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It is with great pleasure that we at the Respect Jeter's Gangster blog present our first interview of 2009 with author Jane Heller. Jane is set to release her first Yankees-related book Confessions of a She-Fan: The Course of True Love with the New York Yankees on Tuesday, February 3.
As a New York Times bestseller, Jane has written several romantic comedies, but with this project Jane turns her attention to her true love, the New York Yankees. Jane had sent us a copy of the book in advance, and the book is fantastic! The story itself is funny and brings back to life the 2007 season with all its difficulties and eventual victories. The best part is that it is written from the perspective of the fan. Its easy to relate to the emotions described in the book, from anger and sadness, to absolute joy. Its what a New York baseball season is all about.
Besides writing books, Jane maintains the Confessions of a She-Fan blog. Always witty, and full of baseball talk, we recommend you add this site as one of your daily stops in Yankee blog land.
And without further delay, here is our exclusive interview with Jane Heller:
1) You were a successful author before this book project, writing mainly romantic comedies. What made you want to switch to a sports-related, first person narrative like "Confessions of a She-Fan"?
I had written 13 novels in 13 years and was sort of burned out. I was dying for something different to write. I’d always been a passionate Yankee fan and watched every game on TV. When they had that miserable first half in ‘07, I was flipping out. So I wrote about that – how I wanted to divorce the Yankees for betraying me – and sent the piece to the New York Times. That led to the She-Fan book and a dream project for me.
2) One of the anecdotes in your book is about how you once got a date with Ruben Amaro, who played shortstop for the Yankees. If you had to go on a date with a current Yankee player, who would it be and why?
(Editor's Note: The correct answer is Derek Jeter)
LOL on your correct answer. But I have to say that I’d pick Mo. I LOVE Mo. He’s a little young for me, but look at A-Rod and Madonna? Mo’s my favorite Yankee because he’s an amazing pitcher, a great competitor and a classy guy. Oh, and have you checked out his eyes? They’re gorgeous.
3) The book began as part of a piece you wrote in the New York Times early in the 2007 season about divorcing the Yankees for mental cruelty. What were your feelings about the 2008 season?
The 2008 season was depressing, but I’d gotten all that divorce stuff out of my system in ‘07 and was much more rational about ‘08. I didn’t let it bother me the way I used to let every single loss ruin my days and nights. I had really, really wanted us to get Santana and I wasn’t all that shocked when Hughes and Kennedy didn’t pan out or when Rasner and Ponson didn’t go 10-0 like Aaron Small. Without pitching, we didn’t have a chance.
4) Picture for a moment that you were a Pirates fan, would you skip the divorce and go straight to murder?
Yeah, I’d go straight to murder. On the other hand, they haven’t raised their ticket prices in years. If you’re a Pirates fan, you can actually afford to go to games.
5) How many times in your book, do you refer to A-Rod as A-Fraud?
Never. A-Rod is a great player who’s got “issues.” He hit over 50 home runs and over 150 RBIs in ‘07 and, in large part, was responsible for the team getting into the playoffs that year. I expect another MVP season in ‘09. And by the way, he’s not the only player to ask a clubhouse attendant to do personal favors for him. They ALL do it. I’m not happy with Torre for putting that little gem in his book.
6) How do you feel the baseball public responds to female baseball fans, particularly ones who are knowledgeable and passionate about their team and the game?
My own experience is that guys are amazed that we actually know what we’re talking about. They think women are all about having a crush on Jeter. Some of us have been watching baseball for years and have earned our fandom. That said, don’t ask me about stats. My eyes glaze over when you guys start talking about percentages. Most women fans I show aren’t into sybermetrics or whatever it’s called. :)
7) You mention several unpleasant run-ins with Yankee Stadium security. Do you think the Yankees look for sociopathic malcontents, or power hungry napoleon complex types when hiring security?
I think they look for escaped convicts from prisons around the country – the kind that eat other inmates.
8) Of all the stadiums you visited, which one outside of Yankee Stadium was your favorite and why?
Camden Yards. It’s a beautiful park. It’s very Yankee-fan friendly. And Boog’s Barbecue has the best pit turkey platter I’ve ever had. The only bad experience I had there was when a guy barfed a few rows back from me. Bad, bad smell.
9) How would you define the perfect fan?
The perfect fan lives and dies by his/her team but doesn’t have to remind everybody every six seconds. I’m still learning how to be that fan. I’m also learning how to stop letting Yankee haters get to me. The minute I hear, “You choked in ‘04” or “You think you can buy a championship” or “Yankee suck,” I want to grab a sharp object and do harm. I need to get a grip.
10) As an experienced author, what advice would you give to amateur writers trying to get their work published?
Get a copy of “Writer’s Market.” It’s a reference book that’s available at libraries and bookstores. It lists all literary agents and tells you how to make submissions to them. Agents are key to getting published. So you just have to go through the list (it gives each agent’s specialties and interests) and send them your work. Tedious but worth it in the end.
11) On your blog, there have been mentions of a possible "Confessions of a She-Fan" movie. Where does this stand, and who will you get to play the Respect Jeter's Gangster's authors?
I have an agent in LA who handles all the movie rights to my books. Eight of the books have sold to Hollywood, so she’s been very successful. What we’re hearing from producers who’ve read the She-Fan book is, “Oh, but will a baseball movie sell overseas?” I remind my agent that baseball is big in Japan. She says, “Yeah, but it’s not like it’s ‘Dark Knight.’” She has a point. We’re trying to interest Penny Marshall in directing the movie, since she’s a Yankee fan and directed ‘A League of Their Own.’ But no news to report.
12) What kind of promotional events are you planning for the book? Any book tours?
I’m having a big launch party here in Santa Barbara on February 28th. Free beer and plenty of food and appearances by the Santa Barbara Foresters (independent league) and Tab Hunter, the movie star who played the lead in “Damn Yankees” years ago. If anybody reading this lives in CA, please come! I’m also going to Tampa for spring training. I’m signing at the Barnes & Noble Carrollwood store near Steinbrenner Field on Friday, March 6th at 1 pm and then will be at the game against the Tigers that night. Very excited. The national and NY publicity will happen in late March and April. Joe Torre stole my thunder, so we’re waiting until that story is over. I can’t believe his book and mine are being published on the exact same day! Oh, well. He’ll lose this battle. He may be doing Larry King and Letterman, but I’m doing Respect Jeter’s Gangster. Ha ha, Joe. The fans will have the last word!
13) You've now written several op-eds for the NY Times. Why do you suppose the NY Times won't publish our op-eds?
Maybe they’re not looking for articles about dinosaurs, but I could be wrong.
14) You have a very popular blog at http://janeheller.mlblogs.com/. How many times a day do you frequent the Respect Jeter's Gangster blog, and why is it your favorite site?
I’m on your blog every day – usually twice a day. I love the fact that it’s got the latest news (if there is any – this has been a SLOW period for bloggers), plus it takes a funny, lighthearted look at what’s going on. Some fans have no sense of humor. You guys are hilarious. The Bronny Cash phone calls are the best.
15) Lastly, what do you respect most about Jeter's gangster?
I respect everything about Jeter. The way he plays the game. The way he treats the media and the fans. The way he manages to stay humble (or at least seem that way). If the Yankees were high school, he’d win Most Likely to Succeed.
There you have it! Jane loves her Yankees and loves the RJG. On a side note, New York times will change their dinosaur policy, or we will change it for them!
We would like to thank Jane for taking the time to answer all our questions. If you would like more details about the book, check out Jane's official website at http://www.janeheller.com/. The book is out in stores tomorrow, so pick up your copy! Thanks once again Jane!