Jane Austen Lied to Me
by Jeanette Watts
What college girl doesn’t dream of meeting Mr. Darcy? Lizzie was certainly no exception. But when Darcy Fitzwilliam comes into her life, he turns out to be every bit as aggravating as Elizabeth Bennett’s Fitzwilliam Darcy. So what’s a modern girl to do?
Jeanette Watts’ satire pokes loving fun at Jane and all of us who worship the characters who shall forever be our romantic ideals.
Well! That was interesting. My roommate invited me along to this frat party she was going to. She went through something called rush week, and she is now pledged to a sorority. She said the frats are less formal than the sororities, and even though I wasn’t a pledge I could go with her. I figured, why not, it should be fun, right?
I got to meet the guy she’s chasing. I couldn’t blame her for being interested. He’s cute, and sweet, and considerate, and a total people-pleaser. One of his parents must be the demanding sort who is never happy.
He introduced us to his friend… whose name is Darcy Fitzwilliam! I wasn’t sure at first that the guy wasn’t just pulling our legs.
“Your mother obviously loves Jane Austen,” I laughed.
“Obviously,” he answered. Not much to go by.
“I love Pride and Prejudice,” I continued.
“I hate Pride and Prejudice.” I can only describe the look he was giving me as hostile.
“I think you will find yourself very much in a minority,” I answered, returning his look with one of my own.
We didn’t talk any more that night. Talk about getting off on the wrong foot!
1.Did you always want to be an author?
Actually, yes. When I was in 4th or 5th grade, my best friend got me to start writing down the stories I used to make up for her. I wrote all through high school, and was proud of having my stories censored from the high school literary magazine. The story was "A day in the life of a classroom," and described things that happened in my classes. And the teacher advisor for the magazine feared I was too controversial! I didn't know I was capable of writing anything that sensational. And I was to dumb to realize that it meant I wasn't getting published, and that's a BAD thing...
2.Tell us about the publication of your first book.
My first book is Wealth and Privilege. It's historic fiction, set in Pittsburgh between 1875 and 1889. It took me 10 years to write it. Back when I started, when I wanted to research about Johnstown, I needed to go to the Johnstown library. I spent a lot of quality time in the archives of the Heinz History Center. There are some amazing and wonderful librarians and archivists in Western Pennsylvania.
After I'd rewritten the book enough times (and had it proofread enough times) I considered it "ripe" enough to start looking for an agent (you want a publisher in those days? You need an agent to get to the publishers). I spent five years submitting my book to agents, who would tell me they loved the book, but they wanted me to change this thing or that thing. So I would rewrite the book, and then they wouldn't like the book anymore! I finally concluded agents were crazy, right at the time when Kindle and Amazon were completely changing the entire publishing world. I wish I would have listened to my friends sooner. I should have gone to Kindle right when it started, instead of taking another year to decide they were right.
As soon as I was published on Kindle, I had people asking for hard copies. A fellow author that I shared an Author's Pavilion at a local festival told me about CreateSpace. Once I had hard copies to offer people, I started getting the requests for audio books. I haven't gotten that part figured out yet. I've had 3 false starts. Something keeps happening to derail the project.
3.Besides yourself, who is your favorite author in the genre in which you write?
Funny thing is, I don't tend to read historic fiction! I love biographies and history books. If you haven't read David McCullough's book on the Wright Brothers that came out a year or two ago, I highly recommend it. He's a terrific writer. I just bought his biography on Teddy Roosevelt.
I have read several of Philippa Gregory's books. Does Edith Wharton count as historic fiction? She is one of my favorite writers, and the reason so much of my second book is set in New York. There is actually a character in Brains and Beauty that is named for an Edith Wharton character. He's nestled in there among the cameos of real people. It's my own little tribute to Edith.
4.What's the best part of being an author? The worse?
Having my characters out on paper for all the world to see. Thomas and Regina were these people I lived with and loved for 10 years. Plus all the years revising my manuscript for crazy agents. But I was the only one who knew them. Having the books in print, getting the reviews, hearing from people who love my characters with me; it's very gratifying.
The worst part is the inability to ever have enough time to write. Life is full of distractions, and I am good at creating my own obstacles. Give me an hour drive from Dayton to Cincinnati, and I've got an idea for another dance group I want to start. Or I decide for my birthday party, I'm going to throw a ball at the art museum next door. Or my birthday party went so well, I'm going to run an entire week-long Vintage dance workshop. That's all fun, but it absorbs a lot of time I should be spending writing.
5.What projects are you working on now?
I am just now releasing my new book, Jane Austen Lied to Me. It's a complete departure from my usual historic fiction. This is a satire set on a college campus somewhere in America. It could be any college town, and the heroine could be any college Freshman. Her name is Lizzie, and she grew up loving Jane Austen. Now that she's away at college, she's hoping she gets to meet a man as romantic as Mr. Darcy. Problem is, life doesn't always work out like a romance novel...~~~~~~~~~~~~~
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Jeanette Watts had been writing historic fiction when the inspiration for Jane Austen Lied to Me hit her on the drive home from the Jane Austen Festival. The idea was simply irresistible, and she put aside other writing projects in order to focus on writing a satire, thinking it would be a "mental vacation." It turned out to take every bit as much research to write a modern story as it does to write a historical one.
She has written television commercials, marketing newspapers, stage melodramas, four screenplays, three novels, and a textbook on waltzing. When she isn’t writing, she teaches social ballroom dances, refinishes various parts of her house, and sews historical costumes and dance costumes for her Cancan troupe.
GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE
Jeanette Watts will be awarding a doll dressed in Regency clothing, handcrafted by the author (International Giveaway) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.