Interview with Jodi Picoult

(Read Pursuing Perfection, my article in The Star. I interviewed Picoult over the telephone - she was in Singapore on a book tour.)

Can you guess what really attracted me to Jodi Picoult's works the first time?

The book's fonts.

Yes, not exactly the most logical thing, but I loved the editions by Washington Square Press.  The books were so nicely packaged, the fonts just the right size and type, the book just the perfect size and thickness. So I gravitated towards the books, picked one up as if it was some delicate toy and read the back covers.

Of course, like many other Picoult readers, I was then attracted to the dilemmas the characters suffered. Salem Falls was my first book and I really felt for the character.

"Salem Falls is the one place where the character doesn't get his comeuppance, because he couldn't because of the end of it," Picoult told me over the phone in early May. Boy, did I feel the same. I stamped my feet towards the end, sniffing, "No fair!"

She also talks quite a bit about religion too, and it's pretty obvious where her political leanings lie:

Keeping Faith is about religion and spirituality and the differences between them. It also examines how religion and politics never were separate in America.”

She speaks about how Americans are thought of as a “wildly religious group”, and about the rise of a Christian evangelical group that seem to preach the gospel but endorse causes that seem so contrary to its message, such as the death penalty.

“And in addition to that they (evangelicals) are working very hard to make sure that the politicians elected to run the country are also people of faith - their faith.

“Just because someone endorses something different from your own beliefs, it might not just be as valid – and I think it's a dangerous place to be for the country.”

Then she talks at length about the Barack Obama, and how he had to be shown that he goes to church, but then his minister starts saying racially biased comments but all of a sudden he has to distance themselves. “Its ridiculous the machinations politicians have to go through to get the right demographic vote.”

I thought the same too, wondering why it's so important that Barack has to tell Americans that he's not a Muslim but a Christian over and over again on TV.

But enough of that - here's my newspaper article about Jodi, Pursuing Perfection where she talks about how she started on her writing path, her future novels and ghost hunting.