My post today is an interview with Emma Bennett, a seventeen-year old high school senior, in my novel, Aftermath. Emma's only worries are completing college applications and convincing her father to let her go on the senior trip to Lake Bell. Then, suddenly everything changes and Emma finds herself relocating to Westport, Wisconsin to live with her aunt. Let's see what she has to say today.
Yes, I dream a lot! Mostly I see strange things in my dreams—things I can’t explain. A man wearing an overcoat and fedora visits me often. I’m trying to figure out who he is and why he looks so familiar.
What is your biggest guilty pleasure/secret shame?
Hmmm… that’s a good one. Before my dad died, I was pretty straight-laced. I wouldn't drink, or hang out with the wrong crowd in high school. But after he died, things changed. I can’t say that I’m proud of everything I did, but I never hurt anyone.
Well, when my dad was alive, I would have easily answered NO, I’m not easily persuaded. But after I moved to Westport, and my life turned upside down, I found myself trying hard to fit in. Because of that, I guess I changed.
Do you suffer from any phobias? Does it affect your life in a big way?
Nope. None that I can think of. I was pretty much a tom-boy growing up. I played sports and hung out at my aunt’s lake most summers, so I went fishing with my dad and stuck worms on hooks all the time. There’s really nothing that I can openly say I’m afraid of.
What do you consider your “Achilles heel”?
When my aunt and her friends ignored me, I was pretty bent out of shape. But otherwise, I am pretty easygoing. I guess it was because I lived with Dad and we got alone great. Well, except that he was overbearing and protective. Compared to him, my aunt is a piece of cake. Shhh… don’t tell her.
How do you handle a crisis?
Unfortunately, I've had my share of crisis during my 17 years of life. My mom passed away when I was twelve, and my dad died at the beginning of my senior year of high school. It was tough having to move to Wisconsin to live with my aunt. But in the end, I learned a lot about myself and met some great new friends in the process.
Do you have a temper?
No. I think my friends would tell you that I’m fairly low-key.
What are your core values and/or religious beliefs?
When Mom was alive, we went to church as a family each week. But after she died, Dad and I lost enthusiasm. It wasn’t that we lost our beliefs in religion, it just didn't seem the same as when we went as a family. But having that solid foundation, I felt I made the right choices while growing up.
What things do you value most in life?
Definitely family and friends. If it weren't for them, I would have felt very alone after Dad died.
What is one major event that helped shape who you are?
At first, I would have said losing my mom to cancer when I was twelve. But losing my dad was probably the biggest change in my life. It was the reason I moved to Wisconsin, and was faced with different challenges. In the end, I persevered. Nothing is ever that bad that you can’t get past it.