Years ago, before I was published, I met Jane Porter when she presented at a writer’s group. She was generous enough to sit down and talk to me about writing and then gave me her phone number so we could chat further. I called her up and she spoke with me again, for well over an hour. The advice was priceless. Both of us had young kids and they were laughing/screaming in the background, but we kept chatting through it all.
I was so grateful for her time. What a gal. What a writer!
So here’s Jane, author extraordinaire! Visit her on her website, http://www.janeporter.com. I loooove her blog. Honest and true, it is.
First two people to comment below will be mailed her new books, “The Good Woman,” or “The Good Daughter.”
1. How do you typically write? Do you plot it all out beforehand or do you just let the story pour out?
I plot big chunks—road signs and what I believe will be the key turning points—and then write, but I definitely end up detouring and rethinking those scenes that I think will be the big scenes.
- Do you have a favorite place to write or “must haves” while writing?
I need to be able to control my environment as much as possible—space, lighting, noise, amount of time I have to write. I don’t do well trying to write in bits and pieces, or with lots of activity going on around me. I can and do write in coffee houses when in a pinch, but then I try to find the quietest place possible, with a corner or wall table with lots of natural lighting and I add my Bose headphones to block out sound. But honestly, my home office—clean and clear and free of clutter—is best. I think I’m getting old.
- Is there anything that has surprised you about writing, publishing or touring with your books?
Just how hard it all is! People assume (and I used to be one of these people, too!) that all you have to do is get published, and you’ve pretty much got it mad because you’re on the ‘inside’ now, but that’s just the start of endless, uphill battles. And it’s all a battle—the writing, the promoting, the marketing and touring and writing while promoting/touring. It’s not a fluffy, relaxing career. J
- Was there anything (or anyone) while growing up which helped you decide you wanted to be a writer?
Louisa May Alcott. I loved that Jo, from Little Women, Little Men, Jo’s Boys, etc, was a writer. I also loved inspired by the author of my other favorite series of books, Little House on the Prairie, Laura Ingalls. Being a writer definitely seemed to be the way to go. And I tried to get published early….I wrote my first picture book in 2nd grade and my first novel in 4th grade. I was pretty serious about becoming a novelist!
- Do you have a job outside of being an author?
Nope. I write. A lot. And then I try to be a good mom on occasion, too.
- If you could meet one person who has died, who would that be?
I’d love to meet the James family…Henry James, and his sister Alice who had an amazing mind, and their brother William who was also brilliant. And if they weren’t interested in meeting me, I’d try to get Virginia Wolfe and her sister, the artist Vanessa Bell, to spend an afternoon with me. I love interesting families, and so I’m not surprised I wrote a series like the Brennans because I do think sisters and brothers have tremendous influence on each other, and help shape each other.
- If you could co-author a book with anyone, who would it be?
I don’t think I would. I’d find it too much a power struggle!
- In one sentence, why should we read your book?
Because I’m a storyteller and want nothing more than to grab you and sweep you away for a day—and make you feel. And hopefully, feel good.
- What do you do in your spare time?
Hang out with my kids, annoy them by making them talk to me (and listen to me), read, and I love to travel. I live to travel. Travel is my poison.
- How does your family feel about having a writer in the family? Do they read your books?
I’m a mom of 3 sons—17, 13, and 3—and no they don’t read my books. And the two older ones are pretty proud of me. They know I work hard, and they like that I’m a ‘different mom’. The 13 year old worries about my career, though, and has been giving me career advice on becoming bigger (stop writing women’s stories that have no plots and write apocalyptic Young Adult stories like The Hunger Games.) The 3 year old started a new preschool recently and announced that there his friends were Jack and Jane, but little Jane doesn’t write novels. He knows because he asked her.