Tuesday, 2 February 2016

JANE AND THE WATERLOO MAP BLOG TOUR - STEPHANIE BARRON ON LOVING AND WRITING JANE AUSTEN + GRAND GIVEAWAY!


Award winning author Stephanie Barron tours the blogosphere February 2 through February 22, 2016 to share her latest release, Jane and the Waterloo Map.  Twenty popular book bloggers specializing in Austenesque fiction, mystery and Regency history will feature guest blogs, interviews, excerpts and book reviews from this highly anticipated novel in the acclaimed Being a Jane Austen Mystery series and I'm proud and honored to open the festivities here at My Jane Austen Book Club!  A fabulous giveaway contest, including copies of Ms. Barron’s book and other Jane Austen-themed items, will be open to those who  will enter the contest.   
I discovered Jane Austen when I was twelve, trapped by a gale of rain in my aunt’s paneled library. Cass—yes, my aunt’s name was Cass, just like Jane Austen’s sister—was an anglophile and a horticulturalist who spent long hours in her Westchester County garden or ambling with her beagle, Biff, down graveled back country roads. She raised prize daffodils, an occupation short on season that I hope was long on gratification. She had a matched bound set of Austen but for some reason my fingers pulled out the spine of Pride and Prejudice first. As it ought to do, when one is twelve.

I am the last of a family of six girls. The story of Mrs. Bennet desperately trying to marry off her daughters made immediate sense to me. The varying temperaments and allegiances among the Bennet sisters, the shifting cabals and jealousies of a family of women, were instantly familiar. And my discovery of duplicity—Wickham’s lies, Darcy’s unsuspected generosity—was the beginning of a lifelong education in the subtleties of relationships.


But I embarked upon something else that blustery day: a lifelong love affair with the Regency period. I majored in European history in college and wrote my senior thesis on one of Napoleon’s generals, Marshal Ney, and the disastrous invasion of Russia in 1812. Jane Austen influenced the direction of my intellectual life.

But I did not think of using her as a character in fiction until I was pregnant with my first child.

Those of us who have been pregnant, or have lived with others in that state, will understand that it is at times an out-of-body experience. The mind softens in perceptible ways under the influence of hormones and extra-terrestrial possession. I was profoundly forgetful while with child. I had car accidents and left groceries standing in carts at the local market. And I began to hear voices.

One of them was Jane’s.

I had been reading her work as I do every winter, when the weather descends and the light fails, and escaping into the past by the fire is impossible to resist. That winter of 1994 I found myself thinking in Austenish cadences. When my husband inquired about my day, I would glibly respond, “It being evident the weather should continue fine, we determined upon a pleasure-party to the lake, and were so agreeably suited the one to the other, that hours flew by unreckoned.” I was hardly aware that I was channeling Jane, so completely did her phrases fill my head. I was awash in Regency chatter.

Until I decided, in desperation, to put her to work.

I was struck by the truth that Austen’s dialogue operates on multiple levels, conveying in a few lines at least four different meanings—a rich vein to mine in an age given over to the Tweet and the soundbyte. It occurred to me that if I gave readers a compelling plot—a murder mystery, say—they might submit to the arcane Austen diction of two centuries ago without entirely realizing it. So I knew I would plot a Regency whodunit, and write it in Jane’s style. But who would act as detective?

I could have gone with an entirely fictional person, as the late Kate Ross did in her polished and engrossing Julian Kestrel novels. I might have used some of Austen’s characters, as Carrie Bebris has chosen admirably to do. But in thinking about Jane Austen’s people, their delicate relationships and the fragile balance between falsehood and sincerity she consistently portrays, it occurred to me that all of her heroines are detectives of a kind. Their difficulty is to solve the mystery of human relationships, to discern the depth and quality of others’ motives before they themselves become victims to lifelong unhappiness. Austen’s ability to understand the hidden workings of the human heart is essential to her success as a novelist. But it would also be essential to an amateur detective...one who existed in an England without police...when all systems of local justice were informal and relational....

I wrote Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor that winter as an experiment of sorts. I used Jane’s letters—the collected correspondence—as my basic source material, along with every study of her life and work I could find. I knew the historical period, but discovered that I urgently needed volumes on carriage construction in 1802 and still-room books from the 1770s. I rejoiced in the fact that Jane’s life before Chawton was itinerant and colorful: I could devise plots in Bath, Lyme Regis, Southampton, Derbyshire, Canterbury, Brighton and London. Eventually I would set one in Chawton itself. I made a point of finding moments in Jane’s life when personal crises (of faith, of the heart, of grieving and aging and literary success) intersected with epochal events in English history. I gave her a spy as a foil and an engaging counterpart.

Twenty years later, it has been a satisfying journey, hand in hand with Jane.

I began the series when she was twenty-six years old and had just refused the marriage proposal of Harris Bigg-Wither. I thought it an important moment of departure in her life: she had discarded perhaps the only offer of marriage she would ever receive because it came from a man she did not love. Her course henceforth would be that of an independent woman, and it is no accident that her writing became more important to her as the decade wore on. I have now reached the year 1815, when Jane turns forty, and is on the brink of publishing her fourth novel—Emma. In Jane and the Waterloo Map, the thirteenth mystery novel in the series, Jane is in London to aide her ailing brother Henry, who has fallen ill and is facing bankruptcy in the aftermath of Waterloo. She is also in London to place Emma with a new publisher and proof the typeset pages of the novel as they are printed. On a rainy Monday in November, Jane visits Carlton House, the London residence of the Prince Regent, at the invitation of his chaplain, James Stanier Clarke. While touring the library, she stumbles over the convulsed form of a soldier, a Hero of Waterloo. And from that moment on, she is embarked on her next adventure....

The child I was carrying in 1994 is now twenty-one years old. Jane, too, has aged. I have gone from thirty-one to fifty-two, and the time spent in Jane’s company has been shockingly swift. I imagine her life must have felt this way—rapid impressions of scenes from the past merging with the present, a seamless and sensory blur. And yet our time together is waning. I know she has only a year and a half left to live in our mutual world.

Does she?
 Stephanie Barron





JANE AND THE WATERLOO MAP

November, 1815. The Battle of Waterloo has come and gone, leaving the British economy in shreds; Henry Austen, high-flying banker, is about to declare bankruptcy—dragging several of his brothers down with him. The crisis destroys Henry’s health, and Jane flies to his London bedside, believing him to be dying. While she’s there, the chaplain to His Royal Highness the Prince Regent invites Jane to tour Carlton House, the Prince’s fabulous London home. The chaplain is a fan of Jane’s books, and during the tour he suggests she dedicate her next novel—Emma—to HRH, whom she despises.

However, before she can speak to HRH, Jane stumbles upon a body—sprawled on the carpet in the Regent’s library. The dying man, Colonel MacFarland, was a cavalry hero and a friend of Wellington’s. He utters a single failing phrase: “Waterloo map” . . . and Jane is on the hunt for a treasure of incalculable value and a killer of considerable cunning.

Genre: Regency-era Mystery/ Historical Mystery/Austenesque Mystery
Publisher: Soho Crime (February 02, 2016)
Format: Hardcover & eBook (320) pages


"A well-crafted narrative with multiple subplots drives Barron’s splendid 13th Jane Austen mystery. Series fans will be happy to see more of Jane’s extended family and friends, and Austenites will enjoy the imaginative power with which Barron spins another riveting mystery around a writer generally assumed to have led a quiet and uneventful life." — Publishers Weekly, Starred Review 


"Writing in the form of Jane’s diaries, Barron has spun a credible tale from a true encounter, enhanced with meticulous research and use of period vocabulary."
 Booklist

"Barron, who's picked up the pace since Jane and the Twelve Days of Christmas, portrays an even more seasoned and unflinching heroine in the face of nasty death and her own peril." — Kirkus Reviews 

"Barron deftly imitates Austen’s voice, wit, and occasional melancholy while spinning a well-researched plot that will please historical mystery readers and Janeites everywhere. Jane Austen died two years after the events of Waterloo; one hopes that Barron conjures a few more adventures for her beloved protagonist before historical fact suspends her fiction." — Library Journal 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Stephanie Barron was born in Binghamton, New York, the last of six girls. She attended Princeton and Stanford Universities, where she studied history, before going on to work as an intelligence analyst at the CIA. She wrote her first book in 1992 and left the Agency a year later. Since then, she has written fifteen books. She lives and works in Denver, Colorado. Learn more about Stephanie and her books at her website, visit her on Facebook andGoodreads.

GIVEAWAY DETAILS

In celebration of the release of Jane and the Waterloo Map, Stephanie is offering a chance to win one of three prize packages filled with an amazing selection of Jane Austen-inspired gifts and books!  



To enter the giveaway contest, simply leave a comment on any or all of the blog stops on Jane and the Waterloo Map Blog Tour starting February 02, 2016 through 11:59 pm PT, February 29, 2016. Winners will be drawn at random from all of the comments and announced on Stephanie’s website on March 3, 2016. Winners have until March 10, 2016 to claim their prize. Shipment is to US addresses. Good luck to all!


Check out all the dates in the blog tour and be ready to read and comment all the posts for more chances to win!

JANE AND THE WATERLOO MAP BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE

February 02              My Jane Austen Book Club (Guest Blog)
February 03              Laura's Reviews (Excerpt)                                            
February 04              A Bookish Way of Life (Review)           
February 05              The Calico Critic (Review)         
February 06              So Little Time…So Much to Read (Excerpt)                          
February 07              Reflections of a Book Addict (Spotlight)                               
February 08              Mimi Matthews Blog (Guest Blog)                                
February 09              Jane Austen’s World (Interview)                                              
February 10              Just Jane 1813 (Review)                                    
February 11              Confessions of a Book Addict (Excerpt)                               
February 12              History of the 18th and 19th Centuries (Guest Blog)             
February 13              My Jane Austen Book Club (Interview)                                  
February 14              Living Read Girl (Review)                                  
February 14              Austenprose (Review)
February 15              Mystery Fanfare (Guest Blog)                           
February 16              Laura's Reviews (Review)                                             
February 17              Jane Austen in Vermont (Excerpt)                                          
February 18              From Pemberley to Milton (Interview)                                     
February 19              More Agreeably Engaged (Review)
February 20              Babblings of a Bookworm (Review)                                      
February 21              A Covent Garden Gilflurt's Guide to Life (Guest Blog)
February 22              Diary of an Eccentric (Review)


46 comments:

Debra E. Marvin said...

I am so glad you took this journey!

Just Commonly said...

That's quite a journey you have with Jane! Sounds like fun. Thanks for sharing and for the awesome giveaway.

Linda said...

I was the only girl in my family. One of the reasons I loved Jane Austen as a teenager was I could vicariously take part in a family of sisters (Pride and Prejudice, Persuasion) I've thoroughly enjoyed your Jane Austen series and have lent them to others.

BookLuver88 said...

I can't wait for the next installment of the series

dstoutholcomb said...

sounds like a wonderful story

Denise

Susan K. said...

I loved reading this! I wish I'd had your productivity when I was pregnant...all I wanted to do was eat and take naps. I've read all the books in the series and can't wait to read this one!

Stephanie Barron said...

So am I, Debra. Instincts should often be followed!

Stephanie Barron said...

Some families of sisters are preferable to others, as Jane well knew; and some sisters address chosen - as she chose Martha Lloyd. So glad you've enjoyed the series.

Stephanie Barron said...

Sorry. Some sisters ARE chosen. Typing on my phone in airport security line!

Stephanie Barron said...

Ooohh, I did a lot of that, too.

Stephanie Barron said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
PdxIrishGirl said...

I love that you feel every Austen heroine is
a detective of sorts, just the way I've always
thought of them! I have read all your books,
and am looking forward to this one.

Patricia Garza said...

I have loved Jane Austen's novels from the first. I am now about to embark on a journey of new discovery with your novels. Very excited! My only down in life is I have had no one to whom my love Austin could be shared. I had boys you see, and though they love reading, she is not what they are drawn to. My nieces and great nieces also not as yet. So as my granddaughters grow, I shall slowly bring them to tea and test the waters of the electronic generation to see if anything sticks! Wish me luck!

Summer Mobley said...

I've always looked at Jane Austen "spin-offs" like this with skepticism, but after reading your story of how you came to write these books I want to read them! Thank you for sharing!

Laurel Ann (Austenprose) said...

I love this story of how Jane's life inspired you to write Stephanie. I have enjoyed all 13 of the books and look forward to the next one.

pailofpearls said...

I love how you shared you background story. I wish more authors did that, it's always so interesting to hear.

tinuviel said...

This series is new to me, more's the pity. The blog Jane Austen's World brought me here, and now I'm intrigued enough to check my local library for the early books. Kudos to you for following your instincts and giving birth to a new career as well as a child!

Stephanie Barron said...

So glad to hear that. Let me know what you think of WATERLOO once you've read it.

Stephanie Barron said...

I have boys, too. I wish you all the luck in the world with your granddaughters.

Stephanie Barron said...

I hope you enjoy my Jane, Summer.

Stephanie Barron said...

Thanks to each of you who took the time to read this post. Whether by sharing her stories, or writing about her life, we all pay tribute ultimately to Jane.

Stephanie Barron said...

Thanks to each of you who took the time to read this post. Whether by sharing her stories, or writing about her life, we all pay tribute ultimately to Jane.

Christina Boyd said...

I know you know that I hope your next series will be about the Gentleman Rogue. That trunk of papers is full of adventures and intrigues. Let's discover it and sift through, shall we?

Midnight Cowgirl said...

Adding Jane and the Waterloo Map to my reading list!

Melissa said...

I love this series and the latest book is a great addition. I hope there are at least a few more adventures waiting for Jane!

Kami Benson said...

I fell in love with Jane Austen as a teenager. Now, 15 years later, I'm delighted that I can continue to find more books and fanfiction stories based off Jane Austen's works or other Regency authors. I can now add your series to my to read pile. I can't wait!

Kim Amundsen said...

Sounds like a nice journey.

Pat Panshin said...

I have enjoyed the Jane Austen mysteries so much. The stories are intriguing, but I especially love the way the stories are woven into actual events in Jane's life. The research you have done is so impressive - and makes the stories so believable. I have read all your mysteries, and can't wait to read the latest.

Joanna said...

I can't wait to read this new mystery. I've loved the whole series and wish it could go on forever. Thank you Stephanie Barron for continuing to write them!

NovElla said...

This looks like an exciting Jane Austen tale! Thanks for sharing your story, and for offering this great giveaway.

Alisha D Trenalone said...

Wow, beautiful comments on how this series came to be! It's so enjoyable, thank you for your work!

Alisha D Trenalone said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mia Palmer said...

What a pleasure to discover your work and words. I have never been a reader of off-shoot literature or whatever the correct term, but you have excited my curiosity! I am excited to give it a whirl in your obviously capable hands! Thank you.

Caryl Kane said...

I love both Jane Austen and mysteries! This series sounds perfect! Thank you for the fabulous giveaway!

Seth Carrico said...

So excited to see the continuation of one of my favorite series. Love mysteries and add Jane Austen:perfection.

Angela Holland said...

What a great giveaway and a mystery book with a Jane Austen theme what could be better. Thank you for sharing.

Susan Heim said...

This sounds like such a fun series. Thanks for the opportunity to win these great prize packs!

Laura Lloyd said...

I love all things Austen. Thanks for a great give away.

Wendy Newcomb said...

Great contest, thank you for hosting it.

wfnren at aol dot com

Riyoko said...

You are a new author to me and I'm glad I found you! I love everything Jane Austen and your books look great! ~Aleen Davis

Thinkin' Out Loud said...

I loved (and still love) all of Jane Austen's books and most of the movies and books that have been written based on or continuing the storylines of those books. I also just love books and movies based in the Regency period. So I'm pretty sure I would devour this book too, probably in one sitting with a smile on my face :)

Nadia A said...

What an amazing giveaway! Thanks so much!!

Jeanna Massman said...

Jane Austen was an amazing author! I would love to read this book!

Nicole Wetherington said...

I would love to read this!

Michelle F. said...

I bought the first two books in paperback years ago. I have also aged since then! No one's getting any younger. Great giveaway.

Amanda said...

How have I never heard of or read these books? Fabulous! I am scouring out to find the first one now. Thanks for the chance to win! By the way, I love the way she mentioned being pregnant and forgetful and channeling Jane Austen.