Some of Tim's Stories

Free Some of Tim's Stories by S. E. Hinton

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Authors: S. E. Hinton
Tags: Fiction/General
already written.
The Outsiders
is very much my book, but it’s a better book because Velma gave me suggestions. She was specific. I’ve developed lifelong friendships with my other editors—Craig Virden, George Nicholson, Ron Buehl—and they became a great part of my writing life, but Velma was the one who opened up my eyes to the editing process.
    As you look back at the book as a more mature writer, do you view the adult characters any differently
?
    All kids like to think that their little land is completely off the map for adults. I wasn’t ready to do adult characters at that point, so I don’t miss them. The kids don’t miss them. The one adult character that pops up is the guy at the church who doesn’t rescue the kids because he’s too fat to get them down.
    When the book was first published, critics commented on what they viewed as the religious symbolism in the story, but you insisted that that was just their notion. Do you still feel that way
?
    If you want to look for religious symbolism in the book, you will find it. About the third time I got somebody’s dissertation on religious symbolism in
The Outsiders
, I re-read the book with that in mind and, by golly, it’s there. But lo, I bring you tidings: I didn’t do it consciously. So much of my writing is subconscious. I keep hoping to find a way to take a nap and wake up with a chapter done. Johnny Cade is a Jesus figure who dies saving people. He comes back from death with his message of brotherhood for Ponyboy, and he dies between two thieves, Dallas and Bob. I mean, he writes in the dust of a church, “Be back soon,” and signs it “J. C.” The book even opens and closes with the line, “When I stepped in the light from the darkness.”
    At one point
, The Outsiders
was the second-best selling paperback for young adults in publishing history, topped only by
Charlotte’s Web.
What’s your opinion of
Charlotte’s Web?
    I love
Charlotte’s Web. Charlotte’s Web
and
The Outsiders
are both about the same things. They’re about death; they’re about friendship; they’re about sacrifice; they’re about resurrection.
    What do you think of the recent young adult bestseller
Harry Potter?
    I haven’t read
Harry Potter
. I never was into fantasy. I’ve seen a couple of the movies, and I’ve enjoyed them. My reading time is so precious to me that I want to read what I want to read. But any book that gets kids into reading is great.
    Earlier you said that you felt you were destined to write
The Outsiders—
it was meant to be. Could you speak a little more about the role you feel destiny played in the book
?
    The Outsiders
almost died on the vine because it was published initially as a mass-market paperback, a drugstore paperback. Dell was about ready to stop printing it but noticed it was starting to sell well in several places and did some research. Teachers had found that they could get nonreaders to read it, and they were ordering books for all their classes. Teachers are my heroes anyway, but I’ll tell you, they’re the best damn advertising a writer can have.
    You talked about the hundreds of fan letters you’ve gotten, people telling you that
The Outsiders
has changed their lives. How has it changed your life
?
    Well of course it’s changed my life drastically. I’ve had the luck and the leisure to be able to write and make a living out of it. Frankly I could live off
The Outsiders
, so it’s given me a lot of freedom as a writer. I can write what I want to without worrying about the audience. And it’s given me a lot of satisfaction to be part of something that has touched so many peoples’ lives and hearts. I just had somebody on the radio ask me how it felt being known for my first book. I said, “From what I hear, it beats being not known at all.”

Sequels

    â€œ
He’s okay, but I don’t

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