Hello and welcome, Samantha. It's great to have you here at My Jane Austen Book Club. First of all I'll invite you to tell us something about your writing background
I’ve always enjoyed reading and writing, especially fiction. I come from a family of writers. Both of my grand-fathers wrote nonfiction and my Dad writes both fiction and nonfiction. In grade six, my teacher gave us a novel-writing project. I wrote a fantasy story called The Amazing Dollhouse and I’ve been hooked ever since. English was my favourite subject in junior and senior high and I went on to study journalism and professional writing in college. I have since self-published seven books and one picture book.
Why do your write Jane Austen-related fiction?
My sister loved the 1995 BBC version of Pride and Prejudice as well as the Bridge Jones books and movies. For her birthday, one year, I thought I would write her a short sequel to Pride and Prejudice. The planned 20 page story turned into a novel called Expectations and I fell in love with all things Jane Austen. I loved her books, researching the time period and watching all of the movie and television adaptations. I was then asked to write a murder mystery tea for our church and chose to do a Jane Austen murder mystery involving six characters from different books. This led to an interest in Jane Fairfax from Emma which turned into Suspiciously Reserved: A Twist on Jane Austen’s Emma.
It is a bit more difficult to pinpoint when I became interested in Northanger Abbey. I had read the book when I was writing Expectations and have watched several film adaptations. I was rereading the book, when I began to wonder what Northanger Abbey would look like today. I thought at first it would be scarier. I pictured myself writing a horror book, but as I got writing and learning more about the characters, my plans took another turn.
So, your version of Northanger Abbey is not a horror?
No! I have never much cared for that genre. I, like Catherine Morland, am easily frightened and try to stay away from books and movies that are too scary. They keep me up at night! I guess it shouldn’t surprise me that I wouldn’t be writing a horror book.
What do you like best about Northanger Abbey?
The humour. Even the main character is not exempt from being teased. I enjoy all of the characters’ quirks and foibles. As I was working on this book; however, I gained a better insight into the importance of truth and integrity to both Catherine and Henry Tilney. I considered cutting the Thorpes from the story at one point, but they are critical foils to Catherine’s firm beliefs and the goodness of Henry and Eleanor Tilney. It’s also kind of fun to write the bad characters.
Do you have plans to write more Jane Austen-themed books?
Thanks Samantha and good luck with your writing!
Book Blurb - Banff Springs Abbey Blurb
Eighteen-year-old Cate Morland can’t seem to get enough of ghost stories. When her friends, the Allens, invite her to stay at the Banff Springs Hotel for the Christmas holidays, she jumps at the opportunity to live among opulence and spectres. When she becomes caught between two young men, however, reality becomes more frightening than her wildest imaginings.
About the author
Samantha Adkins is and author, teacher and mother living in Alberta, Canada. She has published Banff Springs Abbey: Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey Reimagined, Expectations: A Continuation of Pride and Prejudice, Suspiciously Reserved: A Twist on Jane Austen’s Emma, Defacing Poetry, Not As They Appear, Subgirl, Subgirl Returns and What’s It Like to Grow Up in Banff?
Read an excerpt
“Beautiful,” she said to herself, taking in the tall, snow-covered pines and the gurgling water that flowed between the ice. She breathed deeply and felt rejuvenated.
“It really is, isn’t it,” said a dark-haired young man sitting on a bench only a few metres away.
Cate blushed. “I didn’t mean to talk to myself,” she said.
He laughed and she noticed he held a sketch pad on his knee. He covered it quickly.
“I do it all the time,” he said breezily. “I believe it’s a sign of intelligence.”
Cate snorted unexpectedly and blushed deeper. “Oh my.”
He stood up and closed the distance between them. “A great compliment,” he held out his hand. She was struck by his handsome features. “I’m Henry. Very nice to meet you.”
“Cate,” she murmured.
“One of my favourite names,” he commented. “And where do you come from, Cate?”
She hoped the cool breeze off the water would take her blushes away. “I’m from Strathmore. East of Calgary.”
“Hmm. I’ve never been there before. How do you like it?”
She wrinkled her nose. “Not much, but it’s home.”
“And this is mine,” Henry gestured to include their surroundings.
“You mean, you live in Banff?” Cate pictured Henry living at the Banff Springs Hotel. Surely, he meant somewhere else, but she couldn’t get the image out of her mind.
“That’s right,” he said and pointed down the river. “A few kilometres that way.”
“Really? I didn’t know anyone actually lived here.”
Henry chuckled, his dark eyes crinkling. “You have no idea how many times I’ve heard that. So, what are your plans while you stay in town?”
Cate checked the time on her cellphone. She began to wonder if such a long conversation was appropriate with a stranger.
“I’m staying with my aunt and uncle at the Banff Springs,” she lied, but felt it gave her some kind of protection to be travelling with family members.
She could tell Henry had noticed her discomfort. “Well then, maybe I’ll run into you again,” he said, gathering up his drawing instruments and returning to his previous activity. “Have a wonderful visit!”
Cate felt unsettled by the whole conversation, yet she hated to leave him so soon. It didn’t help that she’d caught a glimpse of one of his very skilled drawings. “You too. I mean, have a good day.” She tossed him a wave and hurried down the river path. She touched her cheek and found it was still quite hot.