Follow by Email

Monday, 13 June 2016

Jane Austen Lives Again by Jane Odiwe - Guest Post, Excerpt and Giveaway

Today I have the honour of welcoming Jane Odiwe to the blog with a guest post, excerpt and giveaway. Jane has written numerous Austen-inspired books featuring Austen's characters and people from Austen's life. Ms Odiwe's latest book, 'Jane Austen Lives Again' has a highly unusual premise, seeing Jane Austen waking alive and well in 1925. Here's the blurb:

Book cover: Jane Austen Lives Again by Jane Odiwe
When Jane Austen’s doctor discovers the secret to immortal life in 1817, she thinks her wishes have come true. But when she wakes up from the dead, a penniless Miss Austen finds herself in 1925, having to become a governess to five girls of an eccentric and bohemian family at the crumbling Manberley Castle by the sea. Jane soon finds she’s caught up in the dramas of every family member, but she loves nothing more than a challenge, and resolves on putting them in order. If only she can stop herself from falling in love, she can change the lives of them all!

Inspired by Jane Austen’s wonderful novels and written in the tradition of classic books like Cold Comfort Farm, I Capture the Castle, and Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, Jane Austen Lives Again is an amusing fairy story for grown-ups.

Now let me hand over to Jane Odiwe for a post about why she enjoys writing about Jane Austen as a character. Jane is very kindly offering a paperback giveaway to two commenters here - read on for more details!

* * *


Thank you very much, Ceri for inviting me along to your blog today - it’s lovely to be here, and to have the chance to tell everybody about my latest novel, Jane Austen Lives Again.

I love writing books with Jane Austen as a character, and from the very first time I started trying to write, I’ve been fascinated by the enigmatic Miss Austen. She is something of a mystery, and although we can guess much from her books and letters, we know her sister and other relations edited her life, burning letters that were thought unsuitable for public consumption. I think that could be part of why she is so intriguing as a character to me - when you read her books, you feel you know her, almost like a friend, but there’s also very little that we really know about her life, and there are gaps where she is silent - where there is no correspondence, and where nothing very eventful seems to happen. Added to the puzzle there are several portraits painted which may or may not be of Jane, and the one we’re very sure about, which came through her brother Frank’s descendants is a frustrating back view where we can’t see her face at all. I’m always searching to find ‘Jane’ in her books, letters, and in the paintings we have, and she has now been a character in four of my novels - and I’m now writing a fifth. It’s bordering on the obsessive I know, but I can’t help myself. Every time I think I shall do something else, it’s as if Jane pops up and says, ‘Mr Darcy is all well and good, but you haven’t quite written everything you could about me.’

When I started writing Jane Austen Lives Again I thought it was going to be my last book about Jane, and I very much wanted to give her a happy ending beyond the life she’d lived. I hinted in Searching for Captain Wentworth that she’d been able to achieve that, and I won’t spoil it and say how, in case you want to read it, but in a new book I wanted her to have a fresh start. Jane wrote a poem before she died where it includes these lines and these were a huge inspiration for my book:
'When once we are buried you think we are dead
But behold me Immortal'

Sea bathing - 1925
Apart from reading Jane Austen’s novels I love books written between the wars like Cold Comfort Farm and I Capture the Castle, and I love watching period dramas and films like Downton Abbey, Gosford Park, and Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day - I wanted to know what would happen if I put Jane Austen in a different era. I thought it would be fun to have her doctor’s descendant develop his ancestor’s work on cell renewal until eventually he brings Jane back again in 1925. She has the body of a twenty-one year old, but with all the wisdom of her forty-one years.

1920's dancers
I wondered about what job she’d have, and I decided it would be quite ironic to have her employed as a governess, a job she made clear she would dislike in her lifetime. How would she react to short skirts, jazz music and bobbed hair? What would she do to help the five girls and the bohemian family she goes to look after in a crumbling castle on a Devonshire cliff top? And how would she cope with the memories of the past and thinking about the people she’d known in another life?

Devon, Ilfracombe, Watermouth Castle
Devon, Ilfracombe, Watermouth Castle
I had a wonderful time writing this book, trying to think about how Jane would solve any problems put in her way, and giving her the chance to have her own happy ending. Here’s a little excerpt - I hope you enjoy it!

* * *

Jane hurried along the corridors and passages, down one staircase after another. She saw one or two maids bearing breakfast trays groaning with teapots, silver food domes and racks of toast, which made her wonder whether many of Manberley’s residents would be joining her in the dining room. It was empty when she walked in, but there were several covered serving dishes on the side, which rather surprisingly held a vast variety of breakfast treats, until Jane reasoned that the Miltons probably farmed the land, and would keep pigs and hens. Jane helped herself to sausage and bacon, scrambled egg and fried bread, thinking that it might be an idea to stock up on food if dinner was to be another poor affair.
She was just enjoying her solitude when the door opened, which made her start a little, especially when she saw who was walking in. It was the chauffeur who’d picked her up from the station, looking as if breakfasting in the dining room at this hour was a regular habit. He mumbled something, which Jane thought might have been ‘good morning’, before coolly helping himself from the side.
With his plate heaped high, he sat down on the chair opposite her, and spent the next ten minutes without another word, eating his way through a mountain of food in silence. Jane couldn’t help thinking his presence was most unusual, even taking into account how times had changed. In her day servants ate in the kitchen, and though she’d been surprised to discover that she was invited to eat with the family, she decided the Milton’s must be most unconventional to allow the chauffeur the same honour.
It felt very uncomfortable sitting there without any attempt at conversation. Jane observed her companion who was now unfurling a newspaper from his pocket, and spreading it open on the table, with hardly a pause from the movement of his fork from food to mouth. He was very well dressed in a suit of country tweed, no uniform today, and she couldn’t help noticing how well the greenish flecks in the tawny cloth complimented his tanned skin. He was broad-shouldered, yet she detected a slim torso beneath the waistcoat he wore, and with long limbs and strong, capable-looking hands he could be described as a very good-looking young man. Dark, unruly curls had been fixed as well as they could into place with a neat parting and brilliantine, but those at the nape of his neck where they met the collar of his shirt refused to be tamed.
He must have been aware she was staring because he suddenly looked up which made her jump a little out of her seat. She saw a wide mouth curving into a generous smile at her obvious discomfort, and a flash of white even teeth.
‘Not run away yet, Miss Austen?’
His accent had a faint trace of something she couldn’t make out, but it was a friendly voice, and she couldn’t help smiling too.
‘No, not yet, Mr … I’m sorry, I didn’t catch your name.’
‘It’s Will Milton.’ There was a pause during which his eyes connected with hers. ‘Just call me Will … everybody does.’
Jane felt the blood pound in her temples, and knew her face was flooding with crimson. Will Milton? A hundred thoughts flashed through her mind, as she wondered if she could have done or said anything yesterday that she should now regret. He was no ordinary chauffeur she realised in that moment, but the son and heir to Manberley castle. Of course she had been a little snooty, telling him off for discussing her employers, but he’d been obviously playing a trick on her and that was hardly her fault. Jane was in mixed emotions, and went from embarrassment and shame to downright indignation in the time it took for Will to close his paper.
‘Do you always dress up as the chauffeur and pretend to be someone you’re not?’ she said crossly, unable to stop the thoughts coming out of her mouth.
Will seemed to find this funny, and threw back his head to laugh out loud. ‘I don’t have to do it very often, pick people up from the station, I mean, but I thought it might put you at your ease, and I hoped to learn a bit more about you and what you were thinking about coming to work here. We don’t have a chauffeur any more, and on the few occasions I’ve taken on the job, I must admit it’s always fun to listen to the conversations of incoming guests. I’ve learned a lot, and then the moment of realisation is always worth the wait … and such a hoot.’
‘I’m glad you think it’s so funny,’ said Jane, already deciding that she’d never met anyone more unprincipled. Above all things she disliked this sort of trickery, having fun at others’ expense. These Miltons were an odd lot, and she’d best keep her wits if she were to keep her sanity.
‘I didn’t mean to upset you,’ he said and she caught that drawl in his voice again. His eyes were pleading with her but she would not be drawn into the depths of those dark brown eyes. ‘Please forgive me, Miss Austen, I would hate to disappoint my new governess.’
He was making fun of her again. ‘I am not your governess. Your stepmother has made it quite clear to me that you’re a law unto yourself. I am here merely to advise Lady Milton and help with the girls.’
‘I expect she’s told you I’m a wicked stepson,’ he said, his eyes twinkling with amusement, ‘with no morals and a string of women in the village.’
‘Lady Milton has said no such thing, and even if she had I would not repeat it.’
That made him laugh again, and Jane couldn’t help wondering, as she stared at him, whether there was some truth in what he’d said. She saw that arrogance again, and imagined the confident heir to Manberley leaving a trail of broken hearts behind him amongst all the young women of Stoke Pomeroy. Well, he wouldn’t be charming her with his good looks and fine eyes, she decided, not that he’d be interested in anything about her except as a vehicle for his jokes and what he imagined was wit. Jane thought it wouldn’t take her long to put him in his place now she knew what he was like, and looked forward to having the opportunity again sometime.

* * *

Author Jane Odiwe
About the author:
Jane Odiwe is a British author with a special interest in writing novels inspired by Jane Austen's works. Her books continue the stories of beloved characters like Elizabeth Bennet and Mr Darcy in Mr Darcy's Secret, or tell Jane Austen's own story, as in the novels, Jane Austen Lives Again, Searching for Captain Wentworth, and Project Darcy. Other works include the novels Willoughby's Return, Lydia Bennet's Story and the novellas, Mr Darcy's Christmas Calendar, and Mrs Darcy's Diamonds. Jane's short story, Waiting, was published in the short story anthology, Jane Austen Made Me Do It.

Jane is an ambassador for the Jane Austen Literacy Foundation, established by Jane Austen's 5th great niece, Caroline Jane Knight. She is also a member of the Jane Austen Society, and the Romantic Novelist's Association. When she's not writing she enjoys painting and trying to capture the spirit of Jane Austen's world. Her illustrations feature in a short biographical film of Jane Austen's life, and in the picture book, Effusions of Fancy.

Born in Sutton Coldfield, England, Jane gained an arts degree in Birmingham where she indulged her great loves of Fine Art, Literature, and History. After teaching in the Midlands and London for some years, writing novels took over her life. Jane lives in London with her husband, children and two cats, but escapes to "Fairyland", Bath, whenever she can!

Links:
GoodreadsFacebookTwitterWebsiteBlogAmazon USAmazon UK •

Giveaway time!

Book cover: Jane Austen Lives Again by Jane Odiwe
Jane has very generously offered a giveaway to readers here - two paperback copies of 'Jane Austen Lives Again'! This giveaway is open to international entrants. To be in with a chance of winning a copy, just leave a comment on this blog post by the end of the day on Monday 20 June. Please leave a way for me to contact you in case you are one of the lucky winners. If you'd like to double your chances of winning, leave a comment on my review of 'Jane Austen Lives Again', which I'll post later this week.

Thank you so much to Jane Odiwe for visiting with this lovely post and giveaway! I always love getting some insight into the workings of the minds of authors, and what inspires their story ideas.

70 comments:

  1. This book sounds fun!! Loved Will playing the chauffeur :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Kirsten - I really had a lot of fun with this book!Will gives Jane some moments of teasing torment and much more besides ; )

      Delete
    2. It really was a fun read Kirsten!

      Delete
  2. I've heard so many good things about this book. It's on my summer TBR list!! Great post ladies.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Claudine-I do hope you enjoy it!

      Delete
    2. Thanks Claudine. I hope you enjoy it when you get to it. I think it'd make for a wonderful summer read :)

      Delete
  3. this sounds like a fun book!

    Denise

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Denise! The 20's always seems like a fun era to me :)

      Delete
  4. Thank you Denise-I hope you get a chance to read it!

    ReplyDelete
  5. This book has one of the loveliest covers that the story sounds so intriguing and fascinating: Jane Austen in the 1920s!I would love to read this book so have both fingers & toes crossed that I'd be one of the lucky winners!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Iris for your kind comments-I'm so glad you like the cover-I found the image on a 1925 greetings card and fell in love with it.

      Delete
    2. Isn't the cover gorgeous, Iris! Good luck in the giveaway :)

      Delete
  6. This is now my new favourite Jane Odiwe novel (sorry, Searching for Captain Wentworth. You are brilliant and held the candle for a few years).

    It's a wonderful story, a great premise and told beautifully by Jane Odiwe. The cover is, in particular, delightfully different and completely refreshing!

    Lovely Blog post, Jane. I enjoyed reading about your enjoyment of writing Jane Austen as a character, and I love the way she isn't letting you go yet!

    Good luck with the next story, Jane!

    (No need to include me in the draw, Ceri, as I have this wonderful book already).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have 'Searching for Captain Wentworth' on my kindle waiting for me, Cassandra. It's good to know I have another treat ahead.

      Delete
  7. Thank you, Cassandra-so kind of you to comment! As you know I'm thrilled that you like it so much.

    ReplyDelete
  8. What a gorgeous cover and the story promisses a lot of laughs. Would love to read this book !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Jo's Daughter-I'm glad you like the look of the cover and the story idea-I hope you get a chance to read it.

      Delete
    2. I love the cover too, Jo's Daughter. It's so evocative of the 20s. I hope you enjoy the book when you read it.

      Delete
  9. Replies
    1. Hi Adelaida, I hope you get to read it soon.

      Delete
  10. Looking forward to reading it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Dung, thanks for dropping by and good luck in the giveaway.

      Delete
  11. Thanks for the giveaway! The premise of your books are always intriguing and you write beautifully!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, joanna-that's very kind of you.

      Delete
    2. Hi Joanna. I was so curious about the premise; it's a real flight of fancy to transport somebody 100 years into the future!

      Delete
  12. I've read some great reviews of this book, so I'm really looking forward to reading it. It's a very interesting concept!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, arjanne-I'm always trying to think of writing something a little bit different, and it was fun to do.

      Delete
    2. Hi Arjanne. It's a unique concept isn't it! I hope you enjoy it when you read it.

      Delete
  13. I've always wondered what was in the letters that Cassandra burned and wonder how it would add to what we know about Jane Austen. How neat that a phrase in her letter sparked off the premise for this latest book.

    Oho, that was a fun excerpt!

    Thanks for the opportunity.
    sophiarose1816 at gmail com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sophia, how I wish we could get those letters back, but the upside for a novelist is that we can imagine what they said, and I find that half the fun!

      Delete
    2. Hi Sophia! I have always wondered about what was in the letters too. Some of the letters that were preserved show Jane Austen could be quite acerbic so you wonder what type of thing was in there. If only Cassandra knew just how long-lasting her sister's fame would prove to be, maybe she would have left us a fuller picture, but at least we have what we have I suppose.

      Delete
  14. I love Jane Odiwe's books and this one is on my special wishlist!

    gabrielladiariodipensieripersi(at)gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Gabriella-I hope you get a chance to read it!

      Delete
    2. Hi Gabriella. Thanks for dropping by and good luck in the giveaway!

      Delete
  15. Thanks for this lovely personal post. I would love to read Jane Austen Lives Again. I am also very curious about the new book you are writing.
    Monica
    moon.card(at)yahoo(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Monica-ooh, I can't say too much about the new one-keeping it all a big secret, but I'm just past half way through writing it. I'm a bit superstitious and don't like to say too much about any book I'm writing, just in case I can't finish it- daft, I know!

      Delete
    2. Thanks for commenting, Monica! I'll look forward to finding out more about Jane's work in progress sometime :)

      Delete
  16. I love this era! I just read Ceri's review and am more intrigued than ever :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Karen-I hope you get a chance to read it sometime.

      Delete
    2. I love the era too, Karen, it seemed like a fun time to be around.

      Delete
  17. A tantalizing excerpt -- yum! And do I detect a shade of Mr Darcy here ... just a shade inasmuch as disguise is his abhorrence. I've already added this to my growing Must-Read list, and thank you for this post, excerpt, and giveaway!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're very perceptive, Tea Guide-thank you for your kind comments!

      Delete
    2. Hi Janis! Well we shall see, won't we :)

      Delete
  18. Can't wait to read this one. And I LOVE that line from her poem. She was/is brilliant!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Bonnie-I love that line too. In many ways she is immortal!

      Delete
    2. Hi Bonnie. I have never read any of her poetry. In fact, I didn't know she'd written any! I need to catch up.

      Delete
  19. Carole in Canada15 June 2016 at 18:55

    Absolutely loved this book! I have read all but 'Mr. Darcy's Christmas Calendar'! I have it on my Kindle though. Glad to hear there is a new book in the works too!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Carole-I'm so thrilled that you enjoyed it. I'd love to know what you think about Mr Darcy's Christmas Calendar when you've read it!

      Delete
    2. Hi Carole. It's funny, but though I have quite a few books by Jane Odiwe on my kindle the only other book by her I've read is the one that you haven't, 'Mr Darcy's Christmas Calendar'! I'm so glad you enjoyed reading this book too.

      Delete
  20. This is such a cool twist. I love the cover! Thanks for sharing with us!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Suzan. It's such an interesting concept, isn't it. And I agree with you regarding the cover, it's gorgeous, isn't it!

      Delete
    2. Thank you, Susan-I'm thrilled you like the idea and the cover!

      Delete
  21. This is a very intriguing concept -- Regency sensibility and propriety meets Roaring Twenties culture. I wonder what Jane would have thought of Lady Mary Crawley or her sister Edith.

    Florence
    flo123(at)usa(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It must have been a huge shock to the system at first. The clothes, the manners, everything would have changed so much from the familiar. Thanks for commenting, Florence!

      Delete
    2. Florence, thank you - I loved finding out how Jane would cope being in the 1920s, and seeing if she would adapt.I think Jane would have loved those two ladies for their independent spirits, and adaptability to the changing times.

      Delete
  22. I'm captivated by this premise! I've been writing in 1930 and 1933, and fallen in love with it all. And such a great cover! Thanks for a great review and the chance to win, ladies!
    Debraemarvin (at) tablespoon

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Debra. It's great idea for a story, isn't it, and very unusual. I really like stories set in the early 20th century, mainly due to Agatha Christie books.

      Delete
  23. What a lovely excerpt! I'm intrigued and look forward to reading about Jane's adventures in 1920s!

    newyorkgirl82(at)gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Maria,

      I hope you enjoy the story when you read it :)

      Delete
  24. Love the premise, love the excerpt! Thanks for a chance to win a copy!

    Pamh5230 at yahoo dot com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Pamela, thanks for your comment and good luck in the giveaway.

      Delete
  25. What a wonderful excerpt! I just loved it!!
    If the remainder of the book is anything like this snapshot,then I think the banter and verbal jousting will warm the cockles of our hearts!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Mary. You are correct, you can look forward to some more repartee :)

      Delete
  26. Jane's time travel books are all so delightful! The premise of this one is perfect!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jen, I still have some more of Jane's time travel stories to read so I am glad you find them delightful. I hope you enjoy this one when you read it.

      Delete
  27. I've loved every one of Jane's books that I've read and this was no exception. I'd love to be entered into the giveaway as I read the ebook version and I love the bright colours on the cover of this.

    I'm currently reading Searching for Captain Wentworth and it's not disappointing me!

    angmardee ( at ) hotmail ( dot ) com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for stopping by, Anji, and good luck in the giveaway :)

      Delete
  28. I have posted the giveaway winners here: http://babblingsofabookworm.blogspot.co.uk/2016/06/winners-jane-austen-lives-again-by-jane.html

    ReplyDelete