The Guerrilla Season Book Blog

Join 8th grade American History students at South Valley Jr High in Liberty, Missouri as they read Guerrilla Season by Pat Hughes. For more information contact Eric Langhorst at speakingofhistory@gmail.com

Monday, November 06, 2006

Week 3 - Ask Pat A Question

Here is your chance to ask the author of Guerrilla Season a question. Go ahead and leave a comment - she is answering any question you have. Last week she responded to a student that thought the book started off a little too slow and another asked her what side she would have been on during the Civil War if she had lived in Missouri. We know you have a question so go ahead and ASK PAT!

Please answer this question by posting a comment to this blog entry by clicking on the "comments" link below this post. Please remember to use either your first name only or no name. Any comments with full names will not be posted. Thanks.

35 Comments:

Anonymous miss said...

When writing this book, did you know what decision Matt was going to make or was it hard to decide?

3:25 PM  
Anonymous Volleyball Princess10 said...

Hi!
I was wondering if there was going to be a sequel to Gurellia Season. If there is will Suzie and Jesse's family be included?

3:50 PM  
Anonymous Pat Hughes said...

Hi Volleyball Princess -

I love it when I get this question, because I am so attached to these characters and I like it when other people feel the same way! You've taken it a step further than most, asking about Susie and Jesse's family. I think there will eventually be four "Season" books. One will be mainly about Susie and Jesse's family; one will focus on Matt and his family; and the fourth will be about both.

Pat

4:22 PM  
Anonymous Pat Hughes said...

Hi Miss ...

That's a really good question, because when I started to write the book, I THOUGHT I was sure of Matt's decision. But as I think I said somewhere else on the blog, characters are like real people, and they have minds of their own! I think Matt changed his mind, and therefore mine, a number of times. In fact, I feel that up until the very last minute he might have changed his mind again ...

Pat

4:31 PM  
Anonymous Evan said...

Going on from what a student asked last week about what side you would be on if you lived during the civil war would you be an extreme supporter of the south or would you just claim yourself to it and just keep it at that? Instead would you go with being an extreme supporter for the north or just claim yourself to it? Would you just try to be like Matt's family and stay neutral?

8:46 PM  
Anonymous honeybun said...

What would have happened if Matt didn't take the oath? I think If he didn't take it they would either shoot him or make him work more. I also wonder why In the story they spared Matt his life out of all the times they stopped him or came to his house and how his mother still beleived in him to do the right thing.

8:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I noticed that you dedicated your book to Scott and Sam. Do these people have anything to do with why you named the two people who don't get along too well with Matt Scott and Sam too? (pg.132)

~MC Concertmaster

11:47 PM  
Anonymous Zrytiger said...

Is Jesse based off of Jesse James?

9:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is Jesse based off of Jesse James?

Zrytiger

9:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Pat, I actually enjoy this book very much so far. I was also wondering, why did you decided to have Susie push Matt out of the tree? Also, about how long did it take you to write the novel, get it edited, and finally published?
- The Magicians Prodigy♠

9:26 AM  
Anonymous Pat Hughes said...

Evan -

Whatever side I found myself on in my heart, I do feel that in Missouri I would have kept it to myself because the safety of my family would have been at stake.

Pat

5:22 PM  
Anonymous Pat Hughes said...

Honeybun - It's kind of hard to answer your questions, because one of the things that made Missouri's war so horrifying was that people just never did know what was going to happen to them or what the consequences of any given action would be. There were no "rules" - everybody was kind of making things up as they went along. Utter chaos. Whether someone's life was spared, or whether they would be killed, was totally up to the peculiarities of the moment. Some people succeeded in begging for mercy; some didn't. There was no rhyme or reason to it at all.

Pat

5:26 PM  
Anonymous Pat Hughes said...

MC Concertmaster -

Wow, now THAT is a careful read! No one has ever made that connection before - not even ME!

But in fact there's no connection between the Scott and Sam of the dedication and the Scott and Sam characters. Scott of the dedication is my agent, Scott Treimel; Sam is my husband, Sam Hughes. As for the characters, the "real" Jesse had a real friend named Scott Moore, so that's why I used that name. And I named the character Sam after my husband.

- Pat

5:31 PM  
Anonymous Pat Hughes said...

Zrytiger -

Have you got to the end yet?

- Pat

5:32 PM  
Anonymous Pat Hughes said...

Magician's Prodigy -
Thanks, I'm glad you're liking the book. Why do YOU think Susie pushed Matt? ... See if you're right, because if you keep reading, she does tell him later in the book ...

I answered the question of how long the book took in the Week 1 questions, but the quick answer is: about six months for the first draft, and from the time I started the first draft till the time it was published, 3 1/2 years. That's because it was my first book and I had to find an agent and publisher.
- Pat

5:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How did you come up with the name Salt for Matt's horse? Did it just pop up in your mind, or did you really have to think about it?

8:39 PM  
Anonymous Pat Hughes said...

Re the name Salt, it took me a long time to come up with that. I don't know why. I somehow came up with the idea of Salt's mother being named Sugar, and Matt deciding that the foal "looks so much like Sugar, I think I've got to call him Salt."

- Pat

9:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the Guerrilla Season book was really good. Do you have any other books you would reccomend?-Yoda

9:52 PM  
Anonymous Pat Hughes said...

Thanks "anon" - I'm glad you liked "GS." I have two other books out at this time: "The Breaker Boys" is also historical fiction, set in Pennsylvania coal country in 1897. It's about a friendship between a rich boy whose father owns coal mines and a poor immigrant boy who works for that family's coal company. My newest book takes place in the present day. It's called "Open Ice" and it's about a kid who's been playing ice hockey since he was little, but is forced to quit because of concussions. The publisher recommends that one for ages 14 and up - not because of reading level but because of, um, older kid situations.
I think, I hope, that if you liked "GS" you would like both of the others!
- Pat

9:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Im very anxious to find out if matt is going to depart with his family to Pennsylvania or stay with Jesse. Which path will Matt follow?

9:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, I finally finished the book, and I am still asking my self questions two days later. Why did you base Jesse off of Jesse James? If Jesse was so into God, why did he end his life with murdering, stealing, and gambling? One last thing, do you know about what time the next book is coming out? Are you writing it right now? Ok, thanks for answering my other question. Great book.

- The Magicians Prodigy♠

9:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

like how did this idea of the book come to you? When did you first start wrighting this book?


BigRed.

10:11 AM  
Anonymous pinkshoes said...

pinkshoes said...

Where did you get the idea to put the fire in the book to kill Mr.Stone? Also where did you get the idea to have susie push matt?

4:31 PM  
Anonymous Pat Hughes said...

Addressing Magicians Prodigy's questions:

In addition to always being interested in Civil War Missouri, I've also long been interested in Jesse James. When my brother and I were little kids, we used to play Frank and Jesse James! That was back in the day, when cowboys and Indians was a very popular imaginative game for kids. I was a mega-tomboy, and my brother and I wore our holster and guns all summer! Strangely enough, it wasn't till I was much older - my first visit to Missouri, in high school - that I made the connection between Jesse James and Civil War Missouri, because Jesse was always kind of lumped in with the "Old West" outlaws in the TV shows of my childhood. At least that's how I remember it.

As for Jesse "turning bad," I fully believe as I've said elsewhere that if Jesse were alive today, and went through what he went through, he'd be diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and given all kinds of therapy and medication to help him deal with it! Think of it: This was a kid, not much older than you, who was pretty much forced into guerrilla service (did Jesse ever really have a choice?) at the age of 16. The guerrilla life was horribly brutal and inhumane. These teenagers lived constantly with the rule of "no quarter" -- knowing that if the Federals caught them, they would be hanged or worse, and knowing that they were expected to level the same treatment at other human beings. How do you come out of that unscathed? Once in a while there will be a story in a metropolitan newspaper or a national magazine about current child guerrillas in wartorn African countries or other third-world locales; usually the story focuses on a humanitarian organizations devoted to rehabilitating these kids after rescuing them from the guerrilla groups. No such organizations existed in 1865. When the war ended, Jesse James was only 17 years old, and he had endured all kinds of horrors, including being shot in the chest on two different occasions. Both times he was not expected to live. And after the war was technically over, former Union men continued to harass Jesse and his family. Now, as I said in the author's note at the end of the book, I'm not going to say that any of this excuses his postwar outlaw life, and obviously many many former guerrillas went on to live as peaceable citizens. But everybody's different, everybody has different reactions to trauma, and just as some soldiers today have a harder time recovering from the experience of combat, I think that's what happened to Jesse.

Finally, to your last question, I'm not currently writing the next "Season" book, but I have already done some work on it and I hope to get back to it when I finish the Revolutionary War book I'm working on now. Without a doubt, though, thinking and talking so much about the topic through this blog has made me want to get back to work on the "Seasons." ... Just like Mr. Langhorst predicted to me!

- Pat

10:58 AM  
Anonymous Pat Hughes said...

BigRed -

Listen to Podcast #3 for the answer to "why this place and time period."

When I was in graduate school at the University of Connecticut, I wrote a short story about Jesse and Matt, and later made it into a "screenplay" for a children's literature seminar project. Then something like 20 years later, the idea came back to me all of a sudden and I knew I had to write the book. I started actually writing it in January of 2000.

- Pat

11:04 AM  
Anonymous Pat Hughes said...

Pinkshoes -

Setting fire to someone else's property was not at all uncommon during Missouri's guerrilla war. The process was known as "burning out" - i.e. people would write in letters or journals "we were burned out last night" or whatever. So it was pretty natural for me to show that happening in the book.

As for Susie pushing Matt out of the tree ... it was one of those things that the character tells ME is going to happen. Susie told me she was going to push Matt out of the tree and I kind of said "what? Why on earth would you do that?" and when she explained it it made perfect sense. If you've gotten to the part yet where she tells Matt why she did it, let me know if it makes perfect sense to you too!

- Pat

12:26 PM  
Anonymous lemonlime said...

Have you decided whether or not you are going to write a sequel to Guerrila Season?

6:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

how did you use jeese james as a character? and how does he tie in with the guerrillas and was he one back when he was younger?

7:34 PM  
Anonymous Pat Hughes said...

Lemonlime and anonymous -

Read farther up on this thread for the answers to all those questions. ... the real Jesse James and his family's roles in the Civil War were pretty much as I describe them in "Guerrilla Season."

- Pat

7:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for answering my questions. I'd also like to know, did Jesse and Frank "Buck" actually have a sister named Susie, and an Aunt Lottie, and was his step-father in the book an actual person? Thanks again for the answers!!

- The Magicians Prodigy♠

11:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pat -
Now that the project posters have come out, are you considering even more the idea of turning the book into a movie? Since screenplay writing is a different genre of a writing from fiction, would wou want to write the script or would you have someone else do it? Also, who do you think would play the part of Matt?

From the Miller Creek Students
(Not so far from Hollywood)

3:07 PM  
Anonymous Pat Hughes said...

Hey Miller Creek!

First off, thanks for being a big part of this blog. (I finally figured out after about a week and a half what the MC meant before people's names. Duh.) But you guys have been terrific. And I love all the posters and projects and look forward to seeing more.

Now, as to this movie ... Well, you have to keep in mind that it's not the author who determines whether a book's going to be made into a movie, it's the folks who rule that little town you mention, not so far from you. So hmmm, does anybody happen to know anybody who ... ?!?!

Of course it's something I've thought of many times. I think that, if done right, "GS" would make a very cool movie, but then, I just MIGHT be biased.

As you guys pointed out, screenwriting is a very particular kind of writing, and authors would do well to remember that. I guess in a perfect world, if "GS" were to be optioned for film, I would love the opportunity to consult on or work on the screenplay but not be the sole screenwriter. I would also definitely want to have some kind of assurance that my story wouldn't be totally changed, and I would love to have some sort of role in the casting. Like I said, a perfect world.

Who would play Matt? My main concern would be that the kids who played Matt and Jesse would actually BE 15 years old while filming was going on. So often in all kinds of movies, the actors who play teenagers are in their 20s. I don't know what the point of that is, but I think it would totally ruin a movie of "Guerrilla Season." I think it would be essential that the boys were the correct ages, because that would really show how horrible it was that such young kids were drawn into this fight.

- Pat

5:06 PM  
Anonymous Pat Hughes said...

To Magicians Prodigy -

You're welcome, and thanks for your good posts.

Yes, Jesse and Frank (whose nickname was indeed Buck) had a sister Susie, a little brother and sister Johnny and Sally, and Mrs. Samuel was really pregnant in the summer of '63. Her husband, Jesse's stepfather, was a real person who was hanged almost to the point of death by Federal militia. The Samuel family had an enslaved woman named Charlotte; Lotty can be a nickname for Charlotte. Charlotte remained with the Samuel family the rest of her life, choosing not to leave after the 13th Amendment freed her following the war. In Jesse's outlaw days, she protected him from authorities a couple of times.

- Pat

5:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

VERY COOL!!!! Thanks for the answers Pat!!

- The Magicians Prodigy . . . sorry i can't do the spade symbol on this computer.

9:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness, I nearly forgot! Was there really a cave nearby Jesse and Matt's house? If so I need to go exploring!

- The Magicians Prodigy♠

9:28 AM  

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