But of course, first we must announce last WWRW's winner who will receive a copy of SLUT LULLABIES by Gina Frangello. That winner is... Llehn! I'll email you for your mailing address.
Now let's meet this week's Woman Who Rocks, YA novelist Shari Maurer, author of CHANGE OF HEART!
Q: Tell us about CHANGE OF HEART? What is the story about and what inspired you to write it?
SHARI: Change of Heart is the story of Emmi, a 16 year old elite soccer player, who gets sick and finds she needs a heart transplant. In the process, she learns about life, love and the meaning of true friendship.
It was inspired when I was watching a Discovery Health program on Heart Transplants (my husband is a cardiologist and was also featured with one of his patients). There was a little girl on the program who was about to receive a transplant. I watched as they wheeled her down the hall to the OR and was haunted by the look on her face--not knowing if she would live or die. Thus, Emmi was born.
Q: If there was a soundtrack for your book what are five songs that would be on it and how do they relate the story?
SHARI: Abe, Emmi's friend who has also had a heart transplant, is a big 70's Rock fan. He turns Emmi onto this music, too.
"Don't Stop" by Fleetwood Mac. It should play at the end of the book as it is mentioned (you have to read to understand why). The eerie thing is that the first time I sat down to read the draft of the book I had my iPod playing on shuffle. As soon as I got to that part of the book, Don't Stop came on--right where it's described in the book. I have over 400 songs on my iPod, so thought the timing was kind of freaky.
"Freebird" by Lynyrd Skynyrd. Also in the book, it's a favorite of Abe's dad (and one he quotes to Emmi).
"Only the Good Die Young" by Billy Joel. Several reasons why this one works, but Abe tells Emmi about it when he gives her a rock and roll education.
"Wonderful Tonight" by Eric Clapton. I could see someone playing this for Emmi.
"Here Comes the Sun" by the Beatles. I needed to throw in some Beatles and this is one of my favorite. It's hopefulness is reflected in Change of Heart, I think, and if Change of Heart were a movie, this is the song I'd pick for the closing credits.
Q: Who were some of your inspirations to become a writer or the inspirations that keep you writing? Feel free to include other authors, teachers, parents, or people in other creative fields, whoever is an inspiration to you!
SHARI: I've had fabulous writing teachers my whole life. David Ball at Duke and Venable Herndon at NYU come to mind, as well as Susan Ludwig, who was my instructor at the Institute for Children's Literature.
I read so much when I was younger: Judy Blume, Paula Danziger and so many others. I used to write my favorite authors letters as a kid. They often wrote back!
Now I love to read anything by Laurie Halse Anderson and Sarah Dessen. Not only are these ladies phenomenal writers, but they're terrific people. I had asked Sarah to blurb Change of Heart and got a very sweet note telling me she was busy, but wishing me luck and I met Laurie at BEA and she couldn't have been lovelier. It goes to show you that you can be incredibly successful and still be kind.
Q: After reading CHANGE OF HEART, I'm sure readers will be hungry for more, so what are you working on now?
SHARI: My next book is set at summer camp, which is a favorite place of mine (I met my husband there when I was 17). I'm in the middle of revisions and really enjoying it.
Q: I have two questions that I always ask my Women Who Rock, the first is a two-parter. What was the first album you bought and the first concert you attended? Be honest, we don't judge, we like to see the roots of our women who rock!
SHARI: The first album I bought was probably Billy Joel's "The Stranger". I was with my dad and wanted this album by this guy, Billy Joel and my dad was looking for the album that featured "that song about Virginia." Imagine our surprise when we were both looking for the same album. ("that song about Virginia" is "Only the Good Die Young")
My first concert? This is the part where I ask you not to judge! It was Shaun Cassidy when I was in 6th grade. I had such a big crush on him!
Q: Tell us about your biggest rock star moment, perhaps it's a moment of real success in your career, a time when you met someone super cool and had that Wayne's World "I'm not worthy" moment, or just a time where you felt like you got the rock star treatment. I get a huge variety of answers for the questions, so it's pretty much whatever "rock star moment" means to you!
SHARI: I think it had to be my launch party at the New City Library. I had my hair done, was wearing a great dress I had bought in Rome, kick a-- hot pink wedge shoes and, according to my local paper, had over 300 people there celebrating with me. Definitely a highlight of this whole journey.
Thanks for coming to the blog, Shari! I loved the story about how you and your dad were looking for the same album :)
Now that you have learned more about Shari and CHANGE OF HEART, you probably want the book more than anything, right? Well, you are in luck! Shari is giving out a signed copy to one lucky winner.
To enter all you have to do is leave a comment. However you can gain additional entries:
+1 for tweeting or posting on facebook about this interview
+1 for tweeting or posting about CHANGE OF HEART.
+5 for blogging about CHANGE OF HEART.
Note your additional entries in your comment as well as giving me an email address or some way to contact you if you win. Because this is the last WWRW for a while, I will be drawing the winner next Wednesday and more likely than not, simply emailing them rather than announcing it so please please please leave a way to contact you if you enter.