As the mother of two teenagers, neither of which I've persuaded to read Jane Austen, Marilyn Brant's new novel seems made to order. Kind of like a gateway drug to Austen herself, whose work I consider a marvelously contained world that allows us the illusion of control, even when we can't get it in this century.
Speaking of centuries, I'm afraid I'm mired in the last one, somewhere around the 80's. Stole the photo of the book cover from Amazon rather than sort through a gazillion disorganied files in My Pictures and look what I got! Something else, indeed. Sorry Amazon. Speaking of which, my alarm system's on high alert after reading Will Publishing be Napsterized . Anyone who finds a free e-copy of Everyone She Loved, please let me know, though I might be of the opinion of Cory Doctorow in an earlier Pirating article who gives away his books for free because he's more afraid of obscurity than piracy. Anyway, if you find it and write me I will send the first responder a free copy of my book.
Now, back to Marilyn's delightfully named novel: According to Jane
Here's some of the advance praise she got for the book:
Praise for ACCORDING TO JANE:
"A warm, witty and charmingly original story." --Susan Wiggs, #1 New York Times bestselling author
"An engaging read for all who have been through the long, dark, dating wars, and still believe there's sunshine, and a Mr. Darcy, at the end of the tunnel." --Cathy Lamb, author of Henry's Sisters
"This is a must-read for Austen lovers as well as for all who believe in the possibility of a happily-ever-after ending." --Holly Chamberlin, author of One Week In December
And here is our interview:
1. If I had to offer two bumper sticker explanations for my novel, they’d be “Appearances are deceiving” and “Mean people suck.” Tell me what your slogans would be, and why.
“Listen to your own voice”--because, even when you have the wisdom of others informing your decisions, you still need to pay attention to what your heart and intuition are telling you. And “Eighties music rocks”--because it does (!!) and, also, because the music you listen to as a teen tends to become the soundtrack of your youth. That’s very true for my main character. J
2. Your two favorite movies over the past twelve months and why? In the theater: Night at the Museum II (Smithsonian)--because I went with my son and he’d LOVED the first one and was SO excited to see this sequel, and we both thought it turned out really well; On DVD: the British TV production of Lost in Austen--a very funny production and, I thought, creatively done.
3. What was the one thing you learned in getting your book published that you were really surprised to find out?
That, once I had a contract, I’d have far less time to actually write! That has been one of the biggest challenges for me. I now have to split my true writing time with promotion and publicity. In some ways, it’s helped me use the real writing time more efficiently--I don’t have a half hour to web surf for just the perfect name for some character’s pet, I need to get to the heart of the narrative much faster and save some of the detail hunting for later.
4. If you had to pick one and only one condition (beyond computer or pen and paper) that would allow you to write would it be: a. solitude b. caffeine c. sleep d. food e. sex or f. ______.
(Easy one) f. CHOCOLATE!
5. Do you have a favorite genre? If so, who are your three favorite writers? If not, who are your three favorite writers and how have they influenced your work?
I love lots of genres and appreciate having such a fabulous choice before me (women’s fiction, paranormal, romantic comedy, mystery, etc.) to match whatever mood I’m in. So, 3 of my favorite writers are:
Jane Austen (obviously)--she had tremendous insight into human behavior and a genius way of showing that behavior in action; this gift makes her characters in Pride & Prejudice (and in all her novels) timeless and universal.
Douglas Adams--I could never get enough of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series, even though I’m not heavily into science fiction otherwise; his ability to highlight the absurd (across galaxies!) greatly influenced my notion of comedy
Erich Segal--the novel Love Story changed my way of perceiving literature; years before I ever thought of writing my own novel, reading his made me realize that a great story was all about emotion and honesty, that humor and sadness could be linked, and that a book didn’t have to be long to be meaningful and powerful.