Friday, July 20, 2012

Author Interview with R.J. Palacio

“I won't describe what I look like. Whatever you're thinking, it's probably worse.” ~August (Auggie) Pullman

The DMS was lucky enough to interview R.J. Palacio, author of the middle grade novel Wonder. Lizzy recently reviewed this fascinating book, introducing us all to Auggie, whose story will forever change the way you look at the world around you. It was fun to share our thoughts about it and hear yours! We are excited to learn a little bit more about the story behind the story. So, without further ado... take it away, R.J.! 


What inspired you to write Wonder?


I was inspired to write Wonder after a chance encounter with a little girl in front of an ice cream shop. It was the way my children responded, the way I responded to their response, and the way the girl's mom responded to our reactions, that really got me thinking about what life must be like for someone in that situation. I was thinking about it a lot that day and then the song Wonder, by Natalie Merchant, came on the radio, and some magical combination between the words to that song and the incident that had happened earlier that day just made me start writing.


How long did it take you to write Wonder?

It took me about a year and a half to write Wonder: basically because the only time I had to write was in the middle of the night. 

What are some of your favorite books from childhood? Were there any specific authors who inspired you?

I ran the gamut, in terms of interests. Everyone from Tolkien to Tolstoy which, like Via in the book, I read when I was fourteen. I loved the big epic books that were popular when I was growing up: James Michener and James Clavell. I liked Judy Blume. I liked anything about Greek Mythology. I liked science fiction.  

If you could befriend a character from any of your books, who would you befriend?

I would be friends with Auggie. 

You wrote each section of Wonder from a different point of view. What did you do to help capture the personality of each character and tell Auggie’s story through their eyes? Was there any character who was the most challenging to write from? 

I was very lucky in being to really get inside these characters, who felt quite real to me, and to be able to imagine their reactions to things and events. It really wasn't that hard for me, to be truthful. The only time it became hard was when I was trying to write from Julian's point of view, because ultimately, he didn't want to get to know Auggie at all, and it was Auggie's story I was interested in telling. So after a few pages and a few days of struggling with it, I decided not to include him because, ultimately, he didn't give a dang about Auggie and so I didn't give a dang about him. 

What is your favorite song?

Wonder, by Natalie Merchant. 

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? Why?

I would live exactly where I live now, but in a larger apartment. I'm a born and bred New Yorker. Having said that, I think I could be happy in Santa Monica for a while. And I would live in Paris. 

Where can we purchase your books?

Anywhere books are sold. 

☞ Author Website ☞  Twitter  ☞ Amazon.com ☞ Barnes and Noble ☟

☞ Today's Precept: Be kinder than necessary.

24 comments:

  1. Ahhhh, thanks so much for this. I loved hearing the process about writing in Julian's POV, and then dumping Julian's POV. It makes so much sense.

    I read WONDER aloud with my kids, and to say we loved it doesn't express enough. More properly, we all felt changed by what we had read and experienced.

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    1. Hi Barbara, It was so great to learn a little more about Auggie's amazing story, and reading all the different view points was so fascinating. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts with us. I agree that it's hard to say in words how wonderful the story really is. ~ F

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  2. I am looking forward to reading this book! Thanks for giving us an interview with Ms. Palacio which provides some insight into her and her process.

    -Dawn

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    1. Hi Dawn,
      You will love it! We were very excited to host her on the blog. Thanks for stopping by! great to hear from you : ) ~ F

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  3. What a heart-wrenching video. I love that a chance encounter led you to write this story, Ms. Palacio.

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    1. Hi Cate, Thanks for stopping by to check out the interview. It was an honor to host this author on our blog. The trailer is great! Always lovely to hear from you : ) ~ F

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  4. Great interview. I love that R.J.'s favorite song is the same as the book title. ;)

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    1. Hi Kelly, Thanks! Us too, it's very cool. Thanks for stopping by : ) ~ F

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  5. Ahh! I loved learning about her inspiration and I recogonize her real life experience in the book. This was an amazing read for me and it is a book that will stick with me. I truly hope that this book is stocked in every library frequented by young readers!

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    1. Hi Heidi, Lizzy and I also thought that was interesting, and capping it off with the song Wonder by Natalie Merchant, which I love. It's definitely a book that will grow in popularity by word of mouth. Great to hear from you! ~ F

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  6. Sounds like a fascinating story. Love the cover. I like Tolstoy, too.

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    1. Hi M Pax, It is a great read! It's so funny, because the cover gets a lot of criticism, but after I read it, I really appreciated it and understand how it goes with the story. Thanks for stopping by! ~ F

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  7. Great questions...even greater answers!

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    1. Hi Patty, Thanks! It's always fabulous to hear from you : ) ~ F

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  8. How awesome to read this interview. I just finished reading Wonder last week and thought it was one of the best books I have ever read. I think it is interesting that the author was going to write from Julian's point of view and then changed her mind.

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    1. Flex- I totally agree with you! One of the best books I have ever read for sure. I am glad you enjoyed the interview. :) ~F

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  9. Wonderful interview. I love how she got the idea for the story. It's strange how things come to us in certain situations.

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    1. Donna- Thanks! I am glad you enjoyed finding out more about R.J. Palacio. It is always amazing to see where people get their ideas. :)~F

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  10. I read this book after I read about it here. What an amazing book. I would be friends with Auggie, too. Great interview.

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    1. Trey- We are so excited that one of our reviews prompted you to read a book. Wonder is fantastic. We would both be friends wth Auggie, too. He is so nice! ~F and L

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  11. Very intriguing. I'm looking forward to reading Wonder.

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  12. Ruth- You will love Wonder! It is one of the best books I have ever read. Thanks for stopping by! ~F

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  13. Thanks for telling me about this interview. I loved reading a little bit about Ms. Palacio's experiences related to writing this amazing book! How lucky you were able to interview her!
    Cindy

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  14. Flashthecatblog- Thanks for stopping by to check out the interview! We are so glad you enjoyed it! We were thrilled to interview R.J. Palacio and find out more about the writing of Wonder. :) ~Jess and Stephanie

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Thank you for stopping by and commenting. We love to hear your thoughts! Fairday's Blog is no longer accepting awards. We appreciate all the nominations that we have received and are honored to have been mentioned! Happy Reading!

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