Austentatious Blog Tour with Author Alyssa Goodnight, & Giveaway

Austentatious, by Alyssa Goodnight (2012)Jane Austen’s indisputable influence continues, so much so, that she shows up as a character in Alyssa Goodnight’s new, innovative novel Austentatious.

Please join us today in welcoming Alyssa as she visits during her blog tour in celebration of the release of Austentatious, published this month by Kensington Books. In this humorous guest blog, Alyssa shares her writing evolution to Jane Austen, and offers a giveaway to three lucky readers.

Austentatious by Accident

I must make a confession.  I am not obsessive about Jane Austen.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that!  By no means!  Jane Austen is wonderfully witty, irresistibly romantic, and perfectly in tune with human nature.  I love her books, and I love the retellings, spin-offs, and general cult following she has inspired.  But as I wrote the initial draft of Austentatious (i.e. LONG before this title was selected), Jane wasn’t even on my horizon.  The magical journal was there, the characters too, but Jane didn’t appear until later.  It wasn’t until after I’d read Jane Austen’s Guide to Dating by Lauren Henderson and imagined the possibilities, that the idea took root:  What if the spirit of Jane Austen was inhabiting the journal, offering up match-making advice in present day Austin, Texas?  Austen in Austin! (my submission title, by the way)…  I loved it–positively loved it!  I busily began revisions on my work-in-progress, tweaking and adjusting to make the concept work, excited over the new version.  And then I made a serendipitous discovery.  Jane had gifted her niece Jane Anna Elizabeth Austen with a journal with the following dedication:

Jane Austen journalMY DEAR NEICE:

Though you are at this period not many degrees removed from Infancy, Yet trusting that you will in time be older, and that through the care of your excellent Parents, You will one day or another be able to read written hand, I dedicate to You the following Miscellanious Morsels, convinced that if you seriously attend to them, You will derive from them very important Instructions, with regard to your Conduct in Life. — If such my hopes should hereafter be realized, never shall I regret the Days and Nights that have been spent in composing these Treatises for your Benefit. I am, my dear Neice

Your very Affectionate Aunt

June 2d. 1793

It seemed Jane herself had had my idea first: to offer life advice through a journal–although it’s unlikely her efforts were of the magical variety.  Suddenly, my magical journal became this historical journal, and its connection to Jane Austen was complete!   Once this Magical Jane Austen Draft was completed, I curiously examined the characters in my novel against Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice ensemble.  The similarities are few, but they are there.  Given that I adore the spunk of Elizabeth Bennet, a bit of her personality likely slipped into the characterization of Nicola.  And Darcy…dreamy, mysterious, seemingly unattainable Darcy is likely to have influenced the creation of Sean.  Then there is the pride and prejudice keeping them apart…  I assure you, that bit was not done consciously.  The other characters bear virtually no resemblance to the cast of Pride and Prejudice–at least not that I can see.  But Jane Austen herself is a character in Austentatious, and I think that is even more fun.

The magical journal in Austentatious works as follows:  the owner records her most private thoughts, her questions and ponderings, her secrets.  Much like any journal.  But then, when she’s stepped away, a bit of magic happens.  ‘Fairy Jane’ then edits down the entry, magically erasing words, until a select few remain.  Read together, in order, these remaining words form a message and offer advice to the journal owner.  Whether she wants to take it or not is an entirely up to her.  Or is it…?  You must read the book to find out!

I may not have set out to write an “Austen novel,” but I confess to being completely caught up in the magic that is Jane.  Adding quotes from her novels and imagining how she might advise a twenty-first century woman reminded me how much I loved her collected works, and compelled me to capture a bit of that sensibility in this novel.    I love that Jane has developed a sort of mind-boggling cult following.  Much the same way that classic movies are colorized and digitized and infused with high definition sound (and favorite movies are remade) for a new generation of viewers, so too are Austen’s classic novels adapted, modernized, and reimagined.  We want the essence of the original–which we adore–but with a fresh new spin.  And how much weirder can you get than imagining literary darling Jane Austen in Austin, Texas?  My intention with Austentatious was to create a situation in which a modern day woman was given an opportunity to step into an Austen storyline… (I suspect it isn’t entirely uncommon to imagine oneself cast opposite Mr. Darcy…)  and have her happy ending.

I wouldn’t categorize Austentatious as a retelling, spin-off, or modernization so much as an homage to Ms. Austen.  I hope my efforts do not disappoint.

Alyssa Goodnight (2012)Author Bio:

Much like the heroine of Austentatious, Alyssa Goodnight has lived in Austin, Texas, graduated from the University of Texas at Austin, worked in the semiconductor industry, and experienced the Weird. She has not owned a magical journal or ever bandied words with the spirit of Jane Austen. She would positively relish the opportunity. Alyssa currently lives between Houston and Galveston with her husband, two sons, and their adventure dog, Indiana Jones. She does her writing with an ice-cold can of Dr. Pepper and her reading with cake whenever possible. She is dutifully working on her next novel while dreaming of the day that she finds herself conscripted into a flash mob dance. Alyssa’s first novel, Unladylike Pursuits, was termed ‘irresistible’ by Booklist. Vist Alyssa at her website: Alyssa Goodnight; Facebook: Alyssa Goodnight; Twitter: @a_goodnight.

Giveaway of Austentatious

Enter a chance to win one of three copies of Austentatious, by Alyssa Goodnight by leaving a comment stating what life advice you need today from Jane Austen (or the Jane Austen of Alyssa’s imagination), or ask Alyssa a question about her creative writing process, by 11:59 PT, Wednesday, February 15, 2012. Winners announced on Thursday, February 16, 2012. Shipment to US and Canadian addresses only. Good luck!

Austentatious, by Alyssa Goodnight
Kensington Books (2012)
Trade paperback (320) pages
ISBN: 978-0758267436
Nook: ISBN: 978-0758278067
Kindle: ASIN: B005JSZOIG

© 2007 – 2012 Alyssa Goodnight, Austenprose

88 thoughts on “Austentatious Blog Tour with Author Alyssa Goodnight, & Giveaway

  1. I am not much in the way of needing advice today, but will keep the idea of locating a mystic journal in mind for when I do. (-;
    Love the storyline that has gone into this book and look forward to reading it.

    Alyssa when you chose Jane’s ‘advice’ did you pool your quotes from the novels or did you also have to study her letters too? How long did it take you to gather this research?

    Thanks for the author interview and the opportunity for the giveaway.

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    • Sophia,
      I’m not totally sure I’m interpreting your question right, but I’ll try to answer. Jane’s ‘advice,’ or messages, are not actually quotes taken from her novels or letters. They are more my modern-day interpretation of advice she may have given, based on my knowledge of her work.

      Does this answer your question. :)

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  2. My question for Alyssa would be – how much research did you have to do for your book ?

    I am looking forward to reading this it sounds interesting :)

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    • Patricia, I didn’t have to do too much research. Mostly my research, in reading her books over the years and having a feel for her sensibilities, was already done. There was certainly some though. :)

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  3. Alyssa, congratulations on the publication of your second book! Which writers have been your favorites over the years & who do you like to read now?

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  4. It sounds as if this would be fun to read. I could use some advice from Jane, but I won’t compete for a prize since I won one last year.

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    • I can only assume Jane would suggest steering him in a direction that feeds his interests. Or perhaps asking his help with something to build his confidence and self-esteem.

      Good question! Hope it works out!

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  5. I was interested to learn how this novel became evolved to become an Austen novel. I would ask Miss Austen’s advice on how to instill respect, honor, and politeness in my young son in an time where such things aren’t highly valued any more.

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    • Jane would likely suggest that they will learn best by example, but that’s not necessarily an easy answer, as you can’t always control who is influencing your children.

      Excellent question–I could use the same advice for my boys!

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  6. I love Heather’s question! I’d also add that I’d love advice on how to instill ladylike qualities in a daughter when society pushes them to be anything but a lady!

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  7. I have started journals before but maybe if someone would respond I would continue. This is a wonderful idea and every “girl” could use advice from an older and wiser woman. This is now on my TBR list.

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  8. What a wonderful idea – wouldn’t i love a journal like that? Which offers advice for all of life’s problems, big & small?! I would love to read this book!

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  9. Austentatious is now at the top of my TBR list! What a fun interview!! Alyssa, what “advice” did Jane “give” you while you were writing this book?

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  10. I read lots of historical fiction, and I keep a daily journal as well as a reading journal. I wish I could interest my teenage granddaughter in starting the habit of keeping a journal and would welcome advice re. same. Thanks for the giveaway. The book sounds great.

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    • Thanks, Linda. Perhaps if you let her pick out a journal of her choice and suggest she use it to keep notes about school life, books, friends, clothes… She might find herself using it more and more.

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  11. I’d love Jane’s take on a couple relationships in my life right now — I think she’d have something interesting to say about the one with one of my high school buddies particularly, haha

    When you were writing, did you ever find yourself trying to channel Jane for something that was going on in your life/for advice for yourself? :)

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      • I have seen lots of good reviews so I am sure it will do well! I have friends that love Austen as well and I have been telling them about it. I better make sure to read it before I lend it out or it could take forever to get it back. :-)

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  12. I love that this takes place in Austin, TX, since I live near and work in Austin! I totally get drinking an ice-cold Dr Pepper while writing, it’s not possible to do anything without one! :)

    Felicia

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  13. Sounds like a wonderful read, would love to win…
    My romantic life is right on track, my question would be
    about re-entering the workforce after several years as a
    SAHM….could use any and all advice on the matter…

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  14. Love Jane Austen and this is going to be an amazing book. I would love to win and read this. I love the new takes on the old classics. Big fan of Mr Darcy of course. Loved the books and the different film versions.
    My question for you is are you working on any other versions of Jane Austen’s books? What other books do you have coming out? What is your favorite Jane Austen book?
    Thanks for the chance to win.

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    • Chris, I love your enthusiasm!
      The companion book to this one is loosely based on Emma and will be out in 2013. And it is a tie between Emma and Pride & Prejudice for my favorite Austen novel. :)

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  15. Life advice that I would need from the wise Jane would be how to stay afloat and balanced in my hectic world or kids and marriage and everything that goes with it. Thank you for the giveaway!

    Margaret
    singitm(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  16. I would love to see what Austen would think of women putting off marriage in order to have a full independent life first then pursing marriage. I love her strong willed female characters and would like to know what she would do with this situation. Truly Austen in the 21st century!

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    • I would imagine Ms. Austen would be all for it! Marriage isn’t the necessity it once was. And she didn’t seem particularly concerned about getting married herself… Although, if true love was on the line, she would perhaps think differently.

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  17. Alyssa, I love the premise of your book! I am attracted to anything “magic” so I am looking forward to adding your book to my reading stack. Congratulations on your new book!

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  18. Alyssa ~ You are a delight!!! I look forward to reading this book. What a fun concept!! For advice, I would ask Jane how to survive in such a High tech world? The simplicites of a good read and tea have become a thing of the past it seems… although I do try to turn off the computer and get to my book as often as possible…..LOL Same with being with friends and family it seems people rather be on facebook :)

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  19. I am so excited to read, and for a chance to win, your novel!
    My question to Jane- I am fast approaching the empty nest stage. Being a full time mother has been everything to me over the years. I have hobbies and talents but as my children move away and I have more time, I tend to spend it missing the kids rather than being productive. How can I get myself going?

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  20. My question for Jane would be how to manage a schedule for writing while balancing her other responsibilities. This book interests me as I keep a daily journal. Thank you for the giveaway.
    marilyn

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    • Jane would likely know a good bit about that! My advice would be to make time for writing–even if it is only 100 words a day. It keeps your writing fresh in your mind, letting new thoughts and ideas percolate while you’re performing other tasks.

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  21. I can’t wait to delve into this book. I need Jane Austen advice on how to get my husband to develop that Scottish burr.

    I already have my copy so I don’t need the giveaway.

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  22. I think that I’d be interested in asking Miss Austen how she was able to resist the social pressures to marry, particularly those of her mother since Cassandra essentially took herself off of the market when her fiancee died. I’m sure that she would have liked to have found somebody who loved her just for who she was but when she didn’t find it she accepted it with grace and didn’t compromise her beliefs. She must’ve had so much courage to change her mind about Harris Bigg Wither after saying yes to him just the night before.

    I would love to win this book but will most likely buy it if I don’t win it.

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    • I agree, Karen, the subsequent rejection must have been very difficult indeed. I can only imagine the advice Jane would give on this subject. I wonder how her writing style might have changed if she had agreed to marry…

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  23. This premise sounds intriguing, I’ll definitely have to check it out!

    My question is: which authors in addition to Jane Austen have influenced your writing as a whole?

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  24. Jane Austen has definitely changed my life. Before Jane, I was way too candid, impulsive, and socially inappropriate. Jane has taught me civility, patience, and proper decorum. Oh my vulgar behavior still rears its ugly head but I immediately think “What would Jane do?” Works every time.

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  25. This seems like a interesting book! I’m actually writing my first novel right now. I’m in graduate school for Creative Writing in order to help me with the process and figure everything out. What I do need advice on is how to figure out what to do with my life after grad school ends next year.
    ~Sara
    sarastrauss.blogspot.com

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  26. As a 40 year old professional sick girl…living with my parents, I wonder, how can I maintain a symbolence of independence when I feel I have none? I’ve been housebound for 5 years now, & every single day it gets harder to feel accomplished.

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  27. As a 40 year old professional sick girl…living with my parents, I wonder, how can I maintain a symbolence of independence when I feel I have none? I’ve been housebound for 5 years now, & every single day it gets harder to feel accomplished.

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  28. Others have mentioned wanting to get advice from Jane about instilling manners in others, so that would be my question if I met her, as a mother of two boys.

    But another thing I’d ask her– I’d love to get her opinion of the eBook industry and how it’s affected the publishing world. How would she have liked seeing her work on a Kindle? Can’t imagine…

    Thanks for the chance to win!

    Laura Hartness
    CalicoCritic at gmail dot com

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  29. Great question, Laura! It’s difficult to imagine what she would have thought. Publishing has changed so drastically so quickly that it’s mind-blowing (and I’m a few centuries ahead of her, technologically speaking)! Good luck!

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  30. My question for Jane Austen would be how on earth did she do it! She was such an amazing woman! I would love to read this book as my name is almost the same as the main character . I can just picture myself as the main character!

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  31. I can’t wait to read Austentatious!

    I guess I would ask Jane for advice on developing and maybe actually finishing some of the half-written bits of stories I’ve written.

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    • Stephanie, I personally have found that writing just a little bit a day–even 100 words–is progress and helps you keep your focus. Good luck with it all (particularly the boys–mine will be teenagers soon!)

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  32. I would ask Jane Austen how she would go about finding “Mr. Darcy” and knowing that he is “Mr. Darcy”. I feel like this would be a good place to start to see how she thinks, and would help to better understand her books.

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  33. I discovered Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice in the library when I was 11. No one else in my family or of my acquaintance was a reader, so I had no one with whom I could share that wonderful experience. I had found David Copperfield the previous year, and I found that I liked Jane Austen even more than Charles Dickens. I actually developed all my moral values from Jane’s novels! I’m not sure that I would ask advice from Jane since she seemed always to have her tongue in her cheek, and her satire could be quite cutting on occasion. I would ask if you have given Jane’s advice these qualities in your book?

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  34. To a certain degree, Jocelyn. I tried to keep Jane sympathetic and helpful, but also playful.

    May I say, good for you! to have found these books on your own and to have used them to better yourself! :)

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