Friday, February 14, 2014

NO ALLIGATORS IN SIGHT by Kirsten B. Feldman

by Kirsten B. Feldman

In this coming of age novel, Lettie and Bert squeak by in a tiny town on Cape Cod, one parent an alcoholic and the other absent. After a string of bad decisions on Lettie’s part, their father ships them to their barely remembered mother for the summer, where they will learn hard lessons about themselves, their family, and their future by way of the Florida swamp. Throughout Lettie keeps her biting humor flowing, her razor-sharp pen at the ready, and her eye on her quest for a “normal” life.

“So. Let’s get started.” He squinted up at the sun, just approaching its height. “We’ve got a good eight to nine hours before it gets dark. Plan is to bushwhack our way around the island, look for the best spot to cut through to the center, and make a site for the tents and the latrine.” He reached into one of the moldy canvas bags he’d brought and pulled out four big knives with curved blades. He slung the bag over his head and behind his back.

“Know what these are?”

“Cool! Swords!” Bert was already reaching for one.

I had seen them in the army/navy store in Provincetown. I didn’t know anyone actually used them, I thought they were more sort of decorative, or if you were a veteran remembering your days in Nam. “You’re giving an eight-year-old a machete. Isn’t there some law against that, child labor or something?”

“Now you’re a joker, huh? You need to work on your delivery.”

“Seriously, he can’t use that thing. He’ll cut off his leg.”

“Yes, I can, I can. See?” Bert grabbed for a machete and then swung wildly to cut down a mass of green growth. I didn’t know what it was; all the plants were different down here and grew bigger overnight. I’d seen in the paper that some of the vines in Key West were so strong they pulled down telephone lines.

“No blood, huh? All set then. We’ll go this way,” he put his leash hand on Gertrude’s shoulder, “and you two go that way. We’ll meet at that big tree in a couple hours, report our progress.” He waved vaguely at the great trees that crowded the central part of the island (like the whole island wasn’t covered in trees). “And you better have made some.”

He put one of the big duffels over his other shoulder.

“You look out for Bert, okay, Leticia?” Gertrude quavered. “Like I ever do anything else,” I muttered. “And don’t worry about me or anything. I’m all set for Jungleland here, plenty of preparation.”

“Clearly her mouth is her best weapon. Let’s go, True. Time’s a waitin’,” and then they were off. She didn’t even look back.

“Wasting, you idiot.”



“Is he serious?”


~Add it on Goodreads, and check out the book’s Pinterest.

-What inspired you to become a writer?

As I have been writing something (stories, poems, essays, journals) for as long as I can remember, I wouldn’t say I became a writer: I just was. I would like to credit my many fine teachers and professors for encouraging and helping develop my love of writing and of books.

-What draws you to ya?

I read a wide variety of genres, but the adolescent voice speaks most appealingly to me. I can only hope that the teen voices that I write speak as clearly to other readers!

-What’s a fun fact you learned researching this book?

How to get away from a menacing alligator, of course (but you’ll have to read the book to find out how for yourself)!

-Which of your characters would you go out for drinks and/or pizza with?

I’d like to go out for the dairy- and alcohol-free equivalent of pizza and beers with Orlando because he seems as if he has more stories to tell.

-For aspiring writers, any tips?

Read. Read widely and deeply. Read books in your comfort zone and ones far outside of it. Write every day, even it’s just a little bit, because anything that you practice regularly, you improve at it.

-Is there a genre you could never write? Which and why?

Hands down, I could never write horror, because I am the biggest fraidy-cat in town. I hid under the seat the time I tried to watch a Stephen King movie, even after I’d somehow made it through Carrie without jumping out of my skin!


I grew up on Cape Cod and the Connecticut shoreline and now live outside of Boston, much too far from the ocean and the sand. Reading and writing have played a central part in my life both personally and professionally. I am rarely without a book in my hand. To me the adolescent voice has such vibrancy and depth to it, whether funny or not; many of my favorite books have this point of view.

Visit Kirsten’s blog, and connect with her on Facebook.


To win a free e-book of No Alligators in Sight, go to Goodreads, follow Kirsten's reviews, and then add the book to your To-Be-Read shelf. Five lucky winners will be chosen at random from entries dated between February 14 and 28. The author requests that if you win you post a review after you finish reading.

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