Ask the Author: Laurie Halse Anderson

“Ask me a question.” Laurie Halse Anderson

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Laurie Halse Anderson Sure thing! Send me a self-addressed stamped envelope with your address on it to : Laurie Halse Anderson, PO Box 906, Mexico, NY 13114.

Thank you!!
Laurie Halse Anderson Hearing from readers who were struggling with eating disorders made me want to write about their battle. Eating disorders have the highest fatality rate of any mental illness. I wanted to tell a story that would show people how devastating they are.
Laurie Halse Anderson I am so sorry that you all are going through that nightmare. At the same time, I'm proud of you for recognizing the need for leadership, both as an older sibling and within your community.

In my experience, talking can help with the sadness that death brings. But sometimes you might not want to talk. That's when it's important to have something to DO - something physical and healthy. I think that is why 5K walks and runs are so popular. When a group of people come together for a common cause and move their bodies - be it walking, or rehabbing a building, cleaning a park, - positive and healing energy is created.

Also make sure that everyone has access to hotlines like To Write Love On Her Arms: https://twloha.com/, The Trevor Project: http://www.thetrevorproject.org/, RAINN: https://rainn.org/get-help/national-s..., and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: https://rainn.org/get-help/national-s...

Thank you again for caring. You are an amazing person!
Laurie Halse Anderson Shonda Rhimes, Tori Amos, Amandla Stenberg, Margaret Atwood, Serena Williams, Abby Wambach, Christiane Amanpour, my bestie Deb Heiligman, and my daughters.

We would SO rule the world!
Laurie Halse Anderson The sad fact that it has taken me weeks to respond to your kind invitation (I'm sorry!! I'm so sorry!!) gives you the answer. I am fortunate to be so busy with writing, speaking, and traveling, but I simply can't promise to add anything else to the work load.

But thank you so much for promoting literacy with your students - teachers like you make the world a MUCH better place!
Laurie Halse Anderson I've received plenty of backlash, but I know that any pain it might cause me doesn't come close to the pain suffered by teens who are dealing with these issues.

The criticism I've gotten for writing honestly about sexual violence, bullying, mental health, eating disorders, and the horrific reality of American slavery comes from adults who do not know how to talk about these things to their kids. Rather than confront their own fear and ignorance, they lash out at me (and other authors). I understand their pain. It proves that there is an enormous need for books like mine.

Maybe if we keep writing books about these things and promote conversations about the harsh realities of our world, we can help a generation learn how to handle the truth and grow up in strength and wisdom.
Laurie Halse Anderson I have pondered a sequel to Fever 1793, but I have a bunch of books I promised to write first, so it might be a while before I can write it.

I think you should just write for fun. Not everyone has to be an author. Not every book has to be published. I've written several projects just for myself and have loved working on them.
Laurie Halse Anderson We have bits and pieces of information about the lives of children and teens during the Revolution. I pulled from all of them when I was developing my characters. Children who were enslaved worked every bit as much as adults did. They also try to free themselves, and made choices about which army to support in the war.

I'll be posting an updated and lengthy bibliography for the trilogy to my website soon.

My hero is Isabel because she is so brave.

Thank you for waiting so patiently for ASHES!

Laurie Halse Anderson My favorite book is American Gods, by Neil Gaiman. I also adore Longbourn, by Jo Baker.

When I hit a roadblock, it's time to step away from my preconceived ideas or outline for the book, and let my imagination run wild.
Laurie Halse Anderson You are the one who is in charge of your brain. That's the good news.

But, wait - there's more!

The universe will not take points off because it took you a bit longer than other people your age to graduate. Honestly, that doesn't matter at all. Because you've had to deal with some adversity and do some soul-searching, you're going to graduate knowing a lot more about the realities of life than many of your peers.

Do you meditate? I try to do a little meditating every day. It helps me become aware of when my thoughts slip into old, negative patterns.

Write out of list of small things you can do that will improve your future. The list might include researching possible job opportunities or internships, going for a walk, figuring out how to network using your school's resources, books to read, TED talks to watch, etc. Whenever you find yourself thinking Bad Thoughts about your future, reach for your list and do something positive and constructive instead.

Good luck!!

Laurie Halse Anderson I write because it helps me make sense of the world.
Laurie Halse Anderson Be kind to yourself! I wrote a dozen novels before I wrote Wintergirls and had been working on my writing for 20 years by that point.

I've never really understood exactly where my ideas come from. Generally speaking, I write about things that confuse me or make me upset. There are MANY things that fall into that category!

I don't worry at all about the quality of the writing during early drafts.... I just try to get the ideas in my head down on paper. Then I revise many times. My editor usually doesn't see the book until draft 5.

Be patient and keep trying. The more you write, the better you'll become!!
Laurie Halse Anderson I try to get to them at least once a month. Thank you for being patient
Laurie Halse Anderson So, so, so many survivors have contacted me. Listening to their stories of what happened and how they coped changed my life. There are many more survivors of sexual violence than anyone realizes. I hope my book is part of the movement to remove the stigma and help survivors speak up and reclaim their power and energy.

I am honored that SPEAK has been a comfort for you!
Laurie Halse Anderson You have all of my respect, support, and love. I know how devastating eating disorders are, and how much courage and strength it takes to cope with them. I hope you are surrounded by people who can help you.

I never say "never" about stories, because if they want to be written, they will show up in my head and put me to work. I can say that as of this moment, I don't have any plans to do so. But the door is always open!

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