Monday, November 28, 2011

Connections - Part 2

I am currently watching Whitechapel, a murder mystery on BBC's Dramaville. (Actually, I only watch parts of it because it is very graphic, so my husband lets me know when it's OK to look.) Anyway, the star is Rupert Penry-Jones who played Captain Frederick Wentworth in the 2007 TV Persuasion. Rupert's brother, Laurence, is married to Polly Walker, who played Caroline Dester in Enchanted April, along with Joan Plowright, who was married to Laurence Olivier, who played Henry V, as did Kenneth Brannagh, who was then married to Emma Thompson, whose sister, Sophie, played Miss Bates in the Gwyneth Paltrow Emma, along with Polly Walker, who played Jane Fairfax, who is the sister-in-law of Rupert Penry-Jones. So we are back where we started. Isn't this fun?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving - An Excerpt from Darcy on the Hudson

Thanksgiving is such a quintessential American holiday that it was prominently featured in my novel, Darcy on the Hudson. Here is an excerpt from the story that shows a typical Thanksgiving in early 19th Century New York:
Before sunrise, Mrs. Bennet was in the kitchen seeing to the last minute details for today was Thanksgiving Day. After she was satisfied that everything was ready, she went upstairs to join the others who were waiting to leave for worship service. This was to be Mr. Collins’s first—and last—Thanksgiving Day in America, and he was aware of the importance placed on the holiday by his parishioners. Charlotte had shared with Lizzy that he had spent a good part of the previous week writing his sermon, and she thought it would be the best he had ever delivered. Lizzy, in Christian charity, refrained from making comment about the quality of Mr. Collins’s sermons as she had grown rather fond of the preacher. She especially liked how he often deferred to his wife when his thoughts were muddled, which was often the case.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Interview with Author of The Guardian, Robin Helm

I would like to welcome Robin Helm, author of Guardian. Because I am a writer of Jane Austen re-imaginings, I do not comment on the books of other authors who write in the same genre as I do, and so I asked a friend to read Robin Helm’s debut novel. Her interview is below, but first a brief summary of Guardian:

The powerful and imposing Xander/Darcy, chief of all guardian angels, has protected exceptional humans from demonic forces over the course of ten millennia without losing a single battle. In 1989, he receives an unusual assignment which will forever change his ordered existence and alter the course of human history. Will he lose the battle for his own heart while guarding supernaturally gifted Elizabeth Bennet from the evil which surrounds her? Will he be strong enough to resist her as she grows from a precocious child into a beautiful, intelligent woman? The veil dividing the physical and spiritual planes is drawn aside to reveal warfare on an unprecedented scale as Elizabeth develops her gifts and her guardian discovers his emotions. 

The way you describe Xander as a Guardian fits well with how we picture Darcy:

He stood six feet nine inches tall with eyes the color of a cloudless summer sky… He was well-known for his ability to make difficult decisions quickly, and his good judgment ensured that his final choices were the correct ones. If he chose to speak, he was never ignored… Though Xander’s appearance and mind were those of a warrior, he was surprisingly gentle when he was not engaged in battle.

In the beginning, when I read that everyone had a guardian angel with them, I felt as if I was in “It’s a Wonderful Life” and kept waiting for Clarence to appear! What gave you the idea to use Darcy as a guardian?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Connections - British Actors

I don’t watch a lot of television, but when I do, it’s usually Masterpiece Theater or a mystery from BBC America. Watch enough of these shows and you will see familiar faces all over the place. I loved Juliet Aubrey when she played Dorothea Brooke in Middlemarch, and I enjoyed her performance as a high-class prostitute in an episode of Law and Order UK. Ditto for Kevin Doyle who plays Moseley on Downton Abbey and Rupert Graves who played Freddie Honeychurch in a Room with a View and Detective Lestrade in the new Sherlock Holmes. (I don’t mean to imply that Doyle and Graves played prostitutes; they were just in Law & Order UK episodes.)

While watching a British detective series called A Touch of Frost, I recognized Caroline Harker, who played Celia Brooke in Middlemarch. She had a recurring role in the Frost series as WPC Hazel Wallace. But she reminded me of someone else, and I couldn’t think who. So I went to She is the sister of Susannah Harker, who played Jane Bennet, in the A&E Adaptation of Pride and Prejudice (Firth/Ehle version). Caroline is married to Antony Calf, who played Colonel Fitzwilliam in the same production, and who had a part in A Touch of Frost episode. (I think the only scene that Calf and his sister-in-law shared was the wedding of the two couples at the very end.) Susannah and Caroline are the daughters of Polly Adams who played Jane Bennet in the1967 P&P British TV series. Susannah was married to Iain Glen, who played Richard Carlisle in Downton Abbey. See how this works?

I just wanted to share. 

Friday, November 11, 2011

Final Report from AGM on Sense and Sensibility

One of the plenary speakers for the JASNA Annual General Meeting was Joan Ray. Joan is a professor of English and President’s Teaching Scholar at the University of Colorado, but you probably know her as the author of Jane Austen for Dummies. Joan is a walking encyclopedia of Austen and her works. If you cut her, she would bleed Austen—not the Austen of Masterpiece Theater or feature-length films—but the writer of six novels. Here is what Joan wrote in the 200th Anniversary Guide to the JASNA AGM:

For many readers, Sense and Sensibility is Austen’s most problematic novel; they note, for example, that Edward Ferrars, the hero, is a liar and that Colonel Brandon’s (whom some scholars even deem “elderly”: he’s 36!) marrying Marianne turns her into a Regency trophy wife.

There is a difference between the novel and its adaptations. To begin with, Hollywood (a generic term for movie makers) has decided that Elinor, our heroine, is taller and fairer than her immature sister, Marianne. That is exactly opposite of what Austen had written. Because of Hollywood, we think of Col. Brandon as being something of a stick in the mud, not a good match at all for the more exuberant Marianne Dashwood. But according to Joan Ray, this too is wrong. Col. Brandon, he of the flannel waistcoat, is “merrier” than Marianne and capable of strong emotions. After all, he had enough spunk to fight a duel! Again, according to Ray, it is not that the colonel is misunderstood, but merely under read. It is Ray’s contention that Col. Brandon is perfect for Marianne, but in order to know that, we must read the novel. After listening to her presentation, I came away convinced that Marianne will be happy with the colonel, something the film and television adaptations had failed to do.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Andrew Davies at the JASNA AGM – Part II

As I mentioned in an earlier post, the highlight of the JASNA AGM was listening to screenwriter Andrew Davies. The man has a natural wit, and all his stories were thoroughly enjoyable. However, he saved his funniest comments for Emma.

Davies mentioned that Austen’s novel has a young Mr. Knightley enjoying his visits to Highbury. “Why?” Davies asked. “For the sterling companionship of Mr. Woodhouse? Of course not, he was a young man, and because Emma would have been toddling about in her nappies, it couldn’t have been because of Emma. Therefore, it is obvious that George Knightley had a crush on Mrs. Woodhouse, which makes sense because, obviously, Emma did not get her personality from her father.”

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Release of a New Novella - Captain Wentworth Home from the Sea

Please join me at Austen Authors for a release of my new novella, Captain Wentworth Home from the Sea. I am hosting a giveaway of two copies of the book. Here is a description of the story:

In 1806, Frederick Wentworth returned to the sea in hopes of leaving behind memories of his lost love, Anne Elliot of Kellynch Hall. After eight years serving as the captain of the Laconia, he had failed to jettison recollections of  the only woman he could ever love, that is, until a shipboard accident robbed him of his memory. When he is once again thrown into Anne’s company, he knows nothing of their previous engagement. With the slate wiped clean, will Anne Elliot be able to secure the love of Captain Frederick Wentworth or will all opportunities to reclaim a lost love be denied her?

I hope you will stop by. :)