Hi, Ginger Johnson! Happy Monday from Chennai, India! I hope you had a wonderful weekend. A big thank-you for dropping by to share the cover for The Splintered Light and for finishing my sentences. I greatly appreciate it.
Ginger: Hi, Mr. Schu! Thanks for hosting me! I’m delighted to be here and happy, as most writers would be, to finish sentences.
Ian Schoenherr’s cover illustration for The Splintered Light is glorious. It gives a hint at what is to come and makes a promise that there are wonders and marvels inside: the black and white world, the color racing from the prism, Ishmael (the main character) in shadow reaching for the light. It’s so satisfying to see such a tangible image come from words on a page. Honestly, I think there are few things in this world more magical than a rainbow, especially when seen against a black and white palette. I kind of want to run my fingers through that spectrum as if it were a skein of alpaca yarn, you know?
Ishmael is an 11-year old boy who lives a monotonous and grief-filled existence on his family’s meager and colorless farm. The only break in his grief is a strange light that pierces a pane of glass in the barn and splinters Ishmael’s world into a spectrum of color he never knew existed. When the worries of the farm become too great for him to bear, Ishmael sets out to find his older brother Luc and bring him home. His search takes him to the Commons, where he discovers a wonder and beauty that intrigues him and calls to his heart.
I hope The Splintered Light will inspire readers to see the world with new eyes, appreciating things that are commonly taken for granted. I hope it will inspire them to yearn for the beautiful and the good, and to be able to see joy in the midst of difficulties. I hope it will empower readers to seek out creative and new solutions to problems and provide greater insight into what is happening around us now.
My favorite color would be hard to narrow down. I love all color—bold straight hues—as well as black (the absence of color) and white (the presence of all colors). I did go through a purple phase in elementary school, and I painted my first kitchen lime green. I just bought a fabulous hat made of red feathers, I often wear bright yellow eye shadow, and for some reason, all of my winter coats are green. My bookshelves are even arranged by color, which I’m certain will make most librarians (including my mother) cringe.
School libraries are practically divine. Seriously. A room full of books just waiting to be read? An eager librarian? A constant stream of new books? Sometimes even comfy chairs? Time to read? What’s better than that? Sign me up. Of course, my mother was an elementary school librarian, so perhaps I’m a bit biased. I spent a lot of time in school libraries.
Mr. Schu, you should have asked me what kind of research I did for The Splintered Light. It would be easy to assume that all the details in a work of fiction are made up, especially in a fantasy, but actually I did an immense amount of research for this book. I wanted everything—every single element—to be scientifically sound or as close to scientifically sound as I could get, before I began tinkering around. I researched the science of color, the psychology of color, dimensions of space, shapes and their symbolism, shape in the mathematical sense, shape encoded in the physical world, pointillism, the meanings of names, proverbs, architecture, the science of sound, types of motion, the creative process, types of simple machines, the guild system, the symbolism of numbers, types of tastes, the science of scent, the stages of grief, anagrams, creation stories, cairns, palate cleansers, cosmology, etc. I haven’t yet decided if I was very ignorant or very enthusiastic. Maybe both. At any rate, the research was fascinating and as much fun as the writing.
Ginger Johnson received an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College, where she studied under the tutelage of Kathi Appelt, Martine Leavitt, Sarah Ellis, and Tim Wynne-Jones. While there, she won the Marion Dane Bauer award, and in the summer of 2014 she was awarded a letter of merit from SCBWI for the WIP grant. The Splintered Light is her debut novel.
Look for The Splintered Light on September 4, 2018.