Monday, July 5, 2010
Interview with Jane Green and book giveaway!
Jane Green is the author of thirteen novels, read by women all over the world. I love her books so much that I recently wrote a tribute about her. And now she has so graciously taken the time to answer some questions that I came up with. I also asked Melissa Patafio, a close friend and Jane Green fan, to help with these questions. Jane has also offered to give away signed copies of her books to two lucky winners. The first is her newest book, "Promises to Keep." The other one is "Dune Road," which came out last year and was a great story with a mystery wrapped inside.
Melissa Amster (me): You usually have your books set in Connecticut (or the New England region), London, or a combination of both. Have you considered setting a story in a new location?
Jane Green: Absolutely. I’m slightly fed up with Connecticut myself, so I can only imagine how my readers must feel. The tricky bit is finding enough time to get to know a new place, but we are spending some time this summer in California, in the wine country, and I am wondering if that will be the setting for the new book.
MA: I recall you saying that your books have grown with you (i.e. writing about single characters early on and now writing about characters who are married with children). What has your journey been like as a writer?
JG: In many ways it is harder now, although as a writer I think I am probably better – more rounded, and certainly I spend more time writing, and particularly editing. But changing as a person – becoming softer, more vulnerable, through motherhood, divorce, remarriage, has unquestionably affected and changed my writing, which is, I hope, a good thing.
Melissa Patafio: How do you go about writing a story with characters that are so emotionally and realistically connected to issues (Ellie-“The Other Woman”, Jemima) in cases where you haven’t experienced these things yourself?
JG: I have always had a tremendous amount of empathy, although most of the things I have written about have touched me in some way – even if I haven’t lived it, I have been close enough to it to understand it.
MP: Do you always know how a story will end before you start writing it or does the ending change multiple times before you finish the book?
JG: I always have a rough idea of the beginning and the end, but how I get there is the interesting bit. I only ever plot in thirds, because generally, by the time I finish the first third, the characters will have taken over and the story will have changed entirely.
MP: How did you celebrate when your first book “Straight Talking” went to a bidding war and became an immediate success?
JG: I remember buying my first ever proper grown-up car. It was a little red BMW, pre-owned, which was very zippy and cool. Everyone said I ought to be careful because statistically the police were far more likely to stop a woman in a red car, and sure enough, within the first week I had been pulled over by the police for erratic driving. Sadly, no alcohol was involved. It was just my driving.
MP: What was your inspiration for writing “The Beach House” and how were you able to write “Nan” as such a genuinely lifelike character?
JG: I moved into a tiny little beach cottage for a Summer, and loved living by the beach. I fell in love with my landlord, while living there, and we went for walks every night, and a woman would pass us, on a bicycle, with long white hair, leaving a trail of cigarette smoke. I was fascinated by her, and used that snapshot to develop Nan.
MA: Would you want someone to make a movie of one of your books? If so, which book would you choose?
JG: Yes please. Whichever one they would like, pleeeaaaassseee. Although in truth, Jemima has always struck me as being the most filmic. I would also love either Promises to Keep or The Beach House, with Helen Mirren as Nan, perhaps.
MA: What is the funniest thing that has ever happened to you during a book tour?
JG: My husband pops up, from time to time, in airports. I walk through baggage claims on the other side of America looking for my name on a sign, and occasionally, the man holding that sign, entirely unexpectedly, is my husband, who has surprised me.
MA: Now that summer is upon us, what is your favorite flavor of ice cream?
MP: If you were to have any career other than writing what would you like to do?
JG: Interior Designer or chef. Or garden designer. Or...artist. Easier perhaps to just say something creative?
Thanks again to Jane for answering our questions and to her assistant, Sue Redston for facilitating this interview and giveaway.
How to win "Promises to Keep" or "Dune Road."
Please comment below with your e-mail address. (Also, if you have a preference, please indicate that in your entry. Otherwise, you'll be entered to win either book.)
For additional entries (each as a separate comment including your e-mail address, as well):
1. Please tell us: What is your favorite Jane Green book?
2. Follow this blog and post a comment saying you are a follower (if you already follow, that's fine too).
3. Post this contest on Facebook or Twitter or in your blog, and leave a comment saying where you've posted it.
Giveaway ends Thursday, July 8th.