We are thrilled to welcome New York Times best selling author Jane Green to The Debutante Ball today. Jane has an amazing new book called The Beach House, a book fans and reviewers are calling her best work yet.
The Beach House by Jane Green
Known in Nantucket as the crazy woman who lives in the rambling house atop the bluff, Nan doesn’t care what people think. At sixty-five-years old, her husband died twenty years ago, her beauty has faded, and her family has flown. If her neighbors are away, why shouldn’t she skinny dip in their swimming pools and help herself to their flowers? But when she discovers the money she thought would last forever is dwindling and she could lose her beloved house, Nan knows she has to make drastic changes.
So Nan takes out an ad: Rooms to rent for the summer in a beautiful old Nantucket home with water views and direct access to the beach. Slowly, people start moving into the house, filling it with noise, with laughter, and with tears. As the house comes alive again, Nan finds her family expanding. Her son comes home for the summer, and then an unexpected visitor turns all their lives upside-down.
How do you keep your books so fresh and distinct? You have a great voice- but your books all read (at least to us) as unique and separate, unlike some authors you can’t even remember if you’ve read that book before or if it is just like another one of their books you’ve read.
I have no idea, and every time I finish a book I think I’ll never be inspired again. In all truth I think my voice is pretty much always the same and quite distinctively mine, but I’m writing about very different characters and very different subject matter with every book, and of course drawing upon my own life for inspiration.
What is your writing process like? Do you outline first, or just work out the story through your writing?
I always start with a theme, a general story or message, and although I usually have the beginning and a rough idea of the ending, I let the characters dictate the middle, so the ending often changes. I outline each chapter though, before I start to write.
Would you say you spend more time on publicity now, or earlier in your career?
Far more now. I was lucky in the beginning because it was the start of chick lit and there was a tremendous amount of attention for my first book, but then it dropped off for a while. It’s lovely to finally be recognised for what you do.
What’s it like to be you? Describe your normal day.
Up at around 6am, struggle downstairs hoping to get coffee before the kids (four of them) wake up. Descend the stairs hearing the TV is on, and thinking, shit, as usual they’re already up. Tiptoe into kitchen hoping they don’t hear me, to find 8-year-old on Pop Tropica in kitchen, complete with weird beeps and bips emanating from computer. Request, many times, for computer to be turned off, but 8-year-old in computer coma and doesn’t hear. Make breakfast. Make packed lunches for kids which I try to make night before but rarely manage. Down coffee. Walk kids to bus stop with large Doberman, Baron, back home to check email and vital news on Perezhilton.com. Throw computer in back of car, head to local library where I grab medium skim latte and sit down to write.
Finish by lunchtime, grab sushi across the street with girlfriend for lunch. Back home, running errands/shopping on way. Back on computer to update blog/return emails/phone calls/write articles/do interviews. Doberman sneaks into house and terrorises one of the three cats. Mayhem ensues until Doberman banished to my office, which is rapidly becoming his. Kids home off bus. Open fridge many times for inspiration for supper. Get supper on, sit with kids, bathtime. Beloved home around 8. Dinner with beloved, chat over wine and supper in kitchen. Collapse into bed and fall asleep to Law & Order. Glamorous? Best-selling author? Are you SURE???
Your newest book, The Beach House is beautifully-written and has an amazing character, Nan. Nan is so eccentric and charming we feel like we know her. Is she based on a real person or entirely concocted in your imagination?
When Beloved and I were getting to know one another, we would go for long midnight walks on the beach, and every night we’d pass this woman who fascinated me. She must have been in her sixties, very beautiful, riding a bicycle with a cigarette in hand. I thought that snapshot was a wonderful start, and then there were several older women I knew who I suppose inspired me with their wisdom and their acceptance.
In the book, Nantucket itself almost becomes a character. To me, it seems that the setting played a far bigger role than I can ever remember in your past work — did you plan that from the beginning, or did it sort of sneak up on you as you were writing?
Completely snuck up on me! We rented a house there last summer and the book had originally been set in the fictitious town of Highfield, CT, but as soon as we arrived on Nantucket I knew it had to be there.
What is your favorite deadline stress eating vice? (Cheetos, dark chocolate?)
Nothing quite so decadent or glamorous as dark chocolate. I go for the crap stuff, I’m afraid. Those mini Hershey bars that the kids bring home from Pinatas, Reese’s Pieces, Snickers. Most of the time I don’t eat sugar at all, but God help my household when I do…
Thanks so much for taking the time to do the interview. We’re so delighted to have you as our guest today!
I’m thrilled you asked!
Be sure to pick up Jane’s wonderful new book, The Beach House. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and its characters, especially Nan, who reminded me of my favorite Aunties. The Beach House is like a summer vacation you never want to end.
For more on Jane Green or The Beach House, check out Jane’s web site www.janegreen.com
30 Replies to “Please Welcome Our Guest Debutante, the Fabulous Jane Green”
Great interview! I absolutely adore Jane Green and I’ve read all of her books. I really liked THE BEACH HOUSE!
Have long enjoyed reading your books, Jane, and so happy you were able to join us at the Debutante Ball! Sounds like the Beach House will be the perfect book to finish the summer on.
I just love Nan — I hope I’m that wild and free at some point.
Any special pearls of wisdom for those of us on the journey towards publication in women’s fiction?
*Hugs and wishing you continued success!
Thank you so much for the escape. You bring balance to our hectic lives.
Nancy (Not to be confused with skinny dippin’ Nantucket Nan)
This sounds like a fabulous book, thanks for coming by! Your daily routine is remarkably similar to mine, though you have twice as many kids, and my dog is a 12-pound terrier mix (who is afraid of my printer) instead of a Doberman.
Thank you so much for joining us today, we’re thrilled to have you on the Deb Ball.
Nan is wonderful character- one of those that stick with you long after the book is done. Thanks so much for swinging by the Deb site!
Jane, I’m really looking forward to the new book!
And I chuckled and shock my head in wonder at your writing routine. It sounds far too much like mine–WAY overcrowded with things besides writing. How do you get enough hours in? Do you write like the wind?
Welcome Jane! Looking forward to reading your new book! Thanks for joining us today!
The Beach House sounds like a really good book. I will have to check it out. LOL on reading Perezhilton.com. website. I have never checked it out but I know the guy is funny. The times I have seen him on tv
It’s so interesting to me that Jane goes to a library to write – -seems liek a good, quiet place to get away from distractions. I interviewed Jennifer Weiner a while back and she told me that she writes from a coffee shop. Maybe the secret to becoming a mega-bestselling author is getting out of your pajamas, and out of your house…
Just a thought.
Thank you SO much for having me here! I love all your comments…Danielle, I do write like the wind – best training I ever had was as a young journalist on the Daily Express – if an editor needed 1500 words in an hour, I had to do it, no questions asked…
Also, Lisa, do think, as I’m sure you also know, discipline is the key to writing. Anyone can start a book, but few can finish. It requires a will of steel, and a refusal to give in to an addiction to web surfing…
Nancy, my words of wisdom would mostly be don’t give up, and keep doing what you love. All it takes is one person to love your work and believe in you. The first agent I sent STraight Talking to, all those years ago, wrote back saying my work was ‘frankly, unpublishable.’ Ten bestsellers later, I understand she’s left the business… ha!
btw, who do I have to pay around here to get on the favorite blogs list?
We’re so delighted you joined us today. Great interview!
Lisa & the Debs
Again, thank YOU!
I am sadly unable to give up web surfing entirely. It starts as research, and ends up as a quest for interesting celebrity gossip and blog hopping.
I have found that turning off email & internet connection during the morning hours when I write helps a lot. Also, a deadline is pretty helpful.
I think deadline training is extremely important for anyone who wants to make a living as an author. If MUST MEET DEADLINE is burned into your brain at an early age, it sticks with you for your entire career.
Otherwise, you’re just sitting around in your jammies watching Oprah and waiting for inspiration to strike.
favorite blogs list —
Our webmaster Super Bob is out of town, but as soon as he returns today, you’ll be added to our fav blogs/sites list. (Also, your interview today will be linked for all eternity under our Premier Author heading.)
First class all the way for you, dahling.
Lisa, how did you know I was in my pajamas?!
Jane, thanks so much for coming. And ha, ha, ha! to that agent from long ago. Shame on him or her for such rudeness and lack of taste.
Jane, I have adored you for YEARS!!! Thank you so, so much for joining us here at the Debs today. Wonderful interview, wonderful book!
Very interesting interview. I haven’t read anything of Jane’s, but I will pick The Beach House up.
Tiptoe into kitchen hoping they don’t hear me, to find 8-year-old on Pop Tropica in kitchen, complete with weird beeps and bips emanating from computer.
All it takes is one person to love your work and believe in you. The first agent I sent STraight Talking to, all those years ago, wrote back saying my work was ‘frankly, unpublishable.’ Ten bestsellers later, I understand she’s left the business…
This is really nice interview…
It was nice interview held.
Nice post. Still she is really beautiful. Thanks for sharing and recalling the old memories.
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I always learn something new from your post!Great article. I wish I could write so well.
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