Today I talk with YA author Shari Maurer, the author of Change of Heart. Read on to find out why Shari writes, what she likes and doesn’t like about the publishing business, and more!
Shari, why do you write?
I think it’s a challenge to create characters and the world they inhabit.
Yes, it is!
What do you love about the publishing business?
One of the biggest surprises since my book has been published is how much I have enjoyed having a community of writers. I’ve gotten to know so many smart and interesting people throughout my journey to publication and beyond.
I love that, too. We have a wonderful community!
What don’t you like about the publishing business?
I’m not a very patient person and publishing is a lot of waiting. You query an agent and wait. They ask to see your manuscript, you wait. The agent subs to editors, you wait. Even after getting a publishing contract, there’s more waiting until the book comes out. I’ve gotten better, but still find myself wishing things moved more quickly.
I understand. It IS Hard to wait!
What would you want in your ideal writing studio? What does your writing space look like now?
I love to write outside if I can. My backyard is very green and full of birds and flowers. It’s a great place to write. However, I live in New York, so the reality of that is that there are only a few months a year I can do that. In my office I have pictures that inspire me–from the Norman Rockwell picture of the brave African-American girl walking to school during desegregation to photos of my book club and my college friends–all fabulous women.
Lately, I’ve been writing on a netbook and sitting in my kitchen or Starbucks or the library or anywhere I can sneak a few minutes.
Netbooks are very handy!
What do you think is the most important thing (or things) that makes a good book work?
I need to connect to the characters. If I don’t care about them, even the most gripping plot will fall flat for me.
That’s true for me, too.
What is your favorite type of book to read?
I love contemporary YA, which is probably why it’s what I write.
What are some of your favorite YA books? How about picture books?
I have read so many great books lately, it’s hard to pick out a few to list. I really have enjoyed so many of the WestSide Books (which is probably why I wanted to write for them). I’m always in awe of Sarah Dessen and Laurie Halse Anderson.
As to picture books, I love everything from the Froggy series to David A. Adler’s picture book biographies to one of my boys’ favorites, The Giraffe Who Walked to Paris.
How much of yourself or your own experiences and emotions do you put in your books?
My books often start from something that is very close to me, but then as they become their own stories, they aren’t as reflective of my life. On a smaller scale, it’s fun to work in little details of our lives. In Change of Heart, I gave Emmi two younger brothers and difficult hair, which was something both my daughter and I shared. And I steal names from people I know. My kids’ friends are constantly asking me to name a character for them.
I love that your kids’ friends ask you to name a character for them! How fun. 🙂
What is your favorite book that you wrote? Why?
I think I love each of my books in different ways. The one I’m writing at the time is typically the one getting my full love and attention.
What do you want to tell readers?
In promoting Change of Heart, I’ve gotten the chance to spread awareness about organ donation registration. It’s an awful thing to think about dying, but if you knew that your tragedy could save up to 8 other lives, it’s a bit of a comfort. For more info about how to register where you live, go to www.donatelife.net.
That is important to know.
Shari, where can readers find you online?
What are you working on now? Or what’s your next book that we can look for?
I’m excited about the new book I’m writing. I can’t say much about it, but it was inspired by how wonderful and awful (and potentially dangerous) social media can be.
Sounds interesting, Shari! Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me today.
Born the day after Valentine’s Day, Shari Maurer’s life has always been full of “heart.” Married to a cardiologist, she is the co-author of The Parent’s Guide to Children’s Congenital Heart Defects. After graduating from Duke University and NYU, she spent six years at the Children’s Television Workshop (now Sesame Workshop) working on International versions of Sesame Street and other kids’ programs. She currently writes a “Moms Talk” column for the on-line newspaper, the New City Patch. Shari lives in New City, NY with her husband Mat and their children, Lissie, Josh and Eric. Change of Heart is her first young adult novel. Visit her on the web at sharimaurer.com.