Sunday, September 1, 2013

Jillian Cantor

Jillian Cantor's latest novel for adults is Margot, a re-imagining of Anne Frank’s sister in post-war America.

From the author's Q & A with Caroline Leavitt:

Can you tell me how the idea for this novel sparked? I always believe that writers write the book that they themselves need to read. Would you say this is true for you, too?

Yes, I absolutely think that’s true. Writing is always such an emotional journey for me that I feel my stories come from the emotional point I’m at at a particular time. Margot’s story first came to me a few months after the shooting in Tucson in 2011. I live in Tucson and happened to be having coffee in the shopping center at the time of the shooting. I was very fortunate that I didn’t get shot or even see what happened, but for months afterwards I felt paralyzed by sadness, and I had trouble writing anything. I reread Anne Frank’s diary during that time, and I realized that in real life Margot Frank had also kept a diary during the war, but that hers was never recovered after. I wondered how Margot would’ve felt had she survived and saw what had happened with her sister’s diary after the war. Margot’s story in my novel is very much one of finding her way through grief and fear, of learning how to live and love again after horrendous tragedy. That’s what I needed to read – and write – at that particular time.

I’ve read and enjoyed your other novels, and this one seems a departure for you--it has a new, kind of thornier feel to it, a more moral depth, almost, which I absolutely loved. Did you feel the writing of this book was different than your others? Can you talk a bit about that please? What was the research like? Did anything surprise or startle you?

Thank you, Caroline! The writing was definitely different, first because this was the first historical novel I’ve written so it required a lot of research on my part. I definitely labored over the first draft more, not only to get the writing right but also to get the historical details right. But I think I also wrote Margot purely for...[read on]
Visit Jillian Cantor's website.

--Marshal Zeringue