Interview with L. A. Meyer,
author of In the Belly of the Bloodhound
Q: In the Belly of the Bloodhound is the fourth adventure for Jacky Faber. When you first envisioned Jacky as an urchin who dressed as a boy and took to the seas in hopes of a square meal, did you suspect she’d one day be battling Napoléon’s army in the Battle of Trafalgar, plotting against slave smugglers, and dueling the proper ladies of a fine boarding school, among other dangers? Has she surprised you as much as she seems to surprise most of her friends and enemies?
A: As the nineteenth-century novelist William Makepeace Thackeray once wrote, “There are a thousand thoughts lying within a man that he does not know till he takes up a pen to write.” Yes, even though I had plotted out the themes of most of the books when I started the first one, Jacky does constantly surprise me. That said, I have tried to bring her along from street urchin to fine lady in an orderly progression—a progression in which she does not always seem to want to participate.
Q: Jacky proves that you can take the girl out of the streets, but you can’t take the streets out of the girl. How do you keep her so street savvy and resourceful even as she travels years and experiences away from the cobblestone streets of London?
A: She knows that, no matter how high and mighty she gets, fine clothing and fine manners are a sham—and she knows this because her own semirough self gets away with it—and that the ethics of the street hold just about anywhere.
Q: Loyalty runs strong in Jacky. She’s forged deep friendships and will put herself at risk for those friends in an instant. What challenges do you face as Jacky grows hardened from battle yet tries to maintain her old friendships?
A: Jacky has been a gang member and a gang leader. She has grown up in a world where parents, police, and grown-ups in general are no help whatsoever. I believe that many young readers can relate to that as they try to navigate the rough waters of adolescence themselves.
Q: Again and again, Jacky has proven herself in the clutch, facing danger head-on and managing to keep her wits about her as she does it. Yet she still describes herself as cowardly. Do you think she’ll ever give herself credit where credit is due?
A: She really is a “peaceable sort of coward,” wanting only, as she says, a “nice little ship to carry cargo from one place to another and so prosper,” with suitable male company, of course. No warrior princess, she—she has never won a hand-to-hand fight with anyone. No, her prowess is in her intelligence and her cunning.
Q: Jacky’s love for the ocean is palpable. In writing her exploits on the high seas, have you fallen in love with the sea as well, or are you a die-hard landlubber?
A: Growing up as an army brat, I often lived by the sea. The time I spent next to the Chesapeake Bay is one I remember especially fondly. As an adult I spent some time in the navy, and lived on the South Shore of Boston when I was going to grad school and teaching art to high school students. Later my wife, Annetje, and I lived for seven years on a houseboat in Florida while raising our kids. Now we live in a small fishing village on the coast of Maine. I walk down to the sea every day.
Q: Jacky Faber is one rip-roarin’, swashbuckling character, and her adventures are addicting for readers. Do you have other characters clamoring within you for adventures of their own?
A: Right now I’ll stick with Jacky. There are many things she has not yet done.
Q: Readers of the Bloody Jack adventures have created at least two fansites devoted to the books. What are your feelings about Jacky’s celebrity status on the Web?
A: I love it. I love the kids’ enthusiasm and I take their comments to heart when planning out future books.
Q: Are there more Bloody Jack books looming on the horizon?
A: Yes. The fifth book, Mississippi Jack: Being an Account of the Further Waterborne Adventures of Jacky Faber, Midshipman, Fine Lady, and Lily of the West, will be out next fall.
In the Belly of the Bloodhound
Being an Account of a Particularly Peculiar Adventure in the Life of Jacky Faber
L. A. Meyer
0152055576 | 9780152055578
Ages 12 and up
L. A. Meyer was an art teacher, an illustrator,
a designer, and a naval officer before he began to write about the impetuous Jacky Faber. He and his wife, Annetje, operate an art gallery near their home in a small fishing village on the coast of Maine.
Other books in the critically acclaimed Bloody Jack Adventure series include:
And you may be certain that Jacky’s glorious adventures are not over yet....