I'm very lucky to be speaking with Jane Porter, author of Odd Mom Out, The Frog Prince, and Flirting with Forty, among other novels. Jane's latest, She's Gone Country, has just hit the shelves. She lives in Seattle with her husband and two sons. Today Jane talks about writing, Texas, and her latest book!
Q: Thanks for speaking with me, Jane! You’re certainly busy—writing Harlequin romances along with more mainstream women’s fiction. Do you prefer one over the other?
JANE: I don’t have a preference. I love them both and really enjoy having two different genres as it allows me to create very different worlds and very different characters. Going back and forth between the two has also made me a much better writer.
Q: In many of your books, your main characters are women facing a turning point in their lives—many of them are hiding their true selves from the world for various reasons. Does any of that come from real life?
JANE: Undoubtedly. I grew up the typical first born, good girl. I was a pleaser my entire life, feeling obligated to make everyone happy. What I wanted and needed was secondary to others needs. And while I don’t discount those needs now, I learned at forty that I’m important, too, and that I will never be happy if I’m waiting for others to be happy first. I realized there’s only so much one can do for others, and that I have to be responsible for my emotions and let others be responsible for theirs. This discovery allowed me to ‘find’ me and it started in The Frog Prince, continued in Flirting with Forty and the rest is history!
Q: Can you tell us about your writing routine? How do you power through those rough spots (aka writer’s block)?
JANE: I write pretty much every day, although when I finish a book I take anywhere from 2-4 weeks off. I can be a bit of a procrastinator now, too, but having a firm deadline goes a long way to keeping my tush in the chair!
Q: Your new book, She’s Gone Country, sounds like a lot of fun. You’re a California girl—what kind of research did you do to get the “flavor” of living on a ranch? Where did you get the idea for this book?
JANE: Shey is a character you see in some of my previous novels, playing a minor character role in Odd Mom Out and Easy on the Eyes, and her background was established from the beginning as a tall blonde Texan with a heart of gold. And writing about Texas is a natural for me as I’ve spent a lot of time there, and my mother’s father was a rugged Texan who had two Black Angus cattle ranches. He actually died on one of our ranches during a round up, and we still have the ranch in the family today. I think once you have that affinity with the land and a certain lifestyle, it just stays with you.
Q: What's next for you?
JANE: I’m just now putting together a proposal for a new series about an Irish-American family in San Francisco with four daughters. The stories will revolve around the Brennan sisters’ relationships with their families and each other. I’m really excited to be writing about sisters for the first time!