Every novel seems to spark from something that haunted the writer. What sparked you to write this?Visit Jennifer Gilmore's website.
That’s very true. I was quite sick in my twenties. What happened to me haunted and invigorated me, like our past always does. I wanted it to take place fictionally though in a time when it would be most shocking. Being sick as a young person is a strange thing, but when you are 16, as Lizzie is here, and you’re not yet comfortable in your skin, that’s a terrible thing. So what if your illness is what, in the end, gives you the power to actually be yourself? I wanted to look at that. How you get power out of being powerless.
I have to ask about the title, which I love with a passion. Can you talk about that please?
Titles are difficult. I’m so glad you like it! I was thinking about Lizzie wishing this time in her life had never happened. But if it had never happened then the wonderful things that came out of that experience—falling in love, making friends, becoming open to life, really—wouldn’t have happened either. She only realizes this later. For a long time she wishes none of it had happened, and the boy she meets has his own secrets , a past he wishes he had not been present for as well.
Illness, especially long-term or chronic, is like being in another country where you don’t know the language, and you captured it absolutely perfectly. What was it like to write about?
Writing about being sick...[read on]