with guest Debra Austen Marvin.
As I pen this post with my newly sharpened goose quill, I shall make a most glorious effort to pass along my appreciation—nay, my adoration—of all the joys brought to my life through the writings of Miss Jane Austen. Oh, how I yearn for a way to let her know…that she’d be worth about a gazillion bucks now!
If there was a period in the last two hundred years when Austen’s literature and the fascination about her had a low point, it must have been before her death. From that time, her literary star rose: stage plays, live readings, early radio shows and finally broadcast television and big-screen movies. Well over seventy known film productions gave the English-speaking world Austen’s literature, and a moment when the BBC brought a certain aloof hero into iconic status.
|Susie Dietze and I proving this Austen thing is real.|
You’ve all heard of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, right? (and no, I don’t plan to see it. I shall be buying muslin instead.)
The Jane Austen Society is a world-wide organization hosting events and conferences, and their numbers continue to grow. How about an Austen tour of England? Multiple travel companies will take you to any spot she visited or lived, as well as the many settings used in television and movies.
I asked the Seekers about their Austen habits. Missy Tippens, like so many, loves the Colin Firth version of Pride and Prejudice. Of course she can’t count the number of times she’s seen it! Ruth Logan Herne watches it once a year whether she needs to or not. Julie Lessman goes for a different version; she and hubby have watched the Keira Knightly movie at least ten times. (I must tell you all how much I ardently adore watching Matthew MacFadyen cross that field at sunrise.)
Tina Radcliffe, marches to a different fife and drum corps, and prefers Persuasion, showing her devotion by watching both versions. Often. Like minimal 20 times each. (“Both” versions means the 1995 and 2007 versions, in case you didn’t know. Older versions have really fallen into obscurity. Now you know, just in case someone asks, or “Austen” is a category when you finally get on Jeopardy.)
I bring all this up because I too have tossed my velvet, feathered turban into Austen-inspired fiction. Years ago, my Inkwell Inspirations blog-mates and I discussed novellas—a possible anthology. When we’d nearly settled on Austen, our sweet Anita Mae Draper reminded us she was far more comfortable with a western theme. Well, you can see where this went, thanks to WhiteFire Publishing.
|Austen in Austin, Volume 1.|
So why take a chance out in Austen…land, when hundreds, er, a thousand others have gone before us?
Mary Munoz (aka Mary Virginia Ginny Carmichael writing at times as Mary Jane Hathaway…) offered her take on Austen’s timelessness: “I think most people love the Regency clothes, the breeches, the riding boots, the neckties, the manners, the tea. But I love Miss Jane because she understood people. When I read Austen, I laugh and nod my head because I know people just like Mrs. Bennet, Mr. Wickham and Mr. Collins. She was a true study of the human heart and she could write a great romance, to boot. She wrote such perfectly imperfect characters that we want to BE Elizabeth Bennet or Emma Woodhouse, and love them even as they fail so spectacularly. We yearn for our own Mr. Darcy or Captain Wentworth even though they're too proud or have a hard time forgiving past hurts. How did she do it? My theory (supported by her hilarious letters to her sister) is that Miss Jane knew herself inside and out, all the bad with all the good. And through studying her own heart, she could write the funniest, most romantic, most devious, and most noble characters.”
Julie Klassen, who’s found amazing success with her Regency era stories says: “For me, it's Jane Austen's humor, which still makes us laugh today, and becomes more evident every time I re-read one of her novels.”
Author Katherine Reay puts it this way: "Jane Austen is timeless simply because she pinpoints us with unerring accuracy. The details of our lives continue to alter, but human nature doesn't and that's her gift -- She knows us better than we know ourselves. And while it may make us squirm (looking at you, Emma), it never fails to delight."
|Austin Capitol Building|
Miss Matilda Pentwhistle, Fullerton town matriarch and master of the pianoforte says: “The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.”
Now hold your fichu, Matilda. That’s a quote from Northanger Abbey. You can’t fool me! But what a segue. Here’s our Austen in Austin novellas wherein we discover four heroines in historical Austin, TX, as they find love--Jane Austen style. Volume 1 includes:
If I Loved You Less by Gina Welborn, based on Emma
A prideful matchmaker examines her own heart when her protégé falls for the wrong suitor.
Romantic Refinements by Anita Mae Draper, based on Sense and Sensibility
A misguided academy graduate spends the summer falling in love . . . twice.
One Word from You by Susanne Dietze, based on Pride and Prejudice
A down-on-her-luck journalist finds the story of her dreams, but her prejudice may cost her true love . . . and her career.
Alarmingly Charming by Debra E. Marvin, based on Northanger Abbey
A timid gothic dime-novel enthusiast tries to solve the mystery of a haunted cemetery and, even more shocking, why two equally charming suitors compete for her attentions.
And now I really must go, dear friends. Are you enamored by the timelessness of Jane Austen?
|Alarmingly Charming is available now!|
Debra is generously offering two copies of Austen in Austin. One print and one ecopy. Seekerville will be throwing in an additional ecopy of Austen in Austen to one commenter who came dressed in anything Austen for their Profile Picture. Winners announced in the Weekend Edition.
Debra E. Marvin tries not to run too far from real life but the imagination born out of being an only child has a powerful draw. Besides, the voices in her head tend to agree with all the sensible things she says. She’d like to live just a wee bit closer to her grandchildren, but is thankful that God is in control, that He chooses to bless us despite ourselves and that He has a sense of humor.
Other than writing light-hearted romances and gritty gothics, she has pretty normal obsessions: fabric, peanut butter, vacations, British dramas and whatever mystery series she’s currently reading. Visit her at debraemarvin.com, the Inkwell Inspirations Blog, @debraemarvin on twitter and Debra E Marvin on Facebook and Pinterest, but not her house because she usually has dirty dishes.
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