My relationship with Jane Austen began on T.V. In fact, when I finally read Pride and Prejudice and university, I wrote a paper complaining how the 1995 BBC version got it better. How embarrassing. However, I still hear people bemoan the language of Jane Austen, and Shakespeare for that matter. For those of us who read either writer for pleasure, this can be difficult to understand, but as a teacher and fan, I often encourage struggling students to start with the movies.
My own foray into Jane Austen fan-fiction was inspired by a PBS marathon of Jane Austen adaptations. Every Sunday night for several months, once my babies were tucked into bed, I settled into the couch in the middle of a long Canadian winter to indulge in the fantasy of a flower-speckled English countryside filled with lively characters and plot twists. At some point, I thought to myself “What if there were a sequel to Pride and Prejudice?” I had no idea at the time that hundreds of Jane Austen-themed books already existed, or I probably would have just bought one, but I was between novel projects and thought I’d write a sequel as a short story for my sister’s upcoming birthday.
Shortly into my “short story”, I realized I would need a lot more space that a short story offered. I wrote furiously, daydreaming about the book when I wasn’t writing. I could only offer my sister the first volume by her birthday, which I printed off my computer with a cover featuring photos I copied and pasted from the internet. I was able to give her the second and third volume within a year, but I was already thinking others might like to read the book I was calling “Expectations.”
I tried traditional publishers of all shapes and sizes, but a year or so later, I stumbled across a novel-writing contest through Publishing Room. Unfortunately, the date for submission had long passed, but I began to research Publishing Room and became more and more excited by the idea of On Demand publishing. I hesitated each step of the way: Should I really submit my entire manuscript over the internet? Should I provide an internet company with my personal information? Was I giving up on traditional publication? I think up until my finished book arrived in the mail, I thought the entire thing could be a scam, but the day I received my first printed novel titled Expectations: A Continuation of Pride and Prejudice, I was ecstatic, and fairly relieved.
I have since changed my book printing over to createspace.com for various reasons, but I am still thrilled that there is a way to offer my books to the world. I always think there is no use leaving my books on my hard drive. Books are made to be read, and though what I pay in taxes each year nearly eats up all of my profits, I am excited to hear what people think of my books. Whether it comes as a comment from a friend or an online book review, I am always interested to hear what people think. Of course, the criticisms are a little more difficult to take, but at least someone has read my work.
I have two Jane Austen inspired books, the aforementioned Expectations and Suspiciously Reserved: A Twist on Jane Austen’s Emma. I keep thinking I’m done with writing books based on Austen’s work, but then I come up with another question about one of her books and I have to write it out to find the answer. You can find my books on amazon.com and amazon.ca You can find me at austengurl.blogspot.ca or on twitter @austengurl.
About the author
Samantha Adkins is a writer and teacher living in Alberta, Canada. Her books include Expectations: A Continuation of Pride and Prejudice, Suspiciously Reserved: A Twist on Jane Austen's Emma, Subgirl, Subgirl Returns, What's It Like to Grow Up in Banff? and Not As They Appear
About the books
Emma Woodhouse is one of Jane Austen’s most beloved heroines. She is smart, well-dressed and rich. But what about Jane Fairfax, her poor, orphaned nemesis? Would the story be so light and sparkling from Jane’s point of view?
Suspiciously Reserved in Jane’s story, set in present-day Canada. Jane has felt uncomfortable living off the goodwill of her wealthy benefactors, the Campbells. Now that their daughter has found the man of her dreams, Jane wonders what her future holds. She feels the necessity of returning to her grandmother and Aunt Hetty. Before she goes, however, she will spend one blissful week by the ocean where she meets handsome, charming Frank Churchill. But can she trust him?
Expectations begins six months after Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice ends. As a newly married woman, Elizabeth Darcy agrees to throw her first ball as mistress of a large and prosperous household. At the same time, she receives a letter from her father encouraging her to produce an heir for her husband, welcomes several visitors to her home and tries to mend broken family relationships via letter. Georgiana Darcy remains unmarried, but feels the pressure to find a suitable mate. Georgiana fights off several marriage proposals while she tries not to fall in love with an old friend.