Originally from New York, Janet Clare lives in Los Angeles with her husband and a small dog, Lucca, named for the town of Lucca, Italy. She studied at both UC Berkeley and UCLA. She recently published her first novel, Time Is the Longest Distance. You can learn more about Janet and her work here.
1. You just published your first novel, Time is the Longest Distance. Congratulations! What is the novel about and what do you hope to convey to your readers?
Thank you so much. I am certainly very excited.
My book is about an American woman, Lilly–a 45-year-old New Yorker–who is persuaded by her newly found father, a legendary explorer, to take on the most difficult outback track in the harsh Australian desert. Totally out of her element, she becomes entangled in an unlikely love affair and witness to an untimely death.
Along with the adventure itself, it is a story of discovery and yearning, of exploring secrets and re-examining decisions. I hope readers get a glimpse of how we all suffer from imperfection, and how separate we often are from the people we love and see every day.
2. How has your journey writing and publishing your first novel challenged the status quo?
Well, I’m not a kid. I started writing over twenty years ago, and was lucky to fall in with the best of all possible teachers at UCLA who became a mentor, to me and many others.
Writing, like all writers know, is rewriting. I wrote multiple drafts and eventually found an agent. Nothing happened, so I started writing another book. Time went by. I eventually fired my agent. More time went by. Years, in fact. I finished my second novel, and even started a third.
Still, my Australian story stayed with me and I eventually pulled it out and sent it to a small publisher in Australia, who loved it. For me, an American writer, to find a publisher in a place where my heart had traveled for so long, was perfect.
3. Who or what has been your biggest inspiration to keep writing and what kind of characters or situations do you find yourself most drawn to?
I was lucky to discover the sheer joy of writing, and I adore doing the research, then making things up. And, because I’m not a writer who outlines, I love seeing what happens, the surprise.
My second novel takes place mostly in Europe. Again, an American woman, drawn into a story of other people, she finds her own. It has history, art, and stolen jewels! I like the idea of seemingly ordinary characters in extraordinary situations, and how appealing it might be to be gone from our lives. My third book, still in progress, is located in the Pacific Northwest and could be considered a coming of age of both adults and teenagers. It’s told in the third person and there is dominant male point of view. Such fun!