Monday, December 23, 2013

An Interview with Jane Austen

Every day as I write, Jane Austen is looking over my shoulder. I mean this literally, because I have the Jane Austen action figure on my desk shelf! Her friendly expression, saucy brown curls, and pen in her hand are my inspiration. When I get stuck in the middle of a scene, or can't think of the right word, I glance up at her brown-paint-dot eyes and ask, "What would you do?"

Sometimes, her plastic grin throws a challenge my way. I can hear a clipped English accent coming from her carmine lips as she scolds, "I wrote by lamplight without central air or heat. Figure it out!" Other times, when she is perhaps in a more charitable mood, she responds, "Move on to another scene until your mind clears."

Jane's birthday was this month. At the ripe young age of 239, she still has plenty of advice to give budding romance authors. Want a stoic hero with a heart of gold? Darcy's your man. Prefer an older hero who goes after what he wants? Knightley to the rescue! A spurned hero who still loves the heroine for your reunion story? That will be Captain Wentworth. And as for rogues - she has them in spades! Who is more despicable, Wickham, who uses girls for their money, or Willoughby, who seeks wealth over his heart?

If I could speak to her for only a moment, I would ask where she got her inspiration. From relationships she observed in her family and friends? Her own active imagination? Or her heart that dreamed of a love never attained? All of the above?

She looks at me from the shelf. A breeze from the a/c duct overhead stirs the plastic feathers in her quill. I think she just winked at me.

Dear reader, what is your favorite Austen book? If you haven't read the books but enjoy the movies or series, feel free to comment. Responders will be entered for a chance to win an adorable facsimile of a Regency dance card that is a little notebook. It features a cover inspired from Emma.

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