Blogoversary Day 31: Jane Porter

Jen: Our official blogoversary celebration ends today with a visit from Jane Porter.  Long time readers of RtB may remember me posting about a dinner I had with Jane.  And for those new to the blog, you can find the post here.  At the dinner, Jane and I talked about her visiting RtB… and here she is, albeit 9 months later.  Jane, please tell us about She’s Gone Country.

Jane: She’s Gone Country is still available in major bookstores and online with most e-book retailers. This book was most inspired by my memories of my childhood and my love of cowboys.

A former model, Shey Darcy is devastated when her famous photographer husband suddenly announces he’s in love with someone else and wants a divorce. Shey decides to move back home to Texas to the family ranch with her three teenage sons. While Shey tries to figure out what to do next, her sons are struggling to adjust to life in a small town and dealing with depression. Add to the mix her old crush, former bull-riding champ, Dane Kelly shows up on the scene and suddenly life gets even more complicated. Shey realizes that in order to find true happiness, she’ll have to let go of the past.


This is a book I’ve been wanting to write for a very long time. I’m the daughter of a Texas rancher who once owned three cattle ranches. We spent many of our holidays on my grandfather’s ranch and some of my best memories come from our vacations there. The ranch wasn’t fancy though. We really had to rough it and as kids we rode horses, climbed on the corrals, splashed in the water troughs at the windmills. It was ranch life at its finest!

Jen: At what age did you discover writing? When where you first published? Tell us your call story.

Jane: I’ve been writing since I was a young girl. I love the arts and I love books and reading. Also, I’m an emotional person and adore stories with lots of emotion. I think it was a natural progression for me to go from wanting to be a dancer to an actress to a writer. Words hold so much power and right from the moment I read Little Women and Pride & Prejudice, I knew in my heart that I wanted to be a writer.

The road to getting published wasn’t easy. I’ve got something like 13 manuscripts that will never be published but writing each one of them helped me become a better writer. It took me 15 years of trying constantly but I got the call in the year 2000 from Harlequin who bought my first book The Italian Groom. It’s been an incredible journey so far!

Jen: How do you approach your writing? Do you plot or go with the flow?

Jane: I think about the idea for months, maybe years, and flesh it out—who the characters are, what the conflict is, why this story is important or relevant—and then when I think I have all the pieces I need, I sit down to write. But there’s actually very little on paper. It’s mostly idea blocks in my head. I’ve done this with a number of books now, including She’s Gone Country. I’ve known for years that I’d write this book and send Shey Darcy home to her family’s very rural ranch in Palo Pinto County, Texas but it wasn’t until I understood her three sons’ struggles, and how much Dane Kelly, her first love mattered to her, that I knew the rest of my story.

Jen: Do you struggle with deadlines? How do you deal with the pressure?

Jane: I think most writers struggle with deadlines. Sometimes it can be really difficult blending the practicality of deadlines with the flow of creativity. The whole process can be exhausting, exhilarating and exciting. There’s nothing more rewarding than the feeling of creating new characters and taking them on their journey—whatever its going to be. I write slow when I first start a book, often reworking the first chapter up to twenty times, before I’m comfortable moving on to chapter 2, but once I hit the midway point in a story, I really pick up steam and can write twenty, thirty, or more pages in a day. As for dealing with the pressure, I try to reward myself by setting small goals so the project overall doesn’t overwhelm me. If I reach my goal within the time limit, I get to do something fun for a short while before coming back to the next goal – like spending time with my boys or stepping out for a cup of coffee with a friend.

Jen: What is it about the romance genre that appeals to you?

Jane: The happy ending. Let’s face it. There’s enough happening in our own lives or television or the news to keep us firmly rooted in reality. So when I sit down to read, I don’t want a story that’s too depressing or doesn’t have a happy ending. I don’t want to read books that make me cry and end on a sad note or leave me terrified or anxious. I love the romance genre because it delivers a dream. It keeps the focus on the romantic relationship that always works out, no matter what obstacles are thrown in the path. Even when love seems hopeless, romance novels always deliver an ending that makes you smile. I love the conflict, and intense emotion between two strong characters. I love how the characters grow through their suffering and sacrifices and still prevail. The romance genre offers emotional intensity and passion like no other genre.

Jen: How much of your actual life gets written into your fictional stories? Have you ever written yourself into a story?

Jane: No, I can’t say that I’ve ever written my true self into a story but I do try to write about things or people that interest me and hopefully interest my readers too. I think writing about timely, relevant issues—life at forty, marriage at a crossroads, divorce, parenting, aging, financial pressures, etc are all fascinating and create really good stories. My female characters really struggle at times and my readers identify with these struggles. However, my stories aren’t just about wallowing in problems, or surviving life. I want my books to uplift women—entertain them, as well as empower them. When a reader finishes my book I want her to feel better about herself and her life than when she started the book.

Jen: Who are some of your favorite authors and books? What are you reading now?

Jane: I really love to read and am a huge fan of Mary Balogh, Claudia Dain, JR Ward, Marian Keyes and lots of others. I tend to read a mixture of lit fiction and romantic fiction, with some biographies thrown in to keep me grounded in reality. Right now I’m reading Dandelion Summer by Lisa Wingate.

Jen: Do you do anything to celebrate a sale, new contract or release?

Jane: I also love spending time with my friends. It’s a great way to unwind after a deadline. Sometimes we’ll meet for a meal or coffee or just go out for a movie.

Jen: What’s next for you?

Jane: I’ve just finished off another book for Harlequin Presents and am all set to jump on my new project for Berkley. It’s a new series about a family in San Francisco–the Brennans. The family has four daughters and one son and this story is really about the sisters’ relationships to each other, and their own families. It’s got a lot of good things in it and I’m really looking forward to bringing their stories to life!

Jen: Where can you be found on the web?

Jane: My website – http://www.janeporter.com
Twitter – http://twitter.com/authorjanep
Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/authorjaneporter
MySpace – http://www.myspace.com/authorjaneporter

Contest details:

  • Jane is giving away 3 prize packages that include a copy of her latest Harlequin Presents, A Dark Sicilian Secret, and a copy of Flirting With Forty, plus fun Jane Porter goodies for each winner.
  • The contest is open to everyone… international readers included.
  • You must leave a meaningful comment for entry.  This means your comment is something more than “please enter me in the contest”.
  • A valid email address needs to be included in your comment.  If you’re worried about spam, please modify your address, such as admin.bookblog AT gmail.com.  You can also send a message to this email after your comment has been posted.
  • While following the blog isn’t required, it is appreciated.
  • The contest ends on Saturday, August 6.
Purchase Links for A Dark Sicilian Secret