Interview with Elizabeth Grace
What made you interested in narrating Elizabeth: Obstinate, Headstrong Girl for Audible? Have you read/seen/heard of any Jane Austen novels prior to this project?
When I asked to work on Elizabeth: Obstinate, Headstrong Girl I was in the middle of producing Green Card for Elizabeth Adams. She mentioned to Christina Boyd that she thought I would be a good fit to narrate her new book and Christina got in touch. As soon as I read the audition script I loved it. I had never narrated regency before and really enjoyed being able to use all my annunciation that comes with that and I also loved that each story had its own personality and tone despite the authors managing to hold true to Austen’s characters. While I am really just entering the realm of JAFF, I was familiar with Jane Austen’s original novels and obviously the movie/TV adaptations having had BBC at my fingertips my whole life.
Do you have a favorite Jane Austen novel? What do you like about Jane Austen?
I wish I could give you a niche, lesser known novel for this answer as I realise that saying Pride and Prejudice may sound so basic! But I have to be honest, I really love reading it. I am also certain however that working on OHG has given me a new affinity with Elizabeth Bennet. Jane Austen is so relatable and I believe that to be truly unique from others authors at the time. No other historical author I have read has quite the same wit and tone that somehow transcends decades – that is what I think is so remarkable about her.
While we absolutely adore all these anthologies by The Quill Ink Collective, Elizabeth: Obstinate, Headstrong Girl holds a very special place in our hearts because of its focus on Austen’s best known and likely most popular female character. Can you share your thoughts about the theme and is there a message in this collection?
I cannot sum it up better than Tessa Dare in that glorious foreword – if you are a foreword skipper as I tend to be, I urge you to reconsider on this occasion. To echo Tessa, Elizabeth is such a notable character when we think of Jane Austen. She is smart, funny and caring but also self conscious, judgmental and, at times, pretty scathing. All the things we look for in a best friend! Tessa says, “Elizabeth is just like me, but awesome” and I think we all think that. This anthology for me, is a celebration of all women who relate to Elizabeth Bennet and a reminder that none of us ought to settle for second best, that we deserved to be loved and that we should always speak our minds because it makes us who we are.
What is something you learned while recording Elizabeth: Obstinate, Headstrong Girl? Was there anything that surprised you?
I was surprised at just how much I do relate to Elizabeth. While I always liked her, at many points in these stories I really felt like she WAS me which is why I think you all will love it so much. I think the variety of stories and locations we find Elizabeth in during the course of book also made me remember that women like her, (like you and I) are not a new breed and how difficult life would have been at times for us without the progress we have made in our societies – though also how much more there is to do.
Name something that you would love about living in Jane Austen's time. Name something that you would find challenging about living in Jane Austen's time.
Like Miss Bennet, I would find it so difficult to hold my tongue. I am a very opinionated, out spoken kind of woman and I am sure that would land me in trouble from time to time.
I would however love the grandeur and civility of the society scene. Being ‘courted’ if you will and dancing in groups of pairs at parties. I also think the landscapes would be altered for the better if I could look out over my home town (which is in Derbyshire though I now live in London) and see rolling hills with people riding on horseback in their top hats and long skirts or in carriages to stately homes and farms instead of new housing estates and office blocks.
What was the greatest challenge about recording Elizabeth: Obstinate, Headstrong Girl?
The transatlantic accent for Love in the Limelight was the trickiest bit. It’s a new one for me so learning that and getting to grips with it in my mouth was a real toughy but I think I got there in the end.
What did you enjoy most about recording Elizabeth: Obstinate, Headstrong Girl?
I enjoyed that the book is an anthology of short stories. As a narrator, it’s really fun being able to start and finish a story in less than a couple of hours and be switching into something new the next day. It made the whole process feel really fast paced and exciting. In the same breath, getting to know the wonderful authors associated with the book has been fantastic. They are such talented women and the community they have built is so supportive and welcoming.
Out of all the Elizabeth stories featured in this anthology was there one that you felt a connection or partiality towards?
I loved them all and they each have their own merits. The one I remember enjoying narrating and editing most was Atmospheric Disturbances by Christina Morland which I have since done a video reading of across two blogs – Austenesque Reviews and From Pemberley to Milton. The whole story is really a quarrel between Darcy and Elizabeth and while there are moments of heightened anger there are also these wonderful interludes of levity and tenderness.
About the narrator
Originally from the East Midlands in the UK, Elizabeth Grace now lives in South London (via two years in Amsterdam). She is a full-time actor, voice over artist, and narrator.
Elizabeth began her professional performing career a little later in life and has been studying at Identity School of Acting in London since 2019. Prior to that, she had a career agency side in Marketing which explains her penchant for client services.
Since 2019, she has been growing her professional portfolio on top of the amateur theatre work she began in her formative years. She has now been a part of many projects from short films and web series to audio dramas and audiobook narration. Visit her website:
About the book
With timeless verve, the heroine of Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth Bennet, bares her intimate thoughts while offering biting social commentary through a collection of romantic re-imaginings, sequels, and prequels, set in the Regency to present day by ten popular Austenesque authors. Foreword by NY Times & USA Today bestselling author Tessa Dare. “I think her as delightful a character as ever appeared in print…” wrote Jane Austen in a letter, January 1813―and we think so too!
Stories by Amy D’Orazio, Jenetta James, Christina Morland, Beau North, Joana Starnes, Karen M Cox, Elizabeth Adams, Leigh Dreyer, J. Marie Croft, and Christina Boyd.
The #OmgItsOHG (Oh-my-gosh, it’s Obstinate Headstrong Girl) Audiobook Tour began August 18 with voice actress reading and we hope you will continue to join us and connect at each stop for continued readings, narrator interviews, excerpts, and giveaways. We’ve included a $25 Amazon gift card giveaway, open worldwide, so be sure to participate. Simply comment on the blog stops to be counted for the giveaway (you need not comment everywhere to be entered in that drawing, but we hope you’ll have your share of the conversation.) It ends September 8.
LISTEN TO A SAMPLE OF "A MATE FOR LIFE" by Christina Boyd. In 1855, an aged Elizabeth counsels her granddaughter about an impending betrothal, recounts key moments of her life, and how her life has been blessed by marrying the love of her life. (Victorian)