1. Tell me a little about yourself (where you live, who you are, what you look like, what you hope to achieve, etc. My name is Elle Burton and I live in Menomonie, Wisconsin. I’m ten years old and my mom and poppy say I am quite smart. I go to school in Menomonie and live by Lake Menomin. It’s really pretty right now with the snow on it, but it can get pretty stinky in the summer time from the algae. I still love it here. I have all kinds of friends at school. I have dark auburn hair and brown eyes. I love butterflies. They are wonderful and make children feel safe and happy. I attend Wakanda Elementary School and my best friend is Megan Olson. She and I do everything together…well, almost everything. I have a secret that I’m not supposed to tell anyone, so it makes it kinda hard sometimes.
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2. What do you like to do in your spare time? I love to play with Mr. Paws. He’s a cat who comes every day to visit. He lives almost a mile away, and he still comes no matter what the weather is like. It’s been really hard for him lately with all the snow in Wisconsin. I love to go visit friends in the country to see all the animals, especially a little fawn that I helped Officer Wendy save. Lately, I’ve been pretty busy with a new project. I’m helping other kids now, but I can’t really say too much about that. I love to swim and ride my bike in the summer.
3. What is your favorite color and why? I love the color blue, because it reminds me of Lake Menomin in the spring when everything is fresh and new. Our house overlooks the lake, so I can see the blue sky and the lake out my bedroom window. I love sparkles and they show up better on pink, so I wear a lot of pink, but it’s not my favorite color.
4. What is your favorite food? Why is it your favorite? I absolutely love blueberry pancakes. Mom and I go out in the country north of town where a lady has a blueberry patch and we can pick our own. Mom made me blueberry pancakes for breakfast for my birthday this year. The blueberries just kind of explode in your mouth. When I left for school after eating my pancakes, Mom went to the hospital and had a new baby. She named him JJ and he looks like my Poppy. Did I tell you Poppy was stationed in Afghanistan? He was killed in a Chinook helicopter the same day JJ was born. It was so sad for my mom. I stayed at the hospital and helped her though. I believe in angels, because my poppy came and talked to me. If there weren’t angels, how could he come all the way from Afghanistan to see the new baby and tell me goodbye?
5. What would you say is your biggest quirk? Oh my, I’m not sure exactly what that means ‘cause I’m only ten, but I think it means what makes me different. I, well, I guess it’s that I have invisible friends who help me protect the children here on earth. I’ve been told I have a vivid imagination.
6. What is it about your antagonist that irks you the most, and why? Oh my, that’s a really big question. You see, I think that every child deserves to be protected and to live a happy life. I am not afraid to fight for other kids who are being bullied. I even challenged Jimmy Backus who’s the worst bully ever. He had my friend Amber in tears on the playground the other day. Then there are kids who are actually being hurt at home. Can you believe that some parents actually beat their kids? Mom and Poppy are so good to me, I can’t even imagine it, but I know now it happens. It happened to a girl in my school. I also hate people who try to cheat other people like Mr. Vickers cheated poor Miss Irma…she’s a really old lady who lives a couple of blocks over. Mom and I go to visit her and keep her company. Mr. Vicker cheated her out of all her retirement savings, but I think I have a plan to help her. So, I guess the answer to your question is that I think everyone should have a kind heart. I am going to do everything I can to help other people but mostly kids because no one should ever be hurt or cheated, don’t you think?
7. What or who means the most to you in your life? What, if anything, would you do to keep him/her/it in your life? I’ve always been my daddy’s girl. Poppy would have done anything for me and I adored him. Because of that awful war in the Middle East. I’ve already lost him, but he told me when he came to see me before he led his men to heaven that he would always be with me in the sunrise that warms and brightens my face and in the stars that I gaze up at when I fall asleep at night. I really do know it was his angel who came to me on my birthday and I won’t ever forget him. I promised him I would take JJ to Lake Menomin when he’s old enough and teach him to fish. Poppy is with me every single minute of every day. I hope I can make him proud of me and accomplish all the things he told me I would do. He’s not ever going to leave me. I see him everywhere and I have a responsibility to tell JJ all about him. That kinda makes it like he’s still alive, doesn’t it?
8. What one thing would you like readers to know about you that may not be spelled out in the book in which you inhabit? Hmmm. That’s a really hard question. I think it would be that I always wanted to grow up to be a teacher. My Grandma Statler is such a good teacher and so is Mom and Miss Irma. I think the most important thing a person can ever do is to help a kid grow up and accomplish everything they are capable of doing. So I think I would like to be a teacher or someone who helps teach kids how to get it right to begin with.
9. If you could tell your writer (creator) anything about yourself that might turn the direction of the plot, what would it be? I’m scared I won’t be able to do what is expected of me. I’m just not sure I am as smart and strong as everyone tells me I am. It’s hard being ten and knowing that someone’s life depends on how you do your job. So far, I’ve done everything right and it’s all worked out, but I’m so afraid I might make a mistake. Amadeus and Mother Blue have so much faith in me and Grandma Statler is so proud of what I’ve done so far. But I’ve never been special and it’s hard for me to trust myself and my reactions to know what to do. I think it’ll get better as I get older, but right now I’m really frightened. What will they all think if I make a big mistake? Will anybody get hurt because I didn’t guess right?
10. Ask me any question. I've always wanted to know what a character thinks about writers like myself. I'll answer the question at the end of this interview. I’m pretty sure that I am a whole lot of people put together that Peggy has known in her life. I have good traits and some I need to improve. Does an author feel like a character is like their own child? Do you help them like you would if they were your own kid? It’s really important to me to know that because otherwise some of this stuff would be far too scary for me to handle by myself.
Yes, most authors treat their characters like their own children, especially if they are as young as you are. I notice that you care about others and are afraid to make mistakes, but it's good to care about others even when you are afraid of making mistakes. Life isn't always what we wish for, but we can make it better by reaching out and helping someone else.
Thank you, Elle!
Learn more about Elle Burton and the Reflective Portals:
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Peggy-Mound-McAloon/289445231180588
Facebook Parent Resource Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Peggy-Mound-Mcaloon-Parenting-Resources/644656588904936