Hello Beautiful People,
We’re pleased to announce that Jane Porter has so graciously taken part in our Summer Author Interview Series! And yes, she really is as awesome as one would think. We can wait to hear what you all think about her new book, The Good Woman, which has already landed a place on our September Bookshelf List.
TWT: Flirting with Forty and She’s Gone Country are two favorites here at The Write Teacher. Can you talk more about your inspiration for these stories?
JP: My readers know my themes—grace, redemption, second chances—I love stories where people find love a second time around, or where they find themself again….I love discovery and passion and I think both of these stories have that in them. In Flirting with Forty, Jackie rediscovers who she is as a woman, while falling in love with the surfer Kai, and in moving back to Texas, Shey finally has a chance with the man she’s always loved (and he’s hot, too!). And the inspiration for them is just life…how we all need hope and love and passion, no matter our age.
TWT: Do you have a favorite character that you’ve written?
Certain characters stand out in my mind…. Marta and Taylor, from Odd Mom Out and Mrs. Perfect, Michael from Easy On the Eyes, and Dane from She’s Gone Country. I also loved Shey’s entire family in She’s Gone Country. I’d love to write a story about her brother Blue and his wife Emily…there’s a whole story there that’s waiting to be told!
TWT: On your website, you describe how you loved fairy tales when you were younger. Who’s your favorite fairy tale prince?
JP: The Beast, from Beauty & The Beast. I love dark tortured heroes in fairy tales, and the Grimm version of fairy tales, not Disney’s.
TWT: What is your favorite Italian city?
JP: I love Rome. I’m in love with the Coliseum. It’s just so beautiful and mythic, and yet when you know what it was used for…and the lives of the gladiators…horrendous. But maybe that’s why Italy fascinates me so much.
TWT: Here at The Write Teacher, we think that stories of love are some of the most important ones to tell. Why do you feel love stories are important?
JP: Love defines us as individuals and a society. Love—or the lack of—can feed or starve a person. It’s something absolutely essential at every level…and to be loved is validating. It says yes, we do matter, and we’re important, and falling in love makes us feel alive in a way we rarely get to feel. I couldn’t imagine not writing love stories.
TWT: Do you ever experience writers block? If so, what are your ways of conquering it?
For me, writer’s block is fatigue, procrastination, and/or failing to really dig deep into a story. When I find myself avoiding writing, I ask myself why—am I truly mentally, or physically, tired? Or am I being lazy and self-indulgent…. not knuckling down to do the work? And it is work. Writing is really hard work. Its one decision after another for weeks and sometimes months, and then its revision time, which is one decision after another, and those decisions take focus.
TWT: What advice do you have for single (divorced) mothers?
JP: I think women have to be tough, and determined, and commit to taking care of yourself. I think single moms—and all moms, and all women—have to accept that their journey is going to be bumpier than some, and more challenging, and perhaps more exhausting, but there is also joy and achievement in doing things for yourself, and your family. I am most fulfilled in being a great mom, knowing I’ve been able to juggle a career and parenthood and even if its not easy, I’m doing it. That I’m capable of doing it. Women need to take pride in their accomplishments, and savor their successes. We are so much nicer to everybody else than we are with ourselves, and you can’t do that as a mom…married, widowed, or divorced.
TWT: What advice do you have for aspiring writers, journalists, and teachers?
JP: Work hard. Know what you want. Visualize what you want. Write it down. Create a picture board if it helps, or make a list that you put in a prominent place. And then get back to writing. Be tenacious. Fight for your dreams. Fight for your words and your stories and your themes. I‘m not a writer that floats through books, luxuriating in my prose or my ideas. I’m a working writer—one that pays the bills (and there are a lot of them!!) with my words. I need to be flexible and professional and pragmatic about contracts and my career, and yet I also have to balance that focused, flinty business side of me (developed over the 13 years I didn’t sell, and then the 12 years of being a published author) with the creative artist in me who has her own vision and wants to write her own stories that reflect my world view.
TWT: How do you juggle motherhood, marriage, and an amazingly successful writing career?
I do things in chunks—I ‘chunk’ my writing, and then my mother time, and try to then escape for a date night with my guy, or plan for a special trip once the next book is in and the kids have gotten enough attention from mom. I don’t know that my way would work for others; I just know I am not good at multi-tasking as I used to pretend I was. Doing too much just made me stressed and unfocused, and I can’t write that way. I can’t focus when there is a lot waiting for my attention. So when deep in deadline mode, I get help with kids so they don’t starve or feel too neglected, and when I’m not on deadline, I keep my writing hours set, and leave my desk and computer when they get home, and only pick up my laptop when they’re in bed or we are all watching TV. But I’ve accepted I can’t be all things to all people…and so my priorities are family, close friends, and the work.
TWT: Who has been your greatest teacher?
JP: I learn from everyone. And I have learned a lot from failure. But I hold up my Grandmother Lyles as one of the biggest influences on me because she worked her entire life, into her 90’s, and she worked uncomplainingly. She was very successful but also very humble and simple. Through her, I learned that actions speak louder than words. I apply this to my career, and my writing as well.