Tuesday 31 May 2011


The end of May marks the closing of this giveaway contest linked to our Sense and Sensibility Bicentenary Celebration. The May issue has been an interesting contribution by Jane Odiwe, Willoughby A Rogue on Trial.  Among those who commented the post to enter the giveaway the winner of Jane Odiwe's Willoughby's Return  is ...


Congratulations to the new winner! To all the others I remind there are still two giveaways running on at My Jane Austen Book Club. Just have a look at the right sidebar.

I'll wait for all of you in the next days. June will be a very special month!

Saturday 28 May 2011


Susan Adriani has been a fan of Jane Austen and her beloved characters for as long as she can remember. Originally from New England, she attended a small art college close to her home, where she majored in illustration. In 2007, after contemplating the unexplored possibilities in one of Miss Austen’s most celebrated novels, Pride and Prejudice, she began to write her first novel-length story, The Truth About Mr. Darcy (formerly Affinity and Affection). With encouragement from fellow Austen enthusiasts she continued, and is currently at work on her second book. She lives in Connecticut with her husband, young daughter, and a very impertinent cat. She concludes her blog tour to present her  The Truth About Mr. Darcy, now available in bookstores, here on My Jane Austen Book club. Join me and welcome her. She's ready to answer all your questions! Furthermore, don't miss the double chance to win this new book.  (See giveaway details at the end of this post)


The BBC version of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice (directed by Andrew Davies) was the first glimpse I had of Jane Austen's world, and I quickly fell in love with everything about it. The next day I couldn't get to my local bookstore fast enough. I eagerly bought the book, devoured every word, and loved the story and characters even more.

What's not to love? Elizabeth Bennet is full of spunk, wit, and intelligent—if not a bit pre-judgmental  at times, but that's one more reason why we adore her: her humanity. And Mr. Darcy doesn't seem to mind. He is without a doubt the epitome of tall, dark, and handsome—if not a bit taciturn and stand-offish as well. My mother always believed that there was something to be said about the quiet ones; a certain air of mystery about them, and the master of Pemberley certainly doesn't disappoint.

And neither does Mr. Bingley…well, not until after the Netherfield ball, that is. Up until that point in the story he is the perfect suitor, all smiles and joviality as he courts Jane Bennet in full view of the entire village. When he leaves for London, his sisters and Darcy in tow, we honestly believe he has every intention of asking Jane to marry him, or that he'll at least return and continue to court her. It always annoyed me that the kind and considerate Mr. Bingley could be so easily swayed by his friend, and especially his calculating sisters. He clearly loved Jane, yet was so easily persuaded to believe that her feelings were not in any way equal to his own. But the course is set; the story will follow the same path every time, with the same outcome. What is a dissatisfied reader to do? Why, change it, of course!

When I began writing Jane Austen-inspired fiction, I had a long list of events and details I thought would be fun to alter. That list is still pretty long—after all, how can an author possibly pack everything she has a curiosity about into one book? Ideally, she can't—well, at least I couldn't! But, in The Truth About Mr. Darcy (previously self-published as Affinity and Affection), I did manage to experiment with quite a few scenarios that were floating around in my head, and managed to create a very different outcome for Jane Austen's most beloved characters. (It was a lot of fun!)

One of the details I changed was Mr. Bingley's retreat to London. In my story, not only does he not make the trip, but he puts his foot down regarding Darcy's sour opinion of Jane Bennet and her relations. When his friend tries to sway him from his course, Bingely not only stands up to him, but gives him a few things to think about regarding his feelings for Elizabeth as well.

I'd like to share with you an excerpt from my book, which takes place on the night that Darcy has first declared himself to Elizabeth. The scene is between Darcy, Bingley, and Mr. Hurst (who I also had a lot of fun with). I like this scene because it gives a little glimpse of the dynamic of the men of Netherfield Park. There are no ladies present, and they are at ease to be themselves. I hope you'll enjoy reading it as much as I've enjoyed being here today!

Excerpt, The Truth About Mr. Darcy (previously self-published as Affinity and Affection)

“Hurst, come in and have a drink,” Darcy said with uncharacteristic cheerfulness. “I was just thrashing Bingley at billiards.”

Grateful for an opportunity to lay aside his cue, Bingley poured a healthy glass of port for his brother-in-law and refilled his and Darcy's own.
As Mr. Hurst accepted his drink, he fixed Bingley with a level look that belied his inebriated state, and said, “By God, Bingley, that sister of yours will be your ruin.” Then he raised his glass in Darcy’s direction. “And she won’t do you any favors either, I might add.” He took several satisfying gulps of the contents as Darcy stared at him with a furrowed brow.
“Come, Hurst,” said Bingley with his usual good humor, “I grant you that Caroline may be difficult, but I hardly think it will lead me to ruin. And as for Darcy”—he laughed—“well, I doubt there is any woman in all of England who is prepared to do more for him!”
Darcy shrugged his shoulders, simultaneously rolling his eyes with distaste.
“Bloody right about that one! If I were you, Darcy, I’d think twice before paying court to Elizabeth Bennet again in Caroline’s company. Damned jealous of that one, she is, and rightly so. Come now, man, you must know Caroline has been determined to get you since the day she laid her eyes on Pemberley, and she is pretty blasted angry right about now.” Mr. Hurst took another drink and laughed. “What the devil ever possessed you to stare at Elizabeth Bennet like that all night in decent company? Caroline would have sold herself to the devil for half a glance, never mind what went on between the two of you tonight. Now she wants to drag us all the way to Town just to be rid of her. She may as well remove us all to the Continent for all the good that would do her.”
Bingley sighed and shook his head in exasperation. “Yes, that does sound like our Caroline.”
Mr. Hurst noticed Darcy’s frown. “Now do not go and take offense, Darcy. Though he only manages to gawk at her like a lovesick puppy, I suspect my sister-in-law has similar plans to dispose of Bingley’s Miss Bennet as well.”
Bingley sputtered and choked on his port.
“If you have any thoughts of proposing, Bingley, I would get to it, if I were you. There is no telling what Caroline is capable of when she sets her mind to it.” He threw back the rest of his drink and bid them both a good night.
Thank you so much for stopping in and taking the time to visit with me today. I'd like to extend my sincerest thanks to Maria Grazia for graciously having me as her guest once again. I always have a wonderful time here, so thank you for making the last stop on my tour so lovely!
Susan Adriani 

Susan Adriani is ready to answer your questions or comments here. She has generously granted you readers of My Jane Austen Book Club TWO COPIES of her The Truth About Mr Darcy, one for US and Canada readers and one for the rest of the world. Please, specify which area you live in in your comments and don't forget your e-mail! This giveaway ends next Saturday, June 4th.

Thursday 26 May 2011


 Marsha Altman  born in New Jersey. She has lived in Jerusalem, Israel and currently resides in New York City. She has a B.A. in History from Brown University and a MFA in Creative Writing from The City College of New York. She has just released her new novel, a new sequel of Pride and Prejudice,The Ballad of Gregoire Darcy

Comment and leave your e-mail address and, if you live in the US or Canada , you'll get a chance to win this new novel. Giveaway ends on Wednesday, June 1st.

So, Marsha, after The Darcys and the Bingleys, Mr Darcy’s Great Escape and The Plight of the Darcy Brothers, your fourth sequel of Pride and Prejudice, The Ballad of Gregoire Darcy, has just been released. I am astonished  by the great deal and variety of sequels this masterpiece has inspired. What were your personal, special reasons for wanting to give Jane Austen’s tale  a saga-like series of sequels?
I came into this very hesitantly, just starting out with the short story “A Bit of Advice” which became the first half of The Darcys and the Bingleys. I posted it on Fanfiction.net and it got good reviews, so I decided to keep going until I ran out of ideas, and it took me 10 books to run out of ideas. In actuality, I burned out pretty hard in the middle of the 10th, but I had the ending so I just had to keep going.

Can you tell us briefly who Gregoire,  the hero of your new book,  is in the Darcy family and what kind of adventures have you got him involved in ?
I’m very interested in doing stories about the Other, people who were not part of Regency high society – not just because of social class, but because of religion or nationality or something to that affect. There’s a lot of them in my books, and because Darcy is a bit of a homebody (he takes less journeys than everyone else unless he’s rescuing someone) I have to throw them in his face to get a reaction.
Grégoire (it’s spoiled on the back of the book) is Darcy’s half-brother, the result of an affair between Darcy’s father and his mother’s lady-maid, and was born a few months after Georgiana. His existence was a secret until The Plight of the Darcy Brothers. Not only is he French and a bastard but he’s also a monk, so there’s a huge gulf in the worldviews of the two brothers. Spirituality is very rarely addressed in Austen – both of the religious characters in Pride and Prejudice (Mr. Collins and Mary Bennet) are negative, though that doesn’t stand as a statement for how Austen felt about religion as a whole, just how people use it to define themselves.  I gave Darcy a kind of standard Anglican aristocracy understanding of religion, meaning he believes in trying to be humble, acting in an upstanding manner, doing works of charity, and trying not to fall asleep during the pastor’s sermon on Sundays – which obviously works for him and is not a bad way to be. Grégoire, obviously, has given the whole of his life to religion, and wants nothing more than to pray and do menial chores inside monastery walls and not be part of secular society at all.
Grégoire is also interesting because he stands at the end of monastic culture  in its medieval remnants. Two of his monasteries – in France and then Austria – have already been dissolved by the French Revolution and Napoleon’s policies, and his monastery in Spain is one of those that survived the dissolutions in Spain during the rule of Napoleon’s brother. Even in Catholic countries like France and Ireland his way of life is either on its way out or gone; it’s obvious he has to find another way to live, which is very hard on him, and the way he gets through it is with the help of his larger family but especially his brother Darcy and his sister Georgiana.
I want to say these ideas of deciding how to include spirituality in your life are universal, and they are really are – I’m an Orthodox Jew writing about a Benedictine monk and his Protestant brother in 19th-century England. It’s not about being preachy or having a message, but about people decigin for themselves how they want to live their lives.

What is more engaging and entertaining  between to make Jane Austen's characters live on in your stories or creating new ones who can have their own space and act shoulder to shoulder with the already known ones?
Can I say both? It really only works with both. Half of the fun is the reaction betweens people who are different – which was the driving plotline between Pride and Prejudice, two people who were great for each other but disagreed on many things, so much so that it drove them apart initially. If people come to care about the new characters nearly as much or as much as the Pride and Prejudice characters, I feel as if I’ve done my job as a storyteller, which is to make the characters engaging enough to care about.

If you could get lost in one of Jane Austen's novels, which one would you choose? Why? Whose place would you like to take?
Uh ... none of them. I have this thing for flushing toilets and medicine that actually works. It’s a deal-breaker.

Would you write a sequel for any other of Jane Austen’s novels?
Short answer: No. Long answer: Not really.

Which is the minor character or the evil character in JA novel with whom you would like to write a spin-off?
I started this story off thinking maybe it would spin into a plotline just about Bingley, but really, Bingley needs to play off Darcy or Jane. He needs a companion – he’s briefly on a trip in this novel, but he has his cousin-in-law Brian Maddox along with him. And I decided to give Caroline Bingley some time and married her off to Dr. Maddox, but I would focus on Dr. Maddox rather than her, because he’s a doctor and you can do more with him. There’s a problem in the book’s society that you really can’t do much with women aside from marry them off unless you do something really radical that gets them kicked out of society. In later books I do some weird stuff with Georgiana Bingley, Bingley and Jane’s daughter, who skirts convention as much as she possibly can, but she’s my character, and I don’t think Austen would write about a character like her.

As for the many adaptations of Jane Austen’s novels we’ve seen so far, is there one you especially love? Why?
I can’t answer that question fairly because I know too many of the authors online or personally. I will give a shout-out to Linda Berdoll. Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife was the first published story I read, and I read it about 10 times. And I thought Ann Herendeen’s Pride/Prejudice: A Novel of Mr. Darcy, Elizabeth Bennet, and Their Forbidden Lovers took the book in a different direction and deserves some serious respect for that.

With all the movies / series based on  Jane Austen’s work don’t we risk many readers  1. Neglect  to go back to the originals and to read them  2.  Get a wrong  opinion of Jane Austen’s aim  influenced by the usually romanticized  interpretation of her stories?
No. I mean, no one’s shoving the spin-off books down people’s throats. The original is always there, being assigned in class, being produced in yet another edition with pictures or large print or scholar’s notes. The original is powerful enough that I feel it’s un-taintable; you can read 10 or 20 spin-offs, but if you go back to the original, you’re going to get the original, which is a great classic of world literature. Some people try to imitate Austen’s style, which is no more less respectful than what I do, but I never try to do that, because I know I just can’t. I use the setting and the characters but I don’t try to write like her. I know I’m going to fail.

When and how did you become an  Austenite?
I read Pride and Prejudice in 12th grade, and saw the miniseries a couple times, but when the 2005 movie came out, it found me at the right time in my life to be receptive to it and it somehow took over my writing life. So I went back and read the book, and re-watched the miniseries, and read a lot of fan fiction, and started doing research on Austen in general. 2005. I should give that year. It’s a good year to give.

What is Jane’s  most important life lesson to you?
If you’re going to fall hopelessly in love with a guy, it helps if he’s really rich. I know that’s a very cynical reading of Pride and Prejudice, but there’s some truth to it. Colonel Fitzwilliam is a nice enough guy but passes on Elizabeth because he doesn’t have a good salary and she has almost no dowry. Behind the romance there are all of these financial considerations; in that sense it’s very grounded.

What is so fascinating in her world to so many new admirers  living in the 21st century?
The story is a timeless romance. It always had admirers, but it went through waves of admiration based on how well and widely it was published. Things go through periods of being popular, not just in the celebrity sense but also in the literary sense, as things go in and out of fashion, and right now Austen is very fashionable as a writer.

What are you working on at present?
I’m writing some short stories that coincide with the events of The Ballad of Grégoire Darcy that I’m hoping to release as a free (if short) e-Book to give something to my readers. I also have to start editing book 5 to submit for publication. I’m also editing a sci-fi book that I’m considering self-publishing online, and I’m waiting to see if a business book proposal for the Chinese-language market sells or not. If it does, then I’ll be writing a book on Jewish business ethics in the Talmud for Chinese publishers. So wish me luck on all that.

Of course, good luck on all your future plans and projects, Marsha. Thanks for taking the time to answer all my questions. 
Now it's your turn,  readers of My Jane Austen Book Club. Ready for the giveaway? Marsha and I would love to hear from you!

Wednesday 25 May 2011


A new author and a new novel for last week's giveaway contest linked to my "Talking Jane Austen with..." : Kaitlin Saunders and A Modern Day Persuasion.
The contest ends today so  here I am to announce the name of the winner ...


Congratulations to her and good luck to all the others in the giveaway going on these days here on My Jane Austen Book Club or in the ones that are coming soon. Tomorrow night (Rome time zone) a new "Talking Jane Austen with ..." session and a new great giveaway!  

Sunday 22 May 2011


Welcome to the May issue of the Sense and Sensibility Bicentenary Celebration. This month, I'm glad to host Jane Odiwe's contribution to the discussion of Jane Austen's first published novel, its characters and its themes: "Willoughby, a Rogue on Trial" . Jane Odiwe is the author of  a Sense and Sensibility continuation, Willoughby's Return (my review HERE and  author interview HERE), so she has much to say about this novel and this character. We'll wait for your comments and contributions to the discussion, with the chance to be entered May giveaway (read note below)
Let us know: do you feel any more sympathy for Mr John Willoughby after reading ?

May Giveaway - Commenting this blogpost you'll have the chance to be entered the giveaway of a signed copy of Jane Odiwe's Willoughby's Return. But don't forget your e-mail address!  Open internationally, the giveaway ends on 31st May.

 Willoughby, A Rogue on Trial 

I was very conscious when my publisher suggested that I change the title of my Sense and Sensibility continuation, which I had entitled, Mrs. Brandon’s Invitation, to Willoughby’s Return, that it might give people the idea that I am a firm supporter of Mr. Willoughby. That is not to say that he does not have his charms, and who among us can say we do not succumb a little to them at the beginning of Jane Austen’s wonderful book or certainly in any number of the adaptations? (I have to admit Greg Wise is my favourite, and it’s almost impossible to see him as a villain at all, but I digress.) However, in Willoughby’s Return, I did want to find out for myself whether I thought he was truly sorry for his past behaviour or discover whether he had been acting a part from the start.
When we first meet Mr. Willoughby in S&S, it is very clear that Jane wishes us to fall in love with him too. He is depicted as the archetypal, romantic hero as he lifts Marianne, who has taken a tumble, into his manly arms to carry her back to Barton cottage. It is not only Marianne who is smitten; he is immediately an object of ‘secret admiration’ with all the ladies. Willoughby is ‘handsome’, possesses a graceful manner with additional charms from his voice and expression. Jane is lavish in her praise. Youth, beauty and elegance, are three words used to sum up his appearance, she wants us to love him as much as Marianne does. I think it’s interesting that she also stresses his sportsman-like pursuits of shooting, and in particular hunting, because we learn later on that he is very much a predator. Marianne cannot help herself, she discovers that they share exactly the same tastes in music, literature and poetry, and he appears to be open and affectionate.

So, Willoughby has all the appearance of the perfect man, but unfortunately it is not long before the cracks start to show especially when it comes to discussing Colonel Brandon. Here Jane often uses Elinor to witness what is being said. She, of course, is becoming increasingly concerned by the overt, demonstrative behaviour of Willoughby and her sister Marianne. Willoughby declares that, “Brandon is just the kind of man, whom every body speaks well of, and nobody cares about; whom all are delighted to see, and nobody remembers to talk to.” He goes on to declare that it isn’t that he dislikes him, but by the end of his conversation with Elinor, he has found three reasons for disliking him forever! And from here, it just gets worse.

Willoughby seems to show little thought about his public behaviour towards Marianne. He thinks nothing of dancing with her constantly, which is not the done thing; he takes her out for rides in his carriage alone, and brings her a horse, without considering how she is going to be able to afford to look after it. Now, it is at this point, I feel some of the adults like Marianne’s mother, Mrs. Dashwood, and Mrs. Jennings are at fault and neglectful. Far from stopping Marianne from being alone with this rogue, they positively encourage it. Mrs. Dashwood is equally blinded by Willoughby, and so keen to promote a match between them that she allows it to carry on. That is not to say I am excusing Willoughby at all, but he is bound to take advantage of such a situation. In slight defence of Mrs. Dashwood, it seems she has decided that such carryings on indicate that the couple must be engaged or very near it. When Willoughby declares that, ‘this place will always have one claim on my affection, which no other can possibly share’, Mrs. Dashwood is completely convinced that he is to ask for Marianne’s hand.
The next day, he arrives to say he is leaving for London at his benefactor’s request and will be gone for some time. His manner is guilty, Elinor is immediately suspicious, and Marianne only cries. Again we see Willoughby through Elinor’s eyes; thinking he does not behave as an ardent lover should.
The Dashwood sisters go to London with Mrs. Jennings, and Marianne hopes to see Willoughby, but of course when they finally meet, he snubs her, and afterwards sends a cruel letter declaring that he is astonished to think she thought there was more to the friendship. On top of that, she then learns that he is to marry Miss Grey with a fortune of £50,000. Can it get any worse? Yes, it can!!!

Colonel Brandon attempts to explain Willoughby’s behaviour. Willoughby has seduced and abandoned the Colonel’s ward leaving her with his child. Now we see how well the image of the hunter as a man who preys on young women fits him. Is there any way we will ever come to think of him in a good light again?
Marianne becomes dangerously ill, and it is only when Willoughby turns up to speak to Elinor that we reconsider his character…a little. I think for most people, however much Willoughby protests, he will always be thought of as a cad. But, I think it very interesting, that apart from him telling Elinor that he only realized what love meant when he met Marianne, which softens both Elinor’s and our attitudes towards him, Jane Austen also adds something else for us to think about too. She appears to challenge the idea that the Colonel’s ward was wholly a victim, and that she might have been as willing to consummate their relationship as Willoughby. He says, “I do not mean to justify myself, but at the same time cannot leave you to suppose that I have nothing to urge, - that because she was injured she was irreproachable; and because I was a libertine, she must be a saint. If the violence of her passions, the weakness of her understanding - I do not mean, however, to defend myself.” Of course, we only have Willoughby’s word for it, but nevertheless, I think Jane is making a little point that the case is not as simple as seducer and seduced, and that women can also be assertive in relationships. Remember, we are talking about Regency Britain whose more open attitudes were completely different to the following generation. 

Do we feel any more sympathy towards Willoughby after he implies that the reason he could not marry the Colonel’s ward was because of his feelings for Marianne? If we have any, those sympathetic feelings soon disappear when he admits that the thought of a life of poverty was too much to bear. Again, we see he is driven by selfish motives and avarice. Although he genuinely appears to regret his behaviour towards both women, in the end his actions have outweighed any consideration for them. Money is far more important.
In the end, he gets his just deserts: Willoughby could not hear of her marriage without a pang; and his punishment was soon afterwards complete in the voluntary forgiveness of Mrs. Smith, who, by stating his marriage with a woman of character, as the source of her clemency, gave him reason for believing, that had be behaved with honour towards Marianne, he might at once have been happy and rich.
 The next sentence is the one that inspired Willoughby’s Return. For Marianne, however - in spite of his incivility in surviving her loss - he always retained that decided regard which interested him in everything that befell her, and made her his secret standard of perfection in woman; and many a rising beauty would be slighted by him in after days as bearing no comparison with Mrs. Brandon.
I wondered what would happen if they were to meet again. You may be surprised to learn that my novel is not a defence of Willoughby, though I did give him a chance to redeem himself a little more before the end, and of course, there is a happy ending for all concerned!
 Jane Odiwe

Jane Odiwe latest publication is Mr Darcy's Secret. Discover more about her, her novels and illustrations on her Blog Site and on Twitter.

Thursday 19 May 2011


Kaitlin Saunders is proficient on the works of Jane Austen and finds that literature written by Austen serves to give her inspiration. At age sixteen, Kaitlin began her literary career writing her first screenplay, titled, “Caroline,” later bringing this period piece to life. Directing and producing this film, it gained popularity after being aired on local television. She was recently married and enjoys cuddling up with her husband to watch BBC.
She has just published A Modern Day Persuasion. She is my guest today to talk about her book and her love for Jane Austen and her world. Leaving a comment and your e-mail address you can have the chance to win a signed copy of Kaitlin's novel. The giveaway is open worldwide and ends on May 25th. Enjoy our chat and good luck! 

Hello and welcome on My Jane Austen Book Club, Kaitlin. It’s a great pleasure for me to have the possibility to ask you these questions about your “A Modern Day Persuasion”, especially because Jane Austen’s Persuasion is one of my best favourites of all time. First of all introduce yourself briefly to our readers
I am a twenty-something Austen fan who was born out of time—I certainly belong in one of Jane's novels!  Starting my career as a film maker, I directed and produced a period piece which gained popularity after being aired on local television.  I then took to writing and the rest is history!

What brought you to write a Jane Austen modernization?
Although many of my friends and family are fans of Jane Austen, almost all of them have never taken the time to read the novels.  They love the film adaptations and watch them over and over again, yet don't have the patience to tackle the Napoleonic-Era verbiage.  I wrote A Modern Day Persuasion in order to introduce them to the magic of Jane's pen in a language a modern day woman can relate to.     

I agree with your choice since it is my favourite among Austen's  major six but … Why Persuasion?
Persuasion is a story about second chances and sheds a positive light on life, which is to always believe that circumstances happen for a reason.  This particular novel has earned its place as my personal favorite because I can relate to Anne's heartbreak, as can many other women.  At one point or another, all of us have felt forgotten and overlooked.  All we really want is a happy ending, and that's exactly what Anne gets in the end.  Anne is an inspiring heroine because she never acts cruelly towards another character or tries to set about things in her favor.  It's like God honors her kindness and repays her with her heart's desires.  

What makes Captain Wentworth such a fascinating hero? And what of the original Austen character is left in your Rick?
Captain Wentworth is a model of a man because he's a true blue kind-of-fellow.  Who wouldn't want a faithful man who, despite a long separation, has never thought of anyone but you and has kept himself for you only?  And his fascination doesn't just end there either.  Rick is the only one who has ever truly seen Anne, and although after their re-introduction his injured pride gets the better of him for a short while, he finally rescues her from her present life of indifference.  Talk about a knight-in-shining-armor! 

The Rick Wentworth in my novel is the same Captain Frederick Wentworth from the original Austen storyline, minus the Naval rank.  Although Rick in A Modern Day Persuasion has a history in the Navy, circumstances had to be updated in order to explain his currently large bank account.  When I updated Persuasion to a modern day format, one of my goals was to remain as close to the original characterizations as possible.  I've seen and read too many Austen adaptations which, in order to reflect an update, change or add unnecessary factors which make it so unlike the original I almost wish they would name it differently—I didn't want to make that same mistake.  A Modern Day Persuasion IS exactly what it claims to be.  Readers will notice a handful of respectful changes to make the plot more believable in this day and age, but nothing too drastic. 

Anne Elliot is less brilliant than Elizabeth Bennet or Emma but, anyway, she succeeds in getting what she wants and dreams of  in the end. Is she different from the Anne in your novel in any way?
Akin to Rick and others in my adaptation, Anne is still the same beloved Anne Elliot.  While writing my novel, it was essential to keep all the original personalizations attached to our heroine Anne which have made her beloved tale stand the test of time as one of the major six.  Although my adaptation gives the modern Anne a profession and every day liberties, it also grants more access into the hidden thoughts of Persuasion's original heroine as she continues to be the same the sweet-tempered, quiet, thoughtful, and caring young woman who only wants to be loved.

 Is there a touching love letter in your finale, too?
A Modern Day Persuasion wouldn't be an accurate adaptation without the fantastic love note.  Of course updated to modern language, Rick's letter will almost certainly bring readers to tears.

 What was the most difficult aspect while re-writing such a beloved story?
The most tedious aspect was remaining as true to the original plot as possible while also updating it to reflect this modern age.  One thing particularly important to de-emphasize was the fact that Anne's new suitor, Mr. Elliot, is also her cousin.
What was instead the most pleasant part of your adventure toward publication?
For me, the most pleasant part was the freedom to be creative—to prove myself a bona fide writer as the book began to come alive and feel like an actual novel!  It's a been a long process from beginning to the final product in hand, but all the hard work was definitely worth it.  I love nothing better than to make people smile. 

Have you ever tried to rationalize and explain to yourself the huge love, the enthusiastic revival for anything Austen-related? What’s the appeal to her world for the 21st century reader?
Honestly I think women are fed up with what's called “love” these days.  We desire the romance—we want to be swept off our feet by a gentleman who won't desert us when they get bored or another “better” prospect comes along.  We want to be feminine and to be pursued—that's why women everywhere are turning to Austen.  We find escape in Jane's novels.  Her heroines Elizabeth, Anne, Emma, Marianne & Elinor, Catherine, and Fanny all get happy endings—and what woman doesn't want a happy ending?      

Since I love period drama and adaptations of the classics, I must ask you: Which is your favourite Persuasion version on screen?
That is a great question and interestingly enough, I just posted on my website reviews of all Austen film adaptations, finishing with Persuasion.  My favorite version of Persuasion would have to be the 1995 release starring Amanda Root and Ciaran Hinds.  You can read my full review on my website: http://www.kaitlin-saunders.com.

What’s next in your writing schedule?
I have two more novels currently in the works, one of them being another modern day Austen adaptation.  Aside from that, I have dozens of other stories floating around in my imagination which I'd like to pen to paper someday in the near future.  

Thanks a lot Kaitlin and fingers crossed for the success of your "A Modern Day Persuasion" ! 

And now the word to our readers. Good luck to them for the giveaway!

Wednesday 18 May 2011


Hello everybody! Very brief posting to thank Kathryn L. Nelson for our interesting Austen chat last week and to announce the name of the lucky winner of a signed copy of her Pemberley Manor.

I'm glad to inform , this time, the lucky lady is ...


Thanks to all commenters who entered the giveaway and congratulations to the winner, of course. Stay tuned for another very pleasant "Talking Jane Austen with ..." session and for a new international giveaway! 

Monday 16 May 2011


In March 2011, on BBC 2, best-selling author Sebastian Faulks presented a major four part series on the brilliance of the British novel and its characters, FAULKS ON FICTION : 1. the hero 2. the lover 3. the snob 4. the villain
I was really interested in discovering whom he would chose among the many lovers in British fiction, though I was pretty sure he wouldn't neglect Mr Darcy. In fact, he is the first hero analized in the second edisode of Faulks on Fiction dedicated to the figure of the lover. Have you got 8 spare minutes? I've cut and uploaded for you what Faulks  says about Mr Darcy. Warning: try to keep in mind William Faulks is a man while listening to him, be tolerant and ... if you don't agree with him in some respect, just leave a comment . I'm really interested in your reactions. I only say this: I don't agree with him completely but I don't totally disagree.
A major reason to watch this clip? Colin Firth and several key scenes from Pride and Prejudice 1995. Enjoy! 

Thursday 12 May 2011


My guest this week for our weekly Austen chat is Kathryn L. Nelson, author of Pemberley Manor. Join me and welcome Kathryn on My Jane Austen Book Club. Leave your comments and e-mail address to get a chance to win an autographed copy of her sequel to Pride and Prejudice. The giveaway is open internationally and ends on Wednesday 18th May when the winner is announced.
MG. Jane Austen and the modern world. Why is such an odd match so successful? I’m thinking of fan fiction, modernizations, Austen–dedicated sites and blogs, Austen–Twitter Projects, nowadays film versions….

K: I hope you don’t imagine I have any idea what’s going on. It took me more than a year to even say out loud that I had written a sequel to Pride and Prejudice. I was quite sure that it simply wasn’t done, but then I stumbled across Diana Birchall and Jane Odiwe and a few others and eventually became part of an avalanche. My guess is that Jane’s spirit has been out trying to stir up this phenomenon for a very long time, and she finally tickled enough minds to start the ball rolling. I firmly believe that if she had lived longer she would have tried out a few stories herself about life after the wedding. At any rate, I imagine that she’s enjoying the attention.

MG: This is a harsh one, I think. I’m asking you to advocate for all Austen Authors. Fan fiction has become the order of the day in Austenland. Can’t all this flooding fiction risk dumbing-down the book market? What novelty can be added to such popular characters and plots? 

K: You would find a fair number of Jane Austen fans that take no pleasure in anything Austenesque not written by either Jane herself or a literary scholar. I have to admit that it took me a little while to warm to the vampires and zombies—not to mention the platypus!—but really, it’s all fun. Austen’s stories were, and still are, fun. Rather than dumbing anything down, I think that a flood of creativity has been unleashed. She was the earthquake; we’re the tsunami.

MG: For what you know of her personality, what would Jane Austen most appreciate in our world and what couldn’t she bear?

K: If Austen were plucked from her time zone and dropped into ours, I imagine she would be a horrified by the pace of life and the barrage of media images and words coming out of the sky day and night. But if she was allowed a few years to acclimatize, I suspect that the political rhetoric of today, satirized by people like Craig Ferguson or Jon Stewart, would have amused her. Before Queen Victoria put a clamp on frivolity, Jane lived in a pretty rowdy Regency period where scandals and bad behavior were well known, even in a quiet country town. She would have made a great writer for the Colbert Report with her wit and sarcasm.
And for a woman who resisted being known as the author of her own books, I can only imagine that Facebook and Twitter would have seemed quite vulgar. Blogging? I think she would have loved it.

Read excerpts from the book

MG:  And what about you, instead? What is it that you like best in her work and world?

K: I began writing what eventually became Pemberley Manor as an exercise in language. After reading her without much enthusiasm in school, I rediscovered her in 1995 after watching the BBC/A&E version of Pride and Prejudice. A friend and I wore out a set of VHS tapes, watching and re-watching parts. Then I started rereading her books, and finally, recently, her Juvenilia.
I found Austen’s style so addictive and the imitation of it such fun that I stayed up until the middle of the night for months trying to capture it. Every time I write an entry in the Austen Authors blog, I go back to one or more of her books and look for something new to think about. They never fail me.

MG: I’ve just finished reading your blog post at Austen Authors about money as the driving force in Jane Austen’s work. Is money the real driving force in her plots? (see http://www.austenauthors.com/2011/04/in-search-of-living.htm)
K: Well, if you leave romance aside, the possession of—or lack of—fortune is an obsession in almost every Austen character’s life. Sometimes it isn’t their choice. Anne Elliot, for instance, is not herself overly interested in money, but her family and her mentor, Lady Russell, value it excessively and she hasn’t the strength to ignore them. Emma’s “little friend” Harriet has very simple tastes, but succumbs to Emma’s relentless drive to make her into a woman of “discernment,” devaluing the farmer who loves her.
Elizabeth Bennet falls into a kind of careless middle ground: she believes herself above that sort of thing, and yet blushes with pleasure at the thought of being the mistress of Pemberley. Unlike her sensible friend, Charlotte, though, she doesn’t raise a finger to help herself find security. Emma, Darcy, Charles Bingley are free to think very little about money, as they didn’t have to earn it and take it as a natural condition.
Then we have the true money rogues, John and Fanny Dashwood, Willoughby, and the Bingley sisters, for example. They can never have enough and have no scruples at all about how they acquire it.
Joy Lee Davis, in Jane Austen and the Almighty Pound, points out the evolution in Austen’s writing toward the final novel, Persuasion, where the undeserving rich are undone, and the lowly poor are lifted up in example.

MG: And how did it come that you decided to write a sequel to Pride and Prejudice, Pemberley Manor? Could you tell us something about it? 

K: Those late night writing binges finally resulted in a very thick pile of papers that had a story stretching from the Darcy’s wedding day through the first year of their marriage. Having sufficiently scratched the itch, I started to think of the pile as a book. I dug into the literature on publishing, sent out a few queries and copies of the manuscript, filed away the rejections and went back to paying full attention to my real job, our family’s electrical contracting business. A few years later, a friend gave me a sequel named Presumption by Julia Barrett. I started digging and was astonished to find that there were other sequels out there, and so I dusted off the manuscript, edited it, and found a publisher, just as the floodgates were opening to Austen fan fiction.

MG:  As to Austen heroes/heroines, have you got a favourite one? Why?

K: Well, I couldn’t resist writing a dark past for Darcy to explain his arrogance and very prickly manners—that was the compulsion that turned Pemberley Manor from a writing exercise into a novel. I confess I didn’t like Lydia Bennet very well until Jane Odiwe turned my head with Lydia Bennet’s Story. The great fun of all of the fan fiction is that it’s interactive. We are allowed to take characters and interpret them, grow them up, invent their early lives, and blend them with zombies and other curious life forms. I don’t believe there’s another author, living or dead, who has invented so many complex and compelling characters— they simply cry out for attention.
I’d love to see Catherine Moreland grow up, or Harriet Smith start raising lovely, lively children in her farmhouse. And if I were to choose another character to write about, I believe it would have to be Colonel Fitzwilliam. Jack Caldwell has interviewed him on Austen Authors on April 28th. We know so very little about him that it would be a treat to dig into the possibilities. He’s much more willing than Darcy to engage in a little gossip and the odd witty repartee.

MG:  Are you working /planning to work on any new Austenesque project?

K: I left Elizabeth and Darcy holding the red leather journal of Darcy’s father at the end of Pemberley Manor. As I haven’t read it yet, I don’t know whether it contains enough juicy intrigue to warrant another novel. It’s been put on the shelf while I write a novel about three generations of a Minnesota family whose lives are strained by the secrets and lies of the past. Hmmm, sounds like a familiar plot—I think I might have used the same devise once before….

MG: Sounds intriguing! Let us know what you are up to, Kathryn. Meanwhile, thank you so much for taking the time of being my guest and answering my questions.
K: It’s been my great pleasure to answer, Maria, and to spend some enjoyable hours reading posts on My Jane Austen Book Club. I’m hooked!

MG:  I'm flattered, Kathryn. Thank you! 

And now to you, dear readers, and to your comments. Don't forget your e-mail address to enter the international giveaway. Good Luck!