Sunday, January 27, 2013

Good Girls Do It Their Way


 by Jane Porter

On Friday I finished writing the 3rd book in my Brennan Sisters trilogy about the sprawling, Irish-American Brennan family in San Francisco.   I have loved this series, and family, inspired in large part by my younger brother’s in-law.

My brother, Rob, lives in downtown San Francisco, and is married to a gorgeous girl whose father, Tom Callen, was a San Francisco fire fighter, and served on the San Francisco Fire Department at one point with his grandfather Callen, several uncles, and two of his brothers  

I love family and community and the Callen family’s commitment to their city resonated with me, as did my brother and sister-in-law’s decision to raise their kids in San Francisco proper, making their kids sixth generation San Franciscans.  They  are proud of their history and continuity, and I—the storyteller—can’t stop my imagination for running wild with story possibilities.

The Callen famiy might have inspired by Brennan family, with a fire fighter for the patriarch, but from there, the series is all my own, with strong family dynamics, tons of sisterly love, and lots of self-discovery.

The first book, The Good Woman, is about the oldest sister, Meg, a mother of three, who works as a publicist for a Napa winery.  Meg is the quintessential good woman.  She’s responsible, to a fault.  But frazzled and flattened from juggling work, marriage and motherhood, Meg makes a serious mistake that threatens to cost her not just her marriage, but her family support.

In The Good Daughter, the second book, Kit, one of the middle sisters, and the family peacemakers, discovers that its impossible to always please everyone else.  In fact, pleasing others just might mean you’ll never end up happy yourself.   Now Kit must decide if she is going to continue keeping the peace, or do what she needs to do for herself, even if it means alienating those she has always loved best.

In both books I tackle some meaty stuff but I deliberately chose to keep the books from being so gritty that they were depressing.  Greif and loss and change is all difficult enough, without making it dark, and suffocating.  I don’t just want to make readers cry.  I want them to laugh, to sigh, to smile, to dream.

I’ve been through very difficult things, and so when I write about death or grief, abuse or violence, its not to bury my reader in wet cement, but to give her a hand, and say—I get it.  I’ve been there.  You can get through this.  And we get through hard things with love and faith and support.

My readers know my themes, too.  The Good Daughter is my 8th women’s fiction novel, and my readers know what they want from me, and that’s a story about real women finding their place in the world.  They want to read about real women overcoming adversity to find love, and happiness, with maybe some sexy sizzle thrown in to remind them they’re alive and desirable.

When my readers finish one of my books I want them to feel validated, supported, loved.  It’s important to feel good.  Its important we feel valuable as women.  Otherwise, how do we raise children?  How do we take care of our aging parents?  How do we love ourselves if we’re fearful and broken and trapped in a dark place?  I don’t know that we can…so I do what I do because its my passion and my mission.  It gives me joy to create joy, and if I’ve made one reader happy, then I’ve done something wonderful. 

I say this because critics don’t necessarily agree with me.  They think I’ve failed to dig deep enough into domestic violence or depression.  I’ve been accused of glossing over the hard things, and truthfully, yes, I do, to a certain extent.  Because I’m not writing about domestic violence or depression because it’s a creative topic.  Its real.  But its not pleasurable.  If you’ve experienced it, its not interesting to even read about.  It takes you back to pain, and suffering isn’t glorious.  Suffering is suffering.  It hurts.  It wounds.  It scars.  So yes, I put it out there, but then the goal is to move on.  To move forward.  To move forward with hope, and strength, courage and optimism.  Maybe these themes aren’t for everyone, but they’re mine, and its why my readers read me.

As a writer I don’t think we have to appeal to all readers.  Instead we must simply be true to ourselves. 

            For a chance to win a copy of The Good Woman and other fun goodies, tell me what makes you happy.   Two winners will be picked on Wednesday and each receive a signed copy of The Good Woman, a $5 Starbucks drink card, and some other fun Jane Porter reader goodies. 

42 comments:

  1. Jane Porter!!! So wonderful to have you here. Love this post. Love your work!

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  2. Jane, I'm so looking forward to this trilogy. Thanks for sharing!

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  3. Thank you so much for this fantastic giveaway! What makes me happy is a mug of Hot Chocolate and a good book...simple. x

    Email: lfountain1(at)hotmail(dot)co(dot)uk

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  4. I love Jane Porter books so much! Great post!

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  5. HI Jane, I hope your ears were ringing as the LA Girlfriends got together last week (my only outing this round), singing your praises and looking forward to this book. Yes, life is hard enough..even with realistic stories, I love a happy ending!
    xo
    Leslie

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  6. Jane, I loved The Good Woman and congrats on the new book. I'm loving this family. What makes me happy is seeing my kids smile and a bubble bath/good book/wine to close out my day.

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  7. My kids and family make me happy. They really do know how to put a smile on my heart!

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  8. congrats jane! cant wait to read the latest! love you! Diana aka moosehog

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  10. Congrats Jane! What makes me happy is seeing my granddaughters smile.

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  11. Hello Jane! Thanks visiting with the GBC today and for your wonderful post! I'm off to share with friends on FB, which always makes me happy!

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  12. Jane, you're an amazing writer! This series brings tremendous value to the everyday woman!

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  13. Reading your great books makes me happy :-) And baking. I just love to bake.

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  14. Im new to your blog and really enjoying it! :D
    thanks!
    My kids make me happy! and for the times they drive me crazy coffee makes me happy!
    ;D
    lzamudio02 @ hotmail .com

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  15. Great post, and I agree - be true to yourself when writing! There are so many different writers and readers out there. What something that speaks to you and it will ring authentic with readers who love the style! I'm a big fan and really enjoy your novels!

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  16. Laying in the sun by the pool reading your books.....makes me happy!! :)

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  17. Being with family, snuggling with my dog, Gershwin both make me happy.

    mestith@gmail.com

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  18. Michele Davenport BurdickJanuary 28, 2013 at 2:08 PM

    Happy to have discovered your books and looking forward to reading them. :)

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  19. The life I'm living now. Not a lot of reason to dwell on the things that brought me here. I'm looking forward to reading your books.

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  20. Your books make me happy and sunshine everyday. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

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  21. Walking in the foothills. reading your wonderful books. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  22. My family & fuzzy socks make me happy.

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  23. Spending time with my friends make me happy. Cupcakes too.

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  24. watching my children grow up and figure out what to do in their lives makes me happiest. but I love a good book and a yummy cupcakes!

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  25. Realizing its later in the week than I thought...finding money in a coat pocket..watching my cat play with her catnip mouse, a good movie with a good friend. Oops, guess thats more than one! Probably more but I don't want to go over the limit more than I already have!

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  26. Spending time with my family makes me happy!

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  27. Great job, Jane. It's always good to hear what you have to say!
    Kim

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  28. A good book and the company of family and friends make me happy.

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  29. mmmmm, What makes me happy? family would probably be top of the list - getting to spend time with my daughter and granddaughter. movie & dinner with hubby.
    And, of course, when I can spend time reading a good book without feelings of guilt for not doing housework!

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  30. Thank You for a chance to win a signed copy!!
    Ever since our first hug to many many more at 21yrs of marriage on Valentines Day just being in my Hubby's arms makes me Hapoy!! And He's a FireFighter/EMT!!

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  31. Reading makes me happy!

    Marcy
    bmndshuler(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  32. I suppose what I should say makes me happy is my family, which they do, but.... my idea of a little piece of heaven is having the house all to myself (that doesn't happen very often) where I can just sit and read without feeling guilty because I am not 'doing something'. That makes me very happy!

    I am also a middle child and find myself being the peacemaker. It's a tough job sometimes.

    Thanks for the amazing giveaway!

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  33. What makes me happy is being Aunt Susan to my fantastic nieces and nephews. I want them to know how special they are, how much they matter to me, and how much they are loved! So blessed!

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  34. Watching The Ellen Degeneres show makes me happy.




    Bonnie

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  35. I loved The Good Woman and I am excited to read The Good Daughter! I love your books, because even though you do tackle tough subjects sometimes, you always do it in a way to give us hope.

    Reading and spending time with friends are what makes me the happiest.

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  36. Thanks so much for writing great stories Jane. :)

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  37. My cats and my husband make me happy as well as the very good friends I have made and remain in my life.

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  38. :-) what makes me happy ?? having the whole family, Wayne, Chris and Wendy and their whole families over for a leisurely afternoon of eating and chatting... watching the grandchildren playing makes my heart swell with pride and joy.. nothing better !!!!! thanks for the chance to win a GREAT PRIZE !!! Rosemary rfoley@salemstate.edu

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  39. Hearing and seeing people helping each other makes me happy. And singing! I would love to read The Good Daughter – thanks for the chance.

    valleyreader(at)gmail(dot)com

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  40. Family...I was the stem cell donor for my brother, donated to help save his life by curing his cancer...so greater joy than family.

    Mrsmommybooknerdsbookreviews at gmail dot com

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