Saturday, 18 January 2014

"THERE WERE TWENTY DANCES AND I DANCED THEM ALL.." - MEET AUTHOR JULIE KLASSEN + BOOK GIVEAWAY: THE DANCING MASTER

“There were twenty dances & I danced them all…” –   Jane Austen

In Jane Austen’s time, dancing was one of the few ways young men and women could spend time together and court one another. “Every savage can dance,” Mr. Darcy says, but unless one wished to dance very ill (Mr. Collins comes to mind) lessons were crucial. Dancing was considered such an important social skill, that parents hired dancing masters to come into the homes and teach their sons and daughters not only dance steps, but also deportment and etiquette. So, as an author of half a dozen other books set in the Regency era—and someone who loves to dance-- it was probably only a matter of time until I wrote about a dancing master.

To research the book, I read old instructional guides and journals written by dancing masters of ages past. But the best and most enjoyable kind of research was actually learning dances from that time period. My dear, longsuffering husband and I went English country dancing several times. It was research, after all! We learned a lot and enjoyed ourselves.

I also attended the annual general meeting of the Jane Austen Society of North America, held in Minneapolis in September 2013. It was my first time attending the conference, though I have been a JASNA member for several years. A sold-out crowd of nearly 800 gathered to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the publication of Pride and Prejudice—a favorite with Austen fans everywhere.

For four days, Janeites like me devoted ourselves to the study of Jane Austen’s life, novels, and the time period in which she lived. We attended academic classes on topics like inheritance laws, travel by carriage, the military, etc. taught by the top Austen scholars from around the country and even from other countries. We also attended more diverting sessions on things like the history of tea, fashion, how to make your own bonnet or reticule, and more. I also signed up for two dancing classes to polish my skills and learn a few new dances in preparation for Saturday night’s Netherfield Ball, complete with live musicians and costumes. It was a wonderful experience dancing with fellow Austen fans from around the country--and very timely with The Dancing Master coming out a few months later.

          
If you’d like to learn more about the JASNA conference, here’s a video my publisher took of me at this event.  

What about you - have you ever attended a JASNA meeting, or tried English country dancing yourself?

Thanks for having me here. Hope you enjoy the book as much as I enjoyed researching it!

Julie Klassen


The Book -  The Dancing Master

Dancing master Alec Valcourt is forced to leave his London academy and move his mother and sister to remote Devonshire. There he hopes to start again, but when he arrives, he is stunned to learn the village matriarch has prohibited all dancing for reasons buried deep in her past. Alec finds an unlikely ally in the matriarch’s daughter, and the two join forces to uncover old secrets, and restore life to the village.

The author

JULIE KLASSEN loves all things Jane—Jane Eyre and Jane Austen. A graduate of the University of Illinois, Julie worked in publishing for sixteen years and now writes full time. Three of her books, The Silent Governess, The Girl in the Gatehouse, and The Maid of Fairbourne Hall, have won the Christy Award for Historical Romance. She has also won the Midwest Book Award, Christian Retailing’s BEST Award, and has been a finalist in the Romance Writers of America’s RITA Awards and the Minnesota Book Awards. Julie and her husband have two sons and live in St. Paul, Minnesota.



Buying Links:





Giveaway time! 

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46 comments:

cyn209 said...

to date, I have yet to attend a JASNA event.......

thank you for the giveaway!!!

junewilliams7 said...

I've never been to a JASNA event or ball, but I volunteer to sit on the sidelines to keep Mr Collins from dancing, thus saving ladies' feet.

Laura Hile said...

I attended JASNA in Portland, Oregon for a book signing. What an event! I met many very nice people and struck up a friendship with Mr Darcy's Little Sister author C Allyn Pierson.

Julie Klassen said...

Thanks for taking one for the team, June! :)

Julie Klassen said...

Sounds like fun, Laura. Maybe I'll meet you at another AGM one of these years!

Connie said...

No, I have never done either of those things, but I am always open for something new. That is one reason I cannot wait to read "The Dancing Master" and review/promote it on our blog, bookworm2bookworm. I love your novels, Julie!

Connie Fischer
conniecape@aol.com

Cindy W. said...

Ive never had the chance to attend a meeting, but I think learning the steps and dances would be fun. It reminds me of the 2005 P&P film adaptation, and the interview with Matthew Macfadyen where he confessed he had such a hard time with the dancing scene at Netherfield. Of course, you can't tell from watching the movie. ;)

Anonymous said...

I have never attended a JASNA meeting but would love to attend a dance workshop. Julie's video made it look like a lot of fun, but serious about Jane Austin too! Thanks for the giveaway!
chris_davebures@bellsouth.net

Anonymous said...

nope, have done neither! But...sounds like fun! ;)

Lisa Garrity said...

I've never taken part in those festivities but it's exciting to see something like that taking place right here in the Twin Cities! Julie, you and I are both Minnesotans for better or worse!

Jeremy & Amanda Butt said...

I have never done either but they sound fun

Lisa said...

I have not done either of those but would lOVE to !

Christina Parris said...

It sounds like fun to me.

Pam K. said...

I've never taken part in a JASNA meeting or attended a Regency dance workshop. I'm not much of a dancer but it looks so elegant so it might be fun to try.

The Allen Family said...

I've never done that or anything like that, but it sounds super fun! Not sure if I'd ever have the guts though... ;)
Dezi A
sethdez@hotmail.com

Julie Klassen said...

Yes, it was a lot of fun. Thanks everyone--enjoying your comments!

Denise said...

I have not! They are too far away. However, the dance classes sound like real fun!

LuAnn Braley said...

No. No. And YES!

Lynn Buttedal said...

I have never attended either also. Dont know how good I'd be at dancing two left feet lol.

Amy C said...

I haven't attended before but it sure does sound like fun!
Amyc

Lúthien84 said...

No, I haven't got the chance to attend a Jane Austen conference nor a Regency dance workshop. I would love to if it's held near where I live.

Ceri said...

No, I've never done anything like that. I might try the festival in Bath one year since I don't live all that far away.

Valerie said...

I have never attended any kind of Jane Austen event - maybe someday I'll be fortunate enough to do so. In the meantime, I read all about it! LOL I bet it would be a lot of fun to see everyone dressed up in Regency-era clothing, and to hear the music and see the dances... I can picture it already :)
Thank you so much for the giveaway!

Nancy said...

No, I never have but sounds like it might be fun. Thanks for the giveaway.

dstoutholcomb said...

no, but it's sounds like fune

Mallori Norris said...

I've always thought it would be interesting to learn some of those English country dances but have never had the opportunity to do so. Looks like fun!

Rae Kirby said...

I have never been to a JASNA meeting, but it sounds right up my alley!

Brenda said...

Haven't took part! Not interested in the dancing, but would like to win the book!

Just Ducky @ Heart! said...

I've never participated in either event--intrigued though. But I LOVE Julie's books!!

DMS said...

So far I have never been to a JASNA event, nor have I taken dance lessons. Both sound fun and fascinating. It sounds like the research for this book was very interesting and at times entertaining. :)

Thanks for sharing and for the giveaway. I love HF and this sounds SO good.

Kelli H. said...

Sadly I have not attended a JASNA event...yet! I have every intention of doing so in the future!!=)
Thanks for this great giveaway. I have heard such wonderful things about this new book.

Maria said...

I'd love to take part in a JASNA meeting! Unfortunately, I've never attended an event like that. But I hope to participate soon! Thanks for the giveaway, I love Julie Klassen's writing!!

Julie Klassen said...

Thanks everyone!

Anonymous said...

never been to an event or even heard of them before.....but they look interesting. Look forward to reading your books!! THanks so much!

Anonymous said...

sounds interesting!!

Lisa Rohrscheib said...

Have never attended such an event nor tried English country dancing. I would LOVE to do them both! Opportunities in central Illinois anyone?

ohiohomeschool said...

I have never taken part, but it is on my bucket list.
~ Becky

Laura Hile said...

I won? How exciting! Thank you so much!

Sincerely,

Laura

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