About Mike Peterson

  • Author and editor Mike Peterson has worked with students and teachers since 1993, creating educational materials that are both engaging and educationally sound. He has given workshops for educators on local, regional, state and national levels, has had articles on educational topics published in a variety of publications, and has won international awards for his youth and community programs. His serial stories have appeared in newspapers throughout the United States as well as in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Bermuda. He has also been a newspaper reporter and editor, radio talk show host, magazine writer and advertising professional.

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How did you think of the names for each character? Emily @ LACS

I hope that when Betsy goes over to the Kelly's house to tell them the news Mrs.Kelly is ok. Mr. Peterson, what is your favorite chapter that you wrote? Noah @ LACS

Betsy's got the easy job, Noah -- she gets to give them some pretty good news. They'll at least know he's still alive and doing pretty well. It's her parents who have to have a horrible conversation, isn't it?

Emily, I found a website with popular names for that period in history. And then I named my main character "Elizabeth" after my granddaughter -- but my granddaughter goes by "Liz." It's a name with a lot of nicknames! But the other names also came from that website -- I wanted to make sure I didn't give someone a name that wasn't around back then.

Mr. Peterson, why did you choose Jimmy's Grandfather's stopwatch instead of a ring or coin? Dan @ lacs

Did you come up with the story because you like history or because you think the civil war is interesting?

Mr. Peterson, I really loved this chapter! I think you did really well with showing the emotions of the family. It left me hanging at the end and I'm so exited for the next chapter. Did any of the problems in the story relate to you? Hattie @ LACS

Dan, I figure he used up his money by then, but he would have been really trying as hard as he could not to trade his grandfather's pocket watch. So this really tells you how desperate he was to try to get a letter out to his family -- because he couldn't really be sure the person he bribed was even going to really do it. (It could have been a ring, but I don't think a lot of men wore them back then -- except maybe rich men.)

Brice -- your answer is a math problem! Take this year and subtract 150. What year do you come up with?

mr. peterson how come you didn't put the age of the parents.

Kristian: Why? Other stories usually don't have this, either. I'd have mentioned it if they were surprisingly old, or surprisingly young.

So far, this is my favorite chapter because it ends right when they are about to leave and I really want to know what happens when they get over there. You can really tell how much research went into making this serial story! Emma H. @ LACS

I really like this serial story so far! Chapter three is my favorite. I have one question for you.Why did you have the letter from Jimmy come so late? Jenna @LACS

Emma, I did a LOT of research into this. The prisoners at Elmira were able to get some mail, but not very often, and whatever they wrote or received was read by the officials.

I wasn't able to find any evidence that the prisoners at Andersonville were able to get or send mail, except to send one very short letter at the beginning saying that they were there. (That's the letter Betsy reads in Chapter One.)

But I did find a lot of material about how they were able to bribe the guards if they had anything at all of value to trade. (That was true at both places.)

There was one case where a soldier who worked at Elmira got in trouble for mailing a letter for a prisoner from the regular post office so it wouldn't be censored by the prison officials.

It's kind of surprising that mail continued to go back and forth between the North and South at all during the war, I think, but it didn't happen very fast, which kind of answers Jenna's question.

Part of the tension for Betsy and her family is not just that Jimmy is in the prison, but that they don't even know if he's still alive there. It was hard for him to get a letter out to them, but it was important to let them know what was happening, even if it was going to be old news by the time they finally got it.

And by the time they get the letter, they only know that he was okay a few weeks ago. That's, I think, why he tried to let them know that he and John had figured out ways to stay safe and take care of each other, even if they weren't able to help poor Charlie Stout.

mr.peterson this chapter was the best chapter I have ever read I can`t wait to read the chapter after break counting eggs :) :) :) :)

I got 1853. So does that means you like both history and the civil war?

This chapter is still my absolute favorite! I still would like to know if anything in story relates to you? Hattie@lacs

Brice: It means you have to check your math again!

And, Hattie, I think if a story is good, then it would relate to most readers. So, the story relates to me that way, but not in other ways. The only relative I know who was involved in the war was way out in Illinois. He got wounded and had to leave the army, and that's about all I know about him.

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