Sunday, October 12, 2008

Blast From the Past: Loaded Questions with "Change of Heart" Author, Jodi Picoult

I began contacting authors and publicists with the idea of doing simple, quick and hopefully painless interviews with some of the bestselling authors in January of 2006. Several of those interviews from almost three years ago have never been posted at Loaded Questions as they were initially done for another site.

We want to share these interviews with you over the coming weeks in a series that we have been doing for the last year, Blast from the Past. Going forward I will be posting one interview a week from the catalog of my very first interviews. I think you'll certainly see a progression from the kind of interviewers conducted three years ago and those released in the last year. It has certainly been a learning experience and therefore these early interviews are especially important to me - something I wanted to share here.

The first of these interviews is with author Jodi Picoult who has written well over a dozen bestselling books and shows no signs of slowing down with her latest release Change of Heart and her upcoming novel Handle with Care due in March of 2009. Since 2002 Lifetime has made three of Picoult's novels into successful films, part of their Original Movie series. My Sister's Keeper is set to be the fourth film made by Lifetime and is scheduled to debut in 2009.

Instead of asking Picoult about particular novels or characters I was more interested in how she managed to do research for her books, research that often led her to the Amish countryside, time spent on Death Row and trips to live with Eskimos while still managing her family.

Kelly Hewitt: You have written about how research for some of your novels has lead you to spend time in an Amish community, on visits to death row, on a Hopi reservation, and ghost hunting just to name a few. Was there ever a point when someone in your life tried to dissuade you from one of these excursions? Have you ever been presented with a research opportunity that you turned down?

Jodi Picoult: I'm fortunate to have a family that really encourages me, no matter what I choose to do for my fiction! I have to admit my husband was a little worried when I went off to the hinterlands of the Alaskan bush to live with the Eskimos, but mostly he was jealous that he didn't get to come along. As for being presented with a research opportunity that I've declined - it doesn't work that way. Since I choose the ideas for my books, and the research that goes into them, I'm always the one begging to gain admission somewhere. For example, this Fall I went to Death Row in Arizona...and where most people have to work hard to get OUT of jail, I found myself working harder to get IN.

Kelly: Your house is a busy place. What do you do when everything is quiet? The kids are at hockey practice with dad and you have the house all to yourself...

Jodi: Often I bake. Sometimes I take a bath and read. And mostly, I feel guilty and go up to my office and work.

Kelly: Writing, you have said, is a very important part of your life. At what point did you realize that you were destined to be an author? Are you ever surprised by the success you've achieved?

Jodi: I've wanted to be a writer since I was little - the big shock is that it HAPPENED. I am shocked every single day at how lucky I am to not only be doing what I love to do most in the world, but to have people out there who like to read what I write.

Kelly: What kinds of books might one expect to find on the shelves of Jodi Picoult?

Jodi: When we built our house, I had the builder stuff bookshelves into every nook and cranny -- and we STILL don't have enough space for all of them!

Songs of the Humpback Whale (1992)
Harvesting the Heart (1994)
Picture Perfect (1995)
Mercy (1995)
The Pact (1998)
Keeping Faith (1999)
Plain Truth (2000)
Salem Falls (2001)
Perfect Match (2002)
Second Glance (2003)
My Sister's Keeper (2004)
Vanishing Acts (2005)
The Tenth Circle (2006)
Nineteen Minutes (2007)
Change of Heart (2008)

The above links will direct you to where all of Jodi Picoult's books can be purchased. When clicking these links a percentage of your purchase goes to Loaded Questions and supports the continuation of this site and the giveaways we feature.


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