Jane Heller Interview, plus links to author biography, book summaries, excerpts and reviews

Jane Heller

Jane Heller

An interview with Jane Heller

Jane Heller speaks about Female Intelligence.

As I write in the Acknowledgments of Female Intelligence, the novel was inspired by an incident that occurred in Jupiter, Florida, not far from where I live. My husband and I were leaving the local movie theatre when I spotted -- and then overheard -- another couple on their way toward the exit. The woman said to her husband, "Harry, what did you think of the movie?" He grunted. She said, "I asked you, what did you think of the movie?" He shrugged. She said, "Why can't you talk to me?" He said, "About what?"

I found their interaction both amusing and frustrating. Why? Because after all the Mars/Venus books, after all the magazine articles, after all the "Oprah" segments, women are still trying desperately to get the men in their lives to communicate with them, express their feelings, share. I thought, maybe women are just better at communication -- smarter, more intuitive, more intelligent -- and maybe I can have a good time writing a novel on the subject.

Before I knew it, I had typed up the outline of a story about a heroine who coaches men in the language of Womenspeak, enabling them to become more connected to the women in their lives. She's no ordinary sensitivity trainer, either. She's an academic -- a linguist named Lynn Wyman who teaches an insufferable alpha male named Brandon Brock how to speak like a lady and then falls in love with him. Yes, the story is reminiscent of the classic film "My Fair Lady," in which Rex Harrison, a linguist, teaches Audrey Hepburn how to speak like a lady and then falls in love with her. I suppose Female Intelligence is a modern-day twist on that tale -- sort of a "My Fair Man."

Mostly, the book is my way of poking fun at the different conversational styles employed by men and women. It's also my attempt to point out that women don't always communicate clearly and honestly with other women. If Female Intelligence has a moral, it's this: that we could all use a little sensitivity training now and then.

Unless otherwise stated, this interview was conducted at the time the book was first published, and is reproduced with permission of the publisher. This interview may not be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the copyright holder.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  
Sign up, win books!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: A Man Called Ove
    A Man Called Ove
    by Fredrik Backman
    Reading A Man Called Ove was like having Christmas arrive early. Set in Sweden, this debut novel is ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Search
    by Geoff Dyer
    All hail the independent publisher! In May 2014, Graywolf Press brought two of long-revered British ...
  • Book Jacket
    Mrs. Hemingway
    by Naomi Wood
    Naomi Wood's latest novel, Mrs. Hemingway, is a fictionalized biography covering in turn writer...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your
horizons.

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

The Arsonist
by Sue Miller

Published Jun. 2014

Join the discussion!

  1.  119Tomlinson Hill:
    Chris Tomlinson
  2.  171The City:
    Dean Koontz

All Discussions

Win this book!
Win The Angel of Losses

The Angel of Losses

"Family saga, mystery, and myth intersect in Feldman's debut novel." - Booklist

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

E C H A Silver L

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.