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Author
Shandi-Mitchell
Posts: 83
Registered: ‎07-08-2009
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Re: Questions for Shandi Mitchell?


chadadanielleKR wrote:
What about France?  If  your book was published in France, I would recommand it to all my friends and to my local library immediately! 
Hi chadadanielle!

Not France yet.  But wouldn’t that be wonderful?  I should chat with my agent. Why isn't it in France? Ha! Nice to know you would be there to say nice things.

sm 

 

 

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debbook
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Re: Questions for Shandi Mitchell? (POSSIBLE SPOILER ALERT)


Shandi-Mitchell wrote:

heppster wrote:

 

1- pgs. 261-265 it seems Anna is somewhat hallucinating.  Your writing style really changed there and it threw me off.  All the fragments and her odd thoughts made it hard for to get a lot of meaning from it except that she is a bit crazy.  What was the point of these pages?

Message Edited by rkubie on 08-05-2009 02:09 PM

Dear heppster
Sorry it took me so long to reply, but you were a quick reader! I thought I should wait until we made it to Winter. 
Throughout the story I was moving through multiple points of view, the children’s and the adult’s. I was very interested in characters witnessing the same event, but the interpretation of the truth of that event shifting from character to character. Going inside Anna’s mind as she conversed with her unborn child was to convey her psychological state of mind. An internal dialogue.  But the scene also explores the connection between a mother and her unborn child. I have heard of pregnant women experiencing extremely vivid dreams and possessing knowledge of their unborn. In Anna’s case does she hear her child?  Does she feel her unborn child’s thoughts?  Is she delusional?  Is the unborn child fighting for her life? Whose voice(s) does she hear? As much as I was exploring the wilderness of the landscape, I was also exploring the wilderness of the heart and mind.

 

As a side note, in my research I discovered a number accounts of pregnant women having an insatiable desire to eat dirt. Doctors speculate it might have been attributable to an iron deficiency. I wonder how much the biochemistry of pregnancy, trauma, and perhaps clinical depression affected Anna's behaviors? What would have happened to her in the 1930s if she had sought psychological help?

 


 

She would not have gotten much help in the 1930's especially as she was poor.

Some women today still eat dirt while pregnant, also corn starch. Not sure why.

A room without books is like a body without a soul.~ Cicero...
"bookmagic418.blogspot.com
Distinguished Bibliophile
KathyS
Posts: 6,893
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: Questions for Shandi Mitchell?


Shandi-Mitchell wrote:

I received my hardcover copy of Under This Unbroken Sky from Claire. The book is now finished. This will be its form and it is beautiful. What is it that makes a hardcover book feel like a work of art?

 

Opening the front pages, it is marked first edition. After all the years of buying books, I finally own a first edition! Who knew, all I had to do was write it. 

 

sm 

 

 


 

Shandi, you asked, "What is it that makes a hardcover book feel like a work of art?"  I'm sure you can answer that. 

 

But it's the finished creative process of inspiration and hardwork.  You, [and so many] as a writer, brought it to its visual end.  I feel the same way when I've created a piece, when it manages to come through all of it's ceramic processes.  I, also, feel lucky when I've accomplished my goal, and can hold it in my hands. 

 

Art, of any kind, is created out of needs.  The mind is a wonderful tool, when used in these creative ways.  What makes some art good, or bad, is subjectively in the eye of both the creator and the audience.  Your readers/audience, here, have given it's subjective seal of approval.  But ultimately, you have to be the one who wanted it.

 

Kathy S.

Author
Shandi-Mitchell
Posts: 83
Registered: ‎07-08-2009

Re: Questions for Shandi Mitchell?


MYK wrote:

I don't know if I am getting my point across, but I want you to know that I  did enjoy your book. Even though it hurt.Left me hopeless.


Oh MYK,
I am thankful you felt so deeply. I don't want you to be left hopeless.
I have great hope for the family. Time and history shows us that we can carry on, survive and even flourish. Each life lived changes the world. We may not see it immediately, it may take generations, and we may never understand the impact, but I believe we can choose for the better.
sm 

 

Frequent Contributor
ethel55
Posts: 31
Registered: ‎04-11-2008
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Re: Questions for Shandi Mitchell?

Not so much a question but a comment.  I loved that you added the Story Behind the Book at the end.  It's kind of buried behind the acknowledgments, but it added great dimension to my reading and enjoyment of the novel to learn it all stemmed from a "what could have been " situation. 
Distinguished Wordsmith
aprilh
Posts: 424
Registered: ‎09-25-2008
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Re: Questions for Shandi Mitchell?


Shandi-Mitchell wrote:

MYK wrote:

I don't know if I am getting my point across, but I want you to know that I  did enjoy your book. Even though it hurt.Left me hopeless.


Oh MYK,
I am thankful you felt so deeply. I don't want you to be left hopeless.
I have great hope for the family. Time and history shows us that we can carry on, survive and even flourish. Each life lived changes the world. We may not see it immediately, it may take generations, and we may never understand the impact, but I believe we can choose for the better.
sm 

 


 

Beautifully said, Shandi!
April
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KathyS
Posts: 6,893
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Questions for Shandi Mitchell? (POSSIBLE SPOILER ALERT)


Shandi-Mitchell wrote:

heppster wrote:

 

1- pgs. 261-265 it seems Anna is somewhat hallucinating.  Your writing style really changed there and it threw me off.  All the fragments and her odd thoughts made it hard for to get a lot of meaning from it except that she is a bit crazy.  What was the point of these pages?

Message Edited by rkubie on 08-05-2009 02:09 PM

Dear heppster
Sorry it took me so long to reply, but you were a quick reader! I thought I should wait until we made it to Winter. 
Throughout the story I was moving through multiple points of view, the children’s and the adult’s. I was very interested in characters witnessing the same event, but the interpretation of the truth of that event shifting from character to character. Going inside Anna’s mind as she conversed with her unborn child was to convey her psychological state of mind. An internal dialogue.  But the scene also explores the connection between a mother and her unborn child. I have heard of pregnant women experiencing extremely vivid dreams and possessing knowledge of their unborn. In Anna’s case does she hear her child?  Does she feel her unborn child’s thoughts?  Is she delusional?  Is the unborn child fighting for her life? Whose voice(s) does she hear? As much as I was exploring the wilderness of the landscape, I was also exploring the wilderness of the heart and mind.

 

As a side note, in my research I discovered a number accounts of pregnant women having an insatiable desire to eat dirt. Doctors speculate it might have been attributable to an iron deficiency. I wonder how much the biochemistry of pregnancy, trauma, and perhaps clinical depression affected Anna's behaviors? What would have happened to her in the 1930s if she had sought psychological help?

 


Shandi, with all that you threw at Anna, the odds were against her...she needed more than psychological help....she needed medical help, as well....and in the 1930's, on the prairie of Canada....good luck!

Wordsmith
Deltadawn
Posts: 311
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Questions for Shandi Mitchell?

I agree - that addition added even more depth to the novel! thanks!
Author
Shandi-Mitchell
Posts: 83
Registered: ‎07-08-2009
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Re: Questions for Shandi Mitchell? (POSSIBLE SPOILER ALERT)


KathyS wrote:

Shandi-Mitchell wrote:

heppster wrote:

 

1- pgs. 261-265 it seems Anna is somewhat hallucinating.  Your writing style really changed there and it threw me off.  All the fragments and her odd thoughts made it hard for to get a lot of meaning from it except that she is a bit crazy.  What was the point of these pages?

Message Edited by rkubie on 08-05-2009 02:09 PM

Dear heppster
Sorry it took me so long to reply, but you were a quick reader! I thought I should wait until we made it to Winter. 
Throughout the story I was moving through multiple points of view, the children’s and the adult’s. I was very interested in characters witnessing the same event, but the interpretation of the truth of that event shifting from character to character. Going inside Anna’s mind as she conversed with her unborn child was to convey her psychological state of mind. An internal dialogue.  But the scene also explores the connection between a mother and her unborn child. I have heard of pregnant women experiencing extremely vivid dreams and possessing knowledge of their unborn. In Anna’s case does she hear her child?  Does she feel her unborn child’s thoughts?  Is she delusional?  Is the unborn child fighting for her life? Whose voice(s) does she hear? As much as I was exploring the wilderness of the landscape, I was also exploring the wilderness of the heart and mind.

 

As a side note, in my research I discovered a number accounts of pregnant women having an insatiable desire to eat dirt. Doctors speculate it might have been attributable to an iron deficiency. I wonder how much the biochemistry of pregnancy, trauma, and perhaps clinical depression affected Anna's behaviors? What would have happened to her in the 1930s if she had sought psychological help?

 


Shandi, with all that you threw at Anna, the odds were against her...she needed more than psychological help....she needed medical help, as well....and in the 1930's, on the prairie of Canada....good luck!


You are right. We can't begin to imagine the psychiatric "care" available in the 1930s. I have heard of stories whispered in my travels of people locked in barns and attics. 
In my research, I came across various documents and first person references citing that government relief was available in Canada in the 30s, but if an immigrant applied they would receive the relief but they would also be put on a deportation list. Were these just rumours based on fear? Or was it really policy? I don't know. But people believed it.
I think one of things that fascinated about this world is that it was only eighty years ago. Think of all the changes that Maria would have witnessed if she had lived to a be a hundred.  Is there any other time in recorded history that changed so rapidly?
 

 

Wordsmith
maude40
Posts: 357
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Questions for Shandi Mitchell?

I don't have a question for you Shandi, but I just wanted to say that I loved your book and I can't wait for your next book. I will read anything you write. Yvonne
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KathyS
Posts: 6,893
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Questions for Shandi Mitchell? (POSSIBLE SPOILER ALERT)


Shandi-Mitchell wrote:

KathyS wrote:

Shandi-Mitchell wrote:

heppster wrote:

 

1- pgs. 261-265 it seems Anna is somewhat hallucinating.  Your writing style really changed there and it threw me off.  All the fragments and her odd thoughts made it hard for to get a lot of meaning from it except that she is a bit crazy.  What was the point of these pages?

Message Edited by rkubie on 08-05-2009 02:09 PM

Dear heppster
Sorry it took me so long to reply, but you were a quick reader! I thought I should wait until we made it to Winter. 
Throughout the story I was moving through multiple points of view, the children’s and the adult’s. I was very interested in characters witnessing the same event, but the interpretation of the truth of that event shifting from character to character. Going inside Anna’s mind as she conversed with her unborn child was to convey her psychological state of mind. An internal dialogue.  But the scene also explores the connection between a mother and her unborn child. I have heard of pregnant women experiencing extremely vivid dreams and possessing knowledge of their unborn. In Anna’s case does she hear her child?  Does she feel her unborn child’s thoughts?  Is she delusional?  Is the unborn child fighting for her life? Whose voice(s) does she hear? As much as I was exploring the wilderness of the landscape, I was also exploring the wilderness of the heart and mind.

 

As a side note, in my research I discovered a number accounts of pregnant women having an insatiable desire to eat dirt. Doctors speculate it might have been attributable to an iron deficiency. I wonder how much the biochemistry of pregnancy, trauma, and perhaps clinical depression affected Anna's behaviors? What would have happened to her in the 1930s if she had sought psychological help?

 


Shandi, with all that you threw at Anna, the odds were against her...she needed more than psychological help....she needed medical help, as well....and in the 1930's, on the prairie of Canada....good luck!


You are right. We can't begin to imagine the psychiatric "care" available in the 1930s. I have heard of stories whispered in my travels of people locked in barns and attics. 
In my research, I came across various documents and first person references citing that government relief was available in Canada in the 30s, but if an immigrant applied they would receive the relief but they would also be put on a deportation list. Were these just rumours based on fear? Or was it really policy? I don't know. But people believed it.

I think one of things that fascinated about this world is that it was only eighty years ago. Think of all the changes that Maria would have witnessed if she had lived to a be a hundred.  

Is there any other time in recorded history that changed so rapidly?


Thank you for these insights.  No, I can't think of any time period that has advanced the way this period has.  I, myself, have been treated with medicines that never existed when I was a child.  The advancement of the sciences has been phenomenal. 

 

I would love it if you extended this story, and brought Maria and the kids to the present time.  I can't be the only one who wants to know how these lives continued to survive.

 

My family, on my mother's side, came from Montreal to Amesbury, Mass.  At the age of 19, I went with my parents to Mass., and met my grandfather for the first time.  My mother hadn't seen him since she left with her mother for Calif., at the age of 12.  My grandfather spoke mostly French.  My grandmother's brother lived in Nova Scotia.  I'd met him, and his wife, a couple of times when they came to Calif.   My grandmother said her side of the family were English.  I wish, now, I knew their history before they came to Canada.  When you're young, you don't always think to ask these personal questions.   Maybe that's why I want to know more of what happened to these families in your story.  I don't know, but I think they are all part of us, your readers, now.

Author
Shandi-Mitchell
Posts: 83
Registered: ‎07-08-2009
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Re: Questions for Shandi Mitchell?


babzilla41 wrote:

Dear Ms. Mitchell:

 

Thank you for the opportunity to read/review your new book.  It's very difficult to put down and stick to the reading schedule!

 

I was wondering if you would give some insight into the paragraph where Maria is in the prison begging for the wagon and the Blessed Virgin appears to her,  "....her heart bleeding in her hands."....."The Virgin smiled, lifted her heart to her mouth, and swallowed it whole."  I think that I get that Maria is looking for absolution for what she is about to do, for the good of her family, but I just don't get the meaning behind, "The Virgin smiled, lifted her heart to her mouth, and swallowed it whole."  At first I thought that maybe Maria looses her religion, but the family continues to go to church after that incident and Maria encourages Teodore to return to religion. 

 


Dear Barb and ssizemore,
I would love to hear what others think about this image/vision? I think it's wide open for interpretation. :smileyhappy:
sm 

 

Author
Shandi-Mitchell
Posts: 83
Registered: ‎07-08-2009
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Re: Questions for Shandi Mitchell?


booksJT wrote:

Hi Shandi

 

How did you select the title for this book? 


The storyselected the title for me. For years, I worked under a working title “TheSeed.” When I submitted the manuscript, though, the one thing publishers,editors, and agents agreed on was that wasn’t the title. I tried to forcetitles on it, but they were never right. I have lists of dozens of bad titles that no one has or ever will see. So as I wentthrough the edit process, I set the title aside and let it sit.  In the last draft, I added a paragraphfor Teodor and he used that phrase.

As soon, as it was written, I knew that was the title. It held allthe content and characters of the story.

 

Author
Shandi-Mitchell
Posts: 83
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Re: Questions for Shandi Mitchell?

[ Edited ]

deannafrances wrote:

 

I personally think that children often fill in the blanks with thier own information about things they do not completely understand.  For years we would go to Novena and I would hear them sing in Latin and I thought the priest was saying  Jenny tore it, Jenny tore it and aksed my mother afterwards--I don't get it --what did she tear..  I don't know how to spell the Latin for the chant that the priest said but that is what it sounded like to me.

 

Second, I have difficulty with your tense and writing in the present tense and sort of shifting back and forth--since the story happened in the past--why not stay in the past? 

 

 Third, did you cry for the characters while writing the story--some of the images are so sad.  I felt especially drawn to Lesya and my heart broke while she helped deliver the baby.

 

thank you for taking the time to answer

and also for writing this book-- 

  


Hi Deanna, thank you for your questions. Well where to begin? 

  When I was a small child, with a big imagination, I was very confused by mass. I literally believed the body of Christ was somewhere in the church and I was horrified that he was being eaten. The stations of the cross, I found to be equally distressing. To me, it seemed that somehow every week Jesus was being forced to make this terrible walk. I had so many misinterpretations, in my defense I was only five or six years old, but I never spoke to my parents about my apprehensions (even though my poor mother taught one of the children’s bible classes). Besides, the adults all seemed to be aware of what was happening in church and were even embracing it!

 

As to your third question. Yes. Oh yes.  Lesya's and Happiness' final moments were a particularly difficult experience. As was the word   snow 

 
 
 

 

Message Edited by Shandi-Mitchell on 08-18-2009 08:13 PM
Author
Shandi-Mitchell
Posts: 83
Registered: ‎07-08-2009
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Re: Questions for Shandi Mitchell?

Darn. I'm not sure why suddenly my posts are translating with so many spaces missing. The program was allowing me to make corrections before it posted. But now it's just grabbing. Cheeky program.  Once posted is there any way to go back in and edit?

My apologies to the readers.

sm 

Distinguished Bibliophile
pen21
Posts: 3,648
Registered: ‎03-23-2009
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Re: Questions for Shandi Mitchell?

No problem. It happens to all of us at times.

When you read the post after you posted and find errors, look in the upper left corner of the post, it says Options. Click on the arrow by the options.  There is a Edit Message (or something like that). You have about an hour after you post to change something. 

Good Luck, pen21

 


Shandi-Mitchell wrote:

Darn. I'm not sure why suddenly my posts are translating with so many spaces missing. The program was allowing me to make corrections before it posted. But now it's just grabbing. Cheeky program.  Once posted is there any way to go back in and edit?

My apologies to the readers.

sm 


 

 

 

Author
Shandi-Mitchell
Posts: 83
Registered: ‎07-08-2009
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Re: Questions for Shandi Mitchell?

Thanks Pen21!

 

I made it in under the hour for one, but alas not the other. And now I know something new.

sm 

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KathyS
Posts: 6,893
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Questions for Shandi Mitchell?

[ Edited ]

Shandi-Mitchell wrote:

babzilla41 wrote:

Dear Ms. Mitchell:

 

Thank you for the opportunity to read/review your new book.  It's very difficult to put down and stick to the reading schedule!

 

I was wondering if you would give some insight into the paragraph where Maria is in the prison begging for the wagon and the Blessed Virgin appears to her,  "....her heart bleeding in her hands."....."The Virgin smiled, lifted her heart to her mouth, and swallowed it whole."  I think that I get that Maria is looking for absolution for what she is about to do, for the good of her family, but I just don't get the meaning behind, "The Virgin smiled, lifted her heart to her mouth, and swallowed it whole."  At first I thought that maybe Maria looses her religion, but the family continues to go to church after that incident and Maria encourages Teodore to return to religion. 

 


Dear Barb and ssizemore,
I would love to hear what others think about this image/vision? I think it's wide open for interpretation. :smileyhappy:
sm 

Boy, that was one area I hadn't touched...analyzed!  I wasn't sure of the religious symbolism and implications. 

 

If I were to guess, as Maria has this vision of the Blessed Virgin, I would think she was asking in her mind, as Bab said, absolution for what she was about to do.  The Virgin smiles, giving recognition and acknowledgment to what Maria feels, and sets it right in her heart. The Virgin's heart is bleeding for her....she swallows it as if to say that I see your heart is also bleeding so let me take your pain away.  Other than that, I honestly don't know.

Message Edited by KathyS on 08-18-2009 05:59 PM
Frequent Contributor
patfayo
Posts: 38
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: Questions for Shandi Mitchell? (POSSIBLE SPOILER ALERT)

Now that most people have probably finished this book I think I saw in a different light than this post.  I did not look at it that he was selfish and mean for what he did.  Maybe I choose to believe that he had a deep profound love for his family, which would include his sister and her children.  Upon hearing that he has to return to prison, this he just could not bear the thought of.  I believe he did what he thought was best.  He was not a hateful man but a hard worker who always protected his older sister and loved her no matter what she did.  Even after he was receiving the notices that he could possibly lose his land, he still provided for her when her husband left her again.  After the sister fed the newborn to the wolves, I think he realized that she was capable of anything at this point.  She was suffering from such rejection, pity and self loathing that no one would ever take care of her as he did.  So I choose to believe he was protecting her and her other children.
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marciliogq
Posts: 244
Registered: ‎02-22-2008
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Re: Questions for Shandi Mitchell?

 Hi Shandi,

 

First of all thank you so much for your attention to this club and answering my questions. It was an immense pleasure for me to have these answers and knowing a bit of your writing process. I loved the novel and think it is one of the best I have read for a long time.

I have another question if it is still possible. I realized you used some scenes including a subbtle eroticism. In these scenes the erotic and the nature were intrinsecally connected. For example, the scene of boys and girls in the river, their pubic hair (the scene remembered one of the parts of Leaves of Grass by Heminghway), Theodor and Maria making love in the house (you only quoted her skirt was up), Anna's breasts in the sun. There is a kind of denudement of the characters when faced to nature. How do you explain this relation?