NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - After writing more than 30 children's books, American author Jane O'Connor has tried adult fiction - and found it was fun to write sex scenes.
O'Connor, known for the "Fancy Nancy" children's books, has just released "Dangerous Admissions: Secrets of a Closet Sleuth" which is a comic mystery set in Manhattan where a copy editor turns detective after a murder at her son's school.
O'Connor, who lives in New York, said it took her time to shift to adult fiction - but she won't be leaving "Fancy Nancy" behind with the first two books in the series that was first published in 2006 enjoying enormous success:
Q: Why did you shift to adult fiction?
A: "I live in Manhattan and both my sons went to a high pressure private school. After enduring the tortuous process of applying to college for both of them, an idea for a spoofy, Manhattan mystery came into my head. The story takes place at a private school like theirs and the first dead body belongs to the director of college admissions. It had to be for adults."
Q: Did anyone take the book or characters personally?
A: "I don't know. Some of my older son's friends have seen bits of themselves in a couple of the characters but I really fictionalized the kids, making them super high maintenance and preppy. In truth, both my sons had very nice friends. It is all meant to be spoofy but some parents have read it and know schools in Manhattan like it and see something familiar."
Q: How did you get into writing in the first place?
A: "I loved books as a child and wrote books as a child. I was reviewing children's books after I graduated from college and it gave me the itch to try to write one. I was a reviewer for a trade publication and I also did freelance reviews. But most of my career has been in trade publishing houses."
Q: How about the different voice in adult fiction?
A: "One of the things that was fun in writing the book was to write sex scenes. The book is not cozy - like tea-sipping mysteries that are Miss Marple-ish. This is a little nasty and my husband doesn't want his parents reading it."
Q: Did you find it uncomfortable to write about sex?
A: "No. It was fun to just indulge fantasies. I never discussed the sex scenes with my sons but I did discuss them with my husband."
Q: Have you started your next book?
A: "Yes. I have stuck with the same main character. She is copy-editing a manuscript as a freelance job - a Kitty Kellyish biographer - and the Kitty Kelly character is killed."
Q: Will you go back to children's fiction?
A: "I am definitely going to writing more "Fancy Nancy" books. This has been the surprise of my life. The first one has been on the New York Times bestseller list for 80 weeks and the second one for 22 weeks. At this late stage in my career to have something explode like this is really fun."
Q: What is the appeal do you think?
A: "They are about a little girl who is very middle class but loves to be fancy - fancy words, French because it's fancy. I don't really know why they are so successful but little girls will come to book stores dripping in jewelry and boas for the books. They've signed me up for 13 more."
Q: What do you read?
A: "I've always loved reading fiction. I'm just reading Michael Chabon's "The Yiddish Policemen's Union" and over the summer read "On Chesil Beach" by Ian McEwan. I read some mysteries but I read more non-fiction the older I get."
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