Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Jane Heller, Some Nerve

When you sit down with a Jane Heller book, you know you are in for a dose of entertainment with lots of laugh- out- loud moments and a heroine you could easily be friends with in real life. I became hooked on Jane's novels after reading The Secret Ingredient a few years ago and proceeded to read every novel she ever penned. Her books never let me down.

There are times when I want a heavy book, a memoir, or a historical novel. But most of the time, I want to laugh and escape my every day, mundane life of martinis, colonics and press junkets. Thankfully there are authors like Jane Heller who write novels that are as delicious as a huge cloud of pink cotton candy.

Last year Jane was one of my very first interviews and hers is one of the only book signings I've ever been to. In person, she is super fun and full of happiness, the kind of person who lights up a room. I'm thrilled to invite Jane back for another interview!

Jane you can claim two disctinctions here. One, you are one of the only authors to have met me face to face and two, you are one of the only authors to appear on this blog twice. Feels a bit like winning the lottery, doesn’t it?

I totally feel like I've won the lottery! If the people at "Oprah" calland beg me to come on her show, I'll say no thanks because I've already goneas far as an author can possibly go by being right here, right now.

Do you care about the reviews you get? Do you ever let any negative words get you down?

I do care about reviews. I care about the fact that my kind of book -i.e. commercial fiction as opposed to literary fiction - doesn't get reviewed at all. Even People magazine, which used to review my novels every year, now tends to give attention to "serious" writers instead. Pisses me off! But aside from that, bad reviews hurt. My agent always says, "Don't take them seriously, the good ones or the bad ones." But when someone doesn't like something you've worked so hard on, it's tough to take. Early on in my career, I'd cry if I got a bad review. Now I just get a bad stomachache.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book, in fact, I read it in one day. Your writing is warm, engaging and fun. When you began your career, did you set out to write this kind of book? Have you ever tried your hand at something darker or more serious?

When I started writing, I didn't know what to expect. I knew I loved happy endings, so chances were good that I wouldn't be writing something tragic and depressing. Also, my favorite show growing up was "I Love Lucy."And I was the kid in school who was always telling jokes and getting in trouble for it. Now I tell jokes and get paid for it! I love making people laugh, love entertaining them. When readers send me e-mails and tell me the books cheer them up, it's the best compliment ever. I've never tried writing anything darker or more serious because I'm too happy and shallow!

I ran a celebrity gossip blog for a year so I totally understand how the character Malcolm Goddard hated the press, I see how Ann could have fallen into such a glamorous yet ultimately unfulfilling job. Where do you think the line should be drawn between press/bloggers/paparazzi and a regard for privacy?

I think celebrities have a duty to give interviews about their projects. I don't think they have an obligation to tell us how much they weigh, who they're sleeping with, or whether they're on speaking terms with their mother. Mostly, I think celebrity "journalism" has gotten way out of hand. When Vanity Fair puts Suri Cruise's photo on the cover, it's messed up. Did
I want to see her eventually? Sure. But she's a BABY.

Do you read Star, US Weekly, InTouch? I think it’s a harmless source of entertainment. However, if I were featured in an unflattering light, I’m sure I would change my tune. What are your thoughts?

I subscribe to People magazine and devour it when it comes every week. But the others like In Touch Weekly and the Star are garbage. One of those two had a headline the other day: Jessica Simpson Loses Eight Pounds in TwoWeeks! I mean, really. Why would I care?

How did you find out that Angelina Jolie was afraid of fire? Did you make that up? How much creative license are you allowed to take when writing about a celebrity/ real person?

Angelina Jolie isn't afraid of fire, as far as I know. I made that up in"Some Nerve." How much creative license am I allowed when writing about a celebrity? I think it's okay to weave their stories into fictional ones. ButI wouldn't write anything truly hurtful or malicious, just as I wouldn't want them to write anything truly hurtful or malicious about me.

You just moved from Beverly Hills, a town I adore for the beautiful tree-lined streets and pretty homes. How do you like your new residence? What does your office look like? Tell me- do you have a view of the ocean from where you sit and work?

I moved from Beverly Hills to Santa Barbara about eight months ago and I'm in paradise. My office is in the house, which is way up high with a view of the ocean and the mountains. The trouble is, all I want to do is stare out the window instead of write. Writing was easier when I had an office that overlooked a parking lot.

You are so petite and in great shape. What do you do to stay so fit - Yoga? Pilates? Kick boxing? Vibration therapy?

You'll hate this answer, so don't kill me. I stay thin by doing NOTHING.No Pilates. No sports. I do try to walk a lot, but mostly I stay skinny because I got my mother's genes. Well, and I don't pig out on Crispy Cremes. I eat healthy stuff like broccoli. My husband always threatens to leave the house when I cook it because he says it smells rank.

What’s your favorite way to relax and unwind after a long week of writing?

My favorite way to relax is to watch "Days of our Lives," which I tapeand watch at night. I've been watching that damn soap since I was in collegeand I'm addicted. I wish there were a 12-step program I could go to! I also see a lot of movies. There's nothing better than shutting down the computer, driving to the theater and sitting in the dark letting somebody else tell a story.

And what’s next for Ms Jane Heller, best selling author?

I'm writing an original screenplay. My first script was an adaptation of my novel "The Secret Ingredient," but I wanted to try writing one that wasn't based on one of my books. So this one's a comedy and I'm writing it with a writing partner. I've also started my next novel and it's a bit of a departure for me. It's the first book in a three-book series. I've never done a series where the characters reappear, so it'll be a nice challenge. Book one will be out in 2008.


Anonymous Anonymous said...
Great interview. Two years till the next book? [See me crying tears of frustration] Can you link to the first interview Ms Heller did at your site? @ 2:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...
DJ, about the people who read your blog, let me tell you that i'm from Romania and i read almost all your posts at conversations about famous people and recently i started reading this blog too. jane heller interview is great, i just hate that many of the books you like haven't been published in my country yet. any future thoughts about writers who aren't american? @ 7:49 AM  
Anonymous Brenda said...
Thanks for the great interview with Jane Heller. She's been one of my favorite authors, since I read "Female Intelligence" years ago. @ 10:30 PM  
Blogger Distressed Jeans said...
Anon 7:49, Im open to reading any books except science fiction of any kind. I have not read anything from your part of the world- yet.

Are you not able to order books via Amazon or Barnes and Noble and have them shipped to Romania? I understand that would be very pricey.

How frustrating to want to read a certain book and not have it available. @ 2:41 PM  
Blogger Book Girl said... love your blog...I have a book blog and its nothing as exciting as yours!!

I agree with everyone else though..would be nice if you interveiwed some authors who arnt just american..what about english authors...we have some great aauthors over here!! @ 10:53 AM  
Blogger Michael Manning said...
Hey! Great interview and very much a breath of fresh air! Since I just Blogrolled you, this is the first Interview of yours that I read. Great job! @ 2:36 PM  
Blogger Distressed Jeans said...
Book girl- I would love to interview Marian Keyes who is a writer Ive long admired. I just dont have any contacts at publishing companies over there in Europe. I sure wish I did. I bet I missing out on a ton of fabulous writers!

If you have any thoughts, send me an email!!

xx @ 7:49 PM  
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