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When Angels Cry: Jennifer Edward's New Novel Promises More Than Fifty Shades of Grey...Sexual Healing

02/09/2015 09:05 am ET | Updated Apr 08, 2015

By Nancy Chuda founder and Editor-in-Chief of LuxEcoLiving and co-founder of Healthy Child Healthy World

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The movie, Fifty Shades of Grey is meant to be released on Valentines Day weekend and the pundits who think the book will still outsell theatrical ticket sales better think twice. E.L James wrote the bestselling erotic novel, knowing exactly how to get a rise... and we are not talking ONLY males privates; rather targeting the arousal of a mostly female audience who covet their fantasies undercover, sometimes with a partner but mostly on their own. Hollywood Reporter is forecasting a $45 million debut. WATCH!

Erotic novels sell more than most other types of literature. Industry statistics from the Business of Consumer Book Publishing 2013 show that the romance genre as a whole generated $1.438 billion in sales in 2012 and estimated at $1.350 billion for 2013. Romance buyers are buying ebooks to a greater extent when compared with other major fiction subgenres and ebook sales of romance books have proportionally doubled in one year, from 22% in the first quarter of 2011 to 44% in 2012.

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For first time author of When Angels Cry, actress Jennifer Edwards did a lot of soul searching in composing the forays of her antagonist, Sarah O'Malley, who is an emotionally troubled, sexually active, middle-aged, romance novelist caught in the quagmire of having to care for her ailing mother who is suffering from Alzheimer's. She moves back into her childhood home where she discovers a deeply held secret, something her mother had not shared which catapults her inward desire to write rather than enact her own sexual fantasies. As a single mother of two, divorced, faced with the challenges beyond her control, she is awakened to her past-youthful sexual exploitations, an unplanned pregnancy, the death of a child, and its devastating effects on family relations.

NGC- How much of Sarah's modus operandi lives in you?

JE- I think it near impossible to not connect in some way with the characters we create. When I began this book, I was still married, I had one grown daughter and one in high school. My father and biological mother were both still alive. In the book, Sarah's father has already passed, she is divorced and both her daughters have "left the nest". Within a few months of finishing the book, my mother became very ill, I left my husband, and within a little over a year or so my father died...and two years later my mother. I realized when editing, that I had actually written things in Sarah's life that would actually become my own...Foreshadowing to say the least. But making Sarah a writer was a no brainer as I have always "written". Screenplays, lyrics, poetry, short stories.
NGC- This is your first novel. What made you choose an erotic theme?
JE- When I decided I wanted to, try, to write a book, I knew I wasn't ready to write MY story just yet, and I knew I didn't want to delve into any historical research type thing...I just thought, "what would I like to read, if I was on vacation, by a pool, having a cocktail with an umbrella in it?". I would want to laugh a little, maybe cry a little, and be titillated a lot! SO I knew it would be Romance, but I didn't want it to be cheesy... Then it occurred to me that I would make my lead character a writer of Romance novels and I would use excerpts from her books that could be cheesy, and ultimately funny...
Being a middle-aged woman, going through menopause, knowing other women going through the same thing, and hearing many of them sort of "giving up" on themselves especially in the sex dept. I wanted to write something emancipating. Something that women of our age would relate to and maybe realize that we are sexual beings...in fact probably more so the older we are. We know what we want, we know how our bodies work, and it can be the best time for sex.
NGC- How difficult was it to separate fact from fiction in terms of your family life and history?
JE- I wouldn't say there was "difficulty" separating fact from fiction as I made a conscious choice to put several facts from my childhood and life in to Sarah's life. A lot of the mother daughter dynamic between Sarah and Olivia comes from my upbringing.
NGC- With the release of the movie, Fifty Shades of Grey, Valentines's weekend, in your opinion, will this help create interest in your book, When Angels Cry?
JE- When I was in the editing process of my book, my sister who co-writes children's book with my step mother asked me if I had heard of a book that was coming out called, Fifty Shades Of Grey? She said she heard it was erotica and thought it might conflict with my book. My agent and my editor had not heard anything about it either...And we all know what happened with that book!!! The only comparison one can make to her novel and mine is that there is erotica in both. They are very different stories...Her's is about a twenty something discovering her sexuality, and leaning in to the dark side, ...Mine is about RE discovering sexuality later in life, and also deals with divorce, mother and daughter issues, family secrets, etc...
NGC- Where does the title come from?
JE- The title comes from something Sarah observes about her mother, when Sarah is a little girl.
NGC- Your family history is Hollywood royal. How much of an influence has your brilliant father, Blake Edwards played in your writing career?
JE- My father always thought of himself as a writer first. Although most people think of him as a director, he began as a writer and was always "writing"...even in his head... It seemed a natural progression for me to write as well... He was very encouraging of my writing. He thought I was very good at it! He would be very proud that I completed this book and got it published.
NGC- Your own film career began in your childhood. In Heidi there is a scene called, "A Place of My Own," how would you describe that place in your life now?
JE- I began my acting career at the ripe age of ten, starring as Heidi in the NBC movie. There is a song in the movie by John Williams and Rod McKuen called, "A Place of My Own." As far as My place...of my own now...I am in a good place...especially because I have learned to be able to go inside...within, if you will, to a quiet place, that is all my own and a place of peace...acknowledging this gift of life I have been given, with each breath...I realize the ultimate gift... And I appreciate more, the older that I am, that we are actually in Heaven here on earth...and we need to wake up and SEE that! We create HELL in our heads every day...If we just step back and realize what we have been given here, the beauty all around us, maybe we won't destroy this beautiful place too soon...."On earth as it is in Heaven"...

About Jennifer Edwards: A Place of Her Own

Edwards hails from Hollywood royalty. Her father, Academy Award director/writer Blake Edwards was a mentor in many ways. She pays tribute and holds tremendous pride for his brilliant creativity which lives on through his cinematic achievements and in her DNA. Jennifer's mother was actress and costume designer Patricia Walker. Her step mother is Dame Julie Andrews DBE, Hollywood legend and Academy Award recipient for best actress for her role in Mary Poppins.
th-20Jennifer's father Blake Edwards with step mother actor Julie Andrews/LuxEcoLiving
Jennifer's life began in the most magical and memorable way. She starred as Heidi in the made for television movie in 1968. The film was so popular, Nielsen Ratings were off the charts when it technically (intercepted) Americas most contagious sport. Football. The New York Jets vs. Oakland Raiders games has since become known as " The Heidi Bowl." To think that all those beer guzzling chip mongering men had to give up one of their most exciting games for a classic movie starring a child actor, Jennifer Edwards, who would captivate hearts and receive tremendous words of praise.

th-21Today, the little girl with the golden plaits is reminiscing in a much more informative way. In her book, When Angels Cry, she unravels the mysterious threads of sexuality... the never before discussed acts of necessity that she herself requires to feel whole and insists that middle-aged women of the 21st Century do the same. For all of us with more than fifty shades of grey, some who prefer to tint, dye, bleach, streak or go au naturale... this book is the best bedside companion. In fact, Edward's fictitious character, Sarah O'Malley teaches us that sex, love, and forgiveness may lead us down the hallway and into our bedrooms as we cozy up for her next best seller, Textual Healing.