Please welcome bestselling chick lit author Jane Heller who took the time to answer our interview questions! And enter to win an eBook of The Secret Ingredient below!
Why chick lit? What about the genre inspires you?
Jane: When I wrote my first few novels, there was no such category. The publishers were using the term “women’s fiction.” All I knew was that I wanted to write about women – ordinary women who found themselves in extraordinary circumstances and had to take often humorous journeys to discover their own inner strength…and, of course, find true love. I love reading real-life stories about inspiring or entertaining women, so I guess it was only natural that I’d gravitate toward their fictional counterparts when I became a novelist. And I’ve always been drawn to funny women – from Lucille Ball to writers like Nora Ephron and Susan Isaacs. Nothing pleases me more than when readers tell me my books made them laugh out loud.
Where do you write? Are there specific things you need to have around you to be productive?
Jane: I have an office in my house. Over the years the offices (and houses – I’ve moved a lot) have had different views (one looked out over the ocean; one looked out over the garbage cans), and I’ve managed to be productive no matter where my office is. All I need is a door that closes; I’m not someone who does well with noise and chaos around me.
What is your advice to aspiring authors?
Jane: My advice to aspiring authors is this: Don’t just think about writing; do it. I try to write every day whether I’m motivated or not, inspired or not, sluggish/hungover/not-in-the-mood or not. I know there are authors who talk about the muse striking. I’m not one of them. I just sit down at the computer and try to get at least something on the page. Another piece of advice: Find your voice and then be true to it. If you’re funny, write funny. If you gravitate toward more emotional material, write emotional. My mother always says, “Be yourself,” and that’s good advice for writers too.
What are your thoughts on paper books vs eBooks?
Jane: I’ve written 13 novels and a book of nonfiction, and every time the publisher sends the first copy of the physical book in the mail I get the same thrill all over again. I smell the paper. I hold the book in my hand. I frame each cover and hang it on the wall of my office, sort of as a motivational tool for those moments when I go into a panic about what the next idea will be. That said, I adore eBooks. I bought a Kindle a few years ago and never looked back. I read voraciously, downloading one book after another. And I love that now that all my novels are just out in eBook editions, they’ll reach a whole new audience at a more affordable price. So I guess my answer is: I hope there will always be room in the publishing business for both physical books and ebooks.
What are you working on next?
Jane: Next up for me is a nonfiction book called YOU’D BETTER NOT DIE OR I’LL KILL YOU: A Caregiver’s Survival Guide to Keeping You in Good Health and Good Spirits. Chronicle is publishing it in November (as both a paper book and an eBook). It’s certainly not chick lit and its main topic is a serious one (caring for a loved one with an illness), but it’s written in my voice about my adventures in caregiving as the wife of a man with a chronic illness. Yes, there have been grim times, but some of the stuff in the book is hilarious, if I do say so! With over 65 million caregivers in America and growing, I hope the book will be a cheerful, upbeat companion to anyone going through caregiving, whether for a child, spouse or elderly parent.
Visit Jane Heller’s website to learn more