Today I am excited to have an interview with Shari Maurer. Her debut novel, Change of Heart, was recently released. It is a powerful story that covers a tough subject and may take you on an emotional roller coaster ride. I love the overall message it leaves you with. Without further ado, please give a warm welcome to Shari!
Can you tell us about Change of Heart?
Change of Heart is about Emmi, a 16 year old 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.
As a mom, was the subject difficulty at times to write about? Do you think it also helped the depth of emotions expressed in the book?
I'm not just a mom, but a mom of a child who was born with a heart defect. While that is nothing like the fear associated with having a heart transplant, I certainly can understand what the whole family was experiencing. My daughter is fine now, but that worry never goes away. Being a mom definitely helps me write the depth of emotions--both for Emmi and also for her brothers and parents.
What do you hope people take away with them after reading Change of Heart?
I want people not to take good health for granted and to appreciate their friends and family. I'm a "look on the bright side" kind of person and I think it's easy to get caught in all that's "wrong" in your life, but much healthier to focus on all that's "right."
I was surprised to see this statistic: "90% of Americans say they support donation, but only 30% know the essential steps to take to be a donor." (via donatelife.net). I'm sure your research for the book lead you to many more. For those interested in learning more about how to become a donor, where should they start?
Like Emmi, there are thousands of people waiting for organs. I hope you never need it, but if something horrible happens, it would be great if you could help save several lives. You can get more info on this at www.donatelife.net.
What are you working on now?
I just finished the first draft of a new book. It takes place in summer camp and examines the question "When is it okay to lie?" It needs a lot of work, but I'm really excited by its potential.
About the book:
In a world where the most stressful thing seems to be winning a soccer game or what to wear in the morning, you take some really basic things for granted.
Like the love of your parents.
Or hanging with your friends.
Or the beating of your heart.
When you’re 16 years old, it never occurs to you that you might die. Emmi Miller’s got a fabulous life. She has tons of friends, does great in school and is an all-star soccer player who played in Europe last summer. It even looks like Sam Hunter, a totally cute baseball player, might be interested in her. And then she gets a virus. No biggy, right? Until the virus goes to her heart and weakens it so much that, without a transplant, Emmi will die.
Will Emmi get a heart in time? Is Sam too good to be true? What about her new friend Abe, who has also had a transplant and guides her through these scary times — is he just being supportive or is there more going on between them? And will Emmi realize it before it’s too late?
About the author:
I am a YA writer who grew up in New City, NY and came back to raise my family there. I went to undergrad at Duke University and grad school at NYU, studying English and Dramatic Writing and yelling loud at basketball games. After school, I spent six years at the Children’s Television Workshop (now Sesame Workshop), working on international versions of Sesame Street and other kids’ programs. I met my husband, Mat, at sleepaway camp when we were 17 and there are times we still wish we were back at camp. My three kids, Lissie, Josh and Eric make me laugh and have been my biggest fans. Life is good.