Friday, February 20, 2009

Inspired Friday with Jillian Cantor

Jillian Cantor is the author of an amazing book called The September Sisters which will be released on February 27. You can check out my review on it here.
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I first sat down to write The September Sisters in the fall of 2003. I had another novel that I’d written first, that I’d recently abandoned after a lot of agents told me it was well-written but unsellable. At first, I thought about giving up on writing all together – I couldn’t imagine that I would ever have time to write another novel much less find an agent much less sell a book. But then, I got laid off from my teaching job, just before the semester began due to budget cutbacks, and the only job I could get was teaching one class at a community college two mornings a week – a total of three hours a week out of the house! Suddenly, I had the time to write, and I also felt like I had to do something productive until I found another job.

Before I started writing, though, I thought about what I could do to make this novel attempt more “sellable.” I decided I would write something in the first person and include a mystery in the story. But I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to write about yet. Then I saw a show about missing children – it seemed there were a lot of missing children cases in the news right around that time, and on the show I noticed that a lot of the missing children had siblings. What happened to those siblings after their brother or sister disappeared, I wondered, as I watched? And the first seed for the book was planted.

At around the same time, I had also, fairly recently started to become close to my own younger sister. When we were kids we hated each other – we used to fight all the time! Our grandmother always used to tell us when we grew up, we would love having a sister, but we never believed we would. Until it actually happened – once we got into our twenties, we actually became friends!

But I still had vivid memories of our childhood fights, which always seemed worse in the summer without school, and in the pool. And then it occurred to me to think about what it might have been like if after one of those fights in the pool, after we told each other that we hated each other, if something terrible happened, if one of us had disappeared.

And thus, The September Sisters was born, a little bit of bad (or maybe in hindsight, good) luck, a little bit of trying to figure out what could make my writing more sellable, a little bit of TV, and a little bit of childhood memories.

Thanks so much, Lauren, for inviting me to be a part of Inspired Fridays
!

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You're welcome, Jillian!!

Want to part of Inspired Friday? Well, just contact me at laurenscrammedbookshelf@gmail.com with Inspired Friday in the subject line!

16 comments:

  1. I've seen this book around a few blogs and now I'm more pumped to read it. I love hearing where people get their ideas from. The part about her and her sister hating each other is exactly how me and my sister were all through childhood!

    --Amber

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  2. Yeah, ditto on fighting with little sisters! Mine always borrowed my clothes and got away with it because I left for school before her. Thanks for the Inspired Friday! The September Sisters sounds like something I will love.

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  3. It's so interesting to see how author comes out with ideas for their books.

    And it would be horrible if something bad was to happen to a siblings after you told them you hate them. :/

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  4. I'm very glad that you didn't give up! And it's great that it all worked out for the best in the end. My sister is a fair bit younger than me, and we fight all the time :( Still love her though :)

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  5. I feel the same way about my brother. We used to fight all the time, but now that we're older, I hate to admit this but I love my older brother. Well occasionally we still fight...hey baby steps right?

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  6. My sister is 7 years younger than me, so sometimes I feel more like a sister. But I can still understand the fighting stuff.

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  7. One of my sisters is 6 years younger than me and the other is 17 years younger than me. But we get a long well now, its just a different kind of relationship

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  8. I can understand the whole "sisters hating each other" problem... my sister and I are like that now... we fight all the time... she's pretty much anti-family and relies on her friends way to much... hopefully one day soon we'll get along better...

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  9. I understand the fighing with sisters. I just hate them at times.

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  10. When I was little, I didn't fight with my siblings. As I grew up, I fought a lot. Right now, my relationship with them...let's just say it's not as good as my relationships with my friends...

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  11. Its always interesting to read where the authors got there ideas for their books. I also love how she didn't give up with her writing and thats a good thing to keep in mind for all of the aspiring writers out there :)

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  12. Good inspiration story. Well-written, but unsellable--that must have been really frustrating.

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  13. I love reading these stories--it always makes me want to read the book even more, and this one was no exception. I can't wait for September Sisters!

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  14. It is always refreshing to hear someone come up with a new idea for a book strictly from their own brain.

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  15. Its so interesting to hear where ideas for books come from.

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  16. It's interesting to hear the story behind a book... I can't wait to get my hands on a copy!

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