Author of the big hit The Adoration of Jenna Fox (my review), as well A Room on Lorelei Street, Scribbler of Dreams and David v. God, this one time second grade teacher, Mary Pearson answered so we could get to know her a little better.
Q. What is the best memory you have of school or a teacher?
When I was in second grade I had a wacky, fun teacher who didn’t always follow the curriculum I’m sure, but she had every one of us kids engaged. She was like the pied piper, but instead of a musical pipe, she transfixed us all with story. She had so m
uch enthusiasm it was impossible not to catch it. She read stories, but also made them up and let a classroom of wiggly kids participate in the telling of it by providing the sound effects. That experience was such a positive one for me and I think left every child feeling like a participant in the creation of the story. My best friend was also in that classroom and she has gone on to be a very successful writer, but in the educational field. I wonder how many writers that one teacher spawned? Thank you, Mrs. Alsenz!
Q. What’s your earliest memory?
I remember standing on my back porch watching my mother sort laundry. I was a toddler and I suspect I saw her do that a lot and perhaps wondered why she found laundry so interesting.
Q. What is one book you will never be too old to love?
All of them? Seriously, I think no matter how old you get, a good book is a good book and there is always a new side or perspective to explore, or a journey to enjoy all over again. As C.S. Lewis puts it, “. . . a book worth reading only in childhood is not worth reading even then. ” From Dr. Seuss, to E.B.White, to Lewis Carroll, to Beatrix Potter, and more–there are books and stories worth revisiting over and over again. If I ever get too old to appreciate books from my childhood, it is time to stop reading.
Q. When you were first starting out as a writer, did anyone give you advice that really stuck with you?
I have received so much wonderful advice over the years, not to mention that I am a writing book junkie–I love to read advice and process books on the subject–but early on, I read a book, The Writer’s Book of Checklists where the author Scott Edlestein discussed the fears of writing and how to get over them. He said, “When fears arise, acknowledge them, and keep writing anyway.” As a new writer I did have a lot of fears so I found this encouraging. I wasn’t alone. Fear was not my stomping grounds alone. So I wrote through my fears to finish my first novel. That manuscript was never published but it was a huge milestone for me that helped me to go on to write other books that did get published.
Q. Where do you write? Would you attach a picture of your office or work space?
I converted a bedroom in my house into an office. It is nice and roomy and I have trees right outside my window that always seem to have a bird dropping my to peek in at me. And there is plenty of room to spread out manuscripts on the floor when I get to the middle and I have to “see” the manuscript because it is starting to overwhelm me.
This is shortly after I cleaned it, so it is a rare moment of minimal clutter. I even cleaned my bulletin board which before this was so loaded with “stuff” you could barely sneeze without something falling off of it. Check back in two weeks and I am sure it will be a mess again.
Q. What was the most surprising/thrilling thing about being a published author?
That people I don’t know, who live in places I have never been, and who live lives I can’t begin to understand, and have experiences and belief systems completely different from my own, are actually reading something that I wrote and on some level, are relating to it, so that even though we are so different we still have common ground too. When I get a letter from someone whom I have never met and they share with me their response to one of my books, it amazes me every time.
Q. What are you working on now, and what new release(s) can we expect to see from you down the road?
I have a new book coming out this Fall called THE MILES BETWEEN about four teens who embark on an “unauthorized” road trip in search of one fair day. The main character has an obsession with coincidences and also a secret she is keeping from the rest of her road trip renegades, and as the story unfolds, she discovers they have secrets of their own. It is an outrageous, larger-than-life story where fantasy bleeds into reality and you are never sure where one ends and the other begins. I had a lot of fun writing it.
Q. If you had a free day with no responsibilities and your only charge was to enjoy yourself, what would you do?
ohhh, I love this question. I would probably going walking barefoot at the beach with a small pack on my back with water and a sandwich and chips and a book of poetry and walk as far as I felt like and stop and have lunch when I wanted, read when I wanted, and listen to the waves and think. I would love that.
Q. What are you currently reading or planning to read?
I am currently reading The Comeback by Marlene Perez which I am really enjoying, and up next is Three Cups of Tea, a non-fiction book I have heard great things about.
Q. What do you do when you aren’t writing?
Well, besides all the things that everyone else does, like laundry, bills, cleaning, and the endless list of musts that seem to take up way too much time, I like to take long walks with my husband, work out in the garden–especially in spring–cook for my family and friends, play games, and of course, read!
Q. What was your first job?
My first job was a salesgirl at Raj of India in our local mall, a store that no longer exists. I was in charge of stocking the incense and incense burners. During those few months I smelled enough incense to last me a lifetime. I am no longer a fan of incense, to say the least.
Q. You desperately wish you knew how to…
.Oh, so many things. Play the piano. Perform ballet. Win at Jeopardy. My interests and aspirations are lofty and mundane.
Her Site: Mary Pearson
Who is Jeanna Fox? site for The Adoration of Jenna Fox
[…] Between is Mary E. Pearson’s newest accomplishment and it is a sweet one! Refer back to my interview with the author when I first learned of this forthcoming book. It is not to be […]