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Character Interview | Meet Cotton from Skinny Dipping in a Dirty Pond by @LisAnnaLangston #giveaway

Today we have a special treat for you. Cotton, the main character from Skinny Dipping in a Dirty Pond by Award-Winning Lis Anna Langston, is here on Book Heaven. She agreed to sit down for an interview. We think you’ll like her. Cotton, take it away…

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Sweet tea and an entire afternoon of eavesdropping.

What is your greatest fear?

That something will happen to my granny.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

My fat thighs.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

That they don’t care about anything but themselves.

Which living person do you most admire?

Indiana Jones

What is your greatest extravagance?

Grape Nehi Vanilla Ice Cream Floats (Purple Cows my granny calls them)

What is your current state of mind?

Balanced and ready to get into mischief

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?


On what occasion do you lie?

Well, what do you mean? 😊

What do you most dislike about your appearance?

Scabs on my knees

Which living person do you most despise?

My mother

What is the quality you most like in a man?

The ability to be nice in all situations

What is the quality you most like in a woman?

The ability to take what she wants

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

Fat chance, whatever, no way

What or who is the greatest love of your life?

My granny and my uncle

When and where were you happiest?

The library

Which talent would you most like to have?

The ones I have

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I’d be able to knock people out with my mind

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Getting into the Creative and Performing Arts School

If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?


Where would you most like to live?

Montana or Paris

What is your most treasured possession?

My fuzzy purse and my Pretender’s CD

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

Spending the day with my mother

What is your favorite occupation?


What is your most marked characteristic?

My big mouth

What do you most value in your friends?


Who are your favorite writers?

Carson McCullers

Who is your hero of fiction?

Holden Caufield

Which historical figure do you most identify with?


Who are your heroes in real life?

My granny

What are your favorite names?

Phoebe and Zen

What is it that you most dislike?

The way the gorillas are always trying to break out at the zoo. They don’t want to be there.

What is your motto?

Can’t never could.

Thank you, Cotton, for joining us. Readers, scroll down to check out Cotton’s adventures in Skinny Dipping in a Dirty Pond.

Title: Skinny Dipping in a Dirty Pond

Author: Lis Anna-Langston

Genre: Literary Fiction, Fictionalized Memoir

Book Blurb:

"In my family, as far back as I can tell, there was no such thing as communication, only secrets."

A young girl in a small southern town in the 80's enlists the help of an unlikely group of friends and family to help her survive an unconventional, sometimes abusive childhood. Skinny Dipping in a Dirty Pond is highly recommended for fiction readers looking for coming-of-age and family narratives that are anything but ordinary and predictable. Its lively tone packs a punch.


The summer I turned three my mother called me out to the driveway.

“Cotton, come out here. There’s someone I want you to meet.”

It was dark outside, but I could see a tall, handsome man who looked like he’d stepped out of the magazines I shredded to make collages. I suddenly became conscious of my scraped knees with big ugly scabs and tugged at the hem of my dress.

The handsome stranger knelt in front of me, extending his hand. “Hi. My name is Dave. What’s your name?”

A lamp post blasted light against the back of his head. Shadows were everywhere. I felt my mother’s eyes on the back of my neck, making my hairs tingle.

I blurted out, “My birthday is coming up.”

The handsome stranger shifted, smiling. “How old are you?”

I held up my entire hand, fingers spread, then pulled my pinky finger and thumb back to touch. “Almost three.”

Shadows slanted down his cheeks. “What day is your birthday?”


“Mine’s coming up in June,” he said, excited.

For some reason this made me like him tremendously. “What kind of cake do you like?”

“Boston cream pie with all of that creamy custard in the middle.”

“Me too,” I said. “My grandmother buys Boston cream cakes for me and my Uncle Stan because he doesn’t have any teeth.”

“Cotton.” My mother cleared her throat behind me.

I turned, “What?”

“Maybe we don’t need to talk about Stan right now.”

The handsome stranger butted in, “What do you say we go and get something to eat?”

Early summer was still a little chilly. Suddenly I wanted my poncho and to put on the sample bottle of perfume. I turned, running up the knobby gravel, trying to stay upright.

Behind me I heard the stranger say, “You never told me your name.”

Without looking back, I yelled, “Cotton Ann. I was named after a honeybee because I’m sweet with a sting.”

Then I ate dirt. Gravel, to be precise. The heels of my palms felt the deep gauge of sharp rocks, and my knees thun-dered in pain. My cheeks flushed hot. I stood up to keep run-ning, blood trickling down my shins. I burst through the front door, horrified I had fallen and even more horrified over how I might look.

Once in the bathroom, I slammed and locked the door, looking over at the full-length mirror glued to the wall. Oh my gosh. Blood dripped down into my socks. Criminy. How em-barrassing. Not only had someone just taken an interest in me but now, in a matter of less than a minute, I had fallen flat on my face and was bleeding to death all over my clothes. I searched frantically for a solution. Quickly I grabbed a wad of toilet paper and wet it under the bathtub faucet. I cleaned all of the blood off of my shins, and then I saw the answer. My black corduroy bell-bottoms lying dirty on the floor.

“Cotton!” my mother screamed from the other room. “What are you doing in there?”

“I’m coming,” I yelled, frantically kicking off my shoes. I jerked the cords up, ramming my feet into the shoes, kicking my dress behind the toilet. I ran out front as fast as I could.

My mother stood next to the car with her hand on her hip. “What took you so long?”

I climbed into the backseat. “I had to wash my hands.”

The Mexican restaurant had big velvet hats with sparkly sequins. I pointed and gushed, “Wow, that hat is bigger than me.”

“It’s a sombrero.” Dave reached for my hand as a lady in a ruffled skirt led us to a table.

The blankets hanging on the walls were rough and scratchy. The menu had about a bajillion items on it.

“I’ve never been to a Mexican restaurant,” I announced proudly.

“I recommend the enchilada plate.” Dave closed his menu.

A man wearing cowboy boots brought chips and dip to our table. That’s when Diggy showed up.

“Where have you been?” I whispered.

He cocked an ear to the side.

“Who are you talking to?” Dave asked.

“My friend Diggy,” I said.

My mother rolled her eyes. “It’s her imaginary friend. He’s not real. She just talks to him.”

“He is real.” I cut my eyes at her.

Off behind a row of potted plants static crackled. Mexi-can music started to play. The man in boots passed by our ta-ble. My mother held up her hand and ordered a beer. I could feel blood drying on the knees of my pants. I didn’t care if my mother thought Diggy was real or not. I was going to eat an en-chilada.

Whatever that was.

Diggy was pretty jazzed about free corn chips and wagged his tail.

Buy Links:

Giveaway: I’m one of the authors participating in the Spooky Halloween Bookish Giveaway and you can win a print copy of Skinny Dipping in a Dirty Pond by Lis Anna-Langston.

Runs October 1 - 31 and is open internationally for many prizes. Winners will be drawn on November 1, 2022.

Author Biography:

Lis Anna-Langston was raised along the winding current of the Mississippi River on a steady diet of dog-eared books. She attended a Creative and Performing Arts School from middle school until graduation and went on to study Literature at Webster University. Her two novels, Gobbledy and Tupelo Honey have won the Parents’ Choice Gold, Moonbeam Book Award, Independent Press Award, Benjamin Franklin Book Award and NYC Big Book Awards. Twice nominated for the Pushcart award and Finalist in the Brighthorse Book Prize, William Faulkner Fiction Contest and Thomas Wolfe Fiction Award, her work has been published in The Literary Review, Emerson Review, The Merrimack Review, Emrys Journal, The MacGuffin, Sand Hill Review and dozens of other literary journals. She draws badly, sings loudly, loves ketchup, starry skies & stories with happy aliens.

You can find her in the wilds of South Carolina plucking stories out of thin air.

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2 comentários

Jan Sikes
Jan Sikes
14 de out. de 2022

What a fun interview, but the excerpt has me heading over to grab the book!


N. N. Light
N. N. Light
14 de out. de 2022

Thank you to Cotton and Lis, for the great interview. I loved this story so much!

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