Tag Archives: St. Martin’s Press

Jane Green on Writing and Motherhood: “Don’t Feel Guilty”

Posted by May 8th, 2014

I’m such a fan of Jane Green. In fact, the one time I met this Women’s Fiction author in person, it was one of the few times in my life where I have really been starstruck by an author. Jane’s bestselling books have been my faithful companions since I discovered them in college. As Jane’s characters are often British, it was from her that I learned essential vocabulary like “naff” and “spot of shopping.” We chatted about how she’s grown and changed as a writer over the years, how she accommodates the busy dual roles of mothering and writing, and what’s changed for her since she’s lived in the US.

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Lucy Silag: You must hear from a lot of readers like me: people who’ve been reading you for a long time, and who’ve grown into adulthood with you. In that time, how have you changed as a writer?

Jane Green: I’ve changed enormously as a person – ageing, motherhood, divorce, etc., etc. – all have softened and changed me, and subsequently, of course, my writing. I think I am rather more circumspect as a writer these days, and definitely more accepting. My earlier books are filled with a judgment that now makes me shudder in horror.

LS: Chick lit is supposed to be such a fluffy genre—and yet it seems like books in this subgenre of women’s fiction talk about subjects that a lot of other writers are afraid to address.For example, your book BOOKENDS was the first mainstream book I ever read that talked frankly about HIV testing. That meant a lot to me as a reader. Do you feel like you get to explore a lot of social taboos by writing “women’s fiction”—or is it something that you’d be doing no matter what genre you wrote?

JG: I write about the things that matter to me, issues that have personally touched me (often), or things I am trying to work out in my own life. The recurring themes in my book are no coincidence – I do think it is the most spectacular opportunity to work out the issues of my childhood, getting closer and closer to healing with every book!

LS: What are the biggest differences about publishing in the US and the UK?

JG: I don’t really remember anymore, having lived here for 13 years. I think perhaps there is more focus on the craft of writing over here, and certainly on editing – I rarely edited in England, and now I have had to practically rewrite entire books. It is something I have come to value above all else, despite the drudgery of having to go over it again and again; there is no question I am writing the best books of my career because of the work my US editor requires of me.

TemptingFateHCcoverLS: Tell us about your most recent main character, Gabby, from TEMPTING FATE. What was the first detail you knew about her? How did you grow that into a full character?

JG: I knew she was English, and knew she had a crazy, over-dramatic, glamorous, bohemian mother, who paid her no attention whatsoever as a child. I had a very clear picture of their house in Belsize Park, London, and it all grew from there.

LS: If I remember correctly from your Facebook posts, you have four children. How on earth have you written 15 novels with so much activity in your house?

JG: It requires a huge amount of discipline. And energy. The energy bit has been harder the last few years as I’m living with Lyme Disease, or rather, more specifically, Post-Lyme Auto-Immune Disease, and Hashimoto’s Disease, so I spend a lot more time in bed than I used to. Continue reading

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Book Dedications: Dedicated to the Ones We Love by Julia Fierro

Posted by February 14th, 2014

Julia Fierro bio photoWho knows the importance of community to a writer better than Julia Fierro? In 2002, she founded The Sackett Street Writers’ Workshop, one of New York’s most important literary institutions. Over 2000 writers have passed through Sackett Street’s writing classes to date. Julia’s debut novel, CUTTING TEETH, comes out May 13th, 2014 from St. Martin’s Press. Take a look at Julia’s social network channels (Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Facebook, Goodreads, and Pinterest) and you’ll see that she’s at the center of a thriving group of some of the most gifted writers of our time, sharing news, advice, and pithy humor on everything from doing copyedits with a sleeping child in your lap to a rave review in a national magazine. With the same dedication to community that Sackett Street is known for, Julia came up with a lovely collection of enigmatic book dedications, and some thoughts on to whom writers bestow this high honor. Her post also functions as an excellent mid-winter “To-read” list, which is why we’ve linked to each book on Goodreads below.

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Love is sacrifice.

What is more sacred to a writer than that stretch of white space at the start of their published book, otherwise known as The Dedication?

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, I asked writers about the people, places and pets they chose to honor in that sacred spot. Their speedy and enthusiastic responses were surprising. Unlike the dreaded acknowledgments (dreaded by me, in any case—what if I leave someone out?), for most, the dedication is a no-brainer. They simply know who is most deserving. We won’t mention the handful of books dedicated to partners, lovers and friends, who may have proved unworthy of the dedication later. That is another story.

The type of love and gratitude that motivates most writers’ dedications falls into three major categories: partner, friendship, and familial.

Precious are the words worthy of a writer’s partner—wife, husband, girlfriend, boyfriend, soulmate—who may be responsible for convincing us to take that dusty manuscript out of the drawer. They are our constant companions who put up with our ever-growing piles of books, our scraps of notes, as well as the stratospheric highs and lows of our writing process and publishing experience. Our partners tolerate being passed over for the company of imaginary people who exist solely in our minds; they put up with our doubt and anxiety, with us waking them in the wee hours of the night to ask—do you think character X is believable? Do you think the book has enough narrative momentum? Do you think anyone will want to represent it, publish it, read it, love it?

Gillian Flynn, in her darkly thrilling novel, DARK PLACES:

What can I say about a man who knows how I think and still sleeps next to me with the lights off?

F. Scott Fitzgerald in THE GREAT GATSBY (Therese Anne Fowler echoed this dedication in her 2013 book Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald):

ONCE AGAIN

TO

ZELDA

Emma Straub’s pitch perfect dedication in her Hollywood-themed novel, LAURA LAMONT’S LIFE IN PICTURES:

FOR MY HUSBAND,

A GOLDEN STATUE

IF EVER THERE WAS ONE

And love tongue-in-cheek style—David Rosen’s dedication to his wife in his novel, I JUST WANT MY PANTS BACK:

For Rachel, Damn It Continue reading

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Writing Mystery with Linda Rodriguez

Posted by June 13th, 2013

Every Broken Trust

“No one can be a really good writer without reading. A lot.” ~Linda Rodriguez

“No one can be a really good writer without reading. A lot.” ~Linda Rodriguez

We are thrilled to welcome mystery novelist Linda Rodriguez to Book Country. Linda’s second novel, Every Broken Trust (St. Martin’s Press/Minotaur Books), just hit the shelves with one reviewer calling it “one of the best traditional mysteries I’ve read this year.” Her first novel, Every Last Secret, won the Malice Domestic Best First Traditional Mystery Novel Competition, which got her a publishing deal. We’re talking with her about her mystery novels and writing success.

Nevena: Thanks for chatting with us, Linda. Congratulations on the publication of Every Broken Trust! How did the adventures of Skeet, your college campus police chief, come to you?

Linda: I had spent years as the director of a campus women’s center, and I had occasion to work with the campus police, so I knew that most colleges have real police forces. I wanted to make Skeet a campus police chief with a big-city homicide division background. As I explored her character to discover why she would have left the Kansas City Police Department for a campus force, her irascible father and possessive ex-husband sprang into life. The further I went into Skeet’s character, the more this world and these people came to life around me. Continue reading

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