What happens when Jupiter aligns with Mars in the Jane Austen book universe?

Why three Austen inspired tales released on the same day of course…

Tuesdays in the book publishing world means new releases, and today, September 28th does not disappoint. Three new Austen inspired novels officially hit the market. Yes, three! All the stars and planets must be alignment in the Jane Austen book universe for this to happen and I hope this influx of luck, good karma, or mojo is a sign from the gods. I am in process of reading all of them and my reviews will follow in the next two weeks. In the meantime, take a peek. Here are the publisher’s descriptions.

Jane and the Madness of Lord Byron: Being a Jane Austen Mystery, by Stephanie Barron

The restorative power of the ocean brings Jane Austen and her beloved brother Henry, to Brighton after Henry’s wife is lost to a long illness. But the crowded, glittering resort is far from peaceful, especially when the lifeless body of a beautiful young society miss is discovered in the bedchamber of none other than George Gordon—otherwise known as Lord Byron. As a poet and a seducer of women, Byron has carved out a shocking reputation for himself—but no one would ever accuse him of being capable of murder. Now it falls to Jane to pursue this puzzling investigation and discover just how “mad, bad, and dangerous to know” Byron truly is. And she must do so without falling victim to the charming versifier’s legendary charisma, lest she, too, become a cautionary example for the ages.

Jane and the Damned: A Novel, by Janet Mullany

Jane Austen – Novelist . . . gentlewoman . . . Damned, Fanged, and Dangerous to know.

Aspiring writer Jane Austen knows that respectable young ladies like herself are supposed to shun the Damned—the beautiful, fashionable, exquisitely seductive vampires who are all the rage in Georgian England in 1797. So when an innocent (she believes) flirtation results in her being turned—by an absolute cad of a bloodsucker—she acquiesces to her family’s wishes and departs for Bath to take the waters, the only known cure.

But what she encounters there is completely unexpected: perilous jealousies and further betrayals, a new friendship and a possible love. Yet all that must be put aside when the warring French invade unsuspecting Bath—and the streets run red with good English blood. Suddenly only the staunchly British Damned can defend the nation they love . . . with Jane Austen leading the charge at the battle’s forefront.

Bespelling Jane Austen: Almost Persuaded\Northanger Castle\Blood and Prejudice\Little to Hex Her, by Mary Balogh, Colleen Gleason, Susan Krinard, and Janet Mullany

What if Austen had believed in reincarnation and vampires? Join four bestselling romance authors as they channel the wit and wisdom of Jane Austen.

Almost Persuaded

In this Regency tale of Robert and Jane, New York Times bestselling author Mary Balogh brings together former lovers who have seen beyond the veil of forgetfulness to their past mistakes, and are determined to be together in this life, and forever.

Northanger Castle

Caroline’s obsession with Gothic novels winds up being good training for a lifetime of destroying the undead with her newfound beau, in this Regency by Colleen Gleason.

Blood and Prejudice

Set in the business world of contemporary New York City, Liz Bennett joins Mr. Darcy in his hunt for a vampire cure in New York Times bestselling author Susan Krinard’s version of the classic story.

Little to Hex Her

Present-day Washington, D.C., is full of curious creatures in Janet Mullany’s story, wherein Emma is a witch with a wizard boyfriend and a paranormal dating service to run.

Everything Austen Challenge II, 2010- Are you Game?

Huzzah! Stephanie’s Written Word is offering Everything Austen Challenge II, a Jane Austen reading challenge again this year. Starting on July 1, 2010 the event will run for six months ending on December 31, 2010. Just select and read/view/craft six Jane Austen related books/movies/craft projects. It’s that easy. Check out all the details and post your results as you progress on her blogs Mr. Linky tool.

I had a great time completing this last year and encourage all of you to join in the fun. It’s a great excuse to validate your need to feed your Jane Austen addiction. As usual, I am raising the ante and bumping up my commitment number up to twelve and challenging anyone who wants to join me! Here are my choices.

√ 1.) Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen

√ 2.) Murder at Mansfield Park, by Lynn Shepherd

√ 3.) Emma and the Vampires, by Wayne Josephson

√ 4.) Jane and the Damned, by Janet Mullany

√ 5.) Jane and the Madness of Lord Byron, by Stephanie Barron

√ 6.) Bespelling Jane Austen, by Mary Balogh, Colleen Gleason, Susan Krinard & Janet Mullany

√ 7.) Mr. Darcy’s Little Sister, by C. Allyn Pierson

√ 8.) Murder on the Bride’s Side, by Tracy Kiely

√ 9.) Pemberley Ranch, by Jack Caldwell

√ 10.) Pride and Prejudice: An Annotated Edition, by Jane Austen, edited by Patricia Meyer Spacks

11.) A Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy, by Mary Lydon Simonsen

√ 12.) Dancing with Mr. Darcy, selected and introduced by Sarah Waters

Let the games begin!

Cheers, Laurel Ann

New Jane Austen Short Story Anthology Announced Today

Hot off the presses is an announcement today in Publishers Weekly of a new Jane Austen short story anthology to be published by Random House in 2011. The collection will include approximately twenty stories inspired by Jane Austen, literature’s witty muse of the modern novel and astute observer of human nature and the heart.

Readers familiar with Austen inspired paraliterature will recognize many popular authors among the list of those contributing and a few surprises from best selling authors who greatly admire Austen’s works. Contributing to the line-up are best selling authors Karen Joy Fowler (Jane Austen Book Club), Stephanie Barron (A Jane Austen Mystery Series), Adriana Trigiani (Brava, Valentine), Lauren Willig (The Pink Carnation Series) and the husband and wife writing team of Frank Delaney (Venetia Kelly’s Traveling Show) and Diane Meier (The Season of Second Chances). Approximately twenty Austenesque authors and others from related genres have already committed to the project including:

Pamela Aidan (Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman Trilogy)

Elizabeth Aston (Mr. Darcy’s Daughters, & Writing Jane Austen)

Stephanie Barron (A Jane Austen Mystery Series, & The White Garden)

Carrie Bebris (Mr. & Mrs. Darcy Mysteries Series)

Diana Birchall (Mrs. Darcy’s Dilemma, & Mrs. Elton in America)

Frank Delaney (Shannon, Tipperary, & Venetia Kelly’s Traveling Show)

Monica Fairview (The Darcy Cousins, & The Other Mr. Darcy)

Karen Joy Fowler (Jane Austen Book Club, & Wits End)

Amanda Grange (Mr. Darcy, Vampyre, & Mr. Darcy’s Diary)

Syrie James (The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen, & The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Bronte)

Diane Meier (The Season of Second Chances)

Janet Mullany (Bespelling Jane Austen, & Rules of Gentility)

Jane Odiwe (Lydia Bennet’s Story, & Willoughby’s Return)

Beth Pattillo (Jane Austen Ruined My Life, & Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart)

Alexandra Potter (Me & Mr. Darcy, & The Two Lives of Miss Charlotte Merryweather: A Novel)

Jane Rubino and Caitlen Rubino Bradway (Lady Vernon & Her Daughter)

Myretta Robens (Pemberley.com , Just Say Yes, & Once Upon a Sofa)

Maya Slater (The Private Diary of Mr. Darcy)

Margaret C. Sullivan (AustenBlog.com, & The Jane Austen Handbook)

Adriana Trigiani (Brava Valentine, Very Valentine, & Lucia, Lucia)

Laurie Viera Rigler (Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict, & Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict)

Lauren Willig (The Pink Carnation Series)

In addition, a short story contest hosted by the venerable The Republic of Pemberley website will be held to fill one slot in the anthology for a new voice in Austenesque fiction. Further details on submission and manuscript deadlines will be posted here and at Pemberley.com.

And if you were wondering how I know so much about the project, I have been secretly working on it for months and will be the editor. I’m the luckiest Janeite in the world!

Cheers, Laurel Ann

© 2007-2010 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

By the Seaside with Sanditon: Sanditon Completions

Jane Austen’s last unfinished novel Sanditon ended after 22,000 words and midway into what may have been chapter twelve. Her draft manuscript was a bright beginning introducing us to the seaside town in development as a health resort and a list of over 20 characters. For anyone who has turned to the last page and reached her last lines “Mr. Hollis. poor Mr. Hollis! It was impossible not to feel him hardly used: to obliged to stand back in his own house and see the best place by the fire constantly occupied by Sir Henry Denham.” and not felt a pang of regret that you have read the last of her creative ouput, you are advised to read no further. For those who did, it is sad to reflect that no more would we be delighted by Jane’s Austen’s witty pen. 

I readily admit after finishing the fragment that I was hooked into the story and characters and craved further development and a dénouement. The next best thing to Jane Austen’s actual words are a continuation by another author’s pen. Sanditon, even though it is not as well known as one of her six major novels, has its far share of completions and retellings to choose from. It has the august distinction of being the first sequel or continuation attempted after Jane Austen’s death by her niece, Anna Lefroy. Unfortunately, she did not finish her novel either, but there are others who have. Here is a partial list of novels that are currently available in print with publisher’s descriptions. 

Sanditon: Jane Austen’s Unfinished Masterpiece Completed, by Jane Austen and Juliette Shapiro 

Had Jane Austen lived to complete Sanditon, it would undoubtedly be as famous and treasured as her other novels. But unfinished at her death, the masterpiece has remained mysterious and overlooked. Now, author Juliette Shapiro has completed Sanditon in a vivid style recognizable to any Austen fan. Here is the story of Charlotte Heywood, who has recently arrived in the town of Sanditon to enjoy the benefits of the ocean air. At first, Charlotte finds amusement enough standing at her ample Venetian window looking over its placid seafront and salubrious ocean, wind-blown linens and sparkling sea. But there is much more to this promising little coastal resort. Before long, Charlotte discovers that scandals abound. To the delight of her eccentric host Mr. Parker, she becomes captivated by the romance of the seaside lifestyle. But is the town of Sanditon truly the haven that Mr. Parker likes to think it is, and will Charlotte Parker find happiness here? 

Ulysses Press, Berkeley, CA (2009)
Trade Paperback (236) pages
ISBN: 978-1569756218 

The Brothers, by Jane Austen and Another Lady (Helen Baker) 

Miss Austen wrote ten chapters of a novel she called The Brothers before illness stilled her pen for ever. Now, her entire draft has been incorporated into the complete story. It is hoped that the resulting romance may satisfy her myriad admirers who have long regretted that such vivid characters were left in suspense. 

Lulu.com (2009)
Trade paperback (272) pages
ASIN: B002AD1WJS 

Cure for All Diseases (Dalziel and Pascoe Series #23), by Reginald Hill 

Some say that Andy Dalziel wasn’t ready for God, others that God wasn’t ready for Dalziel. Either way, despite his recent proximity to a terrorist blast in Death Comes for the Fat Man, the Superintendent remains firmly of this world. And, while Death may be the cure for all diseases, Dalziel is happy to settle for a few weeks’ care under a tender nurse. 

Convalescing in Sandytown, a quiet seaside resort devoted to healing, Dalziel befriends Charlotte Heywood, a fellow newcomer and psychologist, who is researching the benefits of alternative therapy. With much in common, the two soon find themselves in partnership when trouble comes to town. 

Sandytown’s principal landowners have grandiose plans for the resort–none of which they can agree on. One of them has to go, and when one of them does, in spectacularly gruesome fashion, DCI Peter Pascoe is called in to investigate–with Dalziel and Charlotte providing unwelcome support. But Pascoe finds dark forces at work in a place where medicine and holistic remedies are no match for the oldest cure of all. Aka The Price of Butchers Meat (UK edition) 

Harper Collins, New York (2008)
Trade paperback (400) pages
ISBN: 978-0007252688 

Jane Austen’s Charlotte: Her Fragment of a Last Novel, Completed, by Julia Barrett

Julia Barrett, author of  the Austen continuations The Third Sister and Presumption, has emerged with a literary treasure, holding true to the characters and theme designed by Ms. Austen. Set in the developing seaside town of Sandition, it portrays a young woman from the countryside who is exposed to the sophistication and cynicism of resort life. Her name is Charlotte. With disarming charm and wit, she observes for us the array of quirky characters who reside in the booming resort-to-be. 

Freshly removed from her familiar, provincial environment and exposed to England at the cusp of the nineteenth century, Charlotte encounters the wondrous Parker family, a genteel clan of dreamers and idlers. Others include the feuding Denham siblings; the ailing, yet unconscionably busy Parker sisters; and the wryly observant Emmeline Turner, a lady of literary distinction, who is astonished to fin herself solicited there by those who regard her as a representative of the “better circle of society.” 

The innocent but keen-witted Charlotte quickly finds herself rather deeply involved in this uproarious little town. She can’t help but get swept up in the antics of the Parkers and Denham’s, even while she is vexed and perplexed by the droll young Sidney Parker. But even the best efforts of this charming young lady may not be enough to save the budding resort town. 

Originally named The Brothers by Austen and dubbed Sanditon by her family, this “new” novel promises to bring to life another Austen heroine worthy of keeping company with the likes of Elizabeth, Emma, and Anne. 

M. Evans & Co, New York (2000)
Trade paperback (300) pages
ISBN: 978-0871319715 

Sanditon: Jane Austen’s Last Novel Completed, by Jane Austen and Another Lady (Marie Dobbs aka Anne Telscombe)

Sanditon – an eleven-chapter fragment left at Jane Austen’s death completed with seamless artistry by an Austen aficionado and novelist – is a delightful addition to Austen’s beloved books about England’s upper-crust world and the deception, snobbery, and unexpected romances that animate it. 

When Charlotte Heywood accepts an invitation to visit the newly fashionable seaside resort of Sanditon, she is introduced to a full range of polite society, from the reigning local dowager Lady Denham to her impoverished ward Clara, and from the handsome, feckless Sidney Parker to the amusing, if hypochondrical, sisters. 

A heroine whose clearly-sighted common sense in often at war with romance, Charlotte cannot help observing around her both folly and passion in many guises. But can the levelheaded Charlotte herself resist the attractions of the heart? 

Scribner, New York (Simon & Schuster) (1998)
Trade paperback (320) pages
ISBN: 978-0684843421 

Not to add undue influence over which continuation you read, but I shall be reading and reviewing Sanditon, by Jane Austen and Another Lady next week. I hope others who participated in this week’s group read of Sanditon will join me. If you do not have a copy on hand you can read the transcribed text at the University of Virginia Library website. 

By the Seaside with Sanditon: Day 7 Giveaway 

Enter a chance to win one copy of Sanditon: Jane Austen’s Last Novel Completed , by Jane Austen and Another Lady (1998) by leaving a comment stating what intrigues you about Sanditon, or who your favorite character is by midnight PDT Friday, March 26th, 2010. Winners to be announced on Saturday, March 27th. Shipment to continental US addresses only.  

Upcoming event posts 

Day 8 – March 22 Event Wrap-up
Finis

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Join the 2010 Jane Austen Reading Challenge

A bit late to the fray, but the Jane Austen Challenge by Haley at The Life (and Lies) of an Inanimate Object Blog is still open and I’m up for the challenge. Visit Haley’s blog for the rules and reading levels.

Time Frame:

Challenge runs January 1st 2010 – December 31st 2010.

My Challenge:

6 + books by Jane Austen and 5 + Austenesque books which places me in the  fanatic category. Well – that is certainly NO surprise!

√ Emma, by Jane Austen
Northanger Abbey, by Jane Austen
Persuasion, by Jane Austen
Sanditon, by Jane Austen
Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen
Love and Freindship, by Jane Austen
Dancing with Mr. Darcy, selected and introduced by Sarah Waters
The Darcy Cousins, by Monica Fairview
Dawn of the Dreadfuls, by Steve Hockensmith
Writing Jane Austen, by Elizabeth Aston
The Intrigue at Highbury, by Carrie Bebris

Sign-up’s are still open, so drop by Haley’s great book blog and join in the fun.

*Austen Challenge graphic by old.fashioned

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Winners announced in the Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart giveaway

The response to this giveaway was quite amazing. 110 of you obviously can’t wait to read Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart and Jane Austen Ruined My Life. What a compliment to author Beth Pattillo. Here are the winners drawn at random: 

Winners of one copy of Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart, by Beth Pattillo: 

Dizzy Girl, Melanie, Bella, Katie H., Bloggin BB, SeaStar 

Winners of the two book set of Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart and Jane Austen Ruined my Life: 

Shelly & Lori (Psychotic State) 

Congratulations to all of the winners. To claim your prize, please e-mail me at austenprose at verizon dot net by midnight PST on February 14th, 2010. Shipment is to US and Canadian addresses only. 

Happy reading!

*The I Love Mr. Darcy Tote Bag is by Create Your Own I Heart Shirts at CafePress.

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Everything Austen Challenge X Two Wrap-up

Last day of the Everything Austen Challenge and I am finished with not a day to spare!

Many thanks to Stephanie at Stephanie’s Written Word Blog for organizing and managing the Everything Austen Challenge and letting me spin-off my mini-challenge, Everything Austen Challenge X Two.

Here are my reviews of the books and movies I selected. I changed some of my selections from my original list, but that is a ladies perogative.

Love, Lies and Lizzie, by Rosie Rushton

Mr. Darcy Vampyre, by Amanda Grange

Prada and Prejudice, by Mandy Hubbard

Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict, by Laurie Viera Rigler

Darcy and Anne, by Judith Brocklehurst

The Other Mr. Darcy, by Monica Fairview

According to Jane, by Marilyn Brandt

A Match for Mary Bennet, by Eucharista Ward

A Truth Universally Acknowledged, by Susannah Carson

Willoughby’s Return, by Jane Odiwe

Jane Bites Back, by Michael Thomas Ford

Sense and Sensibility (1971) movie

Phew! It was fun and I am ready for the next Austen reading challenge for 2010.

Many thanks to all who participated in my leg of the extended challenge. The winner of a copy of one of the books or movies that I read or watched will be drawn from all the participants who finished the Everything Austen Challenge X Two on January 1st, 2010.

Congratulations to all who met the challenge and completed it.

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Interview with Monica Fairview: Author of The Other Mr. Darcy

The Other Mr. Darcy, by Monica Fairview (2009)A new Pride and Prejudice spinoff, The Other Mr. Darcy was released this month to positive fanfare. Focusing on Caroline Bingley, a secondary character in Jane Austen’s origial novel, I truly enjoyed her transformation and romance. You can read my review to get all the details of the plot and my impressions. 

Please welcome author Monica Fairview who stops by on her Grand Blog Tour. Thanks for joining us today Monica to chat about your new book The Other Mr. Darcy, a new Austenesque novel. 

While many Austen sequel writers have focused on Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy the main characters in Austen’s original novel, you have chosen to spotlight the minor but very memorable Caroline Bingley. Known for her snooty behavior and snide remarks, she is not exactly likable heroine material for a novel. What inspired you to select one of Austen’s most famous Mean Girls for your heroine?

Not all Mean Girls are Mean all the way through. I felt Jane Austen herself wanted to tell us that. Chapter 45 of Pride and Prejudice starts: “Convinced as Elizabeth now was that Miss Bingley’s dislike of her had originated in jealousy, she could not help feeling how very unwelcome her appearance at Pemberley must be to her.” I read that as an insight into Caroline’s behavior, and a recognition on Elizabeth’s part that Caroline was just trying to keep Mr. Darcy to herself. Jealousy is a very strong emotion, and it tends to bring out the mean streak in everyone. After all, wouldn’t you fight to keep Darcy if you thought you had a chance? 

I read this sentence as Jane Austen providing us with Caroline’s motivation, and took it from there. If Caroline is in love with Mr. Darcy, of course she’s going to try and represent Elizabeth in the worst possible light to him. Hence her snide remarks. 

When I originally read the advance publicity on The Other Mr. Darcy before it was released in the UK last summer, I was intrigued with the creative title. To many readers, Mr. Darcy is the ultimate romantic icon. Who could this other Mr. Darcy be? Like most young ladies, (or not so nearly young), my imagination is very rapid; it jumped from a twin separated at birth, to a multiple personality disorder, to an imposter in a moment! Your Mr. Darcy is of course none of those possibilities, but turns out to be his American cousin. What was your inspiration for Robert Darcy and how is he similar and differ to his English cousin Fitzwilliam Darcy? 

The title was the first thing I thought of, before I even started writing. Originally, I wanted to shadow Mr. Darcy, to create a character that was the other side of him in a way. What came out was Robert Darcy. That’s why if you go through the novel, you’ll find a lot of shadows associated with him. But as he developed, he turned out to be very sunny, and he seemed to prefer open spaces and sunshine. He went his own way. 

Robert is different from Fitzwilliam Darcy because he likes talking about things, he insists on being open and putting his cards on the table. His manners are easygoing and he likes to laugh. To all appearances, he has nothing in common with his cousin Fitzwilliam. But as the novel progresses, they become more similar. There’s a point in the plot where Robert is the one who is earnest and reserved, while Fitzwilliam is – well, I don’t want to give away anything in the plot, but let’s say they’re more similar than one would have thought. 

Let’s delve deeper into the personality of that jealous, manipulative and scheming Caroline Bingley! In Pride and Prejudice she uses all her charms and allurements to entice Mr. Darcy into marriage. When he selects Elizabeth Bennet, of inferior birth and no consequence, her dream of being Mrs. Darcy is thwarted. In The Other Mr. Darcy your Caroline is still devastated by Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth’s marriage hiding her emotions behind propriety. Since you put yourself in her shoes so-to-speak to write the character, can you share with us your thoughts on Caroline’s personality, what you liked and disliked about her, and what you hoped to achieve in telling her own story? 

Caroline used every trick she knew to get Mr. Darcy’s attention. But wouldn’t you? He was a good catch in every possible way. Because we’re on Eliza’s side, we only see Eliza’s perspective. We’ve got to remember that Eliza despises both Mr. Darcy and Caroline when she’s describing the way Caroline toadies to him. Later, she learns more about Mr. Darcy, so she comes to appreciate him. But we don’t get to know Caroline, so that initial impression remains. I felt there was a story there, particularly since Caroline is from a lower social class, and I wanted to know how she really felt about that. 

The other issue that puzzles me about Mr. Darcy’s relationship with Caroline is that he chooses to spend time with her. He’s perfectly happy staying with them in Netherfield, and spends days if not weeks in the company of Caroline. Then, as if it isn’t enough, he later invites her to Pemberley to stay with him there. And of course, he dances with her at that first ball. There must be something good about her, if he’s willing to spend so much time with her. It’s not as if the Bingleys are the only friends he has (one hopes!). 

In The Other Mr. Darcy you’ll find there’s a lot that’s good about her, once she realizes it’s useless to try and keep up the social pretences. It takes quite a few blows to recognize that, but once she does, and the real Caroline emerges, we can see why Fitzwilliam Darcy liked to spend time with her. 

I don’t want to say more about Caroline, because the novel’s partly about her process of self discovery, so I don’t want to spoil the experience for the reader. But I do want to remind people that Caroline, who is younger than Charles Bingley, couldn’t have been more than twenty one. She’s young and inexperienced, One of her redeeming features is that she’s willing to learn from her mistakes. I think of her, in some ways, as resembling Emma, who also arrogantly blunders along and has to learn along the way, except that Emma perhaps is more confident, as she never had to prove herself to anybody. 

Your first novel An Improper Suitor was also a historical romance set in the  Georgian/Regency times. Your historical references and knowledge of the era are quite impressive. In The Other Mr. Darcy, Caroline travels from Netherfield Park in Hertfordshire by carriage to Pemberley in Derbyshire. Your descriptions of the towns and countryside along the route were remarkable. How do you research your novels? Did you actually reconstruct the rout in the early 1800’s to inspire your writing? 

It took me a long time to work out the details of the journey north. I consulted strip maps of the time (literally, maps that are strips. They cover one particular section of the route in detail), I researched each of the places they passed through, and I used only real historic inns of the time. It was a lot of fun, but it took ages. I’m planning to take the route myself one of those days, just to see the actual places. A bit after the fact! 

I’ve visited the places I mention in my next novel, though, so I know exactly what the places look like. It doesn’t make me very popular with my family, I can tell you, because I spend hours taking pictures of every nook and cranny, while they stand around being bored to tears! 

Jane Austen has obviously influenced your writing. You have also mentioned your admiration for author Georgette Heyer when you wrote about her novel The Grand Sophy last summer on Jane Austen Today. What other writers have inspired, influenced, or cajoled you into becoming a writer? Who are you reading right now? 

Speaking of Georgette Heyer, now that’s one writer who’s absolutely amazing with historical detail, because she’d know the routes and the distances between towns and villages at the blink of an eye. Her books are an encyclopedia of information. I remember once painstakingly doing research about some of the famous boxers of the time, and then I picked up one of her books, and in one scene she gave us more information than all the research I’d done!    

I can’t say which writers influenced me most. There are so many. Virginia Woolf was important to me because through her I discovered stream of consciousness writing, and I fell under her spell for a while, until I discovered she was really too melancholy. I’ve loved Oscar Wilde, too, since I was a teen, and I would give anything to be as witty as he is (I haven’t seen Dorian Gray, yet, though I wouldn’t say wit is the strong point in that piece). Another writer I love is Toni Morrison. Perhaps at the back of my mind when I wrote The Other Mr. Darcy I had Jean Rhys’ Wild Sargasso Sea, which gives voice to the madwoman in the attic in Jane Eyre. I’ve read so many types of books, from science fiction to fantasy to postmodern, I can’t begin to say who influenced me. But I’m grateful to them all. 

The only sad thing about writing is that you don’t have as much time to read. 

I read many Jane Austen inspired books over a course of a year, but only a few authors really surprise and delight me as much as you did with The Other Mr. Darcy. Do you have another Austen inspired novel in the queue, or will you take a new direction? 

Thank you for saying that, Laurel Ann. I’ll treasure those words. My next novel, The Darcy Cousins, is coming out in the spring, which is lovely really, because it starts in the springtime. The Darcy Cousins deals with Robert’s sister Clarissa. Meanwhile I’m working on a third book related to Pride and Prejudice, but I can’t reveal more than that. 

Thank you for joining us today Monica. I am looking forward to reading The Darcy Cousins when it is released in the UK (Robert Hale) in March 2010 and in the US (Sourcebooks) in April 2010. 

Author Monica FairviewAbout the Author

As a literature professor, Monica Fairview enjoyed teaching students to love reading. But after years of postponing the urge, she finally realized what she really wanted was to write books herself. She lived in Illinois, Los Angeles, Seattle, Texas, Colorado, Oregon and Boston as a student and professor, and now lives in London. To find out more, please visit her webite Monica Fairview or her blog Monica Fairview, Author.

Giveaway Contest: Win one of two copies of The Other Mr. Darcy by leaving a comment or question for Monica, or by stating what your favorite Caroline Bingley quote is from Pride and Prejudice.  Contest runs from October 7th – 14th and closes on midnight ET. Contest open to US and Candian residents only. Winners announced on October 15th. Good luck!

And .. yet there is more! Here are even more chances for you to win one of five copies of The Other Mr. Darcy, plus a grand prize winner gets chocolates too. Visit Monica’s blog during the month of October and answer a daily question about Pride and Prejudice to enter the drawing. Then, follow Monica on her Grand Tour of the book blogosphere to enter additional giveaway contests. Here is her blog tour schedule.

Good luck to all!

Announcing – Lady Vernon and her Daughter Book Trailer

Lady Vernon and Her Daughter: A Novel of Jane Austen's Lady Susan, by Jane Rubino and Caitlen Rubino-Bradway (2009)Austenprose is very honored to have the privilege of announcing the exclusive premier of the Lady Vernon and her Daughter: A Novel of Jane Austen’s Lady Susan book trailer. This new retelling of Jane Austen’s novella Lady Susan was co-written by mother and daughter team Jane Rubino and Caitlen Rubino-Bradway and is due out October 6th, 2009. You can read a complete preview of Lady Vernon and her Daughter here at Austenprose.

Stay tuned for more great information on this exciting new release as Jane and Caitlen will be guest bloggers on September 7th during ‘Soirée with Lady Susan’ event here at Austenprose September 1st through the 14th. If you would like to join in the fun, check out the invitation and the group reading schedule.

 

I am so looking forward to reading this new Jane Austen inspired book. You can pre-order your copy of Lady Vernon and her Daughter online for October delivery.

Cheers,

Laurel Ann

Murder at Mansfield Park: Fanny Price Now an Outrageous Gold-digger in a new Austen Re-imaging

Mansfield Park (Barnes & Noble Classics), by Jane AustenJane Austen’s novel Mansfield Park will be next up for a literary mash-up. 

Bookseller.com reports that Beautiful Books, a London based publisher announced today that they have purchased Murder at Mansfield Park, a whodunit by Lynn Shepherd. 

Based on Jane Austen’s classic novel Mansfield Park, the murder mystery re-imagines Austen’s classic story re-casting gentle and principled heroine Fanny Price as “ambitious, scheming and relentlessly focused”, while anti-heroine Mary Crawford “suffers great indignities from her mean neighbour”

And now, a bit of self hype by the publisher. 

Simon Petherick, managing director of Beautiful Books, described the book as “fantastic” and “tremendous fun”. He added: “The really good thing about it is that linguistically, it’s very accurate, and she picks up on all the key themes that appeared in the original . . . But whereas Fanny is quite a pain in the arse in Austen’s version, Lynn’s Fanny is an outrageous gold-digger.” 

From what we can gather, this is an original manuscript and not a true mash-up inserting new bits into Jane Austen’s original text like we saw in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Calling Fanny Price a pain in the arse is a bit crude, but honestly, we are just relieved that there are no monster or alien invasions in it.