I'm delighted to introduce Shari Maurer, whose debut novel CHANGE OF HEART has a lovely back story. You'll see what I mean...
Congratulations on the publication of your novel, CHANGE OF HEART. Can you tell us a bit about the story and what inspired it?
CHANGE OF HEART is about a 16 year old soccer player who needs a heart transplant. It was inspired by a Discovery Health program we were watching one night. There was a young girl waiting for a transplant and I was totally haunted by the look in her eyes as they wheeled her into the operating room for her transplant, not knowing if she would live or die.
How long have you been writing for children/teens? Have you written other books or is this your first effort?
This is my first teen novel. I worked for Children's Television Workshop on international versions of Sesame Street several years ago, so I've always been interested in entertaining kids and teens.
Can you describe your path to the publication of CHANGE OF HEART?
It was a long one, but fortunately I have a tenacious agent. I really liked everything I read about WestSide Books and thought they'd be a great fit for CHANGE OF HEART. We submitted the novel in September, but didn't hear back from them until May--it was a long wait, but certainly worth it!
Do you have any advice for beginning writers?
Read everything you can. I'm constantly reading. I love YA, which is probably part of why I decided to write that. You can learn so much from things you enjoy and from things that bore you. And the other piece of advice I heard from David A. Adler when he spoke at my kids' school: there's no such thing as a bad first draft. Just get it on paper, take a chance and go from there.
Can you tell us something about your personal life – inspirations, plans for the future, goals, etc.?
I'm learning to balance promotion for CHANGE OF HEART with focusing on my next project. It's hard to turn off the internet and all the other distractions I call Life. I was very lucky and able to accompany my husband to Rome recently, where I wrote for good, focused chunks of time. I'm trying to imitate that at home by taking my netbook to different places. In July, I'm heading to Durham, NC to drive my sons and their friends to Duke Basketball Camp. I'll have five days of solitude and hope to get a lot done then, too. Duke's my alma mater, so I'm excited to be back there and wander the quad and the Duke Gardens and write and read.
Do you have any new writing ventures underway?
I just finished a hopefully promising first draft of a new book. I'm looking forward to revising it and bringing it to where it needs to be.
Do you have a website where readers can learn more about CHANGE OF HEART?
Yes! www.sharimaurer.com. Come visit me and say hi there!