Ohmigosh, you guys! I am so excited to be joining the ranks of Austen Variations! It’s an honor to be included amongst such a talented group of writers who I’ve admired for many years. I’ve been in the JAFF community for a long time and published my first book, The Muse, last year. But, to properly introduce myself to Austen Variations and to also have a little fun, I’ve created this FAQ about me. Hope you enjoy!
How did you discover Jane Austen?
My first encounter with Jane Austen happened when I was 20. It was summer and I was trying to read as many Great Books as I possibly could, in an endeavor to feel more worldly and well educated. Like most of the Great Books I’d read that summer, I picked up Pride and Prejudice reluctantly, thinking I’d have to slog through it like the rest of them. I finished it in less than two days, then plowed through Sense and Sensibility, Emma, Mansfield Park, and Persuasion. I was hooked after that.
How’d you start writing Jane Austen fanfiction?
I didn’t get into the JAFF world until a few years later, after I had graduated college, when I had a boring desk job and very little work to do. To keep myself occupied, I spent all day reading JAFF on Hyacinth Gardens and Firthness (RIP). I never entertained writing my own story, but then I went to see The Phantom of the Opera with Gerard Butler as the Phantom. That movie got my wheels turning and, long story short, the idea for my first fanfic, The Muse, was born. I wrote the story in a few months, found a beta, and began posting on Hyacinth Gardens in 2003. The rest is history.
Why only modernizations?
I love Regency sequels, retellings, and reimaginings. I love reading about the genteel world that Jane Austen masterfully creates in her novels. I am so jealous of those writers (many of whom belong to this group) who can continue to write in a voice like Austen’s. But, try as I may, that just isn’t my writing voice. I do love playing with the characters and themes of Austen’s novels, as I still find them so relevant today. To me, it’s interesting to take a scene or scenario from a book and figure out what the modern equivalent would be. In my book, The Muse, translating Pride and Prejudice to the modern world of a ballet company challenged me, but made it fun, too! I do always love a challenge, though, so perhaps a Regency story lies somewhere in my future.
Which Jane Austen character do you most resemble?
Although I wish I could be as light and sparkling as Elizabeth Bennet, I’m more an Elinor Dashwood. I’m level-headed and sensible, a penny-pincher and a pragmatist who loves spreadsheets, plain Cheerios, and 9:30 p.m. bedtimes. (I’m only a little bit kidding.) I feel deeply, but it all stays inside, and I’m a bit of a caretaker. Dear Elinor and I do depart in some important ways, though. I have a goofy sense of humor, which is far more Lizzy Bennet, and a overactive imagination, a la Catherine Morland.
Colin or Matthew?
Colin, of course!
Did I leave anything out? If so, ask in the comments! I’m looking forward to hanging around more on Austen Variations and can always be found on Facebook, Twitter (@JEvansBooks), and Goodreads. Please join me there, too.