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For Readers

2011 January 13
by prgiff

This is especially for Mr. Hughes’s classes because they’re reading PICTURES OF HOLLIS WOODS and sent me happy messages. I hope they’re reading the book slowly, because it took me more than a year to write it!

I want to tell you how I got to the “pictures.” I didn’t think of doing the book that way until I was almost finished writing. Instead Hollis just thought about the Regans in flashbacks.

All that thinking, all those flashbacks, made the story as heavy as the pancakes I cook.

I wasn’t happy with the whole thing.

But one morning I was thinking about my dad. He painted beautifully. In an instant, I thought about doing Hollis’s memories as pictures.

I didn’t stop for breakfast; I was still in my robe. I printed it all out…threw every chapter on the floor separately…and grabbed a red pencil. I circled every one of the memories…tossed them out of the chapters…and into “pictures” of their own.

And then it was lunchtime. I ate double; I ate triple; I had solved the problem…and I was on to the next.

That’s the way a book works for me. Don’t think I begin at chapter one and sail right through. I go back and forth, adding a chapter here, a chapter there, typing up pieces, reading them (spilling tea on them) and beginning again.

I want to tell you how thrilled I am that you’re reading my book. After all, why do I write? It’s to share my life with you. Don’t think books are totally fiction. The author hides in them, happy to tell the reader about her mother…Josie Cahill was mine; happy to tell about a house upstate New York…that was mine, too; happy to write about a family like the Regans. Can’t you guess it’s like my family?

20 Responses leave one →
  1. RonaldL Hughes permalink
    January 18, 2011

    I read the blog composed for my class. It is grand!!!!! I find it humbling that in the midst of all that is going on, you sent a blog for my students.

  2. January 19, 2011

    my name is iliana claudio
    I admired your book very much even though that i ddnt get to read the first part :( although I understood most of it. I loved the characters you picked!! they all tied in soo perfectly. I enjoyed the settings and moods you chose, they were all so calm. You are very talented and creative. i think my class enjoyed your book alot!!! THANKYOU for your writing!! 8)

  3. January 19, 2011

    Dear, mrs.giff
    I really enjoyed your book! I would like to read another one of your books hoping it is as good as Pictures of Hollis Woods. I was glad that they adopted her at the end….she finally had a family!:) How long have you been wwritng? what made you want to start writing?

  4. January 19, 2011

    Dear, mrs.giff
    I really enjoyed your book! I would like to read another one of your books hoping it is as good as Pictures of Hollis Woods. I was glad that they adopted her at the end….she finally had a family!:) How long have you been writng? what made you want to start writing?

  5. January 19, 2011

    hellllllllo im in mr. Hughes class, ive read your hollis wooods book. At first i was confused about the “pictures” thing, but after reading more deeply i understood that all of the pictures are flashblacks. I like the way you put real life people in your “fiction” books. Another thing i like about the book is that its different. Not just chapters. I would like for you to send me some names of other books youve wrote. I like the way you write.

    Derek Hardin

  6. January 19, 2011

    Hi, My name is Sequoia and I am in Mr.Hughes’ class. Well I like your book I think it is very entertaining. At 1st i was very confused but then i started understanding the concept of the book (well most of it). I think that Hollis Woods is avery interesting character (My favorite)

  7. Randy Garcia permalink
    January 19, 2011

    Your book is very interesting some parts were sad but,its a good book.I think it would have been better if it would have had actual drawings.

  8. January 19, 2011

    Dear.Ms Giff
    my name is elliott harris and am in ms hughes class and i thought your book was very interesting and my favorite character is hollis woods she very kool even though she was abandon and a foster child.

    And i thought josie was a nice lady,I thought that hollis was a very brave girl and did u bass this story on all your life different parts.

  9. kevin hayes permalink
    January 19, 2011

    i love your book its great,its the only book ive got into in a long time.i thank a book that would be good could be about the saying what goes around comes round. p.s. i plan to read the book eleven.

    kevin hayes

  10. January 19, 2011

    I like your book a lot,because it is realist in a since.We live in a county where that happens a lot.I can’t wait to read your other book

  11. January 19, 2011

    Dear Mrs.Giff,
    hi, how are you?My name is cindy molina, i’m in’s language arts class.
    I read your book”Pictures of Hollis Woods”.I think you did a good job with it.
    I loved the book because it shows how strong a girl can be even without a family to support her.That’s what I call girl power!*:)
    I think having first pictures and second pictures was a good have done a great job with the character Hollis Woods.She shows herself strong and soft in some parts of your book.It was awsome!
    The settings interact with the different types of moods in the story,that made me enjoy the book.

    Cindy Molina
    p.s.oh and by the way, in a scale from one through ten i would give this book a TEN!This is a must read book!!!*:)(:*hope you have a nice day!(:*

  12. January 19, 2011

    Dear, Mrs.Giff,
    I think your book would have been better if you would had included actual pictures.your book was Really good I loved it. Great job.i can’t wait to read your next book

  13. Shawnesty Powell permalink
    January 19, 2011

    Dear Mrs.Giff,

    I loved your book, I thought it was awsome hope your husband gets better.

  14. January 19, 2011

    I love the book Hollis Woods this is the best book i have ever read before,i likeb the ending of the book it is the best part of the story.I think the book mostly refers to you and your life it is truly a good bool

  15. January 19, 2011

    Dear Mrs.Giff I think this was a great book,and also creative.I loved reading this book every day.I was amazed on the title “which was good”and also I loved the way it was writen.This book looks like it could of accure in real life.I think it is perfect to read.I’m also sorry for your mother”R.I.P”.I think she is happy for what you have writtenand the things you do.Keep up the good work. Sincerly, Jonathan cardenas P.S:I hope to find and read “Eleven”,also I hope your husband gets well.

  16. January 19, 2011

    Dear Mrs.Giff,

    I am from Magnolia Elemtary school and i am in Mr.Hughes 7th grade class.I have not read your book Hollis Woods because i was in the hospital to :( I got ran over by a golf cart,I also had to get 4 stiches on the inside and 15 staples on the outside.Getting back to the story the storys i heard about this book i would love to read the book.Im starting to read the book on 01/19/11 got to read the first 2 chapters.Love the book so far I am also about to die to read your book ELEVEN.Great job on the first 2 chapters on Hollis Woods.

    your great reader,

  17. January 19, 2011

    email me at love to talk to you sometimes………………..:):):):):):):)

  18. roy j. velazquez jr. permalink
    January 19, 2011

    My name is Roy.I am in the seventh grade and have Mr. Ronald Hughes as my English teacher. In his class we are reading “Pictures of Hollis Woods” and it is great! I love it because it is serious,yet at sometimes funny. I would love it if you could write a letter to the class explaining why you wrote it. See Ya!

  19. January 19, 2011

    MY name is Whitney MCNEILL.. I am in the seventh grade and i have MR.HUGHES as my third period teacher. and right now in his class we are reading ”PICTURES OF HOLLIS WOODS ” we havent finished it yet but soo far is is a great book!!!!

  20. Maci permalink
    April 17, 2011

    I read “Pictures of Hollis Woods” in 5th grade!

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