Today we're excited to chat with Emily Ziff Griffin, author of Light Years. Read on for more about Emily and her book, plus a giveaway.
Meet Emilly Ziff Griffin!
Emily Ziff Griffin lives in LA where she writes, produces, teaches, daydreams, and mothers two young kids. When she was 25, she co-founded Cooper’s Town Productions with Philip Seymour Hoffman and produced the Academy Award-winning film, ‘Capote,’ along with Hoffman’s directorial debut ‘Jack Goes Boating,’ and John Slattery’s ‘God’s Pocket.’ She's run three marathons, slowly, and holds a degree from Brown University in art-semiotics, the study of how images make meaning. She believes children are way more sophisticated than adults typically give them credit for and writes for the teenager who is ready to claim their own worldview and be grounded in their own power. ‘Light Years’ is her first novel. Find her at www.emilyziffgriffin.com
Meet Light Years!
Luisa is ready for her life to start. Five minutes ago. And she could be on her way, as her extraordinary coding skills have landed her a finalist spot for a fellowship sponsored by Thomas Bell, the world’s most brilliant and mercurial tech entrepreneur. Being chosen means funding, mentorship, and most importantly, freedom from her overbearing mother. Maybe Lu will even figure out how to control the rare condition that plagues her: whenever her emotions run high, her physical senses kick into overload, with waves of color, sound, taste, and touch flooding her body.
But Luisa’s life is thrust into chaos as a deadly virus sweeps across the globe, killing thousands and sending her father into quarantine. When Lu receives a cryptic message from someone who might hold the key to stopping the epidemic, she knows she must do something to save her family—and the world.
Suspenseful, lyrical, and thought-provoking, Light Years features a remarkable heroine on an intensely physical and emotional quest for hope and existential meaning.
1. What gave you the inspiration to write this book? The initial inspiration came from losing my father to AIDS when I was a teenager.
2. Who is your favorite character in the book? Oh of course I love them all! Luisa is closest to my heart because she was inspired so closely by my own life experience—she’s who I wish I had been as a teenager. But I also have a real love for Phoebe. Phoebe is in some ways closer to who I actually was, as opposed to who I now wish I could’ve been if that makes sense. Phoebe and Luisa are both young women for whom their strengths and vulnerabilities are deeply intertwined which is something I really relate to personally and I think that duality makes for dynamic character.
3. Which came first, the title or the novel? The novel. I really wanted to call the book ‘The Rest of Ever’ but was given feedback that it was too obtuse (though you will see in the book how that phrase—which a good friend coined, not me—found its place).
4. What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why? The final chapter of the book is my favorite section because I think it’s just so beautiful and surprising and hopefully asks as many questions as it answers without being unsatisfying, which as a reader is something I really enjoy. If I had to choose one scene I would choose the scene when Luisa confronts the man with the gun by the train tracks. That is where I think something really shifts inside of her and her power to connect with people emotionally starts to reveal itself more clearly.
5. Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you've learned as a writer from then to now? So. Many. Things. Perhaps the most important thing is that I can trust my creative instincts. They keep getting stronger and stronger and I keep trusting them more and more which is really gratifying.
6. What do you like most about the cover of the book? I like that when you first look at the cover you think it’s a typical picturesque sunrise or sunset vista. Then you see these odd red orbs that are maybe flowers? Then you look closer and see that they are in fact something rather sinister-looking. I am a fan of anything and everything that subverts expectations and deepens as you engage with it. I think both the cover and the book function that way—they are not what you initially think or expect.
7. What new release book are you looking most forward to in 2017? 'My Absolute Darling' by Gabriel Tallent, Meghan O’Rourke’s 'Sun in Days,' and Emily Henry’s ‘A Million Junes’ which is out but I haven’t read it yet!
What was your favorite book in 2016?
What’s up next for you? I just wrapped production on a beautiful film called 18 TO
PARTY that I produced and I'm writing a top secret interactive project that I’m not
allowed to talk about but I can’t wait to share with its tween girl audience when the time comes.
10.Which character gave you the most trouble when writing your latest book?
Luisa’s parents were tricky. I feel like initially her dad was idealized and her mom was too cold. It took me time to find a deeper, more complex understanding of each of them.
11. Which part of the writing process do you enjoy more: Drafting or
Revising? Revising! I found writing a novel a lot like running a marathon. As
soon as I knew I was going to make it to the end, I could relax and enjoy it. Revising is where I can let go of the pressure of finishing and focus on making the story and writing better and better and better. It’s the final downhill miles and it’s my happy place.
12. What would you say is your superpower? My instincts and my endurance.
13. Is there an organization or cause that is close to your heart? I love the work that girlsleadership.org is doing.
By: Emily Ziff Griffin
Release Date: September 5, 2017