Q & A with Jane Austen Made Me Do It Authors: Question 3 & Giveaway!

Jane Austen Made Me Do It, edited by Laurel Ann Nattress (2011)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 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 point of view, such as Pat Conroy and Wally Lamb. – Brenna Aubrey
  • Since 1995, I’ve published a series of novels featuring Jane Austen as detective.  One of the most beloved characters in the books is Lord Harold Trowbridge, who meets a tragic fate in book number six.  I’ve missed him enough—and know that readers have, too—that I relished the chance to offer up an earlier episode in his friendship with Jane.  I chose Bath in 1805 because the episode fell neatly between two books in the series set around that time; and Bath is such a classic Regency setting.  When I write these stories, I’m most inspired by the acerbic quality of Jane’s writing in her letters to her sister, Cassandra—that’s the true first-person voice I’m imitating in the books.  She could be flippant, scathing and wildly funny, particularly in her observations of people she found absurd.  That’s the tone I strive to reach. – Stephanie Barron
  • A daring young naval officer earns promotion to post-captain for heroic leadership while commanding a sloop in enemy waters during the Napoleonic Wars . . . Does that sound familiar?  While researching the Royal Navy for my sixth Mr. and Mrs. Darcy Mystery, The Deception at Lyme (Or, The Peril of Persuasion), I happened upon a summary of a March 1800 battle in which Jane’s brother Francis (Frank) Austen was involved. The brief description intrigued me enough that after I finished writing the novel, I researched Frank’s encounter further, and soon realized that it was no ordinary battle—it was a tale of heroism that not only launched Frank’s naval career, but surely inspired Jane’s creation of Captain Wentworth.  Commanding only a sloop, Frank single-handedly captured five French ships in as many hours, with no injuries to his crew or damage to his own vessel. That achievement alone was enough to spark my imagination, but as I read Frank’s logbook, his report to the Admiralty, the lieutenant’s and master’s logs, and other primary sources, the details brought the story to life. The handwritten accounts, penned as events were happening, put me right in the middle of the action with Frank and his crew.  Frank’s story is a tale that truly captures the spirit of the Age of Sail. It is a story I had to tell—and so did his sister. If 200-year-old documents inspired me, imagine what it must have been like for Jane to hear her beloved brother relate his adventure in person, as Anne Elliot listens to Captain Wentworth in Persuasion. “The Chase” dramatizes that adventure. – Carrie Bebris
  • The story came to me, so there wasn’t any planning, but I think the root inspiration was that I see Jane Austen as a romantic in the deepest sense of the word. It’s been clear to me for a long time that she wrote Pride and Prejudice from the passion and pain of her relationship with Tom Lefroy. She found closure, to use that modern term, by creating another clever young lady of little fortune but giving her the triumphant ending she could never have. Therefore I feel sure that she enjoyed seeing other people’s relationships come to a happy conclusion, and would assist when she could. – Jo Beverley
  • It was my mad love for cats that made me think of the title. I originally wanted to do “Jane Austen’s Cat” showing her life from the cat’s viewpoint, as Virginia Woolf wrote Flush about Elizabeth Barrett Browning, but there was a catch:  Jane Austen didn’t have a cat.  So, imagination had to enter in. – Diana Birchall
  • Our (husband Frank Delaney) story’s inspiration came from a flourish of intelligence and knowledge as displayed by our own Austen heroine: Laurel Ann Nattress, our editor. Last year an “inscribed” Austen came onto the auction block in London. Was this signed by Austen herself? Or her fast-thinking publishers? Laurel Ann helped to set the record straight. She identified the volume, the friend to whom it had been inscribed, and pointed up the difference in the inscription from Austen’s own hand.  Frank and I had been looking for a project to work on together and had settled on a pair of un-intended, if not unwilling, sleuths. We wanted to create an entertaining couple who embodied the idea and detail of contemporary glamour, style, wit and world-view – something about which we’ve felt the lack in modern and culture – sort of Jane Austen meets Graydon Carter. We looked at Nick and Nora Charles in the books and movies of Dashiell Hammett’s The Thin Man, and asked what kind of crimes might their modern successors solve? Laurel Ann’s depth of knowledge, reiterating the point that there is no autographed copy of a Jane Austen volume, became our starting point. If a major auction house couldn’t tell this without research, then what might your average, garden variety movie star know about such things?  And wouldn’t a con man find an easy, fair-game audience in such a mark? – Diane Meier
  • I love writing mysteries, and although I’ve not written any since I came to live in the U.S. (too busy with my Irish novels), I’ve been longing to get back to them. “Faux Jane” became a perfect toe in the water, and chimed with some ideas among the extensive notes that I had already made for some U.S. based thrillers. – Frank Delaney
  • The new production of Emma with Romola Garai had just come out, and I really enjoyed it. I thought it brought out some of the psychological dimensions of the characters very well indeed. It brought home to me in particular what a sacrifice Mr. Knightley is making for his new wife Emma by moving to Hartfield. It’s a very curious thing, really. Mr. Knightley seems such a stodgy person, you wouldn’t think he’d be willing to give up the comfort of his own home to accommodate the woman he loves, yet there it was. You could say he was simply being practical, but it wasn’t, not at all. He could have always insisted that Mr. Woodhouse should come to live at Donwell Abbey. Even for a modern man it would be quite a step to take, let alone someone in that time period. I wanted to look at this issue a bit more, though I wanted to stick to Jane Austen’s lighthearted treatment as well. I find Emma very funny, and I wanted to capture that lighthearted, playful spirit. – Monica Fairview
  • I’ve always wanted to know why Mr Bennet married Mrs Bennet and so I decided to write about their courtship. I was very much influenced by Jane Austen’s humour and her irreverent yet realistic way of looking at life. – Amanda Grange
  • I knew I wanted to write from Jane’s POV, as I did in my novel, The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen. I love Jane and her characters so much, I thought, why not combine them? What would happen if Jane was undecided about what to write next, and was both haunted and guided by her own characters? What fun it would be to hear what her own characters thought of themselves! – Syrie James
  • My inspiration was mainly from the movie An Education, which so brilliantly evoked the atmosphere of England in the 1960s and brought back memories of my own schooldays. If there’s any relation to an Austen book at all I think the main character bears some relation to Fanny in Mansfield Park finding her way as the most junior member of staff in a very hierarchical school system. – Janet Mullany
  • Writing the introduction to this anthology was a big challenge for me. I had so many points I wanted to make about Jane Austen, her writing, the Austen sequel genre, and the twenty-two stories that were included. How could I make it interesting without it reading like a laundry list?  I ruminated and stewed over it for months. Finally, I decided to write about how I was introduced to Jane Austen, some of the reasons for her incredible popularity, a brief history of the Austenesque sequel genre, and a teaser to what was included inside. It was a lot to fit into 1,500 words, but the stories in this collection are the real treasure. I was just the warm-up act. – Laurel Ann Nattress
  • As with all of Jane’s novels they tend to finish quickly, and leave you wanting more. I really wanted to know how Anne Elliot’s family would take the news that she and Captain Wentworth were to be married at last. Would Sir Walter welcome his new son-in-law with open arms, or would there still be a certain amount of tension between them? I always wanted to know more about Anne and the Captain’s relationship in the past, and wanted to include Anne’s thoughts and fears for her unknown future as she looked back to the past. Contrasting the gentler, rural background for their first meeting with the harder, city environment of Bath was a special consideration in the settings, and I wanted to show how much more comfortable I felt Anne and Frederick would be in the natural, country landscape of a vicarage garden. The characters in Persuasion are so rich with possibilities; each with their own characteristics, and trying to emulate the particular foibles of each one was fun. I’m always conscious that I’m writing for a modern audience, but I want them to recognize that Jane Austen inspires the writing in the use of language and tone. – Jane Odiwe
  • My story is inspired by an actual walking tour that I was fortunate enough to experience.  If you’re ever in London, I highly recommend Original London Walks.  Our tour guide, Janet, turned up in full Regency costume even though my daughter and I were the only two people on the tour that day.  I loved experiencing London through Jane Austen’s eyes, and with Janet’s help, we were transported back almost two hundred years.  I wanted to share some of that experience with readers, and so I incorporated elements of it into “When Only A Darcy Will Do.”– Beth Pattillo
  • My story was inspired by my novel Me and Mr Darcy. I wanted to revisit the characters and explore what would happen if we picked up on the story four years later. In my original novel, Emily and Spike get together with the help of Mr Darcy, and move to New York together. In this short story we meet them again, only to discover that there are problems in the relationship and Emily has come back to London for a short visit. Only to bump into Mr Darcy again… – Alexandra Potter
  • Although I write Regency Romances, I’ve never been tempted to use Jane Austen’s characters for my books.  Probably because I’m pretty sure that whatever I come up with would not be the characters I’ve grown to love.  But I was intrigued with the idea of using one of her novels as a jumping off point for an idea that mirrored one her stories in certain ways.  In my story “The Mysterious Closet,” I took the opportunity offered by this anthology to try my hand at a story set in the present but based on Northanger Abbey, her funniest novel. – Myretta Robens
  • We (Caitlen Rubino-Bradway) initially decided that we wanted to “do a 180” from our Lady Vernon and Her Daughter – something contemporary, and YA. One important element of Austen’s work is her knack for using dialogue to reinforce character. Dialogue (word choice, vocabulary, use of idiom) is influenced by age, gender, education/literacy, parental or cultural influences, social status, and profession. Austen, like all good “dialogticians”, gets that. Thus, despite being raised in the same household, the five Bennet sisters have distinctive language styles, shaped by differences in inclination, influence and education. So what we tried to do is to develop a distinctive narrative style for our main character, James Austen. – Jane Rubino
  • When we (Jane Rubino) first started talking about our contribution, we agreed that there would probably be a lot of Austen sequels and period pieces in the anthology.  So we decided to do something completely different.  What’s more different from Jane Austen than a modern teenage boy?  It all came together when we paired our teenage boy with an idea we’d had for a while.  We’d tossed around the idea of a modern person hooking into Jane Austen and discovering that following Austen made them stand out from the crowd.  While the style is definitely different, the modern setting still let us tap into a lot of Austen-type humor. – Caitlen Rubino-Bradway
  • Once I had chosen my character, wonderful Jane provided all the settings. As for the theme, I was inspired by Lydia Bennet’s wild speech to Maria and Elizabeth when they meet after the fateful stay at Hunsford: ‘Have you seen any pleasant men? Have you had any flirting? I was in great hopes that one of you would have got a husband before you came back.’ It was obvious that Maria, like Lydia, would be fascinated by everything to do with romance, and this had to form the theme of my story. Though Maria is a very minor character in P&P, she is the subject of lively humour, and Jane makes vivid fun of her impressionable naivety. So I built up that side of her.  The question of style is problematic. With my Darcy novel, I was careful not to copy Jane’s style, but to make Mr. Darcy’s writing more masculine, muscular and also more influenced by his classical education – the sort of writing a man would do in the Georgian period. I read works by other Georgian writers for inspiration. Writing as Maria Lucas, I did re-read the sparkling dialogue of Lydia Bennet and Isabella Thorpe in particular, and couldn’t resist including some of their expressions in Maria’s artless letters. – Maya Slater
  • Persuasion is my favorite of her novels (as described above). I like the novel so much that I became interested in reading novels about the Age of Sail, particularly C.S. Forester’s Hornblower novels. When I read Peter Simple by Captain Frederick Marryat, who was a real-life Royal Navy captain of Wentworth’s generation, I was enchanted by a very funny passage about some midshipmen auctioning off the rights to woo the prettiest of Peter’s sisters. The way they talked about pretty sisters made me think back to the passage in Persuasion in which Captain Croft, while discussing the speed of his courtship of Mrs. Croft,  said he had heard her spoken of as a pretty girl, and thought to myself that something like the scene in Captain Marryat’s book was probably how that had happened! When Laurel Ann asked me to participate in the anthology, I remembered that scene and decided to write a story about the Crofts’ speedy courtship, bringing in some elements from Captain Marryat’s book. – Margaret C. Sullivan
  • I was inspired by the delicious written letters of the time.  I love the process of writing a proper letter, the paper, the ink, the care, the folding of the letter to make an envelope, the lovely wax stamps- the insignia- it’s all very formal and thoughtful. – Adriana Trigiani
  • The idea for my story, “Intolerable Stupidity,” took me by surprise; I had intended to write something quite different. I certainly didn’t intend to write what amounts to a commentary on the act of writing an Austen-inspired story in the company of others writing Austen-inspired stories. The vision of the courtroom in which Darcy was suing people like myself just popped into my head, and I started laughing out loud. And wrote it all down. I saw the court as a comic metafictional madhouse that was as twisted as the Chancery Court of Bleak House, or the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party of Alice in Wonderland.  One of my favorite Austen lines, which is from Northanger Abbey, provided the title of my story: “The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.”  I also never thought that I would write a story that included any of Austen’s characters, though my novel Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict includes a cameo appearance by Jane Austen herself. And I have to say that having Lady Catherine de Bourgh as a character in my story was even more fun that having Darcy as a character. Who would be more appropriate than Her Ladyship to preside over this poor excuse for a justice system? After all, Austen did describe her as “a most active magistrate.” – Laurie Viera Rigler
  • When Laurel Ann approached me about writing a story for the anthology, I’d just finished writing a book on Jane Austen’s own turf, Bath in 1803.  In fact, Austen had been a character in the story even though I’d sworn right and left I wasn’t going to do that—but that’s another story.  I had about six months before the short story was due and I vaguely supposed that I would set it in that same world.  I’d already written eight books set in the early nineteenth century, so it felt like home turf.  My Austen book, The Mischief of the Mistletoe, had been loosely based on Austen’s The Watsons.  The cranky sister, Margaret, could use a redemptive short story—or maybe I should do something about Austen herself?  I have no idea how I came to write a story set in 21st century Britain about an American journalist on a low budget TV program called Ghost Trekkers.  Blame it on Northanger Abbey, blame it on too many formative childhood watchings of Scooby-Doo, blame it on that last gin and tonic, but when Laurel Ann emailed to ask what I’d be writing about, it just popped out.  I settled down to watch a few episodes of Ghost Hunters for inspiration, re-read Northanger Abbey, and there you go. – Lauren Willig

Giveaway of Jane Austen Made Me Do It

Enter a chance to win one signed copy of Jane Austen Made Me Do It, edited by Laurel Ann Nattress by leaving a comment answering if you were to write a short story inspired by Jane Austen, what or who would you choose to write about and why? Deadline to qualify for the drawing is 11:59 pm, Wednesday, August 22, 2012. The Winner will be announced on Thursday, August 23, 2012. Shipment Internationally. Good luck!

Jane Austen Made Me Do It: Original Stories Inspired by Literature’s Most Astute Observer of the Human Heart, edited by Laurel Ann Nattress
Ballantine Books (2011)
Trade paperback (446) pages
ISBN: 978-0345524966

Read: Question 1, Question 2

Please join us next Friday for the fourth of the fifteen questions and answers that will be posted over the next several weeks.


Laurel Ann

© 2012 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

Q & A with Jane Austen Made Me Do It Authors: Question 2 & Giveaway!

Jane Austen Made Me Do It, edited by Laurel Ann Nattress (2011)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 a 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 Aubrey
  • I first read Pride and Prejudice in my aunt’s library—which was a wonderful room, filled with books and unfortunately uncomfortable chairs—during a week of persistent rain, when I was twelve.  I’m the last of six girls, and had already gone through two of my sisters’ weddings, so the story made immediate sense on multiple levels.  I particularly liked the fact that Jane made no bones about the Bennet girls’ varying degrees of affection for one another and for their parents—a blood relationship doesn’t always dictate a caring one.  This is a theme she repeats throughout her work, although it gets little attention. – Stephanie Barron
  • I first met Jane Austen through an excerpt in my high school British Authors textbook—Chapter 2 of Sense and Sensibility, in which John Dashwood contemplates how best to help support his newly widowed stepmother and half-sisters, and within minutes his wife talks him down from a significant financial settlement to occasional gifts of game. The scene is a wonderful example of Austen’s ability to simultaneously deliver expository information, develop character, and advance the plot in only a few paragraphs, and even as a teenager I was so impressed that I wanted to read more. I went to my public library in search of S&S but it wasn’t available, so I checked out Pride and Prejudice instead—and who among us wasn’t hooked after reading P&P? – Carrie Bebris
  • I think it must have been Pride and Prejudice. I remember that we had an edition at home with the lovely illustrations by Hugh Tomson, so it appealed to me perhaps at a younger age that it would have done otherwise. We also had a copy of The Scarlet Pimpernel with illustrations, which had the same effect. I loved it because it’s a wonderful romance novel, and that was already my favourite story. – Jo Beverley
  • It was Pride and Prejudice when I was about twenty, and my first impressions were positive enough to last a lifetime. – Diana Birchall
  • Long before I’d read a word of Jane Austen, I caught Greer Garson and Laurence Olivier in Pride and Prejudice (on television, of course, playing on something like The Million Dollar Movie). Except for the fact that both Garson and Olivier looked far too mature for their roles (Garson may have looked fifty at fifteen), their dialog was a match for the quick-witted madcap-heiress stuff of the 1930’s I so loved. What a surprise to find that most of that smart-gal dialogue was from the original Austen text. – Diane Meier
  • Oh, a girl-friend, naturally, made the introduction. I was eighteen, in Ireland, learning how to be gooey and romantic, and a leggy girl whom I’ll call Leonora (not her real name) impressed me with her efforts to speak “like a Jane Austen heroine,” she said. She wasn’t that good at it (her flat County Waterford accent interfered), but I loved the language – and Leonora’s tortoiseshell glasses. To impress her I took Mansfield Park out of the local library. It worked, but the summer ended, we all moved along and for a while I transferred my love to Ms. Austen and her novel, and it’s the tempo of Mansfield Park that I most remember, the steady, rolling movement of the English countryside, and, beneath the prose, the echoing stillness of the great house. From there I tried to give myself the treat of reading Austen once a year. And Jane is much better now than she was then. (Leonora, in case you’re interested, married a farmer and had nine children. One of them is named “Jane.”) – Frank Delaney
  • I was introduced to Jane Austen when I was fourteen, at school, in the form of Pride and Prejudice. I absolutely loved it, though not because of the romance (can you believe it?). I confess that at that age I thought Jane Eyre was much more romantic (shudder). Oddly enough, I liked Pride and Prejudice because I could relate to it as a teen. I had two sisters, one of them a bit like Jane and the other a bit like Lydia, so it made a lot of sense to me. I especially loved the family dynamics, particularly when Mrs. Bennet was involved. I thought the novel was hilarious. Lord, how I did laugh! I had a wonderful English teacher, too, and that really made a huge difference. We read the novel aloud in class. She always played the role of Mrs. Bennet, and she did it in a very exaggerated, extravagant way, really bringing out the comic aspects. Until this day I can still hear her voice ringing in my ears. What a difference a good teacher can make! I wish I knew where she was now. I would love to let her know what I’m doing now, and how it all started in that class of hers! – Monica Fairview
  • I discovered Pride and Prejudice at my local library when I was about twelve years old. I started laughing on the first page and didn’t stop. I loved it. – Amanda Grange
  • I first met Jane Austen in a British literature class in college. We read Emma and Pride and Prejudice. I was hooked for life. – Syrie James
  • I very narrowly escaped being turned off Jane Austen for life at high school, evaded her through college, and fell in love when I lived in Bath and realized as I walked the streets that the characters in Persuasion did. So I was a latecomer. – Janet Mullany
  • I give my mother Carolyn all the credit for introducing me to Jane Austen in my pre-teen years. She had a passion for romantic movies and we watched many old Hollywood classics together, including the 1940 Pride and Prejudice staring Laurence Olivier and Greer Garson. I enjoyed it very much but was not bitten with the “Jane” bug quite yet. That would happen when I was in college and saw the 1980 BBC/PBS adaptation of Pride and Prejudice on Masterpiece Theatre. I read the novel immediately and have continued to do so every year since. I remember struggling with the language the first time I read it, but I knew from the mini-series that the story was great and wanted to relive it again through the novel. By the end, I was comfortable with the early nineteenth- century language and was inspired to read the rest of her canon. Since then, I have not had a backward glance. – Laurel Ann Nattress
  • I saw the old Greer Garson/Laurence Olivier 1940 Pride and Prejudice movie when I was about eleven, and loved it. My Mum found Pride and Prejudice in the library for me, and I do remember struggling at first with the antiquated language. The 1995 BBC Pride and Prejudice made me re-read the novels, and I found myself returning to them over and over again, and wanting to know more about Jane’s life. – Jane Odiwe
  • As a college junior, I spent a semester in London at Westfield College in the leafy village of Hampstead. That winter was incredibly cold, and so I spent a great deal of it curled up under a duvet, radiator blazing away, as I worked my way through some of the greatest novels in English literature.  Somewhere in early February, I discovered Jane Austen.  I have no idea why I hadn’t read any of her books before, but I made up for it that winter! – Beth Pattillo
  • I was introduced to Jane Austen at school when I was sixteen as we were asked read Pride and Prejudice for our examinations. I was amazed how so many of the issues facing young girls back then, are intrinsically the same now – whether or not to marry for money or for love… misunderstangs… hurt feelings… heartbreak… nothing much has changed in 200 years! – Alexandra Potter
  • I started reading Jane Austen so long ago that I have no recollection of which was the first novel I read.  The first one I remember vividly is Emma and, while I loved the book, I really didn’t like the character on first reading.  I’ve grown to appreciate Emma’s growth as the years have passed. – Myretta Robens
  • I first read Pride and Prejudice when I was about 10 or 11. While I’m certain that much of the nuance escaped me, the clarity and cleverness did not. For characters who were given very little physical description (which is always a significant hook to a young reader) they were remarkably three dimensional and very entertaining. – Jane Rubino
  • Mom (Jane Rubino) introduced me to Pride and Prejudice when I was 12 or so — specifically the 1980 mini-series.  It was so good, I didn’t want to shut it off and go out to dinner.  Imagine my surprise when Mom told me it was based on a book!  I read and liked it (but it had so many big words).  I started to appreciate her later, when I realized that Austen had humor to go with those big words.  But my love for Austen really developed during a fantastic Jane Austen seminar in college.  Ten Austen fans locked up in a small room for hours — it really fostered the fanaticism. – Caitlen Rubino-Bradway
  • My mother was a lifelong fan, and was reading P&P on the day a stroke carried her off at the age of 92. My godmother always used to say ‘When in pain, send for Jane.’ I was brought up knowing that Jane was the most special of all special writers, but I have no recollection of reading her for the first time, and no idea which novelI read first. I must have been very young indeed. I wish I could remember what I thought of them first time round… – Maya Slater
  • I call myself a late-blooming Janeite, as I didn’t read her books until I was in my late 20s. I read Emma first, and liked it very much. I remember reading the scene where Miss Bates comes into the ball at the Crown and talks without pause for two pages, and suddenly wondering when Jane Austen had written the book. I understood that the book was set in the early 19th century, but I had little idea of when the author herself was writing. I read the little half-page biography at the beginning of the book, expecting to read that she was writing in the 1930s or so about an earlier time period, and was astonished to discover she was writing about her contemporary time period. I don’t know why I had the idea that 18th century authors were humorless. I’ve since learned better by personal acquaintance with the work of that period. (Fanny Burney’s novels, one of Jane Austen’s contemporaries, are, in places, fall-down funny.) But it is interesting to me that I assumed Austen was a modern author, because her humor felt very modern to me. A year or so later, I decided to read Pride and Prejudice, and also liked it very much. A year or so after that, I decided to read Persuasion. When I got to The Letter (that is, the letter that Captain Wentworth writes to Anne Elliot—if you’ve read the book, you know which I mean), I remember reading it and having chills and goosebumps and being near tears—truly a thrilling experience. I’ve been a huge fan of Jane Austen ever since. – Margaret C. Sullivan
  •  I read Pride and Prejudice first.  I loved Mr. Bennet, the father, and of course, Elizabeth, one of the great heroines. – Adriana Trigiani
  • I’d avoided reading Austen for many years, having had a mistaken idea that she would be too prim and proper for my youthful, bad-girl self. Talk about pride and prejudice! And then, in the mid-nineties, the film enthusiast in me became intrigued by all those Austen movies-to-be. Could it be that I’d given her short shrift? And so I saw the Ang Lee Sense and Sensibility. And read the book. And fell in love with both. Consequently, I devoured Austen’s other five major novels and have been re-reading all six ever since. – Laurie Viera Rigler
  • It’s hard to remember a time when Jane Austen hasn’t been with me.  But I do have a very vivid recollection, somewhere around fifth grade, of reading Pride and Prejudice for the first time.  My father, seeing me with the book, asked me what I thought the setting was. “England,” I said.  I was eleven.  The “duh!” was implied. He started talking about class and hierarchy and the low gentry versus the high gentry and blah, blah, blah.  I went back to Elizabeth and Darcy. Silly parents, couldn’t they see that it was a love story? – Lauren Willig

Giveaway of Jane Austen Made Me Do It

Enter a chance to win one signed copy of Jane Austen Made Me Do It, edited by Laurel Ann Nattress by leaving a comment answering when you were introduced to Jane Austen and what were your first impressions? Deadline to qualify for the drawing is 11:59 pm, Wednesday, August 15, 2012. The Winner will be announced on Thursday, August 16, 2012. Shipment Internationally. Good luck!

Jane Austen Made Me Do It: Original Stories Inspired by Literature’s Most Astute Observer of the Human Heart, edited by Laurel Ann Nattress
Ballantine Books (2011)
Trade paperback (446) pages
ISBN: 978-0345524966

© 2012 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

Winner Announced for Week One Giveaway of Jane Austen Made Me Do It!

Jane Austen Made Me Do It, edited by Laurel Ann Nattress (2011)24 of you left comments qualifying you for a chance to win one signed copy of Jane Austen Made Me Do It. The winner drawn at random is:

  • Ann Dawson who left a comment on August 04, 2012

Congratulations Ann! To claim your prize, please contact me with your full name and address by Aug 16, 2012. Shipment internationally.

Jane Austen Made Me Do It is a new short story anthology containing 22 original stories inspired by Jane Austen. It is available in print and eBook format from Ballantine Books.

Thanks to all who left comments, and to my anthology authors for their great answers to my question. See everyone tomorrow for question number two!

© 2012 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

Jane Austen Made Me Do It featured in What’s Old Is New podcast

Jane Austen Made Me Do It, edited by Laurel Ann Nattress (2011)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?)

What’s Old Is New podcast features Jane Austen Made Me Do It editor via Jane Austen Made Me Do It blog.

© 2007 – 2011 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

It’s Not Too Late to Enter The Jane Austen Made Me Do It Short Story Contest

Jane Austen Made Me Do It Short Story Contest 2011 graphicAspiring Jane Austen fan fiction writers take heed.

The Jane Austen Short Story Contest is 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!

© 2007 – 2011 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose