A mysterious young woman called Jane appears in a small New England town. She claims a fragmentary memory of growing up in this place, yet she has never been here before in her life. Searching for an explanation, she arrives at the unthinkable: that she is somehow connected to a beautiful girl who disappeared from the town in 1853. Is she recalling a past life? Jane becomes convinced of it. As she presses onward to find out what happened in this town over 150 years ago, strange and alarming things begin happening to some of the town’s inhabitants. A thunderhead of karmic justice gathers over the village as Jane’s memories reawaken piece by piece. They carry her back in time to a long-buried secret, while the townspeople hurtle forward to a horrific event when past and present fatally collide.
Author Sarah Kernochan, an Oscar-winning filmmaker and screenwriter, explores reincarnation and the paranormal as she fashions a suspense story out of two Janes separated by two centuries. Jane Was Here is sure to be enjoyed by fans of The Lovely Bones and The Time Traveler’s Wife.
Advance quotes from other authors:
"Sarah Kernochan's second novel, Jane Was Here, has an insane premise -- that the presence of one young woman can literally cause the past and the future to collide in real time and space. How Kernochan, the writer of the film 'What Lies Beneath,' pulls it off, and she does, is nothing short of magic. See Jane break the world wide open."
~Jacquelyn Mitchard, author of The Deep End of the Ocean and Second Nature, a Love Story
“An eerie story that not only kept me guessing but kept me up at night. Sarah Kernochan delivers a quirky tale with the perfect amount of creepiness, intrigue, and small town New England politics. A perfect choice for book clubs.”
~Brunonia Barry, author of The Lace Reader and Map of True Places
"Sarah Kernochan's profoundly modern story of the vengeful reincarnation of a young 19th century New England woman is sly, terrifying, witty, perverse, seductive and thoroughly satisfying."
~Rafael Yglesias, author of A Happy Marriage
“In Jane Was Here Sarah Kernochan demonstrates she knows how to cast a spell in prose that is haunting, elegant and seductive.”
~Ron Rosenbaum, author of The Shakespeare Wars
How did you start your writing career?
I self-trained to be a novelist from the age of 14; that’s how certain I was of my future. I even dropped out of college in my junior year to start a life worth writing about. However, when I assessed the road ahead, it looked pretty dreary: years and years of toiling in obscurity, submitting manuscripts for rejection after rejection, poverty and heartbreak… I was the impatient sort; I wanted to skip the hard part. In all the arrogance/innocence of a 20-year-old, I decided that I could rise more swiftly as a screenwriter, and my resulting fame would make it easier to get my novels published.
The odd thing is, that’s kind of the way it happened. With my eye toward screenwriting, I fell sideways into making a documentary, which earned me an Academy Award. That brief burst of fame (I was remembered chiefly for wearing a tuxedo to accept my Oscar) made it possible for me to get a recording contract as a singer-songwriter; and, later, to get my novel Dry Hustle published.
I should add, nothing after that ever came easy again.
Tell us about your current release.
Jane Was Here is a reincarnation mystery thriller. An unsolved crime was committed in a small
New England town in 1853. Those people who were involved in that secret event have now been reincarnated to the present day. Of course they have no memory of the previous lifetime or of what they did. One summer they are all, separately and unwittingly, drawn to the same New England town, to be present when a mysterious young woman named Jane appears. She is the reincarnated victim. Her arrival sets the wheels of karma in motion. At the end, divine justice will prevail.
The book should appeal to anyone who loves an intricate puzzle, as well to fans of creepy, very edgy fiction. I’ve written a lot paranormal screenplays, one of which became What Lies Beneath.
Is there one passage in your book that you feel gets to the heart of your book and would encourage people to read it? If so, can you share it?
“Some of the people who were present for what happened all
those years ago still live here. The one who pushed her from the
womb. The one who carried her on his shoulders. The one who
taught her arithmetic. The one who kissed her first. The one who
fell in love with her. The one she loved instead.
“And the one who killed her.”
What are you passionate about these days?
To my stupefaction, I’ve become a mad Twitterer. I would even say it has changed my life, which has always been kind of hermetic. I love discovering, meeting and belonging to this far-flung community of striving writers. They are all so brave, so tireless, and often so generous to their fellow scribes. There’s an amazing amount of quid pro quo. I’ll follow anyone who follows me. Sometimes when I truly align with somebody I’ll read his/her book; I’ll post a review on Goodreads and Amazon if I have the time. These are books I would never ordinarily pick up: YA, sci- fi, etc. I know how much it means to me to have my book read by someone, anyone, and how hard it is to reach that dwindling population of those who read. I like to give other writers the same pleasure. Mainly I love feeling less alone.
What are the most important attributes for remaining sane as a writer?
Anxiety – over whether you’re any good, whether anyone will like or even read what you write, whether your book will be published or your script be produced, whether it will sell – totally sabotages the present moment. The creative belongs wholly to the moment; you should be in a continual state of inception. Tell that undermining voice of anxiety to take a seat in the waiting room and stay there until you finish your work. You can let it out later when you’re doing the dishes: then worry all you want.
I have a career as riddled with disappointments as with successes. It’s difficult to keep the negative out. I have to remind myself constantly that I’m writing for the love of it – the first, original lure that planted me at the keyboard. Humans are happiest when they love. Creativity flows easily from love. It should feel that simple.
Chopin once said that, after thrashing through all the complexity of creating, you must arrive at simplicity: “Simplicity is the final thing.”
Entice us, what future projects are you considering?
Currently, whenever I’m not on a script job, my blog has all my attention. I’m experimenting with posting a very long narrative in serial form: that is, I’m telling a personal ghost story, something that really happened to me, in installments, complete with cliffhangers. I wanted to see if readers would get hooked and come back for more. I’m happy to report that I now have a whole bunch of addicts on the needle. I’m on installment #36 and only halfway through the story! (I’ve had a lot of supernatural experiences.) My agent thinks it’s shaping up as a book, so I forge on. I don’t know, maybe it’s the first paranormal memoir.
Do you have a Website or Blog?
A fan of my music put up my website, www.sarahkernochan.com. It offers all my songs for download, as well as information on my films and links to videos and blog.
Is there a piece of advice that you have received that has really stuck with you? If so, what was it?
I recently saw the Richard Linklater film Bennie. There was a funny line of dialogue that has stayed with me. The scene was an interview with a rural chainsaw artist who worked with wood. He was asked what his “process” was. He looked somewhat amused by that word. His response went something like this: “Well, I wake up in the morning with an idea. Then I come out here, get a log, and cut away everything that ain’t the idea.”
Sarah Kernochan has won two Academy Awards for her documentaries Marjoe and Thoth. As a screenwriter, she has written many films, among them Nine and ½ Weeks, Impromptu, and What Lies Beneath; she both wrote and directed the film All I Wanna Do as well. Jane Was Here is her second novel after 1977’s Dry Hustle. At present she is writing a memoir of her encounters with ghosts in serial form on her blog. She lives in New York with her husband, playwright James Lapine; daughter Phoebe Lapine is a food writer.