Jorge Iván Garduño (JIG): What does literature means to you?
Jody Lynn Anderson (JLA): Literature can be an escape or the opposite of that. It can draw us out of our lives or into the very center of ourselves. And it’s this incredible way to experience empathy for experiences that aren’t our own.
JIG: What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the words “book” and “writing”?
JLA: Reading tons of books has made me who I am. Writing is my way of telling the truth about life and magic as I see it.
JIG: How could you describe The Vanishing Season?
JLA: It’s a mystery, narrated by a ghost, revolving around a complicated friendship between two girls living on a lonely, cold península for the winter.
JIG: What was the main reason for writing The Vanishing Season?
JLA: I wanted to tell the story of a flawed friendship and I wanted it to happen in a beautiful, cold place. I wanted it to be about the eternity of moments we leave behind us – the idea that the moments we create last, in some strange way.
JIG: Taking into account your latest books, what was the biggest challenge of writing The Vanishing Season?
JLA: Telling the story from the perspective of the ghost was tricky, but also satisfying. The challenge was, what does the ghost bring to this story and how do I connect her to the characters? I wanted her to be a filter through which we could not only love Maggie and Pauline…but also I wanted her to offer a little glimpse into the idea of being young and of youth being temporary.
JIG: How long did it take you to finish The Vanishing Season?
JLA: About a year.
JIG: What kind of relationship do you have with The Vanishing Season’s characters?
JLA: I think I always identify with my characters’ flaws, and love them for being a bit of a mess. I just don’t know anybody who’s not a bit of a mess in one way or another – and I’ve always found that is what makes people most loveable –that knowing the things they don’t like about themselves is sort of this entryway into knowing them.
JIG: Do you consider yourself as a demanding writer?
JLA: I’m way more ambitious than I am skilled. I’ve got a very strong set of values as a writer – namely, am I telling the truth about something? And am I doing it in a way that’s completely true to me and no one else? It’s taken me years to even think, yes, I’m getting there. Part of that has been embracing how I feel about magic – ghosts, things like that. To me, magic is almost everything – but it’s got to feel real, too.
JIG: Are you working on a new project?
JLA: I’ve just finished a young adult novel called Midnight at the Electric, about three generations of young women whose lives are all connected by a Galapagos tortoise (who lives for a hundred-fifty years). It’s a mystery, but driven by emotion.
JIG: Thank you in advance for your response.
Jorge Iván Garduño / @plumavertical