Friday, November 22, 2013

Author Interview with Jeanne DuPrau


The DMS was lucky enough to interview Jeanne DuPrau. Lizzy reviewed her story The City of Ember, and it was great 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, Jeanne!

What inspired you to write the Books of Ember series?

I grew up in the 1950s, when many people were worried that there might be a nuclear war. Some of them were building bomb shelters in their back yards. I think this influenced my idea for Ember—a city built to protect the human race from a terrible threat. But I was also just interested in the idea of a city that had no light other than electricity. What would it be like to live in such darkness, and to know that light and food and supplies were all running out? And not to know about weather or trees or animals (except for a few rats and insects) or any other places? All this grabbed my imagination. And once I'd written The City of Ember, I hoped it would make people think about our world—about the sun and the moon, the forests and the ocean, the wind and the rain—and how precious it all is.

How long did it take you to write The City of Ember? Which book in the series took the longest to write?

It's hard to say, because I wrote the book over a period of about ten years. I wrote a draft in a year or two, put it away for a long time because I could tell it wasn't right yet, and then rewrote it. It was a long process. It's also hard to say which book in the series was hardest to write. I had thought that after I'd written the first book, which was my first novel, the others would be easier. Not true! They were all hard in different ways.


What was your inspiration for the characters Lina and Doon?

Both Lina and Doon are like me in some ways. Lina likes to run, she likes to draw, and she likes to use her imagination. Doon likes to solve puzzles, he's curious, and he's interested in nature--what nature there is in Ember, mostly insects. Both these characters are more brave and daring than I am, but still, they're based on me more than on anyone else.

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

I loved the Narnia books, The Secret Garden, Tom Sawyer, Mary Poppins, Winnie the Pooh, The Moffats, The Saturdays, Doctor Dolittle…on and on. Later on Dickens was one of my favorites, and I think his writing has influenced mine. I loved Ray Bradbury, too, whose books introduced me to science fiction.

If you could live anyplace real or fictional, where would it be? Why?

I used to think I'd want to live in England, in a charming village. But after I went to England and discovered that though the villages are charming, the weather isn't, I changed my mind. I might want to have two houses: one in the heart of Paris, and one in someplace beautiful and warm, like…well, California, where I actually do live.



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

I would like to have Clary for my friend. She has a warmth and wisdom that I find appealing.

If you had to live in an underground world like Ember (knowing what you already know about the outside world), what would you miss the most about life above ground?

Impossible question! I guess I could answer it with one word: nature. But what would I miss most--the sun, the sky, trees, birds, animals, grass, weather, butterflies, oceans? I couldn't choose among them.



Are you currently working on a book? If so, can you tell us a little bit about it?


Yes--I've been working on it for quite a while. I'm not willing to give away any specifics about it at this point, except to say it takes place in a possible future, and it's for about the same age group as the Ember books. 



22 comments:

  1. Wonderful interview! What a treat to learn more about the story behind Ember!

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    1. Hi Meradeth, Thanks! It was great to learn more about this author. ~ F

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  2. Living underground is interesting and completely frightening. What a concept. Funny about the English weather. :)

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    1. Hi Libby, Completely! It is funny about the English weather- I've always pictured it a certain way. Thanks for stopping by! ~ F

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  3. Always enjoy reading what authors have to say about their books and learn a few interesting tidbits about them as people. Thanks for introducing Jeanne to us.

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    1. Hi clemmckenzie, Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts with us! ~ F

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    1. Hi Patty, We enjoyed these stories. Thanks for stopping by! ~ F

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  5. I could never live underground. I would miss the sunshine. It is bad enough in the winter with all the rain in Oregon. I really need to try this author sometime!

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    1. Hi Heidi, Me too! We hope you enjoy the story. : ) ~ F

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  6. Great interview! And I enjoyed learning more about Jeanne! I'm a fan of City of Ember and The People of Sparks and need to catch up on the series!

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    1. Hi Cherie, Thanks for stopping by to share your thoughts with us! ~ F

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  7. I love the idea of a future society living underground. It makes sense to me. With so many floods, typhoons, and natural disasters, it seems logical civilization should move underground. But Jeanne is right - that no one would see the beauty of nature would be tragic. Great interview! :-)

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    1. Hi Lexa, It is interesting to explore the idea of living underground, but I would always want to be out in the sun and space. : ) Thanks for stopping by! ~ F

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  8. What an interesting interview...I will check out her books. I, like Jeanne, grew up during the 50's and remember the fear of nuclear war well...including the harrowing Cuban Missile Crisis. I used to see those bomb shelters and think if this is the way I had to live, without the sky overhead and dirt under my feet...might as well go ahead and drop the bomb. I don't think I would want to survive without nature.

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    1. Hi Anna Maria, This is so interesting. Thanks for stopping by to share your experience with us! ~ F

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  9. Hello Jeanne. Lovely to know more about you. I love reading author interviews and getting a glimpse into their books. The whole idea of underground life makes me sad. But what a book! I will definitely read your books. Great interview! Yeah! :-)

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    1. Hi Robyn, Thanks for stopping by! We hope you enjoy the books. ~ F

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  10. I LOVED The City of Ember. So much so I wanted to teach it, but the grade below the one I taught got to it first.

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    1. Hi Kelly, Rats! It's a great story. : ) Thanks for popping by- always lovely to hear from you! ~ F

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  11. I'd love to live in Paris.

    The Cold War was a a scary time. I've read books inspired by it and just can't imagine that nuclear threat looming all the time.

    I hope to read this series.

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    1. Hi Medeia, Me too! Southern France. : ) Thanks for stopping by! ~ F

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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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