Lois Lowry Interview, plus links to author biography, book summaries, excerpts and reviews

Lois Lowry
Photo: Kate Philbrick

Lois Lowry

How to pronounce Lois Lowry: lois: first syllable rhymes with sew. Lowry: first syllable rhymes with now

An interview with Lois Lowry

What were your inspirations for Gossamer?

I'm so interested, always, in how the bits and pieces of our lives go together, how they form a narrative, and how important they are to us. My son died when his little girl was not yet two. She's twelve now, and she asks me often, ‘Tell me stories about my dad when he was little.' She giggles at the when-your-dad-was-naughty stories. But she knows intuitively that the narrative of his life is also a valuable part of her own.

Of course, I dealt with that, the importance of our memories, in a book called The Giver, and in the personal memoir called Looking Back, as well. But thoughts about memory were haunting me, still, when I sat down to write the book that would be called Gossamer.

Do you remember your dreams?

Some. Especially those that recur. I even have a favorite, in fact: so much so that when it recurs I actually think—while deep asleep—"Oh, great, this dream again! I love it!" But at the same time, I suppose that, like most people, most of what I dream disappears on waking. If that weren't true, the whole concept of dreams would not be so endlessly fascinating and mysterious.

(I'd tell you what that favorite dream is, but actually it intrigues me enough that it might find its way into a book. So I don't want to talk about it!)

Naming is significant in many of your books: The Giver, Messenger, Gathering Blue. In Gossamer, you choose descriptive words (Littlest, Thin Elderly, Fastidious) instead of traditional names. Can you talk a little about why you did this?

In the first draft of Gossamer, Littlest actually had a "real" name. Along the way, it disappeared: it no longer felt right, it felt too human. I began to perceive that the creatures (for lack of a better term)—the dream-givers—would be more ethereal, would lack some of the more prosaic human elements: names, houses, pets, and hobbies. Clothing, too, I suppose! They are really unencumbered except for spirit. I suppose they could be described as pure spirit.

Is there a particular character from Gossamer that you identify with the most?

Well, in writing Gossamer, I created a number of different characters, and being a woman about the same age—and one who lives with a dog!—I suppose I identify most closely with the character called, simply, the woman. But although I like "the woman"—and although I rooted for the boy, John, to become whole and happy—the character who most interested me was the one called Littlest.

I've always been fascinated by the concept of the very young child's perception of self. I remember a time eight years ago when my granddaughter, then four, explained to me very politely and solemnly, because she suspected I had forgotten, "I'm only little."

More recently, a younger grandson, also four, said to me with a sense of wonder, "My head is just so full of thoughts."

Littlest, in Gossamer, reminds me of my own small grandchildren, and of all little ones whose heads are so full of thoughts, and who are so curious and intent on figuring out their place in the world.

Do you think you'll write more books featuring Littlest?

Every time I finish a book I feel as if I have said goodbye to it, to its characters and their lives. Right now I feel that way about Gossamer, and about Littlest. I left her content, increasing in wisdom and maturity. Why revisit her? But even as I say that—and believe it to be true—I recall that I said that of earlier books, earlier characters, and then after time passed, began to yearn to be with them again. So I've learned not to be overly certain. About anything!

What are you working on now?

Well, right now I'm working on some more Gooney Bird. She has become quite popular in the early grades: younger readers than my usual. And it's such fun, moving back into her classroom with its merriment and confusion.

Unless otherwise stated, this interview was conducted at the time the book was first published, and is reproduced with permission of the publisher. This interview may not be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the copyright holder.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member
and discover your next great read!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Of Arms and Artists
    Of Arms and Artists
    by Paul Staiti
    In the late eighteenth-century, the United States of America was still an emerging country, ...
  • Book Jacket: So Say the Fallen
    So Say the Fallen
    by Stuart Neville
    Noir crime fiction – Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett anyone? – is an American invention...
  • Book Jacket: The Mothers
    The Mothers
    by Brit Bennett
    Every now and then the publishing industry gushes about a young author destined to become the next ...
Book Discussions
Book Jacket
The Bone Tree
by Greg Iles

An epic trilogy of blood and race, family and justice.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Comet Seekers
    by Helen Sedgwick

    A magical, intoxicating debut novel, both intimate and epic.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Cruel Beautiful World
    by Caroline Leavitt

    A fast moving page-turner about the naiveté of youth and the malignity of power.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    News of the World
    by Paulette Jiles

    Exquisitely rendered and morally complex--a brilliant work of historical fiction.

    Read Member Reviews

Win this book!
Win The World of Poldark

Win the book & DVD

Enter to win The World of Poldark and the full first series on DVD.


Word Play

Solve this clue:

One S D N M A S

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.


Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!

Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.