Interview: Lorie Ann Grover
Current Mood: satisfied
Current Song: L&O: CI theme song
Author and illustrator Lorie Ann Grover has written poetry and prose for preschoolers and high schoolers. Her artwork, available in many forms, has been featured in books, on websites, and in various publications. She has drawn from her experiences as a child, an adult, a dancer, and a mother to create stories that are both poignant and memorable.
Why write verse novels?
Verse seems to be the format that works well with my voice. The moments are like photographs to me. I'm comfortable communicating and editing in tight sequences. I appreciate the constraint that insists on only the essential being included. The form carries both intense emotion and lyrical language.
What inspires your poetry?
My poetry, outside of verse novels, is almost always inspired by nature.
What elements of your own teen years or your family life have you incorporated into your novels?
All my novels are based heavily on my life experience. Facts are changed only to better the story or when real life just isn't believeable. My grandmother did die of breast cancer, I did grow too tall to dance ballet, my father did leave our family, I was molested, and the boy who sat in front of me in 5th grade was kidnapped. When I see a reader with my book, my gut reaction is that they are looking at my diary!
Along the same lines: On Pointe stars a hopeful ballerina named Claire and tackles many serious issues: hope, grief, eating disorders, and family matters. What inspired this tale?
I was a dancer for ten years, and I was a member of the Miami Ballet Company. When I grew too tall to continue in classical dance, my dream ended. Unlike Claire, I stopped all dance at that point. It was freeing to write Claire's ending and feel as if I was dancing again. I also wanted to share the nitty gritty of ballet. I wanted readers to know the cost.
Hold Me Tight also deals with powerful subjects, but is able to weave them together rather than hitting readers over the head with Obvious Moral Lessons. In fact, VOYA deemed it "bibliotherapy." Have you received any correspondence from readers who have been personally moved by this story?
Readers tend to share with me concerning Hold Me Tight when I meet them face to face. There's an intensity if their parents have divorced, or they've been abused. This happens also with my first novel, Loose Threads. Many readers want to share how their loved one experienced breast cancer. The topics are so intimate that the connections are very emotional. My hope is that readers find comfort or gain strength to speak out and get help.
Your artwork has been featured in everything from picture books to video games. Which illustration project has been the most challenging? The most rewarding?
My 100 background paintings for Cherry Coke's internet game in 1999 was my most challenging. The deadline only allowed about 4 months for creation. At the same time, I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. The most rewarding work is illustrating board books and picture books. It makes me happy to make a child laugh. Illustrating really does bring me joy, while writing novels brings deep satisfaction.
Have you done any of the artwork or photography for the covers of your novels?
No. Authors hardly ever are given the opportunity to contribute to their covers. As an artist, I am asked my opinion before final decisions are made. I do love all my covers!
Last but not least, what are your ten favorite books of all time?
Oh, that is such a hard question! But here are ten that are close to my heart:
Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo
Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse
Dragonsong by Anne McCafferty
Holes by Louis Sachar
Feed by M.T. Anderson
Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan
George and Martha by James Marshall
Go, Dog. Go! by P.D. Eastman
Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge by Mem Fox and Julie Vivas
All the best to book lovers! Thank you, Little Willow!
Thank you, Lorie Ann!
To learn more about the author, please visit lorieanngrover.com
Read Lorie Ann's Family poem-post.
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