Rx for Writers


August 4, 2005:  "Middle-Grade Historical Fiction: How to Go from REAL Life to REAListic Fiction"

with Linda Crew

Thursday, August 4, 2005

Linda Crew is an historical fiction writer per excellence. Linda’s most recent book, A Heart for Any Fate: Westward to Oregon: 1845, won the Stevens Literary Prize for Young Readers in 2004. Besides this prize-winning book, Linda Crew has published seven middle-grade novels, including Some Time Passing, Fire on the Wind, Nekomah Creek Christmas, Someday I’ll Laugh About This, Children of the River, and Brides of Eden. For adults, Linda has written Ordinary Miracles, with a theme of infertility. Linda Crew is a fourth-generation Oregonian, born in the Willamette Valley town of Corvallis where she still lives. She attended Lewis & Clark College and the University of Oregon, where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa. She and her husband and three in-and-out-of-the-nest children have lived at Wake Robin Farm for 30 years.

Mel is Mel Boring, moderator of this interview with Linda Crew, and Web Editor of the ICL Web Site.

Green shows names or usernames of people and the questions they asked Linda Crew.

Interviews are held every other Thursday evening for two hours, beginning at 9 CANADA/ Atlantic Time, 8 Eastern Time, 7 Central Time, 6 Mountain Time, and 5 Pacific Time.

Mel: Linda Crew, I am SO glad that our good friend Wendy Haber told me about you, and how exciting it was to be at a conference with you as speaker! So many of our chatsters through the months have asked to invite an author of historical fiction; and now you come to us with the BEST of credentials. We will want to hear about your most recent book, and the winner of the Stevens Award, A Heart for Any Fate: Westward to Oregon: 1845. In the opinion of many, historical fiction is the most rewarding to read, yet the most challenging to write; so our writing caps are doffed to you, Linda. A WARM welcome to the ICL Chat Room on this August evening!

Linda: Hi Mel, thanks to all of you for having me!

Mel: Linda, was your family of origin a family of writers?

Linda: No, not at all. So it's funny that my brother and I both turned out to be writers. He's a columnist on the Eugene Register-Guard and has published several books. Now my daughter talks about being a writer so maybe we'll continue that way. It's been fun for my brother and me to compare notes on the writing process and the publishing world.

kittycat: What does your brother write about?

Linda: My brother’s most recent book is American Nightingale: the Story of Francis Slanger, Forgotten Heroine of Normandy. His columns are people-oriented type things about goings-on about town. Plus he gets a lot of mileage out of our family, my father's death, my mother's remarriage. They are preparing to tear down our old high school, and a recent column was about saving the drinking fountain where our parents first laid eyes on each other when she was fifteen and he was newly arrived in Corvallis to start college. Yes, we have roots here!

Mel: Ha! COOL story, that! That is amazing, THREE writers within one family! Did you know from an early age that you wanted to be a writer?

Linda: Not at all! I had much more glamorous plans such as being a folksinger or an actress. But, looking back, I can see that many of my school assignments were written in the form of fiction, so maybe it was there all the time, just waiting for me to figure it out.

Mel: If we could HEAR you, Linda, what song might you sing for us? (-:}

Linda: Well, my favorite song is "Shenandoah."

Mel: One of MINE, too! Haven't you written a book that is kind of about figuring out how to become a writer?

Linda: Yes, Long Time Passing is really my take on high school in 1968. Those were turbulent years with the Vietnam War and the various assassinations. The character in the book, Kathy, is exploring all the various creative things she might want to do much the way I did. It's really about how a writer isn't necessarily somebody who starts with a diary at an early age. I think it can be about looking at life a certain way. Really being an observer and wanting to make sense of things in words.

Mel: Linda, do you feel it's necessary for "a long time passing" in order for a writer to, maybe it can be said, "find their voice"?

Linda: I don't know. It works out differently for different people. Whatever works.

Mel: Did you have favorite books as a kid?

Linda: Yes. I really liked "old-timey" books. I loved Little Women and read all of the Louisa May Alcott books. Also I liked Caddie Woodlawn. But I think my favorite was A Little Princess by Frances H. Burnett. And you know the character in it is named Sarah Crewe! I've always been a bit annoyed that my husband's family didn't use an "e" on the end. Another favorite was Children of the Covered Wagon by Oregonian Mary Jane Carr. Maybe this book helped inspire me to write my own trail novel.

Mel: Did you focus on creative writing in college, then, Linda Crewe? (-:}

Linda: Ha! Well, not too much. I had started out as a theatre major and then suddenly realized I didn't want to do it anymore. I phoned home and told my mom they wanted to know my major and I was clueless. So she said, "Well, honey, what about journalism? You've always been a good writer." So, for lack of a better plan I became a journalism school student and loved it. I had so much to catch up on because the other kids had been writing for their high school papers etc. while I was insisting I would go to Broadway and be an actress. I really loved the journalism department because this is where we were taught how to freelance pieces of our writing, the business end of it. The only creative writing class I took was a year-long series of short story classes. I really enjoyed that, though, because we wrote a story every week and tore each other's apart. I wrote my first "pulp" story there that was ultimately published.

caq: Were you interested in history in school?

Linda: Yes, I guess so. In American History I remember writing a play that was like Anne Frank and her family hiding in a bomb shelter.

stephenie: I have heard that it's VERY hard to get the details correct in historical fiction. How do you do it so well?

Linda: Well, yes, but that's the fun of it! And I take pride in being very accurate. I put an awful lot of time into doing the research and the research gives me many plot ideas. Children of the River was not an historical novel when I started writing it. It was set in 1979 and I started my research in around 1981. I spent an entire year just studying about Cambodian culture and history. It's been the same for my other historicals. I really get into it. For my trail novel I think I read every available trail diary I could find. Also I discovered e-bay at this time and bought everything with a covered wagon on it. To be accurate and have the right flavor of the language, I would make lists when I read those diaries, just words and phrases that weren't of our own time that would lend flavor.

Mel: EXCELLENT things to share! It's interesting, I think, that your Children of the River was not historical fiction starting out. What happened, particularly, to turn it INTO historical fiction?

Linda: Well, time passed! Now it IS historical fiction. It's interesting when you think about it because Little Women, for example, was not historical fiction when it was written. Maybe that's not a very good example because that story focuses almost entirely on the family with very little history as a backdrop. But Children is very much about the Vietnam War and the refugees in the aftermath. I never knew it would stay in print so long—since 1989!

Mel: GOOD point! I've never thought about that in regard to Little Women, that it was not historical fiction at the time it was written. How can mothers of small kids find time to write? How did you do it?

Linda: It was hard to find time to write when my kids were little. I was very frustrated for a lot of years there. I would be so happy when fall rolled around and they went back to school. My husband was a great help, as depicted in Nekomah Creek. I really don't buy the stories of writing novels with babies on your lap. I think you have to get somebody to cover for you or carve out the time to really concentrate. It’s mostly just a matter of living through it all!

stephenie: How much research should a person do before they start writing? Or do you research as you go?

Linda: That's a tough one because those of us who enjoy doing the research can get carried away with it and never get down to writing the fictional part. I would say for me there's a part where I'm simply researching and getting ideas for what might happen and then after awhile I try to start the rough draft. But then the research continues as I work on the story. I have gotten so many of my plot ideas from my research into things that really happened. Now Brides of Eden, that one is entirely based on something that really happened and I was just imagining the parts that were unknown and trying to think how it all could have happened. It's really hard to STOP researching, sometimes. I want to know what happened to the real people involved after the story is over!

Mel: What WAS the factual happening on which Brides of Eden was based, Linda?

Linda: A man came to our town of Corvallis in 1903 with the Salvation Army and quickly broke away to form a sort of cult that had the town all upset. Many of the women and girls in town got involved and it was very much like cults you read about today. Before it was over there were murders and suicides and families were torn apart. It's very much a cautionary tale about going along with a group!

Mel: About what percentage of your time on a novel is spent on RESEARCH, and what percentage on the actual WRITING, if you could guesstimate it?

Linda: Hard to say but maybe half and half? I don't log my hours much anymore so I don't know. When I'm working on a book it's like I'm pregnant with it and I'm just carrying it around with me all the time. I'm thinking about it while I'm vacuuming, for example. Which is much better than thinking how much I hate vacuuming!

Mel: SUPER comparison, pregnancy with book writing—gestation!

eggamy: Did you start out writing for newspapers or magazines?

Linda: Yes. My first published piece was something I wrote for a magazine article writing class in college. It was called "Doesn't Anyone Want an MRS Degree Anymore?" and it was published in Northwest Magazine shortly after I graduated. Then I wrote articles and short stories and freelanced them for quite awhile. Children of the River wasn't accepted until 1987 so there was a good decade in there before I hit my stride.

Mel: Was Children of the River your first major book breakthrough, then?

Linda: Yes, except that I did write a novel before that that has never been published. It was a high school theatre story. Since then each of the books I've committed to, finished and submitted, has been published, although some of them only after many rejections. I always looked forward to telling my story to people like you chatsters because I figured they'd feel encouraged to hear that Children of the River was rejected 16 times before it was accepted. My recent book, A Heart for Any Fate, was also rejected 16 times. Maybe that's the magic number?

Mel: For YOU it's 16, for SOME of us, maybe more like 66! Is there hope for publishing that theatre story, now that you've accomplished so much in publishing your books?

Linda: My agent had it and couldn't sell it. I haven't reread it lately. Guess I just figure I could do better now, so why go back?


kittycat: What made you choose historical fiction?

Linda: Well, I guess I want to say that, actually, not all eight of my books are historical fiction. My Nekomah Creek books are pretty much the history of what it's like to have little kids underfoot! I think recently I've gotten into historical fiction because the lives of my teenagers were off limits. They got a kick out of being portrayed in the Nekomah Creek books, but teen stuff is too touchy. Maybe now that they've matured I can think of writing a contemporary teen story again. With Long Time Passing, I set it in the 60s because I knew I could get the details right and I feared if I made it contemporary my kids would just tell me I didn't know what I was talking about. Any of you have teenagers?

Mel: YUP, and AWOMEN to that notion here! Maybe there's a good lesson here in not "typecasting" a writer! You're not JUST an historical fiction writer, we can see. When you first get an idea, do you think of it in NONhistorical fiction terms? Or WHEN might the inspiration come knocking that THIS particular book is historical fiction, Linda?

Linda: I'm not a person who has a million ideas so I'm just looking for a story that seems like it's my story to tell. It's lucky with Children of the River that I didn't know enough to be frightened of writing about another race, another culture, because I probably wouldn't have done it. I did worry that perhaps I was "stealing" their story, but then I decided that if this story was going to be told, it would have to be by somebody like me and maybe I was in the best position to tell the story of these brave people. Nekomah Creek just came to me as I heard the dialogue coming from downstairs. I'm really a journalist, you see. Now, if it tried to write about toddlers, I wouldn't even remember how they talk or anything!

Mel: What WISE and quotable words: "I'm just looking for a story that seems like it's my story to tell"! Thank you!

e_marie: What do you find hardest about writing historical fiction?

Linda: Maybe trying to have plucky characters who aren't overly feminist. I can't stand it in books when people have thoughts about things decades ahead. Also I guess you do run into certain troubles when you tie yourself to the way things really happened. That was the problem with Brides of Eden. New York City editors kept wanting me to just forget what really happened and write a novel. But to me the whole weird, fascinating thing about that episode in our town is that it did happen. I wouldn't have had much interest in just writing a cult novel and making any old thing happen.

Mel: Speaking of "tying yourself to the way things really happened," is made-up or imagined dialogue okay to use in an historical novel?

Linda: Oh, sure! I haven't a clue what anyone actually said on the Oregon Trail! It's interesting these days, where people draw the line in various combos of truth and fiction. It's different in each book. In Brides, I pretty much knew who was where when, and some people were quoted in the newspapers. In my trail novel, all that was known is who set out for Oregon, who made it, who didn't, and who married whom at trail's end. For me, what I knew about the Kings was about the perfect amount of fact and fiction to work with. I liked that the King family had a certain sort of trail experience that was fairly dramatic. Also, sticking to the facts of how many people died and in what manner in this group kept me from having to play God. Walking the trail helped a lot, too.

mewf: Linda, did you actually walk some of the Oregon Trail in your research?

Linda: Yes, my husband and I flew back to Missouri, rented a car and took ten days to drive the trail home. It was great! The trip of a lifetime, although it wouldn't necessarily have seemed like that to somebody else. But for me, being so totally into it, it was wonderful. And some of the things I noted and experienced on the trip did make their way into the story, even though I had a rough draft—or rough draft 10—already written at that point.

Mel: Are there ANY parts of the original Oregon Trail/trail way still visible ANYwhere today?

Linda: Oh, yes, lots! And we did actually walk in some of them. There are trail ruts at the trail museum in Baker City, Oregon, and also along the Snake River. Many other places too. I joined the Oregon-California Trails Association <http://www.octa-trails.org/home.asp> when I started this and those folks work hard to identify and keep marked and safe the remaining segments of the trail. A lot of it is paved because it was the best route. Especially the part along the Platte River which is so long and boring.

Mel: BORING, I LOVE that! (-:}

Linda: Ha ha! Well, it wasn’t boring to ME, of course. But it's famously boring for drivers.

Mel: Why is it boring for car drivers?

Linda: It's long and flat and just a straight shot with nothing much to look at. I actually felt, when we did it, that those first bluffs toward the end of it weren't the big deal I'd been led to expect from reading the trail diaries, but I think they probably WERE to people who'd been plodding along seeing absolutely nothing in the way of hills. And the trail did not look like what I had imagined, so I'm really glad we made the trip. The trouble is, too many movies were filmed on the back lot in Hollywood and they threw in way too many mountains and trees and attacking Indians. So it was really good for me to actually see the landscape and experience just how darned far it really is from Missouri to Oregon. Also, the fact that there are so few trees. As a native Oregonian, if you say mountains and rivers to me, the trees just pop into my mental picture, so it was good for me to experience such a treeless expanse.

caq: When you decide to start an historical fiction book, do you pick a period and do research first or start the story and then fit it into a place in history?

Linda: It's mostly about a specific story. One of my books, Fire on the Wind, is about the Tillamook Burn of 1933. More than any other of my books I can date almost to the hour when I got the idea for this one. I was driving into Tillamook County with my kids and started talking about it and realized I'd never read a novel dramatizing it. So I said right then, "Mark my words, my next book will be about the Tillamook Burn." Because I wanted to imagine for myself what that might have been like to be sitting there in Tillamook with a huge fire threatening to burn through the town to the ocean. So, that happened in 1933 and that's when the story's set. I suppose some writers might just say, "I want to write a story about Ancient Rome" and go from there but for me, the books I've written have started with a very specific story.

stephenie: How do you organize your research?

Linda: Well, I always have a notebook. When I buy that notebook it's like I'm committing to that book. I'm pregnant with it and I never quit after that. I paste a picture on the front and put fancy dividers in it labeled with things like "characters," "plot ideas," "research," etc. But in the end I usually just have page after page of scribbled notes all in one section in the back. I don't do anything terribly elaborate with note cards or anything. My system is to just get the stuff in the notebook and then as I use it in the manuscript, I run a yellow marker through it so I know I've used it but I can still read it.

Mel: VERY practical and helpful tips, thank you, Linda!

caq: Do you do research on clothing, social structures (women's roles, men's roles, etc.), dialect, events, etc. completely, before you start your novel, or work on it as you go along?

Linda: A lot of that can happen while I'm working on it. I hate to see young writers get too hung up on getting all those details perfect before they write because that's a great way to stall forever! And you may end up researching too much stuff you won't need. Sometimes it seems so little of what you actually learn ends up in the book, but I don't see any way around it. While working on a trail novel, for example, I would go to any programs that were being done at the library about pioneers etc. and maybe pick up details. I will say that for Children of the River, I spent an entire year before I even thought of starting to write. I remember saying, "Well, if this were school, I'd have an A+ notebook here but I don't have a word of a novel!"

Mel: I would think that Children of the River, because it was OTHER-cultural, would take ANYone longer—would that be right, Linda?

Linda: Yes, I think that's it exactly. It was so hard for me to make that cultural leap. I mean, how much could I assume I could understand about a Cambodian girl? As I worked, though, I came to feel that Sundara was my character and I knew how she felt and I was more confident in creating her feelings and also the way she talked. One thing I did on that book was to tape record lots of interviews with Cambodian refugees which I carefully transcribed. Thus I not only knew their stories, I knew how they spoke English. Before I was done, I felt I knew how Sundara would sound saying ANYTHING in English. It has to do with their language, which uses no "s's" on the ends of word so rice sounds like just "ri."

Mel: WHAT a CHALLENGE! One that you handle SO WELL! BRAVA!

Linda: Well, thank you, Mel.

miss missy: What's your biggest challenge as a writer?

Linda: Maybe it's the same thing for everybody—just to keep believing in yourself and keep feeling that you have something to say and that it's worth it to keep trying. Sometimes if you get a not-so-hot review or a rejection or something, you have to stop and think if you really want to keep doing this. Fortunately the satisfactions in writing and publishing have outweighed the headaches….and heartaches! I really do enjoy the creative process of going around with a new book in my head and it's so great when the characters start talking in my head. That's how my books come to me—I HEAR them!

Mel: WOW, you are "singing ALL of us writers' song"! It IS about keeping on believing in yourself when sometimes NObody else does! THANK YOU!

sluce3: Hi, Linda. I'm wondering, what pointers do you have for us on narrowing the field down to ONE historical topic?

Linda: I don't approach it that academically. I think you have to just look for the story that really grabs YOU. For me, it's a matter of finding something where I'll have the passion to sustain myself through the long haul of writing it. It doesn't hurt, of course, to see if there have already been tons of books done on a certain subject. That can sink you from the start, if that's the case. I guess I knew there'd be editors saying they had already done enough covered wagon novels, but I strongly felt it was time for an update and I very much wanted to write this story for myself, even though it had been done before. It's also good if you have access to research materials or some reason an editor might feel you were a good person to tackle the job. Sometimes in traveling I've stumbled onto stories that were interesting, but I usually figure there's probably a writer closer to that material to handle it. The stories I've chosen to tell were ones where I could feel that maybe I was the best candidate. So you need to find a story that's like that for YOU.

Mel: Linda, CONGRATULATIONS on your Stevens Literary Prize for A Heart for Any Fate: Westward to Oregon: 1845! Tell us, please, how did that come about?

Linda: Thanks! Well, as I said, my book had been rejected all over the place in New York, and I was getting pretty darned discouraged. Then I read a notice of the award and was so amazed because the criteria fit my book so perfectly. And so I packaged it up in a calico bag—yes, I go a bit overboard sometimes--and it ended up winning. This was the first year of the award, by the way. A family gave the Oregon Historical Society a grant to encourage books about Oregon history. My good friend Margaret Anderson has been awarded the prize for the second year for her wonderful book about David Douglas.

Mel: A WELL deserved award by YOU in 2004, writer friend!

Linda: I appreciate that, Mel. And the Oregon Historical Society really did a beautiful job on the book itself. And because it was so much closer to home, I got to have a lot more say about some things than I have with my other books. Usually I try not to care too much about the cover because I won't have all that much to say about it. But with Heart I was very involved. I took the photo of the girl on the cover, who is not only lovely but is an 8th-generation descendant of the King family I wrote about! And my husband and I found the beautiful painting in the background at the Smith College Museum of Art when we took our daughter back there to start her first year in the fall. I think it's my favorite cover ever and I'm very proud to sit behind a stack of the books at signings, etc.!

Mel: By the way, take another look at the top of this chat transcript, at the lovely and VERY historical-fictionally matched portrait of Linda--beautifully done! Linda, why do you write for CHILDREN, in particular, mostly?

Linda: By accident? When I first started, I wasn't thinking along those lines at all. I was young enough that writing Young Adult stories was still about a part of my life that I had just recently lived! When I was first writing I was pretty much doing it in a vacuum. Then one day I was minding my pickle patch (literally) when some nice women who had come to pick said they'd read an article about me in the paper and wondered if I'd join their writers group. They were mostly writing for kids and encouraged me along those lines and it was so great to have a group. The other thing is that because of my journalism background, I've been taught to write in the simplest way I can, so that tends to make my writing accessible to young readers. I really don't think of my recent books as children's books but it takes a lot of explaining sometimes. Maybe you could call them crossover? Certainly here in my town they are being read by more adults than kids at this stage anyway.

Mel: Your novel, Ordinary Miracles, is for an adult audience. How did that come about for a children's writer?

Linda: I have a good answer for that one, Mel! It's about infertility, and there's just no way I could see to make that a Young Adult novel, since infertility is definitely not something teens worry about!

Mel: You are RIGHT about OUR teens here!

Linda: I guess I do feel that the world of publishing for kids is a bit kinder and gentler than adult fiction so I haven't felt too eager to try that again unless I simply couldn't find a way to make the main character 17!

caq: What makes one novel historical fiction and others just considered written in a particular time period, but not historical fiction?

Linda: I think it has to do with how much of the history is part of the story. That is, Little Women doesn't talk about the Civil War much even though it's set at that time. But if a book's characters are playing out their dramas against the larger backdrop of historical realties, then it's a historical novel. Does that make any sense?

Mel: Yes, GOOD sense, Linda!

gladys1: Where do you do MOST of your research? In the library or on the Internet?

Linda: The library, for sure! Although the internet is becoming more useful. Still, you can't beat books, I say. For Brides of Eden the vast majority of the research involved sitting there in the library making myself sick to my stomach going through microfilms of the old newspapers of the time. Same thing for my Tillamook Burn story. For the trail novel, it was books all the way. I collected a fairly impressive library of trail histories and novels and also I really got into all the artwork of the trail in order to help me imagine what the trail and the landscape itself would have looked like back then. The internet is great for fast bits. I remember looking up about how leather is tanned for a scene in Heart and something about oxen. I have to say that I love the Internet and how it's changed our lives.

eggamy: How do you find ORIGINAL sources?

Linda: It's hard in terms of interviews when everyone who could be witnesses is long gone! For the trail novel, I solicited family trail diaries that might not have been published before; that's about as original as I could get. That and actually driving the trail myself.

msp: How do you know when to quit researching and write?

Linda: Probably if you're asking yourself the question, it's time to write!

msp: Is historical fiction rising or falling in popularity?

Linda: I've sort of had the sense that it's more popular lately, at least more so than when I was first writing and people in my writers group, who knew more than I, were reporting that historical fiction was "out." But kids have gobbled up the Dear America series and such, and I would think those kids would like to have something to move on to. Most of those series seem aimed squarely at the 11-year-olds. Historical novels always reflect the time in which they’re written, so they usually do need updating every once in awhile!

msp: How hard would it be to combine historical fiction and mystery?

Linda: That would probably be a great idea, and I loved mysteries as a kid too. But I don't read them now and don't have much sense of how to construct one so it's not for me. But for someone who has a handle on this, I would think it would be quite marketable. So many adults will admit only apologetically that they read mysteries, but I think it's understandable. People want stories and sometimes adult literary fiction forgets to include one! Perhaps this is another reason I like kids' books: They still have stories! And the occasional happy ending!

Mel: Linda Crew, these past two hours have slipped swiftly away from us! It would be so pleasant to go on chatting with you about writing historical fiction for young readers, but our time is at an end. The questions people have asked of you tell me that they would like to hear MORE of you. We knew there was a deep interest in writing historical fiction even before you came; but now I sense that that interest has increased manifold. Your stories of the Westward Migration are fascinating, and to hear you describe just how you bring those ago characters alive for kids today is just as fascinating. Would you please come back someday so that we can ask you the more questions that are on the tips of our tongues, please?

Linda: I'd love to, Mel. It's been fun. Good luck to everyone on their own writing work!

Mel: The last of our Sizzling Summer Guest Chats will be with Deborah Wiles, August 18. I first met Deborah doing school visits several years ago, in the hat that befit her book then just out from Gulliver Books, Love, Ruby Lavender. Ruby's story is funny, yet touching and serious. Deborah was Alabama's Children's Author of the Year in 2004. She was also the recipient of the 2004 PEN/Phyllis Reynolds Naylor Working Writer Fellowship-which Phyllis mentioned when she was our Chat Guest last May 12. Deborah Wiles was born in Alabama into an Air Force family and grew up summers in a small Mississippi town with an extended family full of Southern characters. Today she writes about them and they live on in her stories. Deborah is the first children's book author to be named Writer-in-Residence at Thurber House, James Thurber's boyhood home in Columbus, Ohio. She received the Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Award from the New York Public Library and the Keats Foundation in 2002. Y’all come and chat with Deborah Wiles August 18!

Mel: THANK YOU again, Linda Crew, for coming out to chat tonight, and for being such an understanding question answerer about how to write historical fiction! I am positive that many who were in the auditorium tonight have either wanted to write historical fiction, and will—or will want to, now that they have chatted with you. We wish you much continuing SUCCESS, Linda!

Linda: It was fun to me, Mel. Hope what I've said helps.

Mel: It HAS helped, more than you could know. Goodnight, everyCHILDREN’Swriter!


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