Here with me today is author of A State of Jane, Meredith Schorr - I hope you enjoy her answers as much as I did.
And remember Meredith has kindly offered an ecopy of A State of Jane to one lucky reader! All you have to do is comment on today's blog post to be in with a chance of winning.
I described A State of Jane as ‘does what it says on the tin - good solid chicklit’ How would you describe it?
I tend to describe my books as “realistic chicklit” in that the situations my characters find themselves in are not so far-fetched that they couldn’t happen in real life. I also strive to create believable and flawed characters to whom my readers can relate. But I quite like “good solid chicklit” as well!
Have you ever been so wrapped up in someone that like Jane, you have sidelined your friends, family etc? (be honest - we’ve all done it)
If I’m being completely honest, I have to say that I have never been so wrapped up on a man that I let my other relationships fall by the wayside. It’s probably because I’ve never been that girl who always has a boyfriend. I’ve spent more time single than in relationships and so I’ve come to rely on my friends and family too much. And when I am in a relationship, I like to talk about it and analyse it Ad Nauseum which is much more fun to do with girlfriends! I do admit to cancelling plans with friends a few times in favour of going out with a guy I really liked but not nearly as often as it’s been done to me. I have enough good-will in the friendship bank that my friends have understood and not held those rare occasions against me.
How did you choose the places in New York which Jane frequented and are they real, a mix or fictional?
All of the places Jane frequented are real and I’ve actually been to most of them myself. I purposely had Jane and her friends go to bars I went to in my mid-late twenties. Since it’s been a while, I had to rely on memory!
Do you see there being a continuation or sequel of Jane’s story?
I’ve had so many readers tell me that they want more Jane and so while it wasn’t something I initially planned to do, I have decided that my fourth novel will be a sequel to A State of Jane. While I thought the ending of A State of Jane was perfect for that story, I’d like to see what trouble the new and improved Jane can get into.
What are you working on now and is it in the same genre?
I am in edits of my third novel. It is a chicklit romance about a very popular book reviewer/blogger who is asked to review the debut novel of her high school nemesis, i,e. “the mean girl.” A legal secretary by day, she starts dating a hottie attorney from her law firm who insists that she is hiding behind other people’s books because she is afraid to admit her secret ambition to be a writer herself.
I loved Jane’s flatmate and the juxtaposition which occurred between them, which was very effective. It showed the changing view towards Jane. Where else do you think you did those most effectively and with which character(s)?
I’m glad you thought that worked! I think there was a similar turn of events between Jane and her officemate, Andrew, but I also liked the development of Jane’s relationship with her mother. Jane spends most of the book trying to hide her failures from her mother because she assumes her mom is as closely attached to Jane’s “life plan” as she is but they come to a subtle understanding later in the book which I found to be quite poignant but not so over-the-top to be unbelievable.
The striptease scene was very funny. I’m sure we all have moments we can recall with utter horror in our dating past. Are you willing to share any of yours (stripteases aside!)
I’m glad you liked that scene! Oh boy – I was once on a blind date where I knew immediately I was not attracted to the guy at all. Since I agreed to the date, I decided to make the most of it. Just because a romantic relationship is out of the question, doesn’t mean two people cannot have a nice time. Three lethal margaritas later, I was “beer-goggling” big time and wound up completely making out with the guy up and down the streets of Manhattan. I woke up with serious regrets and an email from him entitled “Cloud Nine” wherein he told me that he had the time of his life and had already told all of his friends about me! I totally blew him off. I was definitely the douchbag in that scenario and immediately implemented the one margarita maximum rule…
Jane’s colleague, whose advice she took too literally, got her into a whole new social scene and a lot of bother, even adopting an alter-ego. Was this the section of the book you had most fun writing and if not, what was?
I absolutely loved writing the scene with “Frances” and “Buddy”! I also had a blast with the Bob/Trish housewarming party scene when Jane claimed to be using all of the guys she was dating for sex and then came to her “epiphany.” The St. Patrick’s Day Parade scene was fun as well – I also got a ticket for open container one year at the parade J To be honest, the entire writing process was a hoot because I loved watching Jane’s plans get thwarted over and over and over again. I’m a cruel bitch, what can I say?
You’ve written another novel, Just Friends With Benefits. I confess to not having downloaded that yet, but I aim to. How is it different and similar to A State of Jane? What can you tell us about it?
Just Friends with Benefits is similar to A State of Jane in that both books are humorous chicklit with relatable main characters and lots of interaction with friends and family. Just Friends with Benefits has a strong romantic element as well though. The main character tries to turn the one who got away in college into “the one” and along the way ignores all of the signs that suggest he might not be right for her.
Which three adjectives would you use to describe Jane and which other three to describe her alter-ego?
I think both Jane and her alter-ego are way too complex to describe in three adjectives but here are a few:
Jane – naïve, hopeful, anal, self-absorbed, optimistic, romantic, quirky, clueless
Frances – spontaneous, spunky, calculating, selfish, flirty, condescending
As always, the quintessential question, who is your Rupert Penry-Jones?
I admit that I was not familiar with Rupert Penry-Jones and had to look him up. Once I saw his handsome face, I understood the question! I would have to put Bradley Cooper in the top spot these days. He’s just so incredibly sexy.
Apart from chicklit, which other genres do you like to read?
Dystopian Young Adult. I loved the Hunger Games Trilogy and have read the first two books in the Divergent series. I try to pepper my chicklit addiction with an occasional series like the above.
Favourite place in New York
My favourite street in the city is Irving Place in Gramercy Park. I was looking to buy an apartment a few years back and made a much higher offer than I could afford for a building on Irving Place. The apartment was tiny and needed to be completely renovated from its 1970s style but there was a gorgeous roof-top garden and it was also across the street from Pete’s Tavern, the oldest continuously operating bar in Manhattan. It was so quintessential New York that I couldn’t resist. Unfortunately I was completely outbid.
Where would you take a visitor to New York, which is off the tourist trail?
Greenwich Village – I get lost every time I head out there but if you’re going to get lost, it’s the best place to do it because there are so many sidewalk restaurants, bars and boutiques –It’s great for people watching, a date, a Sunday-funday, a romantic stroll etc. You name it. There is something for everyone. Don’t forget to bring your wallet though, because it ain’t cheap J
Musicals or plays? And your favourite.
I love musicals! I take my mother to a Broadway show every year for her birthday and have seen some of the great ones. My favourites include Wicked, Hairspray and Mama Mia.
Do you have any favourite authors or TV shows which are not American? If so, which (I ask this, as in the UK people watch a lot of US TV and although I don’t, I read a lot of US writers!)
Some of my favourite authors are not American! Sophie Kinsella is my absolute favourite. I’m a huge fan of Marian Keye’s older works and credit her novel Watermelon for my addiction to chicklit. Newer non-American writers I follow include Samantha Stroh Bailey and Talli Roland, both Canadian. And although I haven’t started it yet, I have a feeling I am going to love The Dating Game by Susan Buchanan. I think you might know her… As far as television, I am addicted to Downton Abbey.
If money was no object and you could write from anywhere in the world, describe the location?
I would love to write from a house on the water - have you ever seen Something’s Gotta Give with Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson? I want that beach house in The Hamptons!
Who would you have play Jane’s flatmate and male work colleague in a TV serialisation of A State of Jane?
I would have Rachelle Lefevre play Lainie and Prince Harry play Andrew. (I know Prince Harry is not an actor but since I doubt A State of Jane will be made into a television show, although a girl can dream, I am not straying from my dream cast!
Alcohol or chocolate and your favourite of whichever you choose
My drink of choice these days is prosecco. I do not have much of a sweet tooth, but I do like dark chocolate.
How many colours or crazy styles (if any) have you had your hair in your lifetime?
My natural hair colour is very dark brown, almost black. The craziest thing I ever did was highlight my entire head blonde – I thought blondes had more fun and wanted to see for myself. I loved it for the first 3 months and then looked in the mirror one day and freaked out because it just wasn’t me and it looked so fake. Ugh. Never again. It was years before I was finally convinced by a hair stylist to let him give me subtle blonde highlights to warm up my face. I love it! It looks natural and is much more fitting to my face and my personality. As far as hair style, I’ve never been very adventurous. Ever since I made the mistake of getting a bi-level haircut (the female mullet) in 8th grade and cried for weeks, the biggest change I’ve made was cutting bangs or shortening my layers.
What will you be doing for Valentine’s Day this year?
Kind of a sore subject as my boyfriend and I just broke up last week after 1.5 years… I will probably go home and curl up on my couch with a glass of wine and a good book. I don’t think I will wait 365 days to get back into the dating scene like Jane did though... Do you know anyone?
Well that's it for today - thanks for joining us, Meredith.
You can keep in touch with Meredith and her work via the following means:-
Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/#!/
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Buy the Book!
Amazon : http://amzn.to/YiWzBS (US)
Tune in tomorrow, when I will be taking part in another blog award.
Have a great weekend