Thursday, February 4, 2010

Blog Tour Guest Post: Jillian Cantor

I am honored to part of a blog tour to promote Jillian Cantor's soon-to-be-released second novel, The Life of Glass, which is incredibly well written and so on and so forth in praise (read my review of the book here). Jillian was sweet enough to provide me and my blog with a unique blog post. I hope you enjoy!

Five Things About The Desert that Melissa and I Know (That You Might Not)

Unlike Melissa, in THE LIFE OF GLASS, I did not grow up in the Arizona desert. But I’ve spent most of my adult life here. I’d lived in Arizona for about eight years before I started writing the book, and by then, most of the landscape felt like something normal to me, something I’d always known, and so it was easy for me to incorporate it into the story. Over the past few weeks, it’s been interesting for me, reading some of the reviews of the book where people mention they’ve never heard of a wash or even mistake it for a canyon, because I’d forgotten that these are not normal, everyday things to everyone. So here are five things that Melissa and I know about the desert that you might not:

The Wash: Melissa and her best friend Ryan ride their bikes in the wash behind their neighborhood. So what’s a wash? It’s simply a river or stream bed, without the water (most of the time). Whenever there is a lot of rain (which does happen sometimes; see #2), the washes fill up with water and flow like actual rivers. As Melissa points out in the book, when this happens, the water is dangerous and fast flowing enough for people to drown in. The rest of the year, washes are just empty, dry riverbeds. Many of the washes near me have actual bridges that go over them (even though they’re dry the majority of the time).

The Water: Before I moved here, I thought that it never rained in the desert. But actually, during the monsoon season in the summer, we get a lot of heavy rain and thunderstorms late in the day, usually enough for roads to flood and the washes to fill with water. You see the result of this in the last chapter of the book!

The Cold: Melissa complains about riding her bike to school in November when it’s cold, and yes, it does actually get cold enough to freeze/frost in the nights and early mornings in the winter. It’s not swimming pool weather all year round!

The Rodeo: At one point in the book Melissa’s sister Ashley mentions going to the Rodeo Parade with their father. Yes, in Tucson, there is a rodeo parade. And the schools even close down for the “rodeo holiday,” a Thursday & Friday near the end of February.

The Stars: There’s a scene in the book where Melissa remembers lying out in the back and looking at the stars with her father. In the desert, the sky is so clear and pitch black that the stars are nearly always visible and vibrant at night, much different from where I grew up on the east coast, where it was nearly always too cloudy or hazy to really truly see all the stars.

So there you have a little bit about the desert. I hope you’ll be able to see it the way I do after you’ve read the book. Thank you so much for inviting me to your blog today, Steph!


Thank YOU, Jillian! You've made me want to jump on a plane right now to see this Arizona desert for myself. I love it, and I hope you guys did too! Don't be afraid to check out The Life of Glass (HarperTeen, Feb. 9, 2010) if you want to see how Melissa and the rest of the characters interact with the desert.

Giveaway Opportunity

But before we go: a public service announcement! :)

Enter to win free copies of Jillian Cantor's books and cool prizes! One grand prize winner will receive two glass spirit stones (one for you, one for a friend) from Arizona, where THE LIFE OF GLASS is set, along with an autographed copy of each of Jillian's novels: THE LIFE OF GLASS and THE SEPTEMBER SISTERS. Two lucky runners-up will receive a signed copy of THE LIFE OF GLASS. To be eligible, send an email to with the subject line "The Life of Glass Giveaway". All e-mail entries must be received by midnight (PST) on February 14, 2010. The winners will be selected at random on February 15, 2010. Be sure to include your name and e-mail address with your entry (If you're under age 13, give your parent's contact info). One entry per person. Jillian Cantor's complete blog tour schedule can be found at Good luck!


  1. This is such an interesting post. We don't have deserts in the UK, so it all sounds completely exotic to me!

  2. I'm a native Arizona girl (born and raised and live in Mesa), and have to say these things are spot on. I <3 Arizona and its desert, and love love love Tucson and all of the outdoorsy stuff around there.

    I had no idea that LIFE OF GLASS was set in "my" desert :o) Going to have to add this one to the list!

    Thanks for doing my lovely Arizona justice!

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  4. When I visited Joshua Tree NP, I was suprised by how cold the desert was during the day. It was December of course.

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