Given that Jane Green is one of the most well known names and faces of chick lit, it should be no surprise why we asked her to write a piece for International Chick Lit Month. You may have already seen her this month, as she was our Hall of Fame choice! Her storytelling mastery has earned her this role many times over. Who hasn’t put their hand on their heart and sighed whenever “Jemima J” was mentioned? Who hasn’t cried as soon as they thought of “Promises to Keep?” Who hasn’t wanted to switch places with a woman they’ve never met? (Well, if anything, we can do it vicariously now!) Jane Green’s novels are unforgettable, and not only is Jane kind and wonderful online, but also in person. Amy and I have both met her and still talk about those experiences. I even wrote a tribute for her! If you haven’t “met” her yet, you can visit Jane on Facebook, Twitter and at her website. She’s great to her fans, so don’t be shy! And if you haven’t read any of her books yet, RUN, don’t walk, to your local library or bookstore, and stock up right away! Her latest novel is “Another Piece of My Heart” and it’s not to be missed! (If you want to see how much I loved it, look no further!)
Today, Jane is here to talk about the character we know and love best, Ms. Jemima Jones herself! We get a peek at her life as she is living it now. I’m hoping everyone here has read “Jemima J” at least once by now. If you haven’t, read it ASAP and then come back and find out what happens a while down the road. Don’t worry, Jemima’s not going anywhere after ICLM ends.
It was John Lennon who said life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans, and certainly, she had lived a busy life, one she hadn’t expected, could never have predicted.
She hadn’t expected, for example, to morph from a large, unhappy, unseen girl, who hid her insecurities in food, into a slim blonde beauty who became, for a short time, a style icon in certain magazines.
It made her feel special, for a while, even as she held her breath, expecting the media to expose her as a fraud. Surely it was only a matter of time before Star magazine discovered the ‘fat’ pictures, surely they would show the world she wasn’t nearly as perfect as she appeared.
The fact that it never occurred, didn’t mean Jemima Jones stopped expecting it.
Being the public wife of the charming, handsome Ben Williams, star of his eponymous late-night talk show in the States, wasn’t nearly as much fun as it sounded. Wherever they went, they were on show. Fans approaching them in diners, at the park, even, at times, screeching to a halt as they walked through town, running towards them with pen and paper in hand.
Ben loved it. He had worked hard for it, found it validating and fun, but Jemima, who dreamed of nothing more than a quiet life, found the intrusion overwhelming.
When she showed up at school for concerts, women she barely knew were overly lovely. She could never tell if it was because they liked her, or because they were drawn by the ﬂame of her husband’s success.
These past few years she has stopped going.
At ﬁrst, New York was bliss. Ben’s show was at midnight, too late for anyone they knew, all knee-deep in diapers and trying to ﬁnd a great sitter.
Jemima had purpose back then. Motherhood fulﬁlled every part of her in a way writing never had. She threw herself into mothering with full abandon, only now realising that was the time things started to become…unsettled.
It shouldn’t have been hard for Jemima Jones appeared to live a charmed life. A sprawling house in Westchester, a famous husband, all the privileges that brings; and yet she had never felt so alone, so ignored, so invisible to all.
The afternoon of her life saw Jemima Jones as unhappy as she ever was before she reinvented herself, transformed herself with diets and makeovers to make the one man she had always loved, notice her.
Until he didn’t. They stopped noticing each other. So immersed in their separate lives, they took each other for granted, and that, as we all know, is what allows dangerous things to happen.
That, as we all know, is how a woman like Jemima Jones ﬁnds herself, at forty years old, a single mother of two teenage children.
With no idea what she’s going to do next.
Special thanks to Jane Green for bringing us back into Jemima J’s world! We are so glad she was a part of ICLM this year.