Giveaway Winners Announced for Jane Austen Birthday Soirée 2012

Austen Soirée

47 of you left comments qualifying you for a chance to win one copy of Jane Austen Made Me Do It and one copy of The Missing Manuscript of Jane Austen offered during the Jane Austen Birthday Soirée 2012. The winners drawn at random are:

Jane Austen Made Me Do It

  • Sofia Guerra who left a comment on December 16, 2012

The Missing Manuscript of Jane Austen

  • Bookfool, aka Nancy who left a comment on December 18, 2012

Congratulations ladies! To claim your prize, please contact me with your full name and address by December 27, 2012.  Shipment to US addresses only.

Many thanks to Maria of My Jane Austen Book Club for organizing the Jane Austen Birthday Soiree, and to author Syrie James and her publisher Berkley Trade for the giveaway copy of The Missing Manuscript of Jane Austen. Happy reading to the winners!

© 2012 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

Jane Austen Made Me Do It eBook now $4.99

Jane Austen Made Me Do It, edited by Laurel Ann Nattress (2011)Huzzah! In honor of Jane Austen’s 237th birthday on December 16th, my fabulous publisher Ballantine Books has lowered the eBook price of Jane Austen Made Me Do It by 67% off list price to $4.99 for a limited time only!

YES! Only $4.99!!!

For those of you unfamiliar with my Austen-inspired short story anthology, here is a brief description:

JANE AUSTEN MADE ME DO IT: Original Stories Inspired by Literature’s Most Astute Observer of the Human Heart is a new short story anthology edited by Laurel Ann Nattress and available in trade paperback and eBook from Ballantine Books.

This delightful collection inspired by Jane Austen—her novels, her life, her wit, her world—features an introduction and twenty-two never-before-published stories written by twenty-four authors from a diverse range of interests and writing experience; their uniting link is their admiration and love of the literary great, Jane Austen. Stories included are:

Original short stories in Jane Austen Made Me Do It

  1. “Jane Austen’s Nightmare”, by Syrie James
  2. “Waiting”, by Jane Odiwe
  3. “A Night at Northanger”, by Lauren Willig
  4. “Jane and the Gentleman Rogue”, by Stephanie Barron
  5. “Faux Jane”, by Diane Meier and Frank Delaney
  6. “Nothing Less Than Fairyland”, by Monica Fairview
  7. “Love and Best Wishes”, Adriana Trigiani
  8. “Jane Austen and the Mistletoe Kiss”, by Jo Beverly
  9. “When Only a Darcy Will Do”, by Beth Pattillo
  10. “Heard of You”, by Margaret Sullivan
  11. “The Ghostwriter”, by Elizabeth Aston
  12. “Mr. Bennet Meets His Match”, by Amanda Grange
  13. “Jane Austen, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah”, by Janet Mullany
  14. “Letters to Lydia”, by Maya Slater
  15. “The Mysterious Closet”, by Myretta Robens
  16. “Jane Austen’s Cat”, by Diana Birchall
  17. “Me and Mr. Darcy, Again”, by Alexandra Potter
  18. “What Would Austen Do?”, by Jane Rubino and Caitlen Rubino-Bradway
  19. “The Riding Habit”, by Pamela Aidan
  20. “The Chase”, by Carrie Bebris
  21. “The Love Letter”, by Brenna Aubrey
  22. “Intolerable Stupidity”, by Laurie Viera Rigler

From Regency or contemporary, romantic or fantastical, each of these marvelous stories reaffirms the incomparable influence of one of history’s most cherished authors.

Jane Austen Made Me Do It is the rare short-story compilation in which each and every one of the twenty-two stories manages to shine. Each contains a new take on Austen, a new concept of what Austen hoped to do with her life and work or even a new take on modern romance from Austen’s viewpoint.” — Romance Junkies

“Each story in this anthology is very unique. I had so many favorites among them that it was really hard to pick just two. If you’re a Jane Austen fan, you have to read Jane Austen Made Me Do It!” — Popcorn Reads

“For fans of “Austenesque” fiction, this collection will be a box of bonbons.” — The Seattle Times

Make haste! You can download a free sample of Jane Austen Made Me Do It and purchase this limited time reduced price of the eBook at these major online retailers:

If you don’t have a digital eReader, you can download the free software and read it on your PC, Mac, Blackberry, Ipod, or many other electronic devises. Just visit Barnes & Nobel or Amazon and follow the download instruction for your device.

Did you know that you can purchase eBooks as gifts? Yes. Jane Austen Made Me Do It is the perfect holiday gift for that special Janeite friend or family member. It is as easy as a click and an email address away from quick and easy holiday shopping.

Happy Birthday Jane Austen. Thanks for the making us do it. Enjoy!


Laurel Ann

© 2012 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

Jane Austen Birthday Soirée 2013: Celebrating A Plan of a Novel

Jane Austen Birthday Soirée (2012)Today, December 16th, is Jane Austen’s birthday. 237 years ago she was born at Steventon Rectory in Hampshire, England.

In celebration of my favorite author, I am participating in the Jane Austen Birthday Soiree being hosted by Maria at My Jane Austen Book Club blog. It is basically a blog hop with many great giveaways being offered. Each blog will feature a favorite passage from one of Austen’s works.

For your enjoyment, I have selected a short piece that exemplifies Austen’s humor, one her many talents that I am particularly fond of. A Plan of a Novel was written in 1816, probably in response to Austen’s visit to Carlton House in London with the Prince Regent’s librarian Rev. James Stanier Clarke and their subsequent correspondence in which he offers advice to the author on the subject of her next novel; and her family’s advice on the same subject! It is a parody, similar to her exuberant and fantastical Juvenilia, and her early novel Northanger Abbey, satirizing what was outrageous in the popular literature of her day. Interestingly, she also including notes in the margins indicating which of her family members made the suggestions!

The manuscript of Plan of a Novel now resides at The Morgan Library & Museum in New York City. You can view an image of the original document of A Plan of a Novel online at their website.

Plan of a Novel, according to hints from various quarters, by Jane Austen

Scene be in the Country, Heroine the Daughter of a Clergyman, one who after having lived much in the World had retired from it and settled in a Curacy, with a very small fortune of his own. — He, the most excellent Man that can be imagined, perfect in Character, Temper, and Manners — without the smallest drawback or peculiarity to prevent his being the most delightful companion to his Daughter from one year’s end to the other. — Heroine a faultless Character herself, — perfectly good, with much tenderness and sentiment, and not the least Wit — very highly accomplished, understanding modern Languages and (generally speaking) everything that the most accomplished young Women learn, but particularly excelling in Music —  her favourite pursuit —  and playing equally well on the PianoForte and Harp — and singing in the first stile. Her Person quite beautiful — dark eyes and plump cheeks. — Book to open with the description of Father and Daughter —  who are to converse in long speeches, elegant Language —  and a tone of high serious sentiment. — The Father to be induced, at his Daughter’s earnest request, to relate to her the past events of his Life. This Narrative will reach through the greatest part of the first volume — as besides all the circumstances of his attachment to her Mother and their Marriage, it will comprehend his going to sea as Chaplain to a distinguished naval character about the Court, his going afterwards to Court himself, which introduced him to a great variety of Characters and involved him in many interesting situations, concluding with his opinions on the Benefits to result from Tithes being done away, and his having buried his own Mother (Heroine’s lamented Grandmother) in consequence of the High Priest of the Parish in which she died refusing to pay her Remains the respect due to them. The Father to be of a very literary turn, an Enthusiast in Literature, nobody’s Enemy but his own — at the same time most zealous in discharge of his Pastoral Duties, the model of an exemplary Parish Priest. — The heroine’s friendship to be sought after by a young woman in the same Neighbourhood, of Talents and Shrewdness, with light eyes and a fair skin, but having a considerable degree of Wit, Heroine shall shrink from the acquaintance.

From this outset, the Story will proceed, and contain a striking variety of adventures. Heroine and her Father never above a fortnight together in one place, he being driven from his Curacy by the vile arts of some totally unprincipled and heart-less young Man, desperately in love with the Heroine, and pursuing her with unrelenting passion. — No sooner settled in one Country of Europe than they are necessitated to quit it and retire to another — always making new acquaintance, and always obliged to leave them. — This will of course exhibit a wide variety of Characters — but there will be no mixture; the scene will be for ever shifting from one Set of People to another — but All the Good will be unexceptionable in every respect — and there will be no foibles or weaknesses but with the Wicked, who will be completely depraved and infamous, hardly a resemblance of humanity left in them. — Early in her career, in the progress of her first removals, Heroine must meet with the Hero — all perfection of course — and only prevented from paying his addresses to her by some excess of refinement. — Wherever she goes, somebody falls in love with her, and she receives repeated offers of Marriage — which she refers wholly to her Father, exceedingly angry that he should not be first applied to. — Often carried away by the anti-hero, but rescued either by her Father or by the Hero — often reduced to support herself and her Father by her Talents and work for her Bread; continually cheated and defrauded of her hire, worn down to a Skeleton, and now and then starved to death. — At last, hunted out of civilized Society, denied the poor Shelter of the humblest Cottage, they are compelled to retreat into Kamschatka where the poor Father, quite worn down, finding his end approaching, throws himself on the Ground, and after 4 or 5 hours of tender advice and parental Admonition to his miserable Child, expires in a fine burst of Literary Enthusiasm, intermingled with Invectives against holders of Tithes. — Heroine inconsolable for some time — but afterwards crawls back towards her former Country — having at least 20 narrow escapes from falling into the hands of the Anti-hero — and at last in the very nick of time, turning a corner to avoid him, runs into the arms of the Hero himself, who having just shaken off the scruples which fetter’d him before, was at the very moment setting off in pursuit of her. — The Tenderest and completest Eclaircissement takes place, and they are happily united. — Throughout the whole work, Heroine to be in the most elegant Society and living in high style. The name of the work not to be Emma, but of the same sort as S. & S. and P. & P.


If this bit of joyful burlesque amusement made you smile, you might want to pre-order Syrie James’ new novel The Missing Manuscript of Jane Austen to be released on December 31, 2012. This new novel was inspired by Jane Austen’s Plan of a Novel. You can read my preview here. I have read Ms. James’ new work and it is indeed a clever incorporation of Austen humor, romance and biting wit.


Now gentle readers, in celebration of our favorite author please leave a comment sharing your favorite Austen novel, novella, or minor work to qualify for a chance to win one copy each of Jane Austen Made Me Do It and The Missing Manuscript of Jane Austen. The contest is open to US residents and ends on December 18th, 2012 at 11:59 pm Pacific time. Winner to be announced on Thursday, December 20th, 2012. Good luck to all, and Happy Birthday Jane!

Please visit the other participants in The Jane Austen Birthday Soirée 2013 by clicking on the links to their blogs listed below. Have fun!

© 2012 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

Giveaway Winners Announced for the Jane Austen Made Me Do It Scavenger Hunt

Jane Austen Made Me Do It, edited by Laurel Ann Nattress (2011)56 of you participated in the Jane Austen Made Me Do It Scavenger Hunt during the Austenesque Extravaganza; entering you in a chance to win one of three copies of Austenesque books available in the giveaway. The three winners chosen at random are:

  • Chelsea Knestrick who won a copy of The Darcy Connection, by Elizabeth Ashton
  • Robyn Brown who won a copy of Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict, by Laurie Viera Rigler
  • Emily Bell who won a copy of The Matters at Mansfield, by Carrie Bebris

Congratulations to all the very lucky winners! To claim your prize, please contact me with your full name and address by October 10, 2012.  Shipment to US addresses only.

Here are the answers to the JAMMDI scavenger hunt. I hope everyone had a wonderful time hunting!

Pamela Aidan is famous for her Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman series, but she also the publisher of a small press of Austenesque authors. What is the name of her publishing house?

Wytherngate Press

Elizabeth Aston is the bestselling author of six novels based on Mr. Darcy and his family. What is the name of the third book in the series? Bonus question: Which Jane Austen character said the line that Elizabeth used in the title?

The True Darcy Spirit. Lady Catherine de Bourgh

Brenna Aubrey’s story “The Love Letter” won the Jane Austen Made Me Do It short story contest. Besides being a budding author, what language is she fluent in besides English?


Stephanie Barron channels Jane Austen in her famous Being a Jane Austen Mystery series. She also writes spy mysteries under what other pen name?

Francine Matthews

Carrie Bebris is the awarding winning novelist of the Mr. and Mrs. Darcy Mysteries series. What is the name of the award she won for her novel North by Northanger?

Daphne du Maurier Award

Jo Beverley is a RITA award winning historical romance novelist who often sets her stories in Regency-era England. What is the name of her latest novel in the Malloren World series?

A Scandalous Countess

Diana Birchall freely admits to having lost track of how many times she has read Jane Austen’s novels. In her day job, she reads and analyzes many books that might become movies. Name the famous movie studio that she works for.

Warner Brothers

Frank Delaney and Diane Meier are not only talented authors, but they are married. Can you imagine the spirited dinner conversation that ensues at their home? Before becoming an author, Frank was a radio broadcaster for what famous British station, and besides being married to “the most eloquent man in the world”, Diane is the president of what famous marketing firm in Manhattan?


Monica Fairview has written two Austen-inspired novels: The Other Mr. Darcy and The Darcy Cousins. She has also written a Regency-era novel. What is its name?

An Improper Suitor

Amanda Grange is renowned for her Austen Heroes Diaries series, but her latest novel placed Pride and Prejudice’s famous hero Mr. Darcy and his family on what foreign shore? Clue” Napoleon was also there in 1799?


Syrie James is famous for her historical romances, but her latest novel is a young adult paranormal set in contemporary times. Co-written with her son Ryan, what is the name of the heavenly heroine?

Claire Brennan

Janet Mullany writes in a diverse range of romance genres. In any era or genre, she will make you laugh. What is the name of the tag line of her website?

Where wit and passion meet

Jane Odiwe just published her fourth Austen-inspired novel, Searching for Captain Wentworth. Besides being a talented writer, one of her other talents would be considered by Mr. Darcy as one of the necessities of a truly accomplished woman. What is Jane’s second passion? Clue, you can find many examples of her effusions of fancy on her website.

Painter or artist

Beth Pattillo hails from Texas, “which is about as far from England as a girl can get.” She has written three Austen-inspired books that take and American heroine to England. Name one of them.

Jane Austen Ruined My Life, Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart and The Dashwood Sisters Tell All

Alexandra Potter has written ten contemporary romances. What is the name of her latest novel released in the UK in July 2012?

Don’t You Forget About Me

Myretta Robens is the author of two romance novels and the blog mistress of what famous Jane Austen website?

The Republic of Pemberley

Jane Rubino and Caitlen Rubino Bradway are a mother and daughter writing team. Besides being total Austen fans, they are passionate about another English writer, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Who is his most famous character who has been recently portrayed by actor Robert Downey, Jr.?

Sherlock Homes

Maya Slater gave up her day job to write The Private Diary of Mr. Darcy. Before she was bitten by the writing bug, she was a lecturer of French at which famous English University?

London University

Margaret Sullivan is the famous editrix of Austenblog and passionate promoter of Henry Tilney as Jane Austen’s most underrated hero. What mystery novella did she write that includes him as a main character?

There Must Me Murder

Adriana Trigiani, touted as one of reigning queens of women’s fiction, received rave review for her new novel The Shoemaker’s Wife. Each of her novels is rooted in her strong family origins. Name the country where her family immigrated from.


Laurie Viera Rigler has a huge sense of humor which is evident in her two Austen Addict novels. She has also written for film. Name her hilarious Babelgum original comedy web series.

Sex and the Austen Girl  

Lauren Willig is the bestselling author of The Pink Carnation series set in Regency-era England and France. She is venturing into a new genre with her new book to be released in April, 2013. What is its name, and what is its connection to Downton Abbey?

The Ashford Affair. Set in the Edwardian era


Laurel Ann

© 2012 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

Q & A with Jane Austen Made Me Do It Authors: Question 8

Jane Austen Made Me Do It, edited by Laurel Ann Nattress (2011)As my interview of my twenty-four JAMMDI author continues, I open up the floor to one of my favorite topics: Jane Austen at the movies.

Darcy, Darcy, Darcy. Is that what people remember most about Jane Austen movie adaptations? I have enjoyed almost all of the movies, and was very curious what my authors thought of the numerous film adaptation and spinoffs. Their responses were as varied as reader’s reactions to Jane Austen’s characters.

There are many movie and stage adaptations of Jane Austen’s novels. Do you think her stories transfer well to other mediums? Which of the film adaptations do you think captures the spirit of her stories and the nuances of her characters best, and why?
Continue reading

Q & A with Jane Austen Made Me Do It Authors: Question 7 & Giveaway!

Jane Austen Made Me Do It, edited by Laurel Ann Nattress (2011)As we continue on in the interview of my twenty-four JAMMDI authors, the seventh question widens the scope to beyond Austen’s canon. After two hundred years in publication, Jane Austen is still inspiring and influencing writers. I could not resist asking my Jane Austen Made Me Do It contributors to share their thoughts on her long standing “persuasion” of fiction and their favorite fellow authors.

We obviously all admire Jane Austen and have been inspired by her works. Do you see her influence in contemporary authors today? If so, can you recommend any of your favorite author’s books and share their connection?

  • Although she is not strictly contemporary, Georgette Heyer was obviously influenced by Austen. Heyer’s many Regencies are marvelous. My personal favorite is Venetia. – Pamela Aidan
  • Helen Fielding and her Bridget Jones’ Diary books, which she closely based on Pride and Prejudice are on my keeper shelf.  I love those books and whenever I’m feeling down and need a laugh, they never fail me.  The works of Jane Austen have strongly influenced the genre of romance.  Since her novels were the early prototypes of today’s hugely successful genre, there are so many authors I could name.  Some of them are Loretta Chase, author of Lord of Scoundrels, this anthology’s own Lauren Willig and her Pink Carnation series, Sherry Thomas, Tessa Dare really capture Jane Austen’s humor and focus on relationships. I must also give a nod to the many authors devoted to Austen-inspired contemporary fiction as well as sequels to Jane Austen’s works.  Many of these intrepid authors are publishing them independently and enjoying success. – Brenna Aubrey
  • Harold Bloom states in The Western Canon that Persuasion marks the turning point in the evolution of the modern novel—which would suggest we’re all Jane’s children whether we acknowledge that or not.  But more specifically, Anita Brookner’s style and subject matter is frequently compared to Austen’s, with good reason; her books capture the quiet desperation and intelligent observance of so many women.  The late Georgette Heyer, who singlehandedly created the Regency Romance, clearly mimics Jane’s style in some of her novels—Regency Buck comes to mind.  I’m equally passionate about the late Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey/Maturin books, however, which despite their immersion in the Napoleonic Wars and the Royal Navy, are brilliant evocations of Austen’s world. – Stephanie Barron
  • Well, my “day job” is reading contemporary fiction; I am the “book person” story analyst for Warner Bros Studios and read novels to see if they’d make movies.  So, since I have to read so much popular modern fiction for work, I don’t read it for pleasure (I tend to read 18th and 19th century authors and memoirs for pleasures, and early 20th century middlebrow authors).  I can’t say I see that Jane Austen’s writing has influenced any contemporary authors, unless you mean the movies.  They seem more influenced by J.K. Rowling, to be honest. – Diana Birchall
  • I’ve just been reminded that my favorite “contemporary” writer has been dead for forty-one years.  Like Austen, John O’Hara consistently and fully delivers the world in which he lived, through the characters he brings to light. From subtle, beautifully realized details of status, position or acceptance, we feel the texture of that life and time, and feel connected to characters, so remarkably familiar to us in their insecurities or their longing, or failing to find success or love – or failing to find themselves. That we can see these men and women in the people around us, in our own time, is probably the mark of their humanity, if not genius. If I recommend all of O’Hara, it is with the caveat that like any prolific author, his work may be a tad uneven. But in its totality, and not unlike Austen, it adds up to nothing less than a social history of his age. – Diane Meier
  • The great English novelist, Elizabeth Jane Howard springs to mind; so does Anne Tyler; and Anna Quindlen; and Elizabeth Berg; and Cathleen Shine – women who have Austen’s clear, sharp, objective and not unsympathetic eye, but, like Austen, their books are never larded with sentimentality. Otherwise I don’t see enough of Austen’s influence. In Italy, I’ve always enjoyed being able to visit a museum and on the street later search for the faces that I’ve just been looking at in the works of Piero Della Francesca, or Leonardo da Vinci or Vittore Carpaccio or the Bellinis. That’s what makes Jane Austen so enjoyable – you’ll meet one of her characters any day of the week in England. – Frank Delaney
  • I think every time someone picks up a Mills and Boon romance they’re seeing her influence, since she laid the blueprint for the strong powerful rich male (unattainable) meets average young female who manages to capture his attention through some special quality she has. I know the literary elite would be horrified at the comparison, but there it is. One of the writers Jane Austen influenced was Virginia Woolf, a very different writer in many ways, but one who also liked to represent the world of women in its everyday details. Perhaps it’s best to have Virginia Woolf herself tell us what she likes about Jane Austen. Like me she is fond of Jane Austen’s comic characters: “One after another she creates her fools, her prigs, her worldlings, her Mr. Collinses, her Sir Walter Elliots, her Mrs. Bennets. She encircles them with the lash of a whip-like phrase which, as it runs round them, cuts out their silhouettes for ever. But there they remain; no excuse is found for them and no mercy shown them.” In addition, Woolf draws attention to Jane Austen’s value system, which as you can see she clearly admires. “The wit of Jane Austen has for partner the perfection of her taste. Her fool is a fool, her snob is a snob, because he departs from the model of sanity and sense which she has in mind, and conveys to us unmistakably even while she makes us laugh. Never did any novelist make more use of an impeccable sense of human values. It is against the disc of an unerring heart, an unfailing good taste, an almost stern morality, that she shows up those deviations from kindness, truth, and sincerity which are among the most delightful things in English literature.” Such high praise could only mean that Virginia Woolf was influenced by Jane Austen, but I’m not about to go into that right now — I’ll keep my Comparative Literature background tightly under wraps for the time being. – Monica Fairview
  • I see Jane Austen’s influence everywhere. The basic plot of Pride and Prejudice forms the basis of almost every romance. I think my favourite is Bridget Jones’s Diary. – Amanda Grange
  • They call Jane Austen the “grandmother of chick-lit and the romance novel” for good reason—I think her influence is reflected in every single work of romance today. I read voraciously, and enjoy the work of so many contemporary authors that I can’t pick a favorite; but for truly great writing, I keep going back to Jane and Charlotte Bronte! – Syrie James
  • Top of the heap for me is Anna Maxted, who has an extraordinary comic voice and a keen, cynical, wicked eye for characters and relationships. The first line of Being Committed (HarperCollins 2004) is pure Austen: Every woman likes to be proposed to, even if she means to refuse. – Janet Mullany
  • I cannot sing the praises of Georgette Heyer enough. I am a recent convert and she just makes me laugh out loud. Her historical detail is amazing and her characterizations are priceless. I would recommend The Grand Sophy and Venetia as two of my favorites. Cut from the same cloth is contemporary author Stephanie Barron (one of the contributors to my anthology). Her Being a Jane Austen Mystery series is superb. Start with the first in the series, Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor. You will then want to rush out and purchase the next ten in the series. Next on my list would be Syrie James, (also one of my contributors), whose The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen (2007) moved me so deeply that I decided I needed to post a review of it online and then began reading and reviewing Austen-inspired novels regularly. Lastly, but by no mean least, is the fabulous Lauren Willig (also one of my contributors). Her Pink Carnation series is a delight. I am happy to say that my fan-girl ravings about her series on my blog has converted quite a few new readers to the series. It really makes my day when my readers let me know that they enjoyed one of my recommendations as much, or even more, than I did. – Laurel Ann Nattress        
  • I tend to read authors’ work from about 1900-1960, and amongst those wonderful writers who were clearly influenced by Jane Austen are E. M. Forster, Frances Hodgson Burnett, Barbara Pym, Dodie Smith, and Dorothy Whipple. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith has resonances with Sense and Sensibility, Barbara Pym writes about the interaction between a small village group in England whilst at the same time making her own social commentary in books like Jane and Prudence, and Excellent Women. Frances Hodgson Burnett does a similar job in novels like A Fair Barbarian, and The Shuttle. I wonder how Jane’s work would have developed had she lived longer. She was beginning to address the subject of the merging classes in Persuasion, and as we know E. M. Forster loved her work, I wonder if he took his inspiration from that novel for A Room with a View. Certainly, the relationship between the sisters in Howard’s End, and their plight of losing their home has similar echoes in Sense and Sensibility.  Lastly, Dorothy Whipple’s perceptive and psychological novels like, Someone at a Distance, and The Priory, offer character studies and stories in an intimate setting that Jane would surely have enjoyed. – Jane Odiwe
  • I always love reading contemporary books with a Jane Austen connection.  Years ago, I picked up a copy of Melissa Nathan’s Pride, Prejudice, and Jasmine Field and I was hooked. In addition to Nathan, I’m a fan of Jane Green, Sophie Kinsella, and Helen Fielding. They don’t all have a direct Austen connection, but her influence is there.  For readers who enjoy historical romance set in the Regency era, I always suggest Mary Balogh, Mary Jo Putney, and Loretta Chase, although that’s just the tip of the iceberg. – Beth Pattillo
  • Bridget Jones’ Diary has to be an all-time favourite. I first read it back in 1996 and completely identified with her tangled love-life, her self-deprecating sense of humour, her desire to find love. As for the movies that starred Renee Zwelleger as Bridget – I have watched them countless times and they are still the funniest films I’ve ever seen… – Alexandra Potter
  • I do not doubt that most writers of Regency Romance owe some debt to Jane Austen.  For many she was the doorway into that particular period.  In most cases, I would be hard pressed to identify a more specific connection.  However, Mary Balogh has explicitly taken Pride and Prejudice as her jumping-off point for her novel Slightly Dangerous.  I recently wrote a blog about how she has used the story and made it her own. – Myretta Robens
  • I have met many writers who admire Jane Austen, but I can’t think of any author whose writing indicates a Jane Austen influence, (other than the obvious Jane Austen paraliterature). – Jane Rubino
  • Why, yes.  I believe Lady Vernon and Her Daughter has captured the spirit of Austen’s works, while highlighting one of her lesser-known early works.  Did I mention it’s available in local books stores and online? Seriously, though there’s Austen’s obvious influence on the authors of the sequels and paraliterature.  And I supposed you could say she influenced, say, the entire modern romance genre.  I’d have to say favorites are young adult retellings of Austen’s classics, like Scones and Sensibility, and The Dashwood Sisters’ Secrets of Love. – Caitlen Rubino-Bradway
  • An author whom I adore is Georgette Heyer. She has plundered Jane’s works and reproduced quite a few of her plots, but with a difference. Her knowledge of the Georgian and Regency period is impeccable, and she includes a wealth of fascinating contemporary detail –and, having done a lot of research myself, I am more and more impressed by the accuracy and richness of hers. Of course she is much less accomplished in her creation of character, and the plots are far more extravagant, but time and time again I get a sense of Jane when reading Heyer. All the Regency novels are tremendous fun; my favourite is The Grand Sophy. When writing Mr. Darcy I kept well clear of Heyer: I thought I might start plagiarizing her unconsciously if I wasn’t careful. – Maya Slater
  • Two of my favorite authors who obviously have had Jane Austen as at least one of their influences are Georgette Heyer and Naomi Novik. Most of Heyer’s novels are set in the same time period as Austen’s, though of course Heyer was writing over a century later. She includes all the period detail that Austen’s novels don’t really need—though the careful reader should know that some of Heyer’s period detail is of her own invention. (As an author, I find that interesting—that even a stickler like Heyer sometimes made up or exaggerated detail for her own convenience.) Heyer’s novels are not just romantic but full of adventure, fun, and humor, and I’ve never been disappointed by any of her books. However, having read her biography, I have no particular desire to hang out with Miss Heyer as I would love to do with Jane Austen! The setting of Naomi Novik’s Temeraire series—an alternate history of the Napoleonic wars in which dragons fitted with weapons and crew provide Britain’s military with an air force—is a combination of fantasy and history: a little Austen, a little Patrick O’Brian, a little Anne McCaffrey, and a whole lot of Novik’s own great sense of humor and gorgeous world-building and characterization. The dragons, who are sentient and can speak, are the most delightful characters in the books, and the style and prose have a true period feel. I suppose they would be more attractive to readers who enjoy high-fantasy novels, but the Temeraire novels read a lot more like O’Brian than like Tolkien. Of course the Duke of Wellington talked to dragons, and exactly like that! – Margaret C. Sullivan
  • All we do is pick up the threads of the past and reinvent the stories for the current times.  If we’re writing historical fiction, we imagine the details of another day, calling on our sense of connection, regardless of era or year.  Human emotions don’t change, what drives our souls and fills us up does not change. All the writer does is supply the context, so in that way, a well told story is timeless. – Adriana Trigiani
  • Two of my absolute favorite authors, both of whom remind me of Jane Austen, are Nick Hornby and Zadie Smith. On Beauty, Smith’s novel that won the Orange Prize for Fiction and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, is actually a homage to E.M. Forster’s Howard’s End, but it is also a quintessential “three or four families in a country village” sort of story. It is very Austenian in its biting wit and its fascinating and highly amusing observations of human nature. It’s also beautifully written and tremendously entertaining.  Nick Hornby also displays that deep understanding of, compassion for, and hilarious exposure of human beings at their best and their worst that I love so much in Austen. I highly recommend each of Hornby’s novels, with an emphasis on A Long Way Down; Juliet, Naked; and About a Boy. – Laurie Viera Rigler
  • The most obvious are the direct Austen take-offs.  Back in my grad school days, in the late, lamented Wordsworth Books in Cambridge, I stumbled across a British import called Pride, Prejudice and Jasmin Field.  I was enthralled, so enthralled that I missed my stop on the T and accidentally wound up in Alewife.  But I didn’t mind because I had Jasmin (aka Lizzy) with me.  The conceit was that a modern journalist was acting in a charity version of P&P.  Her Darcy was the director, an actor from a famous acting dynasty.  I loved the way Melissa Nathan managed to track P&P onto the modern without making it feel too contrived, but, most of all, I loved her bright and lively prose.  I think we see Austen’s tracks wherever we find social commentary hidden in humor, or a love story surrounded with quirky side characters.  We always get our happy ending, but we learn a lot along the way. – Lauren Willig


Enter a chance to win one signed copy of Jane Austen Made Me Do It, edited by Laurel Ann Nattress by leaving a comment stating which of your favorite authors do you feel were influenced by Jane Austen? Deadline to qualify for the drawing is 11:59 pm, Wednesday, September 19, 22, 2012. The Winner will be announced on Thursday, September 20, 2012. Print edition available to US addresses or eBook edition 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 previous posts containing: Question 1, Question 2, Question 3, Question 4, Question 5, Question 6

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


Laurel Ann

© 2012 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

Giveaway Winner Announced for Jane Austen Made Me Do It Week Six

Jane Austen Made Me Do It, edited by Laurel Ann Nattress (2011)15 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:

  • Alexadrap529 who left a comment on September 09, 2012

Congratulations Alexandra! To claim your prize, please contact me with your full name and address by September 19, 2012 indicating if you want a print or eBook version. Print book shipment to US addresses.

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 seven!

© 2012 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

Q & A with Jane Austen Made Me Do It Authors: Question 6 & Giveaway!

Jane Austen Made Me Do It, edited by Laurel Ann Nattress (2011)On to question six of the JAMMDI author interview that started on August 3rd. If you are just joining us, I will be posting fifteen questions and answers weekly from my authors of Jane Austen Made Me Do It, a short story anthology inspired by Jane Austen.

I often wonder about how authors became published, so this question was one of the first that came to mind when I started writing up my list for my anthology authors. It is similar to “how did you meet your spouse stories”, that I also love to ask people, and can often be just as serendipitous…

Jane Austen’s road to publication was long and arduous before she self-financed the publication of her first novel Sense and Sensibility in 1811. Was your road to publication strewn with rose petals or thorns? What advice can you offer new writers seeking publication today?

  • My road to publication was most definitely strewn with rose petals, for not only did I meet my husband through my online writing, but he helped me to set up our own small press and self-publish my novels to great success before Simon & Schuster called with an offer! – Pamela Aidan
  • I’m still at the very beginning of my journey to publication.  I look to Miss Austen’s struggles for strength and inspiration during my own difficult times.  I’ve been writing for over a decade for my own amusement.  I penned three fantasy novels in a series just because I wanted to know how the story would end.  It has only been very recently that I’ve realized that others might be interested in reading my stories and even, hopefully, enjoy them.  So like Jane Austen at the beginning, my stories were penned for my own amusement and that of my closest friends.  I often think what an immense loss it would have been to the canon of world literature if she had never sought to share her voice.  I look to that example and think, of her courage.  Now that the potential audience for my writing appears to be widening, I feel as if I’m standing on a precipice and cannot see the bottom.  If I swallow my fear and dive in, hopefully the water will be just fine.  Believing in oneself is the key to perseverance.  – Brenna Aubrey
  • Mine was strewn with rose petals, because Fate blessed me with a much-cherished literary agent, who found me a home with a beloved editor.  My advice to new writers is two-fold: don’t bother chasing ‘markets’ (vampires, teen dystopia, Austenmania) unless you love the subject—it’s critical when undertaking a book to be passionate about your work.  If you are, readers will find you.  Secondly, attempt to secure a reputable agent before attempting anything else.  Good agents make the difference between a book sale and a career. – Stephanie Barron
  • There are very few writers who don’t find the road long and at least challenging, but most also find it exhilarating and rewarding, or they wouldn’t persist. I like to think Jane did, too, experiencing all the excitement of bringing a mental world into a form that could be shared. New writers will find it useful to remember that Jane Austen wrote a number of books before publication. Don’t fall too deeply in love with the first, for it will almost certainly be flawed. When the first novel is sent out to editors and agents, don’t sit around waiting. Write the next one. Expect rejection, because 99.9% of authors receive rejections at first, and if it’s expected, it won’t hurt as much. If the novel is accepted, the joy will be so much greater. Lastly, as we see from Jane Austen’s career, publishing often doesn’t make sense. It can be fickle, unjust, and illogical. Don’t take it personally. Just keep on writing, keep on learning, and keep on sending it out. – Jo Beverley
  • Thorns.  I’d written five unpublished novels when I finally got published, writing the scholarly biography of my grandmother, Onoto Watanna, who was the first Asian American novelist (she was half Chinese).  That gave me the confidence to get my Austen-related fiction published, and it’s all been pleasure and joy since then.  Advice to new writers?  Everything is changing in the publishing and literary fields.  You need to keep abreast of the changes, but at the same time work out of your own imagination and interests. – Diana Birchall
  • My first novel, The Season of Second Chances, was published in 2010. I hope that Jane would have liked it as in so much of her work, it features an independent-minded woman who often gets it wrong, but who ultimately has to confront and revise her own values. And with her sense of humor Ms. Austen would have enjoyed the note from an early reader who suggested an alteration in the plot that ran counter to the very spirit of the heroine’s core relationship. Frank and I joked that the same reader would have asked Nabokov to take the pedophilia out of Lolita. And I have no doubt that Jane A. would have appreciated the debate that surrounded my novel, an argument as to what constitutes “women’s” fiction, and my contention that the term is offensive in itself. But I am carping. I adored my editor, and the reception, from reviewers to booksellers, was generous and warm. So the roses you refer to smelled very sweet, indeed. As for advice for young writers – be brave and write on; cream rises to the top. – Diane Meier
  • My first book had a lot going for it – James Joyce’s Odyssey, a non-fiction guide to James Joyce’s Ulysses, and I conceived it in time for the 1982 centenary of Joyce’s birth and aimed it at readers who, like myself at that time, had never finished reading Ulysses. It became a surprise best-seller, and so it was rose petals all the way. They litter my path to this day, because I took the concept and expanded it into a weekly podcast on my website decoding Ulysses paragraph by paragraph. As to advice – Diane has it exactly right: just do it. And if/when you’re good enough you’ll find a publisher and an audience. – Frank Delaney
  • It’s no easier being published now then it was at Jane Austen’s time, particularly if your work doesn’t “fit” into a particular genre. Jane Austen was doing something that hadn’t been done before — writing about the quiet lives of women, with their dreams, their possibilities and their limitations. When she was writing, Gothic “horrid” romances were all the rage on the more popular end, while on the highbrow end you needed to write narrative poetry in the style of Byron to be successful. Obviously Austen wasn’t going to be a best seller. She was going against the grain. Personally, I think my road to publication has been about managing expectations. When you first start off, you think the moment you start publishing, all doors will open to you; that being published is some kind of magical key to the kingdom. In the case of most writers, getting published is a process that is destined to repeat itself. It isn’t like getting a steady job. The fact is, every time you write a book, you’re taking a gamble, and so is your publisher. You have no idea if people will be receptive or not. Tastes may have shifted, there may be a new fad, the industry is changing, the economy is declining — a million things could happen to make your book disappear into the black hole of indifference. You invest a lot of effort and emotional intensity into the writing, but to people it’s only a book, an object they buy, like a bag of apples or a box of chocolates. If you’re looking for any easy way to get rich, this isn’t it. But then, getting published has its own rewards — the thrill of seeing your new cover, the excitement of the launch and the publicity and the blog tours, meeting people from all across the world who have read your works, making some fantastic friends online and finding you all have so much in common. All these things wouldn’t have happened if you weren’t published, or at least if your novel wasn’t out there available for people to read. Frankly, my dears, I wouldn’t want to be without them. – Monica Fairview
  • It was most definitely strewn with thorns. It took a long time and a lot of dedication before I finally made it into print. I think I would tell new writers to write the kind of books they love to read. – Amanda Grange
  • My road was strewn with both thorns and rose petals. First, I spent 18 months researching and writing my Jane Austen love story as a screenplay—and several years trying to drum up interest in Hollywood, to no avail. Then, I researched and wrote a different book (a medical thriller) that landed me a wonderful agent… but didn’t find a publisher. Finally, I adapted my own script as a novel. I’m thrilled to say that The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen sold in a bidding war between three major publishing houses, and went on to become a bestseller. Advice to new writers: believe in yourself, work really hard, and never give up! – Syrie James
  • I tried to crack the romance code and succeeded, sort of, to cries of “You can’t do that in a romance!” So much depends on timing in mass market fiction—having the right sort of book at the right time and finding an editor who loves your voice. It’s impossible to predict the market so don’t even try, but write and find your voice and learn. – Janet Mullany
  • Rose petals. Definitely rose petals. I was in the right place at the right time and made the right connections. I had no idea that writing a blog about my favorite author would culminate into a book deal, but it did. For years, I wrote “only for fame, and without any view to pecuniary emolument.”  Recently I was asked for career advice by a young college graduate who wants to break into writing. I told her to read, write, read, write, and then start a blog! It worked for me! – Laurel Ann Nattress
  • When I look back I think I have been lucky though it took about five years before I was traditionally published. I self-published a Jane Austen picture book, Effusions of Fancy, before trying my hand at writing a novel.  Lydia Bennet’s Story took a few years of learning the craft of writing, and taking advice, which was so rewarding, and after self-publishing, to my great excitement, it was picked up by Sourcebooks who have also published Willoughby’s Return, and Mr. Darcy’s Secret. Don’t give up is my advice to a writer trying to become published. Keep going, and above all, keep learning. I think to succeed as writers we must be open to criticism, learn from the advice we’re given, and not be afraid to change direction if our work will be improved as a result. – Jane Odiwe
  • My advice to new writers is always the same – practice perseverance! I wrote for seven years before selling my first novel.  The most important thing you can do is write. I am a great advocate of the Club 100 program that challenges participants to write at least 100 words a day for 100 days.  Interested writers can sign up for the email loop via my website. Support and encouragement from other writers always helps, but it’s up to us to show up each day at the page and do our work.  With the ongoing changes in the publishing industry, I would also recommend that aspiring authors not leap to self-publishing until they have educated themselves about what that decision entails.  Digital publishing means your books now live forever, so never put anything out there that’s not your very best work. Self-publishing is not the place to experiment or appear amateurish. Finally, write the book that you love, the book that you want to read.  It’s not a bad thing to keep one eye on the market and on trends, but writing to the market or jumping on a trendy bandwagon is no guarantee of success.  Trends start because one brave author decided to follow her muse and do something fresh and new.  Yes, it’s a more difficult path, but in the end, it’s worth it. – Beth Pattillo
  • Write, write, and write some more! I think it’s very important for would-be novelists to find their voice, and to discover what they like writing about. I studied English Literature at university and for many years afterwards I wrote features for magazines, which made me very aware of the issues facing women today, and what interests them. I decided to write my first novel after being inspired by an article about six women under thirty who had all published their first novels. Their advice was to write three chapters and send it to a list of agents, so I did exactly that! Within two weeks I had an agent who advised me to go away and finish the book. Six months later, my first novel was finished and there was a bidding war for the book! It was a dream come true! In 2000 my first novel, What’s New, Pussycat? was published, and the rest is history… – Alexandra Potter
  • I had a remarkably easy road to the publication of my first and second novels.  Unfortunately, the publishers of Traditional Regency Romances closed the road, so I’m now looking for another route. – Myretta Robens
  • There are always obstacles to creative endeavors. Often it’s not the best one who gets the part or the publishing contract; it’s as likely (or more likely) to be the luckiest, the most persistent, or the one who has the platform of celebrity. My advice? Don’t whine. Write like a Trollope (Anthony) who had a rigorous writing schedule. There is no such thing as writer’s block, any more than there is electrician’s block or librarian’s block. Remember that publishing is a business enterprise, not a form of patronage. – Jane Rubino
  • I don’t think my path to publishing was difficult, but it was work.  Of course, I went in expecting it to be work; I talk to a lot of writers who seem to think that once the book is written, the hard part’s over.  It’s not.  The fun part is over.  For Lady Vernon, mom and I found an agent the old-fashioned way — we looked up agents, cross-checked to make sure they’d be a good fit, and sent out letters.  It took three rounds of submissions and five months emailing to find an agent.  She’s fantastic, and was able to find us an even more fantastic editor.  On the complete other end of the spectrum, I showed my solo novel (a children’s fantasy) to the agent I work for, hoping or some advice.  Instead, she offered to represent me.  I would tell a new author that getting published always has its trials and tribulations.  You are going to get rejected a lot, and you need to have the determination, or the ego, to keep going.  You also need to be willing to put the same effort into finding an agent and getting published that you did in writing the book. – Caitlen Rubino-Bradway
  • Not an easy one to answer. My novel was first published in the UK, and the first hurdle was finding a good agent. I was very lucky, because one of the people who read the manuscript knew a young, dynamic agent, and told him about it – so he actually asked to read it. Once it was published in Britain (as Mr. Darcy’s Diary), he had no trouble finding a publisher in the USA.  So my advice, to a British beginner at least, would be to pull every string you can to find an agent, and then keep your fingers crossed… It’s a very discouraging business, and you have to believe in yourself and keep trying. I wonder if self-publishing might be a way forward in future? – Maya Slater
  • I have to say that writing fan fiction and getting feedback (hopefully honest and constructive as well as appreciative praise) was a great way of improving my writing. The thing is, you have to be able to accept the critical feedback and work on what is lacking—and to recognize which critical feedback is useful and which is not. A teachableness of disposition in an author is a great blessing, to misquote Henry Tilney. Work hard and get your stuff out there, accept criticism as well as praise, and take advantage of opportunities when they present themselves. Overnight successes rarely occur overnight; they occur when an author finds herself in a position to take advantage of an opportunity created by hard work. To quote another great mind, Conan O’Brien: work hard and be kind, and good things will follow. – Margaret C. Sullivan
  • It’s petals, thorns, candy and vinegar, it’s all of it.  Write your best book, and then put it out to fellow writers, agents, friends and see what they say. – Adriana Trigiani
  • My advice to new writers seeking publication is to have vision, be discerning, and tell the naysayers within and without to take a hike. Vision means never letting yourself lose sight of what you are trying to accomplish by getting your book out into the world.  Vision will help you stay motivated and dissolve all obstacles. Be discerning means be very careful about whom you ask for an opinion on whether or not your book is ready to be submitted. The ability to provide honest, specific, constructive feedback that is unencumbered by envy or competition is a skill that your best friend or someone in your writer’s group or even your writing teacher may not have.  Telling the naysayers to take a hike is self-explanatory.  Once my first novel, Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict, was ready to submit to agents, it all happened very quickly, and I found myself with a two-book deal. Suddenly I was a working novelist—if “suddenly” includes all the preceding years of writing, rewriting, researching, and confidence-building to reach the point where I was ready to put my first novel out there in the world.  A fellow author and friend, the late Ron Gottesman, once told me that getting published requires the three P’s: Patience, Persistence, and Postage. For me, faith is a prerequisite for those first two P’s, and the biggest obstacle that many authors seeking publication face is a lack of faith. Faith in themselves, and thus in their work.  I would also like to add two more P’s to Ron’s list: Paper and Printer Cartridges. Even as e-books gain greater market share and e-submissions become more prevalent, there are still readers and agents who prefer paper, or alternate between both. And so it is a good practice for writers to alternate reading their own works on paper with reading them on screen. I will often notice things on paper that I didn’t notice on the screen. – Laurie Viera Rigler
  • It’s a strange world out there right now.  These days, when I give aspiring writers advice, I warn them that my advice is dated—with my first book out in 2005, I’m practically a dinosaur with the way everything’s been moving.  When I started seeking publication, it was still done by snail mail queries; “e-book” and self-publication were bad words; and almost no-one had a website.  One piece of advice does still apply, though.  Find yourself a good agent.  Publishing is a confusing, byzantine, and very cliquey world, and never more so than today, with everything so much in flux.  Find someone out there who loves and believes in your work, who can decode that world for you, and be your advocate in it. – Lauren Willig


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 what you found most surprising by the author’s experiences to publication, or, if you are an aspiring writer, what your strategy will be? Deadline to qualify for the drawing is 11:59 pm, Wednesday, September 12, 22, 2012. The Winner will be announced on Thursday, September 13, 2012. Print edition available to US addresses, or eBook edition 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 previous posts containing: Question 1, Question 2, Question 3, Question 4, Question 5

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


Laurel Ann

© 2012 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

Giveaway Winner Announced for Jane Austen Made Me Do It Week Five

Jane Austen Made Me Do It, edited by Laurel Ann Nattress (2011)18 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:

  • Rachel who left a comment on September 04, 2012

Congratulations Rachel! To claim your prize, please contact me with your full name and address by September 12, 2012. Shipment to US addresses.

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 six!

Read: Question 1, Question 2, Question 3, Question 4, Question 5

© 2012 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose