Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Jane Austen Speaks with Maria-Emilia de Medeiros

Maria-Emilia de Medeiros is visiting More Agreeably Engaged for the first time and I am thrilled to have her here. Maria-Emilia has a newly released book, Jane Austen Speaks, and she is going to share some of her journey of writing this book. She is channeling Jane Austen, so to speak. :) Doesn't that sound delightful! I hope each of you will enjoy learning more about Maria and her book. Welcome, Maria-Emilia de Medeiros.


Thank you so much for hosting me on your wonderful blog today, Janet!  I am extremely grateful for your kindness and feel so honored to share about my newly released book Jane Austen Speaks About Life, the Modern World, & Heavenly Pursuits with your readers today!

This book is my own lighthearted attempt to allow Miss Austen to voice what might have been her “own” opinions on modern day matters, based on a knowledge of her life, work, society, and the prevailing social morĂ©s inherent in Western culture of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.  In addition to Miss Austen’s wide-ranging reflections upon her life, novels, and the modern world, a section of the book is devoted to food and social visits, featuring a number of heavenly “guests” as well as recipes for your use and enjoyment.  You can plan your very own Jane Austen dinner party, too! 

When I began the journey of writing this book over two years ago now, it became increasingly clear to me that I needed to write using the voice of Jane Austen herself.  Oh, I tried to talk myself out of it.  Believe me, Dear Readers, just the thought of writing as Miss Austen struck not a little fear and trepidation into my heart.  I could just imagine hordes of angry Janeites descending and demanding to know how I could possess the utter cheek to write as the great Jane Austen herself!  But every time I tried to talk myself out of it and would proceed to write using the third person point of view, it simply did not work.  The words were more than dull—they lay dead and lifeless upon the page.  On the other hand, my words immediately sprang to life as soon as I began to write from Jane Austen’s perspective.  It almost felt as if I were writing out the thoughts of a dear friend.

It was quite a daunting prospect for me, I can assure you.  Not only would I be venturing to voice what might possibly have been Miss Austen’s opinions based on what I know of her life and social milieu, but to do so mimicking her own voice, prose style, and vernacular?  Those are mighty big shoes to fill, of course.  As a lifelong Janeite, I have often marveled at Miss Austen’s elegant prose style.  Her sentences are truly sophisticated works of art. 

How often have I been astounded by this brilliant woman, raised during the last quarter of the eighteenth century as the daughter of an Anglican clergyman, and educated largely at home by her father and brothers! How is it possible that this unmarried and unpretentious Hampshire woman, from a respectable yet humble gentleman’s family, wrote six of the greatest novels of all time?  It must have taken such courage for a woman in her circumstances to pursue and realize this dream.  With this thought in mind, I tried to grasp onto a bit of Jane Austen’s courage for myself.  Of course, one of my favorite Austenian quotes quickly came to mind:  “Run mad as often as you choose, but do not faint.”  No, never faint!  Never say die!  And never, ever let others tell you that something cannot be done! It was as if I were being counselled by the Great Jane Austen herself. 

I also drew courage from those few brave souls who have gone before me, including Sheila Kaye-Smith and Claudia L. Johnson, who wrestled with the spectral Jane Austen in their respective works, More Talk of Jane Austen and Jane Austen’s Cults and Cultures, as well as Syrie James, whose books The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen and Jane Austen’s First Love feature Jane as a very vivid character.  With these misgivings behind me, I became much more at ease with the notion of writing in Miss Austen’s voice for my own book, Jane Austen Speaks.  After several months, I found myself not only writing as Jane Austen, but even speaking as Jane Austen.  My friends and family did a fair amount of eye-rolling, I can tell you.  As some said, they never knew if they would be getting the person they knew or if I might be “channeling Jane Austen” on any given occasion!  I found that reading Miss Austen’s letters to her sister Cassandra helped quite a bit for handy epithets and exclamations, as well as for obtaining the particular “flavor” of Jane’s slightly more casual speech and writing.  Several of my British friends assisted me with proper Briticisms on numerous occasions, and what a Godsend these dear friends were to me on this journey! 

Even Miss Austen at her most casual and conversational would sound rather formal to our twenty-first century ears, I believe.  Just think of what she would have thought of modern slang and the casual use of obscenities in daily speech!  In fact, I did imagine it, Dear Readers, as you can read for youselves in the following excerpt below taken from “The F Word: Excursions into Germanic Salaciousness.” 

I am certain that each person who is reading this knows exactly which English world I mean, for it exists as a verb, noun, and adjective.  Few things arouse my ire quite so much as the overabundant use of this disgusting word in modern day English.  In truth, the English language is very dear to my heart.  I took the greatest pains to write in such a way as to elevate the language, not drag it down into the dirt.  I have found this vile obscenity used quite frequently in modern “literature” (you might call it literature, but I cannot).  As if that is not quite bad enough, its frequent conversational employment by people of all ages in practically every walk of life is most distressing, indeed.  I have learnt that this foul word is even commonly used by members of the constabulary when dealing with the public citizenry, as well as schoolmasters addressing their pupils.  I have even seen it on greeting cards!

It is an understatement to say that such language is extremely vulgar.  Certainly, there are many aspects of the modern world that are an improvement over life in the early 1800s, but this is not one of them.  Only the coarsest, most ill-bred person would utter such vulgarities in my day.  To be frank, I still believe it signals the greatest incivility as well as a lack of breeding in the modern era…

I would ask that you consider the violent, coarse nature of this vulgar word before you utter it, and then proceed to curb your tongue.  Upon my honour, there is a great deal to be said for good manners and gentle breeding, even in the twenty-first century.  A gentleman or lady should not find it difficult to develop an excellent and plentiful vocabulary of appropriate English adjectives, verbs, and nouns to use in place of such vile words.

I do hope that readers will detect Miss Austen’s considerable wit and wisdom within the pages of Jane Austen Speaks About Life, the Modern World, & Heavenly Pursuits.  I truly hope that you will enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!

Once again, I would like to thank Janet Taylor for so graciously hosting me on More Agreeably Engaged today.  It has been such an honor to be your guest, Janet!

Please enter your comments below in order to be entered for a chance to win a copy of the eBook!  I do look forward to hearing from you. 


Kindest Regards,

Maria-Emilia de Medeiros



Maria Emilia de Medeiros is a teacher, writer, artist, and lifelong Janeite. She read her first Jane Austen novel at the tender age of twelve and has never looked back. In addition to reading, playing the pianoforte, and embroidery, she is fond of dogs, long country walks, and drawing.  Jane Austen Speaks is her first published book about Jane Austen. 


Book Blurb:

In JANE AUSTEN SPEAKS, author Maria Emilia de Medeiros “channels” the great Jane Austen from her heavenly home and allows her the opportunity to speak her mind about the modern world nearly two centuries after her passing. Readers will gain a healthy dose of wise counsel and witty advice for leading a sensible, well-mannered twenty-first century life. Jane Austen’s heavenly exploits (not to mention her recipes) will both entertain and delight you. At times serious, drily humorous, or even a bit naughty, JANE AUSTEN SPEAKS is a necessary addition to every Janeite’s library. Dear Readers, if you have ever asked yourself, “What would Jane Austen think?” you have indeed come to the right place.


Contact Information:


Blog Tour Schedule:

My Jane Austen Book Club:  July 6

Laughing With Lizzie:  July 8

Obsessed with Mr. Darcy:  July 12

So little time…  July 14

More Agreeably Engaged:  July 19

My Kids Led Me Back to Pride & Prejudice:  July 21

Babblings of a Bookworm:  July 25

Darcyholic Diversions:  July 28


Maria Emilia de Medeiros, it is such a pleasure having you visit my blog. I always love having a new author stop by and let us get more acquainted. Thank you. Your book sounds so entertaining and unique. I will be spending some large amount of time perusing the pages of this book, more than once, I am certain. I have enjoyed seeing and reading your posts along the blog tour, and especially this post. It has been an honor to have you as my guest. 

As Maria has already mentioned, the giveaway is for one eBook and it is international. Leave a comment below to be entered and please include your contact info. The giveaway will end at 11:59 PM on the 25th of July, 2016.


  1. What an interesting concept! Looking forward to picking up a copy.

  2. Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting, Nicole! I truly hope you will enjoy the book.

  3. I have this book next to my bed, but haven't been able to start it yet. Absolute best wishes, Maria-Emilia.

  4. Thank you so much, J Dawn King! That is a huge compliment, coming from you. I truly hope you will enjoy it.

  5. First of all, congratulations on your book! What an accomplishment. The prose in your excerpt is lovely, and I confess that I must agree! I look forward to reading more of these topics...and recipes, too? Count me in!

    1. Thank you so much for your lovely comments, SouthsideGirl! I cannot tell you how much I appreciate the positive feedback. I do hope you will enjoy my book, and good luck in the drawing! :)

  6. This sounds fantastic! I like the idea of writing in Austen's voice, but I bet that really was daunting. Congrats on the book!

    1. Thank you so much for your comment, Anna! Truly, it was daunting. I am happy to say that I persevered, however! Thank you for your kind wishes, and I hope very much that you will enjoy the book.

  7. I can already read that there is much wit in the writing. Kudos to you! Thank yo for the giveaway. evamedmonds(at)gmail(dot)com

  8. Thank you so much, Eva! How kind of you to stop by and leave a comment. Good luck in the giveaway!

  9. Congrats, Maria-Emilia! Can't wait to read it!! Please don't enter me in the giveaway, I'm getting this in paperback for the summer :)

  10. Thank you so much for stopping by, Joana. I truly appreciate your support!

  11. Replies
    1. Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting, Denise. Best of luck in the drawing, and I do hope you will enjoy the book!


  12. This was sent via the blog contact form. Pearl was unable to post here. It was sent prior to the cutoff for the giveaway.

    Blogger Contact Form
    5:55 PM (20 hours ago)

    to me
    I have tried two or three times to add a comment for the giveaway for JANE AUSTEN SPEAKS, but my comments do not show up and I don't understand why.

    Pearl | chawtoncottage8@gmail.com

    Note: This email was sent via the Contact Form gadget on http://moreagreeablyengaged.blogspot.com

    I was on my desktop computer. Thank you.

    Here is my comment:

    This sounds like a fun and fascinating book. I enjoyed your thoughtful and insightful guest post, Maria-Emilia. Please enter me in the book giveaway, as I would absolutely love to read it! From Pearl

  13. Thank you so much for your amazing comments, Pearl, and thank you so much for persevering to send in your comments! I truly hope you will enjoy the book, and that you will be the winner of the giveaway!