Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Jane Porter Is in the Lair!

by Anna Campbell

I first met the fabulous Jane Porter at Romance Writers of Australia's 2003 conference. She was our keynote speaker and I was blown away by how smart, sincere and perceptive she was. Since then I've become addicted to her stories. If you want an honest, compelling, passionate read, I can't recommend her writing highly enough. And it seems this year's RITA judges agree with me as ODD MOM OUT is a finalist in the Novel with Strong Romantic Elements category.

Congratulations on the RITA nomination, Jane! I have trouble keeping up with everything you do! You’re amazing. Let’s start with your most recent single title, MRS. PERFECT (available 5th May), which has received rave reviews from Publishers Weekly and Romantic Times. Can you please tell us about this story?

MRS. PERFECT, like ODD MOM OUT, explores the theme of appearances, self-image and what lies beyond the public image. We women tend to be so hard on each other and I wanted to write about two women who didn’t like each other, yet were forced to deal with each other on a regular basis. I discovered that these women, although quite different from the other, actually had a lot in common. I also discovered that at the end of the day, we women have to be compassionate towards each other, but also towards ourselves. I really love this new book, too. It’s a story very close to my heart and I hope readers will enjoy it, too.

You write both single title books and classic Harlequin romances. Do you approach the stories differently? Do you think at heart, you’re telling the same story? What are the advantages of straddling a category and a single title career? What are the challenges?

I don’t approach my Harlequin and 5 Spot books that differently. Each time I sit down to write, I want to believe there’s a different process at work, but then it turns out to be the same: write and write and write until I find the passion in the story, and the truth, because every story has its own truth. Every story has a reason for being written. My goal is to find the meaning then grow it, flesh it, blow it up like a child’s beach raft. I want every story as full as it can be and in that respect, writing is the same. It does help, though, that I write the Harlequins in third person and the 5 Spot novels in first. I also like to think of my Harlequin heroines as modern day fairy tale princesses, while my 5 Spot novels are the women next door, or the woman sitting across from me in the airport lounge. One is more mythic while the other is more realistic, but at heart, I am telling the same story, and it’s a story I’ve been telling a long time-—we all deserve love, we all deserve a wonderful life, we all should take risks and go for more because this is the only life we’ve got and we want it to be the great adventure we’re hoping for. I don’t know if there are advantages to straddling category and single title. Sometimes switching back and forth between the two is really hard for me and I lose some significant writing time. But the positive is that it keeps me and my writing and voice fresh. So perhaps that’s the advantage—it doesn’t allow me to get too comfy. I’m always switching it up and hopefully, ultimately, it improves the quality of my writing and storytelling. In the barest market terms, I personally find category less stressful than the single title market. Category has a safety net below it that the single titles do not, and Harlequin Presents has a huge net because the name is so recognized that readers look forward to the new releases every month and there’s a good chance my books will be bought simply because they are Presents. That’s quite a relief as I never know what will happen when my 5 Spot book hits the shelves. I hope people will go out and buy my books, but will they know a new one is out? Will they wait fourteen months for a follow up? Or will they find another author to read instead?

I think you’re one of the finest writers working in category at the moment, particularly when it comes to intense, passionate stories. Can you tell us about your latest Harlequin Presents? What do you think is the secret to the popularity of Harlequin Presents? What advice would you give to someone targeting this line, Harlequin’s most popular?

My April and May Harlequin Presents are linked. They’re duet books, sheikh books, about two of the three royal Fehr brothers. I love writing sheikh books and these were particularly fun as I got to explore new cultures and customs. Parts of the April book are set in the United Arab Emirates and the May book is almost entirely set in Egypt. I’ve wanted to write about these places for years and it was such a blast. Probably some of the most fun I’ve had writing in years. I think Presents’ appeal in large part rests on its diversity in tone and style. The author voices are undiluted and the storylines, while at times beloved and familiar, are reinvented by each author. Readers love their alpha heroes, too, and I also think readers love intensity and seduction as well as passion and that’s the Presents promise-—passion guaranteed. If a writer wants to write for Presents you need to know the line. You need to read the line. You should read sheikh books by Penny Jordan, Susan Stephens, Sharon Kendrick, Trish Morey and see how we all handle our sheikhs so differently. Then read the Greek tycoons and read a Lucy Monroe and then a Sandra Marton and a Kate Walker. Read across the line and then write. Write your sheikh. Write your Greek tycoon. Write your gorgeous Italian. Make the classic Present themes yours. Because that’s the best way to sell to the line--understand it takes a strong voice and a strong vision and then heart, lots of heart and just go for it, making sure you are pushing your voice, and the sensuality and the characters to the max. Don’t write safe. Write like this is the only book you’ll ever write. Hold nothing back. And then submit and if it comes back, try again. It’s the only way to succeed. Take it on the chin and then come back for more. We writers have to have strong hearts to deliver the ultimate love story to our readers.

I think you’re a master (mistress?) at writing emotion. I cried my eyes out in THE FROG PRINCE and found myself caught between laughter and tears in FLIRTING WITH FORTY, which for anyone who hasn’t read it, is a wonderful story about having the courage to take life’s unexpected paths. Do you have any hints on how you achieve this emotional punch and depth?

Thank you for yet another lovely compliment, and I wish I could say that it’s luck, or talent, but really, it comes from being sensitive and having taken some hard knocks in life. I have a wild heart and when I write all the stuff I don’t want people to know, comes out. All the needs and hope and pain. All the grief and loss. All the bitter disappointments and unanswered dreams. I can point to the places where my life hurt and my heart broke—-the death of my father when I was fifteen. I waited years for him to come back and I tried for years to keep my family together so we’d all be there for him. But he didn’t come back and we got my stepfather instead who ruled our family by ruling my mother with his fist. I still can’t write about that too much because it’s such a wild, livid hurt. To see a huge man take down a woman, and not just any woman, but your mother, breaks not just your heart, but something in your mind. Living with domestic violence gave me thoughts and emotions that aren’t civilized and the only way I got through those seven years was by being bigger, fiercer, angrier than the violence around me. People look at Jane with her shiny hair and straight teeth and they don’t know I use hair and teeth and pretty clothes to hide the animal in me, the one that was hurt so badly and the one who will hurt others if they get too close to my family. These thoughts, these emotions are suppressed now but they surface when I write and instead of shrinking from them I let the beast loose and say to myself, ‘bring it on.’ Bring it on! Whew. I’ve faced some pretty big demons and I just thank God I’m not fifteen anymore. Or seventeen. Or twenty-five. Thank God I’m in my forties and so much tougher, as well as optimistic. Writing helped heal me, but writing also breaks me open again and there I am, confronting all the sad parts and pain, the teenage girl who can’t accept death and violence. I’m lucky I write. Writing allows me to reframe life, and to create better endings, happier endings. Fortunately, as I’ve grown, my stories have grown and my characters have, too.

You’re a dynamic presenter, a wonderful ambassador for romance writing. Does promotion and public speaking come naturally to you or did you have to work at it? Also do you have any advice for (often introverted) writers forced into the public light, as we all are in this day and age?

Anna, I have to work at everything. I really do but I suppose I don’t mind working hard. Regarding public speaking, that isn’t as difficult for me as for some because I grew up doing theatre and when I was on stage inhabiting a character, I felt free and safe because I was no longer me. And when I began public speaking, I would revert to the inner actress in me. I’d project confidence and hopefully charisma but it isn’t effortless. I’m often exhausted later, when I’m ‘off stage’, exhausted from trying to be more than I am, better than I am. I always try so hard because I’m afraid of disappointing people, afraid of being belittled. My advice to introverted writers is to focus on the message you want to give/share. Believe in the message, know why you want to share it, and if you find it difficult to believe in it, then maybe you don’t want to do the whole public speaking thing. One can be a NY Times bestseller without ever speaking at a single conference or awards ceremony. Do promo to the extent it works for you and nothing beyond that. Seriously. I’m trying to scale back on my speaking and promoting because it’s begun to get in the way of my writing. It’s easier for me than writing but I can’t make a career off of speaking. That’s not why I’m in this industry so its time to focus on my priorities so that’s what I’m doing in the next couple of years. Words for books and less words at podiums.
FLIRTING WITH FORTY is currently being filmed for Lifetime TV with Heather Locklear playing Jackie. How does it feel to know one of your stories is moving into another medium? Odd? Exciting? Scary? What do you think made this story cinematic? My guess is the gorgeous surf instructor Kai, but then, we both know I’m shallow! ;-)

The movie thing is great. It’s quite surreal though and I have moments where I don’t understand any of this at all. Why my book? Why Lifetime? Why Heather? Why now? It took me so long to sell the first book, and I’ve taken so many hard reviews, why the good? And then I think. Why not? If I can take the bumps and the blows, why not happy things? In terms of the actual movie, it’s really quite different than the book. It’s the same concept but with different scenes, although yes, the sexy surfer remains.

What’s coming up next in the world of Jane Porter?

What’s next for me? More books. My next 5 Spot novel will be out in July 2009, I’ll have another Harlequin or two out in ’09 as well, and I’m looking forward to spending more time with friends and family. And fingers crossed, having one more baby, too.

Thanks for a great interview, Jane! Jane has very generously offered commenters TWO prizes. One lucky person will win ODD MOM OUT, her RITA finalist. Another lucky person will win the Harlequin Sheikh Duet of KING OF THE DESERT, CAPTIVE BRIDE and THE SHEIKH'S CHOSEN QUEEN. So let's put our imaginations to work. Pick a favorite romance novel or two and cast the hero and heroine and tell us why. Good luck!


Amy Andrews said...

Here chook chook chook chooky!
Is it mine?

Donna MacMeans said...

LOL AMy - he's all yours - but I think I managed to snatch a tail feather.

Thank you Anna for bringing Jane to Romance Bandits. I loved this post. Jane, you packed so much emotion into your answers I'm going to have to go out and hunt down your books. I was so pulling for you to survive.

Congrats on the Lifetime movie, how thrilling is that? And good luck with the RITAs. Sounds like your nomination is well deserved.

Amy Andrews said...

Aha! Don't worry banditas the chook shall sup on only the finest Australian fare - lamingtons, twisties and pavlova. I alkso have a cheeky Barossa Valley chardonnay.....

Hi Jane - we met in Oz in 06 when you came to the Gold Coast conference.
Your story was amazing. I was so sorry to hear about the death of your dad at a stage in life when things are upside down anyway(not that its easy any time).
I loved what you had to say about how your teenage years have shaped you and I could so see the lioness within from what you wrote in this blog and though your tiny and dainty and remind me of a fairy princess, lady - I aint crossing you :-)

Read Flirting With Forty and loved it. Loved it's honesty.
Hope to say Hi in SF.

Amy Andrews said...

Oh also meant to say - did you mean a RITA baby or a baby baby?
Either way - go for it.

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Amy, congrats on the rooster!

Just dropping in quickly (will be back later for longer as the actress said to the bishop!) to say that Jane is filming a cameo in FLIRTING WITH FORTY today. Hmm, how glamorous is that? But the upshot is she's only going to be on the email sporadically. She will be in to answer comments but it will probably be later rather than sooner. But let's keep the party going until she gets here! Given the Hawaiian connections, perhaps we Banditas should temporarily replace margaritas with pina colladas (and getting caught in the rain and making love after midnight...).

Jane said...

I think Gerard Butler would be great as any of Julie Garwood's Scottish heroes, like Alec or Iain.

Jane Porter said...

Hi everyone! I'm in Hawaii and just about to go to bed for the night but will be checking in early before I head off for any Flirting film adventures. So let me first thank Anna for inviting me to be here and a thank you to the rest of you for putting up with me!

And Amy Andrews, it's a baby baby I'm still hoping or. I try 'again' this July. Fingers crossed this time it'll work. :)

Amy Andrews said...

Oh that's great, Jane. Best of luck. I'm sure you'll get lots of Bandita blessings today.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Aloha, Jane! And welcome to the Lair!

Big THANX to Foanna for luring you in and doing her usual GREAT INTERVIEW!

Jane, your comments about the adversity making you who you are now really hit a true note for me! SUPER CONGRATS on letting all that turmoil and emotion come through in your writing. What a true act of bravery to draw from that well of hurt. You have my complete admiration.

As for the baby... I'm sure we could RENT out several for you. You can start with MINE. He's a mite hefty and chronologically waaay past babyhood, but after him, the rest will seem easy-peasy. :-P

P.S. Fo, those are Mai Tai's -- lovely ocean blue with cute umbrellas...

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Oh and forgot to say CONGRATS to Amy on claiming the GR and plying him with wine. He will be one HAPPY CHOOK!

And I agree with our Jane, Gerry Butler as ANY romance hero works for me... or, of course, my Ever-lovin Eric.

Unknown said...

That was a great interview, Jane. And as Donna said, you've packed a lot of emotion into your answers. It's totally inspiring. :)

Anna, thanks for sharing the link!

Unknown said...

Hi Jane and Anna . Thank you both for the insight into Jane's work, which I have not encountered before- I would love to win one of her books, and can understand why she is so successful if her books are as passionate as her comments.
I think Sean Bean would be perfect for a Scottish hero (even though he is from Sheffield!), or Colin Firth as one of the very English aristocratic heroes in a Stepanie Laurens novel.
Like Donna I am going to hunt down Jane's books.

Annie West said...

Jane and Anna - thank you so much for the interview. Especially Jane, your honesty and enthusiasm is so fantastic.

I vividly remember the Aussie conference Anna spoke of. Hearing you there was an absolute highlight - I left energized, enthusiastic, feeling I could do anything and just a little scared.

I'm so glad you talked about the emotion in your stories. That's what draws me to your stories and I think is one of the reasons your books are so popular. I pick up a JP book and I know I'm not going to be shortchanged. I'm going to be swept away on a terrific emotional journey. Your discussion of writing healing but breaking open the emotions is so strong. Thank you for sharing!

Good luck for July too!


Anna Campbell said...

Donna, grab Jane's books. You'll love them! Amy, wasn't it an amazing interview? I felt like cheering for Jane when I first read it.

Jane, I think I'm the only person on the planet who has never seen a movie with Gerard Butler in it! Obviously I need to fix this problem IMMEDIATELY!

Aunty Cindy, I'm sure you don't mean that about your baby. You do? Oh. All we can do is raise a mai tai to that!

Hi Lee! Is this your first visit to the lair? You must come and see us again!

Oooh, Sean Bean! Now, that's someone I have seen. Yummy! That man can wear a dark green uniform like nobody else I can imagine! Thanks for your comment, Alison!

Annie, as always lovely to see you here. Glad you enjoyed the interview!

Eva S said...

Hi Jane,
thanks for your wonderful, emotional books! I love your heroes, no matter if they are Sheikhs, Greek or Italian. I haven't read any of your "modern lit" books yet but it sounds like they will be on my wishlist!
Congrats on the movie!

I'd love Viggo Mortensen for a Scottish hero, or Clive Owen...In one of Garwood's books or Diana Cosby's "His Captive". Why? My kind of dark heroes with secrets...and wonderful eyes!

Helen said...

Congrats Amy on the GR he does like to visit Australia

Thanks for a great interview Jane and Anna and big congrats on the Rita nomination Jane good luck. Your books sound fantastic I will be looking for them at the shops this week.How exciting having one of them made into a movie way to go.
I would love to see Hugh Jackman as Devil Cynster and Kate Winslet as Honoria his Duchess. That I would love to see.
Have Fun

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Eva, sounds like you're another Jane fan. Her Harlequins just sweep you away to another world, don't they?

Helen, you'd really enjoy these books. I know you're a historical gal (and please don't change!) but give them a go. I'm absolutely positive you'll love them. And hey, you can cast Hugh Jackman in anything and you get my vote!

Romance, Rumours and Rogues said...

Thanks Anna and Jane for a brilliant, brilliant interview!

I remember listening to (and meeting) Jane for the first time at the RWAus Gold Coast conference a few years ago and I was blown away. Jane, you were amazing and I had a lump in my throat hearing you speak, and the same has happened here reading your interview.
The raw, honest emotion you portray, whether in person or in your books, is incredible.
And I have everything crossed for baby news soon :)

Romance, Rumours and Rogues said...

Thanks Anna and Jane for a brilliant, brilliant interview!

I remember listening to (and meeting) Jane for the first time at the RWAus Gold Coast conference a few years ago and I was blown away. Jane, you were amazing and I had a lump in my throat hearing you speak, and the same has happened here reading your interview.
The raw, honest emotion you portray, whether in person or in your books, is incredible.
And I have everything crossed for baby news soon :)

Gillian Layne said...

Amy, congrats on the bird!

Anna, fabulous interview. Jane hooked me with '40' in a huge way, and I've bought up some of her back list for my summer reading. She is an inspiration (I love those stuck-with-it-for-the-long-haul stories!) as well as a fabulously entertaining writer! Jane, I wish you the best of luck with the Rita.

Buffie said...

Jane -- I so agree with your statement about Gerard Butler as one of Julie Garwood's heros. I definitely see him as Connor in The Wedding.

Anna & Jane -- great, great interview. Jane, your books sounds wonderful. How is it I have never read one??!!! Note to self -- must rectify that immediately! And lucky you for being in Hawaii -- bet it is beautiful!

Christine Wells said...

Wow, what an inspiring interview! Thanks so much for sharing your passion with us, Jane. Anna, as usual, you give brilliant interview:)

Jane, I so admire the way you can put your heart and soul into every book. I always believe that if you dig deep enough you can always hit a chord with other people and you obviously touch a lot of hearts with your novels. All the best in the future and I hope every good thing comes your way.

Deb Marlowe said...

Lovely interview, Anna and Jane!

Congrats, Jane on being strong enough not only to get through those hard times, but for doing your best to make the world a better place afterwards! You are an inspiration!

I'm with AC on casting her Eric--he's definite hero material!

Unknown said...


I think it's amazing that you took things that were so painful in your life and made something good out of it. That emotion really comes through in your writing. I actually was sobbing in parts of Flirting with Forty. And yes, I do mean sobbing, no delicate little teardrops with that book lol. I remember my husband just shaking his head. He tears up over football, so what does he know? Thanks for the wonderful and honest interview!

Thanks Anna too for the interview!

Anonymous said...

Add me to the list of Jane Porter fans!! Jane, I heard you speak at a Rose City Romance Writers meeting and I was just so impressed with your honesty and all the emotion you pack into your books and your speaking. Thank you so much for bringing all that into the Bandita Lair!!

So a baby, huh? Wow! Good luck with that! :-)

As for casting, my problem is that real life people never measure up to the image I have in my mind from books!

doglady said...

Great GR nabbing technique, Amy! Add a little chocolate to that wine and he will never leave.

Flirting with 40 is one of my favorite contemporary novels, Jane, and that is saying a great deal as I usually only read historicals. A friend gave me Flirting with 40 not long after my husband died and it was a good read for me to have.

Sending up Cherokee and Creek Indian prayers for good luck with the baby quest.

Is it hard to bring your own personal emotional history to your writing or is it somehow easier?

I cannot imagine losing my Dad at fifteen. I lost mine when I was 40 and it still hurts, but I had him until then and it was wonderful. He was always the one whispering in my ear "You can do this, Stinky. I know you can." (Stinky was his nickname for me almost from birth. I THINK it was a reference to my diapers, the first he ever changed in his life!) He always said I was pretty, but more important he took great pride in my intelligence and my musical talent.

I admire you so much for rising out of adversity. The resilience of women has always been a source of awe for me.

Casting a romance novel. Hmmm. I would love to see Anna C's UNTOUCHED as a movie with Matthew MacFadyen as Matthew and Kate Winslett as Grace.

Joan said...

Jane, welcome to the lair.

Your post was so poignant. I didn't actually meet you last year in Dallas but you spoke at the Pro Retreat. I found your presentation to be just as powerful as today's post. You may not have set out to be inspiring but you are.

Good luck on the cameo, the baby and all of your writing endeavors.

What do you say Banditas? Should we lend a cabana boy to Jane to handle her..mai tai's people! Mai Tai's!

limecello said...

Hi Jean and Anna,
Great interview - I really enjoyed reading all you had to say! Hm... one of my favorite romances is "Breathing Room" - and it seems like a no brainer, but Raoul Bova seems like he'd be a good fit for Ren. As to Isabel... still thinking on that one.

Danielle Marie Peck said...

Great interview! Jane is such a wonderful writer and I've come away from every corospondance with her feeling renewed and inspired in my own writing career. She's so down to earth and has such a big heart and it shows in her writing.

Trish Milburn said...

Hey, Jane! Great to see you again. I hope you're having a lovely time in lovely Hawaii.

Wonderful interview, not that I'm surprised. You're one of the best speakers I've ever heard, Jane. Anytime I leave your workshops (and Suz Brockmann's), I feel supremely energized to write.

I think a lot of us mine the dark parts of our lives for the emotion we put into our books. I know I have. I think we can often take our our frustrations and our hurts and say things to "people" we can't in real life for whatever reason. It can be cathartic.

I wish you continued success -- with the books and the baby.

Terri Osburn said...

What an interview. I'm with Buffy, how have I not read these books? As mentioned, if she puts this much passion into an interview, I have to read these books.

And I'm terrible about casting book characters. As someone said, the characters look like the characters and I'd have to do a search for some unknown actors to fill the parts. I can't imagine any famous people filling the roles.

Good luck on the movie and the baby. I sure hope to have another someday. *ignores the giant ticking clock in her head*

If you get a chance I wondered how you felt about them changing your book so much for the movie and did you have any influence at all?

Christie Kelley said...

Great interview, Anna! Jane, welcome to the lair!

Your books are so poignant and emotional, just fantastic!

Congrats on the Lifetime TV movie. That must be such a great thing to see your characters come to live on the little screen. Good luck with that and the RITA!!

Jane Porter said...

Wow, so many comments!! I'm feeling the love this morning here in Hawaii. :)

Re the baby thing--I think I'm a tad nuts at 44 to want another when my two boys are as big and independent as they are. I know it'll definitely complicate things and slow travel and adventures down, but my children are also an important escape route for me from the writing world. If I didn't have them to fuss with, worry about, and love I think I'd spend too much time in my head, obsessing about the writing and the results. My boys ground me, and keep it real. And maybe it's mortality chasing me, but I'm not ready for them to grow up and go away. My oldest will only be home another 5 years before he leaves for college. That just seems wrong!

Re the book becoming a movie. I did take some of the changes very hard, but I've been fortunate enough to see some of the dailies from the film and there are some really cute scenes, and some scenes that really resonate with me the same way the book did, so I think viewers will be happy and readers should be happy. I'm just grateful the book went into production in the first place. Lots of books gets optioned but very very few get made, so I need to focus on the positives...although in the beginning I was panicked at the changes! I was still feeling quite territorial. Less so now. I've accepted that the film-thing is really a group project and that's the only way a movie gets made.

Maureen said...

Congratulations Jane on all your successes. I would make a movie of Anna Campbell's Untouched because it is such an unusual story and I think it would be a great movie. I would cast Keira Knightley as Grace and James Marsden as Lord Sheene because they have entertained me in the past and have positive and strong personalities.

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Miss Nic, thanks for calling over! Always lovely to see you. Yes, isn't Jane an amazing speaker? I still use stuff from that workshop she did on alpha males the very first time I met her. She has this incredible insight and sensitivity.

Gillian, so glad you enjoyed 40. I'm almost not game to watch the movie as I hate it when a film doesn't live up to the images I have of the book. And I had VERY strong images of the characters in 40.

Actually Jane got me through a really tough Christmas last year (long story, won't bore you, but definitely needed an escape). I read about half a dozen of her Harlequins and 40 in a single reading binge and really, it helped a lot! I hate it when people dismiss what we do - you know, silly, fluffy romances, yadda yadda - and then a great writer like Jane can actually help someone survive a tough time. Surely that means romance is important and strong and powerful!

Anna Campbell said...

Buffie, grab one of Jane's books! I think you'll really like them - the emotional depths will really pull you in. And also they're pretty sexy ;-) I can imagine you having a huge crush on the gorgeous Kai in Flirting with Forty!

Christine, that's one of the many things I admire about Jane's writing. She's brave enough to keep digging until she hits that deep emotional core.

Jane, are you a wreck after you finish every book? I imagine you sprawled over your computer keyboard too tired to lift your head! Everything just seems to come out in such a roaring rush of passion.

Actually, on a similar point, Jane, do you tend to rewrite a lot or is your first draft close to your final draft? I'd love you to share your working methods with us.

Anna Sugden said...

What a wonderful interview, Anna.

Jane - welcome to the Lair - it's such an honour to have you here. As many others have said - your workshops are always an inspiration.

Thank you too for sharing your story of overcoming adversity - I know I'm not the only one to whom that meant an awful lot - and it has encouraged me to dig deeper and use my own adversity to help me succeed.

As to the question of actors playing heroes - I know they're a bit old now, but Tom Berenger, James Woods and Jeff Bridges are three of my favourites. They have the intensity to play great heroes, and that sexy twinkle that can blow you away!

Anna Campbell said...

Deb, thanks so much for calling over! But WHO would you cast Eric as? I'm not sure he's a Regency boy, are you? I recently watched a long interview with Eric Bana on Aussie TV - a masterclass for aspiring film makers. And he was amazing - sweet and smart and funny and so modest! Honestly, he's a credit to his country!

Hi Bamabelle! So glad you enjoyed the interview. I cried in Flirting too - and I laughed. Which says something for the amazing emotional range of the story. The book I really, REALLY cried in, though, was THE FROG PRINCE. My mother had recently passed away and some of the mother-daughter stuff in that is so true, it cuts to the bone. What an amazing gift to be able to write like that!

Kate Carlisle said...

Absolutely wonderful interview, Anna!

Jane, you are simply awe-inspiring! I was so touched by your openness with us and your amazing ability to take those awful moments in life and turn them into such wonderful moments in your books. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself with us!

Amy, I think we Yanks might need an Aussie dictionary to figure out exactly what you're feeding our Feathered Friend today!

Anna Campbell said...

Kirsten, it's hard with the casting, isn't it? Even when I write, I often start with real people as models for my characters but by the end of the book, they've become such individuals in their own right, the physical model just doesn't do it for me any more. I've said this before, but the model for the Earl of Erith in Tempt the Devil was Bryan Ferry circa 1981 and the model for Olivia Raines, the heroine, was Lauren Bacall around 1942.

Hey, Pam, I hadn't thought of Matthew M as Matthew L but you're right! And Kate Winslett would make a lovely Grace - although the colouring isn't quite right. But she's got the passion and the honesty and that's more important. These days, I definitely think of Richard Armitage as Kylemore, although when I wrote it, he was more Daniel Day-Lewis in Last of the Mohicans. Verity was always Olivia Hussey in Romeo and Juliet. That beautiful madonna face and those wide gray eyes. I always have fun casting my stories! It's nothing too serious!

Anna Campbell said...

Pam, another thing - Stinky made me smile. My father used to call me...



See? The Golden Rooster and I are made for each other!

Unknown said...

Jane, welcome to the lair.

What can I say except Wow! You've overcome enough for three lifetimes. I can totally relate to your "get away from the people I love" mindset, and I admire that in you. The perseverance and the beast, as you call it, are often two sides of the same coin I think. Good on you for finding the way, through the writing, to deal with the beast. And lucky for us. Your passionate approach to it--like others have said--how have I missed that?

Going to search out these books.

Thank you for sharing some of your story with us.

I'd say step up to the Bandit bar and order a post-interview cocktail, but since you're in Hawaii at the moment, I'm thinkin a Mai Tai on the beach is about right. AFTER the filming. ;0) BUT Perhaps you can join us at the baaaa in San Francisco this summer. I know a few Banditas will always be lurking there. Ahem.

Have a great time in Hawaii and congrats on the film!

Anna, wonderful interview and thank you for bring Jane to join us!

Anna Campbell said...

I think a wild woman like Jane needs a gladiator or two, JT! I don't think a cabana boy has the chutzpah to take her on! I heard about Jane's PRO retreat talk and how fantastic it was. Wish I could have been there - suspect I was propping up the bar and trying to find someone to make me a cocktail. Waiters were a bit thin on the ground at that conference - believe me, none of them passed the audition to work in the lair!

Limecello! I love Breathing Room! That hero is just delicious - and I love it when the bad boy turns good but still has that touch of the devil in him. Actually I think Eric would be lovely in a Susan Elizabeth Phillips movie adaptation. He's got the physical presence and that glint in his eyes.

Anna Campbell said...

Danielle, welcome to the lair! Is it your first visit? If so, pull up a chair (a CHAIR, I said, not a cabana boy... Not a... Oh, sheesh, all right, take the cabana boy. Just return him by the date due stamped on him... ahem!). It was an inspiring interview, wasn't it? Yay, Jane!

Trish, I think you're right about mining those dark times for our stories. I certainly know I do. I mightn't have been kidnapped by a Scottish duke, but I can touch the emotions I've felt in a different difficult situation. I suspect writers would be a bunch of nutcases if we didn't have our therapy of the blank page!

sarah said...

I just read all of Jane's 5 spot books this month! Yes... this month! I gave the last two to myself for my b-day and finished them fast!

And I loved them all!

Anna Campbell said...

Terri, as I've said to others (BUFFIE!!! DONNA!!!), try Jane's books. You'll love them. I've made it easy - you can do a click-through from the covers to Amazon. We're very user friendly in the lair. Even the cabana boys have on and off switches.

Also, Terri, did you see I put the photo you sent me of Donna at RT up on my website updates? Thanks again! It's a great shot!


Hmm, is that a shameless plug or what?

Anna Campbell said...

Christie, so glad you're another fan!

Jane, good luck with the baby! Interesting comments about the movie. I think you're right - a book and a film are two completely different beasts and need to be treated as such. It's funny - people who don't read romance are always asking me if I'm likely to get a movie deal. But I think I write the most uncinematic prose in history! It's all in their heads and their hearts and that doesn't make for a great film!

Anna Campbell said...

And then I get to Maureen's post and she's casting Untouched! Thanks for picking me, Maureen. KK has that slightly other-worldly air that Grace has, hasn't she? I'm so hopelessly out of touch, I didn't know who James Marsden was so I had to look him up on Google. What a pretty boy! I've gone wild and bought a DVD player so I intend to catch up on all the stuff I've missed over the last few years. Casino Royale has been my first movie - wow, is Daniel Craig sexy or what? He does that elegant thug thing for James Bond SOOOO well! And the swimming trunks scene? Man!

Anna, I've always been a huge Jeff Bridges fan. He inhabits his characters in a way that's so rare. I remember crying my eyes out at Starman. And there's an amazing Peter Weird film about the aftermath of a plane crash that blows my mind.

Anna Campbell said...

Actually, Jane, Anna brought up something I wanted to say about one of your interview answers. I think your advice about writing Presents and just going for it was fantastic. And I don't think it applies only to Presents. I think one of the reasons Courtesan sold and my earlier stuff didn't was that I just poured everything I had into it and I didn't second guess or pull my punches. I judge a lot of contest entries and a common problem I notice is that while the premises are often fantastic and full of possibility for drama and emotion, the writing is constrained, almost frightened. It's like the writer is afraid to let the monster out of the cupboard. I say let those monsters roam! ;-)

Anna Campbell said...

Kate, laughed at the Aussie dictionary idea. I've noticed that the good old GR is pretty omnivorous! Any food will do!

Cassondra, thanks for popping in and making me want a cocktail at 6am here! The neighbours will start to talk about me! Actually I think the emotional power of Jane's books will appeal to you very much. You respond to that honesty and that depth. I'm surprised you haven't read them before too! I feel I'm shoring up treasure in heaven spreading all this good karma ;-)

Anna Campbell said...

Sarah, how fantastic you've discovered Jane's single titles. I've got Odd Mom Out and Mrs. Perfect about to arrive. I was so hoping they'd get here before the interview but Amazon has its mysterious ways. I'll just have to ask Jane back for a follow-up! I did however read a wonderful Harlequin Presents of hers, AT THE GREEK BOSS'S BIDDING, over the weekend. Which was great but terrible as I had so many other things I HAD to do but I couldn't put the book down!

Anna Sugden said...

You know, Anna - I think one of the downsides of contests and critiquing can be that the initial raw emotion you write can be smoothed out. Sometimes raw doesn't score well *grin*

Anna Campbell said...

Anna (um, we sound like we're talking to ourselves!), I think that's a danger. I know a lot of writers who don't like competitions at all for that reason - they think contests take away the individuality of a writer's voice. I think it's horses for courses.

Beth Andrews said...

Welcome to the lair, Jane! Add me to the list of fans who love your workshops - your honesty and perseverance are truly inspiring!

Congrats on your RITA nom and the Lifetime movie! And of course, best of luck in July. Will send good thoughts your way *g*

At 37 with three kids (16, 13 and 11) I too would love to have another baby! I must start trying to talk my husband into agreeing

Thanks for the great interview, ladies!

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Wow, Jane and Anna! What a fabulous interview.

Jane you and I met two years ago when you came to Dallas to do the Day of Heroines seminar. Your personal story and thoughts about strong heroines really inspired me to let my heroines' courage shine through my stories. Thank you so much.

Oh yeah, when are you coming back to Dallas? hint hint

Anna Campbell said...

Hi Beth! Jane, sounds like you'll have quite a cheer squad in July!

Suz, hope you coax Jane back to Dallas. I've been pushing for her to pop back to Oz this year! We always love to see her and the conference is in Melbourne at a gorgeous hotel.

Fedora said...

Hi, Jane! (Hi, Anna! You bring such wonderful guests!)

Just wanted to say congrats, and thank you for a lovely interview today--I really enjoyed it!

Joan said...

And the swimming trunks scene? Man!

He certainly WAS Anna!

Anna Campbell said...

Fedora, thanks for dropping by! So glad you enjoyed the interview.

JT, snork!!!

Mel Teshco said...

Hi Jane. I've read some of your presents books, and loved them - especially your scrummy alpha heros. Good luck with your baby baby! Hubby and I waited over 5 years, decided it wasn't meant to be, and hey presto, here we are with a gorgeous 9.5 month little girl. By the way, how have you managed your writing time with children? Tell me, please!!!

doglady said...

One more movie cast came to me. A movie of Lord of Scoundrels would be fabulous. And I would cast Clive Owen as Sebastian, Lord Dain and Keira Knightley as Jessica.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Deb Marlowe said: I'm with AC on casting her Eric--he's definite hero material!

OOOO! LURVE your pronoun usage there Deb!!!

And YES, Fo, he IS amazing and a credit to Oz, but then you seem to know how to grow SMEXY men downunder... (Aunty slaps self back to awareness!)

Thanx again for joining us, Jane! And I hope you will visit us again soon. We will definitely keep an eye out for you in SF and will be cheering in our usual rowdy fashion for you and our other Rita/GH faves. :-)

the Banatic

Susan Sey said...

Hi, Jane--Thanks for a beautiful post today. I loved your message about using everything in your life, good, bad & ugly, to inform your writing. When honest emotion is there, the rest falls into place, doesn't it? Huge congrats on the Lifetime movie thing, too. That's got to be a wild trip. :-)


Anna Campbell said...

Mel, congratulations on the little one. Yeah, I know I've said it before, but it bears saying again.

Pam, if you ever get sick of the writing gig, I can clearly see a career for you as a casting agent! ;-)

Cindy, I noticed the 'her' before the the Eric too!

Susan, it was great advice, wasn't it?

Jane Porter said...

Just wanted to say thank you to everyone for your lovely welcome and comments, and a huge hug and thanks to Anna Campbell for being an incredibly gracious and generous hostess. I am as massive Anna Campbell fan and am so proud of her you might think I discovered her instead of Avon. :(

Anna, re your question about drafts and writing...I write strangely. I stew and fret and try to write and then don't write and pace and avoid...and then pretty much pour it out in a draft that is very close to the final draft that's published. That's not to say that I don't do rewrites and revision--I do them constantly as I go, little tweaks and even big tweaks--but once I get in the thick of it, I can really 'feel' the story and adjust as I write. The only negative is that it's a huge amount of writing in a short period of time. Some days its just 20 pages a day. Other days its 70. By the time the book is done I never want to write again.

Thank you again, Romance Bandits and friends. I hope you invite me back again!!

Anna Campbell said...

Jane, we'd love to have you back (and you didn't even have to say you were a fan although I must say, whenever you do, I feel like I've gone over the Rainbow to some strange world I never expected to live in!). Thank you for an amazing interview and for joining us for a great day in the lair!

And don't forget to check back, everyone, to see who won Jane's prizes!

Marilyn Shoemaker said...

Ladies an incredible interview and to all who commented there is nothing I could add because you've all said it all. However, Jane please keep on writing and best of luck on your HP and Mrs Perfect release. You've brought so much pleasure to me as a reader.