Author Crush Friday with Emily Ziff Griffin
Glitter girls, you have pressing questions for your favorite authors and we have their answers. Welcome to our weekly segment, Author Crush Fridays.
We love asking questions and we love the answers from some of our favorite authors. Today we’re talking to Emily Griffin, the author of the thought-provoking sci-fi YA, Light Years (September 5, 2017; Simon Pulse). Thank you for talking to us today, Emily! We’re honored!
GLITTER: Tell us five things that our readers might not know about you.
EMILY: I’m funny, I’m a mom, I’m afraid of heights, I’m afraid of fruit salad, my daughter was born with 12 toes.
GLITTER: How would you describe Light Years to a new reader?
EMILY: It’s a gripping, lyrical story of one girl’s quest to save her dying father from a mysterious virus. But it’s really about how love, grief, art, technology, and human emotion can transform us and even change the world.
GLITTER: Would you consider your book a thriller, sci-fi, or a bit of both?
EMILY: Definitely a bit of both. It’s super entertaining and a real page-turner, but it also has depth and romance and makes you think about the big picture of life, I hope.
GLITTER: How do you find the emotional truths in your writing?
EMILY: I bring personal experience to absolutely every single thing I write. Writing that doesn’t come from the personal, to me, feels dead. But I also work to distance the “what happened” so that what I write isn’t a literal retelling. I am always asking myself if a character’s actions or words feel true, and to answer that I always think about situations I’ve been in that feel emotionally similar.
GLITTER: What one question sparked the whole plot?
EMILY: If a single figure capable of leading the world in the way we collectively need most were to emerge right now, what would that figure look like? The answer was a teenage girl capable of embodying in an exemplary way the balance between emotion and intellect, between strength and compassion, between logic and intuition.
GLITTER: If you could have any of your books turned into a movie, what one book do you hope makes it to the big screen and why?
EMILY: I’ve only written one book! So it would be LIGHT YEARS! And because I’ve spent almost 20 years in the movie business as a producer, I definitely have plans for it to be a film or TV series because I wrote it by “seeing” it and because there is so much more story than what’s in this book, so I would love to explore other pieces of the story in a different format.
GLITTER: Do you have any particular writing rituals?
EMILY: I often listen to music. It has the effect of both opening up my emotional self, and also keeping me focused on what I’m doing.
GLITTER: What character do you relate most to?
EMILY: The obvious answer would be Luisa, and I definitely do relate to her. But also to Phoebe. Phoebe is like who we all might become if faced with tragedy. And I went the way of Phoebe for a long time after my father died (when I was a teenager). But as an adult I’ve become more like Luisa, more embracing of my feelings and understanding of their true power.
GLITTER: Do you have anything that you love to collect?
EMILY: I used to collect owl figurines, which was also something my grandfather did. But over the years of moving around I jettisoned my collection at some point. Which as I write this makes me sad.
GLITTER: What are you passionate about in life?
EMILY: I’m passionate about using stories to move people, to challenge the way we all think, to give people, particularly girls and women, an increased sense of their agency and personal power.
GLITTER: What are you working on right now?
EMILY: I’m writing a super innovative and beautiful interactive project that I’m not allowed to give details about, but I can’t wait to share about it more before too long. And I just produced a film that’s now in post about a group of thirteen-year-old’s set in 1984. It’s called 18 TO PARTY and it will be finished and going to festivals next year!
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 hold 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 s her first novel.