We are in for a treat today, dear readers. It is my turn to take part in the Blog Tour for new Meryton Press Author, Jessica Evans. Don't you just love the cover of her book, The Muse? I think it is stunning. Jessica tells us about her reasons, as a reader and writer, for loving Jane Austen. Good reading, my friends.
There is a giveaway so don't forget to check it out. Thanks for stopping by and a special thanks to Jessica Evans for being my guest today.
I love Jane Austen as both a reader and a writer. When writing “The Muse,” I looked to Pride and Prejudice not only for inspiration on plot and characterization, but I also tried to emulate what I loved most about Austen’s craft in my own writing.
When we talk about Jane Austen, we talk about her biting humor. I remember laughing out loud the first time I read the opening dialogue between Mr. and Mrs. Bennet in Pride and Prejudice. I felt the dysfunction between them, Mr. Bennet’s indifference, Mrs. Bennet’s penchant for melodrama. I love reading Jane Austen’s dialogue, and love writing dialogue even more. To that end, I tried to capture that same wit and banter in the dialogue in my story. Some of my favorite dialogue scenes to write were Elizabeth and Darcy bantering at Charles’ Rhinebeck cabin (the equivalent of the drawing room scene when Jane is sick at Netherfield) and a conversation post-“Hunsford” between Darcy and Anne.
Another reason that I love Austen’s writings is her ridiculous minor characters. I love to hate them! In particular, I love hating those who are most self-important and least self-aware, the egomaniacs and hypochondriacs: Mr. Collins, Catherine de Bourgh, Lady Bertram, Mary Musgrove. Austen makes me feel like, together, we are in on a joke. I wanted my readers to feel the same way in The Muse so I tried to paint Catherine Boroughs (my version of Catherine de Bourgh), heiress and arts philanthropist, with the same brush of sarcasm that Austen wields so expertly. I made Catherine an interloping arts philanthropist with lots of opinions and money, and no artistic sensibility. Her ignorance – coupled with her ignorance of her ignorance – made her a fun character to write.
That said, none of Jane Austen’s characters are perfect. She creates human characters with real flaws. Darcy, as we know, has too much pride. So does Catherine de Bourgh. So does Mr. Collins. But, the difference between those characters that endure Jane’s ridicule and those that earn her love and empathy is one of self-awareness. Although both Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy suffered from self-righteousness at the beginning of Pride and Prejudice, they both become willing to look inwards, assess themselves honestly, and admit that they were wrong. Each causes the other to change and evolve. Jane Austen creates characters who grow to understand themselves, which is why I and many others fall in love with her characters and stories. In The Muse, I try to do justice to this theme by describing the evolution of Elizabeth and Darcy’s relationship and each of their thinking about themselves as artists.
Those are some of the reasons that I love Jane Austen as a reader and writer. What about you? I’d love to hear what you love most about Jane Austen’s writings!
Elizabeth Bennet, the newest corps de ballet dancer at Ballet Theater of New York, dreams of rising through the prestigious company’s ranks to become a prima ballerina. When she’s cast in superstar choreographer William Darcy’s newest work, she believes she’s one step closer to realizing her dream–until she meets him.
William Darcy, the former dance legend and ballet bad boy, is a jaded perfectionist whom dancers both fear and admire. Although touted as the next big thing in the ballet world, he secretly battles a bad case of artist’s block–until he meets Elizabeth Bennet.
Tempers ignite between Elizabeth and Darcy, but he’s irresistibly drawn to the stubborn and beautiful corps de ballet dancer. Could she be the muse he needs to reignite his passion for ballet?
A middle school English teacher by trade, I cut my writer’s teeth in various fan fiction forums starting at the tender age of fifteen. My debut novel, The Muse: A Pride and Prejudice Variation, is set to be published by Meryton Press in late November 2014.
In my spare time, I read a lot of Young Adult literature, cook and eat as organically/sustainably/artisanally/grass-fed-ally as possible, and work on improving my life one affirmation at a time. I live in Brooklyn, NY though am not a hipster. I swear.
Thank you, Jessica Evans, for visiting today. It is such a pleasure to have you here. Your book sounds fascinating and I wish you much success. In her post, Jessica asked what you love most about Jane Austen writings. Please share your thoughts with us in your comments as we would dearly love to know. Thank you again, Jessica, and please stop by anytime.
Meryton Press is kindly giving away two chances to win a copy of The Muse. There will be one paperback and one eBook up for grabs and both are international! YAY!!! Thank you Michele Reed. Let me know in your comments which you prefer should you be one of the lucky winners. We always love to hear your share in the conversation so please leave a comment below to be entered in the giveaway. Be sure to include your email address so that I may contact you. Giveaway ends at midnight December 9, 2014.