Jane Porter and Heather Locklear

Please help me welcome Jane Porter, author of Women's Fiction and HARLEQUIN PRESENTS romances, books that make you dream of gorgeous, sexy men and compelling romance.
Today we're asking Jane about her book Flirting with Forty, a movie made for Lifetime TV and showing this month.

Jane, when did you come up with the idea for Flirting with Forty?

I went to Hawaii on a spur of the moment to finish a book for Harlequin Presents as I was so sad and finding it hard to concentrate due to my recent divorce. But I didn’t end up that much happier in Hawaii. The 5 star hotel was beautiful, but I missed my children, I missed my old life, I missed everything that had once defined me. All those intense emotions began to stir up the what if’s for a new story and I didn’t know what the story was yet, but by the end of my stay, the pieces began to fall into place. The Las Vegas developer at the pool became a character. The fancy hotel itself became a setting. And the sexy surfer who strolled through the pool area just pulled all the what ifs into one story: What happens to women as they become wives and mothers? What happens to our sense of humor and sense of self? Why do we become afraid of change and new things? Within two days I had the whole book—the beginning, middle, and end.

How long did it take to write?

Once I sat down to write the book, I wrote it in a matter of months. I knew the story so well. I knew what I wanted to say and this is a book that almost wrote itself. Maybe this is part of the story’s power. I was honest. I was raw. I was determined there would be a happy ending, too.

What's the strangest thing that happened to you while writing Flirting with Forty?

Life and fiction collided. I began dating the sexy surfer after interviewing him, and I started flying to Hawaii as frequently as possible to see him. While I became happier, my friends back in Seattle weren’t happy with me. They were worried I was behaving irrationally, worried about the surfers’ age and lifestyle, worried that I was investing too much time in a far away place when I needed to settle down and get used to being a divorcee in Seattle. I didn’t anticipate their resistance but in the end, their resistance became part of the book and made it so much more real and complex. To this day, people think I wrote about my life, but at the time I pitched the story to my editor, it was just a plot. A concept. I’m still amazed that four and a half years later I’m still seeing the surfer and we’re now having a surf baby together.

What research did you do?

I interviewed that surfer and then I began spending weekends in Hawaii whenever I could. I took surfing lessons, read everything I could on Hawaii and surfing, and talked, talked, talked to women, asking questions and listening to what they had to say about their lives, their joys, and their secret sorrows.

What was the process from book into film?

Judith Verno, a VP at Sony, read the book in the fall of 2006, loved it, and contacted my agent regarding rights. My agent put her in touch with producer Lucy Mukerjee who was handling the option on the book. They put together a deal and within a couple months screenwriter Julia Dahl had been hired to do the script. Julia’s script was great and after some tweaks casting began last December and then boom, we were in production with filming taking place in Calgary and Hawaii in April.

Did you get to meet the cast?

I did get to meet the cast in Hawaii. I was on the Hawaii set for a week and was able to watch a lot of the filming, as well as play an extra on a couple of different occasions. Heather Locklear was lovely, and made a point of coming up to meet me my very first day on the set. And Robert Buckley...well, he’s smoking hot and he fit the surfer role perfectly. I don’t think the movie would have half the charm without Robert.

How long did it take from acceptance to the movie being made?

Less than two years. The book first came out July 2006 and by July 2008 the film was already shot and in post production. It all happened very quickly, but that’s been part of its charm. Flirting with Forty changed my life. It brought me success. And it brought me love. The story changed my life. I discovered I could be happy. You just have to want the great life. You have to for it. You can’t wait for the great life to come to you.

What's next for you?

I’ve another book coming out this July, Easy On The Eyes, and it deals with aging, women, and the entertainment industry. And my last two novels, Odd Mom Out and Mrs. Perfect, have already been optioned and are being considered for development by a number of folks.

Do you have a website? If so what is the web address?

My website’s www.janeporter.com and I also have a blog called the JaneBlog that’s lots of fun. I’m always doing contests and talking about life, and I of course, love hearing from fellow readers and writers there.


  1. Arkansas Cyndi // December 17, 2008 at 1:44 AM  

    What a story! Depressed, searching, divorcee meets hot, hunky surfer dude for some fun in the sun... how could sparks NOT fly!

    Congrats on the book and movie.

    AND thank you for making women over 30 "hot"! :) We aren't dead yet.

    thanks for visiting us. Please come back anytime.

  2. Mary Marvella // December 17, 2008 at 2:03 AM  

    You said it!
    Jane, you made believe. Of course I love all your books!

  3. Cyrano // December 17, 2008 at 7:49 AM  

    Dear Jane,
    Hey thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions for the PFSW. Loved the interview, what a journey you've taken.
    And by the way, I loved the movie as well. It was fantastic, well written, well acted, well done. Bravo. I hope to see more of your books come to life of the screen as wonderfully as this one did!
    Congrats on all your success and good luck in all you do.

  4. Bonnie Vanak // December 17, 2008 at 8:24 AM  

    As someone who was divorced as well, your description of your feelings afterward hit the mark. Your story of the surfer, the standing up for yourself against friends who thought you should do otherwise, and your own happy ending made me smile. Yay for you!

    Good luck with your books, your future projects, and your new start in life.

  5. Caroline // December 17, 2008 at 9:20 AM  

    Jane, great interview, and super congratulations on all your successes!! You have blazed a trail for yourself and others! Your life just seems like a, well, movie! (hehehe) I guess it is!!

    Super good luck with the other two—even though you don’t need it!! How very exciting!!

    I’ve seen your interview clips on TV. You are such a doll!!

    Huge hugs and all the best,
    ~Caroline Fyffe

  6. Greta // December 17, 2008 at 10:09 AM  

    Loved the interview, Jane! You're fabulous and your books rock!

  7. Keri Ford // December 17, 2008 at 11:16 AM  

    WOW! Fabulous Story, Jane. Congrats on...well everything! Your books, movies, surfer :O)

    Way to take control of your life and live it how you want.

  8. Walt Mussell // December 17, 2008 at 12:26 PM  

    Enjoyed the inerview. However, being a guy, I especially liked the attached picture with it. :)

  9. Beth Trissel // December 17, 2008 at 1:39 PM  

    Wow. This is one of the most amazing stories/interviews I've ever read. I really enjoyed it.
    Thanks Jane so much for sharing.

  10. Mary Ricksen // December 17, 2008 at 5:54 PM  

    It just goes to show there is always hope for women of all ages.
    Your book being made into a move must have been one of the most thrilling things to ever happen in your life.
    Congratulations, that book deserved to be a movie!

  11. Joanne // December 17, 2008 at 6:48 PM  

    Welcome to the Pink Fuzzies, Jane.
    Wow! What a wonderful story with a Happily Ever After for everyone. Congratulations on your well-deserved success.

  12. Scarlet Pumpernickel // December 17, 2008 at 8:13 PM  

    Thank you for visiting the Pink Fuzzies! Wonderful interview, very inspirational and uplifting. I loved the movie, watched it twice! I enjoy all your books, especially the Presents. Congratulations on all your successes. You are an inspiration to all ladies Flirting with 40!

    Scarlet Pumpernickel

  13. Jane Porter // December 17, 2008 at 8:16 PM  

    Just wanted to say thanks to everyone for their really nice comments! I tried to get here earlier and we lost power and then life happened after power returned but this was worth the wait. :) I appreciate the support and hope I'll have the chance to return!

  14. Scarlet Pumpernickel // December 17, 2008 at 8:42 PM  

    How interesting to hear about your process for writing Flirting with Forty. Could you tell us, how was this different that your usual process for writing a book? How long does it take you to write a presents? Which Presents is your favorite? Is Flirting with Forty you favorite book. Thanks for sharing with us.


  15. Edie // December 18, 2008 at 1:03 AM  

    Jane, I love the story of how you wrote the book and found true love! I never saw the movie and will have to look for it.

  16. Mary Marvella // December 18, 2008 at 12:16 PM  

    It's on Lifetime television. It rocks!

  17. debjulienne // December 18, 2008 at 12:20 PM  

    Fabulous interview..and you took me by surprise...I've seen the movie advertised and couldn't wait to see it..so now to see Jane wrote it....wow...that is so terrific. I've been a fan of Jane's since she joined SVR...but this is flippin' awesome....that woman can write!

  18. Nightingale // December 18, 2008 at 1:53 PM  

    I loved this fairytale story of a life completely changed! I am so happy for you on all counts. Can't wait to read Flirting with Forty--sounds like the kind of book I need now as I'm flirting with another decade.

  19. Zoesgarden // December 18, 2008 at 7:35 PM  

    Wow Jane! A story with a real happy ending! (not that it's over, or we're over, those of us over forty, that is) Now I gotta find the movie!