A big welcome to last minute entry Zoe Burton, a Jane Austen author! Let’s take a look at why she writes stories about Jane’s classics…
Why Jane Austen? By Zoe Burton
First, let me thank Erin and Jennie for the opportunity to add my two cents to their blog. I was thrilled to find out about Ohio Author Appreciation! I never knew anything like this existed until fellow Austen Author Regina Jeffers shared it on our Facebook page. Being an Ohio native and current resident of Ashtabula County, I immediately asked if I could participate in some way. I’m thankful that Erin overlooked my forwardness and allowed me to do a guest post. ☺
Recently, four fellow authors—Rose Fairbanks, Cat Gardiner, Victoria Kincaid, and Pamela Lynne—and I traveled to the Washington, DC area to speak to the Jane Austen Society there. We were very excited to have the opportunity and quickly decided that our best bet for a theme was to explain why we write Austenesque and Jane Austen Fan Fiction novels. I would like to share my reasons with you now.
Before I start, though, I thought perhaps I should explain just what Jane Austen Fan Fiction and Austenesque writing are.
Jane Austen Fan Fiction (also known as JAFF) is writing that takes Jane’s characters, mostly from Pride & Prejudice and mostly Darcy and Elizabeth, but some from other of her novels, and puts them into original stories. Some are continuations and take place during Darcy and Elizabeth’s courtship and/or marriage. Some are Alternate Universes, where different events take place or the same events but in a different form or a different order. Sometimes one single event is changed—perhaps Lizzy does not hear the insult at the Meryton Assembly, for example—and sometimes everything is changed. JAFF can be set in any time period, though the most common are Regency and modern time periods.
Austenesque is how we refer to books that were inspired by Jane’s works, but not necessarily using her characters. For example, Cat Gardiner has written a fabulous Austenesque novel called Villa Fortuna in which most of the characters from Pride & Prejudice have new names but similar characterization, and the events of the story are based in New York’s Little Italy neighborhoods.
I have three big reasons for why I love Jane Austen and write Jane Austen Fan Fiction.
First, I am a hopeless romantic, and while I know that Jane did not write Pride & Prejudice as a romance, to me it’s the ultimate romantic story. Darcy is soundly rejected by Elizabeth Bennet at Hunsford Parsonage. He leaves angry and heartbroken, certain he will never see her again. After a while, though, his anger fades and he begins to give her words to him the proper consideration. As a result, he makes changes to his manners, becoming a better man. Even though he feels all hope is lost, he wants to be a man that a woman worthy of being pleased would be happy with. Then, wonder of all wonders, he gets to show her! And, in the end, he gathers his courage and for a second time, proposes. ~swoon~ I can’t say I have ever known a man who would have tried again after being so harshly rejected the first time, do you?
Second, the Regency period in England has always been one of my favorite periods in history. The gowns, the balls, the manners…it’s all so fascinating!
And third, Jane’s themes are just as applicable today as they were two hundred years ago, and it’s fun to take things that happen today and imagine them as they would have happened in her lifetime. For example, I am a huge NASCAR fan, and I was able to translate my love of racing into a scene that became the opening of my third book, Promises Kept.
As you can see, there are many reasons for me (and writers like me) to create Jane Austen Fan Fiction and Austenesque stories. The popularity of Jane’s works has extended, however, beyond just the written word.
There are a plethora of Austen-inspired movies, such as Twilight, Bridget Jones’ Diary, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Clueless, Austenland, Lost in Austen, and the upcoming Love and Friendship, which is based on the unfinished Lady Susan.
If you have not delved into the world of Jane Austen Fan Fiction, there is a multitude of stories out there for you to explore. An easy way to find them is to go to Amazon and search “a Lady.” This will bring you a list of JAFF titles that can be purchased in either ebook or print. I encourage you to check them out. You won’t regret it.
Thanks Zoe! I’ve been a big fan of JAFF for a long time and have an entire section of shelves dedicated to it. If you haven’t given it a shot, definitely go for it.
From my shelf to yours,
Erin & Zoe