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Friday, April 8, 2011

Spotlight On Author: Jane Heller

Happy Friday All,

Awhile back I picked up a book called The Secret Ingredient. Not sure of what to expect, I read it. I laughed and had a fun ride. Then I looked at the author's bio. Jane Heller. Hmm. I picked up more by Jane. Some Nerve became my favorite and I enjoyed Lucky Stars (I haven't read all her books, yet, but I've definitely enjoyed the three I mentioned here). Then I got to talking to Jane in email and over on her blog, Mainly Jane. I'm pleased to count her among my author friends and I am excited to introduce her to you:

Me: Can you tell us a little bit about the difference between your fiction and non-fiction writing?

Jane: The great thing about writing fiction is having the opportunity to create characters and stories entirely out of my imagination. It’s so liberating to make things up! And because I write romantic comedies, I get to make people laugh, which is such a joy for me. And then there’s the happy ending. I’m a big fan of happy endings. I like to see characters resolve their problems, find a satisfying relationship, learn something new about themselves. In “real life,” that’s not always the case. The beauty of writing nonfiction, on the other hand, is that you don’t have to make anything up! The material is all right there in front of you. But that has challenges too. When I wrote my nonfiction book about baseball, “Confessions of a She-Fan,” I turned in a 600-page manuscript because I wanted to show my editor I was all about “reportage.” She said, “Cut the manuscript in half. We don’t need to know everything. We just need to know what matters and, as the author, it’s your job to decide what that is.” Best advice I ever got. As I write my new nonfiction book, “You’d Better Not Die Or I’ll Kill you: A Caregiver’s Survival Guide to Keeping YOU in Good Health and Good Spirits,” I’m keeping her words in mind every day.



Me: Have you thought of writing anymore fiction?

Jane: Yes. I have two novels in the computer. One is the first in a possible series of novels with a heroine who solves mysteries. Some of my early novels (“Cha Cha Cha,” “The Club,” “Princess Charming,” “Sis Boom Bah,” “Name Dropping”) all had a mystery that had to be solved by the heroine and I’d love to get back to that combination of humor, romance and suspense. The other novel I’m playing with has an element of the supernatural. It’s something different for me, so I’m taking it very slowly. I hope to get back to both projects once I turn in the caregiver’s book.


Me: On your blog you mention An Ex To Grind is in the process of maybe being made into a film. Can you tell us what's going on with that?

Jane: Yes, I’m very excited about this one, because I’ve had eight novels optioned for movies and television in the past and none of those options ever turned into anything. So frustrating! “An Ex to Grind,” however, has two stars attached. It was optioned last year by 20th Century Fox with Cameron Diaz and Benecio Del Toro agreeing to play the leads if they like the script, which is being written by Jeremy Garelick, who wrote “The Break-Up” with Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn and also “The Hangover.” The two producers are Laura Bickford, who produced “Duplicity” with Julia Roberts and Clive Owen, and Julie Yorn, who was responsible for “Bride Wars” with Anne Hathaway and Kate Hudson. So everybody involved has great credentials. Will this one happen? I’m crossing all fingers and toes.


Me: For Fun: What's your favorite way to relax?

Jane: I try to take an hour’s walk in the afternoons after I finish my writing day. We have beautiful beaches here in Santa Barbara, so I love to power walk near the shore and soak up the scenery. And I’ve become addicted to the Food Network. When I want to zone out, I turn on “Iron Chef America” or “Chopped” and am fascinated by the creativity of those chefs. And I love to read. I recently bought a Kindle, so now I’m downloading books like crazy.


Me:  What's next for you since you've conquered the world of being a publicist, fiction, and non-fiction writer?

Jane: I’m writing a nonfiction book (see title above) that will be published by Chronicle in 2012. My husband has Crohn’s disease, a chronic illness, so I know a thing or two about being a caregiver. I’ve been interviewing people who care for a spouse, a child, an elderly relative, you name it, along with experts in the fields of medicine, psychology, social work, diet, health, nutrition, meditation – all in an effort to find ways we caregivers can stay sane. It’s been a fascinating journey so far.

Me: For fun: Do you have a favorite hobby?

Jane: I love going to movies. We have the Santa Barbara International Film Festival here and I belong to an off-shoot group called Cinema Society. We get screenings of upcoming movies throughout the year as well as visits from their stars, directors, screenwriters, etc. I’m able to see all the Oscar nominated films well before they open in other parts of the country.

Me: What's easier to write for you? Fiction or non-fiction?

Jane: They’re equally hard. You’re telling stories. You’re creating a structure. You’re spending hours a day at the computer trying to get every sentence right. I don’t know a single professional writer of either fiction or nonfiction who thinks the process is fun. It’s grueling work but oh-so-satisfying when you finish a manuscript.

Me: Your site mentions you're a public speaker...do you still do that and what topics do you speak about?

Jane: I’ve been a hospital volunteer ever since I wrote my 13th novel, “Some Nerve,” which is about a celebrity journalist who signs up as a hospital volunteer to get the scoop on a movie star patient. I’m on hiatus from volunteering at the moment, because I have a book deadline, but I’ve spoken to many groups about the joys and rewards of hospital volunteering and I try to recruit others. I’ve also been on numerous panels talking about writing romantic comedies. I’m told I’m a funny speaker, which is very flattering to me. I love to entertain and make people laugh.


Me: Anything else you'd like to add?

Jane: Nope. I think you’ve covered it. Great questions, Bethany!


Thank you, Jane, for the interview :-)


Have A Fabulous Friday!

4 comments:

Tess said...

Great interview and I hope the movie option happens for you, Jane. That would be amazing!

Bethany said...

Tessy,

Thank you for dropping by and supporting Jane. I think her books would make fun movies, so I'm hoping this goes through for her :-)

Tonette said...

What an interesting life Jane leads; continued success to her! And thank, Bethany, as you always do such a great job interviewing and sraring wonderful subjects!

Bethany said...

Tonette,

Thank you! Also, thank you so much for supporting Jane. She's such fun to talk to and I've really enjoyed the books of hers I've read :-)