Book Trailer Premiere: Shouting at the Rain by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

I love Lynda Mullaly Hunt's novels. Her characters stay with you forever. I'm honored Lynda stopped by to chat with me about Shouting at the Rain's book trailer, Delsie, Cape Cod, story, anagrams, and more. I wrote the words in purple, and Lynda wrote the words in black. Thank you, Lynda! 

Shouting at the Rain’s book trailer is a labor of love. My schedule has not allowed for its creation, but I couldn’t help myself. And as Esme says in the book, “We always make room for the things that matter.” This mattered because I love to make book trailers. I think its because it allows me to linger in that book’s world for just a little bit longer. Besides, I always say…everything in life is improved upon by violins.

Delsie and Grammy are both created from facets of me at thirteen. Delsie is a bit naïve. Tries to keep her chin up but drags around a heavy emotional block. (Her best friend, Ronan, is another side of me at thirteen. Outwardly angry. Confused. Hurting.) Like Grammy, the young Delsie side of me tried hard not to look at sadness. Also, like her, I loved games shows. I think it was largely because people were happy in them. My brother Johnny and I used to compete with each other guessing prices on The Price is Right. For this book, Grammy and her game show enthusiasm was the very first thing that dropped into me. The first thing I really knew. That, and her fried bologna which my mum made all the time. 

Cape Cod is my favorite place on earth. I dream about it when I’m not here…

I hope Shouting at the Rain will help children. That is always my wish as I work on a book. In creating these particular characters, I wanted to create the following “mirrors.”

A) In my travels around the country, I have met so many children who are being raised by a grandparent now. The kids never tell me they think that their home situation is inferior, but their tone and volume often convey it. So, I wanted to write a book with a character raised by grandparents who comes to see herself as lucky. How can you view yourself as abandoned if people have stepped in to love you?

B) People who struggle economically but who love each other, take care of each other, and are a happy family.

C) I wanted to explore authentic friendships. The kinds that buoy us. Make us better versions of ourselves. As a former teacher, I can recall multiple conversations with kids after a mistreatment by a peer whose response was, “But she’s my friend.”
The “bully situation” with an acquaintance or stranger is clear. But what if it’s a close friend? The kind of friend you’ve had for years who has now turned on you? Outgrown you? Deemed you boring?

This is far more difficult. And the “friends in threes” is really tough for kids. The dynamic is ripe for someone getting hurt.

So, I wanted to portray a situation where a middle schooler must decide between holding on or letting go of a relationship that no longer makes her happy. Of course it’s very human to want to hold on. Sometimes it’s less scary to stick with something you know isn’t great rather than risk being alone. No doubt these are tough waters to navigate. At any age.

D) I wanted to create characters who struggle with navigating emotions. Again, as a teacher, when I asked why a kid would’ve done something like haul off and hit someone, their response was often, “I was mad.” As if that was some sort of “get out of jail free card,” justifying the attack on another. I wanted to create a character who came to the realization that he can feel negative emotions but not be carried away by them. And that it feels good to be in control of yourself and your actions. When we are angry, 30% of the thinking part of the brain literally goes off line. We have more difficulty thinking through problems. And we are also not in a place to connect to others. 

And, let’s face it…anger puts people off. So, kids who struggle with their anger often isolate themselves, which makes them more angry, and it goes ‘round and ‘round. Kids may be enrolled in AP classes and get straight A’s but if they can’t navigate emotions and make authentic connections with other people, they will not have happy lives.

Story is usually fictional but the best, most lingering tales are the ones that are real where it counts.

Mr. Schu, you should have asked me… Are there any secrets in your book that readers may find surprising?

Well, as a matter of fact, there are! Thanks for asking!

I had a lot of fun with the names in this book. Every name has some hidden meaning inside.

First of all, Ronan’s mom’s name is Andrea. Andrea Gale. If you research the name Andrea Gail, you’ll find it was the name of a fishing boat lost in a storm off the coast of Massachusetts in 1991. Pay attention to what Delsie says to Ronan about his mom during the scene when her name is revealed.

Also, Sherman is a commercial fisherman in the book. Sherman is the last seven letters in the word, “fisherman.”

In addition, Ronan is a Celtic word meaning young seal. You’ll understand the significance of this if you ever get around to reading the book.

Lastly, every name in the book is an anagram. An anagram is a word made from another word using the same letters in a different order. For example, listen is an anagram of silent. If you are able to figure out the anagrams for each character (Actually, the title of the book is an anagram as well.) you’ll learn a secret, reveal a reference to the book, or find something to make you chuckle. There’s even an anagram that honors a favorite FISH IN A TREE character.

Thank you SO much, John, for having me on your blog to reveal my book trailer. I LOVE the work you are doing all over the earth. Thank you for that, as well. 

Thank you for sharing your heart with the world. Thank you for being here today! 

Look for Shouting at the Rain on May 7, 2019. 

Delsie loves tracking the weather—lately, though, it seems the squalls are in her own life. She’s always lived with her kindhearted Grammy, but now she’s looking at their life with new eyes and wishing she could have a “regular family.” Delsie observes other changes in the air, too—the most painful being a friend who’s outgrown her. Luckily, she has neighbors with strong shoulders to support her, and Ronan, a new friend who is caring and courageous but also troubled by the losses he’s endured. As Ronan and Delsie traipse around Cape Cod on their adventures, they both learn what it means to be angry versus sad, broken versus whole, and abandoned versus loved. And that, together, they can weather any storm.


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