Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Fanny Dashwood....Secret Saint

I LOVE Jasper Fforde and he has one of my favorite fan fiction scenes of my work ever. Jurisfiction, or the policing agency that takes care of fictional plots and characters, is based at Norland, the Dashwood home in Sense and Sensibility. The house is huge and not much of the story takes place there. So there is this lovely home with very few inhabitants that lays empty for most of the book. Ergo perfect place for Jurisfiction agents to run in and out of for meetings and such.

In Lost in a Good Book, Thursday Next travels to Norland for her first Jurisfiction meeting and Fanny Dashwood welcomes her to her home. Fanny, who knows Thursday is REAL and not fictional asks how the outside world views Fanny. Fanny claims that she really wanted to keep the Dashwood girls at Norland, but couldn't because the story would never have progressed and thus Colonel Brandon and Marianne would not have gotten together and Edward and Elinor's love would not have been tested and proved so strong.

I LOVE this idea. Not that I think Fanny Dashwood is actually a nice person and would want to keep the Dashwood girls. I love the idea that Fanny would care what the outside world thought of her and that she would try to show she had to kick them out for the good of the story. It's totally how Fanny Dashwood would act if she were real. She'd try to justify her actions. So Fanny blames me, Jane Austen, for making her the bad person. Because it is I who made her kick out the Dashwoods. I resigned Elinor and Marianne and Margaret and Mrs. Dashwood to a small cottage. I also made the story progress. I suppose a fan of Marianne's could argue that had Fanny not kicked them out then Marianne would never have been broken hearted and almost died because she would have never met Willoughby. She could have found a nice man near Norland.

And does Fanny justify hating Lucy Steale because she really wanted Edward and Elinor to get together even though Fanny warns Mrs. Dashwood against a match in the first place? How does Fforde's Fanny justify that? Or if you were Fanny how would you justify warning Mrs. Dashwood that Elinor should stay away from Edward?

For those of you who have not read Fforde, I highly recommend it. If you know your literature you will find great fun in side characters like Heathcliff attending anger management classes and Mrs. Havisham having extreme road rage (of course what woman who always has to wear a huge wedding dress wouldn't have road rage?).

If you could pick one of the villains in my novels and have him justify his or her actions to the public at large (i.e. those of us that are non-fictional) what would he or she say? What would be his or her excuse? Is there ever a time when a villain should be a villain?

Is Fanny secretly a saint because she kept the story going? Or is she too worried about her kind facade that she'll justify anything?

Calgon, Take Me Away!

I remember this commercial from when I was little and I say "who needs Calgon when they can have Captain Wentworth, Mr. Darcy, or Mr. Tilney?" I'm having a bad day at work. So I took my lunch a little early and started reading the favorite parts of my books. The letter in Persuasion. The scene where Darcy proposes to Elizabeth the second time. When Henry Tilney comes to find Catherine after she's been kicked out of Northanger Abbey. No longer do I need a bubble bath, just some time with a Regency hero.

The only thing is that I don't have a real Regency hero of my own. I have no Mr. Darcy or Captain Wentworth or Mr. Tilney in my life. No, I have a dog who adores me, but no man who adores me. All in all that's fine for now. I'd rather find Mr. Right as opposed to Mr. Right Now, but I'll admit that when things get bleak I would like to be able to call someone. Instead I read my Regencies. I read the heroes that have stood the test of time and hope that one day too Mr. Darcy or Captain Wentworth will take me away from the shrillness and loneliness that is my life.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Austen: Steamy?

I was looking for Cliff Notes on Northanger Abbey and while I did not find Cliff Notes or any sort of notes, I found a list describing "Steamy Romantic Suspense Novels". Now I love Austen and while there is some great sexual tension in her books I don't know if I'd describe them as "Steamy". I also laugh at the other books included in the list which are by Jackie Collins, Nora Roberts, Sandra Brown and Kay Hooper. Nothing against these authors, but I don't feel that they're really on the same plane as Jane (me, but Jane rhymed).

Also the thing about NA is although it's suspenseful it's also mocking gothic suspense novels of its time. That's the point. I'm making fun of Mrs. Radcliff and others whose books grabbed the attention of young girls, who would have been ready for the marriage mart at that time and I'm sure there were some young bucks who enjoyed them as well.

Maybe that's why NA isn't as popular as some of Austen's other works. I am rereading it for the first time in a long time and forgot how many great lines came from it. It might become a favorite of mine.

So if I was writing today what type of book would I mock? Would I mock the steamy romances that I supposedly wrote? Or would I mock those conspiracy theory Da Vinci Codesque type books that seem to pop up every where and take place in every time period? Would I go further and mock chick lit...a genre most people agree I created? I have confessed to wanting to write a NA fan fiction book and in it I would mock the Da Vinci Codesque type books. I'd want a little art theft and a little conspiracy theory, but not too much to make it implausible. Besides there wouldn't really be any art theft or conspiracy theory when the book ended because it's all in Catherine's head. It's all from the novels she read.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Immitation is the Best Form of Flattery

Perhaps my head is getting big by pretending to be Jane Austen for five months now. Or maybe it's that I've read so much Jane Austen fan fiction crap that I think I can do better. However I am thinking about writing a Jane Austen fan fiction book based on......NORTHANGER ABBEY!!

Now I haven't read much Northanger Abbey fan fiction. And to be honest it's not one of my favorite Austen novels, but it has so much potential and so many good lines. If a lady does not find adventure in her own village she must seek them abroad. So true and I did this when I studied in Wales. It became one of my favorite quotations.

Have you read any Northanger fan fiction? Do you think that the story could be updated to fit today's society? My idea is to update the story for present day. I don't want to be overconfident, but I think it has potential. Would you read another Jane Austen fan fiction book or has it been done to death?

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Who Would Jane Be?

I've been watching "Sex and The City" and am wondering if Jane Austen were alive today would I be our Carrie Bradshaw? Now Carrie dresses in a way I would not see me dressing. She also has had a few more gentlemen friends than I would have. But she does have a column talking about mating rituals of today and let's face it a lot of my books focus on those very rituals.

Carry is quite as witty as I am and a little more neurotic, but who knows maybe I would be more neurotic if I lived today instead of during Regency times. Would I go out clubbing? The librarian persona that writes this doesn't and probably wouldn't. I also can't see myself punctuating every book or column with a catch line that ends in a question mark?

Are Big and Carrie sort of like Anne and Wentworth? Taking forever to actually get together. I think not. Wentworth and Anne never really moved on. They did have a wife or an Aiden. They were constant. Could we have that in today's society? I know that it's acceptable to be a woman and single now, but don't people still look at us as "on the shelf"? All the women on Sex and the City find love and get married, except for Samantha and she's really more like a courtesan.

Could I still write about love and be as popular today as I am? I mean wouldn't people wonder how I could write about love and marriage without having experienced it? Besides today's books need a little more skin.

So who would I be if I were alive today?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

What's In a Name?

Would a rose by any other name really smell as sweet? I'm not sure, but right now no other name sells as well as Jane Austen.

I had a well known Regency author tell me today that she bought a book because it was called "What Would Jane Austen Do?". An author invoked my name and presto she sells books. Do I have anything to do with the book? Well apparently I am a character in it and a woman from today's times goes back to Regency England and meets me. I'm not quite sure where she meets me. At a house party I believe.

I realize that my alter ego, a librarian who is now working as an event coordinator (trust her, in her master plan it all works) is really writing this and other than being a big fan of mine does not actually have a connection to me. But I'm a little miffed or perhaps she is. People are using my name to sell books and some of the plots are plausible and when they are extensions of my stories sometimes the characters change. I think with a name as famous as mine and characters as well loved as mine people need to be careful where they tread.

I do fear that a hatred will start to arise with all the Jane Austen stuff coming out into print. A hatred for me when the books really have very little to do with me. I think I need to repackage my original books and try marketing them to a new audience. An audience that will see Jane Austen is not a time-traveling, Australia tripping, lust craved lunatic vampire battling zombies.

It's fun to see my work so loved and yet also see it so bastardized for lack of a better term.

Let's go back to the original. The classic. The one and only Jane, who by any other name is really just a knock-off.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Cavity Woes

For months now I have had a toothache, but only at certain times. Every time I try to read Rebecca Collins' Pemberley Chronicles I feel a cavity coming on. It's not that it's bad; it's just that it's so nice and sweet, hence the cavity. It's really the first one I am having trouble with. The others seem like they have interesting plot lines, but the first one I just can't get through. Each scene is just more saccharine than the last. My teeth hurt just thinking about it. I want to get on to the other books though. They can't all give me cavities can they? Has anyone read the series? Does it get better? Should I get out now? Please let me know before my dentist buys a boat with money I gave him.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

12 Step Program

I have been receiving Amazon.com updates about books that I might be interested in. Most of them are P & P related.

What's the fuss? Why do we need to know what happens after Darcy and Elizabeth get their happily ever after? Isn't it enough that they have a happily ever after? I know we love Darcy and Elizabeth and we want more. Everyone wants more.

But I'm beginning to think that I just like the way I wrote it. I don't want new information. I don't want to read about the sex life. I don't want to read how Elizabeth can't get pregnant or can't have a son. I don't want to read about tragic illnesses or attempted rapes or anything. I just want a normal life, which I'm sure publishing companies would think that this would not make for good reading or good money, but seriously why does bad stuff have to happen?

I know bad things happen to everyone and life isn't perfect, but there are times when I think just a little too much happens to the Darcys. It's like an episode of some TV show that you know is blowing everything out of proportion. Really? You have four bombs in your hospital in one year and a helicopter crash?

So I might stop my quest to read everything Pride & Prejudice related. I could still read the updates that have the story taking place in modern times, but I might be done with the sequels and then again I might be a big fat liar...I'm an addict and I know I want to stop, but I can't.

Is there a 12 step program I can enter to get over my P & P addiction? Then again I probably don't really want to join anyway....I'd just fall down the steps!