Hello all you diva’s and superstars. Welcome to another edition of Lisa Burton Radio, the only show that interviews the characters from the books you love. I’m your host, Lisa the robot girl, and today we’re going to try something a little bit different.
I receive mail, and sometimes we read them on the air as kind of an advice column. This one sparked my interest. We have someone calling herself Aunt Char, and she’s worried about her niece, Wren.
I heard a show recently where the radio host called someone up, and that’s just what we’re going to do. Just bear with me while I dial the number.
“Good morning, Char speaking.”
“Hello, this is Lisa Burton, and you’re on the air right now. Is this Aunt Char?”
“I just told you my name is Char. I was hoping that you would call. I have waited all week. I even made Byron, that’s my husband, shave and put on church shirts every morning. I have on my best dress today–it’s blue. Blue brings out the color in my eyes and high-lights in my hair. I’m a natural blonde, you know. But you sure took your time calling–I mailed the postcard last Friday. Maybe I should talk to someone down at the Post Office. Well, better late than never.”
“That’s right, I received your post card and wanted to talk to you about it. So why are you worried about Wren?”
“Well, Wren has a lovely singing voice. She gets that from me. She got the lead in a summer musical at her school–beating out other girls who are older. But my sister sent Wren to Mama’s and Papa’s place for the summer. Wren was really upset, and I can’t blame her.”
“Sometimes kids have to spend the summer with relatives. That’s nothing completely new. I understand why she might be upset, but maybe there is something there she can participate in locally.”
“My sister Willow had surgery for breast cancer, and then had to have chemotherapy. Wren is old enough to stay home and help her mama. Coddling her by sending her to be a guest in someone’s home all summer will ruin her. She should be cooking meals and keeping the house clean and seeing that her mother gets enough rest. She could still have time for the musical. Instead, I had to go help my sister–drove all the way to Colorado.
“And when I got there, Wren could not get away from home fast enough. I tried to help her with some tips on breathing and enunciation and important singing techniques, but she just got sassy.”
“Cancer is terrifying, so I understand if Wren is a little bit worried. Her mother is in bad shape, and Wren might be staying much longer than the summer if things go wrong. Maybe Wren needs a little support to work through things.”
“Well, the goats and chickens and alpacas aren’t going to help Wren with her singing. I know–there is nothing there but mud and poop and hard work. Just look at my parents–they should be retired and having fun, but all they do is work, work, work. It was not a good place for me with my talents, and it is not the right place for Wren. All she does is mope around and try to get a cell phone signal, so she can talk with her friends at home.”
“I’m sure your parents love Wren dearly. Taking care of animals is good for her to learn, but I understand her desire for something more. I’m sure your parents are just as worried about your sister.”
“They know how to cope. When I was quite young, I went through my own bout of cancer, and I am still kicking. But I could never have children of my own. So there is only Wren.”
“I’m so sorry for your loss. It probably doesn’t help, but robot girls can’t bear children either.”
“There’s no comparison. But we got on with life, and Wren needs to do the same thing – regardless of the outcome. I mean, I love my sister and am sure she will recover, but we should make sure to have a plan for Wren.”
“Well, I’m so glad Wren has someone like you to help break up the doldrums of milking goats and feeling like free farm labor. Maybe you can introduce her to some locals that are more her age.”
“She should meet some nice church kids, but she does not seem to like them. Spends most of her time with kids she met at the park–writing poetry and going for hikes. I don’t think they are a good influence. It’s a good thing I am back in town, so I can introduce her to the right people. I had a tea at my house, but Wren ended up pouting in the kitchen when I asked her to let the grownups talk without her.
“One day she sassed me outright, and when I corrected her, she said she never wanted to be like me. She even slammed the door. Came around a few days later to apologize, and she said she wanted to be able to sing just like me. So I started her with voice lessons. She shows promise even if she is not grateful.”
“Aunt Char, thank you for taking my call today. Any last thoughts for our listeners?”
“Well, I guess we worry about those we love and want the best for them. That’s what I want for Wren. Even if she is sassy.”
“You can read all about Wren and Aunt Char in the book Wren, by Alice Longaker. I’ll post all the details on the website.
“Don’t forget to use those sharing buttons today. I’m sure Alice and Aunt Char would do it for you, when your character is on the show.
“For Lisa Burton Radio, I’m Lisa Burton.”
Wren’s summer plans crash with the news of her mother’s diagnosis of Breast Cancer. While her mother focuses on healing, Wren is sent to spend the summer with her grandparents in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas.
The not-so-typical grandparents are aging hippies with goats, chickens, and alpacas as companions. With new friends, increased independence, and acres of woods to explore, Wren tries to discover what she wants to do when she is grown—an archaeologist, or ranger, perhaps a writer or a singer?
Without cell phone reception or internet access, Wren feels detached from those back home. Chiggers bite. Spiders lurk. An owl calls outside of Wren’s window. Sometimes Wren gets scared. Yet, even in bleak sorrow and loss, Wren can see that life does not have to be perfect to be good.
Genre: Middle-Grade fiction
Release date: April 2017
Audience: Middle-Grade Girls
Where to Order:
Black Rose Writing: http://www.blackrosewriting.com/childrens-booksya/wren
Barnes & Noble:
Although she writes in many forms, Alice Longaker is first of all a poet. Her job is to see the wonder of something newly made from old patterns.
A self-professed late bloomer, she obtained a master’s degree from the University of Northern Colorado. She wandered through a library career—the solitude of cataloging, the austere aisles of a research library, and a boisterous children’s library.
Alice then taught research, composition, literature, and Intensive English to college students throughout Colorado. She currently dabbles in tutoring international students, and heeding the ‘call of stories,’ she writes. New projects include a collection of lyrical essays, poetry, and perhaps sequels to WREN.
Website for youth: WREN: https://wrenbyalicelongaker.wordpress.com
Facebook author page: Alice Longaker-Author https://www.facebook.com/alicelongakercolorado
Twitter: Alice Longaker: https://twitter.com/AliceLongaker
Northern Colorado Writers: http://www.northerncoloradowriters.com