I’ve read many of Jane Green’s novels and for the most part they are funny, light-hearted looks at life through the eyes of women.
Green — who has written eight other novels — takes a more serious turn with in her newest novel, Second Chance. I was a little anxious about it, but I need not have worried. It’s deep, thought-provoking and the best Jane Green novel yet.
I spoke with Jane Green recently about her experiences with loss and second chances, and how events in her own life inspired her most recent book.
Ms. Green, would you share with us what happened in your life that motivated you to write Second Chance?
Green: I lost a friend in the tsunami and it affected me deeply. My grief was much deeper than I felt I really had a right to be. After all, this wasn’t family, but a friend. And yet, my grief was profound. Working through my own sense of loss inspired the story that became Second Chance.
There is a stereotype about chick-lit that causes people to think of it as somewhat “light and fluffy” fiction. You certainly break the stereotype in Second Chance.
Green: Yes, there is certainly a misconception about chick-lit. It’s so much more than humor. It’s about real life, real emotions. It’s about the plight of women everywhere.
I agree. I hesitated before reading my first chick-lit title, but now I’m hooked. Second Chance is one of the best books I’ve read. You take on some major topics – loss, divorce, infertility, alcoholism. Were you nervous about tackling such deep themes?
Green: I’ve always written using exaggerations of my own experiences. Not that I have experienced all of these topics, but I do draw from my own life and emotions. For example, Holly, the character in Second Chance who struggles with her marriage, is based on my processing of my own recent divorce. Her experience isn’t the same as mine, but the feelings carry over. I believe the writing process can be therapeutic in processing my own emotions through my characters.
Do you feel “second chances” should always be offered in relationships, be it friendship or romantic?
Green: Yes, I believe many times we are quick to judge others. We need to keep in mind that life is short. We are not guaranteed tomorrow and we need to make every effort to live in peace.
That is such a powerful thought. What other things would you like your readers to take away from this novel?
Green: I’d like this book to help readers understand that we choose our friends and we must choose wisely who we allow into our lives. Our friends’ opinions affect us and we need to choose friends that are positive and build us up.
We also need to accept life on our own terms. Look at your part in unhappy relationships and make efforts to change your role in them. We only have power over ourselves, we cannot change others. I like to say, “The key to happiness is not getting what you want, but wanting what you get.” Our attitude is the most important aspect of living a happy life.
What is the next project that readers can be looking forward to?
Green: Well, in my next novel I’m returning to a Connecticut setting, which is exciting as Connecticut is also where I live. The book will be a mystery about a group of women and things will not be as they seem. I’m really excited about the project.
It sounds fantastic. I can’t wait to read it. Thank you so much for your time.