I’m excited to share an opportunity I had to interview interview Erika Castiglione, author of The Hopper-Hill Family, a middle-grade book about a girl whose family cares for her three cousins after their parents’ unexpected deaths. If you missed my review of Erika’s heartwarming story, you can check it out here.
A story is often inspired by a question. What question inspired you to write this novel?
Most of my adult life I have lived far from extended family (when my children were preschoolers, we lived in Asia while my parents, siblings, and in-laws lived in the U.S.) and, like many parents, I sometimes wondered what life would be like for my children if something happened to my husband and me.
I think you’re right that many people have thought about things like that. Scary thoughts, but you’ve turned them into a really heart-warming story. What made you choose to write this story from Piper’s point-of-view? (as opposed to her cousins, who are most directly adjusting to the loss and new family)
I don’t think it was a conscious choice when I began writing from Piper’s perspective, but looking back now I think I needed a character who was affected by the tragedy, but from the outside. Cora, Seth, and Sam were still too devastated to be able to piece their story together. I also tend to like stories with peripheral narrators (like Nick Carraway in The Great Gatsby or Scout Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird)
That makes sense. Piper brings a unique view to the story. Also– The Great Gatsby and To Kill a Mockingbird are two of my favorite books. Who is your favorite character in The Hopper-Hill Family? Were there things about your favorite character which couldn’t be included in the novel?
That’s a really hard question to answer. Would it be a cop out to say that I love them all the same? There were definitely things about all of them that couldn’t be included–especially stories from their past and interactions with others outside of the family. I’d like to fill in some of those gaps in a sequel.
Ha! I guess it’s like asking you to choose a favorite child, so maybe it’s not a perfectly fair question. I’m excited to get to learn more. I like the idea of a sequel. What do you most hope that readers take away from The Hopper-Hill Family?
I hope that they will enjoy reading it. I love the way I feel when I read a book that I like and I would love to be able to give others that feeling. I hope it might also cause them to ponder and appreciate the gifts of life and family.
Definitely worthy goals. I think the book definitely communicates the gift and value of family. Is there an up-and-coming author you’re following with interest right now? Can you tell us about an author or novel you think deserves a greater spotlight?
A good deal of my reading time is spent on the classics and I’d love to see a new generation of readers shining a spotlight back on writers like L.M. Montgomery and Louisa May Alcott. As far as more recent books, my twelve-year-old daughter and I really enjoyed the historical fiction novel, Blue by Joyce Moyer Hostetter. I recently made a list of my favorite middle grade fiction books on my blog.
We are BIG fans of L. M. Montgomery in our house. My daughter has been reading the Anne books with me. We will definitely add Joyce Moyer Hostetter to our reading list! Thanks for sharing a link to your list of favorites!
Enter to win a copy of The Hopper-Hill Family by following the instructions below. One winner will receive a paperback copy of the book. US addresses only, please.