The TOTALLY FABULOUS Jane Green in her beautiful office
HAPPY AUSTRALIAN LAUNCH DAY JANE!!!!!!
Please excuse me while I have a MAJOR FAN GIRL MOMENT!!!!!
Ever since I fell in love with the eccentric, skinny-dipping Nan Powell in Jane's heart-warming novel The Beach House in around 2010, https://www.janegreen.com/books/the-beach-house/ I have been a die-hard Jane Green fan; devouring her backlist, eagerly counting the days until her latest releases hit the bookstore shelves, and losing myself within the pages of her wonderful contemporary stories the moment they did.
When her novel Summer Secrets was released in 2015 https://www.janegreen.com/books/summer-secrets/ I was so enamoured with the US hardcover version, and its elegant hydrangea design, that I just had to have a copy. Unfortunately, despite contacting her Sydney publisher, that cover wasn't able to be shipped to Australia. So a friend's amazing husband arranged for me to have a copy shipped to his work colleague's address in the US, and then he safely transported it back to Sydney for me after a business trip. Ever since it has sat proudly on the bookcase in my bedroom.
But of course it wasn't just about the cover. It was what was inside those covers that truly mattered.
Like so many readers around the world, Jane's novels spoke to me. Her stories reminded me of friends and their own struggles. So often I could see parts of myself in her characters, relating to the issues her novels raised. It felt like someone was peeking into my neighbourhood, writing down the myriad of things that happened, and turned them into a book.
So it comes as no surprise that Jane is a global bestseller with over ten million books in print, is published in over 25 languages, and that eighteen of her twenty one novels have gone on to be New York Times bestsellers.
And after being lucky enough to be able to read an advance copy of her latest novel, I have no doubt that her breathtaking first foray into biographical fiction, Sister Stardust will raise that tally to nineteen New York Times bestsellers https://www.harpercollins.com.au/9781867251132/sister-stardust/
In Sister Stardust, Jane transports us to 1960's England & Marrakech and reimagines the beyond-extravagant lifestyle of bohemian Talitha Getty, wife of John Paul Getty Jnr (who was the son of billionaire American oil tycoon J.Paul Getty).
The novel is alluring, it will draw you into a world you cannot possibly imagine. The setting is visually spectacular, you can see & taste Morocco, and the characters are a blend of real people like singers Mark Bolan and The Rolling Stones, and creations from the depths of Jane's imagination. It left me spellbound and excited to see what is next in store as Jane's storytelling heads in a new direction.
Ever since I started my blog back in August 2019 I have had an 'Author Wish List.' And top of that list was Jane. I live by the motto 'Nothing ventured, nothing gained' and so I reached out to Jane via her Instagram account back in late 2020 to see if she was willing to be stalked by an aspiring author/blogger from the other side of the world. She said that when her next book was released that she would love to!! So, when I saw that Sister Stardust was due for release in Australia on March 30, I reached out to Jane again and was blown away when she again said YES!
Over the years I have poured over Jane's Instagram account, loving the images of her beautiful lakeside home called Creaky Cottage, in which she raised six children with her husband Ian. I have watched her babies grow, spread their wings and fly the coup, just as my eldest has done.
And now, as empty nesters, (which will be my husband and me in the not too distant future) I have watched Jane & Ian create another beautiful home, this time the tiny but charming Mouse House, allowing me yet another glimpse into the stylish world of the quintessentially elegant Jane Green.
I have loved seeing her posts supporting fellow authors, especially my other major author crush, novelist & memoirist Dani Shapiro https://danishapiro.com/ I recently said to Jane that it is my dream to one day have Dani and her on book tour together in Australia. Keeping my fingers firmly crossed for that one!
I credit Jane with helping me survive the chaos of the past two years, living through a pandemic and two lockdowns. Her Instagram videos have had me in hysterics, and I don't think I have ever laughed so hard as I did with her Instagram live interview with the awesome Reading with Robin one night https://www.robinkall.com/reading-with-robin which may have involved Tequila and a stash of sweet treats hidden under her bed!
I still cannot believe that I am actually stalking one of my literary idols...but now, on the day of her Australian release, I will stop fan-girling and hand you over to the gorgeous Jane.xx
Q1: What was your inspiration for this story and how long did it take you to write the first draft?
A: I must have been a teenager when I first saw the famous Patrick Lichfield photograph of Talitha and Paul Getty on the rooftop of their Marrakech palace. She is sprawled out in a magnificent wedding caftan, with Paul standing in the distance behind her, in a long djellaba. I was instantly mesmerized; there was something about her beauty and style, combined with a sadness in her eyes.
Only during the research did I discover that they were so stoned during this shoot, Vogue almost didn’t run it! I was immediately obsessed, and have continued to be, my entire adult life. I have spent my entire life wondering about her, but there is so little known, other than her tragic death at the age of 30 from a heroin overdose.
I knew that Paul later shot to infamy in 1976, after Talitha had died, when his son “Little Paul” was kidnapped in Rome and had his ear cut off. I knew she was friends with people like Yves Saint Laurent, Rudolph Nureyev, and Mick Jagger, but little else.
When my very clever editor suggested I try historical fiction, hers was the only story I wanted to tell, or at least, the story of a girl who gets caught up in Talitha’s spell. There is so little written about her, I spent almost a year researching, so the actual first draft was much quicker. It probably took around three or four months to write.
Not only is Jane a New York Times best-selling author,
she is also a talented artist, studying at Aberystwyth University in Wales.
Q2: You are hosting a spectacular dinner party. Name four dream guests you would love to have seated around your table, and what would they be dining on and drinking?
A: There is a British comedian who I am currently obsessed with, called Matt Berry, and he would absolutely be at the table. I was in London last week and attempted to binge watch his show, Toast of London, although I only got through season one. I’m trying to figure out how to view it in my home country of America.
The writer Matt Haig would be at the table, because I am so enamoured of his honesty and rawness, the American actress Selma Blair, who astounded me in the documentary, Introducing Selma, with her bravery and incredible sense of humour and heart, and my husband. Because I would probably get drunk, and someone would have to remind me of what was said.
(Ha ha you made me laugh again Jane! Shelley.xx)
I would make something easy and uncomplicated, a Moroccan chicken tagine with preserved lemons and olives perhaps, a crisp green salad, and a decadent dessert.
Q3: What is your favourite book of all time and why?
A: Brother of the More Famous Jack by Barbara Trapido https://www.bloomsbury.com/au/brother-of-the-more-famous-jack-9781526612656/ I read it when it first came out, in 1982, and fell madly in love with Catherine, and the entire Goldman family. The writing, the warmth, the humour, the characters all stayed with me, and I have read and re-read it multiple times. It is a magical novel, a world in which I still wish I could live.
Q4: If you could travel anywhere in the world to write for a year, where would we find you?
A: Morocco. Right now I am still Marrakech-obsessed, but I also desperately want to visit Tangier and Essaouira.
“Talitha’s unsuspecting parents arrived at Da Zahir on a fortnight’s holiday late that autumn. Finding the gardens lit by camphor flares, huge fires of olive logs blazing at each end of high-beamed rooms, jasmine and
wood-smoke flavouring the air, and delicious meals consumed at night on priceless rugs beneath the stars, their first impressions were predictable – Arabian Nights, no less, they murmured to each other."
Source - From All The Money in the World by John Pearson
(via Jane's FB page)
Q5: Describe your go-to reading spot at home and what book/s would I currently find there?
A: Bed. There is a giant stack next to me, most of which are advance copies, some of which are by my favourite writers, Jean Hanff Korelitz https://www.jeanhanffkorelitz.com/novels-1 and Amy Poeppel https://www.amypoeppel.com/
Q6: Tell us a bit about a typical writing day…
A: My gorgeous husband always brings me coffee in bed. I stay in bed for a while, reading news, answering emails, getting some work stuff done, before showering, searching all over the house for my computer, my keys, my notebook, before dashing off to a writing room in town that I recently joined, to write.
In the old days I would write all morning, then be back to being mum when the kids got home, but now that I’m an empty nester, I have all day. I’m usually home by about three, and the rest of the day is spent in my home office, doing admin, marketing, all that other important stuff! And by about six, or half six, I am DONE!
Q7: As a lover of words, is there a special quote you would like to share with us?
A: This one, by USC Psychology professor Robert Emmons:
“Gratitude is a sustainable approach to life that can be freely chosen for oneself. It is choosing to focus on blessings rather than curses, on gifts rather than burdens, and people report that it transforms their lives.”
Q8: What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
A: I’ve always got some crazy creative thing going on. Painting, designing fabric for the new line of Sister Stardust caftans I’m bringing out, designing jewellery (also coming out with the book), stencilling the bathroom floors, gardening. I’m very happy on my own, and also love my nights out with the girls.
'I was so inspired by Talitha Getty, who wore snake rings on every finger, I designed a snake pendant, with the background copies from a pendant I remember my mother wearing in the early seventies. I’m now producing a small line and I cannot WAIT!'
Jane's stunning range of caftans and jewellery will soon be available to purchase via her Instagram page!
Q9: Any advice for aspiring authors?
A: It requires a PhD: in my book that is persistence, humility, and discipline.
(Love it! I am going to write this on a card and stick it to my computer monitor. Shelley.xx)
Q10: In a few lines, which debut/emerging Aussie author should we look out for?
A: I’m hearing wonderful things about The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart by Holly Ringland https://www.harpercollins.com.au/9781460754474/the-lost-flowers-of-alice-hart/ As soon as I get through the stack of advance copies next to the bed, this is what I will be reading.
(Oh Jane, Holly's novel will take your breath away, especially that opening line! Shelley.xx)
In her first novel inspired by a true story, New York Times bestselling author Jane Green reimagines the glamorous and tragic life of fashion icon and socialite Talitha Getty, for fans of Taylor Jenkins Reid and Paula McLain
Claire grew up in a small town, far from the glitz and glamour of London. Ridiculed by her stepmother, Linda, and harboring a painful crush on her brother’s best friend, she has begun to outgrow the life laid out before her. On the cusp of adulthood in the late 1960s, Claire yearns for the adventure and independence of a counterculture taking root across the world.
One day a chance encounter leads to an unexpected opportunity. Whispers of a palace in Morocco. A getaway where famous artists, models, fashion designers and musicians—even the Rolling Stones—have been known to visit.
When Claire arrives in Marrakesh, she’s swept up in a heady world of music, drugs and communal living. But one magnetic young woman seems to hold sway over the entire scene. Talitha Getty, socialite wife of a famous oil heir, has pulled everyone from Yves Saint Laurent to Marianne Faithfull into her orbit. Yet when she meets Claire, the pair instantly connect. As they grow closer, and the inner circle tightens, the realities of Talitha’s precarious life set off a chain of dangerous events that could alter Claire’s life forever.
Bestselling author Jane Green’s first work of biographical fiction breathes new life into a complicated fashion icon and the tumultuous world she inhabited. Page-turning, lush and luminously drawn, Sister Stardust is a transporting journey through a forgotten chapter of the Swinging ’60s by a beloved writer at the top of her game.
Thank you Jane for being my March 30th Author Stalker victim. xx
Sister Stardust is available now in Australia through bookstores and online. US release is April 5th 2022. Available to pre-order now!
If you would like to find out more about Jane, you can find her here: