1. What is the name of your character? Is he/she fictional or an historic person?
Jack Hicks is thirteen-years-old in the beginning of A BIRD ON WATER STREET (fourteen by the end). He's fictional although he has come to feel very real to me! His name is a tribute to The Jack Tales which have been a huge part of my life.
2. When and where is the story set?
A BIRD ON WATER STREET is set in 1986 during the closing of the copper mines in Copperhill, Tennessee (called Coppertown in the book). It is historical fiction and is based on events that actually took place over the course of a decade in the all-too-real denuded landscape (from a century of poor copper mining practices and resulting pollution) in the Copper Basin area (at the intersection of Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina). I compressed the time frame to relay the true impact of what was going on in the area.
3. What should we know about your main character?
Jack's last name is a tribute to Ray Hicks, declared a National Treasure as keeper of the Jack Tales. I heard Ray tell Jack Tales at the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tennessee where he signed a sketch I did of him while he was telling stories. He signed it and it is now one of my dearest treasures. In fact, Jack's Dad's name is Ray Hicks.
You can learn more about the significance of The Jack Tales in my life by following a research trip I did a few years ago.
4. What is the main conflict--what messes up Jack's life?
Jack's dad wants him to follow in the family trade, to be a miner like the men in his family have been for generations. But Jack is in love with nature and wants to return trees and birds to the devastated land. When his uncle is killed in a mine collapse and the mine closes, the miners go on strike. Without the constant pollutantion, nature starts to creep back in. It would seem Jack's dream is coming true, but the cost may be everything he holds dear, as his one-industry town is dying.
5. What is Jack's personal goal?
Jack wants to return the denuded landscape to the lush forest it once was, filled with life. Ultimately, it is a story of hope. Jack does make a difference - as we all can in our little ways.
6. What is the book's title and when will it come out?
Well! That would be A BIRD ON WATER STREET and it is available NOW!!
Since this is indeed a tagging exercise, I'm going to tag author friends Janice Hardy and Kristin Tubb to see if they want to play...
I am happy to give away a free, signed and dedicated copy to one of my followers. Must live in the US or Canada to win - enter below!