By Marcela Lopez and Ana Santos
Jennifer Miller, the author of The Year of The Gadfly. gave Linda Ha, a junior in Cathedral City High School, an opportunity for her voice to be heard in Millers book trailer.
Miller wrote a book about poetry in the second grade with her best friend. She published her first book in 2005, Inheriting the Holy Land, about Israeli and the Palestinian teenagers.
She lives in New York, but her favorite place to write is the cafe attached to Politics and Prose bookstore in Washington, D.C. Theres a real sense of community there everybody is writing and studying and reading the newspaper. They also have great coffee and a killer tuna sandwich, said Miller.
Reading novels and inventing her own stories have always been Millers greatest passions. I love how a good book will suck you into another world, and Ive always wanted to create these worlds myself, said Miller. She also writes because it allows her to see the world through the eyes of her characters. In The year of the Gadfly, I get to inhabit the perspective of a cynical microbiologist, an albino teen, and Edward R. Murrow, one of Americas greatest journalists.
The protagonist of The Year Of The Gadfly is an aspiring journalist Iris Dupont. Iris has an outsized passion for truth-telling and speaking truth to power. These are two of the most important responsibilities that journalists have and they are why a free press is vital to a strong democracy. Students like Linda and the CCNews team, along with the professionals like Christiane Amanpour and Robert Siegel, are people whose work reflects this every day. I am honored to have all of them in the trailer, said Miller.
The novel is based on few events from her high school years. One of them was the untimely death of her high school boyfriend. He died in a car crash when we were 17 and he inspired the character of Justin Kaplan in the novel, said Miller. The other event was a massive cheating scandal that her younger brother exposed at his high school. The school promoted values of honesty and integrity, but the scandal and the way the school reacted to it showed just how weak those values really were, said Miller. Many people called her brother a snitch and he used the pages of the student newspaper to defend his actions.
The Year of the Gadfly covers topics of bullying, teen suicide, helicopter parenting, and the dizzying pressure to succeed that so many young people feel today. But fundamentally, its about how the choices we make in our adolescence can follow us for the rest of our lives. I wrote this book, because I think its impossible to fully leave your past behind, said Miller.
There is a meaning behind her books title.A gadfly is another word for horsefly- a fierce insect with a strong and painful bite. Socrates was called the Gadfly of Athens because he was known for challenging authority and asking difficult and unpopular questions. In a way, he was very much a journalist. There are many gadfly characters in my book, foremost among them, Iris Dupont, said Miller.
Miller has advice to students who want to pursue the same careers as her. Whether youre interested in becoming a journalist or novelist of both (as I am), the best thing you can do is to read everything available in your preferred genre. I am constantly learning techniques and finding inspiration from other novelists. Same goes for The New York Times, New York Magazine, Slate, etc. Just keep reading and absorbing and youll never run out of ideas for your own work, said Miller
It took six years and many, many drafts for Miller to write The Year of Gadfly
She hopes to write books for the rest of her life. This is my passion (and its really the only thing Im good at!), said Miller.
The Year of the Gadfly book trailer will be released in early May before the books publication and you can see it at Millers website www.byjennifermiller.com and on her books amazon page:
and on May 8, 2012 her novel The Year of the Gadfly will be released.