Bestselling author Jodi Picoult was in Toronto yesterday to promote not only her newest book, Lone Wolf, but also to talk about her first YA book, Between the Lines, which she co-wrote with her daughter. Thanks to Nicole (@nicoleabouttown), who won a pair of tickets to the event and asked me to be her +1, we headed to the Church of the Redeemer yesterday evening, in Toronto’s Yorkville area to hear Jodi speak.
Lone Wolf began for Jodi about 10 years ago, when she spoke to an interesting man on the plane. She told him to remember her name, and that she’d be calling him at some point in the future to further discuss this topic because she was going to write that book one day. When she called the man up, he completely remembered her and had been following her career since their meeting.
About a wolf researcher who becomes comatose as the result of an accident, Lone Wolf follows the dilemma that his two children have in deciding whether or not to keep him on life support. This story sits at the crossroads of medical science and morality whether, given all our advances in medical science, if we should needlessly prolong (or prematurely end) someone’s life.
Jodi spoke about meeting Shaun Ellis, a wolf researcher who spent a year living among the wolves to learn about them and how they’re not cold-blooded killers but actually quite family-oriented. What an educational evening! I learned quite a bit of interesting info about wolf packs and their different rankings, and how you can attribute that to dogs as well. Jodi gave a great example. When you go to pick out a puppy from the litter, the one that comes charging out at you is the one everyone thinks is the cutest/best/loving, but that’s actually the beta dog – the one that’s outgoing and out to protect the pack. The one right behind it will be the alpha dog, the leader. The one you want is a “numbers” dog, the ones that are there to make the pack/litter look larger in numbers, and just enjoys being a part of the family.
After a hilarious audience participation segment where Jodi demonstrates 3 different wolf calls (depending on their pack ranking) and got 3 audience members to mimic it (video below!), it was a brief Q&A session. She spoke of her process and how it usually starts with a “what if?” question she can’t answer. She advises for aspiring authors to not go the self-publishing route at this time. You’d want your name out there, so the backing of a big-name publisher will help market your book and get it out to the public. Jodi was inspired to become a writer after reading Gone with the Wind. And when asked about how much say she has into her books being turned into movies, a chuckle went through the room as she spoke of her experience with My Sister’s Keeper being made into a movie. The director had promised her that the ending had to be that ending, and wouldn’t change it. And IF it were to change, he would personally tell her. Needless to say, that wasn’t what happened and when she went to confront him about it, she was kicked off the movie set. In terms of what book she’d like to see made into a movie, she thinks Nineteen Minutes would have a strong important message behind it.
Jodi spoke briefly about her YA novel Between the Lines which comes out in June, and gave two 14 year olds in the audience an advanced copy of it! (Us bloggers were a wee bit envious!) But I can’t wait to read it. It sounds really interesting… kinda like a literary Toy Story!
I have to commend Jodi and the Simon & Schuster team for getting all those people with their books signed and out in such a timely manner. There were probably a couple hundred, I’m guessing… and going row-by-row, we thought it’d take forever, as we were about 2/3 of the way back, but my two books were signed and we were headed out about 30 minutes into the signing!
A fantastic event and a big thank you to Simon & Schuster, and Ms Jodi Picoult!
I missed the first girl’s howl, but here’s the video I took of the hilariously awesome audience participation segment.