Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is very happy to shine our Friday spotlight on acclaimed Young Adult Author Lois Lowry. Ms. Lowry will be on a ZOOM teleconferencing call with any of our customers who would like to hear her speak on Saturday, May 23rd, 2020 at 2:00 PM. See our Facebook Events page to RSVP!
When asked to tell us briefly a little bit about herself and her writing, this was her response:
I’ve been writing books for young people for 45 years and I think I have almost 50 published books now. The best known two are NUMBER THE STARS and THE GIVER, both of which are frequently used in schools.
Where can people find your work? (Besides Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester–though they should totally check here first!)
Any bookstore or any library!
How can we follow your work and share your awesomeness?
I have a website www.loislowry.com which is in serious need of updating but the guy who is supposedly doing that appears to have dropped off the face of the earth. In these pandemic times, everything is so chaotic. So I hope people will forgive the fact that the website is very out of date.
What kind of research went into writing On The Horizon? What is your favorite research story? What cool facts and findings didn’t make it into the book, but you loved discovering?
ON THE HORIZON comes from my own childhood memories superimposed onto real past events. It was both challenging and exhilarating to find the connections between Young Me and American History…specifically, Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima. But that was, ultimately, the purpose of the book: to make clear how connected we all are, to one another, on this fragile planet.
What was the biggest challenge in writing and putting out On The Horizon? How did you overcome that challenge?
The frustrating thing was the timing of the release of ON THE HORZON. I was scheduled for a lengthy book tour: many cities, many events, a chance to talk to readers and answer questions. All of it was cancelled, of course. So I’ve been trying to make up for it with virtual events, for which it has been a pretty steep learning curve…but also fun. Last night, during a ZOOM meeting with a book club in Kentucky, one person had a kitten continuously trying to climb up her sweater. And I had my phone ringing in the background, and my dog woofing to go out. But you know what? All of that makes it both intimate and very human.
What character did you love or hate the most while writing? And why?
I felt very connected to Claire, in the book SON, the fourth book in THE GIVER quartet. I think I felt that way because of how passionate and dogged she was in her search for her lost son. I myself lost one of my sons, so I understood that feeling of loss.
What else can we expect from you in the near future?
A book of mine called THE WILLOUGHBYS was published some years ago, but it has just become a popular animated movie on Netflix. So the publisher asked me to write a sequel, and The WILLOUGHBYS RETURN will be published in the fall. Also…a book I wrote ten years ago opens during the 1918 flu epidemic, so it is very timely now and is being re-issued with a new jacket; that one is called LIKE THE WILLOW TREE.
What is/are your passions when you’re not writing? How do you make time for your non-writing hobbies/things you love?
I travel a great deal…have been to every continent. It doesn’t detract from writing because my BRAIN always goes with me. And my imagination.
What does your writing space look like? What do you need to have around you while writing or editing?
I have a home in Maine, a small house in the Portland area, where I am now sitting, plus a summer home that I love, a 1769 farmhouse in western Maine. In both places I have a room that is my work space (at the farm, it’s a room just off the barn…there are still feed bins in it). It’s important, I think, to have a serious space dedicated to one’s work…I even refer to both places as “my office.” Otherwise, it would be too easy for people to view writing—especially writing for young people—as a lighthearted hobby.
What is one thing that most people don’t realize about you?
That I once was a contestant on Jeopardy. And later became an ANSWER on Jeopardy,
Writers very often have furry or feathered or otherwise non-human companions to “help” them through their work. Do you? What do you have? How do they “help” (or, “not-help”) with your writing?
My elderly Tibetan Terrier, Alfie, is always at my feet, snoozing.
Are there any groups, clubs, or organizations that you would recommend to other writers that have helped you in your career?
For those interested in writing….or illustrating…for children, the SCBWI (Society of Childrens’ Book Writers and Illustrators) is a supportive and vital organization Go to their website and read about what’s available through them; it’s well worth the modest dues.
Thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy day to spend time with us, Lois! We are looking forward to speaking with you on May 23rd!