A week or so ago, I posted a review on The Good Woman by Jane Porter. Today, I have the pleasure of sharing with you all an interview with Jane! I for one, can't wait for The Good Daughter to come out early next year.
SBN: Which Brennan sister do you most identify with?
JP: I probably identify with Meg and Kit most, because I was the second oldest in a family of four kids, and the oldest girl, which meant I felt a lot of responsibility for the younger ones, as well as being the support for my mom. But I married the baby of a large family, and have always been close to my youngest brother, and it’s interesting getting life from their perspective. They don’t stress about the same things the firstborns stress about. And they get tired of the older siblings always thinking they know what’s best for them. I’m also sensitive to the experience of being a younger sister, as my sister had to contend with me as her big sister and it couldn’t have been easy for her always being compared to me. She was very smart, very athletic, and a daredevil. She loved taking risks and had incredible confidence in her abilities (which I never, ever had), but because I was the good girl, and didn’t take risks, and played it safe, people held me up as admirable. I don’t think my sister found it easy having people (or me) say, “Why aren’t you good like Jane?” Birth order is so fascinating. It really does impact the way we make decisions and our perceptions, and that’s probably why I had to write this series. Families are messy and intense and compelling. And that’s the world I love best.
SBN: I know The Good Daughter is set to release in February 2013 and will be focused on Kit, what is the order and anticipated released dates of the other books? By the way, I am sure you can't say, but please tell me Kit doesn't end up with Richard.
JP: Ha! This really made me laugh. I love Kit’s book, The Good Daughter, which hits shelves February 5th. I really love that story. It’s probably my favorite book I’ve ever written and I can’t wait to get reader feedback. The Good Wife, Sarah’s story, comes out in Fall 2013, and I’m hoping (please, please publishing gods!!) that there will be a fourth, and final, book in Spring 2014, which would be The Good Sister, and Brianna’s story, along with a return to Meg. I have that story plotted out in my head and its fascinating to go back to Santa Rosa and Napa, the setting of The Good Woman, and return to where we began the Brennan Sisters series.
SBN: I love the activities that Meg's children were involved in....ballet, horseback riding, and baseball. Did you play any sports as child (or now as an adult)?
JP: Meg’s kids’ activities were inspired by their Northern California lifestyle. I had cousins who spent every afternoon at the stables, but I was a swimmer, and a dancer. From the time I was seven, I was on a summer league swim team, and during the school year, I danced every day until I was fifteen. And I don’t play sports now, (well, I swim in Hawaii, and will on occasion surf there), but my three boys are all water babies—they swim, surf, play water polo. In our family, that love of the water runs pretty deep!
SBN: Do you write daily? I picture authors locking themselves in a room and writing until the book is finished.
JP: You picture my world pretty accurately. I definitely don’t do as much when I’m on deadline. Once on deadline, I pull away, pull back, and retreat into a small space without too much external stimulation. I’m a little resistant to deadlines for that reason, but once I’d deeply immersed (committed??) I’m okay. Writing is hard. And I want to write a great book, so after a while I get to a point where I’m so creatively conflicted and worried and agonizing over the story, and if I’m making the right decisions, that I just need to get the book done. It becomes all consuming…get book done, get book done, get book done. This is when family and friends start avoiding me! J
SBN: How do you come up with your ideas for novels? Are they based off real life experiences/modified?
JP: Stories beget stories…an idea for one novel often gives life to another. A couple of my novels were inspired by an event or a conversation in my life which led to an “aha moment!”, a moment where I realized my situation or emotion was universal, that I wasn’t the only woman to feel a certain way, or experience that conflict as a woman, mother, wife, sister. I find our lives as women fascinating. We lead such complex and challenging lives, with equally challenging demands. It’s a true juggling act, and at times we sacrifice what we want and need to make others happy, or successful, and then there are times when we must learn to put ourselves first. And these are the themes in my novels, because they are the themes of our lives.
SBN: What do you like to do when you are not writing?
JP: Read, travel, watch movies, go for drives, putter in my garden, cook. By the time a book is finished I hate my desk and computer so I want to do anything and everything that’s not desk related.
SBN: What are you currently reading?
JP: Motorcycle Man by Kristen Ashley. It’s become quite the eBook sensation, for good reason.
SBN: What are some of your favorite books?
JP: I read a lot of historical and paranormal romance, as well as adore everything written by the late Georgette Heyer.
Having being a teacher, I read and taught literary fiction, and studied the classics all the way through graduate school, but by the end of my 20’s, I didn’t want to read the classics anymore, or literary fiction that was dark, and focused on loss: loss of self, loss of society, loss of hope. I’d experienced a great deal of loss in my life, and the dark, heartbreaking subject matter wasn’t good for me emotionally, or spiritually. I used to worry about being perceived as an intellectual lightweight for preferring warm, optimistic commercial fiction, but I know what I need--hope, light, faith and courage, but I don’t feel that way anymore. I read what I like to read, and prefer stories about interesting people who are good people, as well as compassionate and strong.
SBN: Can you read other books and write at the same time?
JP: Not very well! I tend to read very little when I’m writing a lot. I wish I could read more, but I find I need the quiet in my brain to let my own characters walk around and tell me what’s going to happen next.
SBN: What is your favorite food?
JP: Marshmallows. People tell me they’re not healthy but I love them…in Jell-O molds, rice crispy squares, S’mores, Lucky Charms, Hot Cocoa, chocolate marshmallow frosting…mmmm. Makes me want some now. They are a very happy food!
Thank Jane for the interview and the chance to read The Good Woman. For some reason, I feel like making Rice-Krispie Treats.....