Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for October, 2011

The Penny Post Weekly Review

  October 30, 2011

News / Gossip: JASNA

For those who did not go to the AGM [and for those who did because the sound was flawed] – here is the video previewing the upcoming AGM in New York City next October [via Kerri]: http://jasna.org/agms/newyork/video/

You can follow the 2012 AGM plans here: http://jasna.org/agms/newyork/index.html

[how easily we forget our cowboys and barbecued spare ribs! – how fickle we are!]

And even further into the future – here is the JASNA AGM 2014 on Facebook: “Mansfield Park in Montreal” [Fanny supporters unite!] – http://www.facebook.com/pages/JASNA-AGM2014/230649860329213?sk=wall

A review of the play S&S in Fort Worth: spoiler alert! Gender bias! http://www.dfw.com/2011/10/18/525176/youll-like-sense-and-sensibility.html


The Circulating Library

“The Making of a Homemaker” – a Smithsonian Institution online exhibition about the domestic guidebooks written for the 19th century American housewife: many images

http://www.sil.si.edu/ondisplay/making-homemaker/intro.htm

Image: Mrs. Lydia Green Abell. The Skillful Housewife’s Book: or Complete Guide to Domestic Cookery, Taste, Comfort and Economy. New York: R. T. Young, 1853.

  • Articles of Interest

Gemmill, Katie. “Jane Austen as Editor: Letters on Fiction and the Cancelled Chapters of Persuasion.”   ECF 24.1 (2011): 105-122

“Seen but Not heard: Servants in Jane Austen’s England”  by Judith Terry:
http://www.jasna.org/persuasions/printed/number10/terry.htm
[via Christy S.]

  •  Books I am Looking Forward to…

Persuasion, An Annotated Edition, edited by Robert Morrison [in the same series as the Annotated Pride and Prejudice edited by Patricia Myers Spacks] – http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?recid=31301

The Jennifer Kloester biography of Georgette Heyer:  a not so glowing review in The Guardian: http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2011/oct/06/georgette-heyer-biography-review-kloester

I think I might weigh in after reading it myself – I thoroughly enjoyed the Hodge biography…

If you have read Bill Bryson’s At Home and Amanda Vickery’s Behind Closed Doors [and etc. regarding her titles] – and need another fix for your domestic matters obsessions, here is a must-have: If Walls Could Talk by Lucy Worsley [image US and UK cover: note that it is not available in the US until 2/2012 and has a different cover] – Ms. Worsley recently aired her Elegance and Decadence, The Age of the Regency on BBC4, also not available here until when ?? [though it is available for streaming, on youtube, etc.]  [makes one want to abandon the colonies for good and head to the mothership?]

You can follow Lucy Worsley’s blog here: http://www.lucyworsley.com/home.html where there is a link for the book…

US cover

UK cover

If you like to buy Jane Austen’s six novels in various forms by cover, editor, etc, here is a new take on cover art:

http://www.africandigitalart.com/2011/10/jane-austen-remixed-thandiwe-tshabalala/

A review by Claire Harman [of Jane’s Fame fame] of P.D. James’s Death Comes to Pemberley here: http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/lifestyle/book/article-24002867-death-comes-to-pemberley—review.do?mid=513438

  • On my bedside table

Claire Tomalin’s Dickens: http://www.penguin.co.uk/nf/Book/BookDisplay/0,,9780670917679,00.html

And speaking of Dickens, a reminder about the exhibition at the Morgan Library and Museum: http://www.themorgan.org/exhibitions/exhibition.asp?id=48

Websites and Blogs worth a look:

I’ve looked at this before, but a friend [thanks Joe!] reminded me to give it another look:  Jane Austen’s family on Ancestry.com

http://wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~janeausten

“A Dude Reads Jane Austen” at the Gone Reading blog: http://gonereading.com/site/2011/10/20/a-dude-reads-jane-austen-volume-2/

And visit the Gone Reading blog to find out about their reading foundation – have a look and give if you can!

A group blog by British historical fiction authors: English History Authors http://www.englishhistoryauthors.blogspot.com/

“Britain leaves us awed by ancient castles, ruins and museums. History pours out a legacy of battles, a developing monarchy, a structured class system, court-inspired behaviors and fashions, artwork and writings that have created an international hoard of Anglophiles. From among them have come forth those who feel that they must fuel the fire. Welcome to the happy home of English Period Authors. We have come together to share, inspire and celebrate and to reach out to our cherished readers.”

“What links Jane Austen, John Nash, Humphry Repton and Blaise Hamlet?” at the Georgian Gentleman blog:

Blaise Castle – Humphry Repton

http://georgiangentleman.posterous.com/blaise-hamlets-homes-fit-for-the-elderly
[via Two Nerdy History Girls]

Thrifty Jane blog – interviews with various Austen characters, esp the “thrifty” sort! [i.e. Mrs. Norris, Lucy Steele, Lady C, etc…] http://thriftyjane.wordpress.com/

Jane Austen Confessions: http://austenconfessions.tumblr.com/

Recipes from Colonial Williamsburg: http://recipes.history.org/

A reminder of this site, Bath In Time: http://www.bathintime.co.uk/

[image: Inside the Assembly Rooms, 1805]

A post on Ackermann’s many prints, reproduced on this blog: [via Jane Austen’s World blog]:

Ackermann’s Library 1813

http://ekduncan.blogspot.com/2011/10/regency-england-interior-views.html?mid=50

Any interest in English Handwriting?? – here is an amazing online course for free – makes me want to dig out my old calligraphy pens and settle in for a winter class!:

http://www.english.cam.ac.uk/ceres/ehoc/

‘The Earle of Essex his instructions to his sonne’

and here is more handwriting information:
http://paleo.anglo-norman.org/empfram.html

A post by Simon Beattie on the man who tried to kill King George III in 1800: http://www.simonbeattie.kattare.com/blog/?p=57


Museum Musings – Exhibition Trekking:

I’ve posted on this before and now the exhibition is open:

Dorothy Jordan – NPG

http://www.npg.org.uk/whatson/the-firstactresses/first_actresses_exhibition.php

[and while there, don’t forget to sign up for the Fortnum & Mason luxury hamper giveaway! – http://www.npg.org.uk/whatson/the-first-actresses/competition.php

And visit Austenonly for a review of the accompanying book:

http://austenonly.com/2011/10/19/book-review-of-the-first-actresses-nell-gwyn-to-sarah-siddons-by-gill-perry-with-joseph-roach-and-shearer-west/

The Charleston Museum (in South Carolina) will be offering a documentary film series on quilts: http://www.charlestonmuseum.org/event.asp?ID=444 [be sure to watch the video at this link]

And also visit the upcoming exhibit Coat Check: [image] Nov. 12, 2011 – March 4, 2012 http://www.charlestonmuseum.org/exhibits-coatcheck

Coat c1830

Caravaggio and His Followers in Rome:   this exhibit was at the Kimball Art Museum in Fort Worth, but I was unfortunately unable to go – Laurel Ann at Austenprose did see it on the Sunday as she was leaving later than me – she said I must buy the book, so here you go, another lovely art book to peruse: http://yalepress.yale.edu/yupbooks/book.asp?isbn=9780300170726

Exhibit info here:
https://www.kimbellart.org/Exhibitions/Exhibition-Details.aspx?eid=74

and here at the National Gallery of Canada:
http://www.gallery.ca/caravaggio/en/index.htm

Winterthur Museum:
“With Cunning Needle: Four Centuries of Embroidery”

http://www.winterthur.org/?p=901

and the upcoming conference: http://www.winterthur.org/?p=892
[via Two Nerdy History Girls]


Continuing Education:

Check out this Colorado Romance Writers, Inc. Online Workshop Series
class for NOVEMBER 2011!

Writing Between the Sexes (Using gender differences to
create believable characters)

Instructor: Leigh Michaels http://www.leighmichaels.com/
Date: October 31 – November 25, 2011

DESCRIPTION: Have you ever read a mystery where the heroine sounds like
an oversexed gangster? Or a romance where the hero sounds more like a
girlfriend than a man? Chances are, the oversexed heroine was created by
a male author; the tender, emotional hero by a woman. Men and women
think, act, and talk differently – which causes problems for writers
who are trying to create characters of the opposite sex. Learn about the
most common gender differences, and use them to create believable
characters of the opposite sex. (And along the way, you may get some
great ideas about how to deal with your husband, boyfriend, boss, big
brother, or other assorted males — or for the first time, understand
what’s really going on inside the head of your wife, girlfriend, mom…)

Fee: $20 CRW Members; $25 Non-CRW Members. FMI about the workshops or
speakers, or to register: http://crw-rwa.ning.com

Shopping

The Jane Austen Centre is beginning its holiday shopping marketing:  here are some  ideas from the “Pemberley Collection”: http://www.janeaustengiftshop.co.uk/images/2611.html

“The popular colours of Regency England” 

Sage and other variants were very fashionable during the Regency period as a green dye that did not fade or darken was invented. However, it was literaly the colour to die for – the pigment contained a poisonous copper arsenic compound! 

Plum is a much nicer word than ‘Puce’, which was popular in the Regency period. The purplish pink shade was named after the French word for ‘Flea’ as it resembled the shade of the blood sucking insect after a meal. Yuck! 

Teal and shades of blue were also in demand. In Jane Austen’s time dyes were expensive, pigments made of natural substances and the resulting hues rather muted compared to our modern artificial dyes, hence this lovely soft shade of teal would have been considered as being quite bright!

[from the Jane Austen Centre website]

[sage, plum and teal being my favorite colors – I knew I was born in the wrong century!]

For Fun

A joke on twitter – Victorian London:

“Why are a chimney sweep and a bugler good partners at cards?

One can follow soot, the other can trumpet.” joke, 1884

This just strikes my funny bone: “The Invisible Mother” at How to be a Retronaut:

And finally, absolutely nothing to do with Jane Austen or the 18th or the 19th century:

Swim caps from the 50s – thankfully we have come a long way baby…: [via How to Be  a Retronaut]   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FtZJMlOu0Sw

Copyright @2011 by Deb Barnum of Jane Austen in Vermont

Read Full Post »

Watch your mailbox, or subscribe now to get this Sense and Sensibility filled issue!

Andrew Davies reveals to the JASNA conference how he ‘sexed-up’ Pride & Prejudice

[I heard Davies at the Fort Worth AGM - a hoot of a talk with many pictures from the movies - will report on this in full when I post my AGM reports - so stay tuned!]

•A new series of Garrow’s Law, the Georgian courtroom drama, hits the TV screens

•The Night Before Christmas: seasonal writing from 1800s America

•Stunning pictures from the Jane Austen Festival in Bath

•Do the men in Sense & Sensibility disappoint, asks Maggie Lane

•Take a new look at the events that led to the start of the Regency

•The moving history of the Sunday school movement

•Plus all the latest news from the Jane Austen world as well as reports from JAS and JASNA, our popular quiz, competition and readers’ letters!

 Subscribe today to Jane Austen’s Regency World, the full-colour, must-read, glossy magazine for fans of the world’s favourite author – delivered to your doorstep every two months direct from Bath, England.

More information right here: treat yourself and subscribe today!http://www.janeaustenmagazine.co.uk/index.html

[Information and image from JARW Magazine]

Read Full Post »

And the lucky winner is:

Margay who responded on October 24 with:

Well, I’m always interested in what authors think should or could have happened to these characters if Jane Austen had ever revisited them. But what intrigues me most about this book is how many well known authors participated in it – how many of them like Austen enough to want to write about her characters. I can’t wait to read them!

Congratulations Margay! Please email me [ jasnavermont [at] gmail [dot] com ]by Monday October 31st with your email and address and phone number, and I will have the book sent off to you right away.  If I get no response I will draw another name.

Thank you all for your interesting comments about this book  and all things Jane Austen!  Let’s hope the dialogue never stops!

Copyright @2011 Deb Barnum, of Jane Austen in Vermont 

Read Full Post »

Reminder to post a comment on the interview with Laurel Ann Nattress, to be thrown into the mix for the giveaway of her book Jane Austen Made me Do It – you have until tomorrow night October 26 at midnight [i.e. the wee hours of the morning of October 27th] – I will announce the winner during the  day of the 27th…

Worldwide eligibility!

Good luck one and all!

Read Full Post »

One cannot resist the Emporium at the JASNA AGM – and this year in Fort Worth was more fun than ever – tables filled with goodies from the various Regions, and a whole room filled with local vendors from Texas.  But I first always head to the book stalls – a bad and expensive habit – and this year I was not disappointed. Happy to see again, Traveler’s Tales from Canada [sorry, no website!], and Jane Austen Books, and though I had to think of weight and limit some purchases, this year I wisely bought what I wanted to and shipped them home – they came today [love the UPS man, don’t you?!] 

So here is my book list: some are titles I have had on my list for a while, others are what I call the “browser’s banquet” – those things you either didn’t know about or wanted to see and touch before buying – and finally those things I am ashamed to say should have been in my Austen Library years ago, but never made it there for some reason or other …  so here goes, with short annotations, in no particular order… 

Austen, Jane.  Volume the Second. Ed. Brian Southam. Oxford: 1963. – I’ve had vol. 1 and 3 for a good long time, so very happy to find this… 

 

Quin, Vera. In Paris with Jane Austen.  Cappella Archive, 2011. Her Jane Austen Visits London is terrific, so why not Paris…! 

Hurst, Jane. Jane Austen and Chawton. The Author / JAS, 2009.  Had to add this to my JAS collection… 

Such Things as Please my Own Appetite: Food and Drink in Jane Austen’s Time. JASNA-Washington DC, n.d.  40p.  A great compilation of essays, both contemporary and historical.   

Wilson, Kim. Tea with Jane Austen. London: Frances Lincoln, 2011.  The new edition with color illustrations – I saw this in London in May and didn’t pick it up [that old weight problem…] – saw Ms. Wilson [we played Whist together!] but did not get it signed … oh well… lovely book – everyone who loves tea and Jane should have this, both editions really…    

_____. Flowers and Shrubs for Georgian and Regency Gardens, including a catalogue of Kitchen-garden Plants. The Author, 2011. 20 p.  A great list for the gardener in me… 

Noblesse Oblige: An Enquiry into the Identifiable Characteristics of the English Aristocracy. By Alan Ross, Nancy Mitford, Evelyn Waugh, et al. London: Hamish Hamilton, 1956. A must-have for your British collection, with requisite British “humour.” 

Kemble, Frances Anne.  Journal of a Residence on a Georgian Plantation in 1838-1839.  Athens: U of Georgia P, 1984, c1961. [originally published in 1863] – Kemble’s views on slavery in Georgia– compelling stuff I have long wanted to read…

Monaghan, David, ed. Emma: Contemporary Critical Essays. Macmillan, 1992. Didn’t have this one – now I do… 

Wright, Lawrence. Clean & Decent: The Fascinating History of the Bathroom and the Water-Closet. Penguin, 2000, c1960.  What every person with an interest in the most basic domestic matters should read… and the cover is really cool…

Vulliamy, C. E. English Letter Writers. London: Collins, 1945.  Part of the Britain in Pictures series, which I collect… 

Lefroy, Helen, and Gavin Turner, ed. The Letters of Mrs. Lefroy: Jane Austen’s Beloved Friend. Winchester, JAS, 2007.  why not?  more letters from Jane’s circle…

Adams, Jennifer. Little Miss Austen: Pride and Prejudice. Layton: Gibbs Smith, 2011. Because you have to have this if you collect everything to do with P&P

Ashford, Lindsay. The Mysterious Death of Miss Austen. Dinas Powys,Wales: Honno, 2011.  Ms. Ashford gave a most interesting talk at the AGM – brought this on the plane – almost done and will report on it soon! 

Piggott, Patrick. The Innocent Diversion: Music in the Life and Writings of Jane Austen. Moonrise, 2011, c1979.  A must-have, now reprinted… 

Barron, Stephanie. Jane and the Canterbury Tale. New York: Bantam, 2011. Because this is her latest – Ms. Barron was there, but alas! I did not get this signed either… I have heard it is great…

Southam, Brian. Jane Austen and the Navy. 2nd ed, rev. National Maritime Museum, 2005, c2000. Because I am shamed at not having read this – on my TBR pile, on top… 

Rubino, Jane, and Caitlen Rubino-Bradway. Lady Vernon and Her Daughter. New York: Crown, 2009.  Who cannot want more of Lady Susan?

Rees, Joan. Jane Austen: Woman and Writer. New York: St. Martin’s, 1976.  A biography I do not have – has an emphasis on the juvenilia and letters… 

McMullen, Lorraine. An Odd Attempt in a Woman: The Literary Life of Frances Brooke. Vancouver: U of British Columbia P, 1983.  I recently read The Excursion and wanted to know more about this author who Jane Austen read… 

Spacks, Patricia Meyer. Gossip. New York: Knopf, 1985.  Should have been on my shelf years ago – imagine Emma without “gossip”! 

A few finds on London, because one can never have enough:

Colby, Reginald. Mayfair: A Town within London. New York: Barnes, 1966. 

Hobhouse, Hermione. A History of Regent Street. London: MacDonald and Jane’s, 1975. 

Shepherd, Thomas, and James Elmes. London in the Nineteenth Century. New York: Mayflower, 1978. A reprint edition [originally published in 1827] but happy to finally have this… excellent pictures…

and of course this from my roomie – Jane Austen Made me Do It, by Laurel Ann Nattress – now signed and all! – not to mention a delightful read…

Oh dear, no space, no time…

Copyright @2011 Deb Barnum, of Jane Austen in Vermont 

Read Full Post »

We are very fortunate today to welcome Laurel Ann Nattress, creator of the blog Austenprose,  and editor of the just released Jane Austen Made Me Do It, a collection of Austen-inspired short stories.  The book was just launched ~ on October 14, 2011 at the Fort Worth JASNA AGM!  

Hello Laurel Ann!  

A hearty welcome to you today as you trek around the world on your Grand Blog Tour!  A lovely time here in Vermont, so sorry we are doing this via cyberspace rather than a true visit over a hot cup of tea on a colorful fall day – but alas! this will have to do! 

Before we get to your new [and very exciting!] book, I’d like to start with a few general questions about you and Jane Austen. 

JAIV: Most of us in “Jane Austen Land” know you as the dedicated, enthusiastic, and insightful author / editor of the Austenprose blog.  Just give us a brief look into your personal history, your first experience with Jane Austen and why she has remained such an integral part of your life. 

LAN: Hi Deb, thanks for inviting me to chat with you today on Jane Austen inVermont. Can we have some of your famous Vermont maple syrup with the hot cup of tea?   

 *blushes* Your diplomacy in describing my Jane Austen output is very kind, but honestly, it is all just a wonderful outlet for my Austen obsession that began with the 1980 airing of PBS/BBC Fay Weldon television adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. I knew of Jane Austen previously, but that five hour miniseries was a life altering experience. Compelled to discover more works by this fabulous author, I read all of Austen’s novels and worshiped in silence. There is just something so intriguing about the Regency era; a simplicity and civility that is so refreshing to our complicated modern lives. Looking back is delightful – though, I do prefer modern conveniences such as the Internet, plumbing and social advances.

Austen has remained integral to my life because her characters have. Her astute observation of human nature is around me every day in my family, friends, people I meet through my work as a bookseller, and through my blog. I recently had an encounter with a modern-day Fanny Dashwood that I was much wiser of because of Austen’s portrayal of her in Sense and Sensibility. Austen makes me think – and learn – and I love the challenge.

JAIV:  Can I dare ask that always-asked / impossible-to-answer question – which is your favorite Austen novel and why? 

LAN: You are right Deb, this is an impossible-to-answer question! I could give the politically correct answer and say that my favorite Jane Austen novel is the one I am currently reading, but I won’t, and will go out on a limb and say it wavers between Mansfield Park and Lady Susan. Are you shocked? Oh, I do dearly love to laugh with Pride and Prejudice and get pierced through my soul with Persuasion, but I am one to root for the underdog, so I will stick with my first choices. I think I am drawn to the dark characters in both of these novels and how they are played against the plot. The novella Lady Susan is especially intriguing to me because it was an early work, not as developed and polished as her full novels, and its eponymous heroine is just out-and-out wicked. I would love to see it made into the next mini-series or movie. (hint, hint) 

JAIV:  I agree with you Laurel Ann – I do wonder why Lady Susan has never been made into a movie – casting it would be great fun!…

If you were to start an Austen library, what would you say are the essential works to have [the Complete Works and Lettersbeing a given]? 

LAN:  here you go for starters:

Fiction: Novels by her contemporaries of course: Ann Radcliffe: Fanny Burney, and Samuel Richardson, but also contemporary authors who continue her legacy: Georgette Heyer, Stephanie Barron, Lauren Willig and Syrie James to name only a few.  

Non-fiction: *walking to my bookshelves* My favorite biography: Jane Austen: A Life, by Claire Tomalin, and Jane Austen: The World of Her Novels, by Deirdre Le Faye. 

Reference Sources: For the Inner-librarian in us all: A Bibliography of Jane Austen, by David Gilson and for general Regency & Georgian culture: All Things Austen, by Kirstin Olsen. 

JAIV:  Your introduction contains many fine quotes from Austen’s works – if you could choose one quote from all her writings, what would be your favorite? 

LAN: From a letter to her sister, Cassandra – 13 May, 1801 

‘Another stupid party last night; perhaps if larger they might be less intolerable, but here there were only just enough to make one card-table, with six people to look on and talk nonsense to each other.’ 

The whole letter is just a cut up of the characters and family in the neighborhood. I enjoy seeing her unguarded and making sport of the humanity that surrounded her. Jane Austen did not suffer fools gladly, which probably got her into trouble with her family. It may be one of the main reasons that her sister destroyed much of their personal correspondence.  

JAIV:  So now let’s talk about your book, Jane Austen Made Me Do It: Original Stories Inspired by Literature’s Most Astute Observer of the Human Heart: 

This is your first venture into editing and publishing – please tell us about how this all came about? – a dream-come-true really, isn’t it? 

LAN: Indeed a dream project Deb, that came about because of my blog Austenprose. Isn’t the Internet grand? It (and the movies) has opened up Austen to a wider audience. 

I feature many book reviews and author interviews on my blog, and as I continued to work with them, I saw a thread connecting them and my passion for Jane Austen. They were all so enthusiastic about her work and how Austen had inspired them. One day, out of the blue, I thought to myself, “Why couldn’t I edit an anthology of Austen-inspired stories? I could ask all of the authors that I had worked with to contribute a story!” 

Of course, my biggest challenge was if I could find a publisher, so I reached out to some of the authors I knew for advice. Before I could write up a book proposal, I was contacted by a literary agent who wrote to me in appreciation of the work I had done promoting his client.  I thought about it for about 10 seconds, and then I seized the opportunity at once, called him inNew York, and pitched my idea to him.  He loved it.  So did Random House.  I had a book deal within a week and twenty authors lined up in about a month.  It was truly a day when my stars and planets aligned and magic happened.

JAIV:  I love subtitles – they give the author an opportunity to give a real hint of what’s inside, a well-worded tug on the reader.  Your title of Jane Austen Made Me Do Itis just brilliant, and the subtitle defining Jane Austen as an “astute observer of the human heart” is in itself an astute description of our favorite author – how long did it take to come up with this title, or was it always floating around in your head? 

LAN: I must give all the credit of the title to my agent, Mitchell Waters.  He thought of Jane Austen Made Me Do It and presented it to my editor who loved it.  The subtitle arose from some of my writing on my blog that my editor was struck by.  She elaborated and lengthened it. I liked it, so we used it.

JAIV:  And, I love the cover, a creative way of getting all those words onto the cover without looking wordy! – and the young lady in forward motion, almost saying to us, “come on, let’s look inside, shall we?”  How much input did you have on the cover design and other physical aspects of the book? 

LAN: Cover design is an art. I see hundreds of new ones arrive monthly at my job as a bookseller.  Some just jump out at you from the new release tables. Others, not so much.  The first time I saw the cover design for Jane Austen Made Me Do It I was taken aback.  It was striking and so different than any other cover I had seen. 

Authors have very little input on cover design or marketing.  We are just the talent.  The publisher is the sales professional.  The only thing that I requested to change was the ribbon color from orange to pink and that they add a grosgrain texture.  I was relieved when they agreed and I think the end result is amazing.

JAIV:  I know you are familiar with many of the Austen-inspired fiction writers, either through their works or befriending them through your blog – how ever did you choose from the many excellent authors out there? And what was the writing requirement you posed to them?

LAN: Since the 1995 A&E/BBC airing of Pride and Prejudice staring the dishy Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy, the output of Austen-inspired novels has created a new book genre – Austenesque.  We all have our favorite authors that we personally connect with and want to read over and over.  The same is true for me of Austen-inspired novels.  It took me about 15 minutes to compile a list of my dream authors for my editor to look through.  Happily she agreed with all of them and added a few new authors that she knew admired Jane Austen.  The day I sent out the email query was amazing.  Within ten minutes I had my first response from Lauren Willig.  She was ecstatic.  Everyone that I had worked with previously said yes over the next few days.  Within a month, we had our line-up set. 

I was pretty open with the requirements with the authors.  The story needed to be about five thousand words in length, but other than that, they could write in any genre and era.  I threw this quote at them and let them loose. 

“[S]uppose as much as you chuse; give a loose to your fancy, indulge your imagination in every possible flight which the subject will afford,” Elizabeth Bennet, Pride and Prejudice, Ch 60. 

JAIV:  The variety and diversity of these stories is quite amazing, all connected to Jane Austen in some way – she is either in the story or her presence is felt in some way; there are historical tales and contemporary tales; some of her characters are revisited; there are love stories and ghost stories, we get to visit with Stephanie Barron’s (and Jane’s!) favorite gentleman Lord Harold Trowbridge again!, and even The Beatles make an appearance! – were you surprised by this so very wide range of tales?? and how so? 

LAN: Yes, I was entirely surprised and delighted by the diversity. We had hoped for about half historical and half contemporary stories so that it would appeal to a wider audience.  The authors sent me their ideas and I encouraged them in certain directions.  When the stories started arriving, I was thrilled with the result.  There were very few re-writes and then copy editing followed for all.  It took about two years from concept to curtain.  All of my authors, except for the short story contest winner, were polished pros.  They came though like champions. 

JAIV:  How ever did you figure out the order of stories? 

LAN: This was entirely my choice.  It was gut instinct really and a bit of formula that will remain a secret! ;-)

JAIV:  There are twenty-two stories, written by known published authors – all but one that is –  “The Love Letter” by Brenna Aubrey [which I have to say is in my top three list – will say which in my review!), winner of the short story contest  – tell us about the process of that contest and the difficulties in choosing just this one from so many entries? 

LAN: The Jane Austen Made Me Do It Short Story Contest was also entirely my idea.  I thought it in keeping with Jane Austen’s dedication of her craft to inspire novice and unpublished authors to write.  It was held online at the Republic of Pemberley last January. The stories were submitted and posted on the contest board and the public voted on the Top Ten. Those finalists advanced to the review by my editor and me with my agent stepping in if there was a tie. 

We were blown over by the response.  Eighty-eight stories were submitted. They were amazing.  Selecting the Grand Prize Winner was quite a challenge, but from the moment I had read Brenna Aubrey’s “The Love Letter,” I knew that it was very special.  I was thrilled that it made it into the Top Ten and that my editor loved it too.  You can still read the stories online – so please check them out. 

JAIV:  You have not published a book before.  Here you had to choose and edit the stories; write the introduction; add in author bios; create and implement a marketing strategy to include the book’s website, PR materials [bookmarks and posters and magnets, oh my!); launch the book, etc! – what in this whole process surprised you the most? Discouraged you the most? Inspired you the most? 

LAN: You are so observant Deb.  Jane Austen has taught you well.  Yes, there is a huge process to bring a book to publication and market it.  I had seen the end product – the sales part of it – when a book hits the bookstore.  I also had been involved in the marketing end while working with publishers and authors on my blog, but I knew nothing about the process before that. 

One hears horror stories about the long road to publication.  Our dear Jane Austen had her own trials before Sense and Sensibility was published in 1811. As I mentioned previously, I presented my idea to a literary agent who took the chance on an unpublished blogger and connected me with the perfect editor at Random House who loved the idea.  Working with Caitlin was so encouraging.  She is very positive and nurturing for a new editor.  Her expertise and instincts guided me to many of my decisions.  I was surrounded by an amazing team of agent, editor and authors.  I am very grateful and am so pleased with the result.  

JAIV:  Jane Austen Made Me Do It officially launched on Friday, October 14, 2011 in the Barnes & Noble in Fort Worth, Texas, during the JASNA AGM.  Please tell us about this evening – the whole event, who came, what was said, what yousaid, questions asked, etc… 

LAN: I could write a whole blog (and will) on the eventful book launch. Here it is in a nutshell: in attendance were Pamela Aidan, Stephanie Barron, Carrie Bebris, Syrie James, Janet Mullany, Margaret Sullivan and me.  It was the trifecta of Jane Austen book launches with two of my anthology authors: Carrie Bebris and Janet Mullany also sharing the limelight launching their new titles: The Deception at Lyme and Jane Austen Blood Persuasion.  I was very nervous.  I had never spoken in public before.  I was told I was as white as a sheet, but that my talk went off well.  We had about 150 in attendance, many of which were attendees of the JASNA conference.  I inscribed a lot of books that night.  It was surreal. 

JAIV:  What is next for you with this book? – any more launch parties? book talks? etc?

LAN: I have my local book launch for Jane Austen Made Me Do It on Saturday, October 22, 2011 at Barnes & Noble in Lynnwood, WA.  This is my store (I work there) so it is particularly eventful to celebrate with friends and family and co-workers.  I have other events in the queue, but I do get a rest for a while, which I really need after weeks of build-up and writing 32 blogs for my Grand Tour of the blogosphere! Phew!

JAIV:  And now that you have had this first publishing experience, what is your next project? – would you do another such anthology? and what would you say was the most valuable lesson you learned this first time out? i.e. what is your best advice to a would-be writer? 

LAN: I have two projects that are in development.  One is an anthology and the other is a new kind of annotated edition of Austen. I will leave you hanging in suspense Deb! 

JAIV:  You and I have had numerous discussions on the popular culture aspect of Jane Austen today: the movies, the continuations, the sequels, prequels, retellings, the comic books and graphic renditions, the mash-ups and the paraphernalia, the you-tubes, the facebook and twitter pages and blogs – the list is endless as you know! – so what would you say to the person most horrified by these reincarnations of Jane Austen, these 21st century takes on her classic literary talents, that person who wants her and her characters left in peace, that person who will re-read the originals over and over before daring to tread into these murky insane waters of popular culture – what can you say to them so they might be encouraged to read these works, to hopefully discover your book to be a fine start?! 

LAN: The Austen purist is a tough convert. If they enjoy the original author only and do not want to try anyone else, I can only add that I hope they might consider branching out and being adventuresome. I hope that they might be tempted by my anthology because it was written in the spirit of Jane Austen’s ideals of creativity and craft development.  It might just make them laugh – and even Austen’s self-elevating heroine Emma Woodhouse, who she feared no one would like but herself, is appealing because she has the keen sense of laughing at the sublimely ridiculous Mr. Elton: 

“After this speech he was gone as soon as possible. Emma could not think it too soon; for with all his good and agreeable qualities, there was a sort of parade in his speeches which was very apt to incline her to laugh. She ran away to indulge the inclination, leaving the tender and the sublime of pleasure to Harriet’s share.” Emma, Chapter 9

JAIV:  And finally, if you weren’t reading Jane Austen, if heaven-forbid there never had been a Jane Austen [gasp!], what would you be doing?

LAN: I would be obsessed with James Fenimore Cooper. The Last of the Mohicans is actually Sense and Sensibility with guns, Indians and red coats! But that is a whole other blog post, right? 

JAIV:  Indeed it is!  Thank you Laurel Ann for so graciously answering all my questions! I wish you the best of everything with this book – I loved it and will post a review in the coming week…

LAN: It was my pleasure Deb.  Thanks for your inspiring questions.  Hope to meet you again soon to share that cup of tea and more musings on our favorite author! 

*******************************

About the editor:

 Laurel Ann, on the right, with Syrie James, one of the anthology
authors, at the JASNA AGM in Fort Worth

A life-long acolyte of Jane Austen, Laurel Ann Nattress is the author/editor of Austenprose.com a blog devoted to the oeuvre of her favorite author and the many books and movies that she has inspired. She is a life member of the Jane Austen Society of North America, a regular contributor to the PBS blog Remotely Connected and the Jane Austen Centre online magazine. An expatriate of southern California, Laurel Ann lives in a country cottage near Snohomish, Washington. Visit Laurel Ann at her blogs Austenprose.com and JaneAustenMadeMeDoIt.com, on Twitter as @Austenprose, and on Facebook as Laurel Ann Nattress

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
ISBN: 978-0345524966 

Giveaway of Jane Austen Made Me Do It 

Enter a chance to win one copy of Jane Austen Made Me Do It by leaving a comment by midnight October 26, 2011 [i.e. the morning of the 27th], stating what intrigues you about reading an Austen-inspired short story anthology. Winners to be drawn at random and announced on October 27th, 2011.  Open to all and will ship internationally.  Good luck to everyone!

 Copyright @2011 Deb Barnum, at Jane Austen in Vermont

Read Full Post »

I keep the following bumper sticker on my car [a mini cooper]:

I’d Rather Be Reading Jane Austen

but in the drivers side rear window rather than on the bumper – largely because I was hoping it would keep my husband from obsconding with my car – I figured he would be too embarrassed to drive around with that on view, right on the driver’s side  – but to no avail – he said he likes the looks that he gets! – wish I had a video!

But he was very quick to point out to me yesterday that there seems to be an opinion of all this reading of Jane Austen from the wild blue – so I append this picture that made him just laugh out loud:

[a rather large bird wouldn't you say??]

And on this happy note, I leave you for several days to retreat into the late 18th – early 19th century at the JASNA AGM in Forth Worth – Jane Austen western style – giddyup!

[did I ever mention that I was obsessed with Roy Rogers when a mere child? - thought I was Dale Evans in the 2nd grade - but that's a story for another day... ] – in the meantime I am looking forward to this blending of my two obsessions – Austen and Cowboys… will take many notes and many pictures and post my observations upon my return…

Copyright @2011 Deb Barnum, of Jane Austen in Vermont

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,501 other followers

%d bloggers like this: