Author Interview & Review: The Scoop on Jane Healey

Author Jane Healey has always been interested in history. That’s why she writes about women from different time periods! We were honored to read her upcoming novel, The Beantown Girls. Read what we thought about it below:

Review of The Beantown Girls by Jane Healey

Author Jane Healey did a lot of research for her novel, The Beantown Girls and it shows! The novel focuses on three friends as they become
Red Cross Clubmobile girls. Basically, it’s their job to bring up the morale of the men on the frontlines overseas.

Each girl has her own reason for going over. One is on the hunt for her love, another is looking for adventure, and one brings her musical talent as an asset. The book focuses on the challenges that come about for these women.

Women like this are sometimes forgotten in the history books. This novel brings to light the important role that they played in WWII. Just as well, it shows the humanity of war. These were people with families, and dreams, and goals. Yet there they were, doing their best to bring what they had to the table.

The book follows the friends as they deal with relationships and unexpected occurrences. It’s a novel that focuses on the forgotten women of this time and shows how they were just regular women doing extraordinary things. The Beantown Girls by Jane Healey gives a new definition to historical fiction and shows that women have always been strong regardless of circumstances.

Q&A with Jane Healey

Affter reading The Beantown Girls, we interviewed Jane Healey! We learned about her background in history, her love romantic comedies, and where she’s headed next.

Just to start, can you tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?
I have been a freelance writer for over fifteen years writing bylined articles and also helping private clients with their communication needs. I’ve written everything from articles about wedding flowers, to business strategy books, to technology white papers. I enjoy working on all kinds of projects; it keeps things interesting!

You wrote a novel called The Saturday Evening Girls Club. What is it about and why were you inspired to write it?
I wrote an article years ago for Boston Home magazine about Saturday Evening Girls Club Pottery, which has become highly collectible. The pottery was made by a group of immigrant women in Boston’s North End at the turn of the 20th century. I was really intrigued by the relatively unknown stories of these women. I continued to do research about the club long after the article was written, and that eventually led to my novel The Saturday Evening Girls Club.

Your next novel, The Beantown Girls will be released this February! What is it about and why are you excited for its release?
Yes, The Beantown Girls releases February 5th and I could not be more excited about sharing this story with the world. The novel is based on the true stories of the Red Cross Clubmobile Girls in Europe during World War II. These women were remarkable in every way. Reading about their experiences, through their diaries and letters, I was just blown away by everything they had been through during the war. They were allowed more freedom to drive back and forth to the front lines than all war correspondents and most soldiers.

Why are your drawn to writing about history? Did you always want to write historical fiction?
I’ve always loved history and reading historical fiction so yes, I think of all genres, historical fiction is the one that I’ve wanted to write the most. I love doing research and I think that historical research can provide such a fantastic jumping off point for stories.

What sort of plans do you have for future novels right now?
I have just started working on a proposal for another historical fiction project – also about women during wartime.

Can you tell us a bit about your writing process and how you create your novels?
First, I really immerse myself in the research of the time and place until I feel like I have enough context to figure out the story’s narrative. I’m a plotter and a planner, so I spend a great deal of time mapping out the beginning, middle and end before I really jump into the actual writing.

What has been the biggest struggle for you as a writer?
Getting the first draft down has always been the biggest struggle for me. It’s very hard to ignore those little voices of doubt in my head and let go of my perfectionist tendencies to just get the thing done!

Is there a fun fact about yourself, unrelated to books and writing, that might surprise our readers if you were to share it with them?
One of the ways I love to relax on the weekend is to cook while watching super cheesy romantic comedies, even if I’ve seen them before. Some of my favorites include Never Been Kissed, Notting Hill, and The Holiday.

What advice would you give to struggling writers out there who are trying to accomplish their dreams?
I wish I had magical advice that would help these struggling writers struggle less, but really, the best thing you can do if you want to accomplish your publishing dreams is work very hard and persist. That means write a ton, rewrite, get quality feedback, maybe join a critique group or take a workshop, write some more – this is what I did and most successfully published writers I know have also gone through years of doing this before they reached their publishing goals.

What do you want readers to gain the most from your novels?
I think these are stories about women who changed their minds about what was possible and, as a result, changed the trajectory of their lives forever. Another theme of these stories is realizing your own inner strengths and abilities, despite sometimes incredibly difficult circumstances.

Your career seems like it has only just begun! Where do you see yourself going from here?
I was talking about this last night with my husband and, in terms of my fiction writing career, I really intend on playing the long game. I want to continue to write about lesser known stories of women in history that will hopefully surprise and delight readers while also educating them about an aspect of history they knew very little about before.

Do you have any final words of wisdom that you would like to share with our readers?
I think one thing the whole publishing experience has taught me is how amazingly supportive women are of one another. I have been blown away by the kindness and generosity of other women authors, my own writing community here in New England, my female friends, and so many of the women of my hometown. I’ve been so touched by the support and I am doing all I can to support other writers in turn – to pay it forward. I think women helping women, lifting each other up, is important in any field.

The Beantown Girls will be available on February 5th wherever books are sold.

To learn more about Jane Healey, check out her website and follow her on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

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