Pretending that there are no choices to be made - reading only books, for example, which are cheery and safe and nice - is a prescription for disaster for the young.
What comes to me always is a character, a scene, a moment. That's going to be the beginning. Then, as I write, I begin to perceive an ending. I begin to see a destination, although sometimes that changes. And then, of course, there's the whole middle section looming.
It's interesting that so many books now are published as the first in a series. It never occurred to me. Although 'The Giver' does have an ambiguous ending. I've heard about that from readers over the years.
When you lose a child in an accident as I did, it's final - you're not caught in this longing for him, to search for him, knowing he's out there some place.
If somebody takes the time, a: to read a book that I have written, and then to b: care about it enough to write me and ask questions, surely I owe them a response.
The grand surprise has really been the fact that being an author, which to me had always implied being a private person, actually requires you to be a public person as well, and those are two separate entities to me.
People are starting to refer to 'The Giver' as a classic, but I don't know how that is defined. But if it means that 10, 20, 50 years from now kids will still be reading it, that is kind of awe-inspiring.
People can lie in letters, but they tend not to. They certainly lie in memoirs.
I think teens are drawn to these speculative books that portray what might happen and what could happen.
My mind is always on whatever next project I'm working on.
I majored in English in college, so I read the classic dystopian novels like '1984' and 'Brave New World.'
As female hormones decrease, they're replaced with an overwhelming urge to grow delphinium.
One hopes that with a book or movie, the reader or the audience will emerge from it thinking. That's the most you can hope for: that you've raised questions that will be there for the audience to think about later.
Often in the past, there have been authors that were deeply disappointed in their adaptation, but that's because they haven't accepted the fact that a movie is a different thing, and it can't possibly be the same as the book.
Nowadays it seems as though people sit down to write what they know is going to be a trilogy.
When I was a kid in the '50s, during the Eisenhower years, everything seemed to be working fine. I don't recall as a teenager ever worrying about the state of the future world.
You rehear your life by reading about what happens to other people.
I prefer to surprise myself as I'm writing. I'm not interested in it if I already know where it's going. So I have only the most general sense of what I'm doing when I start a story. I sometimes have a destination in mind, but how the story is going to go from Point A to Point Z is something I make up as I go along.
I never, as a reader, have been particularly interested in dystopian literature or science fiction or, in fact, fantasy.
Kids have no sense of appropriateness. They can ask me whatever they want. You do develop a sense of intimacy with readers, and they tell you things about themselves. During a school year, I'll get e-mails asking about the books. I'll give them information, but I won't do their homework for them.
I was fortunate to live for 3 years in another country, and although we lived in an American compound, still as a young adolescent I did venture into the world of the Japanese with great interest and enjoyment. But many Americans never left that safe and familiar life among their own people.
Oddly, the military world is one of great sameness. There is an orderly quality to life on an army base, and even the children of the military are brought up with that sense of order and sameness.
Many of the books I loved as a kid, that even my mother read as a child, are very slow going. Today's children are not as patient. The best example of this is 'The Secret Garden,' which I adored as a child.
If we as writers could predict what readers grab on to, we would write it.
In my writing, I focus lenses. I'm almost always seeing when I am writing.
I've always been fascinated by memory and dreams because they are both completely our own. No one else has the same memories. No one has the same dreams.
I always set out to tell a good story, to create a character that young people can relate to, place them in a situation that will be interesting, intriguing, eventually suspenseful. But what I find is that after I do that, then there are themes that emerge, which teachers can then use to provoke discussion and debate.
When I moved from Cambridge, I donated all my fiction. I carefully cut out pages the authors had autographed for me. I didn't want those autographed books showing up on eBay.
Because I have two houses, I invariably get immersed in a book and then discover it's at the other house.
This may sound strange, but at a very early age, at around 3, I was aware that I was smarter than the other kids.
Most people remember being 4 objectively, as if they're seeing a movie of a 4-year-old. But me, if you ask me to think about when I'm 4, I can feel myself being 4, and I am there, looking out through my 4-year-old eyes.
I'm a writer; I like to retain subtlety and nuance.
There are those, I think, who are attracted to the glitz of celebrity life. I am not one of them.
In 1952, when I was 15 and living on Governors Island, which was then First Army Headquarters, I encountered the newly-published 'The Catcher in the Rye.' Of course, that book became the iconic anti-establishment novel for my generation.
Memory is the happiness of being alone.
I see all of them. All the colors.
Keep a green tree in your heart and perhaps the singing bird will come.
Writing is self employment, so you can make your own schedule.
Take pride in your pain; you are stronger than those who have none
There is something about that moment, when literature becomes accessible, and a door of the world opens.