Saturday, August 7, 2010

Interview with Shari Maurer, Author of Change of Heart

Hi, how are you doing ?

It's been quite a crazy starting of the month for me. Last week, my blog crashed and I finally got a chance to fix it today. Cross my fingers hope it doesn't happen again.

I am planning to have at least an interview with an author each month on my blog. I would hope to be able to host more than one author on my blog each month but my minimum would be one for now. For this month, I have an interview with Shari Maurer. She ventures into a slightly different yet amazing storyline with lots of heart. I think it is wonderful. To learn more about Shari and the things that inspire her check out the interview below :

Shari Maurer (Author of Change of Heart)



1. Can you share with us a little more on your background ? Have you always wanted to be an author? If no, then how and what inspired you to be one ?

After graduating college, I wound up in an MFA program in Dramatic Writing at NYU. An internship there led me to 6+ years at the Children's Television Workshop (now Sesame Workshop), working on international versions of Sesame Street and other children's programs, taking me all over the world. I kept working there after my daughter was born, but didn't want to travel and eventually realized I wanted to be home with her full time. During this time, my friend, Gerri Freid Kramer and I put together The Parents' Guide to Children's Congenital Heart Defects. My daughter and her son had heart defects that were repaired and we wanted to create a resource for other parents. I did a little writing here and there, but when my son went to kindergarten, I decided to take a class at the Institute for Children's Literature. This gave me a wonderful push back into writing.

So I guess that was a long way of saying I've always had writing in the back of my mind and only recently pursued it full time.

2. Did the place you grew up in, or the place you're living in right now inspired you to write ?

Change of Heart is set in New City, NY which is where I grew up and where I live now. I thought it would be fun to have a book set there. In fact, I was at both Rockland Lake and Twist N Shake yesterday--two of the places Emmi goes to in the book. That's cool !
3. Do you have a 'thing' you need or 'something' you do before you start writing away like a mug of coffee, nice music, a jog, etc ?

I was never a coffee drinker until I started writing, but now I really need to have it by my side. I've also started writing on a netbook. I found when I was on the regular computer I was too distracted by all the potential things I could do on the internet (Facebook, plan a vacation, check my kids' sports schedules, etc.)
4. When you write the characters in Change of Heart, was anyone of them based on someone you know in your life ?

Not really. But I did have the opportunity to speak to several transplant recipients and I occasionally borrowed something from them. Well, and if I'm confessing "borrowing", I do have a daughter and two younger sons, who like Emmi and her brothers, Jeremy and Eli, have the same beginning initials. And I may have borrowed a detail or two from their lives, but they resemblance ends there.
5. Writing about a girl with an almost perfect charmed life and then everything in her life is suddenly tumbling down so quickly due to a heart problem, was it difficult to picture the pain and the confusion in the characters? Did you experience or faced something like that in real life?

I tried very hard to imagine what it would be like to be a teen and have your life almost come to a halt. Luckily, I have not experienced anything as life altering.
6. Do you have a favorite book? If you do, why do you like it so much ?
To Kill A Mockingbird. Partly because I was always intrigued with all things southern (possibly why I went to college there) and partly because the story and characters are so amazing. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is my close second.
7. What works of fiction, authors or books have influenced you in your own writing?

When I was younger it was Judy Blume and Paula Danziger. As an adult, I love Sarah Dessen's books. I have kept them on my desk and will refer to them if I'm trying to figure out something about structure or characterization.
8. What do you enjoy most about writing?

The ability to lose all sense of time as you create a whole other world.
9. So how did the storyline for Change of Heart came about? Did the idea and concept for the story just 'popped up' in your head one day by chance ?

I had been watching a Discovery Health program on heart transplants (my husband is a doctor who cares for people waiting for hearts) and there was a girl on the show who haunted me. She was so brave and strong and probably a little scared, too. I started thinking about all of the "what ifs" of her life and Emmi was born.
10. Why do you choose to write for teens (YA genre) ?

A combination of YA being what I love to read and wanting to write a book for my daughter. My big hope was that my first book would be published while she was still in high school and could appreciate it--and it was!

One more thing I'd like to add. As I wrote this book and started to promote it, I was overwhelmed by the lack of available organs (not just hearts) for people who so desperately need them. My husband and I started working with the New York Organ Donor Network to register as many new organ donors as possible. Please consider registering. For more information go to www.donatelife.net. Thanks!

Thank you Shari for the interview! Thanks to my dear readers for reading this interview ! I hope you enjoyed it !

2 comments:

Nicole weaver said...

Hi Shari,
I am hooked on reading all of your blog interviews. I had a student in my class in the early 1990's that died of a heart problem. She was so smart, so very young. It took me a long time to recover from her death. I am now reading your book. Thank you for a writing this book and for bringing awareness to the importance of organ donations. You are a real inspiration to me.
Nicole weaver
http://www.melangeofcultures.wordpress.com
http://outskirtspress.com/nicoleweaver

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