Meet Jane Porter. Jane is a successful novelist with more than 20 books under her belt. Her most recent is the uplifting Flirting with Forty, based in large part on her experiences as a single mom juggling work, kids and romance.
Once a junior high and high school English teacher, Jane now works as a writer full-time. Jane Porter lives in Bellevue, Washington with her two boys, Jake (11) and Ty (8).
In this candid interview, Jane Porter talks about how her own working mother inspired her, admits the isolation she sometimes feels working from home, explores the way her life has changed since her divorce, and tells us how she finds a healthy balance between work and family as a successful novelist.
Describe your work schedule.
I definitely work forty plus hours a week, and the more successful I'm becoming the more hours it takes, just due to reader fan mail and requests for book events and speaking engagements. I handle PR, media relations, promotional efforts and business mail from my desk at home. I do final revisions from there as well. But the big chunks of my novels are written at Starbucks as I don't seem to write well at my desk anymore, because of too many competing distractions (kids, phone, email, internet, bills, laundry, and you know the rest ).
What are the best and worst parts of your job as a novelist?
I love the creativity of my job. I love making up worlds, and developing characters women relate to. I want so badly to connect with other women, to start a dialogue, one that will hopefully continue with other women and their friends. I’m fascinated and disturbed by the state of our lives, and the intense stresses in it. My books give me a chance to play devil’s advocate and wonder if there isn’t possibly
a different way of living/feeling/being.
The worst part of my job? The hours, and the time away from kids and friends. To write well, I must be alone and yet I resent having to sometimes work so alone so much of the time when other people get to "see" friends at work, or have a more social environment. When I was a teacher, I loved the teacher staff room. I loved lunch and recess breaks because they gave me a chance to see other women and shoot the shit and be reminded we’re all in this together. But as a woman, a mom, that works from home it’s just me . . . and maybe like other moms, it’s alienating. I miss contact with the outside world. I also wish I had a better handle on the long hours. I think sometimes I could use three of me!
Would you work if money were no object?