Jane Green: Chick lit ‘has changed a lot in 18 years’

Temping Fate
“Tempting Fate” is Jane Green’s 15th novel.
Credit: Ian Warburg

Back in 1997, when Jane Green released her first novel, “Straight Talking,” there was no such thing as chick lit. Green, along with a few other authors at the time, is among the founders of what went on to become a billion-dollar genre.

“Helen Fielding wrote ‘Bridget Jones’s Diary,’ and ‘Straight Talking’ came out three or four months later, and there were a couple other books in England that came out around the same time,” Green tells us. “A newspaper ran a double-spread article about us and said we had created this new genre, ‘chick lit.’ And that’s really how it started.”

Green has made a career of writing commercial women’s fiction and is releasing her 15th book, “Tempting Fate,” on March 25. According to her, writing for women now is very different than it was 18 years ago. “When I first started writing, [chick lit] was aspirational. You had these huge, sexy, glitzy sagas about women who conquered the world. They weren’t very real, but they were huge fun. I think what we did was introduce a genre that really held a mirror to women, and held it with great honesty and humor,” she says. “I don’t think there was a genre of books where women were able to read and say, ‘I’ve been there. That’s exactly what my life is like.’”

Her new novel is about infidelity, full of so many “what if?”s and “then what?”s that make it impossible not to devour in just a few sittings. As Green has gotten older, so have  her characters. The principal character in “Tempting Fate” isn’t a 20- or 30-something trying to figure out her relationship status; it’s a woman in her 40s on the brink of a midlife crisis.

“My days of writing about women in their 20s and 30s are over,” Green says. “I’ve always drawn on my own life. … All of a sudden in my 40s, I noticed a number of women who announced they’d been unhappy for years and, unbearably, it turned out these women were having affairs. I started to really look at female infidelity, and in particular what happens to a woman in her 40s. Why am I seeing so many women being unfaithful? What is going on?”

Green is contractually obligated to release two books a year, so even though she is just now celebrating the release of “Tempting Fate,” her 16th book is already done and she’s at work on the 17th. “My next book is called ‘Saving Grace’ and is about an older man married to a younger woman. They take on an assistant who seems perfect in every way, but within a short period of time she starts systematically destroying their lives,” she reveals. Sounds just about right.

Follow Emily on Twitter: @EmLaurence


Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.


Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…


OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…


MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.


Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."


'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.


'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."


TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.


Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.


Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.


Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”


Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.


Glasgow: Hey, hey, the gangs aren't here

This European city has done a good job getting rid of its more violent residents and revitalizing with artists.


Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…


NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.


The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.