So you know how yesterday I posted a review on Jane Porter's The Good Woman? I actually meant to post it today. Ah, well. It can not be helped. In case you missed it, go back and read it. I loved it. But to continue my love of the book, Jane came to visit me. Here's what I asked her and what she told me:
- The first book gives a good introduction of all of the sisters but focuses on Meg. Which characters will be featured in the next 2 books?
The second book in the Brennan Sisters trilogy, The Good Daughter, will feature Catholic high school English teacher, Kit Brennan, and you’ll see less of Brianna, Sarah and Meg in this one, and more of Mom and Dad, as well as Kit’s teacher friends, her student, Delilah, and Kit’s love interest, Jude. The third book, is really Sarah’s story, although Brianna and Meg will both return as their lives are filled with new complications that end up involving everyone.
- Marriage infidelity is such a touchy subject and personal. How did you prepare yourself to get into Meg’s character as she travels down the path and back up again? Did you interview men and women who have traveled that road?
I did do a lot of reading about marriage and infidelity when writing The Good Woman, and it’s a subject that returns in the third book, so it wasn’t easy reading, and it wasn’t easy writing. The statistics on infidelity in our country are daunting and the impact on marriage is devastating. There are definitely those who have weathered the crisis and their marriages have grown stronger, and then there are those who can’t recover from the loss of trust. And beyond reading countless books by psychologists, social workers, and sociologists and anthropologists on the issue, I did talk to people—men and women, and it’s a tough, and touchy, subject. People are very vocal on the subject. But it’s a real one.
- How did you invent the characters for the Brennan sisters? Did you have role models for them?
The Brennan ‘family’ came to me through the parents—Tom and Marilyn Brennan, and the rest of the family just came from there. I never really know where actual characters come from but once they’re born in my imagination, that’s who they are. I don’t even up tweaking them a lot. They come into my mind as whole, real people, and it’s up to me then to tell their stories to the best of my ability. And no, I didn’t have role models for them. Just those pictures in my head and their conversations...because once the Brennan sisters started talking, they wouldn’t shut up! ☺
- If it isn’t a spoiler, what are the main conflicts of the next books with the sisters?
In Kit’s book, the issue is one of self-trust, self-knowledge, and boundaries. It’s a story of learning how to protect one’s self. In Sarah’s book, the third book, Sarah has to come to terms with her inability to forgive her husband, and trust him, and what it’s doing to their marriage, and her. Because the lack of trust, and the fear, is eating her alive. Will she be able to forgive and move forward, truly move forward, or will she have to leave the man who is the love of her life?
- How did you become so insightful of women of a certain age and marriages when you’re only 25 years old? Maybe 26?
I love the compliment, but at 48, I am closer to 50 than 25! And having been married and divorced, and remarried, as well as being the mother to three sons, I’ve been in the trenches, and my friends have been in the trenches, and I write about the things we women know...even the things we wish we didn’t know. Life isn’t easy. It will never be easy. But it can also be thrilling and rewarding and full of joy, and that’s my goal in my books...to take the hard things that could cause us to stumble and fall, and turn them into obstacles that ultimately empower us.
- When you write about something so delicate and personal, do you feel exposed as a person?
I used to feel exposed...now I’m just used to being naked in the public! ☺ But that’s me...I’m so very open and honest, and probably too honest for some people, but these are the themes and issues that interest me and they’re often the things we struggle with in private, so its what I want to bring into the open, or at least into a story, and then hopefully we can discuss the things that make us afraid or keep us from sleeping at night. I want women to feel safe, and strong, and we can only do that by being supportive of each other.
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