When best selling romance novelist Jane Porter finds herself up against a book deadline — she cranks out at least four novels a year — she packs up a small suitcase, grabs her laptop, and escapes. No children (she has three), no TV, no distractions from life. However, "life" is exactly what sidetracked her in 2004 when she took a 180-degree turn, and the idea for a new novel led her down a path to Hollywood stardom.
"I was finishing a book I was already past deadline on," Porter shares. "I was down at the pool — it's sometimes easier for me to write in public so I can't take a nap or drift off — and this surf instructor, Ty, had just come back from taking a little girl out on a lesson. We chatted for a few minutes, and I thought, 'What an interesting — not to mention handsome — guy.' Intrigued, I booked a two hour surf lesson with him the next day and interviewed him by the pool. I wanted to hear his story."
Before finishing the book at hand, Porter had written a 10-page synopsis that would become the novel "Flirting With Forty," a best seller that would go on to become a Lifetime movie starring Heather Locklear, Robert Buckley and Vanessa Williams.
Porter and surf school owner Ty Gurney would go on to become a couple and eventually have a child together. They bought a Honolulu home, and are currently finishing renovations on a historic property in San Clemente, California where Gurney will set up a second outpost of his Waikiki surf school.
"When I met Ty, he was this interesting person that inspired a story. Remember, I'm a book girl. I don't go out and do crazy things. Instead, I use my imagination and make things up. But Ty was more interesting than most fictional characters and I knew we'd never work in real life, but I enjoyed his company anyway.
"So, back when we were just starting to date, Ty took me on a hike on Oahu into the mountains," Porter shares. "And he said, 'So how does this story end?' I thought he was talking about us — and I was a bit sensitive that day — so I snapped, I'm not stupid. I know it's not going to work. I've got two kids and a demanding career in Seattle, while he had a very mellow thing going on in Waikiki, teaching surfing and so forth. And Ty stopped me and said 'No, I meant the book.' So, of course I gushed on and on about the fairytale, happy ending. And since you can't write the future, Ty and I also ended up together for the long haul. Life's funny."
Porter is not only a contracted writer with Penguin and Harlequin publishers, but she has also launched her own publishing company, Tule Publishing. Her goal is to raise through the ranks other like-minded authors, and "speak to them as smart, creative women who are the real talent in the publishing industry," which isn't always how the big, traditional New York publishers handle their authors. She aides a growing cache of authors with editorial, distribution and marketing, as well as growing their brand through social media and public appearances.
Waikiki holds a special place in Jane's heart, afterall it's the beach where she and Ty met and her life took an astonishing turn. The stuff of romance novels and fiction.
Ty Gurney Surf School is an exclusive partner with THE MODERN HONOLULU and our Concierge will be happy to assist you in setting up an appointment for a session on the water.