by Marina Hill
GENRE: Historical Fiction
A retelling of the classic coming-of-age story Little Women through the intimate lens of Jo March.
It’s 1862 and fifteen-year-old Jo March would rather be fighting in the war, like her papa, than improving her knitting skills on the home front. But societal conventions for the “gentle” woman-and her steadfast adoration for her three sisters-force Jo to stay behind and support the family, all the while rolling her eyes at Aunt March and daydreaming of becoming a famous author.
At home, love abounds in the March girls’ lives in the form of family, friendship, patriotism, religion, and-to Jo’s chagrin-romance. As each sister navigates their ascent into adulthood, Jo unwittingly ventures down a path of self-realization, using her gift of written prose to craft her voice, and thus, her truth. Perhaps, just maybe, she can strike balance between the freedom of independence and the warmth of partnership…
In this visionary adaptation, Little Writer tells the March sisters’ timeless journey to womanhood with a multiracial cast of characters, reimagining history to include diverse communities without elaboration.
When spring rolls around, my sisters and I love to stay outside.
One blossoming afternoon, while I’m in the coop to feed the chickens, I spot Laurie, Beth, and Amy around the redbud tree. Laurie latches onto a branch to shake the tree loose of any lingering magenta petals. Flowers begin raining on Beth and Amy, who lock hands and spin together. Their skirts fly about them and I smile at their girlish laughter.
Once I return to feeding the animals, Laurie appears behind me. “What d’you have there?”
“Teddy! Come in. I want you to meet my chicken, Aunt Cockle-top.” I point to her and, though Laurie enters the coop, he says far from the roaming animals.
“Please keep that from me,” he says, shaking some magenta flower petals from his curls as he skirts away.
“Don’t be afraid,” I exclaim, cleaning my hands on my linen apron before scooping up Aunt Cockle-top. She flaps her wings.
Teddy stumbles backward. “Jo!”
“She’s just a chicken. Face your fears!” I haul Aunt Cockle-top into the air toward him.
He yelps and loses his footing without trying to catch her. My chicken falls on top of him and he screeches, “She bit me!” to send me into a deep laughing fit.
“Josephine!” Marmee’s scolding voice startles me. My laughter is slow to dissipate as she brings a whimpering Laurie inside.
Where are you from? Tell us a little about yourself!
I’m from the New Jersey side of Philadelphia! My family is large, blended, and multicultural. I did end up being one of the few artsy ones; most of us are into sports and such. I have a plethora of older brothers and no sisters, which is probably why most of my female main protagonists have attitude problems.
Tell us about your book? How did it get started?
One of the most important factors of life is empathy. It’s vital for others to try and understand what another feels, and I believe the world would be a better place if everyone had more empathy. I exercise this in many stories I read and watch, especially with ones I love very much. Little Women had an immediate impact on me; every page felt like home and I have such joy when I’m with the March family. I was watching the 1994 movie one day, and I thought that it focused too much on Jo, as does the 2019 one. I wanted to know what the other characters might feel, how they might view different situations they’re in. I ultimately selected Jo first because I relate to her so much and I wanted to ease into this series with a comfortable story. I’m eager to dissect the thoughts of the rest of the March sisters!
How do you create your characters?
A lot of my characters are a combination of who I am and want to be.
What inspires and what got you started in writing?
I love pushing the limits of what my imagination can do.
Where do you write? Is there something you need in order to write (music, drinks?)
I find it difficult to write while either on my bed or on the couch. It’s best for me to work on a surface—be it a desk, countertop, or dining table. Usually, I like to have ambience music in the background, depending on the world I’m working in.
How do you get your ideas for writing?
I write what I wanted to read as a sixteen-year-old. I longed for both comfort and adventure stories about girls who learned to fight for what they want.
What do you like to read?
Historical fiction and fantasy! Predominantly historical fantasy, and I rarely read contemporary fiction.
What would your advice to be for authors or aspiring in regards to writing?
Take your time to hone your craft. For a very long time, I’ve focused on getting published and successful and being like the authors I admire so much. I struggle with imposter syndrome almost on a daily basis, but I’ve come a long way. I’m not a beginner writer; I would say I’m talented, but I still have so, so much to learn. My biggest advice is to develop your skill as a writer.
Anything else you’d like to share?
It’s 1862 and Jo March would rather be fighting in the war, like her papa, than improving her knitting skills on the home front. But societal conventions for the “gentle” woman—and her steadfast adoration for her three sisters—force Jo to stay behind and support the family, all the while daydreaming of becoming a famous author. Jo unwittingly ventures down a path of self-realization, using her gift of written prose to craft her voice, and thus, her truth. Perhaps, just maybe, she can strike a balance between the freedom of independence and the warmth of partnership… In this visionary adaptation, LITTLE WRITER tells the March sisters’ timeless journey to womanhood with a multiracial cast of characters, reimagining history to include diverse communities without elaboration.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Marina Hill is a writer with a keen interest in all things undiscovered. She grew up in the New Jersey side of Philadelphia, watching Eagles games and roughhousing with her plethora of older brothers. She attended Baruch College in NYC and has over a dozen publications of her other works. If she isn’t daydreaming about her next story, she’s studying history or yearning to dash into the forest, build a farm, and never look back. Marina never lives in one spot for too long and loves to travel with her dog.
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Marina Hill will be awarding a $15 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.