Thursday, 5 May 2011


Cindy Jones is my guest on occasion of the release of her awesome debut novel: My Jane Austen Summer. Lyly Berry, the protagonist of the novel, joined us in this chat. Read and enjoy. All commenters will have the chance to win a signed copy adding their e-mail address. The giveaway is open internationally and ends on Wednesday 12th May.

Cindy Jones:  Hi, Maria.  I hope you don’t mind but Lily Berry, (the protagonist in My Jane Austen Summer), popped in and asked if she could join our Jane Austen talk.  Lily has been spending a lot of quality time with her Jane Austen lately.
MG: Of course, Cindy. That’s simply a great pleasure. Please, Lily, join us!
Lily Berry (waves):  Hi, Maria.  Thanks for letting me join you and Cindy! 

MG:  Welcome, both of you.  Let’s get started.  Jane Austen’s first published novel was S&S in 1811. Your debut novel is My Jane Austen Summer. Let’s try to spot at least one similarity between the two novels…
Lily:  Both are published in the 11th year of their century.
Cindy:  And they both include a bookish heroine.

MGIs Lily Berry more Sense or more Sensibility?
Lily:  Sense.
Cindy:  Sensibility.

MGHow much of your decision to start writing is due to your love for Jane Austen?
Cindy:  I wrote My Jane Austen Summer after finishing “The Six” for the first time.  The book I wanted to read didn’t exist, so I wrote it.  

MG:  Can you briefly tell us the story of your first encounter with her?
Cindy:  My parents collected a series of classic books that occupied an entire shelf in the house where I grew up, all dressed in uniform gray cloth jackets.  Whenever I found myself without a book, I pulled a one from that collection, avoiding philosophy or titles in Greek or Latin.  I first met S&S and P&P on that shelf.  I read Northanger Abbey and Persuasion later, but it wasn’t until reading Mansfield Park in 2004, that I felt the great connection with Jane Austen.  MP is my favorite.     
MG:  How would you write a synopsis of your novel, My JA Summer, in about 50 words (Forgive me, Cindy,  the teacher in me comes out from time to time!)
Cindy:  A young woman hopes to realize her dream of living in a novel when she is invited to participate in a Jane Austen literary festival in England.  Lily feels right at home among people whose love of books equals her own.  But ultimately her adventures teach her that she cannot escape reality, even when surrounded by fiction.

MGYou wrote an interview with Lily, the heroine you created for your My JA Summer, not long ago (read it HERE).  She revealed that you would like to bring Jane Austen back to life with your writing. What did she mean?
Lily:  I’ll answer that.  Cindy reread all six Austen novels and couldn’t let go when she got to the end.  It was so bad she had to spend five years writing a book--just so she could stay in Jane Austen’s world.  My relationship with Jane Austen, as depicted in the book, is really lifted from the actual experience Cindy Jones had with her imaginary Jane Austen.  Except for the bad behavior.  That was all me, (clears throat).      

MG Is there a hero in your novel? Is he more a Darcy (the “almost” perfect gentleman), a Willoughby (a rogue) or an Edmund Bertram (ehm … very dull indeed) or any other of Austen’s men?
Cindy:  The male lead is played by a character who shares some traits with Edmund Bertram.  He nurtures Lily, the way Edmund guided Fanny.
Lily:  And…I love him.

MG:  So you don’t find him dull! Is it a romance?
Lily:  Yes!
Cindy:  It is romantic.   

MGWhat about happy endings? Does your book have one?
           Lily:  I cry every time I reach the end.
Cindy:  Well, that’s the thing.  The ending is not conventionally happy, but it is hopeful.  Jane Austen writes for and about intelligent women.  And some women need more than a wedding to be happy.  I think she would approve of Lily’s ending.   

MG:  What makes you think so?
Lily:  (turning to Cindy) Yes, I’m interested in your response.
Cindy:  The reason I feel close to Jane Austen is that she and I agree on one important thing:  bookish women should be heroines.  And in My Jane Austen Summer a bookish woman learns to be the heroine in her own life.

MGWhat’s next? What are you working at these days?
Cindy:  I’m finishing a novel about two women who trade places.  One woman flies to India with her lover while the other stays home with children, Texas mansion, and estranged husband.  Jane Austen is not present but Byron and Shelley (on the right) play the parts of a college professor and his dilettante friend.

MG:  Romantic poets. I love them. And what about you, Lily?
Lily:  I’ve been very busy with readers since the launch, but I really hope Cindy will create another novel for me since I feel that my story isn’t over, that I have more to say.  I may have to write it myself.
Cindy:  That would be interesting.

MG:  What about it, Cindy?  A sequel?
Cindy:  A story for Lily is gathering strength in my head and I admit I miss Jane Austen.  A sequel would allow me to spend more time in her world…
Lily:  Then we’re all set! 
Cindy:  (Frowns at Lily).  We’ll keep you posted!    

Thank you so much, Cindy and Lily. It's been an enormous pleasure to have you both as my guests. Great success and good luck!  
And now, we'll wait for your comments, dear readers. Don't forget  your e-mail address if you want to be entered the giveaway! (Deadline May 12th)


Rebecca said...

I love when Lily gets to speak! hehe ... She's so ... spunky ;o) Great interview, so much fun - per usual! :oD


Anonymous said...

Thanks Maria!
It's been very funny reading Lily's opinions. This way we know something about her, becomes more atractive and I have more desire to read it.
Thanks for the giveaway.


Anonymous said...

I love a bookish heroine and heard of My Jane Austen Summer in various places online, I'd really like to read it.

patti-wolit at

Anonymous said...

Lily is working today (in the book) but I know she joins me in expressing our thanks to Maria for hosting us on your great blog. We loved your questions!

Mystica said...

Thanks for a great post.


Giada M said...

Thank you for such a fun and interesting interview! :D
Bookish women should be heroines indeed!
Now I can't wait to get my hands on My Jane Austen Summer. It sounds very intriguing.
Thank you for making this giveaway international! :)

Giada M.

fabgiada (at) gmail (dot) com

Anonymous said...

I just added this to my TBR list. Can't wait to read this book and thanks for the giveaway.

Irene said...

Ho sentito spesso parlare di questo libro in vari blog, ed ora nel tuo. Va a finire che lo devo leggere davvero! :) Mi ispira molto..

A presto

Petali rossi said...

Fantastic! I think it's one of the dreams of all jane austen-addicted to live in one of her stories!

Elegant Female said...

Cute interview! The book sounds great, can't wait to read it.

felicialso @ gmail dot com

mbreakfield said...

Great interview! The book sounds good. Please enter me in the giveaway.

Sharli said...

Go bookish women!
I'd love to read this book! Thank you for the post and the giveaway ;)

entrelibros_blog at hotmail dot com

Claudia said...

"Some women need more than a wedding to be happy": I copied this sentence on my Moleskine ;)
I'd love to read your book, thanks for the giveaway!


Luthien84 said...

Thanks to Maria, Cindy and Lily for the great interview. I would love to read a sequel with Lily getting a good ending which she deserves. Do write it, Cindy.

I would love to own this book. Thanks for the giveaway.


Linda said...

What a clever author interview, loved hearing from the fictional character too. Thanks for the giveaway - I'd love to read this novel.

Kirsten said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Margay said...

Looks like I have another Austen-related book to add to my tbr pile!


hey_hoi said...

very nice interview. What would be better than read a Jane Austen related book in the summer called My Jane Austen Summer?
Plus, I love the cover of the book. Really nice.

marijke_vd_hamer AT hotmail DOT com

LolaPatrola said...

Great interview! I just found this blog, so I'll have to catch up, so many excellent posts to read.
One can never have enough of Austen related books. Thanks M.


Judit said...

Thanks for a great interview!

maribea said...

I've been away from your blog for a while and as soon as I come back I read so many interesting posts that I wish I had two lives: one for working and another for reading. Or maybe both for reading ah ah.
Cindy, congratulations on such a good novel and of course I would love to read it.

Cait said...

Such a fun interview! The read sounds lovely, and I already love Lily!

Anonymous said...

I just saw this book at Target this morning. It was intriguing but as I am very choosy about my reading material I didn't buy it ... yet.
My plan was to see what the chatter was about the book and go from there.

Mystica said...

Please count me in!