The very popular Jodi Picoult is also the very hard-working Jodi Picoult. She writes, usually, a book a year and has kept up this pace for 20 books. She is famous for tackling social issues in her novels--gay rights, embryo donation, disabled children, the death of a child, losing a parent. Her topics are never easy.
Her latest book, "Lone Wolf," is about a Farley Mowat-type character, a scientist who lives with a pack of wolves so that he can observe their behavior. He is gravely injured in an accident and as he lies in a coma, it is up to his children to make end of life decisions. Do they press on and hope for a miracle? Or donate the organs and say goodbye? And, oh, do they agree? Of course not.
Like I said, never easy.
Picoult will be in the Twin Cities on Friday, reading at 7 p.m. at Wayzata High School, 4955 Peony Lane, Plymouth. Tickets are $15 and are redeemable toward the purchase of her book at the Bookcase of Wayzata, the event's sponsor.
We asked Picoult our ten questions. She gave us ten great answers. (For instance: She writes in her attic!)
Describe your writing room.
It's the attic. There's no lock on the door, the walls are purple, and above my desk is a a shelf with the letters WRITE spread across it - just in case I forget what I'm supposed to be doing. I have shelves stacked with research and with drafts of the book I'm currently writing, as well as all sorts of other sundry stuff -- mailing supplies, transcripts of interviews, photos of my kids and my parents and my friends and my husband. In the window is a beautiful stained glass panel my husband (an antiques dealer) found at an auction; and it overlooks the backyard.
What is your writing strategy—do you have rituals that you maintain?
I tend to write when my kids are in school (now, my daughter's the only one left at home, the others are in college). So I am up at 5AM, go for a walk with a friend, shower and get to my desk by 7:30, write till 4, and then magically turn into a mother again.
How do you get past writers’ block (or the distraction of the Internet)?
I don't believe in writer's block - I think you can always edit a BAD page but not a BLANK page. So even when I'm not inspired to write, I get something down on paper and then rework it. As for distractions on the Internet - hey, sometimes you really JUST have to buy a pair of shoes...
Do you have a favorite book from childhood?
I read "Gone With the Wind" when I was 12 and fell madly in love with Rhett -- and with the idea of creating a world out of words, like Margaret Mitchell had done.
What books do you re-read?
I've reread "The Life of Pi." Mostly because I wish I'd been smart enough to write it. And Alice Hoffman novels, which are just breathtakingly beautiful.
What’s on your desk?
A giant wonderful iMac, a coffee mug, a phone, a tissue box, a schedule of the interviews I'm doing today, post-it notes, transcripts of interviews I did with Holocaust survivors and the head of the Human Rights and Special Prosecution Officer of the Dept. of Justice, a press release from the DOJ, an e-mail from a detective about body wires (more research), and the contact info for a company that does professional theatrical flying (in my spare time, I also run a teen theater group that performs original musicals to raise money for charity).
Where are you right now? Describe what you see.
Sitting at my desk. I'm looking at my computer right now, but to my right, when I look out the window, I can see the yard -- which doesn't have nearly enough snow in spite of the fact that it's allegedly a New Hampshire winter. What I DON'T see are my three dogs, making me wonder what trouble they've gotten into now.
What are you reading right now?
Amy Hatvany's "Outside the Lines."
What’s been the best place so far to do a reading?
There are so many! I've had amazing events everywhere from Wayzata to London to Perth. One of my favorites was in Bath, England -- I did an event at a packed theater, and stayed at the Royal Crescent hotel, where I fully expected Mr. Darcy to pop out of my closet. It was THAT lush.
What authors have inspired you?
Hemingway, for his spare prose. Fitzgerald, for his use of an unreliable narrator. Alice Hoffman, for making it look easy to write about love.