In her speeches, Lois Lowry speaks extremely movingly about the process of writing and the influences from her life on her work. Her speeches are well worth a read. All links are to PDF documents.

“Here is how I create a character. He (or in many cases, she) appears, fully-formed, in my mind. I have a very visual imagination. I can see the character. Most often he or she tells me his or her name. That was true in this case. I saw a boy, young, barely adolescent, ordinary in appearance. His name was Jonas.”

- from How Everything Turns Away, University of Richmond “Quest” series, March, 2005

“As our country tries now to shape a future free of fear, the courage and wisdom to guide, reassure, and educate children will be front-line attributes. Those who do this work will, as always, be as underpaid as footsoldiers and firefighters but perhaps the world will wake up now and begin to value them more.”

- from The Beginning of Sadness, Ohio Library Educational Media Assocation Annual Convention, November, 2001

“Titles are very tough for me. I never create a book title until I have finished writing the book. How else can I know what the story is about, what it means, until I have told it? I always go about the creation of a character, first. Then I set a series of events in motion – starting, usually, with one precipitating incident (A soldier calls, "Halte." A girl, mourning her mother, stands and walks away from the body. A puppy is abandoned in an alley.) I move the character through those events, and the character responds the way that character would. Each response triggers new events—and the character again responds the way that character would.”

- from The Remembered Gate and the Unopened Door Sutherland Lecture, Chicago Public Library, April, 2001

“Each of us here today has chosen the way in which we will be a friend to children.; the gifts that we will give to them. The way I have chosen is to write stories. For all of us, it is our stories, as we tell them to each other, which explain the complex and tangled patterns that human lives and relationships create. They allow us to forgive ourselves for the messes we make of things; to comfort ourselves in the pain of the things we can't control. And through fiction—through stories—most of all, we remind ourselves that we are not alone in the difficult journeys we all undertake.”

- from Bright Streets and Dark Paths, Brown University, March, 2001

“Most of what I do as a writer I do by subconscious and whim and intuition. It is only in the looking back that I see patterns to what I have done, the way we sometimes take pleasure in reading a road map after the trip has come to an end: seeing where we turned, remembering why, and recalling with sighs or smiles the outcome of shortcuts or detours.”

from The Village of Childhood, Children's Literature New England, Vermont, August, 1997

“Just as an aside, I will tell you that in every book - in order for there to be a book, a story, a point, a reason for writing it - the main character makes a journey. Sometimes - very often, in fact, it is an interior journey: a journey that does not involve geography, except the geography of the mind and heart. But there is always a going forth - a quest - a seeking for something - and as coming back, when the something is found.”

- from Wondering Where Everything Went, National Council of Teachers of English Annual Convention, Chicago, November, 1996

“In beginning to write The Giver I created – as I always do, in every book – a world that existed only in my imagination – the world of "only us, only now." I tried to make Jonas's world seem familiar, comfortable, and safe, and I tried to seduce the reader. I seduced myself along the way,. It did feel good, that world. I got rid of all the things I fear and dislike; all the violence, prejudice, poverty, and injustice, and I even threw in good manners as a way of life because I liked the idea of it.

“One child has pointed out, in a letter, that the people in Jonas's world didn't even have to do dishes.

“It was very, very tempting to leave it at that.”

- from her Newbery Acceptance Speech, June, 1994