Once upon a time, a little less than a year after my first book came out, my editor sent me another book she thought I might like, by another one of her authors.
Do you remember your first Jane Porter book? I do. I remember feeling enchanted—captivated—from the very first line. The story was magical. I felt swept away in Holly’s story. I could smell and see and taste her life in San Francisco. It was like a modern fairy tale, and it made my heart ache. I read the entire thing in one sitting, and soon after emailed my editor to rave incoherently about the book. Then I had to sit down with my own, notably un-magical, writing. (That was less fun.)
And then, a few months later, I met Jane at the launch party for 5 Spot, the new line from our publishing house that would be putting out our second books. (In Jane’s case, that would be Flirting with Forty. Perhaps you’ve heard of it.)
Do you remember meeting Jane for the first time?
She was effortlessly cool, and bubbly, and sweet. She was dressed like a California dream and I was wearing New York black and felt gloomy in comparison. She asked for a photo to put on her website, because she was obviously very savvy about publicity and promotion. (I, needless to say, was not. It had never occurred to me to put up photos. Unless the photos were of my dog. Doesn’t everyone want to look at my dog? Maybe I should post one here.)
Then Jane and I went out to dinner with our editor and her assistant at the time (now an editor in her own right.) That was the first time I got to see what I now call “The Ministry of Jane” in action. She was magical. She had also written some twenty-five books to my two. I was in awe. I don’t remember what she talked about, sitting in a strange Belgian restaurant in the meatpacking district famous for mussels—which none of us ordered—but I do remember she was as spellbinding in person as her words are on the page. I was kind of star struck.
Later that fall, my husband (I think he was my fiancé at the time, in case you are taking notes) and I went on a trip to Hawaii, where I met up with Jane again.
You will note that Jane is lounging about in a bikini and a sarong while I… am not. This is only one of the many reasons Jane is intimidating. Luckily, she is Jane, and can put anyone at ease in moments. Even me, a notoriously not-at-ease person. We had dinner and talked about writing and our careers and somehow in the midst of a perfect Hawaiian sunset, became friends.
I don’t know when, but soon after this, I decided to start reading Jane’s extensive Presents back list, to fill the time while waiting for her next 5 Spot book. This involved a lot of tracking down books in various far-flung places. She even sent me some. But once I started reading her books, how could I stop? I wanted more. I read every single one of them. I saved them up, and doled them out to myself like treats. Like chocolate. Like magic in a bottle that I could hoard until the perfect moment.
And this is what I discovered: reading Jane’s work is a whole lot like hanging out with Jane. On the page, Jane’s heroines fight themselves, the heroes, their worlds—all to discover that they have the right to be happy, to make their own choices, to grow and feel and love and laugh.
Which is what it feels like to have Jane in your life. She makes you feel better, no matter how you might feel already. She makes you feel strong, and cherished. She believes that we all deserve to be happy, and she will be a tireless advocate for your happiness if you need her to be—and sometimes even if you don’t know you need her to be. She makes you want to be a better person.
And damn, she can write!
Here’s to Jane. May she continue to be magical for all the years to come.
Megan’s latest releases (latest novel plus latest anthoogy pb):
GIVEAWAY! Jane will be giving away a $10 Starbucks card and some fun Jane Porter goodies to one lucky winner. All you need to do is post a comment here and share your thoughts. The winner will be announced on Monday. Good luck! (And after you comment here, make sure you add your comment to Jane’s online book club discussion this week.)
Please also read an important note about blog contests.