|Available at Amazon|
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.
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 Twelve writers, mostly unpublished, were looking for a way to blog (publishers expect that) and support each other on our writing journey.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.
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B018QCI2AS
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/Debra-E-Marvin-433266640199533
Group Blog- Inkwell Inspirations: http://www.inkwellinspirations.com/
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.
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.