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An Interview with Author Jane Green

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Jane Green’s new novel, Saving Grace, was recently released in the US. TheReadingRoom was able to speak with the New York Times bestselling author about her new book, writing process, and inspiration. Plus, Jane picked ten of her favorite books for readers to add to their bookshelves! First, let’s learn a bit more about this new novel:

Saving Grace is novel about a marriage that holds terrible secrets, and a devastating betrayal.

Grace Chapman has the perfect life, living comfortably with her husband, bestselling author Ted, in a picture-perfect farmhouse on the Hudson River in New York State.  But what no one sees—what is churning under the surface—are Ted’s rages, his mood swings, and the precarious house of cards that their lifestyle is built upon.  When Ted’s longtime assistant and mainstay leaves, the house of cards begins to crumble, and Grace, with dark secrets in her past, is most vulnerable.

Then Ted advertises for a new assistant, and Beth walks into their lives. Organized, passionate and eager to learn, Beth has the calm efficiency to weather the storms that threaten to engulf the Chapman household, and quickly makes herself indispensable to Ted and his family. But Grace soon begins to feel side-lined in her home – and her marriage – by this ambitious younger woman.

Is Grace just paranoid, as her husband tells her, or is there more to Beth than first thought?  With everything at stake and no one to confide in, Grace must find a way to save herself before it’s too late.

Filled with Jane Green’s own recipes – she trained as a chef at the French Culinary Institute – Saving Grace also explores the misdiagnosis of mental illnesses, and the dangers of overprescribing drugs which are supposed to cure, but end up causing more harm.

With Saving Grace, Jane Green takes readers on a harrowing journey as Grace struggles to find herself again, before another women’s obsession makes her disappear.

TheReadingRoom: After such a prolific career, do you still feel that same buzz of excitement leading up to the release of your next novel?

Jane Green: More fear than excitement. I always worry that this will be the disaster that brings my entire career crashing around my ears, but my agent assures me that’s part of the creative process and will inevitably lead to success. I hope he’s right…

TRR: Where did the idea for Saving Grace come from?  

JG: Initially from a bookkeeper we had employed who turned out to be dishonest, with a history of stealing we didn’t discover until it was too late. I started to think about the assumptions we make that everyone we meet operates under the same moral code, and how betrayed we feel when that isn’t the case. This led to creating Beth, who seems like the perfect assistant although Grace has a feeling from the start that she has another agenda, even though she appears so great, everyone thinks Grace is crazy. Including, after a while, Grace herself.

TRR: Has your writing process evolved over the course of your writing career? Are you a more comfortable storyteller now, or does every new manuscript wipe the slate clean?

JG:   I’m a more proficient storyteller now, and put far more work into my editing than I ever did in those early books. I have learned so much, and continue to learn with every book.

TRR: You were a journalist before you started writing novels, so writing’s always been in your blood, but where did your passion for storytelling come from?

JG: I have to believe it’s innate. Even in conversation, I am a storyteller – I am always standing slightly on the outside watching people and creating stories about them in my head.

TRR: Moving onto your reading habits, do you still have time to indulge in a good book despite being engrossed with your own stories?

JG:  Always. I read all the time apart from when I’m binge-watching something on Showtime or HBO, but I try to limit the TV or I might never read at all these days. 

TRR: What has been your favorite book of the past year?

JG: You Should Have Known by Jean Hanff Korelitz.

TRR: What are your ten favorite books?

JG: 

  1. Brother of the More Famous Jack by Barbara Trapido;
  2. Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin;
  3. May We Be Forgiven by A.M. Homes;
  4. The Magician’s Assistant by Ann Patchett;
  5. Them by Jon Ronson;
  6. Bilgewater by Jane Gardam;
  7. The Hunchback of Neiman Marcus by Sonya Sones,
  8. Sophie’s Choice by William Styron,
  9. Rough Music by Patrick Gale,
  10. Other People’s Children by Joanna Trollope

jane-green's-bookshelf

Add them to your bookshelf here!

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