Monday, August 19, 2013

Susan Beth Pfeffer

Susan Beth Pfeffer is the author of many books for teens, including the New York Times best-selling novel Life As We Knew It, which was nominated for several state awards, and its companion books, The Dead and the Gone, This World We Live In, and The Shade of the Moon.

Earlier this month I asked the author about what she was reading. Pfeffer's reply:
When I went to college, I decided to major in film because of my intention of becoming a Great Film Director.

Sadly, after only a production class or two, I realized that I didn't even stand a chance of becoming a Lousy Film Director. I lacked every single attribute needed to be a director except love of movies.

Having no desire to major in anything useful, I switched to film history and criticism, figuring I'd be a Great Film Historian and Critic. That seemed like an even better ambition, since I'd get to spend my time watching movies and not actually have to work.

But by my last semester in college, I'd come to realize I had no future in film history and criticism either. So in a desperate (and fortunately successful) effort to keep from ever getting a real job, I wrote a young adult novel, which sold almost immediately. I've been writing children's and young adult novels ever since (my latest, The Shade Of The Moon, is number 78).

This January, I made a New Year's resolution to read the books that have been sitting on my shelves since Gutenberg invented the printing press. This is the best kind of resolution since you can see progress being made without the sacrifice of chocolate.

So far, I've read over 30 of these books. Out of the 30, about a quarter are film history books. I've read books about film noir and early musicals and movies of the 1940s and World War Two combat films and the portrayal of Jews in American movies.

Now I'm reading Seeing Is Believing: How Hollywood Taught Us To Stop Worrying And Love The Fifties, by Peter Biskind. I'm halfway through, and have learned about the effect of 1950s politics on westerns and sci fi and war movies.

What I also learned from reading Peter Biskind's Wikipedia profile is that he's made a living writing film history and criticism. We can think of him as having the exact same career as a Great Film Historian and Critic that I'd dreamed of all those years ago.

Humph. I wonder if I could convince him to write a young adult novel and leave the movies to me!
Visit Susan Beth Pfeffer's blog.

--Marshal Zeringue