Continuing the JAMMDI author interview that started on August 3rd, we move on to the 24 contributors revealing insights into the stories they wrote for the anthology…
3.) Share with us the inspiration for your story. How did you decide on the theme, setting, and characters? Which elements of Jane Austen’s style, humor or characterizations influenced you the most?
Knowing that reform of one’s natural tendencies is difficult, I decided to explore a situation in which Darcy’s character might be tested again but from an oblique angle, he would not recognize. The short story format also dictated using characters already known. – Pamela Aidan
My inspiration for the story all started from the thought that so many women have identified with Jane Austen and her works. But even as I enjoyed discussing my favorite characters with like-minded female friends, I couldn’t help but wonder if Austen’s reach extended in any significant way, towards the males. And if so, how would they be affected? I decided to explore one man’s point of view in my story. And this is where it started. And from there, the ideas started to snowball. Perhaps my most favorite piece of Jane Austen’s work is Frederick Wentworth’s letter to Anne Elliot—and it is a significant portion of prose that exposes us to the mindset of a man, as interpreted by the authoress. I wanted a contemporary man’s point of view so I knew my story would take place in the here and now. I wanted a man who, like Wentworth, was poised on the verge of starting a new and successful life for himself, yet who was haunted by the past. From there, the events seemed to flow. My biggest challenge was a point of view, simply because I chose to express Mark’s thoughts from the first person and, being a woman, it was a challenge to make his voice believably male. I tried some unconventional ways to channel my own “inner male” in order to make it sound authentic. It also helps that I have read and loved many great contemporary male authors who write from first-person points of view, such as Pat Conroy and Wally Lamb. – Brenna AubreyContinue reading →
Continuing the JAMMDI author interview that began last week, today I ask my anthology authors “the” question that all Janeites ask each other…
2.) When were you introduced to Jane Austen? Which novel did you read, and what was your first impression?
I first read Austen in high school as the first entry in my determination to read “the classics.” I think the only Austen my school library owned was Pride and Prejudice and it immediately became my favorite novel, displacing Jane Eyre from that pedestal. I was enchanted in the deepest sense of the term. – Pamela Aidan
I was introduced to Jane Austen in college while completing a minor in English. I purchased a copy of Pride and Prejudice per the instructions on the course syllabus for English literature and had no idea what to expect. From the first line, “It is a truth, universally acknowledged…” I was hooked. I devoured the novel, chose to use it for my midterm paper in which I discussed the likeness of Austen’s characterizations to contemporary people I knew and discussed how relatable her themes were. In addition, I was in awe of the way in which Austen shaped the reader’s prejudice against Darcy along with Elizabeth’s. Our feelings and impressions parallel her own until we are utterly, utterly shocked to learn that that nice Wickham fellow is such a scoundrel and that Darcy can actually come down from that high horse of his to help Elizabeth and to love her. But I know that I never felt more animosity towards the main character than I did when I read the scene of the first proposal. And, in turn, my own feelings had so reversed by the end of the novel that I was actually cheering for Darcy during the second proposal. Austen’s ability to shape the reader’s attitude towards the characters shows a masterful hand at story crafting. And on so many levels, her artistry is apparent. From story crafting down, characterization to diction and figurative speech. – Brenna AubreyContinue reading →
I was thrilled to be interviewed for the What’s Old Is New podcast by Nicole of Linus’ Blanket blog and Jen of Devourer of Books blog. It was such fun chatting with two fellow book bloggers and Janeites!
You can read more about my experience on the Jane Austen Made Me Do It blog and listen to the podcast for free by following this link. (Curious of your impression! Does my voice sound like what you expected?)
Aspiring Jane Austen fan fiction writers take heed.
The Jane Austen Short Story Contestis accepting manuscripts until February 13th, 2011. You can read the full details of the contest, including the rules for submission, at the official contest website hosted at The Republic of Pemberley. We have ten stories entered so far that can be read online. Voting for the top ten stories begins on February 14th, 2011. The lucky winner will have their story included in the new Jane Austen inspired short story anthology, Jane Austen Made Me Do It, to be published by Ballantine Books on October 11, 2011. Good luck to all!