This month, we had the delight of sitting down with Austenite Patty Edmisson. She shares her thoughts about Jane Austen’s works, and her lovely host this month is Maria Grace. Join us for a cozy chat!
AV: How did you first discover Jane Austen?
PE: I believe I first discovered Jane Austen in high school. I read a lot of authors in high school. I rediscovered Jane Austen when I watched the 1995 A&E version of Pride and Prejudice. I found JAFF when I was homeschooling my girls.
AV: Has fan fiction changed or enhanced your appreciation for the original books?
PE: Fan fiction has increased my joy of Jane Austen’s works. I greatly appreciate that I share a love for her stories with others. To see that other people have enjoyed her stories so much that they have adapted the stories to take the relationships of the characters to another level such as beyond the marriages. Or, they have reimagined the stories through a change in the storyline. I am enthusiastic to read these stories.
AV: If you could spend an hour with Jane Austen, what would you want to do?
PE: If I had an hour with Jane Austen, I believe that I would want to discuss where she came up with the ideas for her stories. Are any of them based on real people? I would also want to discuss her relationships with others. Did she regret any of her previous decisions about marriage and children? I think that I would like her to read aloud some of her works and to hear if she would emphasize any parts of them which could give me hints of things to come. I would ask to read her current WIP, since we know there was one. Where was the storyline heading according to her?
AV: Do you have favorite types of variations or sequels?
PE: I do like a lot of the variations and sequels that I have read. I do enjoy when an author furthers the storylines of the original stories. Angst can be good in either a variation or sequel. I believe that my favorite JAFF stories have caused me to shed a few tears, to laugh out loud, or both.
AV: Do you have a favorite movie or miniseries adaptation of one of Jane Austen‘s novels?
PE: Yes, I have a favorite adaptation for each story. My favorites are 1995 version of Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth, Northanger Abbey starring JJ Field, Persuasion starring Rupert Penry-Jones and Ciaran Hinds, Emma with Jeremy Northam, Sense and Sensibility starring Alan Rickman, and Mansfield Park with Jonny Lee Miller. I have not seen all the adaptations yet. I plan to watch others after I am finished with school in December.
AV: What do you enjoy most here at Austen Variations? Or: Is there anything you would like to see more of here on the blog?
PE: What I enjoy most on Austen Variations are the teasers written that have come from WIP or published works. Some of the stories were written only for the website have been awesome. Three that come to mind are Leslie Diamond’s Fifty Shades of … Jane? and Catherine Curzon and Nicole Clarkston’s A Most Respectable Elopement and the Wickham letters.
AV: Why do you think we still enjoy Jane Austen‘s work so much after 200 years?
PE: I believe that we still enjoy Jane Austen’s stories after 200 years because she has given the happy ever after to her couples after misunderstandings have occurred. I think that we all believe in love and crave for it to happen to everyone. We all are searching for our own happy ever after. I believe all the love stories written after JA’s death have pieces of her stories within them in one form or another. The angst she created in each story has been replicated many times over.
Now is Patty’s turn to interview Maria Grace
PE: What circumstances occurred for you to become a writer? (Or what drove you to write?)
I don’t remember a time where I wasn’t writing to be totally honest. I have been writing since the third grade—and I still have many of those early offerings. I wrote all through high school, five or six novels in total. The real question is what made me stop.
When I got to college, life got more complicated and I just didn’t have the creative energy to write. Grad school was no better, then marriage and children entered the mix. When the boys were small I made up stories for them and that brought me back around to writing once again.
PE: I have enjoyed all your stories, where do you get your ideas for them?
I don’t think there is any one place ideas come from. Just a random sentence or image can trigger an idea. I am cooking up a fantasy series (not JAFF) based on seeing a tiny flower caught in a spider’s web. Sometimes it is an experience that does it. My husband and I belong to an English Country Dance group. One night I danced several times with a particularly bad dancer. That night on the way home, with a little input from my husband, another plot-bunny took shape.
So the long and short of it is, nearly anything can send me spiraling down a story path.
PE: Why do you write JAFF, specifically Pride and Prejudice? Besides the nonfiction books, are there any other stories you wish to tell? Perhaps from another JA book?
Pride and Prejudice has such compelling characters, many of them so universal, that they just call out to be written about. But I really do want to write something from Persuasion. I know it’s close to sacrilege to say, but I think Persuasion is my favorite Austen book. Right now I’m thinking that might become something in my Jane Austen’s Dragons series.
I do have several non-JAFF books that I am working on as well, mostly in the science fiction/fantasy genre.
Thank you, Patty and Maria, for chatting with us this week!
Patty lives in central Louisiana. She is married to James, her own Darcy husband of twenty-five years. They have 3 daughters. Two of her daughters are in college. The other one is in junior high.
She is currently in college for the third time. This time studying nursing. Before returning to college, Patty was a teacher. She taught in all types of locations: public school, prison, private school, home school, and an alternative school for teens.
Her dreams are to live overseas and do medical missions.