I am so excited about tomorrow! Why? Because my dear friend Marilyn Brant’s DEBUT novel According to Jane is hitting stores! Marilyn is an avowed Jane Austen fan — she even got me to read Pride and Prejudice. (As she assured me would happen, I loved it.) I got a chance to ask Marilyn a few questions about her book and other topics.
Look at that gorgeous cover!
Can you tell me a little about According to Jane?
Of course. But first, thanks for having me as a guest, Eliza! It’s wonderful to be here. According to Jane is the story of a modern woman named Ellie who gets dating advice from the ghost of Jane Austen. It begins one day in her high-school English class, just as Ellie’s teacher is assigning Pride & Prejudice. From nowhere, she hears a quiet “tsk” of disapproval aimed at the antics of the cute bad boy who has been teasing her. The author’s ghost takes it upon herself to stay in Ellie’s mind, offering up her own brand of Regency-era wisdom in regards to romance. Years and boyfriends come and go, but Ellie has a lot to learn about love. And, possibly, even Jane may benefit from a new insight or two.
Where did the idea for Jane come from?
I remember the moment I thought of it: I was sitting in an RWA National Conference workshop (Dallas 2004) presented by Eloisa James. She was discussing the borrowing of classic plots from famous authors, as she’d done with Shakespeare. She asked us to think about which classical lit books we’d read and the authors whose characters and storylines we’d gravitate toward. I immediately thought of Austen, of course, my all-time favorite author. Then I began asking myself questions–what would happen if a modern woman had a Pride & Prejudice-like experience? And what if Jane herself were involved somehow? Then: Oh! What if Jane could give dating advice? I would’ve loved for her to have given me some back when I was single–but, perhaps, Jane was biased against someone in the same way her most famous heroine, Elizabeth Bennet, was prejudiced against Darcy… And the idea took hold and continued on from there.
What does your normal writing day look like?
I try to get emails done in a few half-hour blocks throughout the day (first thing in the morning after my son leaves to school, again at midday if I can, later afternoon, etc.) and, then, leave the rest of the school day to actual writing. But I’m a *very* slow writer. It’s not uncommon for me to take an hour to draft a page or two. So, for me to get a basic five pages done in a day, I literally need 4-5 hours. However, as soon as I think I’m done with a scene, I print it out and force myself to move on. I’ll make any later changes on the hard copy only and, then, revise the full manuscript, based on those revisions, at the end of the draft. I’ve been trying to add in an hour to exercise into the writing day, too, but I can’t say I do that consistently!
What are you working on now?
The book I just finished writing this summer (which will be released in October 2010) is a modern fairytale about three suburban wives/moms who really shake up their marriages and their lives when one of them asks the other two a question that both shocks them and leads their imaginations astray…
What’s the last book you really loved?
In nonfiction, the last book I really found fascinating was Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers. Fiction is harder! I enjoyed Sheila Curran’s Everyone She Loved, Love and Other Natural Disasters by Holly Shumas and the first book (Prime Time) in Hank Phillippi Ryan’s fun mystery series.
You can buy According to Jane at all the major retailers, including Amazon, starting tomorrow but I’m also hosting a giveaway. To win one of two personalized copies of According to Jane, leave a comment on this post with one rule of love you’ve learned, even if it was the hard way — or you can just throw your name into the hat.
Deadline is Wednesday, October 7, 2009, at midnight central time.
I’ll ship anywhere in the world, because I am awesome.
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