Last week we ended our lovely chat (CLICK HERE TO READ PART I) discussing the possibility for your two successful novels, Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict and Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict to be adapted for the screen. Let’s go on dreaming. Who would you cast as your Courtney/Jane? And who might be the perfect Charles Edgeworth and Wes?
I would love to see Arabella Field and Fay Masterson reprise the roles of Courtney and Jane on a bigger screen. Before SEX AND THE AUSTEN GIRL, I did lots of fantasy casting of actressses like Kate Winslet, Kate Beckinsale, Anne Hathaway, Drew Barrymore, Claire Danes, and Becki Newton. As for Edgeworth and Wes, there are so many dream choices, and here are a few ideas: Daniel Craig, Josh Holloway, Jon Hamm, Simon Baker, and Ryan Phillippe.
Perhaps you and your readers have your own casting ideas?
I’d have a name to suggest but maybe … we’ll ask our readers to leave their choices in their comments. Now to more serious matters, Laurie. It seems the social world and values described by JA are still appealing to today’s audiences. Her popularity is greater than ever. What are the reasons of this success according to you?
I think that in this modern world of no rules and anything goes, especially in the area of love and courtship, we find ourselves longing for a time when the rules were clearer. Or at least our romanticized idea of that time. We also long for this idea of politeness and manners in everyday life, for a lack of vulgarity, and the books and the movies have convinced us that this was the norm in Jane Austen's world, or at least the norm of the characters we like. And though all that is true, what is also true, and what the books and films leave out--with the exception of the Portsmouth sequence in "Mansfield Park"--is the darker side of life in Regency England. War, poverty, and illiteracy happen offstage from Austen's stories, and that's exactly where we want to keep them. We'd much rather go to Pemberley, and who could blame us?
But the most important reason in my opinion that these books are still so popular is because Jane Austen was an extraordinarily keen observerof human nature, and human nature is the same today as it was 200 years ago. Austen's stories are all about self discovery, love, and love as the reward for self discovery. And who doesn't want love as a reward? We get to see the hero and heroine rewarded every time for their efforts, and that is deeply satisfying. And timeless.
What I don’t actually like is the trend of blending JA’s world with other popular tastes , such as the new fondness for monsters, vampires and dark bloody stories. Austen lampooned the Gothic taste of her contemporaries (its exaggerations and melodramatic pathos) , what would she think of her Darcy turned into a vampire and of the monsters which interact with her heroes and heroines?
Would she be horrified, or would she be amused? Maybe a little of both. She'd definitely have her hand out for a big fat royalty check, as well she should!
Who is your favourite Austen hero and why?
Captain Wentworth, because he is a flawed hero with a very relatable flaw. He has been hurt and rejected by the woman he loves and feels he must hurt and reject her in turn. Who of us has not been guilty of the same thing? Luckily for him and for Anne Elliot, he realizes how blind and foolish he has been to hang on to his old injuries, and thus he puts himself out there with the most heart-stoppingly romantic letter ever written. Besides, who can resist a hero who has made his own way in the world, through the dangers of war, no less, and has a "glowing, manly, open look"?
What about heroines? Is there one you can recognize yourself in?
I think we would all like to be the saucy, playful, witty Elizabeth Bennet, myself included. But in truth I think I recognize a little bit of myself in nearly all of Austen's heroines, depending on which part of my life we're talking about and what I'm going through at any given moment. I've had my witty Elizabeth Bennet moments, and I've also made snap judgments about people just as she did about Mr. Darcy. I've been a scared little creepmouse like Fanny Price, and I've felt her jealousy and insecurity. I've experienced Anne Elliot's despair and heartbreak, and Catherine Moreland's sense of childlike wonder (especially when I went to Bath). I've been a drama queen like Marianne Dashwood and an interfering know-it-all like Emma Woodhouse. But the one thing I have never been able to do is to suffer in silence like Elinor Dashwood because my wish to spare those I love is greater than my wish to indulge in public displays of grief. Someday.
You are a writer but you are also very interested in new technologies. You’ve got a great site/blog . Can you tell us about your relationship with computers and the Net?
Really happy you like my site/blog, Jane Austen Addict. Thank you. As for my relationship with new technologies, my MacBook Pro, iPad, iPhone and I might as well be surgically attached! And I started out as a Luddite who had no concept of what a gift it is to be an author in the age of the Internet and new media. But now that I have experienced how exciting and gratifying it is to be able to talk to readers all over the world in this era of the Internet and new media, I feel fortunate indeed. In the past an author could only connect with readers at bookstore readings and other book-related events, or receive reader mail through the publisher, which takes a long time to reach an author. Today it is still a wonderful experience to give readings and talks and to meet readers in person, and I love doing that, but thanks to new technologies I have so many other opportunities to talk to readers. They email and message me through my website, which also has a forum and a blog, and through Facebook and Twitter. I can even visit with book groups via Skype as well as on the phone.
You collaborated to the project Sex and the Austen Girl, an online comedy inspired to your novels. Do you think the Net can contribute to the success of a book? Or can it distract readers from buying and leafing through the pages of a real book?
I believe that any screen adaptation of a literary work, if done well, contributes to the success of the book. Many people read the books based on a movie or a TV series after seeing the screen version, myself included, and the same principle applies to a web series, which is an innovative and exciting way to reach new audiences and a new readership.
Are you working on a new project/book? Can you tell us something about it?
I am working on a third book, also Austen-inspired. I am also writing an Austen-inspired short story for an anthology of Austen-inspired stories that will be published by Random House and includes such authors as Karen Joy Fowler ("The Jane Austen Book Club"), Stephanie Barron (A Jane Austen Mystery Series), and Lauren Willig (The Pink Carnation Series).
That's all Laurie. I must thank you very much indeed for your generousity and incredible kindness. It has been so interesting to talk with you about Jane Austen, her world and your novels.Thanks again for inviting me to your blog, Maria Grazia!
You are welcome Laurie. It's been an incredible pleasure!
NOW GIVEAWAY WINNERS & A NEW DOUBLE GIVEAWAY !!!
These are the two winners of last week's giveaway:
Audra for Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict
Luthien84 for Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict
All the others who were not as lucky as Audra or Luthien84 can try again this week.. Laurie Viera Rigler is giving 2 of you the possibility of winning 1 copy of Confessions or 1 copy of Rude Awakenings.Leave your comment for this part of the interview and don't forget your e-mail address!!! Good Luck! Winners will be announced next Monday 19th July.