Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Austen in Austin with Debra E. Marvin

Available at Amazon
Dear Readers, we have another first time visitor to More Agreeably Engaged! Isn't that great! It is an honor to introduce, Debra E. Marvin to you. Debra and three other authors have written four novellas and released them in an anthology called, Austen in Austin, Volume 1. Yes, there will be a Volume 2 with four more novellas and it is available for preorder! Yay! These novellas are set in Austin, Texas, in the late 1800's and each one is based on a book by Jane Austen. They are delightful and I hope you will read them soon. 

When Ms. Marvin contacted me, I was intrigued. Living northwest of  Austin and being in Austin often, this book of novellas was of special interest to me. This time period was the time that some of my ancestors were living in the Austin area. That made the stories even more appealing. So, without further ado, it is my pleasure to welcome, Debra E. Marvin! Thank you so much for stopping by and letting us know about your new release! Thank you also for answering my questions and allowing us to know you better.

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How and when did your interest in Jane Austen take root? Years ago, I decided to read all the novels, and catch up with any movie/telly productions I might have missed. It all came in handy when I began researching the War of 1812 (a big part of history here in upstate NY, but especially just over the border in Ontario, Canada) for a series I was writing.

What drove you to start writing your own books? Did you write other things before writing JAFF? I’ve been writing on and off for twenty five years and I have several manuscripts completed or partially complete. Hopefully they’ll make their way out to daylight again! I just always had the nagging desire to write.

I hope they make their way to daylight too! How did all of the authors for your new book get together? Did you know each other or how did you find each other? The eight authors of Austen in Austin Vol 1 and 2 are all blog-mates who met through writing contests. Twelve writers, mostly unpublished, were looking for a way to blog (publishers expect that) and support each other on our writing journey. We each blog once a month at Inkwell Inspirations.

That's neat! I'll be checking out your blog. Why did you choose Austin for the setting of your novellas? An excited group email discussion convinced us to try an anthology. We leaned toward regencies and Austen, but one of us admitted she’d be more comfortable with a western setting. You can all see what happened. It didn’t take long for us to pick Austin for its history and beauty, and, gosh, the alliteration was just too good to pass up!

Austin is an interesting city with much history. I'm excited that you chose it. What about this era in Austin history is appealing to you? Austin had a bustling energy: the newly rebuilt and centrally located capitol building, the excitement of the new University of Texas, and a city/country setting. Volume Two will take “Austen Abbey” right to the turn of the century.  We also found we loved writing in the ‘bustle’ period! Oh, the clothes!

Austin is still has the city/country setting. There are many stretches of undeveloped land amidst the city. It is wonderful! The clothes of that era were gorgeous weren't they! I love that each novella has some of the same characters as the other novellas even though each relates to a different book by Jane Austen. How did you manage to do that? I also like that each is a stand-alone novella although they read so seamlessly when read in order. Well done. Thanks Janet! We’re a close-knit group with high expectations of this project, but it took dedication, and flexibility. Once we each picked our Austen ‘plot and heroine’, we chose a timeline and dug into research.  I wrote my story very early in the process, so my pals were stuck with details that popped up in my story, even though it was fourth: the way the rooms looked, the staff of the school, and names that would eventually be carried through all the stories. Then, as each novella was written, we’d email questions like ‘what would your character be doing in 1884?’ and swap manuscripts for review. Mind you, this was happening over a five year period! Some of us were busy writing other contracted books.

It sounds like fun and you each did a great job. I enjoyed the novellas and would not have immediately realized they were by different authors had I not known. You were able to keep your writing styles similar. What about the Christian theme in the novellas…do you as a group feel the importance of this for your writing? I found it to be inspirational without being ‘preachy’, if you will. I feel it was pertinent to the time period in which you chose to set your stories, as well.  The ladies of Inkwell Inspirations write with a Christian world view, and know what the publishers prefer, but we don’t write for that market alone. There are a lot of readers who wouldn’t necessarily purchase Christian fiction, but still enjoy stories without a lot of sex and vulgarity. It’s all about sinking into the story, and I’m glad you didn’t find them preachy!

This is Debra Marvin and co-author,
Susie Dietze. Debra made both
of their lovely Regency dresses.
I didn't at all. Now, tell me a bit more about each of the authors in this book and in the second one. I am fascinated with your choices and would like to know why each of you, in writing your own story, chose the book that you did. The eight A-in-A authors (of course, Austen had six published novels, so we had to do some adjusting to make eight stories!) write both historical and contemporary fiction. I’d need much more time to describe my co-authors, so I’ll just say that Susie Dietze is the quintessential Regency fan among us, Anita Mae Draper is our western authority, and Gina Welborn is the creative mind who pulled us all together. Visit our blog! I chose Northanger Abbey because it was Austen’s nod to gothic literature and I’m all for mysteries and dark themes—and tongue-in-check fun. Imagine my joy when I found that Austin had a lunatic asylum! (went with a ‘haunted graveyard’ instead!)  Catherine Morland…well, you know…that sweet ditz was a challenge. Readers don’t tolerate weak heroines these days. (True gothics!) For me, she became a wallflower with a very kind and generous heart. I love her enthusiasm for life which not everyone took the time to see. Until a certain rancher showed up!

You wrote your heroine well! Do you have a muse that causes your story to lead you at times or do you use an outline and follow it religiously? What is your writing routine? Is there any setting that is more inspirational to you when writing?  Maps and old buildings really get my creativity going. That said, I’m a consummate plotter! It doesn’t reduce my creativity because once I get into my characters’ heads, they drive the story using the ‘map’ I hand them! (By the way, part of the cover of Austen in Austin is an actual post card of the city at the time of the story!)

That sounds neat! It's fun to look at old buildings and wonder about their history and what their walls could tell. As for the cover of your book, I love it! I have seen scenes similar to the foreground most every spring here in the Hill Country of Texas. The Bluebonnet and Indian Paintbrushes are beautiful! Would you tell us something about the book that you love most? (if you can without giving anything away) By this time next year, I’ll have three Arizona historical novellas out. All with the feel of an old Hollywood movie. But I’m anxious to get back to my British settings and the 1830s/1840s, though I’m trying to work more Austen-inspired fiction into my future. I love being part of this great community!

It is a great community and I am so glad that you are part of it too. Is there anything special about yourself or your writing that you would be willing to share with us?  I’m a granny, with a cat, a great job and wonderful friends. I’m a bit obsessive with fabric and would happily quilt or make costumes instead of going to work! I’m blessed to be able to write and enjoy it, and I love this journey with Austen in Austin. Thank you so much, Janet! This has been such a lovely interview, and I’m appreciative of the chance to visit your amazing blog.

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LINKS:

Group Blog- Inkwell Inspirations: http://www.inkwellinspirations.com/

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BIO:

Debra E. Marvin tries not to run too far from real life but the imagination born out of being an only child has a powerful draw. Besides, the voices in her head tend to agree with all the sensible things she says. She’d like to live just a wee bit closer to her grandchildren, but is thankgul that God is in control, that He chooses to bless us despite ourselves and that He has a sense of humor.

Other than writing light-hearted romances and gritty gothics, she has pretty normal obsessions: fabric, peanut butter, vacations, British dramas and whatever mystery series she’s currently reading. Visit her at debraemarvin.com, the Inkwell Inspirations Blog, @debraemarvin on twitter and Debra E Marvin on Facebook and Pinterest, but not her house because she usually has dirty dishes.

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Ms. Marvin, it has been lovely having you here today and having you give us some insight into your anthology and the other authors. I very much enjoyed reading the book and 'seeing' some of the places and settings mentioned that were familiar to me as a Texan. I hope you have much success with this book and I am all anticipation for the next one. Thank you for visiting and allowing me the privilege of reading your book.
Available at Amazon

Debra E. Marvin and the authors of Austen in Austin are giving away some books for you, dear readers! Isn't that wonderful?! Thank you so much ladies. I'm excited that some of you will have the chance to read these novellas for yourself. The giveaway consists of either a paperback or eBook of the anthology, Austen in Austin. Paperback is US only and eBook is international. If you are in the US, let me know if you prefer the eBook instead of the paperback. There is also a giveaway for the eBook of Ms. Marvin's novella, Alarmingly Charming. The giveaway will end at 11:59 P.M. on the 29th of February. As usual please leave your contact info in your comment. Good luck to all.


46 comments:

  1. I've been so looking forward to visiting here and hearing from your readers, Janet! I love the international aspects of the Austen fandom blogs and how it happened that you are close to lovely Austin! Thank you for giving me the chance to visit and promote our novellas!

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    1. You are welcome, Debra. I have been looking forward to your visit and as I mentioned, have a special interest in these novellas! You are welcome to visit my blog any time!

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  2. I love stories with historical settings that isn't regency England! Great interview, thanks for the giveaway opportunity and I'm looking forward to reading the book.
    priscillateh@live.hk

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    1. Thanks Priscilla. We've married the feel of Austen with the lure of a western setting and I hope you get a chance to read it. Please let me know what you think! thanks for commenting

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  3. I think it is great that the authors came together like that and then brought Jane Austen to Austin, TX with their novellas.

    Cute gowns!

    Engaging interview, thanks!
    sophiarose1816 at gmail dot com

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    1. Thank you, Sophia. We thought it was a great idea and stuck with it until we found the right publisher. And thanks for appreciating the gowns. Seriously, wearing the stays and the dress change the way I stand and walk. I have a much more working class dress as well.

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    2. Glad you stopped by and commented, Sophia! Aren't those gowns lovely!

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  4. Love the idea of reading Austen inspired stories set in another era and country! Thanks for the chance to win a copy!

    newyorkgirl82(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Forgot to say that I'm international.

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    2. Thanks for stopping in! You're definitely on the list for an ebook. Will that work for you?

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    3. Sure, Debra! Thanks for asking! :)

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  5. The novellas sound like such a unique twist to Austen/Austin lovers! I am in the US and would prefer a paperback if I am lucky! ThankS!
    JHolden955(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Thank you for commenting--it means a lot when a reader takes the time to say hi! We certainly enjoyed working on that twist! It certainly was the first 'cowboy' I included in any stories I've written, so I was as curious as my character!

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  6. Lovely interview! Many congratulations to Deb on her release.

    This whole project has been a fun, fabulous labor of love from start to finish. I've loved every second of it. Looking forward to wearing our Regency gowns again sometime soon, Deb!

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    1. One of my partners in crime! Thanks for stopping in!

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    3. Thanks for dropping in, Susanne. I loved your story too! It was obvious that this was a labor of love! Beautiful gowns and you both wear them so well! :)

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  7. What a lovely interview and a chance to learn something new! I haven't read the first 3 books but am certainly tempted to now.

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    1. Thank you Wendy! Knowing my fellow authors' writing so well, I can see all the ways the stories reflect their individual style and 'voice' so I really enjoy them all (and the four that are coming later)

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  8. Congratulations, Deb! Your novella is wonderful and I hope lots of people read it so they can enjoy it, too!

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    1. HI Suzie! One of my dearest friends is Suzie Johnson! It was neat to see another one visit my blog! Good luck.

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    2. Suzie is also one of our Volume Two authors and has tackled LADY SUSAN! We added that book to be able to get 8 authors (we all wanted to be part of this once we discussed the idea) out of 6 novels!

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    3. Thanks, Debra,for letting me know. Suzie, I will be looking forward to reading your book on Lady Susan.

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  9. Yay, Deb! So glad to see this in print. :D

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    1. Thanks DeAnna. And I'll note here that DeAnna is aka the author Julianna Deering who has the amazing Drew Farthering Mystery series. Her latest release takes (1930s ) Drew to a REGENCY HOUSE PARTY! Best of both worlds!

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    2. That sounds fantastic! I'll have to check out those books. Thanks.

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  10. I love reading about the writing process that goes into getting a book from concept to finished article, especially if it's a collaboration. Thanks so much for a great interview Janet and Debra. Love the dresses Debra!

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    1. Oops, forgot something important!

      angmardee ( at ) hotmail ( dot ) com

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    2. Thanks Anji! We did spend a lot of time coordinating, and even now the final touches are coming together on volume two.

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    3. Glad you enjoyed the interview, Anji! Good luck in the giveaway!

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  11. AWESOME! I've been DYING to read these novellas! :D I'd LOVE to win a paperback!

    Hugs, Amada (pronounced: a.m.a.th.a)
    amada_chavezATyahooDOTcom

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    1. At the end of a writing day, it's nice to see your enthusiasm and makes the work worth it! Thanks for commenting and leaving your email address

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    2. :) I've always loved Austen's work, but when I read the descriptions of these renditions I knew I had to read them! :D I especially love that your western setting!

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    3. I'm so glad you stopped by Amada. Thanks for taking the time to comment. Good luck in the giveaway! I hope you get to read these soon!

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  12. I really enjoy Jane Austin's books, now I want to read these new versions of old classics!

    lientjiehuman(at)yahoo(dot)com(dot)au
    (I'm International so am going for the e-book)

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    1. Thanks for commenting and entering the drawing, Lientjie! I think it would be nearly impossible for anyone to read all the twists out there in Jane Austen fan fiction aka Austenesque, or Austen-inspired. We came up with all new characters and setting but based storylines and heroines on Austen's novels, so, as Janet explained, it's fun to look for the links, and to see where we took them!

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  13. Very interesting interview with all the great questions and answers. I hadn't thought too much about this book, but now that I've read this blog post I'm looking forward to reading this collection of novellas. Thank you!
    may_dayzee(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. Thank you Kay. I'm so glad you said that because it makes the blog visits, and marketing so much more rewarding when 'it works!', and we catch a reader's interest. I'm thrilled to have found Janet and her blog--a perfect place to let Austen fans know about our books. Thanks for leaving your address and entering the giveaway.

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    2. Thanks for stopping in Kay. I'm so happy to hear you enjoyed the interview.

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    3. Debra, I'm so happy you found me and my blog too! It has definitely been a plus for me! :)

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  14. Great interview and I would love to win a 'PRINT' copy of this book. Thank you for the chance!

    wfnren at aol dot com

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    1. Thanks Wendy~ I saw the cover last summer but it wasn't until last week that I finally had one in hand. I'm glad you stopped in and I wish you well in the drawing! Janet asked some wonderful questions so it was fun to take part.

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    2. Thanks, Wendy. It's good to hear you enjoyed the interview. Good luck in the giveaway.

      You gave good answers and I enjoyed reading them. Thanks for making it so nice.

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  15. This sounds like a great combo: Austen and Austin. I'd prefer the ebook if chosen, please. huletthouse at mchsi dot com
    Thanks!
    -Kim

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    1. Hi Kim - thanks for stopping in and liking our alliteration! We called it that while working on it and then decided it would make a great REAL title!
      I think you got in under the deadline for the giveaway and thanks for mentioning which version you'd like!

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