Author Jean Ann Williams, the eldest in a large family, enjoys digging into her fascinating childhood to create stories for children. Having written over one hundred articles for children and adults, Just Claire is her first book. She’s a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, and Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and she writes regularly on her blog. Jean Ann and her husband live on one acre in Southern Oregon where they raise a garden, goats, and chickens. Her favorite hobbies are hiking through the woods and practicing archery with her bow.
by Jean Ann Williams
I’d like to introduce Miss ClaireLee Monteiro of Southern Oregon. She’s recently moved to a temporary home in Northern California, and is willing to discuss life in a new place here in Gallagher Springs.
ClaireLee, how old are you and if you have siblings where in line do you fit in your family?
I’m thirteen and I’m the oldest of five siblings. Feather was born after we got here.
What do you think of wilderness life?
I love the woods and the sound of the Rushing River, although, Daddy will not allow me to go to the river by myself. He’s too busy working and Mama hasn’t been feeling well since Feather was born. She sleeps a lot and has me taking care of the little kids more than before. I have to cook, too, but I don’t mind this so much. But, my brother Liam and I fight a lot, because he’s the oldest boy and I’m the oldest girl.
How has it been so far, a few weeks into the new school?
Not too bad. There’s this girl and she’s really big and her name is Belinda Cruz. She was so bossy at first, but I set her straight, and we’re becoming friends now.
What are you most afraid of?
I’m scared of the dark outside, because of cougars. When they scream, they sound like a woman who’s hurt and it gives me chill bumps. Besides, cougars are not as afraid of people as they should be, so I’m careful of them.
Would you consider yourself a girly girl or a tomboy?
I’m a tomboy. I’d rather be outdoors, hiking deer trails up our mountain back home in Oregon. But sometimes I just want to dress up and look pretty, too, like when we go to church and school.
If you had to choose, who is your most favorite person in the entire world, and why?
My grandmother, Nana, is my most favorite person because when we’re together, she likes me to do things with her like cook and make pies. She used to let me play dress-up with her clothes when I was a little girl. But, I’m too old for that now.
Who do you dislike the most, and why?
This girl here in Gallagher Springs and her name is Kaye Tyner. She’s in the Lavender Girls Club, which I want to belong to, but Kaye doesn’t like me. She’s a bully, always saying mean things about people. She says awful stuff about Belinda’s scar on her face, and this makes me angry.
What do you want to be when you grownup?
If I don’t get married, I want to be a horse jockey. I’m real short and I found out jockeys have to be little, and I love horses. And if this doesn’t work out, I want to be a racecar driver.
ClaireLee, what is your favorite food?
I love my mom’s on-top-of-the-stove blackberry cobbler with strips of pie dough stirred in.
More about Just Claire:
One mother damaged. One family tested. One daughter determined to find her place.
ClaireLee’s life changes when she must take charge of her siblings after her mother becomes depressed from a difficult childbirth. Frightened by the way Mama sleeps too much and her crying spells during waking hours, ClaireLee just knows she’ll catch her illness like a cold or flu that hangs on through winter. ClaireLee finds comfort in the lies she tells herself and others in order to hide the truth about her erratic mother. Deciding she needs to re-invent herself, she sets out to impress a group of popular girls.
With her deception, ClaireLee weaves her way into the Lavender Girls Club, the most sophisticated girls in school. Though, her best friend Belinda will not be caught with the likes of such shallow puddles, ClaireLee ignores Belinda’s warnings the Lavenders cannot be trusted. ClaireLee drifts further from honesty, her friend, and a broken mother’s love, until one very public night at the yearly school awards ceremony. The spotlight is on her, and she finds her courage and faces the truth, and then ClaireLee saves her mother’s life.
Thanks for stopping by, Jean Ann.