Connecticut based English author Jane Green is one of the original chick lit authors. At 27, she published her first novel Straight Talking, and she has made her way onto best-seller lists ever since – and she’s just released her sixteenth novel. NZ Booklovers recently had the privilege to learn a little about the woman behind the name.
Saving Grace is your sixteenth novel. Where do you find the inspiration to keep writing new stories?
There is a lovely Thoreau quote: “How vain it is to sit down to write when one has not stood up to live.” I pull very much from the lives of everyone around me.
Which is your favourite Jane Green novel, and why?
The Beach House, because it was written at a time in my life when I was truly finding out what happiness meant, and indeed what a happy ending might actually feel like in real life.
Do you see much of yourself in the characters you create? Which of your heroines do you relate to the most?
All of them. Even the bad bits. Possibly especially the bad bits. There is a little bit of me in all my characters, helpfully pointed out to me on a regular basis by all my friends.
Some consider you to be one of the founders of the Chick Lit genre. Who are some of your favourite Chick Lit authors?
I love Marian Keyes for her wisdom and warmth, Emily Giffin for her observations and smarts, and look out for a new book called I Take You by Eliza Kennedy that is just utterly brilliant.
Why do you enjoy writing women’s fiction?
Writing is the best way I know for me to process the jumble in my head. As a deep introvert, my head is a very busy place, and because it rarely occurs to me to talk it out, the way I get it out and make sense of everything is by writing.
You love food and love to cook. If you could have any meal in the world right now, what would it be?
As a woman of extremes, I love both raw, vegan, plant-based food, and meat. So I would probably have baby back ribs, dry-rubbed, no sauce, with a big side of broccoli roasted with lots and lots of garlic and olive oil.
If you could have any author over to lunch – living or deceased – who would it be and what would you cook for them?
Right now it would be Adriana Trigiani because she’s not only brilliant and funny, but whipsmart about her career and I would like to pick her brains. I would probably throw some English comfort food at her – Toad in the Hole, which is sausages cooked in Yorkshire Pudding, with an onion marmalade gravy, and Chess tart which I stole from Martha Stewart, and has become my signature dessert – it’s butter, sugar, more butter, more sugar, little bit of flour, and butter. It cooks down to a chewy, meringue-y, caramelised slice of heaven. You can see me cook one here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GkECULAOMM4
Could you please tell our readers a little bit about Happy Food?
Happy Food is the culmination of 46 years of cooking. My mother cooks, my Grandmother cooked, and I learned to cook perched on a stool in the kitchen. Where I am happiest, is in the kitchen, surrounded by my family and friends, showing my love for them with food. Many of the recipes are from my family, and many collected over the years. It’s food that is easy and delicious – I have no time to slave over a hot stove for hours, but want everything to look and taste as if I had.
What is your particular writing quirk?
I can’t write at home. I now have a little office I go to where I close the door and put classical music on the headphones, and set myself a discipline of a huge word count, refusing to get up from my desk until those words are on the page.
Could you share with our readers three interesting, unusual or random facts about yourself?
· If my husband hadn’t found me, I would have turned into the crazy old cat lady with 56 cats. And possibly a racoon.
· My favourite place in the whole world is bed. On a rainy day I can quite happily stay in bed all day, with piles of books, magazines, and technology.
· I no longer drink alcohol. Although I miss it, I am aware that during the past year I have been more present in my life than ever before.
What are you reading right now?
Us by David Nicholls.
What’s next for Jane Green?
I have finished Summer Secrets for Summer 2015, and am about to start Meant To Be, for Winter 2015. In between, I will be publishing Happy Food, and working on a follow up lifestyle book about the home. No rest for the wicked!