1. Why do you write for young adults?
Because they are awesome! And they read a lot. And they’re in a place in life where they and are asking lots of important questions and making decisions that will impact their lives. And there are a lot of stories out there that show characters making destructive choices, and few of those books bother to show the consequences of living in such a way. I want to write books that are real and don’t ignore reality for the sake of sensationalism.
2. When did you become a Christian?
I became a Christian my junior year in college. I had transferred to Northwest Nazarene University because a friend went there and I was trying to get closer to a fashion design major and back then NNU had a program that allowed students to take a year of school at the Fashion Institute of Technology.
My friend got married and left me all alone in a school of Christians! I was a bit freaked out that someone might discover the things I’d done in my life, where I’d come from, and what I’d lived through. One day I confessed to a fellow fashion major: “I’m not a Christian!” And she laughed at me and said, “So? A lot of students here aren’t.” Then she told me that Christians aren’t perfect. That I shouldn’t live my life worried about what people think of my life. And she said I needed to figure out what I believed about God for myself.
Well, I didn’t know what I believed. But for me, it all came down to this: truth is absolute. Fact is, either God is there or he isn’t. And if he was there and I lived my life ignoring that so I could keep living life my way, I was a fool. And when I honestly went looking for fact to prove or disprove the bible or Christ’s life, I always found proof that supported the bible and who Christ was. I never found anything to support an atheistic view. And I wasn’t only looking at Christian sources.
So I made the choice to follow God, and I have never regretted it. And when I look back at my life, I see myself standing at that fork in the road. And I could have ignored God and graduated and went to New York and became a success in the fashion industry. But I would have been a shell of a human being. I would have lived in a destructive way. I would have been terribly lonely, no matter what friends and loves came my way.
Pasta. I adore pasta. Alfredo is my favorite. Olive Garden is my favorite restaurant. Sometimes I do. If one of my characters is experiencing something that I experienced in my life, I will add the feelings that I remember. There are certain things that I “get” because I’ve experienced it. For example: living without electricity, learning to drive a stick shift, sewing, playing on a basketball team, going out in -40 degree weather, being a non Christian, being a Christian. But I try not to have my characters ever be totally me.
Lots of ways. I use Google searches to find lists of names. I might want a biblical name, or a name that was popular for a certain year. So I’ll search “top boys names 1950.” I have a Los Angeles phone book that is useful. And sometimes I’ll click through lists of friend’s friends on Facebook, looking for the perfect name. If I’m writing fantasy, that’s different. I usually try to find a theme for that fantasy land. So I might choose a language like I did with Hebrew in my Blood of Kings trilogy, or a country. I used maps of Scandinavian countries to come up with names for a people once, using the names of cities and lakes for inspiration.
You can email me or comment on my blog posts through my website: www.jillwilliamson.com.