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Inspired Correspondent
EbonyAngel
Posts: 276
Registered: ‎12-22-2006
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Re: Questions for Shandi Mitchell?


KathyS wrote:

EbonyAngel wrote:

Dear Shandi I enjoyed your book and will most likely read it again.  Yes, I am a re-reader.  I find that each time I read a book, I get something new and different from it.

Anyway, my comment/question has to do with Lesya and Petro.  Since this is your own family story, I wonder what happened to them.  Working on my own family genealogy for some 10 yrs. or more I tend to wonder about the lives of those outside my own line of direct  ancestors.


 

EbonyAngel, this is a novel, a work of fiction.

 

Yes, I understand that.  What I was thinking of was the part, "The Story Behind the Book" at the end.   It does say that the novel is fictional.  Maybe I didn't really phrase my question correctly, especially since it doesn't say exactly what was in the newspaper article.  So, even though in my first post, I said "your own family story", maybe I should have said based in part on your own family story.
Inspired Bibliophile
thewanderingjew
Posts: 2,247
Registered: ‎12-18-2007
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Re: Questions for Shandi Mitchell?

Hi,

I am in Cape Cod and, thankfully, the hurricane turned into a non event. I hope that it is not too bad in Nova Scotia. I have been watching some slides, on the computer, of the waves crashing onto the rocks there. A rogue wave threw many people into the water in Acadia National Park, in Maine. (Coincidentally, my son was there the day before! Timing is everything in life and everything is unpredictable.) Several people are still missing.

Stay safe. I admire your writing style so much, even when you answer the questions. You have such a pleasant, down to earth, natural delivery!

twj

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

All is well in Nova Scotia.

Hurricane Bill skirted the coast. Heavy rain and a blustery slap as it tailed away. Only lost power for a few hours and the trees are standing. Thanks for your good wishes. 

I'll be back tomorrow. 

sm 

Moderator
Rachel-K
Posts: 1,495
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Questions for Shandi Mitchell?

So glad to hear it, Shandi!

 


Shandi-Mitchell wrote:

All is well in Nova Scotia.

Hurricane Bill skirted the coast. Heavy rain and a blustery slap as it tailed away. Only lost power for a few hours and the trees are standing. Thanks for your good wishes. 

I'll be back tomorrow. 

sm 


 

Melissa_W
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Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Questions for Shandi Mitchell?

My impression of that scene is that Maria's vision indicates that she must swallow her personal pride and trade not just her crucifix but also her body.  The Virgin gives up her own personal directives once chosen by God to bear Jesus and so Maria also must surrender her personal directive to save her family.


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 

 


 

Melissa W.
I read and knit and dance. Compulsively feel yarn. Consume books. Darn tights. Drink too much caffiene. All that good stuff.
balletbookworm.blogspot.com
Melissa_W
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Maria and Teodor's baby

Shandi,

I'd like to thank you for your work on this novel.  I enjoyed reading it a lot and would love to see what you do for a follow-up.

 

I really only have one question (because I could play "what if..." with the plot all day, and if you did something different with the plot then we would have the moving story we all read):

 

How did you arrive at the decision to name Teodor and Maria's youngest child Maxim?  I had been under the assumption that the baby would be named Teodor as the final child of his parents' marriage and boy was I wrong.  I am also a little surprised that none of the children seem to be named for their parents - is that a Ukranian cultural thing?

Melissa W.
I read and knit and dance. Compulsively feel yarn. Consume books. Darn tights. Drink too much caffiene. All that good stuff.
balletbookworm.blogspot.com
Frequent Contributor
misslynn
Posts: 28
Registered: ‎07-18-2009
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Re: Questions for Shandi Mitchell?

Was Theo raped in prison?  had a feeling he was from the flashbacks he was having and the description you gave.
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babzilla41
Posts: 252
Registered: ‎05-04-2009
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Re: Questions for Shandi Mitchell?


Melissa_W wrote:

My impression of that scene is that Maria's vision indicates that she must swallow her personal pride and trade not just her crucifix but also her body.  The Virgin gives up her own personal directives once chosen by God to bear Jesus and so Maria also must surrender her personal directive to save her family.


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 

 


 


 

Melissa:  Great interpretation!  Thank you.
"I love books. If I could eat them, I would. I love their scent and often put my nose in to inhale their aroma." - Kathleen Grissom
Moderator
dhaupt
Posts: 11,827
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Questions for Shandi Mitchell?

Shandi, so glad you stayed safe, guess all of our crossed fingers, toes and prayers made it to you.

 

Wordsmith
babzilla41
Posts: 252
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Re: Questions for Shandi Mitchell?


misslynn wrote:
Was Theo raped in prison?  had a feeling he was from the flashbacks he was having and the description you gave.

 

I wondered the same thing.  Especially when he spoke about the guard being behind him and feeling him against his back.  Since there was not question about Teo's love for his family, it seems that something had to be pretty bad for him to decide to take his own life rather than go back to prison for a year - in the grand scheme of things a year isn't that much time versus leaving your family forever. 
"I love books. If I could eat them, I would. I love their scent and often put my nose in to inhale their aroma." - Kathleen Grissom
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mv5ocean
Posts: 114
Registered: ‎12-03-2008
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Re: Questions for Shandi Mitchell?


Shandi-Mitchell wrote:

Dear First Look Club,

 

I hope I haven't missed any of your questions. Please let me know tomorrow, as I may not be able to join the board after Saturday for a few days as we are expecting a hurricane in Nova Scotia on Sunday.  Last time we lost power for 14 days. Perhaps it will veer off. Fingers crossed.  

But we are prepared. We even bought a chainsaw yesterday. We have many trees on our property that are seventy to a hundred feet tall. Can you imagine me using a chainsaw? Writer/lumberjack,

shandi 

 


 

Shandi,

Hopefully you will be spared the storm and we will have you in our prayers!

 

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

Re: Questions for Shandi Mitchell?


KathyS wrote:

Oops, I lied. 

I have one more teeny-weeny question, which is pretty easy to answer, I think....and pretty standard.  Do you, or did you, listen to music while writing any part of this story?

 

That's it, I promise....until I think of another question.... :smileyhappy:

 

K.

 


Ha!  Yes this one's easier.

I don’t listen to music when I write. For me, it's like listening to two songs simultaneously. But as I write, I am aware of the musical rhythm within each sceneor chapter. Sometimes, I listen to music before I begin writing and try tocarry its energy into the scene.  And there have been occasions, as I moved toward the end of an emotionalscene, that I find myself humming a specific tune that has the same colour ofmy scene; a crescendo to accompany me through the final beats. Perhaps it serves to test the emotional resonance. Once I complete a scene, I will oftenturn the music up loud and as I listen, play the scene beneath it in my memoryto compare the feel.

 

 

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


Shandi-Mitchell wrote:

KathyS wrote:

Oops, I lied. 

I have one more teeny-weeny question, which is pretty easy to answer, I think....and pretty standard.  Do you, or did you, listen to music while writing any part of this story?

 

That's it, I promise....until I think of another question.... :smileyhappy:

 

K.

 


Ha!  Yes this one's easier.

I don’t listen to music when I write. For me, it's like listening to two songs simultaneously. But as I write, I am aware of the musical rhythm within each scene or chapter. Sometimes, I listen to music before I begin writing and try to carry its energy into the scene.  And there have been occasions, as I moved toward the end of an emotional scene, that I find myself humming a specific tune that has the same colour of my scene; a crescendo to accompany me through the final beats. Perhaps it serves to test the emotional resonance. Once I complete a scene, I will often turn the music up loud and as I listen, play the scene beneath it in my memory to compare the feel.

 


Thank you!  I knew, in one way or another, you had music in your voice!  I could hear and feel it!

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

Re: Maria and Teodor's baby


Melissa_W wrote:

Shandi,

 

How did you arrive at the decision to name Teodor and Maria's youngest child Maxim?  I had been under the assumption that the baby would be named Teodor as the final child of his parents' marriage and boy was I wrong.  I am also a little surprised that none of the children seem to be named for their parents - is that a Ukranian cultural thing?


Hi Melissa
Teodor's name seemed to carry too much pain to give to the new child.  
I'm not sure if it is cultural. In my extended family none of the children are named after parents. I don't believe my aunts and uncles have middle names either.
I think I mentioned earlier that the characters kind of choose their own names. Long after the book was finished, I checked the names' meanings. 
Maria: star of the sea
Teodor: gift of god 
Dania: God is my judge.  
Sofia: Wisdom 
Katya: Pure 
Ivan: God' gift or god is gracious 
Anna: Grace/Mercy 
Lesya: Defender of Man
Petro: rock/stone      
And the root of Mykolayenko: who is like god  
 
 

 

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

Re: Questions for Shandi Mitchell?


misslynn wrote:
Was Theo raped in prison?  had a feeling he was from the flashbacks he was having and the description you gave.
I think he suffered great degradation and violation in prison. And buried those memories deep.
In my research of penitentiary archives, i found it was common practice to  chain convicted criminals in the doorway of the boxcars of trains that took them to prison (often a couple of hundred miles away). The trains would slow down through towns so the prisoners could be pelted with rocks and dung by children. The buried facts of history always shocked me.
sm 

 

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

I want to thank Rkubie and Paul for managing and guiding this amazing forum. The moderator questions have been challenging, thought provoking, and stimulating. They gave us the place to begin. I never would have imagined where we would go together.

sm 

Distinguished Bibliophile
Paul_Hochman
Posts: 2,801
Registered: ‎03-23-2007
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Re: Questions for Shandi Mitchell?

Thank you Shandi for your amazing book and the incredible generosity with your time! This has been a great group and a great discussion, but it all begins with the author and their work. Thanks again!

 


Shandi-Mitchell wrote:

I want to thank Rkubie and Paul for managing and guiding this amazing forum. The moderator questions have been challenging, thought provoking, and stimulating. They gave us the place to begin. I never would have imagined where we would go together.

sm 


 

Wordsmith
literature
Posts: 499
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Questions for Shandi Mitchell?

Hi Shandi,

One last question (I think).  I spoke in some threads about how Anna's baby died.  I feel that Anna purposely suffocated the baby when she was feeding her.  You mention that Maria heard a baby's cries and there's the scene with the coyotes surrounding the baby when she is wrapped up in the rabbit skin on the snow.  (I'm trying to be very delicate here.)  Were you purposely vague with these two scenes?  Is the way the baby died left up to the reader's interpretation?   Could Maria have felt the silent cries from the baby's soul when the coyotes were surrounding her?

Wordsmith
babzilla41
Posts: 252
Registered: ‎05-04-2009
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Re: Maria and Teodor's baby


Shandi-Mitchell wrote:

Melissa_W wrote:

Shandi,

 

How did you arrive at the decision to name Teodor and Maria's youngest child Maxim?  I had been under the assumption that the baby would be named Teodor as the final child of his parents' marriage and boy was I wrong.  I am also a little surprised that none of the children seem to be named for their parents - is that a Ukranian cultural thing?


Hi Melissa
Teodor's name seemed to carry too much pain to give to the new child.  
I'm not sure if it is cultural. In my extended family none of the children are named after parents. I don't believe my aunts and uncles have middle names either.
I think I mentioned earlier that the characters kind of choose their own names. Long after the book was finished, I checked the names' meanings. 
Maria: star of the sea
Teodor: gift of god 
Dania: God is my judge.  
Sofia: Wisdom 
Katya: Pure 
Ivan: God' gift or god is gracious 
Anna: Grace/Mercy 
Lesya: Defender of Man
Petro: rock/stone      
And the root of Mykolayenko: who is like god  

 


 

Ironic that Anna means Grace and Mercy - she certainly never showed her children either of those qualities.
"I love books. If I could eat them, I would. I love their scent and often put my nose in to inhale their aroma." - Kathleen Grissom
Correspondent
m3girl
Posts: 194
Registered: ‎03-02-2007
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Re: Questions for Shandi Mitchell?

Shandi,

 

I just finished reading the book...found some tissue to wipe my eyes and took a deep breath!  Wow!  You wrote a wonderful story and the source - mentioned in the story behind the story is also quite interesting.

 

I have a couple of questions/comments...

1.  Did Stefan wander into the snow planning on walking to town only to be engulfed in the snow storm and die of exposure?  I felt that they might have found his body in the fields before the moved away in April.

 

2.  Petro surely did become his father - and at age seven.  That's really scary when you think of the influence that a parent has on a child at such a young age.  I do hope he walked with a stoop and the weight of the world on his shoulders for the rest of his life.

 

3.  Lesya was one of my favorite characters and I was sad that she wasn't able to go with the family when they left.  Maria did a good job getting her placed but still she was only ten years old and witnessed so much and really needed a family.  That made me very sad! 

 

4.  I admired Maria so much - and now for the second time out on her own with the kids.  I'm happy that Myron is older now and can help out more.  And I loved the last bit with the bag of seeds!!  It made me smile through my tears!!

 

Atta girl - it's a good one!!  Good luck in the bookstores!!  I hope B/N promotes the heck out of it!!

 

Susan