*Does anyone else hear that Nick Jonas song when they read this title? No? Just me then.
Hi everyone, I’m Melanie Stanford, and I’m the newest member of Austen Variations. I’m so happy to be part of this amazing group of authors and Austenites!
This month we’re talking about anniversaries. So let me share some of mine and maybe you’ll get to know me a little better in the process.
The anniversary of when I first fell in love with all things Jane Austen: 20th
My mom would watch the Colin Firth version of PRIDE & PREJUDICE on repeat, and I would cringe every time. I mean, who was into watching people just yak at each other around bad wallpaper? Then one day, my older sister was watching it, and suddenly I was interested (because she was cool, so anything she did was cool). I started watching with her around the time Elizabeth sees Darcy’s “beautiful grounds at Pemberley.” I had no clue what was going on, but I stuck to the end. As soon as it was over, I restarted from the beginning. What can I say, I was hooked!
The anniversary of when I read my first Jane Austen novel: 19th
The first JA novel I read was PRIDE & PREJUDICE. BTW, I had to read it for my eleventh grade Brit Lit class. By then, I was already in love, so I was excited to read the novel. During class we watched the older BBC version of the movie as well (in which I tried not to bug my teacher about why we weren’t watching the Colin Firth one. I mean why not?).
The anniversary of when I read all the rest of her books: NO IDEA
I spent the next few years reading Austen’s entire works. SENSE & SENSIBILITY was second, mostly due to the wonderful Emma Thompson/Kate Winslet movie that my mom owned on VHS. I also read a couple of biographies and many retellings from my early twenties on.
The anniversary of when I wrote my first JA-related novel: 5th
My first finished manuscript was a Young Adult time travel. Around this time, my mom (who is the best, obviously) introduced me to a new movie version of PERSUASION. I’d already seen the Ciaran Hinds/Amanda Root movie, and read the book, which I really related to. But this movie… *swoon* Rupert Penry-Jones, amirite?! On one of my many rewatches, I remember thinking, “this would make a really good modern-day story.” I put the idea off for a while, but finally decided to give it a shot. It took me less than three months to write the first draft of SWAY.
The anniversary of my second JA-related story: Less than one year
Last year, I heard of a contest for Jane Austen related, winter-themed short stories. Even though I’m not a short-story writer, I decided to give it a shot. In a couple of weeks, I churned out BECOMING FANNY, which is MANSFIELD PARK meets HOLIDAY INN. It ended up winning First Runner-up and was published in the holiday anthology THEN COMES WINTER out with Meryton Press last November. Woot woot!
The anniversary of my first published JA-related novel: Less than two months!
SWAY released December 29th, 2015 from Samhain Publishing. I’m so excited it’s out in the world! Because of SWAY, I’ve been able to meet so many wonderful Austen authors and fans. They are the best bunch in the world, not that I’m biased or anything. I can’t wait for the chance to get to know everyone here at Austen Variations better and share our love for all things Austen!