Friday, May 08, 2009

Stonewall Hinkleman, Time-Traveler: The Exclusive Interview

In the past, I’ve posted performer interviews on this blog, but decided that I would not do author interviews or book reviews. However, when I found out that Stonewall Hinkleman, THE actual Stonewall Hinkleman, whose time-traveling adventures were documented by Michael Hemphill and Sam Riddleburger in Stonewall Hinkleman and the Battle of Bull Run, was willing to be interviewed for Saints and Spinners, I jumped at the chance. Some of my favorite books of all time have been “time-slip” stories like Fog Magic by Julia L. Sauer and Justice and Her Brothers by Virginia Hamilton. You can read more about other time-slip novels over at Charlotte’s Library through her Timeslip Tuesday feature. The opportunity to speak with someone who actually traveled through time was too good to miss. Sam Riddleburger (who, in the interest of full disclosure, is a blog-friend) set up the meeting.

This interview is part of the Stonewall’s Blog Tour. The master link will guide you to other parts of the tour. You can win prizes courtesy of Dial Books For Young Readers: the Stonewall Hinkleman Prize Pack contains a signed copy of Stonewall Hinkleman & The Battle of Bull Run, a t-shirt just like Stonewall wears on the cover, plus advance copies of other Dial Books for Young Readers titles. To enter, send an email to and put "Stonewall Contest" in the subject line.

The Exclusive Interview with Time-Traveler Stonewall Hinkelman

Saints and Spinners: Stonewall, thank you for sitting down with me over lunch and answering a few questions about your new memoir, Stonewall Hinkleman and the Battle of Bull Run, as told to Michael Hemphill and Sam Riddleburger. People keep telling me that the book is not a memoir but a fictitious children's book, and that you are not real. And yet, just like Snuffleupagus, here you are. Since we are at a restaurant where you can order anything you want to eat in the whole world, what will you have?

Stonewall Hinkleman: I always like to order Pibb Extreme, because the waitresses always say “You mean, Mr. Pibb?” But, Pibb Extreme IS the real name of it. They changed it. Also, a chicken filet sandwich with just mayo. No lettuce.

S&S: With the release of the book, you’ve been getting your fair share of media attention. By the way of an extraordinary bugle that’s actually a device called a Tempest, you were able to leave the scene of the Civil War reenactment site where your parents drag you every weekend and travel back in time to the Battle of Bull Run on July 21, 1861. Not only that, you had to deal with the nefarious machinations of another time traveler who tried to change the course of the Civil War so that the South would win. Along the way, you got to meet your great-great-great-great uncle Cyrus. So far, what has been the most challenging part of dealing with your subsequent fame as a result of Hemphill and Riddleburger documenting your adventure?

SH: Everybody comes up to me and is like “Wow, that must have been so cool!” Uh, it's not that cool to have a bunch of maniacs trying to kill you all day long! And it's not cool trying to figure out how to make the South lose when the Yankees are the ones trying to blow your brains out and the Southern guys are your great-great-great-great uncle and his friends. That's like the definition of “not cool.”

S&S: Since the book of your adventures came out, the media has made much of your friendship with Ashby “Ash” Dupree, a girl named after Ashby Turner, another Civil War general. Ash ended up traveling back in time with you as well and sharing your adventures. What does Ash think of the book and her role in it? Has your friendship changed as a result?

SH: I miss Ash so much! I can't believe we only spent one day together and that most of that day we were getting shot at. But I haven't seen her much since we came back, since her father is trying to kill me.

SH: Your parents named you after the Confederate General Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson. Your middle name is Traveler, after Robert E. Lee’s horse. Just out of curiosity, what are your parents’ names?

SH: See that's the thing. My dad was named after Robert E. Lee. So his name is Robert. Why coudn't he have just named me Robert? Or even Jefferson? Then I could be Jeff. My mom's name is Jennifer. They don't have any idea what it's like to have a dumb name.

S&S: What are your words of advice for other would-be time travelers?

SH: Make sure you read Ben Franklin's instructions, which are way in the back of the book.

S&S: Speaking of the back of the book, it has some fascinating end-papers that document other Tempests more powerful than your bugle. Are you tempted at all to find and use them?

Actually, what I'm tempted to do is to throw out the bugle and play some video games. But, if I absolutely have to go back in time again then I sure hope I get something better than that lousy bugle. I want the mighty Hammer!

S&S: What was it like to work with Sam Riddleburger and Michael Hemphill?

SH: They're annoying.

S&S: Do you anticipate any more time-traveling adventures? If so, do you think you will continue to visit the Civil War era or will you journey elsewhere (or should I say, “elsewhen”)?

SH: Well, the Antietam re-enactment is coming up soon.

S&S: Stonewall Hinkleman, thank you so much for taking part in this interview. I wish you much success in all your present and future endeavors.

The roundup of links on Stonewall's blog tour can be found here.


Charlotte said...

Thanks for the mention! (although my Timeslips Tuesdays have been more uncertain than I'd like them to be...)

I will have to get my hands on this book.

Lone Star Ma said...

I'm afraid that the Lone Star Girl is going to have to arrest that boy in her duties as a temporal agent. Ooops - now I've outed her.

Saints and Spinners said...

Charlotte: I hear you. I haven't done a Song of the Week in many weeks.

LSM: Stonewall actually did some good deeds! I think LSG would approve. It's that dastardly dad of Ash Dupree who really needs arresting.

Chip and Ashley Donahue said...

Magnificent, lively read. My wife and I enjoyed it over the weekend. I think the book captures the spirit of adventure that still waits within a fifth or sixth grader!

Please check it out!
Chip and Ashley Donahue

LindaBudz said...

Fun post! And, thanks for the heads up on Snuffy! I'm so glad he was finally revealed ... that used to drive me nuts as a kid!!