Monday, June 15, 2015
By James Lomuscio
When Westporter Jane Green’s first novel titled “Straight Talking,” debuted in 1996, she was 27, single and living in London. The Sex and the City-styled, across-the-pond novel about a woman looking for “Mr. Maybe” put her at the forefront of a new genre dubbed “chick lit, really important in fiction,” she says.
Today, 16 novels later and married with children, she eschews any “chick lit” label on her later and current work, preferring to call it commercial women’s fiction. As her adult perspective has changed over the years, so has her writing, Green says.
“I’m 47 years old, and I defy anyone to call me a chick, and I think what it’s evolved into is women’s fiction,” said the best selling author, native Brit. “A lot of my readers are in their 40s and 50s, so chick lit does not apply.
“They’re about real women, real lives and emotional honesty,” Green added about plots choreographing the human condition of characters such as suburban moms. “I haven’t written a sex scene, an explicit sex scene, in over 15 years.”
Her latest effort, however, really heats up, quite literally. In fact, it sizzles. It’s a cookbook, her first big foray into nonfiction writing, though recipes have appeared in her novels.
Titled “Good Taste: Good Food, A Good Life,” the 264-page self-published book set for release on October and available through July 7 via Kickstarter, features 70 recipes.
“It’s easy, delicious comfort food, even though I was trained in fine, fiddly French food,” says Green, who attended the French Culinary Institute in New York.
She’s quick to point out that she grew up around cooking.
“My mom cooked, my dad cooked, my grandparents cooked,” she said.
The book include the likes of English dishes, such as shepherd’s pie, sausage baked in Yorkshire pudding, and assorted casseroles and stews. Why English food? She wants to dispel an American misconception that “English food is terrible.”
Though “Good Taste” is an epicurean celebration about food and gatherings with family and friends, its genesis was bittersweet. Green’s close friend Heidi had been diagnosed with stage four breast cancer was terminally ill. Green spent her friend’s remaining days cooking for her. Heidi had asked Green to make sure that in her next novel she put a recipe at the end of each chapter.
The result was “Promises to Keep” published by Penguin Books in 2011, the story of two sisters, one dying of cancer, one a chef. “Good taste” was the next progression.
In addition to tackling a nonfiction book, Green is also venturing into the self-publishing world through the help of Kickstarter.
“I had no idea if a publisher would be interested in a cookbook from me, and this gave me complete creative control,” said Green. “I really wanted to be actively involved in every part. I wanted to put my fingerprints on every inch of it.”
So she hired her own art director, photographer, graphic designer and others, while her husband Ian E. Warburg acts as her overall manager.
Green says she hopes the cookbook departure from her familiar repertoire will mark the start of other creative expressions, be it another cookbook or a home furnishings project.
“Having said that, I have to keep writing novels,” Green said. “I have stories to tell, and readers know that I have to look for a different way to share my passion.”
The Kickstarter link is here.
Posted 06/15/15 at 09:49 PM Permalink