From the time I was eight or nine, I wanted to be a writer. Writing was what I liked best in school; it was what I did best in school. I was a solitary child, born the middle of three, who lived in the world of books and my own imagination. There are some children, and I was this kind of child, who are introverts and love to read — who prefer to curl up with a book than to hang out with friends or play at the ball field. Children like that begin to develop a feeling for language and for story. And that was true for me — that's how I became a writer. My books have varied in content and in style. Yet it seems to me that all of them deal, essentially, with the same general theme: the importance of human connections. A Summer to Die, my first book, is a fictionalized retelling of the early death of my sister, and of the effect of such a loss on a family. Number the Stars, set in a different culture and era, tells of the same things: the role that we humans play in the lives of our fellow beings. The Giver takes place against the background of yet another very different culture and time. Though broader in scope than my earlier books, it nonetheless speaks to the same concern: the vital need for humans to be aware of their interdependence, not only with each other, but with the world and its environment. I use the Anastasia books to make myself laugh and to lighten up between serious books. But I also use them to deal with serious topics in a different way, disguised by humor. I think it is my own children, all of them grown now, who have caused me to expand my view. One of my sons was a fighter pilot in the United States Air Force; as a mother during the Gulf War, I was newly stunned into fear for the world and a heightened awareness of the necessity to find a way to end conflict. One of my daughters has become disabled as a result of the disease of the central nervous system; through her, I have a new and passionate awareness of the importance of human connections that transcend physical differences. And I have grandchildren now. For them, I feel a greater urgency to do what I can to convey the knowledge that we live intertwined on this planet and that our future as human beings depends upon our caring more, and doing more, for one another.