Interview with Ann Jacobus, author of Romancing the Dark in the City of Light
20 Nov 2015
Romancing the Dark in the City of Light is about an 18-year-old American girl named Summer who ends up in Paris at her mother’s place, after getting kicked out of several boarding schools. She’s depressed, she has a drinking problem, and she’s ultimately suicidal. Plus she thinks meeting the right guy might give her life purpose. She meets two: one who sees her as she can be and leads her toward the light, and one who pulls her toward darkness.
When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a director! I love theater and used to boss my five younger siblings in lots of family plays and “shows.” They finally went on permanent strike in their thirties.
Which books would we be surprised to find on your shelves?
In addition to hundreds of new, used and overdue YA, middle-grade, and adult novels, you’d find books by Tolkien (The Hobbit and the Trilogy of course), Carlos Castaneda, and Dr. Seuss; a dog-eared copy of A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle; a thick collection of the works of William Blake of which I’ve only read a small portion.
Where was your favorite place you lived growing up?
We moved around a lot (Texas, Arkansas, NM, AZ) when I was a kid, but we had a summer house on Greers Ferry Lake in the Arkansas Ozarks that was fairly constant. Spending time there and having more or less free run was a blast. When I was fourteen, I had a Suzuki motorcycle for transport to my job at a tennis pro shop.
If you had an extra hour each day, how would you spend it?
What was the most valuable part of your experience getting your MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults?
There was so much that was valuable to me about getting an MFA. I had to quickly learn greater discipline and accomplish a lot more writing work than I had been doing in the years prior. I was exposed to great writing by the faculty and students alike, broad reading lists, and patient instruction and excellent questions. The most important thing I learned in grad school was how much I still don’t know about writing (I feel ever more that way). I also met so many wonderful people who come from very diverse backgrounds but with whom I have more in common than anyone else I know.
What’s rocking your world this month?
The release of Romancing the Dark in the City of Light! ☺
What’s your favorite quote or scene from Romancing the Dark in the City of Light?
The last four (short) chapters are my favorite. Also when Summer says dismissively, “I’ve learned to expect nothing from life,” and Moony responds, “Hmm. But what does life expect from you?”
Do you have a motto, quote or philosophy you live by?
I love the Desiderata. The whole thing.
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