Thursday, October 05, 2006

Nadine's Website Promo Blitz Week - LAST DAY!

The end is now upon us (but certainly not the end of my blogging!) and boy do I have a treat for you today.

But first, the answer to yesterday's question... who knew this one would turn out to be the most controversial? One of you faithful blog readers pointed out to me that the name 'Mizrahi' can be traced back to Middle Eastern Jewish communities. How far back, and how much this makes Issac an Arab, I couldn't say... however, it's intersting to note that though there are some very, very old Jewish-Arab familes with roots that run very deep in Middle-Eastern (obviously, what with Jesus et al.). According to the bible, the ethnic division between Arabs and Jews goes back to Issac (Abraham's son with Sarah who went on to found the Jewish community) and Ishmael (Abraham's son with Hagar, who the considers is the first 'Arab'). So if we use the bible as our reference point, then it's pretty safe to say Mizrahi is NOT an Arab. However, seeing as I'm of the opionion that the Bible is the last place one should look to for historical accuracy or questions of ethnicity, I pronouce Mizrahi of some Middle Eastern ancestry (wonder what he would think about that...).

What this means to you, is that you were all entered in the draw, regardless of your answer, and the winner is.... Kristin Brunori! Woo hoo!!! You are the very lucky recipient of a book that will be hitting your local bookstore next January, as well as some nifty Cuban postcards.

Some background on the other designers mentioned: Norma Kamali and Reem Acra are both Arab-American (Reem is based in New York City), while Elie Saab is purely Lebanese... his atelier is actually in Beirut, despite the fact that his creations show up at vitually every red carpet event to come out of Hollywood (especially on Halle Berry).

Onto today's interview...

An author who truly needs no introduction, Jane Green has been regaling us with fish-out-of-water tales on both sides of the Atlantic since chick lit was but a twinkle in the publishing industry’s eye. Jemima J., Jane’s take on the timeless Cinderella tale made it onto my all-time favorite reads list, and her latest, Swapping Lives (Life Swap in the UK) hit the bookshelves in the US in June. Here, for your note-taking pleasure, is a glimpse into the mind of this women’s fiction novelist extraordinaire.

1. What inspires you to write?

Usually something going on in either my life or the lives of people around me. With Jemima I wanted to tackle women's unique relationship with food, which I had always struggled with, and in The Other Woman, I was fascinated by how many women seemed to have awful problems with their mothers-in-law. However, the novels, whilst inspired by real life, are very definitely fiction.

2. How long does it take you to write a novel?

Far longer than it used to. In the old days I could dedicate myself absolutely to writing, but now, with four small children and a busy life, I find that life gets in the way far more. Generally around nine months is about right.

3. Do you have a writing technique beyond getting yourself into your chair and getting it done, or is that pretty much the best way to do it?

Best way to do it. Discipline discipline discipline.

4. How do you deal with writer's block?

See above.

5. What's the biggest myth about being a writer?

I think people would be astonished by how ordinary the life of a bestselling author is. It sounds fantastically glamorous, but most of my days are spent ferrying children back and forth to activities, doing laundry, paying bills etc etc. Twice a year I go on book tour and then do morph into my more glamorous self, but it's not really who I am.

6. In Straight Talking you wrote a chick lit novel before the genre even had a name. The landscape has changed quite a bit since then. What advice would you give to would-be authors eager to break into the genre today?

I would give the same advice to someone wanting to write chick lit as I would to someone wanting to write anything: write what you know, and tell the story you want to tell. Never start a book wanting to please others, or because you think it will be commercially viable. In essence, be true to yourself. The critics of chick lit say it has reached saturation point and is about to die out, but they've been saying that for ten years, and there's still clearly an enormous market for it. Frankly I think there's room for everything in the publishing market today.
7. You've said of your earlier books (Straight Talking, Jemima J) that they mirrored the single-girl-in-London life you were living in your late twenties and early thirties. To have and to Hold, The Other Woman, and most recently Swapping Lives have chronicled (at least in part) the social landmines of privileged small town America, a topic you're well placed to write about since your move across the pond. How do you keep reinventing these themes and characters you know so well to keep your books fresh and engaging?

Thank you for the compliment! I always worry that I'm never going to find inspiration again, but there are always themes that crop up and events that happen around me that seem to inspire me.

8. What are you reading at the moment?

A stack of self-help books. Not like me at all, but have found myself going through an enormously stressful time recently, and they seem to help give me a sense of peace.

9. What was the most fabulously indulgent fashion purchase you ever made?

I have to say I do have a collection of Hermes Birkins which now feel horribly extravagant, but they are classics, and I'll never get rid of them.

10. What's next from Jane Green?

I'm writing something at the moment that has no title yet, but is the story of a group of friend reuniting after one of them dies, but I have to say I have a slight penchant for writing a mystery - not sure why, but I'd like to see if I could do it.

11. And just for the record, what's your upper limit on Fashionably Late-ness? Is two and a half hours pushing it?

Just ever so slightly. I think half an hour would do it. (Really?? Whoopsie...)

12. What was your most memorable fashion faux pas?

Oh God. Do I really have to answer this? (Ha ha, yes you do Jane. I'll go first... acid-washed jeans and peach rhinestone-studded sweatshirt circa fifth grade. Your turn). Going to a day wedding last year, I think in New Jersey, wearing a fabulous and enormous hat. In England we all wear hats to weddings, and a day wedding calls for a suit, but at this one everyone was in sparkly black evening dresses, and these women spent the evening looking at me as if I was completely bonkers. Also, I couldn't take the bloody thing off because I had the most disastrous case of hat-hair underneath. Mortifying!

Thanks Jane!

I’m afraid we’ve come to the end of Nadine’s Website Promo Blitz Week… and I’ve saved my most treasured prize for last. An advance reading copy of Fashionably Late, which are being printed as we speak (sniff, sniff).

And for your final question (a seriously easy one at that...):

Which of the following countries are NOT Arab countries?
a) Iran & Turkey
b) Morocco & Tunisia
c) Egypt & Syria

d)Bahrain & Oman

Best of luck!


Kristen Painter said...

I adore winning things.

Anonymous said...

Congrats, Kristen :)