Friends & Fiction
Friends & Fiction

Episode · 1 month ago

WB-S2E21 Prolific Writers, Friendship & Community

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

WRITERS' BLOCK Ron Block and Kristin Harmel speak with prolific writers Jane Porter and Megan Crane about their amazing careers, their friendship and the importance of community.

This show is brought to you by our presenting sponsor, Charleston Coffee Roasters. Charleston coffee roasters painstakingly searches the world over for the highest quality coffee beans. They bring them home to Charleston, South Carolina, where slow roasting coaxes out their unique flavor. Along with their promise of great coffee, Charleston Coffee Roasters also pledges to help our planet and local communities. Globally, they support sustainable farming practices. Locally, they partner with the South Carolina seed Turtle Rescue Program Visit Their website, Charleston Coffee Roasterscom, and use the code coffee with friends, all lowercase, all one word, to get twenty percent off on all bagged coffees. I just want to say that we weren't friends at that party. That's where we had met. That is crazy. We met then making my we're not sure about each other. In fact, I don't think we were going to be friends. We had lunch with our editor and her assistant editor, or dinner after the party, and we both walked away like brother not not. She's so effortless. I don't even understand this woman, but that I ended up going to Hawaii up. I think it was a month later because my now mother in law was getting married. So we went to the thing and I thought, why don't your James Porters? That was like over Thanksgiving, right, so it was after and he said, Oh yeah, like we should have dinner or something for you a dinner, and then we really got along man. Welcome to the friends and Fiction Writers Block podcast For New York Times Best Selling Authors, one rock star Librarian and endless stories. Join Mary K Andrews, Kristin Harmel, Christy Woodson Harvey and Patty Callahan Henry, along with Ron Block. As novelists. We are for longtime friends with seventy books between us, and I am Ron Block. Please join us for fascinating author interviews and inside or talk about publishing and writing. If you love books and are curious about the writing world, you are in the right place. Welcome to a new episode of friends and Fiction Writers Block podcasts. On this episode we're chatting with best selling authors chaine border and Megan Crane to longtime friends who also happen to be incredibly prolific best selling authors. We'll be talking about friendship and publishing, something that we hear a friends and fiction know quite a bit about, and also about how both of these women have managed to write so very many best books over the course of their careers. I'm tired just hearing the numbers. They've something pretty interesting in common too, with our own Christen Harmel, that I heard about, so we're going to chat about that as well. We're thrilled to have them on today. I am Ron Block and I'm Christin Harmel. I'm so excited to introduce Jane and Megan to the friends and fiction community, though truth be told, I bet a lot of you already know them. So James The New York Times best selling author of more than seventy five romance and women's fiction novels, with more than fifteen million copies of her books in print. She's a sixtime Rita award finalist. She's also the author of flirting with forty, which became a lifetime movie starring Heather locklear. Megan Crane, who writes under both her own name and the pen name Caitlyn Cruz, is the USA Today best selling author of well over one hundred books. Yeah, you heard me right, well over one hundred. She's written Romance Women's fiction and chicklet about cowboys, military heroes, Futuristic Vikings, outlaw bikers and fairy tale princes, just to name a few.

She has a Master's and a PhD in English literature. She and Jane have been friends for years. Both live on the west coast, with Jane and California and Megan up in the Pacific northwest. They both have incredible husband's. Jane's is a surfer, Megan's is a comic book artist, and Jane also has three sons. Ladies, welcome, we are so glad to hear with us today. Thank you so much for having us. Yes, we go back a long way, the three of us. MMM, well, now, when Christen's first suggested having the two of you on the podcast, my immediate thought was, oh, what a great idea of books and friendship. What could be better? But what I didn't realize was how long the three of you actually had known each other. Can someone tell me a little bit about that so I'm brought up to speed and how you all met? Kristen, Jane, why don't you start us off? Well, I think we all had the same editor, didn't we all have? Karen, so good. I think we all had Karen Christol like I grand central. You didn't I. Chris Actually had amy iinhorn. So we were but we were all part of that launch of the same imprint. But I did have Karen later some years in a roundabout way. Yes, well, I just know we were all part of the launch for the imprint and there was a party in New York, Launch Party and the five spot and print. For All you history buffs got to tell us better than I do, because I I think it's an interesting part of publishing how imprints come up and Prince go editors move houses and yet we all met at this one point. And for me it was such a big shift from romance to trade that these new friendships for me were really exciting and important because when I was not just writing category then I didn't have I didn't know anyone. So both Kristen and Maigon were some of my first friends in a different area of publishing. Yeah, so the fins fine, her, I guess you know chicklate was a big deal. I they'd call them Rom coms today, but chicklate was really big deal then and they decided to make an imprint of only chicklate books. That was my second book for Warner Books at the time and I, you know, I thought Jane was so fancy because it was like her, I don't even know, fifty book or something. Oh, she's so multi published. I'll never they'll never get there. And Chris, and I don't remember what number book that was for you, but I do, I distinct remember that was to be at that party. That was my first. That was my first. So Great. Isn't that crazy? So I know I have to say that meeting you two at that party for the launch of the five spot imprints back into there was two thousand and five, I think it was. Was Two thousand and four. Two Thousand and four, two thousand and five was long time ago. I think it's two thousand and five, I think it was. Yeah, yeah, you know it was. That was really meaningful to me because you had both already been published. Megan, like you said, I was in awe of Jane, but I had read your first book, Megan, and I just, Oh my gosh, I felt very intimidated. I was sort of this dear and the headlights baby who had no idea what she was getting yourself into. But from moments when we both isn't that crazy? But you know, you both treated me like an equal and you both took me under your wings a little bit and I honestly have never forgotten that. So since that extension of your friendship meant so much to me and since I know that the friendship you to share has carried your you both threw so much over the years, can you talk a little bit about why friendship matters so much in a career like this? How about you, Meg, and do you when? I just want to say that we weren't friends at that party. That's where we had met. That is crazy. We all we met then making my we're not sure about each other. In fact, I don't think we were going to be friends. We had lunch with our editor and her assistant editor, or dinner after the party, and we both walked away like brother not. She's so effortless. I don't even understand this woman. But that I ended up going to Hawaii about a month later. Yeah, I think it was a month later, because my now motherin law was getting married and I and so we went to this thing and I thought, why hear James Porters? That was like over thankgiving, right, I think...

...so. I was after and he said, Oh yeah, like we should have dinner or something. So we had dinner and then we really got along, man, and then I read all her presents in the space of between like that meeting and then the following summer, and then was, of course obsessed with her writing and I my editor had sent me her first book, which was not the one that was coming out on the five spots of the wife. What was the name of that one? It was that wonderful and her name is holly. Yeah, the frog prince off was so magical. That fuck. But I think you know, Christen. The friendship aspect to me has been interesting because when I started in cut category Romance, Harlequins, that in whether you want to say in a good or bad way. It has dogged me for the beginning because it didn't matter how serious any book I ever wrote was, it's always Jane Porter. Her harlequin roots show her category roomance voice is there. She who started in think it's almost like the media or reviewers have to kind of downgrade one. So for me having a friend like Megan who is doing both, was really important and also making you know, having a PhD in and lit and being as get as she's east coast, smart, articulate in a way I'm not. I kind of get a little bit baffled by sometimes it's like the I don't call it the mean girlness in them in the media, but towards romance. And so I have chosen. I've written women's fiction and I got to a point where writing some of the stories made me sad. I've had a lot of sad things in my life. So writing a more serious, somber story, I can do it, but I would call Magen and say I'm I'm really sad, I don't like this. I prefer romance. And yet people wanted the more serious from me. To the point I thought, if I'm going to write, I'm going to write the stories that make me feel good to make other women who probably have a similar background as me. If you've been through really painful things, if you've had tragedies, you almost reading about pain or suffering it. It's not it doesn't always feel good. It brings up that pain. So for me, writing romance allows it's a little more Cathartic, it's a little more healing and verdictive. So Megan was always so important to me, like kind of like steering me towards who I was and not who the world said you should would maybe do, or what critics and I think the most important part of that friendship was her ability to be straight with me, honest and say you have to do what's best for you and that's what's kept. I'm I'm all about megging craney. She is saved me so many times. Bass shouldn't be about what other people think. We should do what we want because we enjoy it. That's such a good point. Do you think that you would have gotten to that point without that nudge from her? In other words it to me, it sounds like what you're saying is it wasn't just career growth and career support, but really personal growth and personal support to I mean, was that really a result of the director? That's exactly I make choices in life that I have not been able to tell anyone else because of still judging women, judging women, women thinking we are going to play it kind of a heavy part and we're going to decide for relationships what's best. And Megan has never, ever, ever judged, and I think that very few friends have true friends who will not judge at some level and I knew I could tell her whatever I need to tell her or what was going on, and she'd always say you don't have to decide now and you will know when you need to make a decision and at that point you can make a decision, whereas so many people want to start telling you what to do. And so I think that by allowing me to be me and my life and take ownership, that that probably impacted my writing. But I do think the two...

...are, for me or so intermixed and and there's such gratitude my career. I always used to joke I was doing workshops. I reference to make it so many times I keep waiting for her to say, take my name out of your mouth because it's a nap. Well, Jane High I started Writing Romance because I was writing tricklick books, and at one point she said, and I don't really in registract, I don't. I know she knows it's troy. I'm going to tell in registered. I don't remember how we got from eyeing each other across a table in the metacking district in New York to this like sort of radical honesty that I think characterizes our relationship. But she she sit on the phone. I'mber exactly where. I'm standing in my apartment in La at the time, and I was like, Oh, I just don't know, I need to try this. Said, HMM, I wonder what would happen if you tried. I don't know. You think emotion in your books out and I thought I'm going to write a present and I never have said and there was a kind of a telling versus are living it inside, and I just kept thinking every piece is there. I just want more like the heart to believe through. And then she once she nailed it, like like she is one of my favorite authors, but because she has pasting, just a storytelling. She's all the skills and she makes me care so much for her characters. But I am probably ruthless of that way, and let me that's why I'll have more friends. A lot of people don't want that, but Megan, Megan ticket. So I don't know. All right, maybe that was when we became real friends. I love that, though. I mean you've helped each other grow, is both people and writers. I think we all need friends like that. That's that's incredible. It's really touching to me too, because I think it's a kind of friendship that not everybody gets to experience in their life, but we all want it and I just it's you. It's so obvious to see the two of you and hear you talk about each other that the bond is there. Now your friendship is gone beyond that too, into publishing, so you have truly publishing productions. Can you talk about all that and how that came about? You know, I wanted to work with Megan and Carlos TJ Carmichael had friends. We wanted to do a story together and we were writing for Harlequin, all four different arms of Harlequin or imprints, and I just know from my end I was going through different things and I wanted to do something with friends. Again. It comes back to that friendship and I knew Cj Carmichael before we got published, and we had another friend WHO's Australian, Lilyan Darcy, who's very respected author and in Australian and written over a hundred Harlequin's and many awards, and so we it was just a chance to work together. Megan, I mean, what was it for you? I mean now it's like the typical thing. Jane, who different parts of my life has been like, you know, hey, let's do this, let's do let's go to Italy for writing. Course, sure, let's you know, hey, would you like to come to Hawaii? Yes, and then she was like, would you like to come to Montana, because C J Carmichael has a little cabin on flathead. Like tried to come to Montana and write connected stories, because this is one self publishing things had just started. I was like we can put them out ourselves. And I've never written any sort of cowboy book come out, but I'm like sure, why not? I'm pretty much when Jane says would you like to do something, the answer is yes, I say yes before even know what it is. And that turned into, of course, of publishing an entire publishing company. She wasn't said she wasn't like she could never be satisfied just putting some books out. She had to build an entire publishing company and now she makes movies and she allart the thing. Well, that was my next question. No, I was gonna say that's it. I don't know when to stop. So she is not a small dreamer. I'd love that. This is wonderful one, but you know, let's talk about the film production. So it's a big piece of the mission and the production has worked on at least is a ten movies. Well, we've had timmate and we have just I got I was optioned to a new book of one of mine for another network and they're gonna be pushing it forward. But beyond...

...that, I we have like probably two for this Christmas at the networks until they name them built, like you know, so they like to net do their own announcing. But we probably have another eight that have been scripted that they have. So we've got quite a bit moving forward. And so I know my new one that they just option is probably going to be for two thousand and twenty three holidays or two thousand and twenty four. But it became because, like Megan said, you know, when digital started it it was like, Oh, let's go do this with digital is very flooded, it's very hard to to be found and so as a small digital company, we were saying, we need, you know, every sub right. So off this going to earn audio and then film was a natural for me. I just want to use leas theater arts and we live near La so I've enjoyed the film aspect and I do all the pitching for film. We have an entertainment attorney who does the contracts, but so far everything's been made because I just I keep shaking it down. In fact, I woke up this morning at five and I thought, you know, game the brides, I should go back as the new hall mark the stories they're doing now. That might be an interesting fit. And I think, rather than think about writing my own books, I think what can I do so I don't have to write today? And I could do that. So you procrastinate your way into a movie. I I mean, I wish I could do that. I just prastinate my way into a longer to do list. I think creativities interesting, though, and I think in our business sometimes creativity to me gets squished into like only one channel. You supposed to just be a writer and just keep writing, but a lot of us have so much creativity. I like this podcast, like Christen does, is incredible and I think there's so much to us as women. So I just love being able to tap on all of our different strings that we've acquired. MMM, two people that I would love to have on my side at all times right here a no kidding, so that's that's incredible, everything that you've accomplished with that. It's it's just it's been amazing to watch both of your careers, you know, since the time we met in two thousand and five, which I can't believe how much time has passed since then. But switching tracks a bit to your individual careers, here's the part of the podcast where I admit that I feel like a giant slacker compared to the two of you, which exactly how anyone would describe you. Christians. Look at you like. I mean, Jane says she doesn't want to work on a book, so she just pitches a film. I don't want to work on a book and I paint my tonnails a different color and accomplish nothing. I mean that. You know, I need a little bit more of what you're doing. So my first novel came out in February two thousand and six as part of that five spot launch, and even if we count generously, including work for higher projects, novellas and the book that hasn't come out yet, I have at most eighteen books to my name, which I used to think was pretty good until, you know, a couple days ago, when I started looking at how many books you've written. But between the two of you and basically the exact same time period, you've produced, I believe, more than two hundred books together. So the real reason we had to have you on the podcast was so that I could just ask you how. How do I do it's so, Megan, since you seem to publish a book about as frequently as I go to the grocery store, and I say that with me jealousy and end list of Matt Admiration. Would you like to go first? Why? You know, you have a deadline, so you write the book. That's that's how I write them. But do you actually want to know how I specifically write them? I'm just curious, I mean, you know, so a few years ago, I'm actually it's quite a few years ago now, I was trying to write a book and I kept writing the same, you know, opening chapters over and over and over again, which is never a good sign, and I realize I was gonna miss the deadline and for me, if I missed a deadline that is a domino effect that would ruin everything. So that what I couldn't do it. So, as you know, hyperventilating on the floor and then I figured out that I had to teach myself how to dictate, because the thing...

...about dictation, even though it is it's just it doesn't feel right. The the switch from typing to dictating feels the same as long handwriting to typing. You know, you you just feel like your brain doesn't quite catch up and it doesn't feel right and you have to you're hearing yourself, which is horrify. But once you get it, the amount of words you can produce jumps significantly. so as someone who went from having very tight first drafts because I would go over and do the same thing over and over and over and over again, and I did that until I just really it wasn't serving me anymore. I couldnt do any more because I couldn't move forward, to have these like really messy dictation things that I have to fix. I mean that I'm finding that hard to deal with. But so that's what I do. I dictate, so I actually can write a lot of words pretty quickly and then I clean them up and sort of move forward that way. So that's like that is the actual how I do it, is I dictate a lot. That's income also, you know, panic, fear and my bank account. That's pretty much hour. I mean that's what drives me as well. It just drives me apparently much more slowly. That's really a testing do do you do? You use dictation software also, I do. I'm not as good. I'm not as good at it, and I think years ago I've been. As a little girl, my family had us do all these Johnson, oh connor oconnell human engineering tests, and I have. I'm not high on idea for you. I am really good at following a project through to the end, till death do us apart. And so, to be honest, I will dictate, but I often struggle with repeating almost a similar scene, not realizing toil it's Ober. I've actually done something similar. I've done this. I put my troubles. I often don't know exactly what I need to do, and so I am not for one. I'm not I'm not as talented as you guys. I think I'm just a dog with a bone and I just keep fighting for that bone. But I maygan again been big and helping me remind me to the things I need to do when I'm struggling, and I think we should look the thing is you have to get the book written right. So if you're not getting the book written, then you're not. So how do you then? You you can lie down and cry about it, which I've certainly done, do a lot of I died for a lot of time crying on my floor. But but you need to get the book done because that at the end of the day, all roads lead to having to get that book done right, because even when it's not fun, you don't even what the book is told's finished. So how are you going to? So for me it's like, well, let's get to finish a quickly as possible so I can only have a conversation like I want to talk about how terrible the book is, I should finish it first so I can really know how bad. All right, but because we all know that when you're about seventy five percent into a book, you've never written a worse book and you're never going to finish this book and this mountain will be the one that kills you, so on and so forth. But that is a dark hole that bears no resemblance to reality. Doesn't matter how many books you've written, you're always going to feel that way. So the only solution that I know of is to finish the freaking thing and then, amazingly, you handed in it contact for your editor with suggestions for a vision. You're like what? But I've never written a better book and never have my words been more vibrant or yeah, so feel like we're not good judges of our own work. Sometimes I feel like the creative process it's kind of opening a door to the characters or the scenes and just sort of letting it all happen, and I don't know that your emotions while it's going on really have anything to do with anything except a proper you like. What you feel on the process of writing has no bears, no resembles what your reader is going to read or even how you're going to feel about it when it's done. So again, just like get it done. That's my so that's what I think. That is always my advice to Jane's. That's yes, endlessly fascinating. It is, and it's so interesting to hear you say that. Also about hitting the seventy five percent mark and thinking this is the worst thing I've ever written, I can't possibly finish, because that happens to me every single time too. It's like it is a part of the process, and you know it doesn't. Not as a soul, it really is. It exactly where it's supposed to fall in the script to write. This is the script of of our...

...novel writing lives circling. Do you still outline, Christian, I was just going to ask you that. I outline. Absolutely. My outlines are like twenty. Rather die. I would rather die. Okay, so I was going to ask you that. How then, your brain just must work very differently than mine if you're able to sit down and dictate a novel that comes to you as you're working. I need to know the exact shape of it and then, you know, I kind of meander here and there within that shape that I've established. But I need to know the shape before you're talking about okay, but you write historical fiction, so I'm I read a lot of category romance, so I know the shape of the book. The question is, how am I going to play with that shape? I mean to me, the joy of category romance we you know, is so if people don't know what that is on this podcast, I don't know, but that's like Harlequinn presents the ones that you know. You see every month and they all have very similar looking covers. But so you already know the shape. So for me, I the joy of it is getting to play with the not the shape, but what happens within those shapes. So that so that's very different from the kind of books that you write, Christ and, that are so involved and so like involve all these different I mean the the tunnels you must go down into research and so on. I mean, that's just that's very different from what I'm doing, you know. So it so in that sense it's easier to write more quickly, because I know that a Harlecombe presents has the very specific structure. The readers want a very specific structure. Jane and I used to call it that presents punch at the end where you're writing towards a thing and then you just like rip their heart out and then boom you're done. But like, there's something that I've developed called the Category Dragon, because it's kind of shaped like that. You sort of go up it, up and up, and then boom for the punch and then you finish to the end, and the shape of that looks like a dragon. And that's how you write category on a more involved book. I think I might stop along the way and kind of figure out where I'm going, or I have more of an idea, more of a map. I don't I might have a little map, but I don't like a I don't like a serious outline. I know that you've always been a big fan of outlines and I've always been amazed by that because I feel like I'd already told myself the story. That's that's so interesting. It's so interesting to me how how differently we all write. I think for every writer in the world, you know, we all have a slightly different process to get to basically the same end goal. How about you, Jane? Do you ever outline or are you a still right in many ways by pictures in my head, which I always think is interesting. I kind of write by seeing parts of a movie. So I write out of order and I don't I know what the ending needs to see feel like as well. I know what the emotional art it's kind of need to be, and so I don't outline for the most part, but I know where I'm going to need to hit the most, the dark moments. So I almost right to the dark moments and as I'm heading there, I often stop all write my ending right backwards and then I right back forwards because I'm a I'm an emotional writer and that's kind of my trademark, that kind of and especially as I've been writing about women who are, you know, forty seven and fifty and fifty eight, there's certain things as you mature that you're afraid I will never have now if you didn't have certain things. And so for me it's it's again that those emotional turning points. So I love the idea of the outlining, but more I sometimes outlined than the less I go. There just this weird like resistance. But I will say, because I think your books are dependent on historical some to degree of accuracy and research, your framework requires a lot of building first, yeah, and building out, and so you can't, you can't do, you know, four or five of these a year. There's just no way. Whereas many of mine, if I'm writing a series, it's almost like you wrap up one and I can roll into the next story and so I've already done the world building book one, yeah, and we've met at the secondary character that or the third, and so I can just continue that world building into the next, which is why I like series and it's why, even with Tuli...

...all of mine, seeing my cowboy brothers or that this branch family, once you've established a family, I love it's like binge watching TV. I get a return to them and I have the old maverick grandfather who I get to see again and my readers like so I think I've learned to lean into my strengths, which is build out something and keep playing in that world until I've tapped it out and then build another and keep playing in that world, and I can be more politic that way. But if I were to have to create a whole new original world each time off on link, Megan does with her her books, I because she'll have her series and then she has sometimes her Harlo clins are, if not a standalone, their duets and things. But she's has enormous pressure on her to constantly come up with something new, and I don't have a lot of new. I have a fifty eight year old brain that I'm trying to make feel young. I wish they had jared all on the market, because I certainly it's I think that that's what we as writers do. We each have our own way to right and there's not a right way or a runway, as long as we get that book done. I will say, though, that I think a lot of writers feel like because they had a certain process at one point in their career, that's it. It never changes, as if the process is a concrete block that you're forced to struggle around carrying forever, and I just I think that's that that I think, trips people up and that now I've got lost my own metaphor there. But, like I I think that you have to let go of that because it's whatever serves the story and it's whatever serves getting the books done. And if you the more elastic you can be with that, like you, you are your process, you're in charge of your process. You can change it, you know. I think that is you know, the process for me changed dramatically with with menopause. I my brain changed wildly and I poor making some ten years older than her, or so I would complain bitterly about how my brain wasn't the same. And if men had to go through this and it was their brains change, we would have a lot more conversational at resinapod. Yeah, well, estrogen and and language are linked, so when a woman goes into menopause, your estrogen and changes and that ability to access language the same way shifts, and so actually dictating for me is better now because I don't read language in the same way. I feel like I have more of an engineer brain, so I have to tell myself the story versus feeling at all. But it's allowed me in the good thing about dictations you can walk and talk and the walking helps actually trigger language. So I'm a former teacher and then a lot of schools they would have kids. I have more pe sessions or getting up and walking around as they learned things, because it helped them retain the information better. So I wish I could get in a car and drive and dictate. What I have to do is pace or move and then the language comes back. It's just not not nothing that anybody asked, but I just think, since we're talking about friendship and and the product, a lot of people when you say where what happened to that writer? Where did she go? She hit metapod. I thank thanks range. I honestly never realized that. That's fascinating. I thought for years my career, and that's actually part of why I Chuley came, I thought my career was over, like there might not be any more books. But I love this world, I love my writers, I love stories. I don't want any other world. So what do I do with myself if I won't be able to write anymore? And I thought, okay, I will support other writers, but for supporting the other writers I begin to go, Oh, I have an idea, and that was also why the stories with my friends, I was writing the Bella's, I thought I'll go shorter, I'll take it end, but part of it, I realized, was I you have to kind of get through it, and then I began to get stronger again. But it was five, seven years back these Berkeley books,...

...my first big books, and seven years simply because I didn't trust myself that I could carry a story and I was grieving a difference in who my brain was. This is incredible and thank you for being so honest about this, because it's it's the first time I've heard people talk about these things and I just think it's really important. But throughout all of this journey, with all of your success, where do all of your ideas come from? Because obviously you come up with fresh new ideas all the time and you keep it running. Where do each of you get your ideas from? I wish there was a store, but I don't. I would run that store right. Could be a great store. I mean they're I guess we call them libraries, but or book stores. But I think you're just I don't. I don't think my ideas for me don't come from anyone place. It's a snatch of conversation or you hear a song or you had a fight with somebody in your recasting it in your head later and you're thinking, well, I'd say this that yet and that becomes sort of character. For me. Everything's about starts from the characters and sort of, you know, wells up from there. So the more you think about what if peoples like this and who would be the actual worst person the entire wall that he'd be so angry if he fell in love with I like that one a lot. You know, I have found I've been enjoying these older heroines because it feels very fresh space for me, being my age and looking at my different friends where they are and some are married, some are widowed, some are divorced and you know, for flirting with fifty, I actually didn't want to write this one. I did not, but I had people from the film side putting a lot of pressure on me, and so I end up writing a story that I struggled with and to finally dig in, I looked about and for those who were not married, I said, you know, why won't you even date? The excited of friends I will never ever date and she's beautiful and brilliant, and she just said I cannot compromise ever again and marriage has compromises. I can't go there. And I thought it was really interesting. And so for me then that idea was what kind of person would it take? Was Almos a pretty perfect person in some ways, but what would it take to even want to go out to dinner or want to go out? And so I think, like Megan, sometimes a conversation or it's that thing around you, but it's a thorn in your side or an argument. It can also be a place. I went. I went visiting a friend of mine in the Midwest, which I know and I'm such a I was raised on the east coast, live on the west coast. I was so sort of like flyover states, blah, blah blah, and she was like well, you're an idiot. So then I went to visit her and learn and she took me. She took me all around sort of outside of St Louis, into the countryside there and around sort of like around all these rivers and into Illinois, and I ended up in a city I had never heard of, embarrassed say, called St Charles, and we were there on Halloween and we were wandering around. It was very spooky and it's this old river town that's been there front I means, I think it was settled in se s or something. So it's very old. You Think, oh, there's nothing old except on the east coast. It's not true. It was a little outpost for the French, I believe, and so it was settled there on this river and we started saying like what a well, what if there were witches in the alleyways? And so then she and I came up with this whole we created a new writing name when we write these books together. The first one's coming out this fall. We are writing this whole series of there called which lore based on yeah, based on just wandering around this river town on Halloween. It's really good. It's really fun. So you just never know where these things are going to come from. It is an amazing first book. Yeah, I love it as one of the best books I've read in years and years. And Yeah, I couldn't believe my friends wrote it. That in my whole thing. So I'm like, it's awesome. That's awesome. Megan went,...

...can you tell us the name you're writing that under? Oh, yeah, so that is that is that whole series is written by Hazel Beck and the first one is called small town, big magic. Oh, I love that. I can't wait too. From about August twenty three. Oh Phantom, my God, you have so many books coming out. So, transitioning into talking just briefly about your individual books that are right on the horizon, Jane, I know you mentioned flirting with fifty, which is coming out next week, and I know flirting with forty was a very personal book for you, that it reflected some of your real life. Can you tell us a little bit about flirting with fifty and whether there are some real life ties or some real pieces of you in that book? Also, you know, there's not as much of me at all. In fact, a lot of my readers like, Oh, I can't wait, and I keep saying it's it's a totally different world, different situation, different characters. I think the biggest part is the friendship aspect. The friend I who inspired the story when I finally got my head around it, is someone who had been friends with since I was fifteen and we both grew up with the same small central California farm town and I think knowing someone when you're fifteen and then working with them again when you're in your s is is a really a free thing but at the same time just a certain pressure there. You it's just an interesting you have. It's almost like having a sister, where you don't always have that filter, and so I've loved writing about women's friendships, I really do, and I think it's the thing that often sustains us in difficult times. And so for me, even though it's romance, just very strong secondary characters. So I almost think of it as a mainstream story with, you know, a lot of romance, or its Romance, but with this world building, because she has three adult, young adult daughters. He's he looks like Hugh Jackman in my mind, but he's an Australian scientist. That's o good. But yeah, but I I think it's this idea too. I am fifty eight. I don't feel like an old lady or a grandma or silver haired anything. So when I went to write this I was really pushing back against this notion that fifty or sixty looks like a certain thing and that love would feel a certain way. Love feels like love and I didn't want it to be back the art department and given this gorgeous cover and then they change their mind the sills and said no, we want her to look older, and I said, excuse me, she just turned fifty, and they said yes, but we need to appeal to the blank real you know, people going to this one's store and I'm like no, I I'm almost sixty and I'm not covered in wrinkles and gray hair. I mean please, and I want it's fifty look like I'm fifty. Well, that's I hadn't get. I had to get a Holly Room my agent and this it. Please help me because I'm distressed. What are they going to do to the fifty eight year old hero? And if you're making fifty look like sixty five or seventy? So I think it's an interesting idea and I think most of cells, I shouldn't say this, are still run by men in publishing, and I didn't I really struggled with this idea of what a woman is supposed to look like and act like and love like. And, Oh, I'll get so fiery, but women, I have been told by other women or society times, Jane, have you heard? Like a woman in our age shouldn't even have long hair? Oh Yeah, okay, I don't grow your hair. It's just so important to me that we women get to keep encouraging each other and reminding each other all the way to the very, very end that we're amazing and we could still have anything and everything. It's never too late. It's never too late. And I feel so strongly, and maybe that's because I didn't come into myself until forty and I have learned through my adult female friends like Megan, I can be anyone I want to be, and I wasn't told that until I was forty. I was I was never given permission to really...

...just be and it took other friends kind of echoing, like like my husband tie and then Megan, both saying you know, you know where's this? Why don't more girls and women get this back in life. You know why? Is something more support for us. And so I don't know. I'm I've got I've got my whole mission thing for the next twenty, thirty years. Got To write those stories. I call it the Ministry of Jane, the Ministrative Jean or a woman, you can read whatever you want to be. I love that. I love it. So do I that. Now Meg in the church turn. You have a new book coming out next week under your pen name, Kaitlyn Cruise, and I think it's a Harlequin presents book called reclaiming his ruined Princess. You tell us Aboon, that's coming out next week. Is that one? Is it's thin. It's crowning his lost princess next week, and that's actually my seventy five book for Harlequin, which is crazy. Wow, that's amazing. Yeah, which is that's a bag. That's really exciting. So yeah, that's a that's a duet, which is when you write a just two linked books, which is not the way. So you know it. Sometimes it's a very loose link. So in this case, because on the one I have coming out the following month is the one that's reclaiming his ruined princess. So it's these for this, these two girls who were switched at birth, you know, obviously, as you do, and one is the princess of a foreign land and one is a farm girl from Kansas. So the princess is raised as a farm girl from Kansas and then the girl who is raised as a princess discovers like, guess what, you're in fact not the royal princess. You gotta go. So we sort of explore through them falling in love with these different men, one named, of course, the Kayatano, because why not, and the other one named, I think something. I think it's rainy airy or something. I just I am never satisfied unless it's an absolutely ridiculous name that my dictation software cannot, cannot cope with at all. So so I give them crazy names and they fall in love. Yep. So that's my next two books and then, as I said, I have that Hazel Book, Hazel Beck Book, coming out at the end of August and then actually the second book in My Alaska Series that I'm currently doing with Berkeley is coming out, I think, in September as well. It's called reckless fortune, and that's actually is mm crane, because they just so many names. I is that like a new a new name, or it was a sort of name that if you knew that my name is Megan Crane already, which was the name that was on my previous series with Berkeley, which was more romantic expense based on Oscar, you would probably guess that this was also me. It's more of a sales thing, just sort of a publishing thing to give it a little bit of a different name so could get better positioning. And Malmart. Yeah, how do you keep them all straight? I don't. People will come up to me and start talking about a book and I like that's a a great book. Who wrote that? Like you? Oh that sounds fantastic. Air Care. Oh my gosh, it's so funny. Well, ladies, it has been so nice to have this time to talk with you and before we go, can you tell listens out there where they can find you and what you're up to? Jane, do you want to start right? Well, I'm the Jane Porter and so websites, jade porter, emails, Jane and Jane Port, and I say that because I love hearing from readers. I always answer. I'm not that author who won't answer. I'm like hope, please talk to me and then I can write an email instead of the book today. But I'm on facebook and INSTAGRAM. Probably this authored Jane Porter, so I'm in my books. All the new penguin books should be at Walmart, at Barnes and noble online and I've been told that if your local bookstore doesn't have it, just for Asko and they should be able to order it in and a hopefully suen your libraries and if it's not their actual library, to ask them to ordered in as well and we will. Megan Crane,...

...you can find me anywhere, facebook, instagram, website. Please the email me. Follow me anywhere. I'm happy. I'll talk to anybody. I really I postpond to all comments on facebook and everything else, so easy to find. That's awesome. That's megan crane and Jane Porter. HMM, wonderful. Well, thank you both for joining us. We love celebrating friendship here on the podcast. It's in our very name and I can tell even from this conversation how deep and stronger friendship runs and how much it means to both of you. So thank you for sharing all that with us. You both had incredible careers. We look forward to all these things you have coming out and said what you do next, because I think it's endless and it feels like it's just starting. There's probably hundreds of books coming this year alone. I'm I'm into sassing. Great would be Megan. I'm would have two or three, but thank you so much for having us and Kristen. Wanted an absolute joy to get to spend some time with you, but let's let's try to do that in person. All right, absolutely it out your percent. Yes to all of you out there. We hope that you'll dive into Jane's flirting with fifty, Megan's lost princess scandal series and everything else he's two incredible authors have coming down the pipe. Thanks again to Jane Porter and making crane, and thanks to all of you for tuning in to the friends and fiction writers block podcast. If you're enjoying our conversations, please tell a friend. We'll see you next time. Thank you to our presenting sponsor, Charleston Coffee Roasters, for their generous support. Show our sponsors some love by following them on facebook and instagram and subscribing to their email newsletter. Remember to use the code coffee with friends for twenty percent off bagged coffees at Charleston Coffee roasters. Thank you for tuning in to the friends and fiction writers block podcast. Please be sure to subscribe, rate and review on your favorite podcast platform. Tune in every Friday for another episode, and you can also join us every week on facebook for Youtube, where our live friends and fiction show airs at seven PM Eastern Standard Time. We are so glad you're here.

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