Monday 22 May 2017


1. He’s in the Navy people!  In the Napoleonic era!  If you want to know why that is so awesome, I suggest reading the Horatio Hornblower, Ramage, and Master and Commander series.  

2. Dick Musgrove was clearly a pain in the rear, but Capt. Wentworth made a point of trying to help him.  Even after Dick died (and clearly from his own stupidity), Wentworth is kind to his parents and doesn’t disparage the memory of their son.

3. He is the balance to Anne, she is a woman of thought and he is a man of action.

Tuesday 2 May 2017


Time travel and Jane Austen. It sounds like the perfect match for an intriguing story. How did you come to write The Jane Austen Project?

Thanks for your kind words, Maria Grazia! I hope people will find it so.  Although it took a long time to write this book, the idea came to me in a flash. One night lying awake I started thinking about Jane Austen: how sad it was that she died so comparatively young, and how unfortunate for scholars that the majority of her letters were destroyed. What a genius she was,  stuck in a time and place with little use for intelligent women, and how frustrating that must have been for her. But what was she really like? I found mself wondering. If only we could build a time machine, and go back and get some answers!
One piece of advice I’ve taken to heart is that you should write the sort of book you want to read, and I’ve always been happiest with  books with fantastical elements, yet grounded in reality, whether historical, mythological or emotional. I am thinking of novels like “The Doomsday Book,” or “Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell” or “The Golem and the Jinni.” Time travel is a crazy idea, but it seemed like a powerful metaphor about being human. We are all time travelers, but usually it’s a one-way trip.

Before we focus on Jane Austen as a character in your book, could you tell us something more about Liam and Rachel, your time travellers who are lucky enough to meet her?

I’ve always seen Rachel and Liam like characters in one of those screwball comedies from the 1930s – mismatched and sparring, yet with complementary strengths, eventually finding their way to respect and affection. Rachel is a physician, with a love of adventure and of Jane Austen. She’s competent and feisty, not quite prepared for how limiting  it is to be a woman in 1815. Because the story is told in Rachel’s first-person, we see Liam only as Rachel does, and he’s not someone who likes to talk about himself. So part of the story is the unfolding of Liam’s character to Rachel and to the reader. He is an academic who used to be an actor, and despite his reserved nature he’s good at assuming a part. It’s useful in the mission, but it starts to drive Rachel crazy – she wants to know who he “really” is. But how do we ever know that? What does it mean, to know another person, when it is hard even to know ourselves?