I’m a fan of everything vintage, so was delighted to get a chance to interview Jane Linfoot about her HarperImpulse novel, The Vintage Cinema Club!
The Vintage Cinema Club reflects its characters love for everything vintage. What do you think is so appealing about old-school fashion styles?
I think people love to choose vintage because it guarantees you something individual that no one else has. Retro will often give you classic design and fabulous quality, compared to newer things. It’s also a way of embracing recycling – being green, yet doing it with style. I heard someone say that modern vintage is looking forward through a window of the past. A lot of it is about rediscovering “pretty” too, after a decade of minimalism.
Friendship is at the heart of the novel, with three women working together and fighting to save their business. Why do you think that female friendships are so prevalent in romance novels?
Female friendships are an important feature of current romance stories because that reflects the way real women live their lives.
In the past, settling down as half of a romantic couple was the main aspiration for a lot of people, but women today look for much more than that. Today’s women like to get out there, have their careers, and live their lives on their own terms. Female friends are a crucial part of that dynamic. For most people finding “the one” comes a long way down the line, and it’s natural that our “besties” will be around to help us when love happens.
Female friendship is a fascinating area to explore for the writer. Throwing friends into the romance mix adds interest that takes the story to a different level. I think readers enjoy and appreciate that extra depth.
You’ve got three – very different – romance heroines, in The Vintage Cinema Club. What do you think makes a strong romance heroine
First I have to admit that floppy heroines are my pet hate.
A strong romance heroine will know her own mind, she’ll have her principles and hang on to them, and she’ll never chase the hero. If she does get close it’ll be on her own terms. And she won’t be afraid to stand up to the hero when he’s wrong, and sometimes when he isn’t.
A strong heroine has to be gutsy enough to go on in there and challenge the hero in a way they’ve never been challenged before. Standing up to these guys, surprising them, playing them at their own game or even a different one, and coming out on top is the way my heroines like to play it. If they happen to make the hero fall in love along the way, it’s entirely accidental, because love is usually the last thing on my heroines’ minds.
Writing from one perspective can be tricky enough, but you manage to balance and capture three different voices! How did you manage to keep each character separate and not conflate them?
Izzy, Luce and Dida in The Vintage Cinema Club are all very individual characters. As so often happens with my characters, they marched onto the page pretty much fully formed, and immediately began ordering me around. This might be because they’d been bouncing around in my head for ages before I began to write, and I guess they never got mixed up because I knew each character so well.
When I was planning the story it seemed important to bring in characters who were very different rather than similar, which meant they are coming at us from different places, and have a different view on life.
In real life people are often drawn to friends who complement their own qualities. Quiet girls hang out with extroverts, wild women will have a sensible friend to keep them grounded. The contrasts between the characters in this book were a great way of shining a spotlight on each of the individual women and their different lives. Izzy’s feisty side is tempered by Luce’s calm, but when it comes to business, Luce wishes she had a share of Izzy’s courage. And what will it take to crack Dida’s hard shell?
I loved exploring the different qualities of each of the women in the book. I like writing about strong women, and I especially enjoyed writing about their interaction, as the women both clash and collide, sometimes ganging up on each other, but always working together. Their combined strength is an awesome power. I found the different combinations of three women in the scenes, and the progress of their relationships in pairs, singly, and all together, developed in a fascinating way, as the story played out. But I have to admit that a lot of the time it felt as if they were acting completely independently, and I was simply the one recording what they did.
What’s your current project and what will we be seeing from you next?
My writing is influenced a lot by things that happen in my life, and right now country weddings are featuring very large. And I’m still enjoying mixing the romance with the friendship themes.
Jane Linfoot writes fun, flirty fiction, with feisty heroines and lots of heart. She lives in a mountain kingdom in Derbyshire, England, where her family and pets are kind enough to ignore the domestic chaos – happily, they’re in walking distance of a supermarket. For her, writing is cool because she gets to wear pretty shoes instead of wellies.
Jane loves hearts, flowers, happy endings, all things vintage, most things french. When she’s not on Facebook, and can’t find an excuse for shopping, she’ll be walking, or gardening. On days when she wants to be really scared, she rides a tandem.