An Interview With Jane!
I'm practically busting out of my Lucky jeans because I'm so excited to bring you this exclusive interview with best selling author Jane Heller! To me, reading a good book is on par with buying a new pair of shoes or running into Brad Pitt at Starbucks.
I began reading Jane’s fabulous books several years ago. Once I read the first one, I was thrilled to find an author who had written several witty, entertaining books. Each novel is different yet each is written with a sense of humor and fun. I cannot wait to dig into her newest one, An Ex To Grind.
A lucky reader is going to be winning a signed copy of An Ex To Grind which is hot off the press. All you need to do is email me and tell me why you should win the book. I will be choosing a winner next week when I have another best selling author and another contest! I am thrilled to share you my interview with Jane~
Living in Southern California, you must see your fair share of interesting characters. Have you ever viewed a mini- dog wearing a cashmere blended sweater? And how many of your characters are based on people you see or know?
Actually, moving to Southern California wasn't that big a shock afterliving in South Florida for seven years. Whenever there's a crazy headline,it either comes from California or Florida, doesn't it? Well, maybe Texas should be included too. I've never seen a mini-dog in a cashmere sweaterhere in LA, but I did see a mini-dog - a "purse puppy" - being carted aroundin a teeny weeny Mercedes convertible! No, my characters aren't based on people I know. Honest. They spring from my head, fully formed. I love my friends and family, but they're not nearly as interesting as the people I make up. What I do base my characters on are the universal emotions we all feel - love, hate, jealousy. The juicy stuff.
The first book of yours I ever read was The Secret Ingredient. I was hooked on your style of writing from then on. What was the first book you wrote and which is your favorite?
The first book I wrote was Cha Cha Cha, which was published in 1994. I was living in Connecticut and the stock market crashed, and all of a suddeneveryone was going broke. I thought, What would happen if you were thistotal suburban princess and your husband lost all your money in the stockmarket and then dumped you? How would you support yourself in your big McMansion? Especially if your only "skill" was being a neat freak? I came up with this story about just such a woman, who, without telling her snobby friends, answers an ad and becomes a maid. She puts her Pledge, her Windex and her Fantastik into her Porsche and goes to work cleaning houses - only to have her new employer get murdered. Loved that story and still do. But my favorite book of mine is The Secret Ingredient, which is about a wife who looks at her husband while he's stretched out on the couch stuffing his faceand watching TV, and goes, "Who IS this guy and what happened to the prince I married?" She heads for this herb guru in Beverly Hills and buys a potion, gives it to her husband, and freaks out when he becomes just a little TOO perfect. That book was a lot of fun to write. So many women relate to the heroine's problem with her husband.
Tell me the best and worst things that have happened in your career?
The best thing that happened in my career was getting booked on the Today show when Cha Cha Cha came out. I was so psyched, because I'd spent a decade working at NY publishing houses promoting authors and getting THEM on theToday show. So now it was my turn. The worst thing that happened in my career was getting booked on the Today show for Cha Cha Cha! Turns out it's much easier to promote someone else's novel than sell your own on nationalTV. I was a nervous wreck! When I got to the studio, the producer took one look at me and said, "Uh-oh. I don't know about that blue dress. Katie's wearing blue today and I think you're gonna clash." I was so upset that I reached into my bag and popped a Xanax. A few minutes later, I was in the makeup chair when the makeup lady's beeper went off. She left me there to go and work on somebody else. I had one side of my face done and the other side not, and I thought I'd be going on the air like that, looking like somethingfrom Phantom of the Opera. I was so upset that I popped another Xanax. Eventually I went onto the set. Katie Couric's first question to me was:"So, Jane, how does it feel going from being a promoter of writers to being a writer?" I felt my eyes roll back in my head and I said, "I don't know. I'm heavily sedated." True story. The good news is that I've gotten so cool with live TV that I can do these shows cold turkey now!
What are the most challenging parts of writing?
The most challenging part of writing is having the focus and discipline to do it. Every day. On holidays too. No excuses. I work from 9 in the morning until 6 at night with a quick break for lunch and mini-breaks to answer e-mail. I don't sit around waiting for the Muse to strike. I stay at the computer until I put in a full day. I write humorous books, and there are plenty of days when I don't feel funny. But sometimes those are the best writing days. You just never know what'll come out once your fingers hit the keyboard.
Like me, you are originally an east coast girl. Ever consider moving back?
I grew up in the New York area and my mother and sister are still there, so I try to visit as often as I can. But I would never move back. I'm a warm weather person and those winters in the Northeast are too harsh!
Who would you like to see play the characters in a movie based on your latest novel?
My latest novel, An Ex to Grind, is making the rounds in Hollywood as we speak, and I hope we'll have a movie deal for it very soon. I'd love to see Julia Roberts as my heroine. Sandra Bullock and Jennifer Aniston would be great too. It's the story of a successful career woman who gets stuck having to pay her ex-husband alimony. She really resents writing those checks because he's such a "bumbo" (a term I coined for a male bimbo who won't geta job). So she hires a professional matchmaker to secretly fix him up with a woman, hoping he'll live with her for 90 days and void the terms of theirdivorce agreement, which would get her off the hook for the alimony. An Ex to Grind is a battle of the sexes comedy, and I'd love to see an actress in it who's likable but also tough talking.
What’s next on your agenda?
Next on my agenda is finishing the novel that'll come out in 2006. It doesn't have a title, but it's set in LA and is about a writer for a celebrity magazine. She gets assigned to interview this hunky but difficult actor who'll only do the interview in his Cessna. Trouble is, she's phobic about flying and can't make herself get on his plane. She gets fired, goes home to Missouri to lick her wounds, and volunteers at her local hospital -only to have this actor show up as a patient. Lots of complications in this story.
Do you indulge in reading saucy tabloids? What do you do for fun? I read People magazine religiously, so I can keep up with who's supposedto be dating/marrying/breaking up with whom. And I watch baseball. Coming from NY as I do, I'm a passionate Yankees fan and I never miss a game. I've been posting entries on this sports blog and everyone on it assumes I'm aguy! It's been very interesting.
I want to encourage everyone to check out Jane's website and enter the contest to win a free signed copy of An Ex To Grind. A big thank you to Jane for taking the time to talk to me! I wish her best luck and continued success!