**Giveaway is now closed**
As you may know already, I am a fan of Jane Porter's chick lit novels. She writes in such a way that all her characters are easy to relate to, no matter how different they may be from the reader. I think I especially liked "Mrs. Perfect" because just like "Something Blue" by Emily Giffin, it takes a character that readers were expected to dislike in one book and gives a fresh outlook to her personality and turns her into someone with whom the reader can sympathize. In "She's Gone Country," Ms. Porter takes a well-liked character who originally came from "Odd Mom Out" and gives her a story of her own. I've been looking forward to reading this novel since the time I finished "Easy on the Eyes" last summer. And now that it's available at your local bookstore, Crystal from BookSparks PR has given you all a chance to not only get to know Ms. Porter better, but also win one copy of "She's Gone Country." I hope you will take the time to check out her previous novels, if you haven't already, as well as enter to win what looks to be another fabulous novel!
1. How did you first break into the writing scene after receiving your Masters? What challenges did you face?
I’ve been writing since I was in kindergarten! I wrote my first story at five and my first picture book in 2nd grade and my first novel in 4th grade. Now, none of them were published but I was very serious about my writing from a young age.
Although I’ve had poetry and non-fiction pieces published in national magazines, it took me nearly 15 years of incredibly hard work, and 13 rejected manuscripts, before I finally sold to Harlequin Mill& Boon in London in 2000. Since then I’ve written 31books (none of the rejects have ever seen the light of day
Did my Masters in Writing help me sell? Mmmm, no. Did it teach me about the craft of writing? Yes. The bottom line is that I am a commercial fiction writer and I had to learn not just how to write a beautiful passage or honest emotion, but I had to figure out how the market, the genres, the industry pet peeves as well as how to write page turners. The secret to selling is writing really compelling stories. Books that keep a reader up late at night. And I don’t think that kind of thing can be taught in a classroom but rather a writer develops his or her writing chops through lots and lots of practice.
2. Which authors do you admire most?
I admire every author because writing is such hard work. And for commercial fiction writers who have to write on deadline, its exhausting and demanding, so I’m just a huge fan of writers in general.
But writers I like to read? There are tons—Marian Keyes, Mary Balogh, Loretta Chase, JR Ward, and on and on and on.
3. Do you have any plans to continue with the group of women that started from "Odd Mom Out" or perhaps revisit some of them in future novels?
I think they’re done for now! I have loved these women, too, so it’s not easy to say that but I’m developing a women’s fiction trilogy using sisters/ connected characters that I think my readers would enjoy.
4. Which of your characters was the easiest to write about? Most difficult?
Marta in Odd Mom Out was my favorite. I loved her spirit and that she was so independent and so determined to be herself. I admire women who don’t feel like they have to fit in, or play a game. Hardest? Tiana from Easy On The Eyes because Tiana was so banged up from grief and loss that it was tough to get close to her. She really had a shell around her to protect her from more pain. But the two people that really mattered to her, and could always reach her, were her friends Marta (Odd Mom Out) and Shey (She’s Gone Country).
5. "Flirting with Forty" was made into a movie on Lifetime. Which of your books would you like to see on the big screen? Who would you cast in the main roles?
You know, I would probably rather see my books made into cable movies than movies for the big screen. There are so many negatives that go with big pictures, especially pictures aimed at the female audience, that I loathe how women’s entertainment gets a bum rap if it doesn’t make tons of money. So really, I’d rather work with a company like Lifetime or Oxygen that develop film projects for women, without apology.
Fortunately right now I have two things out there in various stages of development—Odd Mom/Mrs Perfect being developed into a tv series. The TV pilot has just been written and will be shopped later this Fall. And then She’s Gone Country is getting treatment to be turned into a screenplay and I’ve seen the outline and love it. It’ll be interesting to see what happens next though.
6. Most of your books have taken place in the west coast up until now, which makes sense since you're from that area. Did you do research on the lifestyle in Texas while writing "She's Gone Country?"
I don’t think a lot of my readers know my connection to Texas, or my love of ranchers and cowboys. I’m a country girl at heart. I love the West. I love cowboys. And I love country western music. One of my best friends growing up was a rancher’s daughter and she showed animals at the county fair and wore cowboy boots and tight Wranglers and drove a big truck with lots of shiny chrome. And my mother’s father was a rugged Texan who had three Black Angus cattle ranches. He actually died on one of our ranches during a round up, and we still have the ranch in the family today. I think once you have that affinity with the land and a certain lifestyle, it just stays with you. Researching and writing "She’s Gone Country" was probably one of the best things I’ve done for myself in years. It really brought me home and reminded me that truly the simple things are best.
7. What was the RWA conference like for you?
It’s always an amazing five days-- intense, hectic, exciting, and sometimes plain overwhelming, but I have to say, this year’s conf in Orlando was one of my favorites as I didn’t attend last year's since Mac had just been born. I really loved seeing all my friends and meeting with my readers, agent, editors, and publicists. It’s quite a rush.
8. Your husband teaches surfing and you mentioned that you've surfed in the past. What is the funniest or most embarrassing surfing experience you've ever had?
Probably the most embarrassing thing happened in the first year Ty and I were dating. We were out on the North Shore and he was still teaching me to surf and I literally lost my entire bikini top. It was just gone. I was far off shore and there was no way to go scrounge up something so Ty stripped off his rashguard and let me wear it. It was white and totally see through but it let me stay in the water to catch a few more waves.
9. You have traveled a lot in the past but now make your home in Seattle and Hawaii. Is there any other place you would love to live someday, even if just for a year?
Ty and I talk a lot about living other places and he’d love to live in Bali, while I’d love Ireland. Or Italy. Or Greece. I love to travel and we’re actually going to Egypt this spring with my boys. Can’t wait!
10. Since your book is about "going country," what is your favorite country song or country music singer/group?
Faith Hill is probably at the top of my list but I created a whole country playmix to listen to while writing this book and there are so many great country artists on there—Trace Adkins, Kenny Chesney, Tim McGraw, Tina McBride, Sugarland, and so many more!
Special thanks to Jane Porter for her lovely answers to my questions and for allowing us all to get to know her better. I also appreciate that she took the time out of her busy schedule to write more than just a sentence or two per question.
Extra special thanks to Crystal Patriarche from BookSparks PR for facilitating this interview and providing the book for the giveaway.
How to win "She's Gone Country":
Please comment below with your e-mail address.
(Please note: Entries without an e-mail address will NOT be counted.)
For additional entries (each as a separate comment including your e-mail address, as well):
1. Please tell us: Who are your favorite country singers or what is your favorite country song?
2. Please tell us: In which way(s) have you gone country?
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5. Join Chick Lit Central on Facebook. (If you're already a member, let us know that too.)
US/Canada only. Giveaway ends Sunday, August 29th, at midnight EST.