May Author Spotlight: Jillian Cantor
Welcome to Scribbler’s newest series — an interview with our subscription box‘s monthly author! Each month, we’ll interview the author of our featured book to help you learn a little more about them and their writing process.
This month’s spotlight is on Jillian Cantor. Her novel Beautiful Little Fools, was in our May box. You can find Beautiful Little Fools for sale anywhere books are sold.
Jillian Cantor reimagines the literary classic THE GREAT GATSBY in this atmospheric historical novel with echoes of BIG LITTLE LIES, told in three women’s alternating voices.
Jillian Cantor has a BA from Penn State University and an MFA from the University of Arizona. She is the USA Today and internationally bestselling author of 11 novels for teens and adults which have been chosen for Indie Next, Library Reads, Amazon Best of the Month and have been translated into 13 languages, including, most recently BEAUTIFUL LITTLE FOOLS. Born and raised in a suburb of Philadelphia, Cantor currently lives in Arizona with her husband and two sons. Her 12th novel, THE FICTION WRITER, will be published in 2023 by Park Row Books. Thank you for the interview, Jillian!
1. “Pantser” or “plotter?”
Traditionally I’m a pantser, but for Beautiful Little Fools I was a plotter! I drew so much from The Great Gatsby for my timeline and different scenes in my book, I felt I needed a detailed outline to work from before I could start writing. But I have to say when I drafted my next book, I went back to being a pantser again. So I guess I’m truly a pantser? ☺
2. How many hours a day do you write?
I typically write when my kids are at school, so during the hours of 8-2 on weekdays. I almost always take weekends off writing. But I set page or word goals for myself rather than hours. When I’m drafting a book, I try for either 5 pages or 1000 words a day. Sometimes that takes my whole writing day and then some at night, too, and sometimes I get that done in a few hours and I’ll do something else, like read a book or do research, in the afternoon.
3. Who’s your favorite fictional character?
Is it cheating to say Daisy Buchanan? Truly, though, The Great Gatsby has always been one of my favorite novels. And Daisy and Jordan along with that.
4. What’s your favorite part of the writing process?
I always reach this part in about the middle of the first draft where suddenly I can understand what the book is truly about, what the ending will be, and what my characters really want. I usually have to write about 40K words to hit this point and understand my story enough to believe it will actually work as a real novel. This is always when the drafting process speeds up for me too. I go from slogging through my 1000 words a day to ignoring everything else in my life to get the rest of the book down on the page, and at this point I usually write more like 2-3K words a day.
5. Do you prefer writing on paper or doing everything digitally?
Everything digitally. Though I do sometimes scribble handwritten notes on post-its on my desk. But my handwriting is atrocious.
6. As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot?
My little rescue dog, Ruby, who literally will not leave my side when I’m writing (or any other time).
7. What was the last thing (song, podcast, etc.) you listened to?
I’ve been listening to the OST for Snowdrop while simultaneously watching the series.
8. If you could time travel (to the past or future), where/when would you go?
It would’ve been fun to travel back to the Roaring 20s for a few days when I was writing Beautiful Little Fools, but I definitely couldn’t stay too long. I like my cell phone too much!
9. If there’s a spider in your house, do you kill it or set it free?
I live in the desert, land of poisonous spiders, so I kill it if it’s in the house.
10. What’s something you could eat for a week straight?
Dried mangos – my favorite snack!
If you’ve read Beautiful Little Fools and loved it like we did, be sure to leave a review for Jillian on Goodreads! And if you’d like to receive the next book before we post the author’s interview on our blog, be sure to subscribe to the Scribbler box today.
Victoria Scott started Scribbler in 2017 after traditionally publishing an impressive number of books with companies like HarperCollins Harlequin Scholastic and Macmillan. Victoria is an Uber-hailing city girl who is passionate about writing and helping other writers find their voice.