Emily Ziff Griffin

Simon Pulse,
ISBN 9781476772875,

Emily Ziff Griffin

Emily Ziff Griffin

Audio interviewAuthorlink Audio Interview with Emily Ziff Griffin

 Audio Length: 15 minutes

Writer and film producer Emily Ziff Griffin survived two experiences of devastating grief. Her father passed away from AIDS when she was a teenager. Her dear friend, mentor and producing partner Philip Seymour Hoffman died tragically in 2014. She’s spent more than two decades grappling with what death means and trying to accept the unexpected gifts that profound loss offers. Now, in her debut novel, LIGHT YEARS (Simon Pulse, September 2017), Griffin tells a deeply personal story through an imaginative lens. 

Authorlink recently talked to Emily (audio interview) to learn what she gleaned about creativity from Philip Hoffman, and from the painful losses and experiences in her life. She believes books, unlike film, allow the reader to live inside someone’s head in a way that only the printed page can do.  Emily also wants to encourage young women to believe in their own creativity, a message borne out in LIGHT YEARS. 

In the novel, Luisa Ochoa-Jones is ready for her life to start. Yesterday. And she could be on her way, as her extraordinary coding skills have landed her a finalist spot for a fellowship sponsored by Thomas Bell, the world’s most brilliant and mercurial tech entrepreneur. Being chosen means funding, mentorship, and most importantly, freedom from her overbearing mother. Maybe Lu will even figure out how to control the rare condition that plagues her: whenever her emotions run high, her physical senses kick into overload, with waves of color, sound, taste, and touch flooding her body. But Luisa’s life is thrust into chaos as a deadly virus sweeps across the globe, killing thousands and sending her father into quarantine. When Lu receives a cryptic, message from someone who might hold the key to stopping the epidemic, she knows she must do something to save her family—and the world. 

“I wrote LIGHT YEARS for teenagers who are on the precipice of adulthood, with all its freedoms and perils,” says Emily Ziff Griffin. “Life can feel limitless and bountiful and then suddenly become staggeringly lonely and confusing when we experience loss for the first time. We feel powerless. Through Luisa, I hope readers will connect to a character who is faced with epic circumstances and tremendous grief but discovers that her deepest emotions and most authentic self are the keys to reclaiming her power with purpose, grace, and hope.”


Emily Ziff Griffin lives in Los Angeles where she writes, produces, teaches, daydreams, and mothers two young kids. When she was 25, she co-founded Cooper’s Town Productions with Philip Seymour Hoffman and produced the Academy Award-winning film, Capote, along with Hoffman’s directorial debut Jack Goes Boating and John Slattery’s God’s Pocket. She’s run three marathons, slowly, and hold a degree from Brown University in art-semiotics, the study of how images make meaning. She believes children are way more sophisticated than adults typically give them credit for and writes for the teenager who is ready to claim their own worldview and be grounded in their own power.  For more information, visit 


“The intersection of spiritualism, physical health, and a global community creates an evocative message that hints at the butterfly effect one person can have. Griffin’s near-future worldbuilding is stylish, immersive, and entirely plausible… A supernatural romantic thriller that defies convention.”

Kirkus Reviews

 “Griffin crafts a gorgeously written tale with depth, suspense, intriguing characters, and an engaging plot that moves along like a gripping action film.” School Library Journal, (starred review)

 Light Years is searingly beautiful. A page-turner of a debut about life, death, loss, and love . . . and ultimately hope. Emily Ziff Griffin is an important new voice in YA fiction, and Light Years is an important book.” —Jennifer Niven, New York Times bestselling author of All the Bright Places and Holding Up the Universe

Light Years couldn’t be more timely. In the midst of so much chaos and strife, Griffin’s protagonist Luisa manages to feel, to hurt, to love, and, most important, to persevere. It is [A] beautiful story of grit and resilience, a potent reminder that when our own world seems to be crumbling, it’s up to us to make something of ourselves.” —M.A. Larson, award-winning author of the Pennyroyal Academy series

Suspenseful, lyrical, and thought-provoking, LIGHT YEARS features a remarkable heroine on an intensely physical and emotional quest for hope and existential meaning.