Giveaway Winners Announced for Austentatious

Austentatious, by Alyssa Goodnight (2012)87 of you left comments qualifying you for a chance to win one of three copies of Austentatious, by Alyssa Goodnight. The winners drawn at random are:

  • Missy who left a comment on February 02, 2012
  • Sara S. who left a comment on February 03, 2012
  • Wendi who left a comment on February 06, 2012

Congratulations ladies! To claim your prize, please contact me with your full name and address by February 22, 2011. Shipment is to US or Canadian addresses only.

Thanks to all who left comments for the giveaway, and to author Alyssa Goodnight for her enlightening guest blog. We wish you continued success and anxiously await your next novel.

© 2007 – 2012 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

Austentatious, by Alyssa Goodnight – A Review

Austentatious, by Alyssa Goodnight (2012)Guest Review by Aia A. Hussein

The archetypical figure of the fairy godmother – an imagined mentor with supernatural powers – is an attractive trope because it suggests that certain elements of the unseen universe are rooting for us whether we are aware of it or not.  The most popular fairy godmother is arguably the sweet-tempered, grandmother-like figure of Cinderella who swishes her wand to create carriages out of pumpkins and attractive debutantes out of housemaids but she has also appeared in literature as conniving and ruthless (Shrek) or even male and wizardly (Gandalf could be thought of as a “fairy godperson,” couldn’t he?).  If you’ve ever imagined a fairy godmother as equal parts scheming and shrewd, unrelenting and witty, in perhaps a bonnet with a quill in hand, then you might be interested in Alyssa Goodnight’s new novel Austentatious in which a certain popular eighteenth-century female novelist takes on the role as modern-day life coach.

With a release date of January 31, 2012, from Kensington Books, Austentatious tells the story of a modern woman living in Austin, Texas who comes across a rather strange and somewhat presumptuous vintage journal that is inexplicably writing her back.  Such messages as “Miss Nicola James will be sensible and indulge in a little romance” and one of my favorites, “cleavage is as cleavage does,” quite understandably alarm Nic and she soon begins to believe the little journal is channeling Jane Austen herself.  While the idea of a personal life coach who may be Jane Austen is definitely alluring, Nic soon finds Jane’s advice to be distracting and more than a little unnerving because it threatens to upset the life she has spent years trying to build.

An engineer based in Austin, Nic is a steadfast believer in The Plan, a rigid set of life goals meant to help Nic professionally and romantically advance in a sensible manner.  When we meet Nic at the beginning of the novel, she is bent on landing a promotion and pursuing a relationship with a similarly-minded work colleague.  All seems to be moving in the right direction when a mysterious journal makes its way to her.  Instead of quietly accepting and retaining her words, the journal inexplicably erases and rearranges them to leave messages for its owner.  Despite feeling hesitant and enormously confused, Nic decides to consider the possibility that the journal may be channeling Jane Austen herself because of the journal’s history and thinks there can be little harm in following its advice until it begins to set things in motion that go against her life’s plan.  Enter Sean MacInnes, a warm and charming musician from Scotland who just so happens to think that Nic is the one for him.  Much to Nic’s dismay, her journal feels the same way.  While struggling to make sense of her experiences, Nic must choose between The Plan or the one life seems to have for her.

As mentioned in her Austenprose blog entry, Goodnight serendipitously came across an actual journal dedication in her research written by Jane Austen to Jane Anna Elizabeth Austen with the hope that her niece would derive some instruction from her writings.  Goodnight cleverly uses this as a launching point for her novel’s premise.  Additionally, as mentioned in the novel’s afterword, Austentatious is a “(loosely interpreted) modern-day retelling of Pride and Prejudice, and part homage to the wit and timelessness of Ms. Jane Austen.”  Moreover, and much to my liking, it is also a homage to great literature including a number of witty and funny references to Harry Potter, The Wizard of Oz, and The Lord of the Rings.  In fact, one of things I loved about this novel was the writing.  Goodnight’s writing is lively, engaging, and enjoyably fast-paced.  Austentatious will be of particular interest to those readers looking for something more modern to complement their Austenesque tastes.

4 out of 5 stars

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

Aia A. Hussein, a graduate of Bryn Mawr College and American University, pursued Literature degrees in order to have an official excuse to spend all her time reading.  She lives in the DC area and is a devotee of Jane Austen and all things Victorian.

© 2007 – 2012 Aia A. Hussein, Austenprose

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