Lois Lowry has been entertaining readers with her entrancing arrangement of words for over two decades. I recently had the honor of interviewing Lois Lowry during a book signing at the Tattered Cover. We discussed her books and her career as a writer.
When asked what a typical day in the life of an author was, Lowry replied that the first thing she does is answer her 50-60 emails. Then, she turns her attention to what she is working on and spends the rest of the day writing her manuscript; unless she gets a call from a friend saying, "You wanna go to a movie?" Since being a writer comes with flexible work hours, Lowry, a movie lover, often takes breaks to see movies and then comes back to her writing in the evening.
Lowry says that she doesn't find any part of being a writer terribly hard, but for a lot of writers the hardest thing is sitting at a desk all day writing alone. She doesn't find this too difficult because that's what she wants to be doing. "You have to have a lot of patience and self-discipline."
From an early age Lowry loved literature. She was fortunate to "be born into a house that had a lot of books and have parents who cared about books". When she was just 10 years old, she wrote a letter to a children's magazine saying that she wanted to be a writer and was writing her own book.
Lowry would later work as a writer for a magazine. During this time, a book editor who had read her work, wrote to Lowry and told her she sounded like someone who had a good sense of the perceptions of a child. Lowry realized how books are important to kids in a different way than they are for adults.
Savannah, age 15 from Highlands Ranch, said that, "The Giver has been my favorite book since 5th grade... Every time I read it I get a different message."Lowry said that one of her favorite parts about being an author was not being out on the road talking to audiences but rather sitting at the computer arranging words, which is funny since she was a wonderful public speaker when talking at the book signing. It was obviously she had the audience in her hand by the collective "oohs" and "ahhhs".
She told about her new book, "Bless this Mouse," and the short 3-week writing process she went through to get this book ready to publish, starting with her inspiration when finding a mouse in her farmhouse in Maine. The mouse wasn't afraid of her or her dog, so Lowry picked up the mouse and said, "I think you would be happier outside," and started writing a story about church mice and the dangers they face.
At the book signing Lowry also talked about "The Giver." "The Giver," soon to have a third companion book, is one of her most famous books and was the favorite of the kids I interviewed that day. "The Giver" takes place in the future where there is no pain and the utopian society lives in "sameness," where color, feelings, and a lot of individuality is lost. Jonas, a boy in the community, is chosen to be "Receiver of Memory," the person who stores all the memories of the time before Sameness, in case the community ever needed to be aided in decisions that others lack the experience to make. Through receiving the memories Jonas discovers that what he's always known might not be ideal.
The new, not published yet, 4th book to this series is about Gabe, who was an infant when Jonas took care of him and is now an adolescent, and is also about Gabe's "birth-mother." "The Giver" is one of my favorite books and I can tell that the new, 4th book is going to be a hit." The Giver" has not been a hit in a few schools though. Some parents think the book is too intense for young readers, while other parents love the book. I personally don't think that "The Giver" is questionable and Lowry didn't have much to say on the matter.
Lowry's books have won many awards and are loved by many readers; both adults and kids (including me). One of those awards is the prestigious Newberry Medal, which she received twice, once for "Number the Stars" and again for "The Giver." Grace, age 10 from Aurora, said that Lowry's writing had the right balance of description, "enough detail to make it good, but not too much." Jakob, age 9 from Denver, also said that Lowry's writing had good descriptions.
For more information about Lois Lowry, her books, and more, check out her website at www.loislowry.com.