I know I've said this before, but when I was in about the fourth grade, the book The Giver by Lois Lowry changed my life. I'd never read a book quite like it, and it basically stirred my little mind and gave me the direction for the type of stories I wanted to write. In fact, my current book about a girl whose memories are stolen is a result of the seeds The Giver planted in my mind. In so many ways, Lois Lowry is a personal hero of mine.
When I told my crit partner Chersti that a few weeks ago, she said, "Oh! Did you know she's coming to town?"
As part of her tour for Son, the fourth book in The Giver quartet, Ms. Lowry was coming to my town. Tickets were hot, but we scored some. In preparation, I dug out my fourth-grade copy of The Giver, then bought a new, hardback special edition. 'Cause obviously I needed both the nice copy and the well-loved copy signed, right?
Ms. Lowry's speech was amazing. She spoke about how The Giver came into existence, and it resonated so hard with how my own story about memory came into existence. Though we both had different experiences that led to the idea, we both asked ourselves the same question: "What would happen if we could take away our difficult memories?"
She was eloquent, funny, approachable, and wonderful. At the Q&A at the end, she said something about the young boy asking the question having a t-shirt that said "Tigers" on it, then said, "Okay, ask your question, Tiger."
He paused. "Please don't call me that."
|With Chersti and Baby Noodles|
The audience roared with laughter, but Ms. Lowry only smiled a little, apologized, and invited him again to ask the question. Her respect for him was obvious, and it made me realize how well she still identifies with her target audience, though I believe she's now in her 60's.
I waited with Chersti, Bree Despain, and her friend Michelle for our turn at the signing. As Ms. Lowry signed my books, I told her how instrumental those books were in my own writing, and she smiled.
It was so inspiring to meet one of my heroes. Just hearing her talk and meeting her briefly reminded me why I love to write-- I love writing stories that have the potential to touch people's lives. It was incredible to meet the first author who ever touched mine.
So, my friends, have you met your heroes? Who are your heroes, and why?