Comment below by 11:59 PM on Tuesday, May 15 to win an autographed copy of Summer Sanctuary! I'll draw a name at random and Laurie will contact the winner on Wednesday, May 16!
Readers can learn more about Laurie's work at her website: www.SocraticParenting.com
What's your book about? Summer Sanctuary is about a home-schooled preacher’s kid who goes to the library to work on a science project, and while he’s there he meets a homeless teenager and convinces her to live secretly in his church for the summer. The sanctuary is where they connect through music. Matthew is a math and science guy who plays piano by the book, while Dinah is more of a poet who plays her blues harp (harmonica) by ear. There’s also the concept of sanctuary from medieval times because Dinah’s biggest fear is that someone will report her to Child Welfare, and she’ll end up in a foster family instead of back with her mom where she really wants to be. So Dinah finds sanctuary from the government for the summer.
What inspired you to write it? People-watching at the library. I saw home-schooled kids who come from very stable, loving homes, and the library was kind of their gateway to the world. I also saw kids who looked like they came to the library to get out of the weather and find a safe place. I started wondering what would happen if their paths crossed in a way that allowed them to become friends.
When is your book coming out / When did it release? Summer Sanctuary was released in 2010. It won a Moonbeam Gold Medal and was named a 2011 Indiana Best Book Finalist.
My second book, Maybe I Will, is scheduled for release in March 2013. (A sexually assaulted teenager resists conformity, but finds freedom of expression through the poetic form of Shakespeare’s sonnets and the physical forms of taekwondo.)
I have a third young adult historical fiction book, Just Myrto, that I’m still negotiating, but will hopefully be released in late 2013 or early 1014. (Marrying Socrates launches Myrto, granddaughter of Aristides the Just, on a journey through Ancient Greek Metaphysics to discover the wonder of being Just Myrto.)
What's the best part of being published? School and library visits where I get to talk to kids. I was a high school teacher for four years and talked to kids every day, but our topics were controlled by state curriculum. As an attorney, I’ve been a guardian ad litem for kids in the child welfare kids, prosecuted child molest cases, worked with juvenile delinquents, and currently work as a child forensic interviewer. It’s nice to be able to talk to kids about positive things for a change!
Do you write from an outline or are you a "pantser"? My books are mostly character-driven. I have an idea of who my characters are, what the major conflicts are, and where I think they’ll end up, but then I just kind of turn them loose and let them surprise me. They don’t always end up where I thought they would!
Who's your favorite author? What is it about his or her writing that has made you a fan? I have so many favorite authors! Growing up I loved Madelyn L’Engle and was so pleased that I had the opportunity to hear her speak and shake her hand when I was teaching. I think Barbara Kingsolver, Maya Angelou, and Ayn Rand continue to influence my writing, but since I’m writing primarily young adult fiction, I’ve been reading trying to read everything by Katherine Patterson, Lois Lowry, Avi, Laurie Halse Anderson, John Green and other award-winning YA authors. I’ve also become a fan of the novel in verse and the beauty of narrative through poetry rather than prose. There’s no one who does that better than my friend Helen Frost, winner of four Lee Bennett Hopkins Awards/Honors. 100 years from now when students are learning about novels in verse, I’m sure they’ll be reading Helen’s books: Keesha’s House (a Prinz Honor Book), Diamond Willow, Crossing Stones, The Braid, and Hidden.
Why YA as opposed to some other genre? Because there’s nothing more useless than a mind filled with someone else’s thoughts. Young adult literature is a great way to empower kids to think for themselves and build a better future for themselves and all of us.