Welcome to the newest guest edition of What Was on Her . . . This time with the multitalented Jill Santopolo!
Jill is the author of no less than three series–the Alec Flint Mysteries, the Sparkle Spa series, and the Follow Your Heart books. In addition, she is an executive editor at Philomel Books, a thesis advisor at The New School, and an adjunct professor at McDaniel College, where she helped develop the curriculum for the certificate program in Writing for Children. This year alone, Jill has five–yes five!–books coming out. I did say she is multitalented, didn’t I?
So, with all of these successes and accomplishments, what does the rest of Jill’s life look like? Read on for her own words and to discover What Was on Jill Santopolo’s . . .
To do list: I’m very big into making lists to keep track of what I need to get done and usually have at least three going at the same time. One I call my Human To Do List, which right now says: Dry cleaner; Get belt fixed; Pay bills; Unload dishwasher; Grocery shop. One I call my Author To Do List (which I guess means I don’t think of the author part of me as quite human?). Right now that one says: Write Follow Your Heart #2; Revise Outline for Sparkle Spa #5; Write post for Sandra; Write dog post for Annemarie; Revise school visit presentation; Notes for writing group meeting. My last list is a running grocery list, which right now is incredibly long because I’ve been spending most of my time on the first item on my Author To Do List and ordering in food instead of cooking it…
Feet!: So since I’ve been writing the Sparkle Spa series–which is about two girls who open a sparkly nail salon for their friends–a lot of people have been giving me sparkly nail polish. And when there’s sparkly nail polish around, I feel compelled to test it out. So right now, there’s dark reddish-pink sparkly nail polish on my toes called “Sangria.”
Refrigerator: There are a lot of very sweet little kids in my world, and a lot of times they make me pictures. Right now on my refrigerator I have drawings created by my friend Sarah’s daughter Charlotte, my friend Marta’s daughter Angela, and my cousin Jeremy’s daughter Maxanne. (If you read my books, you’ll find characters named Charlotte, Angie and Maxie named after those girls.) There are some book-themed magnets on there too–one with my my favorite Lewis Carroll quote that says:
“There’s no use trying,” said Alice; “one can’t believe impossible things.”
“I dare say you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
Nightstand: I tend to read more than one book at a time, and have them stashed in different places. Right now, Trent Reedy’s book Divided We Fall is stashed on my bedside table. It’s there along with a clock, a lamp, a box of tissues, and Bauchamps hand lotion, which is made in Vermont and is the best lotion ever for dry hands in the winter.
To Read List: In addition to reading more than one book at a time, I also have a pile of “to read” books in my apartment–and then a list (another list!) of books I want to buy and then read. Right now the “to read” pile includes The Good Lord Bird by James McBride, What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen, Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo and Going Over by Beth Kephart. (The first two titles on my list of books to buy are The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt and A Thousand Mornings by Mary Oliver.)
Mind: There are so many things on my mind, always. When I visit kids and talk about writing, I tell them that I sometimes imagine my brain as a washing machine, with tons of things jammed in there, spinning around and around, getting mashed together and coming apart again. Right now I’m thinking about writing the second Follow Your Heart book, Love on the Lifts. I’m wondering whether I did enough character development work before I started writing, and whether I should stop mid-draft to get to the know the characters better, or if that’ll just happen naturally as I write. I’m thinking about planning a ski trip for Love on the Lifts research purposes (it takes place on a ski mountain) and whether I’ll have time to do that before the manuscript is due. I’m thinking about what new things I should incorporate into my school visit presentation now that I’ll be talking about the Sparkle Spa series and if I’ll have time to work on that today. And I’m thinking about the fact that it’s morning and I’m hungry and I’m not exactly certain what food I have in my kitchen and whether what’s there is appropriate for breakfast. And I’m also thinking about what else needs to get added to my various To Do lists and whether I’ll be able to cross anything off of them today. (I certainly hope so!)
To keep up to date with Jill, follow her at www.jillsantopolo.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/JillSantopoloAuthor, and on twitter at @JillSantopolo. If you would like to preorder Follow Your Heart: Summer Love–a personalized summer romance that lets the reader choose from 13 possible endings–or the Sparkle Spa Series–which revolves around two smart, strong & sparkly sisters–you can click below:
And be sure to stop by again on January 20, when author and award-winning biographer Elizabeth Partridge will be joining us for the next What Was on Her…
WOW! Now I feel like a snail…but slow and steady wins the race too, I suppose. Great post.
You are simply beyond words, Jill
We are so very proud and love you
I’m in total awe! Five books coming out and editing and teaching and writing more books! A writer nonpareil! A post that spurs us on, Sandra.
I’m incredibly impressed. I write morning pages to try and empty my wash load of thoughts out of my brain. This morning, that didn’t help. I’m a little fuzzy still. Happy writing, Jill!
JIll, I don’t know how you do it. You are a huge inspiration!