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BN Editor
Bill_T
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Questions for Jacquelyn Mitchard

Here's a thread where we can collect our questions about Cage of Stars for the author.
BN Editor
Bill_T
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...and a first question...

One question that I had, Jackie, was about Scott Early's sentencing. I don't know much about how often the insanity defense is used successfully in murder cases. What went into your portrayal of the sentencing and the judge's reasoning? Was it based on any real-world precedents?
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vivico1
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Re: ...and a first question...


Bill_T wrote:
One question that I had, Jackie, was about Scott Early's sentencing. I don't know much about how often the insanity defense is used successfully in murder cases. What went into your portrayal of the sentencing and the judge's reasoning? Was it based on any real-world precedents?


Here's some interesting information on the insanity defense. The Insanity Defense Reform Act of 1984 (U.S.)talking about John Hinckley assassination attempt on President Regan is interesting.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Insanity_defense
I would like to know too, what you may have experienced with this Jackie.
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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JackieM01
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Re: ...and a first question.../real world sentencing

It was based on two cases, one in which the young man got eight years in a mental health (well, that's a misnomer) facility, one in which a young man spent three years in an exceptionally good prison hospital (in a state known for very bad prisons). Both were released and did not commit another offense -- well as of my writing, six and 10 years respectively.
Jackie M.
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JackieM01
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Re: ...and a first question.../insanity

I have no personal experience with it, except through the experiences of friends who have seriously mentally ill relatives, some subjectively deserving of compassion and others not so much. I think that, as schizophrenic and bipolar illness varies so widely in its symptomology from individual to individual, so does the response to treatment and the potential for making it "back" to a semblance of ordinary life.
Jackie M.
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vivico1
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Re: Questions for Jacquelyn Mitchard/ Possible SPOILER

[ Edited ]
Jackie,
I was just wondering about Ronnie's age when she went to California. She definately was a precocious girl to have graduated so early but, man, she was only 16? 17? when she went to California and her parents let her? That is very very liberal for any parents, much less mormon parents. What went into your decision to have her go that young instead of even 18? Did you need her feelings of such a tender age to carry over to the place where things were going to happen? I would think that even at 18 they would still be the same but unless I missread, (when she was going back and for about her age to people lol) wow thats really young to be out on your own, especially not even in your own home town. TYIA Vivian (I say this having been a kid who was living on her own during her last year of high school and from then on too by the way lol)

Message Edited by vivico1 on 04-06-200701:41 PM

Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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Wrighty
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Re: Questions for Jacquelyn Mitchard/ Possible SPOILER


vivico1 wrote:
Jackie,
I was just wondering about Ronnie's age when she went to California. She definately was a precocious girl to have graduated so early but, man, she was only 16? 17? when she went to California and her parents let her? That is very very liberal for any parents, much less mormon parents. What went into your decision to have her go that young instead of even 18? Did you need her feelings of such a tender age to carry over to the place where things were going to happen? I would think that even at 18 they would still be the same but unless I missread, (when she was going back and for about her age to people lol) wow thats really young to be out on your own, especially not even in your own home town. TYIA Vivian (I say this having been a kid who was living on her own during her last year of high school and from then on too by the way lol)

Message Edited by vivico1 on 04-06-200701:41 PM






I thought about her age as well. She was very mature and with all she had been through and then practically raising herself and her little brother for two years she proved herself capable. You did make it believable. I can't picture my own teenagers being alone in CA though. :smileytongue:
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lepking
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Re: Questions for Jacquelyn Mitchard

I thought singing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" was great. Are you keeping that in the paperback changes? What is the process in getting paperbacks on the shelves in WalMart, Target, etc? Will the cover be the same? Lepking
lepking
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Re: Questions for Jacquelyn Mitchard/ songs and dresses and sealings, oh my

[ Edited ]

lepking wrote:
I thought singing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" was great. Are you keeping that in the paperback changes? What is the process in getting paperbacks on the shelves in WalMart, Target, etc? Will the cover be the same? Lepking


Ok, since you brought it up lepking lol (I was waiting for someone to get to that point in the book or start a thread on it :smileywink: ), now I will say something about it that I am sure you will agree with. Singing Somewhere Over the Rainbow at their funeral was a great touch I thought AND there is nothing in the Mormon religion that would prohibit it or have people gasping at it. Yes we do like hymns at funerals but often, there may be a special song that the deceased liked or family member does, that will be played or sung. Now something like.. Looking For Love in All the Wrong Places, lol, or something with bad words in it, no. But Somewhere over the Rainbow would be perfectly acceptable and should be kept in the book, but maybe not the remark that this just wasnt something Mormon's would do.

Along those lines of what will or won't be in the next printing. I just wanted to mention a couple of things that people reading this book may wonder about and since they are more about the Mormon faith in general than something that would spoil the book at any point, I might as well put them here too. Thumbs up Jackie :smileyhappy:

When Ronnie is talking about getting married and upset that women don't get to wear a wedding dress, but instead something like a jumpsuit with a skirt and only take pictures in a wedding dress, thats totally wrong. She is talking about being "married" in the temple here or as we call it, a temple wedding or "sealing". Sealing is because our marriages that are done in a temple are for "time and eternity", if the couple life the covenants of God to be able to abide with him together in heaven. Ours do not say "till death do us part", unless just done in the church or any other setting outside the temple. Ronnie is talking about a temple wedding and you DO get to wear a wedding dress there. I had the honor of attending a very dear friend of mine's temple wedding about 4 years ago and she and I and a couple of others looked high and low for the perfect wedding dress, as we all want lol. In the temple, because it had very short sleeves tho, all she had to do was wear a very pretty thing over her shoulders that had long lacy sleeves for the ceremony and had the dress she picked out been one that already had longer sleeves, that would have worked too. But it was a store bought wedding dress I assure you, no jumpsuit with a skirt. ewwww lol. Oh and by the way... its not nearly 3 hours long at all! Not even close lol.

The other thing and Jackie, if you read this, I think you put it in to try to show the faith and bonds of the family and the father and its one way to bring it up but its incorrect also. When he is trying to talk to his wife, when they are arguing, he starts to say, he did at least go have their son sealed to them. Also at one point he had told Ronnie that had the girls died a little older (I think thats what it was, correct me if I am wrong), he would have loved for her to be baptized for them in the temple (I can't remember what chapter that is in to check darn it). I think you were trying to point out how important family is to the whole Mormon faith by talking about how we can be sealed together as a family in the temple for time and eternity and I love that you bring that out but here's the problem. I am assuming since Papa can go to the temple, he is an active member and he and his wife did marry (were sealed) in the temple. If thats true, any children, including Ronnie and her sisters and the new baby boy, are considered "born in the covenant", meaning under that time and eternity marriage vow and covenant with God and do not have to be sealed to their parents then again. They all are already. If a married couple joins the church and at some point are sealed in the temple to each other, then any children they had together before that time, they would take with them to the temple, that they could all be seal together as one family unit, forever. An awesome thing. I have another friend who, she and her husband did that with their three kids after they were sealed as husband and wife and her son is autistic. He was only like 6 years old and really had a hard time with new things, different things or being still and they did worry about him. It was the most wonderful thing tho, he felt right at home in the temple. He wasn't noisy at all, he was very reverant. He was not afraid of this new building he had not been in before. He bowed his head for the prayers and even told his mom, "mommy , you are BEAUTIFUL!" (again, so much for the jumpsuit with a skirt thing lol). There was a humorous note here tho, after all he was 6. He saw his dad come out all dressed in a white suit with a white tie and said to him... dad, you look like the pillsbury doughboy! LOL! His whole spirit was so calm in there that it made you cry to see him and all his family kneeling around an altar together because the wanted to covenant with God to do those things to be able to keep together as a family forever. I wish sooo much I had a family to experience that with but all in time :smileywink:

Like I said earlier on, none of these things that need correcting offended me in any way shape or form. I loved that Jackie tried to work those aspects in. There are other ways to work in the idea of the girls and the baby being sealed with the parents to get that idea of what family truly is in the faith. I hope Jackie does leave those concepts in with corrections. And leaves in the song too. Jackie has actually done a wonderful job at showing some aspects that would affect Ronnie's life as a Mormon, but also as a TEENAGE Mormon, cause heaven knows, ALL teenagers have questions and some humorous ideas about things. I love that that side of Ronnie shows too. Thumbs up Jackie :smileyhappy:

Message Edited by vivico1 on 04-07-200711:04 PM

Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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Re: ...and a first question.../real world

The classic "insanity defense,' based on ancient Scots law would have acquitted Scott Early -- not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect.
He didn't meet that test.
He did know right from wrong but because of his disease was unable to control his actions. So he was sentenced, to a treatment center for the "medically" criminally insane.. that is, people who CAN benefit from treatment. This is as opposed to, for example, Richard Speck, who obviously has a biologically based mental illness (one more X chromosome and he would have been a cricket) but cannot be "treated" with medications, as Scott Early was, for schizophrenic illness.
Some judges now are actively trying to work with drug therapies for mentally ill criminals, who otherwise simply are dead weight on society but who must not or should not be executed for their serious crimes -- one test of the flawed capital punishment statutes is that a condemned person must understand the crime and punishment.
Bipolar illness can be treated. Some forms of acute depression can be treated. Some forms of schizophrenic illness can be treated. Other kinds of mental illness, such as pedophilia, don't respond to the most Draconian therapies. They are not just genetically transmitted, but personality based.
Most schizophrenics respond to medication by being very flattened in their human responses, although their auditory hallucinations and psychotic episodes are stopped. SOME respond with only a slightly flatted personality and most of their original faculties intact. For example, though Scott clearly could not be trust to be a pharmacist, he was able to live and work at the library. He had to have therapy and medication and a life relatively free of stress.
As for his emotional response to the last events of the book, I think that was not all all connected to his illness: It was a purely human response of anguish and guilt for something he had done that he knew could never be revoked.
Jackie M.
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Re: Questions for Jacquelyn Mitchard/ CALIFORNIA

It is not giving anything away to say that yes, Ronnie was barely 17 when she went alone to California.
A pattern for the Swans was giving Ronnie a great deal of responsibility (too much?) and free agency. They assumed, as so many adults with gifted children do, that her emotional capacity matched her intellectual capacity. Clearly, this was an error of judgment they might not have made in real life, or in other circumstances. Having lost two children, they would probably have been even more protective of Ronnie -- except for the fact (never quite stated) that Ronnie's father believed deeply that the deaths of Ruthie and Becky should not cripple Ronnie's future.
Also, they believed that her need to be away from Utah was very real. If there was one thread in Ronnie's personality, it was practicality. She did was she needed to do and what was expected of her. HOWEVER, if they had known exactly where she was going (remember, she posted her letters from San Diego proper; and that's a big place) they might have stopped her.
Jackie M.
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JackieM01
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Re: Questions for Jacquelyn Mitchard/In Keeping

That is entirely in keeping with a Mormon funeral. What I removed was my own mistaken belief that secular music would be inappropriate -- as it is, for example, at a funeral in my own church. Secular songs, such as the ones Claire sang for Ruthie and Becky, are entirely appropriate at a Mormon funeral.
And 'CAGE of STARS' will be a large form paperback sold in bookstores such as (HEY!) Barnes and Noble, as well as Target and other chains, not a mass-market (little sized) paperback. From now on, all my hardcover novels will be published the following year in what is called "trade" (large form though not large print) paperback.

Jackie M.
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lepking
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Re: Questions for Jacquelyn Mitchard/In Keeping

I am so glad to find out the difference in Mass Market and Trade. When I read that in the newspaper I never knew what it meant. What is the release date? I need to get a couple for gifts. lepking
lepking
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Wrighty
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Re: Questions for Jacquelyn Mitchard/In Keeping


lepking wrote:
I am so glad to find out the difference in Mass Market and Trade. When I read that in the newspaper I never knew what it meant. What is the release date? I need to get a couple for gifts. lepking




I never knew the difference either. Why are there two ways to do it?
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LetitiaP
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Re: Questions for Jacquelyn Mitchard

[ Edited ]
Hi Jackie:

First, thank you so much for coming online to talk to the Book Club! How exciting it is to have you with us.

My question for you relates to movie adaptations of your books -- I'm wondering if you were involved behind the scenes during the making of The Deep End of the Ocean? What kind of experience that was for you?

Also, any upcoming adaptations in the works that you can tell us about? I for one think Cage of Stars would make an excellent film. Do you see it?

Thanks very much in advance for your reply --

LetitiaP

Message Edited by LetitiaP on 04-09-200710:18 AM

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kiakar
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Re: Questions for Jacquelyn Mitchard/In Keeping



Wrighty wrote:

lepking wrote:
I am so glad to find out the difference in Mass Market and Trade. When I read that in the newspaper I never knew what it meant. What is the release date? I need to get a couple for gifts. lepking




I never knew the difference either. Why are there two ways to do it?




I am no expert at this but probably due to costs. The short paper back probably cost less to manufacture than the long paper back. you know, I like the long paper backs better. They are really almost as good as hardbacks. They need a new name, something nicer sounding or something. I would want all my books in this cover if I had a perfect library!
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Bill_T
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Paperbacks Big and Little

Hey everyone: I wrote a reply to the whole paperback-format question, but moved it to a new thread.

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vivico1
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Re: Questions for Jacquelyn Mitchard/ picky mormons, from a mormon

Jackie,
I just read some stuff on your own website and some of the comments on this book. Seems a lot of Mormons are reading it and DANG GIRL lol, you were certainly getting hit with "how incorrect" you were about some things and why didnt you do your research better, by some Mormons lol. Listen, I am a mormon and a couple of us talking in here are I know and yeah I pointed out what i saw was not right too but not to diss you but in case someone reading was wondering. You did a fantastic job of the mormon aspect of this. So some things were a bit off, the flavor of our religion and the faith and things, i was proud of how you presented them and have been talking this book up to many of my mormon friends. It seemed like you were apologizing a lot on your site and I am sorry about that. I now know why you sounded a bit frazzled when I mentioned some things were wrong. But i didnt want to get into them till they came up in topics, so not to ruin the overall mood of the book. Jackie, I am honored that you chose for Ronnie to be mormon in your story and even with a few mix ups, you portrayed the life in a very positive good light and it has been wonderful reading a good good novel, with a Mormon in it! Sometimes I think we get left out as main characters because of those people who are going to get a hair up.... over the littler things. May I say too that they are not showing what they are taught about compassion and charity to rag on you so when you have said nothing negative or even tried to. Some people, in any religion i guess, get their little judgemental pen out when they read about what nonmembers say about them. And some i read talking to you NEED A SENSE OF HUMOR!!! Thank heavens you gave Ronnie a sense of humor, even about her own religion, because most of us do have one you know lol. The jello salad thing, oh man that cracked me up, cause its TRUE! One person on your site said her mother said to read this and find all the incorrect things about mormonism in it. WHAT THE HECK??? now why read a book at all with that intent? I hope you have had enough positive feedback to know, we love your story, its a great story. And for the girl who said, there is no temple in Cedar City get your facts right lol, WHO CARES about what town you put there??? This is not a geography lesson. I am laughing a bit here Jackie cause i feel like darn, poor woman, did a great job at a novel and about mormonism and gets bashed but some who if while they were looking for the mote in your book, would really have found the beam in their own hearts. As for me, and those I have talked to about this book, I thank you. And as I posted in another place, where you said you hope the president of deseret book liked it better or something like that, I said there too, she had to and not just her, because it is on desertbook now for sale in THIS edition, here look:
http://deseretbook.com/store/search?search=cage+of+stars&x=33&y=7
Please keep this book going, changes or not. Its good! and as one person on your site also said, they had misconceptions about mormons that after reading this and Ronnie and some laughing about some of them, the reader said, those were misconceptions they had too and now have a new better understanding and feelings about mormons, enough to check it out themself. Thats cool. I had to put this here after reading your site. I dont want to get too stuck on all this either here, and just talk about how it affected Ronnie's choices and things but after reading about your 11th apology LOL, I had to say, hang in there woman... ya dun good! :smileywink: Vivian
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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Wrighty
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Re: Questions for Jacquelyn Mitchard/ picky mormons, from a mormon

Jackie,

I was also impressed with your book and learned so much from it. I just had so little information and had never thought much about it so it was nice to learn something new. I loved the story and recommend it to everyone.

I was one of the people that Vivico spoke of who had misconceptions about Mormons before I read this and before I had questions answered by Viv. I'm so glad she spoke favorably of it as well. The errors seemed so minimal and it was the heart of the story that was important.

"May I say too that they are not showing what they are taught about compassion and charity to rag on you so when you have said nothing negative or even tried to. Some people, in any religion i guess, get their little judgemental pen out when they read about what nonmembers say about them. And some i read talking to you NEED A SENSE OF HUMOR!!!"

Excellent points.
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JackieM01
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Re: Questions for Jacquelyn Mitchard/In Keeping/TRADE paperbacks

Trade paperbacks are larger and more "classy" than mass market. They have a nicer design and are printed on better paper. They're altogether a better-looking book.
Jackie M.
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