The Compulsive Reader: Interview with Jillian Cantor and a Giveaway!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Interview with Jillian Cantor and a Giveaway!

Jillian Cantor is the author of The September Sisters and the soon to be released The Life of Glass! I'm happy to have her on the blog today to answer a few questions about her work and what she's coming out with next! First up, here is my review of The Life of Glass!

The last thing that Melissa's father told her was that it takes glass a million years to decompose. But while it may seem to her that glass lasts forever, Melissa's family is falling apart. Her father is taken by cancer, her sister acts like Melissa is a freak, and her mother is moving on with her life with her new cowboy boyfriend. And now, her best friend Ryan seems more interested in his new girlfriend than their friendship. Through it all, Melissa must learn to recognize inner and outer beauty and realize that sometimes, you can have both.

The Life of Glass is a very sweet, poignant coming-of-age novel that chronicles Melissa's journey as she attempts to live her life after the death of her father and learns to be comfortable in her own skin while living with her beauty queen mother and sister. As with her first novel, Jillian Cantor handles the many tangled emotions of grief and loss in a sensitive, skillful manner, making her characters come alive, and putting her audience under a spell at the same time. The Life of Glass deals with those basic, tough issues of growing up and moving on: making friends, dealing with guys, and finding your comfort zone. Cantor's second novel is sweet, sensitive, and compelling; Melissa will make you remember things about growing up you probably have forgotten.

Cover Comments: I like the blue color of this cover! It's very pretty. and the shattered glass seems quite appropriate as well. I don't see as there is anything that makes this one really stand out, but is is very nice.

The Life of Glass will be available from HarperTeen on February 9th, 2010!

ARC received from HarperTeen.

I love how you have woven in references and metaphors to glass in The Life of Glass; where did the idea to make glass an integral part of your novel stem from?

I wrote that first scene in the book, where Melissa finds the piece of glass in the wash and shows it to her father, months before I began working on the book. When I sat back down to write the rest of the book that piece of glass really stuck out and seemed so important to me – the last thing that Melissa’s father had ever touched, the last thing they’d ever talked about. And so the idea came to me to weave some of the glass imagery throughout the book, coming back to that one piece of glass from the first scene.

When I started out, though, I don’t think I intended to include as much of the metaphors and imagery as I did – I just felt compelled to hang on to that piece of glass from the first scene – as I believed Melissa would. Also, I had no idea the book would be titled The Life of Glass, until later – once the book was already written.

The Life of Glass has many poignant and sad moments, but also humorous ones as well. Was it hard to keep a balance between the two when writing this book?

Not really, no. It was actually much easier for me to mix the humor with the sadness, rather than keep more of a sad tone (like in my first book, THE SEPTEMBER SISTERS). I think it’s because this is more the way I am in real life – I always try to find the humor, even in not-so-humorous situations. Plus, I had a lot of fun with Melissa’s voice and her sense of sarcasm, as I’m a pretty sarcastic person myself.

Your first two books have dealt with serious issues, like kidnapping, loss, and death, and while you write such issues so very well, do you plan on writing more light-hearted books in the future?

Good question! Well, yes and no. I would like to tackle something a little lighter, and actually I think my first book for adults (which will be out this fall) is lighter than my YA books to some degree. But I think I’ll always have those serious thought-provoking issues in my books, even if they fall more in the background than they have in my first two books.

But I will also say I’m a HUGE fan of romantic comedies, so I wouldn’t rule out trying to write something along those lines at some point.

Speaking of future books...can you share any information on any upcoming projects?

This coming fall my first book for adults, THE TRANSFORMATION OF THINGS, will be released by Avon/HarperCollins. It’s the story of a woman who, after a fall from grace, begins dreaming things about her friends and family, only to learn that her dreams might actually be truth, and the truth she thought she knew might be a lie.

On the YA front, my next book, which is a love story that takes place on the US/Mexico border against the backdrop of illegal immigration, just went out on submission. Cross your fingers that it will soon find a good home!

What is it that you would like readers to glean from your books?

I would hope, overall, that readers enjoy my books, that they can become absorbed in the characters and the story. The best compliment I think I’ve received as an author is people telling me that they can’t put one of my books down!

For THE LIFE OF GLASS, in particular, I also would want teens to just think a little bit about their own ideas of beauty and to think about the fact that beauty has so many different definitions, both on the inside and the outside.

If you could have a conversation with any writer, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

That’s tough because there are so many I’d want to have a conversation with! But I’m going to say Meg Cabot. I think she’s a great writer, and I love that she’s been able to write middle grade, YA, and adult books and be successful in each genre. Plus, I read her blog and she seems like she’d be very fun to hang out with!

Thank you so much for the great interview and for inviting me to your blog today!

Thank you, Jillian!


Enter to win free copies of Jillian Cantor's books and cool prizes! One grand prize winner will receive two glass spirit stones (one for you, one for a friend) from Arizona, where THE LIFE OF GLASS is set, along with an autographed copy of each of Jillian's novels: THE LIFE OF GLASS and THE SEPTEMBER SISTERS. Two lucky runners-up will receive a signed copy of THE LIFE OF GLASS. To be eligible, send an email to contests@jilliancantor.com with the subject line "The Life of Glass Giveaway". All e-mail entries must be received by midnight (PST) on February 14, 2010. The winners will be selected at random on February 15, 2010. Be sure to include your name and e-mail address with your entry (If you're under age 13, give your parent's contact info). One entry per person. Jillian Cantor's complete blog tour schedule can be found at www.jilliancantor.com. Good luck!

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