Q&A with Lois Lowry, who stops in Mesa this week for booksigning - East Valley Tribune: Events

Q&A with Lois Lowry, who stops in Mesa this week for booksigning

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Posted: Sunday, October 7, 2012 3:45 pm

Lois Lowry’s name may not ring a bell right away, but certainly you (or your child) knows one of her many books.

From the acclaimed (and sometimes criticized) “The Giver” to the “Anastasia” series to “The Willoughbys,” Lowry’s books cross time and place.

Lowry makes a stop in Mesa this week to share her latest book, “Son” — which she says will be the last of the series that started with “The Giver.”

She started writing fiction after the birth of her children. Now a grandmother to four, Lowry spent a few minutes talking to the Tribune by phone last week before starting her 14-city tour.

Q: What keeps you going in terms of storytelling?

A: I just never run out (of ideas). I run out of enthusiasm for other things, but never for this. That’s fortunate because that’s how I make my living. I have no end of imagination. Always when I’m working on a book and I’m getting to the end of the book, a new idea is formulating. ... Along with my personal enthusiasm and energy for it, it’s enhanced by the fact that readers can easily contact authors because of the Internet. I get every day huge numbers of emails from them, some of them, ‘Can you help me with the paper I have to write?’ But more of them are heartfelt, enthusiastic letters. I think that buoys the enthusiasm for what I do.

Q: How do you adjust writing for your audience today vs. when you started?

A: I’m not sure I’ve consciously done this, but I’m aware, not only through my readers but because I have grandchildren, that today’s young readers have less patience than the readers of the past. When I was a child and an avid reader, I had no television to compare a book to. I was happy to spend hours on a slow-paced book. But today’s kids, with all the technology with which they get entertainment and information, I think they need a faster-paced book. That’s hard for me. I’m accustomed to the leisurely book. Sometimes I have to make myself speed it up.

Q: Is there anything you want to say about your latest book?

A: I did not intend to write sequels to ‘The Giver,’ but all three of the books that followed at various times, with long gaps in between, came about because of questions kids were asking. At the end of the first book, there was a baby. Kids were fascinated for a long time about what became of the baby. So that’s what I set out to write: a book about the boy who was the baby at the end of ‘The Giver.’

Then, when I was writing about him and his origins, I found myself contemplating birth mothers, the young girls assigned to have babies, and what would became of (them). It was not at all what I intended to write. But to me, that’s the most fun thing about writing fiction. It can take you in directions (and) into places you didn’t know you were going. ... It means, as the writer, you are on the same journey as the reader in finding out what will happen.

If you go

What: Lois Lowry, two-time Newbery award-winning author of “The Giver” and “Number the Stars,” visits with and signs “Son,” the final installment of her Giver Quartet.

When: 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 11

Where: Dobson High School Auditorium, 1501 W. Guadalupe Road, Mesa

Cost: One event ticket, good for two seats, is free when you purchase “Son” for $17.99 from Changing Hands Bookstore. Admission is free for children 4 and younger.

Information: (480) 730-0205 or ChangingHands.com

See Lowry’s ‘The Giver’ live on stage: Valley theater company Childsplay is bringing Lois Lowry’s immensely popular and Newbery award-winning novel “The Giver” to life on stage. In the story, a 12-year-old growing up in a carefully engineered world is forced to confront ugly truths about the dystopian society in which he lives. Childsplay’s version includes multimedia elements that engage the audience and drive home the tale’s creepy, “Big Brother is watching us” feel. It’s recommended for ages 9 and older. DETAILS >> “The Giver” opens Oct. 21 and runs through Nov. 11. Performances are at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Saturdays, and 1 p.m. Sundays, through Nov. 11 at Tempe Center for the Arts, 700 W. Rio Salado Parkway. Tickets start at $12 and are available at the box office, by phone at (480) 350-2822 or online at ChildsplayAZ.org.

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