Jillian Cantor On Life's Transformations

Mainstream author Jillian Cantor shares why she tackled the difficult subject of transitions in her November novel, The Transformation of Things

As a writer, I’m always interested in the idea of transformation, the idea that we can and do have the ability to change ourselves. There are the big transformations in our lives, of course, the steps we take from children to adults, single to married, childless to parent, parent to grandparent and so on. But I also think we all transform ourselves daily in smaller ways. We are different people at work and home, with our kids and without our kids, with our spouse or with our friends. For the majority of my day, I am a mom. And then when my kids are sleeping or at school, I am a writer or sometimes just a wife. And when I am doing a book signing or promoting a book, I’m an author. Sometimes this transformation is literal (i.e. I often write in my sweatpants but wouldn’t dream of wearing them to an author appearance!), and sometimes it’s just a mental transformation: I feel like a different person when I’m volunteering at my son’s school than when I’m sitting in front of the computer deep in a story I’m writing. 

And it is this small aspect of transformation that I wanted to explore in my novel, The Transformation of Things. In the book my main character, Jen, lives what appears to be a perfect life, in a perfect house, with perfect country-club friends, and a perfect husband who is a judge. Only, beneath the surface, none of it is really perfect. Her husband, Will, has grown distant; her friends and her sister only know her superficially. And after Will gets indicted and is forced to resign as a judge, Jen begins to dream. She dreams about Will, her friends, and her sister, and she begins to realize the dreams are allowing her to see beneath everyone else’s façade, that the dreams are showing her the truth about their lives, a truth she never understood or recognized when she was awake. 

What I was interested in exploring in the book were the different ways people transform themselves, and the way our outward appearance often differs from our inner reality. As Jen begins to discover, our identity can be fluid. Who we are and who we appear to be, can and does change and transform -- sometimes from one moment to the next. And as Jen begins to learn these things about the people in her life, she also starts to look at her own life. How does she appear on the surface? What does she really want to do with her life? Who does she really want to be? 

You can find the answers to these questions and see how Jen transforms her own life inside the pages of The Transformation of Things! But I also hope the book will allow you to stop and think for a moment about the tiny transformations in your own life. 

- Jillian Cantor

You can pick up your own copy of The Transformation of Things in stores now!