WESTPORT, Conn -- New York Times best-selling author Jane Green, whose new novel "Saving Grace" recently hit bookstores, admits she has the most gorgeous retreat in her home for writing. But when it comes to hunkering down, she's often a stone's throw away at Write Yourself Free Writer's Room.
She will be discussing her new book, along with fellow Westport resident, ESPN co-host Mike Greenberg, at the Westport Library from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Jan. 20. She gave the Daily Voice a sneak peek:
Q: Where did the inspiration for "Saving Grace" come from?
A: Initially from a bookkeeper we had employed who turned out to be dishonest. I started to think about the assumptions we make that everyone we meet operates under the same moral code and how betrayed we feel when that isn't the case. This led to creating Beth, who seems like the perfect assistant although Grace has a feeling from the start that she has another agenda.
Q: What was it about Grace as a character that intrigued you?
I knew nothing about bipolar disorder until three years ago, and have now learned an awful lot, which I wanted to explore on the page. Also, we have a propensity to repeat the patterns of our childhood; we re-create situations that are somehow familiar to us, and I loved the idea of Grace growing up in a difficult, volatile household, and how this would explain why she would remain married to a man like Ted.
Q: Grace has to tap into deep wells of strength to overcome some difficult situations. How much does the theme of finding inner strength play a role in your writing?
A: I think the primary themes of my novels tend to be how do we find peace; what does happiness look like; does getting what we think we want make us happy, Grace perhaps more than others. I believe it is the flaws that make us interesting. Whether it's a history of alcoholism or addiction, mental illness, abuse, I have long been interested in how we take the challenges of childhood and build a productive and peaceful life in spite of them.
Q: Are your characters ever based on people you know? Anyone in Westport, perhaps?
A: Sometimes, but usually only a visual snapshot, or the idea of someone I know. Within a couple of pages the characters have always taken on their own attributes and characteristics, and of course behave in ways the people you thought they were based on would never behave.
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