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Jennifer Lane

Jennifer’s debut novel All Our Secrets (Rosa Mira Books) won the Ngaio Marsh Award for First Best Novel in 2018 and has since been published in Australia. Jennifer’s short stories have also been published on both sides of the Tasman. Find out more at https://jenniferlane.co.nz/

What authors did you dislike at first but grew into?
I think I’ve only done the reverse. I’ve started out liking an author, but outgrew them, or started to feel that their
writing was no longer as good as it once was. John Irving, for example. A Prayer for Owen Meany is one of my
favourite books and I loved Hotel New Hampshire and a few of his other early books, but I’ve lost interest in his
more recent stuff. The fact that they’re incredibly long doesn’t help.
Do you try more to be original, or to deliver to readers what they want?
I just write the kind of story I like to read. I need to be totally engrossed in a story to keep motivated so I can’t
imagine writing purely to please readers.
How do you select the names of your characters?
I choose my main characters’ names very carefully – just from people I’ve known or names I hear – and
sometimes change them along the way if I get sick of them. I loved the name Gracie so much I was tempted to
have a third daughter just so I could use it – giving it to All Our Secrets’ protagonist was a far more practical
solution!
What was the first book that made you cry?
Possibly Seven Little Australians or What Katie Did.
If you had to do something differently as a child or teenager to become a better writer as an adult, what would you do?
To write as much as possible.
Have you Googled yourself? Did you find out anything interesting?
I’ve discovered another, more famous, Jennifer Lane who writes erotica – I hope people don’t confuse us.
Are there any secrets in your books that only a few people will find? Can you tell us one? Or give us any hints?
Yes, I included a secret in my novel for a friend. It’s very subtle and I gave no hints (except that there was a
message in the book for her) but she found it. In fact she finished reading my book within 24 hours of my launch!
It was a good way to keep her captivated.
How did publishing your first book change your writing process?
My novel was published 10 years after I started writing it, so I’ve taken a much more planned approach to my
second. I don’t want to wait until 2029 for book no. 2!
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
Only the manuscript I’m working on at the moment. I don’t like leaving things unfinished.
the most difficult thing about writing characters of the opposite sex?
I haven’t had any trouble with male characters, but I usually write first person from a female’s point of view. I’m
sure I’d find writing first person from a male’s point of view for an entire novel a challenge.
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
I quickly (and nervously) skim read them first to make sure they’re OK before I read them properly. Fortunately,
I haven’t come across a bad one.

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