Saturday, February 13, 2010

Author Uncovered: Jillian Cantor (Author Interview)

Hey guys! Today, I have Jillian Cantor, author of The Life of Glass with me! As you can see in my review, I LOVED The Life of Glass!

Who is your favorite character from The Life of Glass?
I have to say Melissa because she’s the main character, and so I spent the most time with her when I was writing the book. But also because I like that she looks at the world just a little bit differently than many other 14-year-old girls.

What motivated you to write The Life of Glass?
Well, when I sold my first book, THE SEPTEMBER SISTERS, it was in a two-book deal, so I was under contract to write another book! But I think what motivated me to write this specific book is the fact that just before I started writing it my grandfather died, and I was thinking about him a lot. It gave me the idea to write about a girl who’d lost her father, and how even though a good amount of time had passed since his death, she was still trying to work her way through the loss.

What gave you the idea of using the metaphor for glass as the base of your story?
It's amazing! Thank you! I’m so glad you liked it! I don’t know that I started out meaning to use glass as such a metaphor, but I felt the glass Melissa finds in the beginning and her father’s last words would be so important. And so I kept coming back to them as I was writing. It sort of just evolved naturally from there.

What do you see as your strengths and weaknesses as an author?
My strengths are in developing the characters and the voice – these are the things I love to do. Sometimes, I have to remind myself that there needs to be a plot!

What's the most interesting thing a reader has ever said to you?
I actually find everything readers say to me interesting! Writing is such a solitary profession, so having a book go out into the world and then getting responses from readers is always great. One of the most interesting e-mails I got from a reader was from a girl in Denmark who was reading the Danish translated version of The September Sisters for a school project, and she told me how much she loved the book. It was just amazing to me that something I wrote was translated into another language and also reaching teens so far away!

You're previous book, The September Sisters is also a very emotional read. What makes you write books that deal with such serious issues?
I don’t know that I went out with the intention to write two books in a row about such serious topics. I think these things just stemmed from ideas and issues that were on my mind at the time. I just finished working on a new YA novel that’s a love story set on the US/Mexico border and deals with illegal immigration – another serious issue but in a very different way. Having lived in the Arizona desert for the past ten years, that’s always an issue that’s felt so important to me, and something I’d never thought twice about as a teen. So I guess my point is that I like to work on books that make me think and might make my readers think, too, and the topics usually stem from things going on in my own life at the time.

How does it feel being an author?
It feels wonderful! It’s been my dream most of my life to be published and to have a career as an author, and I’m so excited every day that I get to wake up and do something that I love.

Book you've faked reading:
Huck Finn. I remember we were supposed to read it for 11th grade English over Christmas break. I was in band and we went to France on a trip over the break. I took the book with me but never got past the first chapter, and then I read the Cliff Notes when I got home!

Book you've bought for the cover:
Ooh, that’s a tough one. I don’t know that I have bought a book for the cover recently. But I’ll say I do love the cover of If I Stay by Gayle Forman – I would’ve bought the book even if I didn’t like the cover, though, because the reason I bought it was because I’d heard so many wonderful things about it.

Book you're an evangelist for:
Any book written by an author-friend of mine. Being friends with the author and knowing the person and knowing so many details about the book, I can’t help not being an evangelist. When an author I’m friends with has a book released or gets a review or sells another book, I get so excited that I really honestly feel almost like it’s happening to me. I have a group blog with four other women writers who debuted in 2009 ( We’re all pretty different in terms of what we write, but because we’ve blogged together for a while now and all shared the ups and downs of our debut year, I feel a huge connection to all of them – so I’m always an evangelist for their books. When I see one in a store, I start telling everyone around me that they should buy it!

Anything else you'd like to add?
Thank you so much for the great interview and for inviting me to your blog today. If there’s anything else you want to know about me, check out my website:

That's it folks! Hope you guys enjoyed the interview! I know I did!
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Unknown February 13, 2010 at 10:18 PM  

Hi :)
Thank you for the great interview with Jillian Cantor & thanks to Jillian for sharing here.
I enjoyed learning more about Jillian & her writing.
All the best,

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