Jane L. Rosen returns to the podcast, this time to discuss SEVEN SUMMER WEEKENDS, a charming, heart-tugging romance about a woman who inherits a Fire Island beach house and its revolving door of weekend visitors... and then meets an irritatingly handsome neighbor. Jane delves into her creative process and inspiration, revealing that the big family secret in the story is based on her own family history. She also talks about her love for Fire Island (where she met her husband!), her best advice for aspiring authors, and the books she’s excited to read this summer!


Zibby: Welcome, Jane. Thank you so much for coming back on Moms Don't Have Time to Read Books to discuss your latest Seven Summer Weekends.


Jane: Thank you so much. I'm so happy to be here. It's always like just chatting with a friend. 

Zibby: Amazing. I read your whole book yesterday. That was my, you know, Mother's Day treat to myself, which was amazing. Tell listeners what Seven Summer Weekends is about.

Jane: Well, it's, it's basically about a girl named Addison Irwin, whose life is completely uprooted with, by a Zoom disaster. Loses her job that she's been vying for, which is the art director at an ad agency. She's been working towards it, you know, ever since college, 10 years later, loses a job and just has never really even experienced failure before.

Her friends come over, scooper up and, um, Next thing you know, she's inherited a house from an estranged aunt on Fire Island. She figures she'll sell it, she'll take the money, buy a fabulous apartment in Manhattan, and, you know, things don't always go as planned, and she goes out there. The house comes with seven weekend guests, most of them from her aunt, and her life changes.

In a lot of different ways. And it's a story of growth. It's a story about, you know, when you were young and it was like, the summer was so defined, summer had like this magic that anything could happen. And it was this like defined time. And then you graduated college and you're like, Oh, summer, what's summer now?

Like, is it just two weeks vacation or, you know, something you don't have that kind of freedom in your life. But when you come to Fire Island, you kind of get it back. It's very much like camp. And here she is, comes, she comes to Fire Island, she lost her job, she's nowhere to be, she has to find another one, but no one's hiring over the summer.

And she gets that magic back of summer, where you really could discover yourself and different things and pivot. It's a great escape, I'll tell you that. 

Zibby: It is, very much. And so funny, by the way, that you continually referenced On Fire Island in this book, which was your last book, which is great. 

Jane: Yes, I, I did.

And then the funny thing is, this is one of, Three. So the next one is called Songs of Summer and these three books, they're all standalone novels, but you could kind of read them in any order. You know, you read them and be like, Oh, wait, I want to learn the backstory and read on Fire Island. Or you could read the next one, Songs of Summer and say, wait, which is focusing on this adopted daughter of a character named Beatrice.

So it starts with her and you could say, Oh, I want to read the backstory on that. So it's all connected yet all separate. 

Zibby: Interesting. 

Jane: Yeah. 

Zibby: And so how did you come up with the idea for this one? 

Jane: It's funny. I came up for the idea. I didn't come up. I came up with an idea of Seven Summer Weekends. And as you know, you like pitch your next book.

And I said, I would like to write a book called Seven Summer Weekends, where a woman whose life is upended, goes and visits seven summer weekends. Seven different places that summer, like, you know, like the different New York beach towns and lake towns and all of that. And they said, we love it, but could you put it all on Fire Island again?

And I said, okay. And it was actually really a fun experiment for me. It was almost like kind of an assignment that I just went off with and it was fun. I loved it. I've never done something like that before where someone actually said, you know, could you write this? 

Zibby: Well, it's interesting because for The Weekends, I was wondering why, or not wondering why, but I noticed that when different people would come to Fire Island, you set them first where they were.

were coming from, right? So we got to see Peaks at other places before they got to Fire Island. And I was like, I wonder why she's doing that. I mean, I loved it, but just the writerly, you know, like, why do we see them here and there, you know, where they began versus just having them appear on Fire Island?

Like you gave us the backstory of the guests. 

Jane: Yes, I started doing that. I didn't do that for each one. And then my editor was like, you really have to go back and do that for each one. There was some guests where I really wanted to just show you, you know, who they were before they walked through her door.

And it was, it was fun. Like there's a, you know, there's one from India, I guess, from India. And he really explained how he met. Addison's aunt, and there's her childhood friend, but then there's also her friends. And I loved writing her friends. It felt like very, you know, Carrie's friends kind of thing. And I really honed in on one woman who was going through her own changes, as you know, and just seems like a great way to, you know, to enter each weekend by telling who they were.

I mean, even though there's two bookstagrammers.

Zibby: I was about to say that. I was about to say that two bookstagrammers are hilarious. 

Jane: You know what's so funny? I don't know what it is, but every time I write a book, I slip in the word slut and every time they make me take it out. So this time, I think I got it next time, by the way.

And I don't know why I've now become obsessed with slipping the word slut in. You know, you're not allowed to say slut. Like, you're not allowed to say so many things. So I called them the book sluts first, and they were the book sluts the whole time I wrote it, and then I waited for the editor to say, you know, I love my editor, you know, she's not a prude or anything, but she's like, oh, you know, you can't say slut.

So I'm like, oh, I do know that because I've tried it every time. So I changed it to the Spice Girls. 

Zibby: You know, I, I recently just watched, do you remember Overboard with Goldie Hawn? 

Jane: Yes! It's one of my favorites. 

Zibby: It's one of my favorites too. So I was just actually watching it with my kids who hadn't seen it.

And there's, there's the part, you know, where Goldie Hawn is like, 

Jane: You fat, ignorant slut. Is that it? 

Zibby: Yeah, she was like, she was like, I was a short, fat slut. 

Jane: That's the funniest line in that movie. 

Zibby: Oh my god. 

Jane: I could tell you every line in that. If anyone hasn't seen Overboard, everybody. Watch it tonight, because what a gem that movie is.

Zibby: I know, it's from like 1987. I was like, how could that be? I feel like I watched it yesterday. But anyway, I mean, I did. I feel like the first time was yesterday. But yeah, I loved your books to grammars and really all the all the visitors and how you How it, it's like, it's almost like, episodic, right? It feels like seven episodes of a, of a limited series, which, you know, maybe it will be.

Jane: Go! Hollywood! 

Zibby: But one of the, well, there are two sort of, uh. beating hearts, I feel like, of the story. One being her relationship, Addison's relationship with Gicky, her aunt, and the relationship, the big terrible thing that happened between Gicky and the parents and why they were estranged. And then also, the potential love interest and how that, you know, affects her life and, and all of that.

So tell me, tell me more about that and why you set it up that way with the aunt and the parents and did you know the Big Terrible Thing when you started or did it come to you later? 

Jane: The Big Terrible Thing was, we can't say what it is, but the Big Terrible Thing was something that happened in my family.

Zibby: You're real, oh my gosh. 

Jane: I was so shocked. I was, I had dinner with a cousin, like, that I see maybe once every five years. Her aunt, her mother, I mean, was my great aunt. She was, she lives on, on, um, Central Park West. She was, she was the last in the last boat out of Poland when the Nazis came in. She built this beautiful life for herself with her husband, who was my uncle.

And she was like a princess and she, they had this cousin. And my mom said, they have, you know, they haven't spoken in 30 years. No one will say why no one will say why. And I don't know why. And then I was like, everyone's already deceased. And I having dinner with my cousin and I'm like, what was the big reason?

And she goes, Oh, I know the reason. And she said the reason. And that was the reason in the book. And I was like, what? I couldn't believe it. So it's true. 

Zibby: Oh my gosh. That's hilarious. That is hilarious.

Jane: I mean, of course they embellished it, you know, a bit. 

Zibby: Yeah. 

Jane: It was the reason. 

Zibby: I liked the physical resolution, if you will, the, you know.

Jane: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. 

Zibby: The love interest. I don't know what I can say about that to not give things away, but that was also wonderful. 

Jane: Thank you. I really wanted to after on fire islands, which is the story of someone, you know, in, in the depths of grief, I really wanted to give the audience a little rom com.

My audience, my readers. So hopefully I did. 

Zibby: And what is it, I know you love Fire Island, and I feel like I got a particularly great sense of it here with the sandwiches and white paper and, you know, all of it, the carts and, I don't know, you just like really brought us here. there so much so that I was like, I think I'm just going to have to get to Fire Island at some point.

Like I haven't been to college or something. 

Jane: It's right on the way to the, to your house. You should stop by, jump on the ferry. 

Zibby: What makes you love it so much? And when did you fall in love with Fire Island? Like what is it about Fire Island that sings to you? 

Jane: I think that a great deal of people that love Fire Island because Not to sound like a spoiled person, but it's not easy.

It's not, you can't drive your car there. You have to, you know, unload everything, ship it over. You sometimes can't get it the same day. You certainly can't get, you know, all the luxuries of life there. There there's nothing there. There's a market and a liquor store and a flower shop. Like, so. Like I once had to get a Verizon help and it was so funny because the woman's like, just go down to the Verizon store.

I'm like, listen, lady, there is no Verizon store. Yes, there is. It says there's one at ocean beach. I'm like, no, I promise you there is no Verizon store, but anyway, so it's a, you know, it's not an easy place to live, but it's a wonderful place to live. Leaving all of that behind, leaving the cars behind, leaving the Verizon store behind, leaving all of that.

And just walking around, pulling a wagon, your belongings, or riding your bicycle to the market before each meal is just something you really can't find anywhere else. Well, I've never found it anywhere else. But that being said, I fell in love with my husband on Fire Island and I think the romance of it kind of stuck with me.

And I think that that happens to a lot of people. When you walk around and you say, when was the first time you came to Fire Island? People will say, oh, I met my husband here. They'll say that, or they'll say, my grandparents bought this house, you know, a hundred years ago because no one really gives up their houses, you know, because it's just so wonderful.

Zibby: And is it a big deal to sell? Like, is it, is that the thing you're not supposed to do. 

Jane: Yeah, it is a big deal to sell, especially now that people have been building these big houses. So if I were to sell my house tomorrow, someone would probably knock it down and build, you know, something huge. And then my neighbors would be sad because it's like you have a tiny house just shrinks when the one that goes up next door to you and my particular block has somehow been immune to this situation.

And, um, even when someone passed, the, the kids kept it and we were so happy that the kids kept it. And now I see the grandchildren and the great grandchildren, actually, there's a great grandchildren on my block of the owners that I first, when I first bought the house, those people's great grandchildren are toddling on my block.

Pretty wild. 

Zibby: Wow. It's like a, It's like a club or something, like a resort of simpler times. 

Jane: Yeah, and CJ's kind of the same, which is nice, especially from the city, like the dichotomy of it all is just, it's amazing. It's a great place. 

Zibby: Oh, I love it. 

And what about the cringe inducing thing that gets Addison to lose her job.

Where did you come up with that? And has anything like that ever happened to you? 

Jane: You know, I think every time someone goes on Zoom, or started to at the beginning, right, there was just so many disasters. You weren't, you had no idea what was going on behind you, you know, and I've, I've personally, I don't know if you've ever done this.

I've personally like forwarded an email to someone like, look what this person said. And then I replied instead. So, you know, that kind of feeling of like that thing, you can't get back. World is filled with that stuff. You can't get back. Right. It's not like when we were kids, you could do whatever you wanted.

No one was recording, you know, you know, it was, and now all of a sudden you're on a zoom meeting. I mean, you know, there's, uh, Show people, like, naked walking across the background, and I just thought this, this would be fun to, you know, figure out how she could really mess up. 

Zibby: I was on a FaceTime call. It wasn't Zoom, but I was on FaceTime with my kids allergists, like, having a Zoom appointment with them.

Not Zoom. Well, whatever. An appointment. Video appointment. Mm hmm. But I had my headphones in. In the phone. So my Kyle didn't know I was on the phone and he like went to go get a cup of coffee. He was wearing pajama pants, but he was not wearing a shirt. Anyway, so he comes up from behind me to give me the, the coffee and, and like his whole, you know, just the top of him appears the thing.

And I was like, I promise he's wearing pants. 

Jane: That is so funny. 

Zibby: Oh gosh, all in a morning. You know, anyway. So you're writing books so quickly. How are you doing this? Like, how long did this take? And how are you doing it? Like when and how are you doing it? 

Jane: Okay. Well, first of all, I'm an author and a mom whose three children are out of the house.

You are an author and a zillion other things. So if you think about like your day and what it's spent doing, and you just put that all into writing as if it was a job, you would be doing the same thing. Do you understand what I'm saying? It's just time. I wake up in the morning and I write. And then I go about my day in the afternoon, or sometimes I could write for six straight hours.

And I really don't write on the weekends. I try and take off as if it was a regular job. And I write that being said, I think I'm thinking of going back to this every two year situation, because I think, especially what I have in my head for my next book, I think to do it justice, I'm going to have to give it more time.

So we'll see. 

Zibby: Okay. So you don't have a deadline. You have to hand it in by. 

Jane: Well, I don't, I didn't even sell it yet. So, you know, I'm hoping to really delve in to something and put some more time in it, but yeah, it's been, well, Fire Island on Fire Island was a script. I was a screenwriter first before I was a novelist.

So that was particularly, even though it was the book closest to my heart, really, it was easier to write quickly because I had like this giant outline, a 90 page page. Outline, add all the dialogue, you know, so that was easier and Seven Summer Weekends just flew out of me. I don't know. 

Zibby: What's going on, by the way, with Eliza Goes Off Script and the TV adaptation?

Jane: That's Nora. 

Zibby: I'm sorry, Eliza. I started a rumor. 

Jane: But that would be great. Eliza goes off script while Nora starts a rumor. 

Zibby: Oh my gosh. I'm so sorry, Jane. How could you possibly? Let me do that again. 

Jane: Great. 

Zibby: Let me do that again. What is going on with Eliza starts a rumor and the TV adaptation of that? 

Jane: Okay.

Well, I'm happy. Well, first of all, everyone who's listening to this podcast, please cross your fingers right now. They crossed it's being pitched right now to all the streamers. Yeah. The pitch is fantastic. Really fun. Really fun. And we'll see. 

Zibby: Oh my gosh. Have you attached a star? 

Jane: No, I'm not. You know, it goes the other way.

It's like, they don't want the star attached, they do want the star attached. You really can't gauge what's going to be your best bet. Yeah. But for me, if it happens, like, part of me got into novel writing. Or a great deal of the reason I got into novel writing was because I was writing screenplays that no one was reading.

I sold them, but only the executives were reading them, and my family. And I was so tired of that, so I wrote Nine Women One Dress. In the hopes that, you know, that it would become a film and then I just got hooked on writing novels. So my point is, I'm just so excited for the thought that I could see it on the big screen or the little screen, the little screen, actually.

Zibby: Oh my gosh. Keep me posted. I'm so excited. Well, I hope I have high hopes. I have high hopes. 

Jane: Thank you. It was really fun. They really did a great job with it. I'm not writing the script, and Wendy Stryker Hauser is, and she's amazing. So, we'll see. We'll see. You can open up your fingers now, everybody. 

Zibby: Yes, they're crossed, crossed, crossed.

What do you like to read in the summer, like, when you're on Fire Island and relaxing? Or do you just hold up your own books the whole time? 

Jane: No, no, no. I'm so excited to read. I'm actually, I've been in a group of, with the June 4th authors. 

Zibby: Mm hmm. I saw that. 

Jane: All publishing on the same day and we've decided to band together and support each other.

And I'm hoping to read all of their books. They're going to send, we're all going to send each other the books. It's Susie Orman Schnall and Julie Sato, Annabelle Monaghan, Olivia Munter. I don't know if I'm saying it right. Gosh, I know I left someone out. But anyway, oh, Brooke Foster. So I'm going to read all their books.

That seems like a good list. 

Zibby: That's really great. Oh my gosh. And what advice do you have for aspiring authors? 

Jane: Do not give up. That seems like a very, you know, nothing advice, right? Do not give up. You've already heard, you've heard that your whole life. But the truth is if you, if you don't keep the passion burning and you don't keep writing, you're never going to publish.

Obviously. So when you get a million rejections on one book, put it away and write another book and just keep going. Something's going to hit if you have that much passion for writing. 

Zibby: Wow. And my last thing I've been really curious about, because I know the story of this comes, you know, whatever, but is this an actual painting?

I'm talking about the cover. Do you have this as a painting, the cover? 

Jane: No. I should ask them for it. I'm going to get one because it looks like it's on watercolor paper. Is it artist? I know. And the next one, but look on fire island was the same. Could you see it? Yeah. Yeah. Yep. Yep. And the third one. Is just as gorgeous.

It's really beautiful. It's a woman on the ferry with headphones on and it's the same watercolor look. Yeah, it was an artist, you know, that they mock it up and then they put the colors in and you say, Curly hair, straight hair, the dog's too big, the dog's too small. And then it comes out as a cover. Voila!

Zibby: You should do like, even without the titles, you know, just the three of the watercolors. Like a triptych. 

Jane: I should. 

Zibby: Yeah. Could sell them. Anyway. Amazing.

Jane: Always thinking. 

Zibby: Jane, thank you so much. Thank you for taking me away with you to Fire Island over the weekend. I feel like I had a total vacation and I really enjoyed it.

Thank you so much. 

Jane: Thank you so much. I'm so glad you enjoyed it and I hope to see you soon. 

Zibby: Okay. All right. 

Jane: Thanks.


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