Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group

Charles J. Shields

Charles J. Shields
Jen Fariello

Charles J. Shields is the author of And So It Goes: Kurt Vonnegut: A Life, Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee, the highly acclaimed, bestselling biography of Harper Lee, and I Am Scout: The Biography of Harper Lee (Henry Holt Books for Young Readers). He grew up in the Midwest and taught in a rural school in central Illinois for several years. He has been a reporter for public radio, a journalist, and the author of nonfiction books for young people. He and his wife live near Charlottesville, Virginia.

Charles J. Shields

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Q & A

Where are you from?
I spent most of my life in Chicago. Currently, I live in Virginia.
Who are your favorite writers?
Truman Capote, Christopher Hitchens, James Boswell, Claire Tomalin
Which book/books have had the biggest influence on your writing?
I tend to read classics because I read slowly and I analyze what the author is doing as I read. Style and structure are everything to me.What are your hobbies and outside interests?I read a great deal of history. Other than that my interests are literary criticism, culture, psychology, science, engineering, technology, math, and robotics. I'm a generalist. I work on tabletop projects related to science, technology and robotics, too.
What is the single best piece of advice anyone ever gave you?
"Do it at the time."-my father
What is your favorite quote?
"The great goal in life is to take your destiny out of the hands of others."-mine
What is the question most commonly asked by your readers? What is the answer?
Q: How does someone become a writer?A: Writing is a craft that can be learned like anything else. Practice, and finding models you admire are the keys.
What inspired you to write your first book?
My first book was a three-page, stapled booklet: "The Life of the Three Stooges," written when I was nine. My motives then were the same as they are now: to know more about people who interest me.
Where do you write?
I have a room in my home, a study, where all my books and resources are. I work there every day for six to eight hours.

Books by the Author

Mockingbird
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Mockingbird

Charles J. Shields
St. Martin's Press
St. Martin's Griffin

To Kill a Mockingbird - the twentieth century's most widely read American novel - has sold thirty million copies and still sells a million yearly. But despite the book's popularity, its author...

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I Am Scout
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I Am Scout

Charles J. Shields
Square Fish
Square Fish

To Kill a Mockingbird is one of the most widely read novels in American literature. It's also a perennial favorite in highschool English classrooms across the nation. Yet onetime author Harper...

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And So It Goes
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And So It Goes

Charles J. Shields
St. Martin's Press
St. Martin's Griffin

From the author of Mockingbird—the first authoritative biography of Kurt Vonnegut Jr., a writer who forever altered American literature

In 2006, Charles Shields reached out to Kurt...

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