Thursday, September 6, 2012

Interview with Jane Porter

I read and reviewed Jane Porter's book, The Good Woman, yesterday (and loved it) and now I'm pleased to share an interview with her.

How did the idea for the Brennan sisters trilogy come to you?

My little brother, Rob, lives in downtown San Francisco, and is married to a gorgeous girl whose father was a San Francisco firefighter. Andrea is a 5th generation San Franciscan, and because Rob and Andrea are raising their children in the city, their young children are now 6th generation San Franciscans and they love the city, and cherish their history and relationship with the city. Over the years I’ve gotten to know Andrea’s father and her father’s stories of being a firefighter in San Francisco stirred something in my imagination, and before I knew it, I had created my own Irish-American family called the Brennans, and yes, their father is also a firefighter, but I’ve added a lot of siblings and sisters to the mix, and its been wonderful writing about one of my favorite cities in the world.

You write in a variety of genres. Is there one you prefer?

Romances are love stories. Family relationship novels are love stories. Self-discovery novels are love stories. So I don’t think there is a genre I prefer, but a theme—love. Love ties us, binds us, hurts us, heals us. Love is complex and both steadfast and changing. It can dazzle us and mystify us. Comfort us and then break us. There are times we need it, crave it, and there are other times we push it away, and choose to go without. I don’t think I will ever get tired of writing about people and what we want and need, which is almost always acceptance, validation, hope, and love.

Flirting with Forty was made into a Lifetime movie. What was that experience like for you as a novelist? Did you enjoy the movie? Would you like to see more movies made out of your books?

I really enjoyed having a movie made from my book, and have come close two other times to it happening again, (Odd Mom Out and She’s Gone Country were both optioned and turned into screenplays and reached varying stages of development) but in the end, were never greenlighted. While I was intrigued by the process of Flirting with Forty being adapted, it was, at times, uncomfortable. I had to really step back and let go.

Gradually I came to understand that what makes a great novel isn’t necessarily what makes a great film, and vice versa. Now I’m more experienced (and tough!) and I appreciate the creativity, and work, that goes into both.

How do you feel about term women’s fiction?

I’m actually okay with it. I use it to describe my books, because honestly, I don’t expect men to line up to read my books and it’s a quick way of heading off the folks who don’t want to read stories about women. My books aren’t action drama adventure stories. They are domestic drama adventure stories, which are my favorite adventure stories because I’m fascinated by women, and I find our lives complex and compelling.

What has been your most rewarding experience as an author?

The most rewarding experience is probably hearing from a reader that I wrote a story that made her happy, or helped her feel valuable and important. I’m also thrilled when I hear that I have made someone fall in love with reading again. I know as a former English teacher, that reading isn’t easy or comfortable for everyone, so if I can make someone fall in love with reading, or have given them happiness, or hope, then I have done a very good thing!

Who are some of your favorite contemporary authors? What one book has influenced
you more than any other?

I read so widely that it would be hard to pin me down to a couple contemporary authors,and I’m a big genre nut—I love romances, historical fiction, literary fiction, young adult novels....but my all time favorite author has to be Georgette Heyer, and no, she’s not contemporary, she died in the ‘70’s but I have every book she’s written and she’s my ultimate comfort read.

Thanks Jane!

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