Friday, April 25, 2014

Author Interview with Cynthia Lord

The DMS was lucky enough to interview Cynthia Lord. Lizzy recently reviewed her book Rules, and it was great to share our thoughts about it and hear yours! We are excited to learn a little bit more about her story. So, without further ado... take it away, Cynthia! 


What inspired you to write Rules?

Rules was inspired by my children. I have a daughter and a son, and my son was diagnosed with autism when he was two years old.

How long did it take you to write Rules?

It took about a year before I started submitting it to publishers. I did several drafts in that time. Then after Scholastic bought it, I did several rounds of revisions with my editor. In fact, for the first revision, her notes were so extensive that I had to start the book over.

What was your inspiration for the characters Catherine and David?

The character of David shares many things in common with my son when he was young. My son used to repeat lines from books and videos (including the "Frog and Toad" books by Arnold Lobel), and he used to drop toys in our family goldfish tank. 



My daughter was a big help when I was writing the book. She was about 14 at the time and talked to me about the unique joys and challenges of siblings. My son didn't always know when someone wasn't being nice to him, but she knew and felt it for both of them.

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

I have always loved to read. Some of my childhood favorites were: The Mouse and the Motorcycle, Ramona and Beezus, Charlotte's Web, The Borrowers, The Witch of Blackbird Pond, Madeline, Winnie the Pooh, and Fog Magic

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

I love where I live in Maine, but I grew up on a lake in New Hampshire and I miss looking out my front window and watching the water change color with the weather. So I would live on an island in Maine.

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

I love Jason in Rules. He's funny and kind and a good friend. I would especially enjoy spending time with him.

Art is important to Catherine. Who are some of your favorite artists? Do you like to draw or paint? 

One of the special things about being an author is that you can create characters who can do the things you can't. I'm not talented at painting and drawing, though I wish I were. My daughter and sister have that talent, and I love seeing what they can do with paper and paints. 


Edward Hopper Painting
Some of my favorite artists are Andrew and Jamie Wyeth, Georgia O'Keefe, Edward Hopper, and Winslow Homer. I also love so many of the artists who create children's books, including the two talented artists who illustrate the books I write. Derek Anderson is the illustrator for the Hot Rod Hamster series, and Erin McGuire is illustrating a new chapter book series I have starting in August called "Shelter Pet Squad."

You write picture books, chapter books, and books for middle grade readers. Do you have a preference? Is there a way you decide which type of book you are going to write next?

I like the variety of writing for different ages. It keeps the work fresh to work in different ways. Novels are my first love, but I really enjoy writing all different types of books.

I would have a hard time working on two novels at the same times, but I usually have a novel, a chapter book, and a picture book or early reader being worked on at the same time. It's like a revolving door: one book goes off to my editor and another one comes back to me. 

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

I have quite a few books in various stages of writing and publishing. We have early readers for Hot Rod Hamster coming. The first one, Hot Rod Hamster and the Wacky Whatever Race, comes out in August 2014 and then there will be three more.

My Shelter Pet Squad series is for ages 6-9. That series features a group of kids who volunteer at their local animal shelter and find a home for an animal in each book. The first book is called Jelly Bean and he is a guinea pig. That book also comes out in August 2014 and then we have at least two more.

I am also working on a new middle-grade novel that is scheduled for 2015. It's full of heart and deep questions and warm humor, like my other novels. We haven't agreed on a title for it yet, but it's set in Downeast Maine where the blueberry industry is very important. Migrant workers arrive in the late summer to rake blueberries, and the book is a friendship story between a girl who lives there and a girl whose family comes to work on the blueberry barrens.




Read the reviews! 

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Giveaway ends Sunday, May 11th 
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38 comments:

  1. Oh, Cynthia. You are a hero to my teaching colleagues and I. We mainstream students with autism into our classrooms and ever year we read RULES aloud at the beginning of the year to help our gen. ed. kids better understand their unique classmates. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for RULES.

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    1. Oh, Leslie, as a teacher, you are MY hero! Thank you for the important work you do connecting kids with each other.

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  2. It was great reading this interview and I've been meaning to read this book.

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  3. What an inspirational read this was. Kudos to Cynthia. Her children, the catalyst and how empowering to have her daughter give her input on behalf of both children. Excellent and I've taken the liberty of sharing this post.

    A peaceful weekend to you.

    Gary

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  4. As my nephew (now 21) has autism I'm especially delighted to read about books featuring the condition and this sounds like a great read in that the author obviously has first-hand experience.

    Oh, what rule would I like to break? As I have a really sweet tooth I'd like to break the unspoken rule you have to eat your 'meat and two veg' first and then you can have pudding. I

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    1. My very best wishes to your nephew and your whole family, Tracy.

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  5. I loved this book. So touching and so well written. Great to meet the author.

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  6. Wonderful interview, ladies. Thanks for sharing your stories and thoughts with us, Cynthia.

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    1. My pleasure. It's an honor, Beverly.

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  7. Lovely interview! I love that Cynthia drew on her personal experiences, and those of her kids, for some of her books!

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  8. Cynthia's books are great. Thanks for the giveaway.

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  9. I love that Cynthia writes diverse characters and ones that are under-represented in the market. Wishing her much success, although with all the books coming out, it seems she's already got it! :)

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    1. Yes, I think it's very important for all children to see themselves represented in books. Thank you, Lexa!

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  10. Thank you so much for sharing this awesome interview and giveaway. <3 I love it. Hmm. I am not sure what rules I would like to break. I'm not sure there are any, to be honest :)

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    1. My son is a very "black and white" thinker, and I never realized how complicated people are, until we tried to explain things to him in a way that mades sense. So much of what we do is in that "gray" middle ground.

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  11. Yay for Cynthia! Every author should write for different groups--just to keep themselves young and flexible. I'm not so much a rule breaker, but I do have a lead foot. Does that count?

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    1. Crystal- What a wonderful comment. Cynthia is an amazing author. :) ~L

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  12. I write chapter books and middle grade...and that's the hardest switch. Chapter books have a very set voice... I can go from MG to YA much more easily!

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    1. Stephanie- I can imagine it would be tough to go from chapter books to MG. Thanks for sharing and for stopping by. :) ~L

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  13. Thanks so much to Cynthia for stopping in and sharing her story. We know our readers loved hearing directly from her (she is awesome). It was so fun to read all of your thoughtful comments! ~L and F

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  14. Thank you Cynthia! Now I really want to read this~

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    1. You will love it, Aleks! :) ~L

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  15. I want to break the rule that restricts my heart's desire!

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  16. I love how Cynthia's daughter felt strangers' kindness for both her and her brother. I'll put this on my to-read list.

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    1. I used to think that in order to show that I was working/studying hard, I needed to 'suffer' or feel miserable while studying. I thought that meant discipline. (Some of my Korean students tell me their parents believe that kids ought to study till 2 am then wake up early again to study, just to 'feel' that they are working hard. I don't believe that is effective or necessary at all.) That is the major rule I'd break.

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    2. Claudine- Definitely put this on your to be read list. There are so many beautiful quotes in the book and I love the way the main character is so real.

      I agree with you that you should break the rule about suffering to study. Learning should be enjoyable. :) Thanks for sharing! ~L

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  17. I've heard about "Rules" recently and I'm looking forward to reading it.
    Thanks for the interview and giveaway.

    ~Akoss

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    1. Akoss- You are welcome! Rules is an excellent book and I am sure you will love it. :) Thanks for visiting. ~L

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  18. Wow, Rules looks like a great book. I would want to stop wearing a uniform, but it's kinda a silly thing.

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    1. Yun-A- Rules is a great book! I don't think it is silly to want to beak the uniform rule. Sometimes the daily rules make us the most crazy. :) ~L

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  19. Very nice. I enjoyed reading this interview.

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    1. Thanks, Donna! So glad you enjoyed the interview. Rules if a great book. :) ~L

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