Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Jane Green: New Insights an Old Interview and Two Summer Book Releases!

Over the years I have read nearly all of New York Bestselling author, Jane Green's sixteen books. The latest paperback "Saving Grace." is out June 9th! She also has a brand new summer treat releasing in hardback on June 23rd.  Links, and more on that below.

All of them made me laugh or cry or want to get down-right lascivious. She has a subtle way of unraveling a character to you; presenting them as if through one lens, only to shake up a story with life's mishaps and fortunes. I remember reading "Jeminia J" and realizing that I actually got butterflies vicariously anticipating the first meeting of the lead character and her crush. Her words conjured up the actual feelings of unrelenting desire.

Similarly, the stories often refold and unfold; changing the shape of the character's human condition. Almost as if she opens a fictional person to you like a reflection of water..a little distorted, and fluid in concept, but always with awareness of oneself. 

That isn't easy. It is almost so human that it requires incredible technical skill to allow for a reader to come to such realization through words on their own without being obvious. That's the magic.

After a phone interview with fellow bloggers from "Chicago Mom's Blog." with Jane Green from 2008, it became incredibly clear that she is candid, unapologetic, yet kind and unpretentious. When asked about "Jeminia J" she snickered that type of laugh that shrugs off the vulnerability to judgement and says:

"I was stuck in Santa Monica and absolutely miserable because I had just started this raging affair with somebody in New York who was from London..."

At the time, I didn't realize how rare and disarming she was. (is).  Hers, is a truly beautiful sense of humor. She is so self-effaced that her brilliance and prolific gift as a novelist feather away for a moment because it feels as if you're talking to a good friend, or one of your sister's cooler, wiser friends. The interview was in August of 08' and she had just released "The Beach House." Below is an excerpt from the original published post:

The idea of non-judgement is a good basis for the several unraveling story lines in "The Beach House." It is a story of several intrinsically valuable people stumbling through their own missteps. It's a story of "coming home" to yourself through interacting with others and being less reactionary. One of the main characters is a native Nantucketer in her sixties. Faced with some financial woes, she decides to rent her house out to vacationers.
All types of emotional relationships are navigated within the walls and property of this house. It almost feels Shakespearean. A mother and her teenage daughter, dealing with divorce, a commitment-phobe and his needy girlfriend, a husband and wife dealing with big secrets and one's aching need to live free of them.
Perhaps it was her articulate descriptions of the Nantucket mindset that allows for all these near-strangers to accept and learn about each other without judgement. I won't give too much away, but it feels like a cozy warm summer night where inhibitions, perceptions and need for approval almost dissipate into the condensation of the ocean. People learn themselves by their tying bond...being human and wanting to improve.
When I asked Jane to explain with whom she most identified in her characters she described her self as "softer than most of them." She went on to say:
"I think that’s probably motherhood. I think motherhood changed me in ways I could have never have anticipated. And one of those ways is no longer being afraid to show vulnerability. So I think there's a little bit of me in all of the characters."
It was quite fascinating to hear that she, being a mother, has to sequester herself at a library (never for more than four hours at a time) to truly "produce pages." It was inspiring to learn how she is able to turn everyday life circumstances into these intricate stories that move people.
She rented a house in Nantucket and ran with this book idea. She saw a woman on the beach and conjured up the multi-layered depth of "Nan." I could hear in her voice that she cherishes motherhood. But also the freedom of writing and letting go of the past. Her sense of peace was palpable in the interview.
 Overall, Jane Green seems incredibly fair and wisely accepting of people and life as it happens (which is usually quite unexpected and messy.) When asked what she thought of bloggers, Green was careful:
"But when you think you're being responsible, you're writing about something you believe in, you're editing it as you go along, you're checking that you haven’t written anything that could be perceived as inflammatory or contemptuous, and it still is. There's only so much you can do. I mean if you put yourself out there, you're going to get feedback and not all of it is going to be good."  
Note: The above quote was from August 7, 2008.             

 Visit Jane Green's site. A new title coming out on June 23 called "Summer Secrets" is sure to be captivating. In fact, sounds vaguely familiar to my broken, and transitioning life. A woman in her thirties discovers the father she never knew is living in Nantucket.

As Green is famous for, I predict the book will be rich with descriptions, relatable characters and that human fallibility that gives all of us permission to fail, get back up, and learn something beautiful from our mistakes or life's challenges.  I can't wait!

She is an amazing, multi-faceted and authentic woman. I couldn't appreciate her, and those qualities more than I do today. I might be a little in love with her now that I have three kids, am trying my arse of to finish this novel, and find myself discovering all that I thought I knew was rubbish. 

Part of learning how to be a decent novelist is being an avid reader. I learn so much from reading women like Jane Green. She has the she-balls, and the gumption to take risks, make characters complex and make us laugh while somehow tying the entire thing back to a positive message. She's lived. 

She's notably talented and one of my absolute favorites to read. Only recently has my knowledge of judgment, failed marriage, and being an aspiring writer (Read: slightly depressed/manic typer, self-critical, non-sleeping, multiple-Venti-coffee-drinking mother holed up in her office any chance she gets.) given me the kind of perspective I wish I had back in '08. We had her brain for an nearly an hour!!! UGH. 

Life is funny. You don't get everything you need when you need it most, but I'm grateful to be here now. Inspired by Jane. I've been told by publishers and writer-friends: "Read read read writers you LOVE and then write write write!" 

And so I do! 

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