Interview with Janet Fox and Floral Eye-Candy :-)
This weekend is going to be an exciting one! I'm ditching my family to go on the road Friday morning with Forget-Her-Nots. "Business trips" have been pretty infrequent in my life, so it will be a nice break for all of us. :-) If you live near South Bend, IN, or Chicago, check my appearances listing on my sidebar. Or you may see me wandering around the Chicago Botanic Garden late Saturday afternoon. I'd love to see you in person!In the meantime, I've been participating in Random Acts of Publicity, the brainchild of Darcy Pattison. It's a week in which authors try to blog, tweet, and post about some of their favorite writers and books. Today, I welcome Janet Fox, author of Faithful, a wonderful historical novel set in Yellowstone Park. Janet and I met at BEA last spring when I tagged along with her, Irene Latham, Jeri Smith-Reidy, and other members of the Class of 2K10 for a scrumptious Italian dinner. I wish Janet lived closer, so we could hang out more! Welcome, Janet.
What's your favorite flower and why? I love this question! My favorite flower is forget-me-not. That startling blue color on such a tiny flower, which blooms in early spring just when we need to see something beautiful, that’s what I love…but forget-me-not also has personal meaning for me. When I met my husband (and before we were married) he had a favorite pair of jeans with a hole in one knee. I sewed a patch on the knee for him, and then, instead of just stitching around the patch, embroidered it with forget-me-nots. We’ve been married for 31 years.You know I adore forget-me-nots, too! Their meaning is right there in the name. I have some blooming in my yard right now, and they reseed and pop up where you're not expecting them. Love it when that happens. (And can't resist some floral eye-candy.)
Is there a quotation you live by or have posted at your desk?I love quotes and shuffle them around for inspiration all the time – depending on my mood, my needs. But my son just went off to college, and I told him I had two words for him, my only advice: “Be nice.” There’s a lot of meanness in the world, frankly, and talent will only take one so far. But being just plain “nice” is the only way to live a good life. Oh, and a corollary to that is a quote I put on my own dorm wall when I was in college: “It takes strength to be happy.”Which book do you wish you could live inside?What a fabulous question. I tend to like books that are kind of dark…so I wouldn’t want to live in those. But if I had to choose, it would be C.S. Lewis’ Voyage of the Dawn Treader (from the Narnia series). I love the idea of sailing – and the cabin that Lucy lived in – and the merpeople – and that edge of the earth ending…I could picture it all as a child and read it over and over.Yes! And I'm really looking forward to that movie for the holidays. Who's your favorite dead writer and what book of his/ hers would you recommend? (We don't want to hurt the feelings of the living here!)Since I’ve already mentioned Lewis, I’ll have to say Jane Austen. Her books are sweet, compelling takes on her society, in addition to being downright funny at times, and her heroines (go, girls - love that!) always end up with the right guy, and happy. Pride and Prejudice is my all time favorite, but Mansfield Park is a close second.I'm a huge Austen fan, too! What book have you read more than any other and why?Lord of the Rings. I think I read that trilogy a dozen times, and keep saying that if I had to choose any book to take to Mars, it would be those three. They have everything: adventure, romance, heroic sacrifice, a truly evil antagonist, multiple compelling protagonists, gorgeous writing, a twist at the end, a richly imagined fantasy world – there are many copies but only one LOTR.Congrats on your recent trip to sign books in Yellowstone! Why did you choose this national park for your setting?First, because I know it so well; our cabin is not far away and I’ve been there many times. But really, Yellowstone is a place where fantasy becomes reality. The landscape is magic; the animal life varied. It’s a place where death and life meet. It’s a place of constant surprise – you never know when you might see a bear, or a moose, or a 300 foot geyser. It’s our own true “wonderland.” Maggie’s story of loss and love seemed to fit hand in glove with Yellowstone.You can check out the shot of Janet that appeared in Publishers Weekly Children's Bookshelf here. What advice would you give to writers who want to write historical novels?Research, of course. I read a lot of books and articles written during the early 1900s to get a flavor for speech and pattern of behavior. I visited a lot of museums to try and get a literal feeling for the fabrics, tools, etc. It’s hard for us to imagine what it was like to live in a place with no instant hot water, no instant communication – so, as a writer I really have to suspend my preconceptions and dig deep. The early 1900s is a bit more accessible than other time periods, as there are lots of photographs and even videos of the period. But aside from these obvious differences, people are people and have the same basic desires, dreams and fears that we all share. So I guess my advice would be not to forget to build a compelling character.Thanks so much for stopping by!!Thank you so much, Amy!You can follow Janet on Twitter, @janetsfox or check out her blog here.