Thursday, November 11, 2010

Interview with Jennifer Crusie

I've enjoyed so many of Jennifer Crusie's books, and shared them with my sisters.  Now, I finally get the chance to share a few moments of the author's time with you.  Despite her busy schedule with her latest book, Maybe This Time, she was kind enough to answer a few questions.  Thank you, Jenny.

Lesa - Jenny, I’ve been a fan for years, but some of my readers might not know you. Would you tell us about yourself?

Jennifer - First, thank you for having been a fan for years. After that … you know, I’m not very interesting. I live in southern Ohio on the banks of a big river that threatens to flood my first floor every few years, so that’s exciting. I write books about women who are just trying to live a decent life, often with a dog, and then catastrophe strikes and they try to fix it. Usually while falling in love. I think the stories are all different but that’s the common thread.

Lesa - Just to let you know, Jenny, when I was little, my family lived in Felicity, outside Cincinnati, so I know what you're talking about with the threat of floods.  So, it’s been six years since you had a book that was a solo effort.  Why have you been collaborating with other authors in recent years?

Jennifer - Menopause took my brain.  I couldn’t write by myself, the story I was working on would not come out and nobody could fix it, and then I met Bob Mayer who said, “We should collaborate,” and I thought, “He’s written thirty novels, he could get to me the end of one,” and I said, “Yes.”  And then I discovered I love collaborating.  But after Wild Ride, my brain had trickled back, and I said, “I think I can do this again,” and I tried a solo novel and loved it.  That was Maybe This Time.

Lesa - Tell us about Maybe This Time.

Jennifer - Maybe This Time is my version of Henry James’s The Turn of the Screw. It’s about a woman who is hired by her ex-husband to take care of two disturbed children in an isolated house in the wilds of southern Ohio. Trouble ensues. It’s a romantic comedy ghost story. With kids.

Lesa - That house in Maybe This Time is horrendous.  I saw the pictures on your blog, Argh Ink, but readers probably haven’t.  Would you tell us about the house?

Jennifer - It’s based on Bly, the house in The Turn of the Screw, complete with the same ghosts, but I used a real house in England called Woodlane Hall for my floor plan.  It’s a beautiful old house, but it’s four hundred years old, so there’s a creep factor, too. 

Lesa - I’ve always appreciated the independent women in your books.  Which ones are your favorites?

Jennifer - You know, I like them all.  They’re all different in their own ways, but they all share that sturdy outlook on life and that need to help people, save their families.  They’re active, not passive, and they don’t bemoan their fates because they’re too busy trying to fix things.  Andie in Maybe This Time is pretty much the classic Crusie heroine.

Lesa - I loved Southie Archer in Maybe This Time.  Do you have plans for him?

Jennifer - I have a novella called “Ghost of a Chance” started for him, but I may abandon it and just give him a subplot in the sequel, Haunting Alice, which is about Alice at 30.

Lesa - I think it's great that you'll have a sequel involving Alice.  Can you tell us what else you’re working on now?

Jennifer - I’m working on the first book in a four book mystery series.  It’s called Lavender’s Blue, to be followed by Rest in Pink, Peaches and Screams, and Yellow Brick Roadkill.  After that it’s two books that are set at the same time with different heroines, so the stories overlap but stand on their own: Haunting Alice and Stealing Nadine.

Lesa - Jenny, fortunately for us, it sounds as if you have your brain back.  Now, can you tell us who you read and recommend to others?

Jennifer - Patricia Gaffney, Lani Diane Rich, Anne Stuart, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Jennifer Weiner, Georgette Heyer, Terry Pratchett, Michael Gilbert . . . the list is endless.

Lesa - Thank you, Jenny, for taking time to answer a few questions.  I always end my interviews with the same one.  Since I’m a public librarian, I’d like you to tell me a story about libraries or librarians in your life.

Jennifer - Librarians saved my life. I was a very bookish child in a family of athletes in a little town in the middle of nowhere and I never fit in anywhere but in our library, which was a wonderful old building with wooden bookcases and big scarred tables and huge windows above the cases because the ceilings were so high. The children’s library was on the third floor so I’d trek up those two flights and just lose myself there. It’s one of the reasons I became a writer, so I could do for other people what all those books did for me. God bless librarians, that’s what I say.
And thanks for the great questions, too!

Lesa - Jennifer, thank you for allowing me to ask a few questions.  And, good luck with Maybe This Time.

Jennifer Crusie's website is

Maybe This Time by Jennifer Crusie. St. Martin's Press, ©2010. ISBN 9780312303785 (hardcover), 352p.


Kaye Barley said...

Oh, Lesa - WONDERFUL interview! I'm a fan of Ms. Crusie's too and this was just fun. Can't wait to read "Maybe this Time."

TexasRed said...

I love Jennifer's books and will keep an eye out for these new ones. Thank you for giving us a more personal view into her writing!

Lesa said...

Thank you, Kaye. Maybe This Time was a fun book, too, so I think you're going to like it. Isn't it nice to see her plans for so many new books?

Lesa said...

You're welcome, TexasRed. My pleasure. I enjoy Jennifer Crusie's books, so it's nice to share a little of that with readers.

Kaye Barley said...

Yes it is!

Lesa said...

Kaye, I'm so glad she doesn't have a mushy brain anymore, although I did like a couple of the books she wrote with Bob Mayer.