Gail E. Haley oral history interview 12, 2008 January 16
Gail Haley, an author and illustrator of children's literature born in Charlotte, North Carolina, recounts her career during the early 1990s. In this twelfth of sixteen interviews, Ms. Haley continues the conversation from her eleventh interview about her work on Mountain Jack Tales (1992). Ms. Haley details several of the stories contained in the book, as well as popular motifs within each. She summarizes her view of Jack as a hero and a universal male figure across cultures, offering examples of similar stories from other folklore traditions. In addition, Ms. Haley discusses her decision to include a story about Muncimeg, a strong female character similar to Jack with her own set of mountain folk stories in order to raise awareness of the character. Ms. Haley also describes her choice to create fewer illustrations for this text as it was intended for an older audience. As a puppeteer as well as a writer, Ms. Haley has often performed her own stories. In this interview she discusses her creation of Jack as a puppet. She relates this to her work on Play People: Puppetry in Education (1988), and explains how her work with puppets grew from a request by the drama department of Appalachian State University for help in creating puppets during her time as practitioner in residence at the school. Other themes in this interview include storytelling, consumerism, and lack of self-sufficiency in contemporary children's stories.