Saturday, January 26, 2013
Please Welcome Birdie Alexander
This is a reprint of the first interview we did with Birdie 11-20-2011. I see that some of Birdie's statements did make it to the edits of the final version of Dreaming of a Father's Love which published 12-26-2013.
So without further introduction let the interview roll:
Today’s visitor is one of the characters from Sharon A. Lavy’s first novel Dreaming Of A Father's Love.
After Sharon first gave her permission, and asked her character, Roberta Mona Alexander has agreed to let us interview her today.
Roberta: Oh, please. Everyone calls me Birdie.
Q: Why is that?
Birdie: It’s all I remember anyone calling me. Except for Mom, of course. She named me Roberta and likes it.
Q: You don’t like your name?
Birdie: It sounds like a boys name. A stuffy boy’s name at that. [She flinches, then sits taller in her chair.] Wow! Maybe Dad would have paid more attention to me if I’d insisted on using my given name. I never once thought of it.
Q: Is that what the story’s about? Your relationship with your father?
Birdie: I’ve always been “Daddies Girl.” Working with him is what I’ve always wanted.
Q: And I understand you do work in your father’s business. What is it?
Birdie: Alexander’s Nursery and Greenhouse. But he won’t give me any say in the big things.
Q: What big things do you want to take part in?
Birdie: My twin brothers and I grew up working in the business. I actually started working in the seventh grade. Nathan. Well, he’s a genius with creating and making things work. And Jason, he’d rather be a carpenter, but Dad insists he go to college for a business degree and take over the business.
Q: Does this cause problems between you and the twins?
Birdie: Let’s just say it causes some discussions.
Q: I’m sure it does. How long have you been working with Sharon on this story?
Birdie: Would you believe we met in 1997?
Q: How did you meet?
Birdie: It’s a long story. The short version is she looked through a catalog and found me. Cut out all the pictures she could find of me and made a collage. Then she studied and learned about me.
Q. How did she do that?
Birdie: Oh, she’s really into the personalities and temperaments. And about that time she took a color co-ordinating class. The instructor thought even our coloring, skin, hair, and eyes pointed to our personality types.
Q: Are you saying she chose your personality? How did that work for you?
Birdie: She didn’t choose my personality, she just tried to determine it. And as we worked together she learned more about me.
Q. Did she ferret out all your secrets?
Birdie: I hope not. I’d like to think I have more than one story to offer.
Q. What’s the hold up in getting your story published?
Birdie: That’s a good question. I learned so much in the process and I feel I have a message to convey to others who may find themselves in a similar situation.
Q: You mean with your relationship with your father?
Birdie: That’s what I thought at the beginning. That Sharon could tell my story. Could help me through the story. Well, to get through to my Dad what I needed. Little did I know how much God wanted to teach me.
Q. Can you describe the setting of the story and what it means to you?
Birdie: Dreaming Of A Father’s Love takes place in 1973. We started out using 1979 because Sharon had young teenagers in those years and was very familiar with the clothing styles the kids wore in this part of Ohio.
Q. So why did the date change to 1973?
Birdie: Sharon had a couple of critique partners from the east coast who thought the styles better represented the early 70's better than the later 70's. Sharon had this elaborate calender to make sure the dates of certain events and everything. Well it turns out the 1973 calendar and the 1979 dates fit the same days of the week. So it wasn’t a hardship to change.
Q. Was there something important about the clothing style that made such a big difference to the story? Why couldn’t your story take place in a more contemporary time?
Birdie: The dynamics of my story, my dad’s attitude really don’t fit as well in a different time frame. And it doesn’t fit the German Baptist thread in the story either.
Birdie: Yes, and I still can’t believe Sara joined that church.
Q. Why is that?
Birdie: Oops! I think that’s one of the “spoilers” I wasn’t supposed to talk about. I guess I’ve talked too long.
Q. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to ask the type of question that would provoke a spoiler. Can we get back together another day?
Birdie: If Sharon agrees.
Q: Will you ask her if we can talk about your relationships with the other characters in the story next time?
Birdie: Sure. Gotta run now.
Photo credit for Birdie: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=982