It’s ten years ago this week that my life changed…forever.
I’d just turned forty and was going through a divorce and struggling with writing and meeting my close deadlines for Harlequin Presents when my heart and life felt completely broken. Facing the first Easter without my two little boys, I jumped on a plane and headed to Hawaii to write at a beach front resort where I wouldn’t have to think about anything but my book and getting through the holidays in one piece.
I was down at the pool working in the shade under an umbrella, when this surf instructor walked a little girl back from a meeting. Someone shouted his name, thanking him, and it caught my attention since my then five year old was also named ‘Ty’.
Ty, the surf instructor, and I chatted for a few minutes, and after he walked away, I thought–’now theres a story.’ I didn’t even know what the story was, just that this sexy surfer represented a world I knew nothing about, but a world women would love. I booked a lesson with him for the next day, and spent the two hours interviewing him by the pool because I wanted to hear his story.”
I left Waikiki with a ten page synopsis which I sent to my agent, and she took it to my new editor at Warner Books and they bought the story, slated for publication in mid 2006, since I had my first single title, The Frog Prince, releasing in 2005.
During the next year, Ty and I dated long distance, and I knew he and I would never be able to go ‘the distance’. How could we? We were so different. I lived in Seattle and was 40 and an ambitious, career focused woman and he was 9 years younger and had never even dated a ‘chick with kids’ before me. How would we ever work?
Friends didn’t think I should get too invested in him. They knew my heart was already banged up but I loved his world in Hawaii and the freedom and opportunity to be yourself. I loved escaping from suburban mom world, and it helped me grow as a woman and a writer. I knew when Ty and I ended it would hurt, but I had to take the risks. I had to find out how and when the journey ended.
It’s been ten years, and we’re married and we have a little boy who turns 5 in a couple weeks. A couple years ago I was able to move from Seattle with my older children and Ty and I have bought a historic property in San Clemente, California, where Ty will set up a second outpost of his Waikiki surf school.
I sometimes think that if he hadn’t been a surfer, and I hadn’t been a writer, we couldn’t have made it work. But we’re both about creating a moment–having a passion–and it makes us respect the other. As a surfer, he knows how to read the water and the waves and he’s patient when he needs to be, and he can charge it when the wave is there. As a writer I know how to focus on the end goal, and be flexible with the middle bits, turning pieces and tweaking and massaging story elements to make something work.
Ty and I have our bumps. He is a laid-back surfer and I can be an intense writer but he believes in me in a way that no other man ever has. He’s the first person to tell me to ‘go for it’, and he’s absolutely confident that I can succeed at anything I want to try. I love having a man on my team that is really on my team, and so as I continue to write for Harlequin Presents and trade books for Penguin, I also write stories for Tule Publishing, a small, indie publishing venture that is all about the author. The romance industry is filled with smart, creative women and they are the real talent in the publishing industry. I believe authors should feel validated and be respected and its my mission and passion to encourage and support them…and all smart, creative women.
Bestselling author of 45 romances and women’s fiction titles, Jane Porter has over 12 million copies in print and has been a finalist for the prestigious RITA award five times, most recently for her novella, Take Me, Cowboy (Tule Publishing). Her next release, Beauty’s Kiss will be available in April 2014. Jane makes her home in sunny San Clemente, CA with her surfer husband. Learn more about Jane at janeporter.com.
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