Hey, everyone! It’s Deb Eleanor, and I just had to pop in and give you a special introduction to today’s guest.
Many years ago, I did some work for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, and I had the chance to read a wonderful manuscript about a summer camp and the family who ran it. It was unique, beautifully written, and I would periodically think about it and wonder what happened to that lovely book and its author.
When I took a class with Steve Almond, somehow it came up that he knew the author, and I passed my regards on to her through him, but we never connected.
Enter Twitter. A few months ago I got a tweet from a woman whose name sounded so familiar. One click to her profile and I realized it was the woman who had written that memorable book – Jane Roper, author of Eden Lake.
I’m so happy to welcome Jane to the Ball. Put on your tiaras, grab some champagne (or something else bubbly and celebratory), and say hello (Jane’s giving away a copy of Eden Lake to one lucky commenter!).
Jane Roper is the author of Eden Lake, a novel, and “Baby Squared”, a narrative blog on the parenting website Babble.com. Her memoir on parenting twins will be published in 2012 by St. Martin’s Press. Jane received her MFA in fiction from the Iowa Writers Workshop and currently lives in the Boston area with her husband and twin daughters.
Jane Roper Takes the Deb Interview!
Who is one of your favorite (fictional or non-fictional) characters?
Last year, I re-read Jane Eyre for the first time since high school, and wow. What an awesome book. I loved Jane, not just because of her gorgeous name, but because of her strength and resolve. I love that she spoke her mind so bravely, both when she was a girl, and when she was first falling in love with Rochester. And I like that she never felt sorry for herself, she just kept on keeping on, even when things were going horrendously for her. And did I mention I love her name?
Which animal would you like to be, and why?
I just had to answer this one, because it’s a question that one of the characters in Eden Lake asks another, and a very silly conversation ensues. It was fun to answer this question while standing in the shoes of my characters. (And for anyone who’s dying to know, one character wants to be a wild horse, and the other an ape.)
As for me, I’d say bird. No kind in particular. I just love to idea of being able to fly, and being able to see things from either afar or up close, while going mostly unnoticed. (Hmm… I’m realizing as I write this that a bird is probably the perfect choice for a writer, isn’t it? )
Do you have a regular ‘first reader’? If so, who is it and why that person?
My husband, Alastair, is my first reader. I trust completely that he will be honest, will have excellent feedback, and will be appropriately gentle in the way he delivers it. He also really understands my intentions in a piece of writing, the way readers who don’t know me as well might not. So he can say, “I see what you’re trying to do here by saying X, but it’s not quite working…”
I’m his first reader, too. Or, more accurately, his first listener: he’s a singer-songwriter. I love the fact that we can help each other out, even thought we’re doing very different kinds of writing. I think we both learn from each other, too. Cross-pollination between different forms of art is always good.
Do you have any phobias?
I am mildly claustrophobic. Which probably explains why the animal I’d most like to be is a bird as opposed to, say, a mole or a prairie dog.
My immediate next big thing is a memoir about my first three years as a mother of twins and my struggles with depression during that time. It’s going to be published by St. Martin’s in 2012, and the draft of the manuscript is already written. After that’s finalized—sometime this summer, presumably—I’m going to start on another novel. Which is awfully masochistic of me, but what can I say? I can’t help myself.
Jane, we’re so glad you were able to join us! You can visit with Jane on her website or on Twitter – oh, and don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered to win a copy of Eden Lake (US shipping only)!
My debut novel Eden Lake (Last Light Studio) is available now! It’s a family drama set at a progressive children’s summer camp in Maine, whose visionary director dies unexpectedly, leaving his adult children to sort out the future of the camp. There are lots of juicy family secrets and crazy camper antics. I spent the first 15 summers of my life at summer camps that my parents works at or owned, and they are the inspiration behind this book.