Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Jane Was Here by Sarah Kernochan: Interview & Excerpt

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

The night is pale, humid, with a few begrimed clouds. The moon has hung around so long it’s ignored, unremarkable as a thumb-tack.
On this July night, the girl soon to be known as Jane enters the village of Graynier.
It has grown since she was here last, though that was too long ago for her to remember. Back then there were only a few hundred people in Graynier.
It had never been one of those quaint New England hamlets, with neat white clapboard houses, town hall and Presbyterian church presiding over a cozy green, a registry spanning back to the Puritans.
Graynier came into being because of the glass factory. Built in 1828 at the foot of Putman Hill, it harnessed the gush of Pon-tusuck Creek for its great wheel. Workers arrived; their houses sprang up on haphazard dirt lanes. The factory owner’s mansion went up. His progeny built a cluster of modest Victorians to face the wooded hills, turning their backs on the working-class neigh-borhoods, repudiating community. The workers’ progeny estab-lished shops and took up the better professions, valiantly trying to confer an air of prosperity on the village…But Graynier was built on glass, and everyone felt that impermanence underfoot.
The factory no longer exists.
She remembers so very little, she cannot comment to herself how this and that have changed since the old days. Yet it was her home, this much she knows. That certainty produces in her a wild joy, thrashing like a bird against the curtain of fatigue sweeping over her body.
She wants to know everything, all, and at once.
Better that she does not: too soon for her to know the appalling events of the past. And the future she is rushing toward, sweeping the town’s inhabitants along with her in a frightful flood of justice, is also obscured—as it should be.
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.
That one is somewhere here: a small life that shimmers and pulses in the night—or so Heaven must see it, for, in spite of that terrible deed, all life is sacred. But her killer would have no more idea of that than a mole snuffling about its starless underworld.

And Heaven would have her be ignorant as well, as she walks into the village of Graynier, in the valley between two hills, under a vapid moon.

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, 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.
Blog  |  Website  |  YouTube  |  Goodreads  |  Smashwords


Shauna Buck said...

Sounds good!

Anonymous said...

It sounds fantastic! Can't wait to see how it unravels!

Anonymous said...




Kimberly Lim said...

Thanks for the giveaway

Kara D. said...

Sounds great! Thanks for the giveaway!

Jennifer Haile said...

Thanks for the giveaway!

joannie said...

Hi this book is quite different also from the everyday books i have been reading, I have not read to many like this one and can;t wait till i do. Thanks for hosting this giveaway and hey i am interested in your ghost story also. If you ever write it in a book i want to read. Thanks Joannie jscddmj[at]aol[dot]com

Suz said...

Thanks for this amazing giveaway! This book sounds great and I would love to win it!

Suz Reads

Brian McBride said...

This looks like an interesting read! Great interview, too!

Anonymous said...

I loved reading the interview, thanks for the giveaway!

Dee B. said...

Thanks for the interview...always nice to meet the author. Great giveaway!