Thursday, March 27, 2014

Setting Up My 1-800-Psychic Number

So I was reading Paula Byrne's wonderful new biography of Jane Austen, The Real Jane Austen: a Life in Small Things, and received the startling reminder that l'aimable Jane once penned a piece of juvenalia entitled "Frederic and Elfrida." Not that startling to you, perhaps, but since the lovers in my forthcoming Regency romance bear the names Frederick (with a K, mind you) and Elfrida, I was delighted with the cosmic connection. I hadn't read any Austen juvenalia since college, so I wonder if I tucked that morsel away deep in my subconscious! And here I thought I named my Elfrida after the Elfride in Thomas Hardy's A Pair of Blue Eyes.

I must be guilty of a lot of Austen-related morsel-tucking because I made a similar discovery after launching my Austen-retelling The Beresfords on the world. It turns out there is a Colonel Beresford in her unfinished novel The Watsons.

No matter where I go, clearly, it all comes back to Jane. Yikes. But not a bad thing, by any means. Better than discovering all my writing derives from V. C. Andrews or Sweet Valley High books. Oh--wait--my character Caroline Grant in The Beresfords references Sweet Valley High. Scratch that literary dig.

Speaking of my newest venture, A Very Plain Young Man, second in the Hapgoods of Bramleigh series, is heading to production! Check back for cover art, when fabulous Kathy Campbell works her magic. (Seriously--click on that link, and you'll see two of my covers! She's done them ALL.) So Frederick and Elfrida's tale will launch in early May, perhaps?

In the meantime, I am thrilled to announce Austenprose's review of The Naturalist, the first book in the series.
Recognize those eyes from Austenprose's header?
Austen aficionado and published editor Laurel Ann Nattress declares it "a literary feast for any Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer fan" and urges, "If you read one Traditional Regency this year let it be The Naturalist," citing its "original, quirky characters, witty repartee, layered secrets, blundering misunderstandings, and laugh-out-loud humor." to the author's ears. Really, that's all any writer wants--to tell a story to someone and have them be entertained, moved, amused. Funny that Austenprose suggested a fifth book in the series about a "pedantic Hapgood cousin." He isn't too pedantic, I hope, but I was thinking a new cousin character I introduce in A Very Plain Young Man might deserve his own book before I move on to third sister Margaret...

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