Jane Green reveals the very personal inspiration behind Summer Secrets
From New York Times bestselling author Jane Green comes her 17th novel, Summer Secrets (releasing June 23), which delves into the complications of family, secrets and the places that never change through the years.
SheKnows sat down with the storyteller to talk about her latest book and her love of writing about Nantucket.
SheKnows: What inspired you to write Summer Secrets?
Jane Green: My husband has a cousin who recently discovered, in his 50s, that the man he thought was his father wasn't his father; and coincidentally, I also have cousins who don't know they are related to me — the result of an illicit affair one of my uncles had years ago. I am fascinated by the secrets people keep, and the impact those have on our lives.
SK: What's the biggest challenge you've faced in your career as a writer?
JG: Finding the time to write novels, cookbooks, update social media, write articles, be a wife, mother, friend. Much of the time I feel like I'm paddling water, barely keeping afloat.
SK: Were there any obstacles you faced because you're a woman? Are there any roadblocks women unfairly encounter in the book world?
JG: I am enormously grateful to have the career I have had and the readers I have had. No complaints coming from me.
SK: Do you have any strange writing habits or routines when you write?
JG: I now take myself off to a self-imposed writing retreat a couple of times a year where I hole up and write for up to 12 hours a day.
SK: What is the worst writing advice you've ever received?
JG: "Your work is unpublishable."
SK: What advice would you give up-and-coming women authors?
JG: Write the story you want to tell, not the one you think will be a bestseller.
SK: Which authors and/or books inspire your writing most?
JG: I tend to read nonfiction when I'm writing — the danger of unconscious plagiarism is always present otherwise.
SK: What's one characteristic the main character in your book possesses that you wish you had?
JG: Skinny ankles.
SK: Describe your book in three words.
JG: Warm. Wise. Inspiring.
SK: Is there any particular scene in Summer Secrets that stands out to you, or has special meaning — and why?
JG: I always love writing about Nantucket. Wherever I actually am while I am writing, I am instantly transported back to one of my favorite places in the world.
SK: In your opinion, what are the book's most important themes?
JG: Acceptance. Humility. The importance of wearing life like a loose garment
SK: What is the best thing about writing about women's fiction?
JG: Losing myself in my imagination for hours each day.
SK: What will you be reading this summer?
JG: Eight Hundred Grapes by Laura Dave, Saint Mazie by Jami Attenberg, The Knockoff by Lucy Sykes.
SK: When you're not writing, what do you like to do?
JG: Cook. Garden. Decorate houses. Have very hot baths. Collapse.
SK: What projects will you be working on next?
JG: Getting the cookbook, Good Taste, done. I am enormously proud of it, and it launches on Kickstarter as an exclusive collector's edition on June 11.
SK: Who's your favorite female character ever, and why?
JG: Catherine in Brother of the More Famous Jack by Barbara Trapido, for her gorgeous mix of vulnerability and strength.
SK: What kind of stereotypes do you see in women's fiction that frustrate you?
JG: I don't, particularly. Perhaps I am reading either the wrong, or the right, kinds of books.
SK: What type of characters do you want to see more of in women's fiction?
JG: Industrious, hard-working, accomplished ones brimming with self-love.