Jilly Gagnon writes young adult fiction, comedy, and personal essays. In the past her work has appeared in Newsweek, Elle, The Toast, The Hairpin, Vanity Fair, The Onion, and McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, among others. Her comedy book series, Choose Your Own Misery (co-authored with Mike MacDonald), debuted in 2016. So far three titles are planned. She’s much less funny at cocktail parties than you might think that would make her.
Jilly’s debut novel, #Famous (February 14, 2017, HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen) is a YA Contemporary novel. It’s a classic love story: girl meets boy, girl snaps photo, photo blows up the internet overnight, and soon both girl and boy are swept up in a whirlwind that leaves them wondering whether fame, and love, are worth the price.
The two or three items she needs to have with her when she sits down to write: This is so dorky, but I need my wrist guards! Not only am I always on my computer, my other hobbies (like playing piano and violin, or knitting) are also wrist-destroying, and I naturally sleep with my hand curled into a death-claw. Carpal tunnel: not exactly the most glamorous of writing accessories…
The literary character you would most like to meet: That’s really tough, but probably Gandalf the Grey. He seems like he’d actually do something magical for me.
Her your favorite childhood book: Obviously I can’t pick just ONE favorite. I was OBSESSED with the John Bellairs books when I was a kid, which is hilarious, since I was (and remain) excessively sensitive to horror (I couldn’t even watch Stranger Things without a buddy). I also adored Roald Dahl books, particularly The Witches and Matilda, and I first discovered The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings around age 10 (and have since reread the entire series oh…50 times?). Clearly I have a latent fantasy bug.
Her hobbies when not writing/reading: I love music and play several instruments–I actually just started violin lessons (for the first time) about a year ago! I knit–everyone in my family has endless hats and scarves–and bakeamazing cookies. I also used to work as the buyer for a store with a big vintage clothing section and a lot of antiques; I could spend hours digging around a flea market, or rifling through everything at an overstuffed antique store.
Her favorite Muppet and why: I’m a huge fan of the Swedish chef, mainly because I’d love a constant source of spaghetti, but if I’m being honest, it’s probably Statler and Waldorf. Sarcasm is basically my mother tongue, so they speak my language.
The craziest thing she did when she was 17: PASS.
If she could travel anywhere in the world, she’d go: I want to see SO much of the world, so this question is constantly changing, but at the moment Sweden, Morocco, and Tokyo are all fighting for the number one slot on my endlessly-long list.
Where You’ll find her: