Authors of the Southeast Project
Questions and Answers
The following Questions were submitted by Leesville Road Middle School for Dr. Houston.
James N.: Why did you decide to use family members and local familiar places as the background and characters in your books?
Dr Houston: I only intended to write one book about my family in the setting where they have lived for seven generations. However, my editors wanted more of those and not my other books. Therefore, I did not really decide.
John W.: In the Little Jim series, did your father actually experience what happened to Little Jim?
Dr. Houston: My dad's relationship with Bigjim was very much as portrayed, except that Bigjim NEVER gave a word of approval to his only son. In LITTLEJIM, the horses running away at the train station actually happened. The auty-mobile's visit to the school happened. Violet in the tobabacco patch happened.All of LITTLEJIM'S GIFT is essentially true except the accident and that Bigjim did not come to sit with his son at the program. Many of the events in LITTLEJIM'S DREAMS happened but not to Littlejim.The historical events all happened during that time period. I learned about the stereotypes and the ways in which mountain people had their land,timber and minerals
stolen by outsiders in my research about the culture. However, the
incident about Cousin Harry working as Joe Kennedy's chief distiller of illegal whiskey in Boston is true.
James N.: In Mountain Valor, which events actually happened to Matilda?
Dr. Houston: Matilda followed the renegades into their camp and took her family's livestock from them to bring them back to the farm. The rest is fiction. If I had only asked Arizona or Bigjim what happened, they
could have provided more events for me to use.
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