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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Blog Tour Stop: Jillian Cantor, Author of The Life of Glass

Today I'd like to extend a warm welcome to author Jillian Cantor, who stopped by to talk about the inspiration for her upcoming novel, The Life of Glass, which releases February 9th 2010. I was fortunate enough to be able to read this beautifully written novel, and really enjoyed it. If you are a fan of The September Sisters, you will definitely want to check out this poignant novel about one girl's journey into coming into her own. And without further ado-

Take it away Jillian....

The Life of Glass started for me the way most of my books start, with an image. I had this image in my head of a girl, riding her bike through a desert wash in a pink prom dress. I didn’t exactly know where she was going, except, I knew she had to get to her best friend, who I also knew was a boy. I started writing the book from there, and I kept this image in my head nearly the whole time. I even envisioned it as the book cover: a blurred image of a girl in a fancy pink dress, riding her bike.

If you haven’t already read the book, I’ll tell you this: there is no such scene in the book! Once I got towards the end of the book, this image didn’t exactly fit, although, I did use the idea of the fancy dress and the image of a girl riding her bike to get to her best friend separately, towards the end. But despite the fact that it didn’t actually end up in the book, this image told me a lot about Melissa, about what kind of girl she was, about how she didn’t care much about proms and dresses, but she did care a lot about her friends, her real friends, anyway.

When I first started writing the book, it was just after my grandfather passed away, and after we’d begun to realize that my grandmother, while still physically here in every way, had lost nearly every bit of her short term memory. My grandfather had always been one of the most unique people I knew – nothing at all like Melissa’s father in the book – but just unique in his own way. He always had an opinion (and he was never afraid to let everyone know it) and he was not above singing show tunes in the shower at the top of his lungs. He was really the first person I’d ever been close to who died, and as I began to write The Life of Glass, it was something I was still trying to come to terms with, much the way Melissa is still trying to hold onto her father. Though her situation and mine were not really the same, I felt very much in the same place emotionally as Melissa while I was writing this.

I also thought a lot about my grandmother as I was writing this book, which was why I gave Melissa a grandmother in a similar situation. And I thought it was interesting to show all the different ways Melissa felt abandoned – not just by her mother who starts dating again, or her sister who won’t give her the time of day, but also by diseases, which literally took both her father and her grandmother away.

The idea of Kevin and the horse riding came to me because of this trip I took with my family when I was just a little bit younger than Melissa, when we went to ranch in Montana and rode horses for a week. I’d never ridden a horse before (or since), and suddenly there I was, riding one up the side of a mountain, having no idea what I was doing, feeling both thrilled and terrified that the horse might decide to throw me off at any second. It was an experience that always stuck with me, and it felt like the perfect situation to put Melissa in, when she’s in a spot in her life where she’s so afraid of taking chances, of dying.

So there you have it – a little insight into my inspirations for the book! Thank you so much for inviting me to your blog today! If you want to know more about me or The Life of Glass you can check out my website: http://www.jilliancantor.com


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!


Before he died, Melissa’s father told her about stars. He told her that the brightest stars weren’t always the most beautiful—that if people took the time to look at the smaller stars, if they looked with a telescope at the true essence of the star, they would find real beauty. But even though Melissa knows that beauty isn’t only skin deep, the people around her don’t seem to feel that way. There’s her gorgeous sister Ashley who will barely acknowledge Melissa at school, there's her best friend Ryan, who may be falling in love with the sophisticated Courtney, and there’s Melissa’s mother who’s dating someone new, someone who Melissa knows will never be able to replace her father.

To make sure she doesn’t lose her father completely, Melissa spends her time trying to piece together the last of his secrets and completing a journal her father began—one about love and relationships and the remarkable ways people find one another. But when tragedy strikes, Melissa has to start living and loving in the present, as she realizes that being beautiful on the outside doesn't mean you can't be beautiful on the inside.

This is a lyrical tale of love, loss and self-discovery from the author of THE SEPTEMBER SISTERS

Jillian Cantor has a BA in English from Penn State University. She received her MFA from The University of Arizona and was the recipient of the national Jacob K. Javits fellowship. Her first novel, THE SEPTEMBER SISTERS, was called "memorable" and "startlingly real" by Publishers Weekly and was nominated as a YALSA Best Book For Young Adults.



Melissa said...

What a great post! I love the cover of this book...love love love it! :)

host said...

Thanks for the insights into your inspiration, Ms Cantor! The book sounds great, and I love the cover :)

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

I love stories about sisters!

The Graef Family! said...

This book sounds like it would be a great book for teenage girls who are trying to find who they are. Thanks for the great post. Sounds like a beautiful book!