July 1, 2008

The Real Thalia

STILL working on an FAQ, and by WORKING, I mean “Throwing emails that ask questions I seem to get a lot into a file and SWEARING I will organize and answer them. Tomorrow.” Then I forget they exist until another comes.

I was hoping that “If they come, I will build it” would work as well as the reverse did for Shoeless Joe Jackson, but no, you have to make the mystical baseball field first. THANK YOU, KEVIN COSTNER, FOR TEACHING ME WISE THINGS ABOUT LIFE. *stew stew stew*

ONE question I am getting a lot recently is, “I read the girl who stopped swimming and I (loved/hated/am related to in real life) Thalia. Is this creature based on a real person?”

No. None of my adult characters are based on real people. I usually base KIDS on composites of actual children because REAL children are SO FREAKING WEIRD. You can’t make that stuff up. I have a little Thalia in me, I am afraid – just a LITTLE. And I have seen Thalia-esque behavior before, especially when I was working in Theatre. Theatre breeds nihilists and sybarites.

But the name, I stole absolutely from real life. When I was a little chunk of too-weird-to-make-up, I went to Wiregrass Christian Youth Camp every year. There I hiked and roasted marshmallows and played kickball and braided lariats and caught grasshoppers and swam (but never with BOYS---swimming with boys was called “mixed bathing” and you could ABSOLUTELY go to hell for that. It’s in the Bible, I think. In the book called “The Gospel According to Wiregrass Christian Youth Camp.”)

Mixed Bathing aside, I LOVED that place and had total fun every summer. I saw many of the kids year after year, and ONE of them was this adorable object, slim as a filament and topped off by a THICK MASS of blonde curls, named Thalia. (It is pronounced THAYL-ya, for the record. That’s another FAQ.) She was my best friend every year at camp, and she was funny and charming and sweet straight through to the bone, so I only based Thalia’s looks and hair and name on my memories of her.

Look here we are at camp---she is blurry and I am smug. AND HOW ABOUT THAT HAIR-DO! It look slike my mom put a salad bowl on my head and then cut everything that stuck out from under it off...My old camp counselor read the book recently and mailed this to me:


I often wonder if she will stumble across the book and recognize my name---there are not many Joshilyns in the world, just as there are very few Thalias. I hope she would feel more pleased than horrifed. *grin*

ALSO BEEN MEANING TO SAY! I read quite a few books over beach week, but here are the two that blew my socks off, the two I can hardly wait to reread, the ones I am DYING to make everyone I ever met read, too:

THE WAIT by Frank Turner Hollon, out in both paper and hard covers.

NO ONE YOU KNOW by Michelle Richmond. This one is only out in hardback, but The Year of Fog by the same author is in paperback, and it is awesome.


Posted by joshilyn at July 1, 2008 9:43 AM

How did you transport Sam back in time to that picture...? Oh, wait. Nevermind.

Posted by: Mir at July 1, 2008 11:18 AM

Any contests soon? Cause, I can't afford to order The Girl and I am spoiled by having your first 2 signed and in hardback from when you came through Jackson. I didn't get to SEE you this time. *sad face*

Posted by: Heather at July 1, 2008 11:36 AM

Hey, my youth camp must have had the same copy of the Bible that yours did. I always wondered why they called it "mixed bathing"--doesn't "mixed swimming" make more sense? Maybe that's what they called it in the KJV. ;-)

Posted by: Alison at July 1, 2008 2:36 PM

Um, I had that EXACT same haircut, Joshilyn. And, I think I may have had that shirt, too. But wait, it gets better.
My best friend in childhood, not just at camp but all the time, was blonde and aloof, like your Thalia.

Posted by: Kate at July 1, 2008 3:06 PM

I love/hate recommended must-read books. Love because, well obvious reason. Hate because my must-read list is now longer than I will have years on this planet even if I live to be over 100. Oh, speaking of must-reads, I wanted to let you know that, along with other family, my DIL and her teen sister were here visiting last week and by the first evening of their arrival, they'd both sniffed out and were fighting over BG. In a house so full of books that we don't need insulated walls, this was the book they wanted. DIL Lisa won the tussle and finished it just a few days, including a stay-up-til-3am night even though her daughter would wake her up at the buttcrack of dawn, so her sister could read it. She took TGWSS home with her and will return it when I see her again in a month.

Posted by: Laume at July 1, 2008 4:54 PM

I loved The Year of Fog. I didn't realize she had a new one out. It's on my list now--thanks!

Posted by: amy at July 1, 2008 4:59 PM

Talk about an around the world coincidence - here goes. I first heard of you by listening to your podcast with Annie Smith about TWGSS and had an instant kinship with you - just clicked. So, I bought Between before we went to the beach. I read it and then bought Gods in Ala. and read it at the beach. I LOVED them both!!! I grew up in Atlanta and moved to Powder Springs 30 years ago. When I got back from the beach I started reading your blog and then realized that you live in Powder Springs too!! How bizarre!! I am really looking forward to reading TGWSS as soon as I can get to B & N. Also, I saw on your blog that you were doing the event at the Margaret Mitchell house. I need to ask my father, but he has some kind of connection to that too. Something to the effect of his aunt or maybe great aunt rented a room in the Margaret Mitchell house when Ms. Mitchell was there to the point where she remembered how things were set up, etc. and has come back a couple of times at the request of the historical group that now owns it. I will have to talk to him to get the specifics. Well, I didn't mean to go on too long and certainly don't want to sound stalkerish, but just wanted to let you know how very much I enjoyed your books and was thrilled to find out it was someone from our "little" town : >

Posted by: Cheryl at July 2, 2008 11:01 AM

Joss my dear you need a secretary.

Posted by: Cele at July 2, 2008 12:20 PM

We are the same age, and we had the same hair. . .in fact. . .we could have been twins at that age down to the church camp experiences and "mixed swimming." I am assuming that you are eating in the mess hall and that it is unairconditioned? Ours had a GIGANTIC fan that could have sucked in and eaten up entire children were it not for the hardware cloth protecting us. It was great to be assigned to Cabin 1, 'cause you got to sit closest to the fan. Cabin 6 was outta luck.

Posted by: Roxanne at July 3, 2008 6:08 PM

I have 2 books to add to everyone's list of 10,000 "must reads" that sit on the bedside table. First, "The Book of Marie" by Terry Kay. Wow. I just loved this one. Maybe because it hit a chord with me? The second one I'm not quite done with. I love that there's a bit of historical truth to it and that is "Loving Frank" about a long time affair with Frank Lloyd Wright.

Posted by: Kim at July 7, 2008 1:12 AM