As some of you know, I spent a good part of November on a Mediterranean cruise with my husband. Once we were well underway someone in my Facebook Readers Group mentioned that author Jayne Ann Krentz was on a cruise that stopped in Morocco, too.
I knew right away we must be on the same ship because it was the only one that month stopping in Moroccan ports. Sure enough, I saw her soon after. I don’t think Jayne and I had ever met, but since I’m a fan, I knew her on sight. I introduced myself, we started to talk, our husbands started to talk, and a lovely new friendship was born.
Jayne told me she’d love to read and give me a quote for my new book, A Family of Strangers, coming on June 25th. (She did and the quote is wonderful.) In turn I asked her if she’d like to be interviewed here at Southern Exposure. Today’s interview is courtesy of that one-in-a-million twist of fate that brought us together.
Of course when novelists get together to chat, stopping is the hard part. So today’s conversation is Part One. Look for Part Two next week and possibly more. Let’s find out.
While I bet Jayne needs little introduction here, I’m borrowing a few facts from her website to get us started.
“The author of a string of New York Times bestsellers, Jayne Ann Krentz uses three different pen names for each of her three “worlds.” As Jayne Ann Krentz (her married name) she writes contemporary romantic-suspense. She uses Amanda Quick for her novels of historical romantic-suspense. Jayne Castle (her birth name) is reserved these days for her stories of futuristic/paranormal romantic-suspense.
She earned a B.A. in History from the University of California at Santa Cruz and went on to obtain a Masters degree in Library Science from San Jose State University in California. Before she began writing full time she worked as a librarian in both academic and corporate libraries.”
Rather than do a formal interview, I asked Jayne what she’d like to talk about today. So here we go.
Jayne: Thanks so much inviting me to chat here on your blog, my friend. I will try to restrain myself but you know how it is when authors start blabbing. Sometimes it’s hard to get them to stop. I think that’s because it’s a distraction from that chapter that we really need to finish. Or maybe because it’s fun to talk about the book biz. But here’s the thing: you and I have both been doing this writing gig for a while now and that means we’ve had time to develop some ideas — okay, opinions. So, here we go.
One of the things that I have come to believe with all my heart is that popular fiction — romance, mystery, suspense, fantasy, glitz, science fiction, etc. — is popular for a reason and not just because it’s entertaining. Literary critics have been trying to kill it off at least since the late 18th Century when they decided that reading novels was not good for people in general and really bad for women in particular. For most of the 20th Century academics frowned severely upon fiction unless it was written by an author who was accepted as a literary writer.
The bias against popular fiction persists but I think that’s because critics come at it from the wrong direction. Instead of asking if it’s good or bad they should ask why, in the face of unrelenting criticism, it has persisted, indeed thrives. I take the Darwinian approach: It flourishes and readers go back to it again and again because it reaffirms our culture’s core values. Hey, we all know how a hero or a heroine is suppose to act when the chips are down, right? They are supposed to do the right thing: protect the weak, fight for justice, behave with honor and exhibit compassion. Those are the values in all the classic genres of popular fiction, including romance and romantic-suspense.
Emilie: What did I say in response? Unfortunately and darn it all, we’re out of room, but please tune in next week for Part Two because there’s lots more coming.
You: In the meantime, what are your thoughts about the reason popular fiction strikes such a deep chord with readers? What makes you pick up a book? Are you looking for new insights, affirmation, pure entertainment? I’d love to hear your ideas before you hear mine and more of Jayne’s. Please comment away.
While we’re waiting, I heartily recommend Jayne’s latest releases, two of which I devoured in the past two weeks. The Other Lady Vanishes, is by Amanda Quick and takes place in the 1930s, complete with nostalgic glimpses of Hollywood glamour. Untouchable is by Jayne Ann Krentz, a spine tingling romantic suspense novel set in California today. You’ll be glad you did.