Wednesday, October 17, 2007
On The Shelf with Jane Porter
One of the rising stars of female friendly fiction is Jane Porter,who has recieved quite a few accolades for her latest book,Odd Mom Out,which tells the story of an independant single mom who wants her daughter to be able to fit in with the somewhat uptight community they've moved to without totally compromising either one's self esteem.
Her other books-The Frog Prince and Flirting With Forty-have introduced her to readers but a good number of them were already familar with Porter's prose from her numerous Harlequin Presents series titles,the newest one being At The Greek Boss's Bidding. She is also a former English teacher who has a Masters in Writing from the University of San Francisco and a Bachelor's in American Studies from UCLA. I consider myself most fortunate to get a few moments of her time to answer some of my questions as she is currently on the OMO book tour.
1)Odd Mom Out has a good deal of talk about how women treat one another in both social and professional circles. Which ones of the characters best represents your point of view on this subject?
All of them! Every woman is unique,just as every family is unique and yet we unfortunately carry around in our heads some impossible ideal
that we've either read about, or seen in a tv show, and instead of
enjoying who we are, and the family we have, we beat ourselves up for not being better...for not being 'perfect'. Yet there is no perfect woman-not at home, or at work-and we can't keep holding ourselves to such impossible ideals, or expect other women to meet these ideals as well.
2)Single motherhood is also a major theme in OMO. Do you think
that the image of single moms in the media has gotten better or worse over the years?
I think the image of single moms in the media has definitely improved. We know single moms can be extremely competent, as well as successful.A vast number of American families are headed up by a single mom and these families flourish.
Unfortunately, despite the improved perception, there is still a stigma
if you are a single mom. In our culture we view being single as a flaw
or failing. Studies show that single moms make significantly less than
married moms, and mothers over all make less than women without
children, and in general, women make less than men. How is that fair? In my need to understand the hows and whys, I find myself asking what if, and with enough what ifs, I have the building blocks for a book.
3)Along with your previous novels (The Frog Prince, Flirting with Forty) you are also the number of a series titles for Harlequin Presents. What are the pluses and minuses of writing both kinds of books-series and stand alone?
Each style of book has a very particular language and code and having the ability to write for two different audiences with two different voices (and themes) keeps the writing fresh and challenging. But switching back and forth between the two is very difficult.
Once I'm immersed in one world, I find it hard to switch to the other. I can't write both styles at the same time and I usually lose a couple weeks to a month between books trying to become comfortable with the other voice and point of view. But once I'm there, I'm happy and excited by the storyline and new
4)Who are some of your favorite authors of all time?
Edith Wharton, Henry James, Louisa May Alcott, EM Forster from the
classics as well as contemporary novelists Marian Keyes, JR Ward,
5)If one of your books were made into a film, which would you prefer:big budget Hollywood adaptation or a made for tv movie?
One of my books is being made into a Lifetime movie right now. Sony TV optioned Flirting with Forty a year ago September and I've got the finished script sitting on my desk. I'm really delighted to have my books be adapted to film and Lifetime is a great fit for my books as I write for women and want my stories to reach women without needless criticism and contempt.
I don't know why as a country and culture we're so contemptuous towards women's fiction and women's movies. We don't treat men this way. We shouldn't be so judgmental towards women.
6)Are you planning any follow-up books to any of your stand alone
Odd Mom Out has a sequel and its coming out in late May. Alpha Mom is Taylor Young's story and we return to Bellevue and the Points Country Club as well as the Points alpha moms and PTA. It was so fun to write the flip side of Marta's story, to get a look at Marta and Bellevue through Taylor's eyes.
7) From books, movies or TV, who is your favorite mother-daughter
I honestly don't have a favorite team. I tend to live in my little
writer/reader cave and curl up with books and ideas. I do admire
mother- daughter teams and am hoping to still have a daughter one day. It'd be wonderful to have a little girl to do girl stuff with.
Although with my luck, my little girl would end up loving trucks and Legos more than dolls and the ballet. But that would still be fun. I'm far from a perfect mom, and I can be a bit of an odd mom, but I love my children more than I can say.
Thank you,Jane,for your time and if you're looking for a smart,heartfelt book this fall,folks,please give one of hers a try. I look forward to the hopefully coming soon Lifetime movie version of Flirting With Forty and more of Jane Porter's delightful works for years to come.
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