Friday, February 28, 2014

Author Interview with Sharon Draper!

The DMS was lucky enough to interview Sharon Draper. Lizzy reviewed her book Out of My Mind, and we are excited to learn more about this story. So, without further ado... take it away, Sharon!


What inspired you to write Out of My Mind?

What if you were brilliant but could not communicate? I've often wondered about what's really going on in the mind of a person who cannot share their thoughts. I have a pretty good idea, because I have a daughter who is disabled. I'm pretty sure she's really smart, but I'm her mom--of course I'd want to believe that. So I created Melody-not as a portrait of my daughter, but as a character who is truly her own being. The story of Melody is fictional, of course, but is based on the reality of thousands of intelligent children and adults who are trapped inside uncooperative bodies. When a fictional character is created, the author has the power to allow any dreams to be achieved, and to allow triumphs as well as tragedies to occur. Melody has spunk and determination, and a great sense of humor. She has dreams and hopes like we all do.

How long did it take you to write Out of My Mind?

About three years, with maybe twenty or thirty edits. Revision is the hardest part of writing!

What was your inspiration for the character Mrs. V?

Everyone needs a mentor, a life coach, someone to champion them on to success. Mrs. V fills that role in the novel. Sometimes it's hard for parents to give their children everything that is needed in life. Mrs. V is that person who goes above and beyond what is required of her because she sees potential in Melody, and because she loves her. We all could use a Mrs. V in our lives.


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

When I was a child I read voraciously. So I read ALL the Little House on the Prairies books, ALL the Little Women books, ALL the books of every writer that piqued my interest. So I don’t have a favorite.  I think all of them combined to create in me an appreciation of words, an ability to evaluate quality of expression, a love of storytelling. I honor them all, and thank them for challenging me to create my own words. I hope my stories do the same to the next generation of young writers.

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

I love going to Florida to visit the ocean, but I think I prefer a place like Ohio where the seasons change. I love the soft colors of spring, the bright sunshine of summer, the golds and bronzes of autumn, and the silken white beauty of winter. I like watching the seasons change. It makes me happy.


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

I think I’d like to meet Miss Ginger from Panic. She loves music and dance, and understands their power. She is a strong positive influence on the young people in her care. 

Music is important to Melody. Who are some of your favorite artists? Do you like to listen to music while you write? If so, what do you listen to?

Melody can "hear" colors, and "taste" music. The artistic side of her shows a deep understanding of the necessary mingling of art and music to create words and images and ideas. Melody's love for music helps her, even soothes her when her life gets too overwhelming. Music gives her expression in a world where she is unable to express almost everything. Me, I play the piano a little, but mostly I love listening to music—classical, jazz, the blues, and country! I need silence while I write, however.  Strange, but true.

You write books in a variety of different genres. Is there a genre that you prefer? Or is there a way you decide which genre you are going to write next?

I usually decide on the genre when an idea comes to me. Copper Sun came from a trip I made to Africa, and I felt I need to tell the story of those who had been taken from there against their will, so of course it was historical fiction. Most of my books fall into the realm of realistic fiction. I don’t do fantasy. I like reading it, but I don’t choose to write it. If ever I really meet a vampire or a zombie, however, then I’ll write that book! 


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

Yes, I’m working on two new books. The sequel to Panic, which is for older teens, and another middle grade fiction book. It’s historical fiction and is very different from anything I’ve written yet. It’s based on a diary left by my grandmother. 













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22 comments:

  1. What a great topic for Sharon to tackle and it sounds like she had a lot of insight into what she chose to write about. I've often wondered how those with capable minds and unwilling body's cope. She is so right about revisions being the hardest part of writing. Great Interview!

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    1. Anna Maria- Thanks! I thought this topic was fascinating. It was interesting to learn about Sharon's inspiration and personal experience. :) ~L

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  2. Wonderful interview. Thanks for introducing me to Sharon Draper and her books. I'm looking forward to reading some of them.

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    1. Rosi- Thanks! So happy to introduce you to Sharon. If you read this book, you will love it. :) ~L

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  3. That was certainly an in-depth, thoughtful interview. Always good to discover authors and a real treat to find out about Sharon.

    Thank you for this and have a lovely weekend.

    Gary :)

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    1. Gary- Hope you had a lovely weekend and a great week so far! I love finding out more about authors, too. Glad you enjoyed the interview! :) ~L

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  4. Sharon is dedicated, brilliant, and brave to tackle such a complex character and story line. I'm so impressed and inspired by her challenges and determination. Wishing her much success! :)

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    1. Lexa- I am wishing her much success, too! She did an amazing job with Out of My Mind! :) ~L

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  5. I enjoyed reading about Sharon's books. Hats off to her for jumping into different genres and doing what looks like a great job!

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    1. Lee- If you get to read this one I know you will enjoy it. I am impressed with Sharon's ability to write different genres too. :) ~L

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  6. What a wonderful interview! It's always amazing to see what insights go into an author's work, and it definitely sounds like Sharon has a wealth of them!

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    1. Meradeth- Thanks! I love to find out more about authors and their writing process, too. :) ~L

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  7. Great interview! The book sounds awesome (and it sounds like I would get along with Ms. Draper - I love oldie music! (hate the whatever-it-is music that's popular now)

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    1. Erik- I love that you connect to the oldie music. I know this will be a book you will love. Hope you get to read it soon! :) ~L

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  8. I really love the way you interview the authors. The questions are fresh and witty. And I'm kinda interested in the book, sounds really out of the box!

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    1. Miss Reith Jerevinan- Aww- thanks. :) Your kind words are much appreciated. This is definitely an out of the box book! ~L

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  9. I love the idea using her grandmother's diary for a book. :)

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    1. Kelly- Isn't that awesome? :) ~L

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  10. Lovely to meet Ms Draper! Melody sounds like a most fascinating character! Love that she hears colours and tastes music! All the best with Out of My Mind! Take care
    x

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    1. Old Kitty- Melody is a fabulous character. So eye-opening to read about her and see the world through her eyes. Thanks for visiting. :) ~L

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  11. Nice to meet you Sharon, and I love the fall colors but would prefer Florida any day.

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    1. Kimba- I love fall colors too, but with all this snow Florida is looking pretty good! Thanks for stopping by. :) ~L

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