7 Questions With Bestselling Author Jill Santopolo
Jill Santopolo is the author of the nationally and internationally bestselling novel The Light We Lost, which has been translated into more than 35 languages and has hit the New York Times and USA Today bestseller list, as well as bestseller lists in Italy, Germany, Sweden, Poland, and Finland. Her second novel for adults, More Than Words, will be released on February 5, 2019.
In today’s interview, bestselling Author Jill Santopolo gives us a lesson on the importance of discipline in a writer’s life and shares heartfelt advice for upcoming authors.
Does your New Year’s Resolution have anything to do with becoming a writer in 2019? You’d better start here and have that pending novel ready in 6 simple steps.
Esther Rabbit: Many of us have absolutely adored your novel, The Light We Lost, such a breathtaking journey you took us on! How does it feel to be a bestselling author?
JS: Thank you so much. And thank you for inviting me onto your blog for this interview.
When I found out that The Light We Lost had become a bestseller, the main thing I felt was gratitude—I was so grateful for my agent, my publishers, and all the reviewers and bloggers and readers who embraced my characters and their story and recommended it to their friends.
I never expected, when I wrote The Light We Lost, that it would sell as well as it did in as many countries as it did, and I just feel grateful every day that this was the outcome.
Esther Rabbit: What do you have in store for your fans in 2019?
JS: In 2019 my second book for adults is coming out—More Than Words. It’ll be available on February 5, and it’s another book about how the different kinds of loves in our lives shape who we are, but this time it focuses on the love between a father and a daughter.
In More Than Words, Nina adores and admires her businessman father, who raised her after her mother died in a car accident when she was a child.
But when he dies, leaving secrets behind that shake Nina to her core, she starts to imagine what other directions her life could take—and starts to wonder about some of the other men in her life, too, and whether she should follow her heart and do what she wants to do instead of what she feels like she’s supposed to do.
It’s a novel about love, loss, and self-discovery, really.
Esther Rabbit: Looking back, what advice would you give yourself at the beginning of your journey?
JS: Looking back, I would tell myself to take a deep breath and enjoy the ride, wherever it goes.
Esther Rabbit: How do you manage to juggle life and writing?
JS: For me the juggling isn’t easy, but the way I’ve made it work is by having defined writing time, defined email-answering time…basically time I schedule to do everything.
Once the time is scheduled into my calendar, I can be more disciplined about getting things done—writing, sure, but laundry or grocery shopping or calling my grandmother, too.
Esther Rabbit: Have you profiled your readers? Let’s have a look at how you imagine your target audience.
JS: I haven’t profiled my readers in any scientific way, but anecdotally, they seem to be women between the ages of 16 and 96. I do get a few messages from male fans, but the vast majority are women—and I totally embrace that.
I love writing books about women where other women can see aspects of themselves and their friends in the pages.
Esther Rabbit: What advice would you give someone who’s just starting out in the industry?
JS: I would tell a writer just starting to write the story that’s in their heart. Forget about what you think you should write, or what is currently selling, or any of that, and write the story you need to write.
The heart and passion and authenticity will come through, and that’s what will sell your book and will allow readers to feel connected to your writing.
Esther Rabbit: What are a few of Jill Santopolo’s favorite things?
JS: A few of my favorite things are: My MacBook Air (I’ve written all my books on one), my Away suitcase (the carry-on size is great for book tour travel), BareMinerals Bareskin under eye concealer (also great for book tour travel!), flavored sparkling water (which I use to stay hydrated when I write), black sharpie markers (for book signings), and…if we move away from actual objects, my most favorite thing is talking to readers and hearing how reading The Light We Lost made them think about their own lives and their own stories.
Find Jill Santopolo here: