SNAKES & STONES by Lisa Fowler
Twelve-year-old Chestnut Hill’s daddy stole her and the triplets away from their mama. At least, that’s how Chestnut remembers it.
It’s 1921, and after nearly two years on the road with his traveling elixir show, Daddy’s still making no move to go back to Kentucky and buy Mama that house. So Chestnut is forced to come up with her own plan to get home. At night, when Daddy and the triplets are in bed, she draws up flyers with the name of the next town they’ll be traveling to. Before they leave each town and hoping her mama will see them, she nails up the flyers, leaving Mama an easy trail straight to her children.
When that doesn’t work, Chestnut is forced to try something bigger. But when her newest plan lands Daddy in jail and Mama has to come to the rescue, Chestnut discovers that things are not always as they seem. Written with a wonderful mountain hillbilly voice, Snakes and Stones has a mystery at its heart and lovable, strong, and complicated characters.
Lisa Fowler, SNAKES & STONES
The first question I suppose you might ask is why I wrote this book in the first place.
That’s a pretty easy one to answer really. I wrote Snakes and Stones because Chestnut Hill kept waking me up at night telling me to write her story down on paper. That sounds funny, doesn’t it, that a fictional character would actually wake a writer up and talk to her? But it’s true. You see once you get a character in your head and begin asking her/him questions about their life, the story just begins to flow and there’s nothing left to do but write it down.
How do you know when the story’s complete?
Well, I suppose you could say the story ends when the character has successfully solved his/her problem and no longer wakes you up in the middle of the night. Chestnut had a difficult time solving her problem, so difficult in fact she was the one losing sleep. She wrestled with guilt, her conscience, and with things as she believed them to be, but in the end she did reach a good conclusion. It’s safe to say too that she learned a valuable lesson in the meantime: Things are not always as they seem to be.
How did you come up with the title Snakes and Stones? I’m scared of snakes, will your book keep me awake at night if I read?
I’m so happy you asked because there are no real snakes in the book… oops, well, there may be one, but only one I promise and it shouldn’t bother your slumber one little bit.
Daddy sold elixir you see; he was what the “old timers” used to call a Snake-Oil salesman, so that’s really where the Snakes part of the title came from. And as for Stones – well, I’m sad to say that the Hill family, especially strong-willed Chestnut, “runs into” more than her fair share of stones.
Where does Snakes and Stones take place?
Another fabulous question!
The Hill family – Daddy and his little nut farm: twelve-year-old Chestnut, and seven year old triplets Hazel, Filbert, and Mac – spends most of their time in an old circus wagon, traveling throughout the south, selling elixir and making music. It’s not until they meet up with daddy’s old friend, Abraham, though that their music and their story really begins to resonate with “the folks.”
Abraham hints to Chestnut that daddy’s clinging to secrets, secrets that Chestnut doesn’t want to believe but may be forced to in order to put her broken family back together.
What is Snakes and Stones all about and who should read?
At its core Snakes and Stones is a story about family and the struggles faced when children are at odds with their parents. Geared for ages seven and beyond, Snakes and Stones is really a must-read for anyone who loves a fast-paced story full of humor, mystery, and love for family.
The main character, twelve-year-old Chestnut Hill learns a valuable lesson when she realizes things are not always as they seem.
Snakes and Stones would be a great read for middle graders, grandparents who love their grandbabies, parents who love to read to their children, and anyone really who enjoys a great story. Snakes and Stones would make a great Christmas gift too!
Thank you so much for asking about Snakes and Stones. I hope you will read and enjoy Chestnut’s story and then I’d love to hear from you.
Lisa Fowler has lived all her life in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, where she fell in love with mountain ways and lingo. She lives in Asheville, North Carolina.
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