Who is your favorite character from Faithful?
Other than Maggie, my lead character, I would have to say that my favorite character is Kula. Yes, she’s mean to Maggie; but she’s so hurt by her past and feels so deprived, that I know exactly where her pain comes from. She’s lashing out. I want to see her heal.
Why did you choose to incorporate a sort of divide between Yellowstone and Newport into Faithful? They contrast each other quite a bit.
They really do contrast, and that’s intentional. In 1904, a Newport girl had to live by certain expectations. She had to be of the right social tier. She had to marry the right man, and not necessarily for love. In Yellowstone, a girl could be more open and free – she could get away with things, experience nature, be more relaxed. Unlace that corset, take off that hat and those gloves. For Maggie, being in Yellowstone for the first time would be like peeking through a door and discovering a whole new and marvelous life.
Why did you integrate the concept of losing your mother and not knowing whether she really is dead into Faithful?
Ah. Well, I wrote from personal experience. I wrote this book for my mom. We were very close – she lived far away, but we talked on the phone at least once a week, and usually for hours at a time. She died unexpectedly, suddenly, and I wasn’t there with her when she died. It felt to me like she just vanished. Like she was stolen from me. It’s a pain that’s taken me years to deal with.
Are you personally a nature lover? What's your view Yellowstone as a whole?
I love nature. It’s where I go to heal. And I’ve spent lots of time in Yellowstone, which is a fabulous place. There’s no place else on earth like it. When I’m in Yellowstone, I’m always on the edge of my seat. Any minute you could see something astonishing – a buffalo, an elk, a wolf, a geyser blowing its top – and all in a place so gorgeous it takes your breath away.
Which character do you resonate most with, in Faithful?
I resonate most with Maggie, my main character. In so many ways we are alike. She’s very locked up inside herself, and has to learn to open to new things; and I tend to be a very private person, and being an author has meant I need to open up to new things and new people. We’re on similar journeys!
What was the message that you tried to get across to your readers with Faithful?
If there’s a message in Faithful I hope it is that you have to be true – to be faithful – to yourself. You have to live your life according to an ideal includes loving with a full heart, and rejecting the expectations of everyone else.
The premise of Faithful is quite unique. How did the idea bloom?
My family has a cabin in Montana where we go every summer and holiday – and soon we’ll be living in Montana year round. I was taking a walk near our cabin not long after my mom died when the idea came to me. It just felt right.
What would you have done if you were in Maggie's place?
I like to think I would have stopped my mom from going on the Cliff Walk – but probably not. I like to think I would’ve told my dad to quit running my life, but probably I wouldn’t. Otherwise I like to think I would have done exactly what Maggie did in the end, and I’m really proud of her for doing what she did.
How did the title Faithful come to be?
It was so perfect. “Old Faithful” and the Yellowstone setting, and a book about faith in yourself – that was the easy part!
The cover is really beautiful! Did you have any input in it?
I did! But I have to say that the designer of that cover, Jeanine Henderson, totally rocks. I love that cover. My editor asked me for some thoughts, and I said something about a girl looking at Old Faithful, and Jeanine took that vague idea to an entirely new level.
What's the most interesting thing a reader has ever said to you?
A reader recently told me she was absolutely terrified by one scene, sure that something had happened…but if I said any more, it’d be a spoiler!
What’s up next for you book-wise?
Maybe it wouldn’t surprise you to learn that my next novel is a story from Kula’s point of view. I want to see her learn from her mistakes and take the next step to becoming a whole and wonderful person. She goes to San Francisco in 1906, and…
Book you've faked reading:
Oh – I think I’ll leave that alone.
Book you've bought for the cover:
I just bought Catherine Fisher’s “Incarceron” for a combination of the cover and the title. I confess: though I have no idea if this is part of the novel, I love steampunk. And dystopian novels. I’m working on two right now, in the beginning stages.
Book you're an evangelist for:
I love this question. Can I name more than one? I love Jandy Nelson’s “The Sky is Everywhere.” And Nancy Bo Flood’s “Warriors in the Crossfire” – the cover does not express what is going on inside that magnificent little book.
Anything else you'd like to add?
My website is www.janetsfox.com, and my blog is www.kidswriterjfox.blogspot.com and I’d love to have readers stop by!