The Little Giant of Aberdeen County discussion

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message 1: by Tiffany (new)

Tiffany Baker | 32 comments Mod
Hi Everyone. Welcome to the discussion group for The Little Giant of Aberdeen County. I'll be checking in for the next two weeks to answer any and all questions you may have about the novel, about my writing process, or life in general. Stop by and yell hello!

message 2: by Geri (new)

Geri (Novasea) | 7 comments Hi Tiffany. It is great to meet you and wonderful that you will be available for discussion and to answer questions. I enjoyed the book tremendously.

message 3: by Geri (new)

Geri (Novasea) | 7 comments Some folks who read the book stated that they felt sorry for Truly. I didn't feel sorry for her at all. I saw an uncommon strength and wisdom in Truly. Did you intend for Truly to be seen that way. It seemed to me that she had such a quiet wisdom from the very beginning of the book.

message 4: by Tiffany (new)

Tiffany Baker | 32 comments Mod
Hi Geri. Thanks for stopping by. That's a good question about Truly. I didn't want people to pity Truly because she doesn't pity herself. I wanted people to be sympathetic to her, certainly, and maybe even feel free not to always like her. After all, she isn't always "nice." I wanted her to be a character that challenges people's assumptions about who and what an "outsider" is.

message 5: by Geri (new)

Geri (Novasea) | 7 comments That's exactly what I thought. It is what I wrote in my review. Although folks DID make assumptions about Truly...she seemed to know exactly who she was. Truly wasn't always nice..but who is? And I am glad that you didn't present her as always being nice. I saw Truly as an outsider..somewhat. But she was actually a part of the community. In my opinion. Would you read my review? It explains how I feel about truly better than I can here.

message 7: by Geri (new)

Geri (Novasea) | 7 comments I meant to say..would you mind reading my review,please.

message 8: by Geri (new)

Geri (Novasea) | 7 comments I felt very stronly about Truly. She is one of the strongest characters I have come across in a long time. If I felt sorry for was Serena Jane. She was set up to be a princess by her fact by the whole community and when you are placed so high up on a pedestal there is only one way to go..and that is down. But did she really go down? I don't think so..not in the end. But was she truly happy? I don't think so. I am am telling you all my thoughts and not asking any questions.

message 9: by Marilu (new)

Marilu HI Tiffany. I have not read the book yet. I am waiting for it to arrive in the mail. At this point one question I would like to ask is your date of birth? Of course you don't need to include the year, or even the actually day, but I would love to know what month you are born in. I am participating in a reading challenge in which I am required to read a different author born in each of the twelve months. I would love to include you in this.

message 10: by Tiffany (new)

Tiffany Baker | 32 comments Mod
Hi Marilu. To answer your question, I was a May baby. Hope you enjoy the book!

message 11: by Tiffany (new)

Tiffany Baker | 32 comments Mod
Geri, thanks for writing a nice review of the book. I like the point you make about Truly not being a victim of glossy magazines. That was certainly the case with Serena Jane. I guess you could say Truly is an extreme example of what happens when we're alienated from our own bodies, when our insides and our outsides don't match.

message 12: by Geri (new)

Geri (Novasea) | 7 comments Thank you for reading the review. I was so impacted by the book. I think that Marcus saw the person Truly was on the inside. Now that I think of it I wonder if Truly saw what was inside Marcus? She took such a long time to accept his love. Maybe she was afraid..or maybe she thought no one could love her. You know, Tiffany, this is a book which could be read over and over for everything to be discovered. Did you make Truly's differences so extreme in order to get your point across more vividly? I wonder how many people's insides actually match their outsides? Marcus' outside didn't match his inside. Maybe Serena Jane's didn't either. It must have been quite a shock to her..when her mother died. Her mother was the one who made her a "princess" and there was no one to do that after her mother was gone.

Are you a Serena Jane...or a Truly? I am a Truly.

message 13: by Tiffany (new)

Tiffany Baker | 32 comments Mod
Hi Geri, That's an interesting question. No one's asked if I'm a Truly or a Serena. I would say neither. But, as the author, I'm guess you could also say I'm a little of everything in the book. But it's not a one-to-one correspondance.

message 14: by Sari (new)

Sari (sariewing) | 1 comments hi
loved the book, the visuals were marvelous and i especially like that truly was "one" with the horses. thanks

message 15: by korey (new)

korey | 1 comments Loved your book! Are you working on something new and if yes, can you tell us a little about what to expect?

message 16: by Kate (new)

Kate | 2 comments I LOVED your book! I am did you come up with the idea for this novel and, more specifically, Truly's "ailment?"

message 17: by Nancy (new)

Nancy (Nancyjeanne) | 4 comments I am so excited to be able to communicate with the author of this great book. I loved this book and recommend it to everyone. I wondered how you came up with the names of your characters.

message 18: by Tara (new)

Tara | 1 comments HI,Tiffany-your book was a wonderful read. I'm wondering,were you inspired by any other books and/or films in coming up with story ideas? If someone were to ask me what other book would go along well with Little Giant,I'd chose The Giant's House by Elizabeth McCracken. Both books have similar themes of coping with outer appearances that don't fit into society's notions of the norm,emotionally distant people finding love and small town life.

message 19: by Susan (new)

Susan (Nutz4Books) How great to have you on goodreads, answering our questions -- thank you.

I absolutely love The Little Giant of Aberdeen County. I can be stingy with my stars, and I gave this book five long before I thought you might be on goodreads. Truly is an exceptionally memorable main character.

I did wonder when I was reading why you wrote it in the first person but Truly knew about what others were thinking and doing when she wasn't there. Is there a specific reason for that, or did it just seem right for the story?

I also wonder about your writing habits. Do you have a general idea of how the book is going to end when you begin, or does it resolve as you write it? And do you write at a specific time each day or does your schedule have to be more flexible?

message 20: by Robin (new)

Robin | 3 comments Hello Tiffany~I loved your book. Such rich and well developed characters set in an amazingly unique story.
I still think of the charactes from time to time and this in my opinion points to a wonderful book. What lead you to begin writing a book and how did you accomplish this feat being a mother of small children?

message 21: by Kathy (new)

Kathy (marianslibrary) | 3 comments Hi Tiffany,
What a fascinating story you wrote! I usually read a book fairly quickly, but yours I savored and took my time as the tale and the characters evolved. I did feel sorry for Truly from time to time but I agree with what others have said - she was a strong person - much more so than her sister. What are you working on next? Who are some authors who inspired you?

message 22: by Tiffany (new)

Tiffany Baker | 32 comments Mod
Thanks, Sari. There's just something about horses that I love. I have one in my next book, as well....

message 23: by Tiffany (new)

Tiffany Baker | 32 comments Mod
Hi Korey. My next novel is about two sisters on a salt farm on Cape Cod who have a romantic history with the same man. The older sister stays on the salt marsh and the younger one marries the man. But when she finds him having an affair with a teenager, she returns to her estranged sister and the land she left, with the pregnant mistress in tow. It's juicy!

message 24: by Tiffany (new)

Tiffany Baker | 32 comments Mod
Kate, thanks for stopping by. I knew I wanted to write about an outcast woman in a small town, but when I got Truly's voice in my head, it was a BIG voice. So then I thought, "What if she's so big that no one wants to look at her? What if she's so big she's almost invisible?" And I just kind of went from there.

message 25: by Tiffany (new)

Tiffany Baker | 32 comments Mod
Hi Nancy. Coming up with the names of characters is one of my favorite parts of writing. I don't always know how I come up with them. Sometimes they just come to me, as in the case of Truly. Other times, I change names until they seem right for the character. I love old Puritan names and slightly off-beat names, as well as old-fashioned names, though.

message 26: by Tiffany (new)

Tiffany Baker | 32 comments Mod
Hey Tara. I love The Giant's House, as well. Elizabeth McCracken is a fine, fine writer. I wasn't that inspired by films, more by other writers that I love, and, of course, fairy tales.

message 27: by Tiffany (new)

Tiffany Baker | 32 comments Mod
Susan, thank you for all the stars! Let's see, why did I write in the first person? Well, it was really Truly's story, so I thought I should use her voice. Also, I like the contrast of the reader being almost inside Truly's head when no one in town really even sees her. As for her omniscience, you could just say that everything about Truly is big--even her voice. She takes over the whole narrative, and becomes omniscient. Another book that has this kind of omniscient, first-person narrator is Middlesex. I wouldn't use it again, but I think it worked okay in this instance.

message 28: by Tiffany (new)

Tiffany Baker | 32 comments Mod
Okay, about my writing habits. I try to be disciplined, but it's hard. I have three kids seven and under, so that makes things nuts sometimes. Someone always needs to go to the doctor or dentist, there are soccer and basketball practices, and it seems like I'm always throwing birthday parties or going to them! That being said, I do try to be disciplined, writing during the day, like it's a job. Especially when it's time to do revisions or rewrite a draft. Ultimately, you have to meet a deadline, so you do have to be kind of organized about putting in the hours. So if I've had a crazy day with the kids, sometimes I have to work at night, which isn't my favorite, but I'll do it. I don't know what it is about writing at night, but it freaks me out for some reason. I like the comfort of daylight I suppose.

message 29: by Tiffany (new)

Tiffany Baker | 32 comments Mod
Hi Robin. Your comment kind of relates to Robin's. I always wrote, but I started this novel after I had my first baby. I'm sure any of you with kids out there knows what a loop motherhood can throw you for. It totally changes your identity. Writing was a way for me to hold onto the old person I was, and also to escape for a little while from my screaming, colicky baby (yes, she cried for four entire months without ceasing). I have a babysitter now, but for a while I would just write when the kids were sleeping or on the weekends. Looking back now, even I'm unclear on how I did it, I was so sleep-deprived! Still am! But I think it's so important for mothers to hold onto some part of their own passions if they can, whether they work or not. I feel completely blessed to be able to work at a thing that I love.

message 30: by Tiffany (new)

Tiffany Baker | 32 comments Mod
Kathy, thanks for your comment. My next book is about three women on a salt farm who all have a history with the same man. Two of them are sisters, and one is the pregnant teenaged mistress. As I said earlier, it's juicy! In terms of who I'm inspired by, I totally cop to being the biggest John Irving fan, ever. I started reading his books when I was a teenager, and haven't stopped. My favorite book, however, since the age of nine, has been Jane Eyre. Is there any more satisfying line than "Reader, I married him?" No! There's not! I love Victorian novels for their scope and character development. Those books are so human in a way that a lot of contemporary literature doesn't seem to be.

message 31: by Kate (new)

Kate | 2 comments I am a huge John Irving fan as well! Do you have a favorite of his books?

Also, is that how you start your stories - do you get a character's voice in your head and go from there?

message 32: by Susan (new)

Susan (Nutz4Books) Thank you for your thoughtful answers to all of us. I'm sure I'm not the only one here who is grateful that you've taken on the task of writing while raising your kid, cdertainly not an easy thing. I'm looking forward to reading your next book.

I can't imagine Truly's story written other than in the first person. As for her omniscience, I think it does add to the story, adds to her largeness although I hadn't thought of it that way until you pointed it out.

I loved Middlesex and am an Irving fan, too. One of my all-time favorites is A Prayer for Owen Meany. And Jane Eyre, of course, how can you not love it!

message 33: by Kathy (new)

Kathy (marianslibrary) | 3 comments Tiffany wrote: "Kathy, thanks for your comment. My next book is about three women on a salt farm who all have a history with the same man. Two of them are sisters, and one is the pregnant teenaged mistress. As I s..."

Your new book sounds intriguing! Is there a release date yet? I also am a John Irving fan with, The World According to Garp, as my favorite.
Pride and Prejudice is my favorite from that time period. In fact, I love the quote from the book:"I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than a book!" I have it posted at my Goodreads site as well on my new blog site:
Thanks for your comments Tiffany!

message 34: by Nancy (new)

Nancy | 1 comments Loved the book! Is there any talk of a movie being made? Who would you like to see play Truly, Serena Jane and Robert Morgan? Also why does Truly refer to Robert Morgan by his full name - just to get on his nerves? :)

message 35: by Kylee (new)

Kylee | 1 comments First off I'd like to say that I enjoyed this book so much that I also bought the audio version to put on my ipod. The woman you got the read the story was perfect... her voice was as I imagined Truly would sound. Have you thought of writing a prequel or sequel to this story??? I'd love to get to know more about Truly's mom... and of course I'd love to know more about what happened after Truly's wedding or the opening of the resturant... Also. there seemed to be a lot of "morals" to your It's what's on the inside, lies eventually catch up, even those who seem perfect have flaws, there's someone for everyone... was this your intention when writing about Truly and those around her? Either way, I think you did a wonderful job with it.

I know for a fact that it's not easy being the largest person in a situation... and I am very pleased with how you presented the treatment of Truly and how you "truly" give the readers a sense of how sad and sometimes hurtful it can be. Thank you:)

message 36: by Roz (last edited Jan 27, 2010 05:44PM) (new)

Roz | 1 comments I simply devoured this book! Lately, it seems, I'm reading about characters with "ailments" (as it was stated before)... Time Traveler's Wife and The Unnamed, and wonder how authors dream up this stuff! Fascinating!

message 37: by Janet (last edited Jan 27, 2010 08:26PM) (new)

Janet (Janet50) | 2 comments I loved this book! It was totally original and kept my attention from the first page to the last. I can't wait for your next book.

I have a few questions about your writing process~ do you outline before you start writing? Do you write character sketches? And did you know how the book was going to end before you started writing it?

Jane Eyre is one of my all-time favorites, too. We had to read it in sixth grade, and I wasn't a fan at first, but it really got under my skin. I've read it every few years since then.

message 38: by Tiffany (new)

Tiffany Baker | 32 comments Mod
Kate, to answer your question about which is my favorite John Iriving book, I can never choose between The Cider House Rules or Owen Meany. I mean, I love many other of his novels, but those two just stick in my heart.

message 39: by Tiffany (new)

Tiffany Baker | 32 comments Mod
Kathy, my second book should be out this time next year. I'm finishing up some last-minute edits on it now, and we're starting the catalog copy and cover design, so it really is happening! And that's a wonderful quite from Pride and Prejudice....

message 40: by Tiffany (new)

Tiffany Baker | 32 comments Mod
Hey, Nancy. I don't know if there will ever be a film made of this book. If so, I think they would have to adjust the story a little bit to a tighter time frame. And I don't know who would be a good Truly. Maybe someone the world hasn't seen yet. Oh, and why does Truly call Robert Morgan by his full name? I guess it's because he goes from being Bob Bob in her mind to this alien person. It's almost like he's assumed an identity, and I wanted her to keep that formality. It's also a way for her to distance herself from him.

message 41: by Tiffany (new)

Tiffany Baker | 32 comments Mod
Kylee, thanks for stopping by. I feel like I really lucked out on the audio version--Blackstone found the perfect reader for Truly. As for the "morals" of the story, that's sort of in keeping with fairy tales, which Little Giant is, in part. One of the truths I kind of wanted to get at is that Truly is different on the outside, where we can see it, but that EVERYONE, even the prettiest swans among us, feels like that on the inside at one time or another. Some people just hide it better. I think it's always better to be honest about that, and to treat everyone kindly.

message 42: by Tiffany (new)

Tiffany Baker | 32 comments Mod
About sequels and prequels: it's tempting, and I can't say I'd never do it, but I'm just finishing a second book now with characters that are just as compelling as the ones from Aberdeen, and I have a third book I'd like to start on next, so it might be a while! If I ever did do a prequel, I'd love to explore Tabitha more, as well as the history of the Dyerson's farm.

message 43: by Tiffany (new)

Tiffany Baker | 32 comments Mod
Roz, my mom wonders the same thing! Writing is, for me, a game of "what if." What if there was a woman in a small town, but she was so big no one wanted to look at her? And what if her sister was just the opposite? What if Truly was a victim, but then discovered something that gave her power over those who'd hurt her? See? It's fun!

message 44: by Tiffany (new)

Tiffany Baker | 32 comments Mod
Janet, I confess, I'm a serial re-reader of Jane Eyre, too. I usually know the whole arc of a story before I start writing it. So I know the beginning, all the main characters, and the ending. But getting from point A to point B can be tricky, and that's where things can take unexpected turns. I'm terrible at outlining, much to my agent's and editor's despair. I mean, I TRY to have a general road map, but I find that if I stick to it too rigorously, the magic dies and I end up feeling like I'm writing an instruction manual or something. The balance between outline and creation is definitely something I'm still seeking. For now, I just write many, many drafts!

message 45: by literanista (new)

literanista | 1 comments I just wanted to let you all know that I had the opportunity to interview Tiffany live yesterday and she spoke and covered many of these questions. Feel free to take a listen here:

message 46: by Kimberly (new)

Kimberly (PrincessPeanutsMommy) | 1 comments Tiffany wrote: "I always wrote, but I started this novel after I had my first baby."
Hello Tiffany!
I suggested this book to our book club--we read and discussed it this past Fall--it was a favorite of everyone in our club. I'm curious how you came to being an author--did you always want to be a writer, did you take classes or creative writing workshops or just dabble in it on your own? I'm interested in how someone can develop a novel and what you did before Little Giant was published. Kudos to you for being a mom while writing--I only have one daughter and couldn't think of being that disciplined, organized or coherent!

message 47: by Tiffany (new)

Tiffany Baker | 32 comments Mod
Hey Kimberly. Thanks for the kudos, but I'm not that organized, don't worry! If you could see the chaos of my house and my sad failure at many domestic things (except for cooking), you'd probably feel much much better! To answer your questions, I always wanted to be a writer--after I got over wanting to be a ballerina. I wrote during high school, majored in English and creative writing in college, and got an MFA in writing from UC Irvine, as well as a PhD in Victorian literature. Somewhere along the way, I suppose the idea of being a writer started seeming kind of silly, so I focused more on academics and taught for a while at the college level, but after I got married and had a child, I found myself living in England (my husband is English), alone and away from my family, and I just naturally found myself turning back to writing as a way to keep hold of myself. In terms of developing a novel, well, there's no secret. You just have to write it, as Anne Lamott said, bird by bird, page by page. I would say you also have to take yourself seriously. You have to give yourself the time to do it, which, for women, can be really hard, I know. But I wrote Little Giant all on my own, and I still work that way. My friends are all other moms. I don't know any famous writers or anything! I think anyone can write a book. They just have to really go at it. The publishing stuff is all a crapshoot, however--even AFTER you're published! I do it for the joy of it.

message 48: by Nancy (last edited Jan 28, 2010 08:15PM) (new)

Nancy (Nancyjeanne) | 4 comments Tiffany - You are an inspiration to all of us who have ever entertained thoughts of writing a book ourselves. I love that you say that you have to take yourself seriously. My mother always wanted me to write children's books and I always thought that was so silly and never considered it seriously. I really admire you that you can be a mom and find time to write. I also wondered about how you came up with the idea of the quilt that had a message in it and the herbs. Are you interested in naturopathy? Again, thanks for taking time from your busy life to answer our questions. Looking forward to reading your next book when it comes out.

message 49: by Aliciaq (new)

Aliciaq | 1 comments Hi, I just wanted to say that I think that the audio CD of this book was very good. The person reading it was great. I listen to many a book this way on my somewhat long commute to work and the person reading it can make or break the whole experience. It was one of those books I hated to "hear" ending! Thanks and I look forward to your future endeavors.

message 50: by Chris (new)

Chris Desmottes | 1 comments I just wanted to let you know that I LOVED your book. I chose it for the unusual cover and thoroughly enjoyed it!!! Do you have another book coming out anytime soon?

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