Interview with Lois Lowry

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Lois Lowry, an award winning and book-turned-movie author, hopes to teach children the importance of human connection and imagination. She prefers that people interested in her life look through the FAQ section of her website instead emailing her, so it was a treat to be able to conduct this interview. Her best-known novels, The Giver and Number the Stars have won the Newberry Award. Lowry, coming from a military background, has moved around throughout her life but currently resides in Massachusetts. She is currently working on her Gooney Bird series.

Brittany Jacques: What motivated or inspired you to write The Giver and Gathering Blue, The Messenger, and Son? (Or for any of your books.)

Lois Lowry: All of my books… I have written, I think, 45… are inspired by my imagination in conjunction with events that I read about in the news or in books.  And also, they come from my own memories and dreams.

BJ: What made you decide to focus specifically on children’s literature? Have you ever thought about writing a book targeted towards an older audience?

LL: I was writing for an adult audience (and still do, occasionally) when a publisher of children’s books contacted me back in 1976 and asked me to write a book for a young audience.  I did so… that was my first book for kids, A Summer to Die… and was so impressed by the reaction of the readers that I became aware of what an important job it is, writing for kids, and I continued to do it.

BJ: What kind of insight or advice do you have pertaining to publishing (such as cover design, the process, etc.)?

LL: The publishing decisions, including cover design, are not made by the author but by the publisher.  Because I had worked as a photographer, they did ask me to do photographs for some of my own books, including The Giver and Number the Stars.  But generally the author is not consulted on things like that.

BJ: What advice would you give to any young aspiring authors?

LL: I always remind aspiring authors that most of the job consists of sitting all alone at a desk for hour after hour, day after day.  There is no glamour to it, no celebrity, and most often very little money.  They should love the process of putting words together, they should love the solitary nature of the job, and they should be prepared for a life of hard work, with many, many disappointments and at the same time a great deal of personal satisfaction.

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