Today, Hartford Books Examiner offers warm virtual greetings to Jane Green.
Ms. Green is the author of Summer Secrets (St. Martin’s Press, $26.99), which was published yesterday. She has written sixteen previous New York Times bestselling novels; her most recent, Saving Grace, came out in paperback earlier this month. Her books have been translated into more than 25 languages, with more than ten million copies in print worldwide. Originally from London, Ms. Green now makes her home in Westport, Connecticut, where she lives with her husband, children, and a menagerie of animals.
Praise for Summer Secrets:
“A gripping and powerful novel about finding the courage to make the life you want. This is Jane Green at her absolute best.”—Emily Giffin
“Warm, witty, sharp and insightful. Jane Green writes with such honesty and zing.”—Sophie Kinsella
“Summer Secrets is the perfect summer read. Once you dive into this story about a recovering alcoholic who must finally face her own dark past and make amends, you’ll be hooked.”–Kristin Hannah
“Summer Secrets is the quintessential beach novel, complete with juicy drama and characters you fall madly in love with. You will devour it!”—Elin Hilderbrand
“A compelling story of a woman struggling with addiction and seeking forgiveness…Green’s latest will bring in droves of readers.”—Booklist
From the publisher:
When a shocking family secret is revealed, twenty-something journalist Cat Coombs finds herself falling into a dark spiral. Wild, glamorous nights out in London and raging hangovers the next day become her norm, leading to a terrible mistake one night while visiting family in America, on the island of Nantucket. It’s a mistake for which she can’t forgive herself. When she returns home, she confronts the unavoidable reality of her life and knows it’s time to grow up. But she doesn’t know if she’ll ever be able to earn the forgiveness of the people she hurt.
As the years pass, Cat grows into her forties, a struggling single mother, coping with a new-found sobriety and determined to finally make amends. Traveling back to her past, to the family she left behind on Nantucket all those years ago, she may be able to earn their forgiveness, but in doing so she may risk losing the very people she loves the most.
Told with Jane Green’s keen eye for detailing the emotional landscape of the heart, Summer Secrets is at once a compelling drama and a beautifully rendered portrait of relationships, betrayals, and forgiveness; about accepting the things we cannot change, finding the courage to change the things we can, and being strong enough to weather the storms.
Now, Jane Green takes readers into her confidence …
1) What first inspired you to write SUMMER SECRETS – and in what ways do you believe this book represents the idea of a “beach novel”?
I was initially inspired by the story of a cousin who discovered his father wasn’t his father, and that he had a whole other life and family he knew nothing about. And I have long wanted to write about alcoholism, both the destruction it causes, and the transformative effects of sobriety within a 12-step program. I think a good beach novel offers escapism and real, relatable characters with whom you connect.
2) Much like yourself, your protagonist, Cat, comes to America from London and has a background in journalism. How did your own experiences influence her character development – and are you ever concerned that readers might take such surface similarities to mean that the story itself is somehow autobiographical?
Everything that has ever happened to me jumbles up in my head and somehow makes its way onto the page. I have always drawn from my life without ever writing about my life, so parts of my story are in each of my books, with none of them being my story.
3) Part of the book takes place on Nantucket. How do you feel that this setting enhances the overall narrative – and do you believe that location can serve as a character within a story?
I absolutely believe location can serve as character, as can houses. Nantucket is a magical place for me, fantasy island, a place where anything can happen.
4) Like many of your novels, female relationships are at the very heart of the story. Why does this particular dynamic appeal to you – and what is it you hope to convey about the complexities of such relations?
I think the foundations of all deep connections, whether with men, women, family, friends, are the same: compassion, empathy, honesty and trust. I’m mostly interested in the human connection, and following my characters on a path to happiness, in whatever form it might come.
5) This is your second novel of the year, and you also manage a household, mother six children, and recently moved to a new home. How do you endeavor to achieve balance amidst such responsibilities – and what advice would you give to those who are struggling to fulfill their own creative desires?
I think the key to any creative endeavor is the doing of it rather than the thinking about doing it. Writing is my solace and my joy, it is how I make sense of the world, so those few hours a day I carve out for myself to write are the most precious of all.
6) Leave us with a teaser: what comes next? Other than sleep?
I’m not sure. I thought I had a story that I was almost halfway through, but I realize it isn’t a story I want to tell right now and I don’t love the characters. So it’s back to the drawing board, but I’m thinking warmth, quirky characters, families of choice and perhaps, just perhaps, a little bit of Nantucket in there somewhere…
With thanks to Jane Green for her generosity of time and thought and to Laura Rossi, Tandem Literary: Publicity & Marketing, for facilitating this interview.