Saturday, November 13, 2010

SISTERS SATURDAY with wonderful Bethany Hegedus

This is one of my favorite people, someone I consider a good friend, even though we haven't met in person! She's a talented writer and wonderfully warm hearted, and I bet she's a great sister... Bethany Hegedus!!

Bethany signing a book for her sister!

Bethany Hegedus has spent time above and below the Mason-Dixon Line. She cares deeply about kids, having once been a high school teacher and also a youth advocate. She serves as a mentor in the PEN Prison Writing Program and holds an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Bethany is Co-Editor of the Young Adult’s and Children’s section of the literary magazine, Hunger Mountain and is Austin Host of the popular website Her second novel, Truth, With a Capital T. (Delacorte/Random House) releases Oct. 12, 2010. Between Us Baxters (WestSide Books, 2009) is her first novel and forthcoming is the picture book Grandfather Gandhi, co-written with Arun Gandhi (Atheneum/Simon & Schuster, TBA).

So Bethany, where do you fit into the birth order in your family?

BETHANY: I am the dreaded—yep, you guessed it—middle child. Middle children make for good writers. We tend to over-dramatize, whine about the angst of being the forgotten middle one, and make up good stories to entertain the younger sibling, which usually turn the older sibling into the bad guy monster—though we really envy their role as Head-Kid-In-Charge.

Middle child here. But I totally didn't envy the responsible role. :) Forgotten one I can relate to. I mean, there are NO pictures of me as a child. Not that I'm bitter. But I never let my mom forget it. Oops. There I go again. Me me me. Back to you. So what is the age difference between you and your sister?

BETHANY: My sister and I are nine years apart. Enough of an age difference that as kids we didn’t fight over the same toys or the same boys and that now as we get older feels like no age difference at all.

Yeah I get that. And btw- with nine years, that might have been creepy if you fought over the same boys. So, what do you think is the best part about having your sister?

BETHANY: My sister, Katie, is my greatest champion—and me hers. (Aside from her husband and kids, that is—that girl has a major cheering section.) I adore her with every bone in my body and we lead such very different lives—she with three wonderful kids and me—with the kids I create on the page. She is my exact opposite—dark hair and dark eyes—but is my heart’s other half. And, before I get too mushy and begin to cry while writing this (which when she reads this she will know I truly am tearing up), she also gives the best reality checks. I can hear her now, “Seriously, Bethany, I love you sis, but you sound like a Hallmark card.”

And she made you an Auntie. That is the world`s best job, and deserves some Hallmark card stuff. How about the other end of it. What is the most challenging thing about being sisters?

BETHANY: That we live states away from one another; she in the Atlanta area and me here in Austin. It makes it difficult to lean on each other for help and comfort with the daily life stuff: babysitting, borrowing milk, fashion advice. I am glad Katie has our sister-in-law, who lives in her area and that she sees often, to pitch in with the older sister role. Katie and I talk though, when my writing schedule allows and her mom schedule allows. I always know she is a phone call away.

Yeah. It`s tough when you live in different cities. But the thing with sisters is that they`re always there if you really need them right. Here`s a quote I like..

"Sisters function as safety nets in a chaotic world simply by being there for each other." ~Carol Saline

So what are your roles in the family?

BETHANY: I am the truth teller, unable to stop myself from talking about any elephant in the room. And, Katie, is the light of the family. She brings out everyone’s joy and when we are together at family functions—look out. We do our sister “shtick” and are the family’s comedians and clowns—but with high heels instead of big ugly rubber shoes.

That`s one thing I love about you, the way you say it like it is! I love that in people. I'd like to see you with your sister but I won't wear high heels with you. Hate them on my feet. But I do envy people who can pull them off. Now, can you share a favorite childhood memory of your sister?

BETHANY: Not from childhood, but whenever we get together and are in a car we can’t help but sing The Indigo Girls version of Romeo & Juliet and a thousand other songs, windows rolled down, hair do’s be-damned, as we drive down the highway.

Love! Except I don't know the Indigo Girls song, but do remember that you're a big fan. Must check them out. Nothing like singing loud in the car, even better with a partner. So. Does your sister know secrets about you? Can you share one? How about one of her secrets?

BETHANY: My sister knows me inside and out. She knows many a secret—but she would never share any. And, as lots of folks know, I am a not so great secret keeper—which may be why I have no dirt on my sister to share. (No, the real reason I have no dirt is because my sister is an open book. What you see is what you get—and the main thing people see is her kindness.)

Well. I bet your sister is nice and all but um. I suspect that's a diplomatic way of saying you won`t share a juicy secret. Isn`t it??? Okay. Enough of me wanting sister secrets. NOTE FROM JANET- I WILL be talking to sister's of authors, and maybe they will spill--Okay. Last quesion. What is something you never tell your sister, but you should?

BETHANY: That if I had a super power, it would be to blink my eyes and when I opened them—there she’d be or there I’d be—transported to a comfy couch in her home or mine.
Awwww. That is so sweet. I wish I was half as nice as you. My sister gets sarcasm and dumb jokes and I`d probably use my super power to wish for cold hard cash or invisibility or something self serving and you use yours to share your comfy couch with your sister. Now I feel kind of mean. But I do like the sounds of your sister and you!

Thank you so much for popping in to share yourself and your sister relationship!

Truth With A Capital T is an important Middle Grade book with lots of heart, like what Bethany shared with us today!
Lots of families have secrets. Little-Known Fact: My family has an antebellum house with a locked wing—and I’ve got a secret of my own.

I thought getting kicked out of the Gifted & Talented program—or not being “pegged,” as Mama said—­was the worst thing that could happen to me. W-r-o-n-g, wrong.

I arrived in Tweedle, Georgia, to spend the summer with Granny and Gramps, only to find no sign of them. When they finally showed up, Cousin Isaac was there too, with his trumpet in hand, and I found myself having to pretend to be thrilled about watching my musical family rehearse for the town's Anniversary Spectacular. It was h-a-r-d, hard. Meanwhile, I, Maebelle T.-for-No-Talent Earl, set out to win a blue ribbon with an old family recipe.

But what was harder and even more wrong than any of that was breaking into the locked wing of my grandparents’ house, trying to learn the Truth with a capital T about Josiah T. Eberlee, my long-gone-but-not-forgotten relation. To succeed, I couldn't be a solo act. I’d need my new friends, a basset hound named Cotton, the strength of my entire family, and a little help from a secret code.

With grace and humor and a heaping helping of little-known facts, Bethany Hegedus incorporates the passions of the North and the South and bridges the past and the present in this story about one summer in the life of a sassy Southern girl and her trumpet-playing adopted Northern cousin.

1 comment:

  1. I knew I loved Bethany for a reason. She's a great sister as well as a great writer-person. Sorry I missed this post earlier. Off thinking about NCTE and Thanskgiving, I guess.