like it, because it makes the story memorable and to me it means the writer has refreshingly "stepped outside of the box"
 
Thanks again,
Margie
m a r g a r e t~
ek
Contributor
ek
Posts: 16
Registered: ‎02-01-2008
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Re: Questions for Poppy Adams

Ms. Adams
      This was my First Look book to read!!  Thank you for letting us read your book and discuss it with you.
I couldn't wait to get the book and read it because I have a really close relationship with my older sister.  My sister is my best friend and I found myself being very grateful for my sister and our childhood.  Thanks for the interesting read.
Elaine
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kbbg42
Posts: 34
Registered: ‎02-01-2008
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Re: Questions for Poppy Adams

Ms. Adams;
Thank you so much for answering my question. I have really enjoyed reading all of your posts. I have to say that I really did enjoy your novel, but I did get frustrated with all the loose ends. I guess it's because I read a lot of mystery novels and you always have the sum up at the end. Thank you for making me think. You have got some of my gears unstuck in the old noggin!
New User
stacymouse
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Questions for Poppy Adams

Ms. Adams,

I just wanted to say how much I really enjoyed your book.  It was so much fun and so interesting to read!  Will you be writing another novel anytime soon?
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AnnieS
Posts: 25
Registered: ‎01-29-2008
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Re: Questions for Poppy Adams

Ms. Adams,
Some books havebook club questions or questions for the author with answers at the end of the books. Will this book have that?  If it will, will the questions be from the book clubs in the US and England? 
 
I ask this, as your responses to our questions helped me appreciate the book better.  For the readers who do like tidy endings and some more insight to the characters and setting of the book, it may help complete the story for them. 
Thank you for your time.
Annie
Author
Poppy_Adams
Posts: 114
Registered: ‎02-25-2008
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Re: Questions for Poppy Adams



Carmenere_lady wrote:
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!
 
 


Dear Carmenere Lady
Thank you for your posts all the way through, and your questions.  I have so many people to respond to, so please forgive me if I don't answer every one of them! 
 
I understand what you mean about the chapter titles.  Interestingly, I spent very little time deciding on them.  While I was writing, I truly believe I came to think like Ginny on everything, and the chapter titles seemed to come out of that way of thinking.  I understand they are quirky, but they are also very reductive - I mean, what they say is what happens in that chapter, no elaborating.... When, much later on, I was unable to use 'Tea and Toast' (because we had edited out a bit about toast!!), I was completely stuck for a chapter title.  I couldn't seem to get back into that mindset, and ended up calling it Breakfast.  It's not quite like the others, is it?
 
I think that writing a story in two timeframes automatically adds the suspense of unravelling a mystery.  It's always about finding out what happened in someone's past to make them turn out as they have.
 
Bernards challenge - I think it just shows what sacrifices Clive made for Ginny - he killed his wife (who I think he still had some affection for, and at one time truly adored), and he gave up this challenge midway (he says this when he is talking about the handover of the house.....).  More than that, he gave up the work he lived for, his life's goals (neither of them believed that the radioactive moth meant he'd accomplished what he wanted) - all for Ginny.  In that way, he was definitely a victim too.  He then pretty much gave up on life, didn't he?  That, plus his 'demons' (guilt perhaps) probably drove him to dementia.
 
Thank you for reading it so thoroughly.  (Oh, yes, the coffin reminded me of Macbeth too, but only after I'd written it!)
 
Poppy


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Poppy_Adams
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Re: Questions for Poppy Adams



Fozzie wrote:
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?


Dear Fozzie
Interesting questions.  Ginny's voice was created by me, although I did do a lot of reading and research into these types of disorder.   No and yes to your other question!  It's not so much that Ginny's 'disorder' is a unique one that I have created, its that each person with a disorder like this has differently 'problems' or 'symptoms'.  They are not so exactly defined, that is why medics talk about spectrum disorder's. Ginny's would certainly fit in a category today, yes, but I'm not going to put her in one!
Best Wishes
Poppy


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Bengel
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Registered: ‎02-05-2008
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Re: Questions for Poppy Adams

[ Edited ]
Ms. Adams,
 
Thank you for taking the time to answer questions... it is so very nice to get your perspective. I've never been given that luxury before with any author.
 
Your book was different from just about any other book I have read. At times, at little frustrating - I wanted to know the answers to my questions!!!  But much more thought provoking... thank you.
 
I really enjoyed the story and like that I am still thinking about it!


Message Edited by Bengel on 03-19-2008 01:39 PM
Author
Poppy_Adams
Posts: 114
Registered: ‎02-25-2008
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Re: Questions for Poppy Adams



tgem wrote:
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


Hi tgem
I hope you've found a few answers to your questions in my earlier posts.  I don't think people are 'just nuts'!  and I'm sure Ginny would be diagnosed by today's doctors (although at what stage of her life, I can't say.. ie, was she born or created...).  It's really a big part of the point of the book, not to jump on labels.  Aren't we all a little bit 'nuts' as you put it.  Who's judging?  We're all different - some of us produce a little bit too much or a little too little of a chemical in our heads - but what is the 'normal' amount.  Who is normal?  Don't you think completely 'sane' or 'normal' people (whatever that means - lets say it means always completely rational, never unnecessarily overexcited etc etc...) might be the most 'nuts' of all?!!
Poppy


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Poppy_Adams
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Re: Questions for Poppy Adams



dumlao_n wrote:
Thank you for your wonderful book. I have similar questions as the other readers, but I will not repeat myself.I have several questions that I would like to know your opinion on:

1.)Is Ginny the only one in the Stone family who is nutty or does Clive, Maud, and
Vivien have some type of mental illness as well?

2.) Is Maud's drinking genetic or was her drinking a causal affair before Vivien left for London? Why did she drink to fill her time while Clive and Ginny were working together instead of doing something else?

3.)Why did Ginny and Vivien call their parents by their first names and not Mom and Dad?

4.) Was Vivien ever pregnant like Ginny saw in the picture?


I look forward to reading your future novels. Thank you for taking your time to answering our questions on your book. Good luck to your future adventures.

Nicole

Hi Nicole
As you probably know now, I do think these questions are ones that you decide on.  Everyone has a different perspective and so the answers are all different, and thats so interesting.  However, I feel that only Ginny has (or developes) a possible recognised neurolgical disorder.  The others are people who have reacted to what life has thrown them (and its quite difficult to judge that kind of sanity / insanity...). 
 
The name question - many of you have wondered why she calls her parents by their first names.  There is not so much to read into that - its an English aristocracy thing (not really common, but common enough).  Sometimes they call their parents by their nicknames instead.
Thanks for your questions
Poppy


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Maria_H
Posts: 791
Registered: ‎07-19-2007
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Re: Questions for Poppy Adams

We've removed a couple of messages from this thread, and wanted to take a moment to reinforce the guidelines for participation here.

First, we should all remember that the authors here are our invited guests, and we are lucky to have them. They happily accept our comments (the good and the bad!), but they are not obligated to answer every question. And they have a right to expect that criticism be constructive, and not personal.

Please remember to keep this exchange civil, courteous, and respectful; and to stay within the spirit of our User Guidelines.

Thanks to all for your consideration and cooperation!


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


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reddoglady
Posts: 46
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Questions for Poppy Adams

Thank you for removing those messages -- I read them earlier -- I thought they were totally inappropriate -- it is nice for the authors to take the time to chat with us --
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Oldesq
Posts: 373
Registered: ‎10-07-2007
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Re: Questions for Poppy Adams

Ms. Adams,
 
First, thank you for your time.  I am amazed that you have followed the posts and been kind enough to make yourself available- I think it must be agonizing, especially if I had the type of relationship with Ginny that you have.  I guess that goes to my question in that I think I would have had a much different experience with The Sister if I hadn't read it with the level of analysis and dissection (pun intended!) that was necessary to fully participate in these discussions.  I think the boards are really fun but wondered if you thought they detracted from your reader's experience and how you would like your book read.  Thank you again for your time.  Best of luck.
 
Oldesq
 
 
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jabrke
Posts: 15
Registered: ‎12-23-2007
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Re: Questions for Poppy Adams

Ms. Adams,
 
I enjoyed reading your book.  My question is about the cover.  What does the bust represent?  Were  there other cover options?
 
Looking forward to your next book!:smileyhappy:
Wordsmith
Fozzie
Posts: 2,404
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Questions for Poppy Adams



Oldesq wrote:
Ms. Adams,
 
First, thank you for your time.  I am amazed that you have followed the posts and been kind enough to make yourself available- I think it must be agonizing, especially if I had the type of relationship with Ginny that you have.  I guess that goes to my question in that I think I would have had a much different experience with The Sister if I hadn't read it with the level of analysis and dissection (pun intended!) that was necessary to fully participate in these discussions.  I think the boards are really fun but wondered if you thought they detracted from your reader's experience and how you would like your book read.  Thank you again for your time.  Best of luck.
 
Oldesq
 

I am glad you asked this.  My reading experience seems to be a bit different than those of others because I did not participate in the individual threads for each chapter, only jumping in at the very end after I had read the entire book on my own.  I like to think about the big picture the author is trying to present and have found in the past that too much discussion can detract from my enjoyment of a book.  Especially in this book with so many ambiguities, I am glad I held back.
Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
Moderator
KxBurns
Posts: 1,006
Registered: ‎09-06-2007
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Re: Questions for Poppy Adams

Thank you, Poppy, for such thoughtful and thorough responses to our questions so far!
 
Readers, Poppy has posed many very interesting questions within her responses, so I've taken the liberty of creating a thread where we can discuss them.
 
Enjoy!
Karen
Distinguished Correspondent
lmpmn
Posts: 177
Registered: ‎11-08-2006
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Re: Questions for Poppy Adams

It's a pleasure, Ms. Adams, to have you with us.  Thank you for your time.

During my reading of your book, I was reminded of Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper" in several parts; especially when Ginny described the plants as "creeping" through her bedroom window (creeping was used in description of other things too, I believe) and her yellow wallpaper in her childhood bedroom.  Have you ever read that book?  If so, did you receive any inspiration from it?

I also wanted to say that initially I wanted to label Ginny (I definitely think that is because I have a degree in psychology and have always been interested in mental health).  But after reading more and more discussion on these boards about what Ginny was likely to have, I questioned whether we should be labeling her at all, and why we want to label her.  I too have thought about the subject of sanity vs. insanity, normal vs. abnormal, who is to judge these things, etc. many times.  I realized about 1/2 way through the book that this was one of the things that you as an author wanted us to think about.

I think you've done an amazing job of provoking these particular thoughts through Ginny's narrative.  The first thing I take notice of in a book is its narrator.  I fought through the first chapters because I knew her perspective was unreliable, and I didn't know what to trust from her.  But now as I look back to posted answers from you, I realize that was your intention.  We all have our own perspective, our own truths, our own individual memories of shared events.  I know I'll be thinking about these things for a long time after I've put the book on my shelf.

One more question: before I even read the book (I read in your mini bio that you took science courses in college), I wanted to know if you took any creative writing courses or if writing just comes naturally to you?

Thank you again for being with us,

Laura

 

Happiness is a warm blanket!
Author
Poppy_Adams
Posts: 114
Registered: ‎02-25-2008
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Re: Questions for Poppy Adams



Bonnie824 wrote:
I enjoyed your book Ms. Adams, and found the POV especially intriguing because I evaluate and work with people with autism spectrum disorders. Not that I am clear that Ginny was there- you may have a totally different reason for her social/emotional behavior.
 
My question is: When you write do you try and write from many POV very different from yourself, or is this a new direction for you?.



Dear Bonnie
As this is my first book, I probably haven't had enough experience to answer your question.  I suppose it will always seem more interesting to write from a POV very different from myself, but as a writer it's impossible not to always have a little bit (quite a lot actually!) of yourself in there. 
 
It's also quite difficult to judge what you yourself are like.  When you are writing or thinking of a story or scene in which you are involved, I should think you would always like to think of yourself acting a certain way, always doing the right thing, or answering back with confidence etc.. and I should think it's nothing like what you would do in reality!
Poppy


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