Guest Post and Giveaway 2: Jane Odiwe!

JaneOdiwe copy 4Continuing our series of guest posts, today we are delighted to welcome talented author and illustrator, Jane Odiwe!

Jane has published several Austen-inspired novels, including some with Jane Austen herself as a character, and draws gorgeous illustrations depicting scenes from the novels or from the author’s own life.

Over to you, Jane!

~o0o~

Thank you, Cass and Ada for asking me to be a guest on your blog – I feel very honoured to be here, especially as I feel I was almost present at the conception of your new book, a while ago. It’s been very exciting to follow you on the journey to publication – as I’ve said many times, I’m looking forward to reading it hugely and wish you great success!

I was very young when Jane Austen first came into my life – I’m very lucky to have the names of both the heroines, Jane and Elizabeth from Pride and Prejudice, and the fact that Jane Austen shared my name made it doubly special. I think I was about seven or eight years old when I first saw an old film version of Pride and Prejudice, and I knew it was a book my parents loved so I just soaked it up in various forms throughout the years, as it was presented in books, on television and film. I loved watching adaptations and gradually reading all the books, discovering Jane’s genius in every one.

Cassandra and Jane AustenI became more and more fascinated by the author herself, and wanted to know all about her life, reading every biography I could get my hands on. When I discovered that other people shared my obsession, and websites dedicated to her began to appear online, I spent all my spare time reading those too. I started making some drawings of Jane Austen and her family, and accompanying them with letters, as if written by her sister Cassandra, and after I published a little book, I felt further inspired to attempt writing a novel. Jane’s life and work has continued to inspire every book I’ve written.

You asked me about my latest book – I’ve just written a novel where I imagine Jane Austen has been given another chance to live. Her doctor’s ancestor discovers the secret to immortal life, so Jane grabs the chance to have more time to write all the novels she’s ever wanted, and in the body of a twenty-one year old with all the wisdom, memories and knowledge from her former life.

JALA-Cov-Lo-1However, it is now 1925, and Jane has to get used to a new way of life, and earn her living as a governess, the one job she always dreaded having to do. Her new employers, an aristocrat unable to keep his crumbling castle from going to rack and ruin, and his bohemian nightclub singer wife, are struggling to raise their children, though it soon transpires that the task is not quite what Jane expects. There are no small children, only five grown-up daughters and the charming heir to Manberley, who seem to have no firm ambition or direction. It’s immediately clear that the troubled Milton family need someone to help set their lives on the right track. Using her great sense and vast experience from the past, Jane tackles every problem, guiding her charges, unravelling every romantic entanglement and offering sage advice, even when her writing has to take a back seat. In the midst of the chaos that ensues, she finds she is not immune to falling in love herself, not only with the Milton family, but also with an unexpected suitor, as much as she rails against it.

I loved putting Jane Austen in a different time frame, and it was fun to write about the Jazz Age, and what I imagined would be Jane’s reaction to it. I always think Jane’s books are filled with timeless advice on living life and lessons on how not to have your heart broken, and I really wanted to see if she could turn round the lives of a hapless family who all desperately need her unique talents and help. And, of course, as in Jane’s novels, there is a happy ending.

PersuasionAnneand Frederick
Captain Wentworth and Miss Anne Elliot in Bath

I can’t begin to imagine how different my life would be without Jane Austen. She is my greatest inspiration for my writing. Is there a single author on the planet who has not been influenced by her work in one way or another?

Just thinking about a small selection of my favourite authors – did you know there are at least two hundred and fifty references to Jane Austen’s name alone in Virginia Woolf’s Complete Works, six in Dodie Smith’s I Capture the Castle, two in Stella Gibbons’s Cold Comfort Farm, two in The Collected Works of Elizabeth von Armin, and one in A. S. Byatt’s novel, Possession? That’s just six authors I’ve happened to mention who probably wouldn’t have been writers if not for Jane Austen, and the true number of those influenced and inspired by her work must run into thousands, if not tens of thousands of authors, or even more when you consider those around the world. The numbers likely run into millions. Just think of all those books that would not have been published or seen the light of day – all that pleasure, unknown, lost, and denied to us all.

And that is just one difference – my life would be considerably poorer in every way imaginable. When I think of the friendships I’ve made through my love of Austen, the music and art I’ve come to appreciate, all the more because it was produced in her time, and the very many special people I’ve met along the way, a life without her is too awful to contemplate.

~o0o~

Thank you so much for being our guest, Jane, and for such a great read! You can find Jane on her blogs or on social media via the following links:

Austen Effusions

Jane Austen Sequels

Facebook

Twitter

The Giveaway!

Once again, we’re offering one lucky reader of this Blog the chance to win the following:

  • A copy of The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen (eBook or paperback, open worldwide)*
  • A laminated bookmark showing the topaz crosses given to Jane and her sister, Cassandra, by their brother, Charles
  • A map of Bath in the time of Jane Austen (specifically, from 1803, a significant date in the story)
  • A set of Jane Austen bookplates
  • A charming necklace with a quote from one of Jane Austen’s Bath novels

There will be further chances to win the same bundle of prizes each week throughout our series of guest posts.

* Books will be sent out once the release date is reached (7th July)

How to Enter

Just leave a comment below about anything in Jane’s post above, or share with us how your life would be impacted if those wonderful novels had never been published, those much-loved characters never existed, and Jane Austen had remained completely unknown to the world.

All those who comment will be entered into a draw to select the prize winner, which will be announced the following week.

Jane Austen and Tom Lefroy at Ashe
Jane Austen and Tom Lefroy at the Ashe Ball

89 thoughts on “Guest Post and Giveaway 2: Jane Odiwe!

  1. I just adore Jane Odiwe’s writing and her artwork! I’ve been reading Austen-inspired tales for about 10 years now, I think, and I have made so many wonderful friends who share my obsession. I can’t imagine what the world would be like had Miss Austen never had her novels published – or had never written them at all. It’s a sad thought, so I won’t dwell on it 😉

    Cass, I didn’t know you had a new book coming out! I’ve gotten behind on all my Austen-blog-hopping the past few months. I’m off to investigate the premise and add it to my tbr list!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I love Jane Odiwe’s writing and drawings too, Monica!

      It’s the loss of friends which would impact me most too, I’m sure.

      There’s a bit of blurb about the book under Book Releases, but we’ll be revealing more over the coming weeks. It comes out 7th July!

      Thanks for commenting and good luck in the draw!

      Like

    2. It’s so funny, when Cass and I started writing the main conflict for the story it was always light hearted to me (probably because I always knew how we were going to end up! spoiler: it involves The Martian and dinosaurs! – just kidding, I’m lying!). But as soon as we decided to ask other people (notable people in the JA world!) I started to feel instant guilt… because really – this is serious business. We have so much Real Life based on JA’s fiction… that it’s a little offensive of us to put it all in jeopardy! Even in fiction!

      Liked by 1 person

    3. Thank you, Monica-so kind of you to say so! I was thinking about when I really started following websites and trying to do my own writing, and I hadn’t realised it must be about 15 years ago. Like you, it’s brought such a lot of pleasure – thank you for being such a great supporter – I haven’t had a chance to get hold of Cass and Ada’s book yet, but I’ve heard so much about it, and it sounds fabulous-can’t wait to read it.

      Liked by 2 people

    4. Hi Monica, Thank you for your very kind words, and for being such a wonderful supporter! I haven’t had a chance to read Cass and Ada’s book yet, but the premise is fabulous-right up my street, and I can’t wait to read it!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi again! Reading Austen novels changed my views in both life and love. Since none of my friends read Austen novels so it was hard for me to really express my love for her. Good thing there is social media. Jane Austen led an amazing life. She is a critical thinker but also a romantic. She taught me how wisdom can bring you to places and that person meant for you will truly love you for who you are. She inspired me to write and speak out which is why I am pursuing my current degree in my university. I hope someday I could also write so beautifully and expressively like her and you guys. ♥ Thanks for this giveaway. xoxo

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think this is the joy of social media (which can also be the opposite, of course!) – we can easily find like-minded friends who share common interests, and often in day to day life, that isn’t the case. I’m not saying we don’t have friends; of course we do. But coming across someone with the same depth of affection for a novelist is not so frequent, whereas online there are lots of us! lol

      I think Jane Austen would be both touched and proud to hear she inspired you to write and speak out and pursue a degree!

      Good luck in the draw, and remember there are several more chances over coming weeks!

      Liked by 2 people

    2. I hope that you achieve that writing goal as well because that means we have another lovely voice in the ‘darkness’. As you say, beautifully written characters create a world we can go to to restore and rebuild ourselves – so yes, since you know what an impact that can have you have a responsibility to keep working on that writing for the betterment of us all! If not simply the betterment of a rough week!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thank you all so much Cass, Ada, and Jane for supporting my dreams! I do hope that one day I could also influence other people like what Jane Austen still does, and inspire them to also write and express in the most creative way through words. I really admire all your passion for writing and for Jane Austen. I may not be a very good writer now, but I will work really hard to improve my writing! 🙂
        Lots of love,
        Danica (thatlittlegirl)

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Thank you Jane Odiwe for this lovely blog post! You really were closest to us at the very beginning of this journey, though it seems crazy that it’s already been over a year ago. Hoping we can meet up while I’m in town!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Ada-I’ve loved hearing all about your upcoming novel, and I’m very intrigued to see where the story goes. I love the premise and am so looking forward to reading it. I can’t believe how quickly time is passing-I hope we can meet up too!

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Not it! Although I can imagine spiraling out on some aimless fear and choosing a random detail/reference like that to focus on. Of course the more obvious answer is that the text is prob in a computer somewhere and they just do a search. Heck, the computer probably even counts it up. BUT hey – in order to do that you’d still have to figure in ALL the possible references. SO maybe it is a person. Like me… who couldn’t sleep because I can’t decide which family members would be more forgiving of my kids’ weird eating habits if we died and they had to be raised by someone else….

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Vesper, I did a search in my Kindle to find out if authors had mentioned Jane Austen- I was amazed to find so many references. And that was just with the reference to her name-I’m sure many authors have mentioned her books. I’m sure there’s a reference to Pride and Prejudice in a favourite book of mine- I Capture the Castle, and I’m sure the heroine’s name was chosen because of Jane’s sister Cassandra. I’m reading a Rebecca West book at the moment and there is a reference to Jane’s novels. I wonder how many authors were influenced by her-I’m sure the numbers are enormous!

      Liked by 3 people

  4. I’ve long been a fan of Jane Odiwe’s lovely writing and artwork, so this blog
    post was a real treat. I have enormous respect for authors, like Jane, who devote so much time to historical research and detail of the periods in which their stories are set. I especially love Austen-inspired stories that reimagine our beloved characters in a new era. We are so fortunate that so many artists, authors, filmmakers, etc. have been inspired to keep Jane Austen alive for generations and we won’t ever have to find out what life would have been like without her. But it certainly will be fun to read about what Cass and Ada have imagined. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    1. We hope you do find it fun when it comes to reading, Tara! We found it fun to write, but of course we knew the way the story was going! 😉

      I love Jane’s writing and art too, and the historical detail in her latest novel is just wonderful, a real mash-up with Downton Abbey but without the severe angst!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. We’ve circled around this topic for awhile haven’t we – do we know WHAT exactly resonates so deeply with everyone even after 200 years? We all know what she does so well – and is it just the fact that it’s quality character/wit/description/arcs that makes it so timeless? Or is it something more magic? So many of us that love JA love reading in general. What other 200 year old works do we all still find so accessible? I mean yes of course we still read Wuthering Heights etc – but it’s obviously not nearly as easy to adapt – at least not in modern times. We all recognize the characters and the drama, but there’s a difference there. I think Harry Potter will eventually get to this status because, even though its fantasy, it’s humor, wit, character studies (the WEALTH of all of it) will never get old. Someone check in on this blog in 200 years will you? And tell me if I’m right!

      Liked by 1 person

    3. Thank you, Tara for your lovely comments. I know Cass and Ada have been doing lots of research in Bath for their book – such hard work ; ) and I think we would all agree that doing the research for a new novel is one of the joys of writing!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Haha! Yes, not so much need for historical research in our book, but there was a need to visit several local hostelries… some of which you joined me in, Jane, and I believe we found it very rewarding! 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  5. How fortunate you are, Jane, to have welcomed the other Jane into your life at such an early age. When I first read Jane’s books I was also quite young and simply did not appreciate them — partly, I suppose, because I did not understand much of the parlance she employed. More recently — less than a year ago, to be precise — I re-read the six and was immediately hooked. Discovering fan fiction and pastiches (sorry if you’re amongst those who find that word offensive; I consider it merely accurate) and the whole world of Janeites and Austenesque authors has opened up another world of reading, watching films, Darcy-dreaming 😉 , and of course “meeting” the individual authors and fellow obsessives through social media. My house used to be clean (sorta) but these mundane tasks are lately relegated to “after reading.” This is a lovely post (thank you too C Grafton, whom I recently “discovered”), the illustrations are charming, and I’m totally intrigued by the premise of the new book and am adding it to my Must-Read list (altho’ I’ll read it sooner than later if the fates are with me in this giveaway). Many thanks to Tabby Cow and Jane Odiwe. BTW I’ve just sent you a friend request on FB; I hope you’ll accept it. With all best regards – JanisB

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Lovely to hear your story of discovering Jane, Janis! This just shows that her reach continues to expand, and I love that you have embraced the whole online community! I too love ‘meeting’ fellow fans and obsessives through social media, and quite often in person at a later date. It’s a wonderful way to make friends, and for that I thank Jane Austen with all my heart!

      Glad you enjoyed Jane’s post and good luck in the draw!!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I think re-reading at different times of my life is fascinating. I mean obviously I crack open the books to read favorite sections all the time. But I don’t really read word for word, cover to cover that often. The first time I re-read P&P I was a newlywed. The second time I had children! Each time I re-read I understood things in a totally different way from my former selves!

      Liked by 1 person

    3. Hello TeaGuide, thank you for your kind comments – I think my first real experience was watching an old black and white film – the reading came later, and I remember struggling initially with a library copy of Pride and Prejudice. But, like you, I’m so glad I’ve had the opportunity to ‘consume’ so much!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I love that Virginia Wolf was such a fan and guess what? A. S. Byatt’s Possession is one of my favorite stories ever. On top 10 list together with Jane Austen to be sure. Now I must read Stella Gibbons’s Cold Comfort Farm to see the references because so far I only watched the adaptation. Jane, I am always in awe of your talent. I must say you have the best of two of my favorite worlds – writing and drawing/illustrating. I wish long life to both! I guess I have a new favorite – Wentworth and Anne in Bath. OMG! Gorgeous! It takes me back to old books and a well spent childhood. Thank you!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I haven’t read Possession, though I saw the film. Must add it to my list!

      I stand in awe of Jane’s talent too. That image of Captain Wentworth and Anne (which I think is on the Gravel Walk) is almost ethereal it’s so beautifully sketched. ❤

      Like

    2. Ditto (well except to Possession which I haven’t read and which I now will! Thank you for the rec!)

      Wentworth & Anne in Bath; That illustration is my favorite too!

      Liked by 2 people

    3. allthingsja – thank you, you’re very kind. Possession is such a wonderful book-if you haven’t read Cold Comfort Farm, you’re in for a treat-it’s very funny!

      Liked by 3 people

  7. Ok I really like the giveaways. Cass, did you keep any for me or am I going to have to get my mom to enter our contest to give me a chance of winning it!???

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Great post Jane, you always give me something else to consider! I loved Jane Austen Lives Again and I love your illustrations. You certainly beat me in age when it comes to an introduction to Austen but I’m sure 12 is a much more serious age to fall in love with Mr Darcy!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I loved Jane Austen Lives Again too, Hazel! Jane’s illustrations are just beautiful and we’re so delighted she was happy to share some here with us. 😀

      I was 15 when I first met Mr Darcy. He’s a lasting love, that’s all I can think! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Thank you, Hazel – you’re always so lovely about my books and illustrations. Twelve years old is the perfect age to fall in love with Mr Darcy!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Enjoyed reading about another persons Austen love and how it impacted them. Jane’s (Jane Odiwe, that is) books have been enjoyable and I still need to read the latest. I love finding all the Austen references when I’m reading books, too. It is truly a marvel how many superb writers have been influenced by her. Love a few of those she listed. Cold Comfort Farm was a hoot. 🙂

    I look forward to seeing what comes of Ada and Cass’ collaboration, too.

    Engaging post, thanks!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m glad you’ve enjoyed my books-thank you- and of course, like Cass and Ada, we have to thank our Jane for inspiring us!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I first encountered Pride and Prejudice when my oldest sister had to read it in high school. When she finished it, I pilfered her book….still have it too, though the first 50 pages are falling out. I’ll never give it up!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. lynnchar-I love the fact that you stole your sister’s book. I always wanted an older sister, but I was the eldest-my sister has several books of mine she’s pilfered. ; )

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Well worn copies are the best. For someone like me who re-reads sections more than the entire book I adore knowing exactly where on the page is the moment I’m looking for and that the book falls open naturally at those places!

      Like

  11. Thanks you for this post, it’s great. I love all JA novels, especially “Emma”, and I really don’t know what I would read if not these books!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Agata! That’s yet another great question – not only how would your life be affected, but really, what WOULD we have ended up reading most if JA’s novels never existed?

      Like

  12. Jane, How fun! i didn’t know that your middle name was Elizabeth. I love Jane’s illustrations and have some of her earlier work (wink to Jane.) Also wanted to thank you ladies for your give away of the box set of A Fair Prospect on Meredith’s blog, because I was a winner. I’ve only gotten to chapter 5, but I’m loving it. AND thanks Jane for putting up the FB link to this new blog. Jen Red

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I didn’t know Jane’s middle name was Elizabeth, either, Jen!

      Delighted you’re enjoying A Fair Prospect, and I hope you continue to do so. Sadly, I can’t take credit for the giveaway this time! It was from the lovely Meredith! 😀

      Thank you for commenting, and good luck in the draw! If you don’t win, come back next week and enter again. We’ve a few more weeks of giveaways to go yet!

      Like

    2. Thank you, Jen-I’ve know you for a few years now! I’m glad you found Tabby Cow and this great giveaway!

      Like

  13. That you for the wonderful interview. I have read Jane Austen’s novels since I was ten and that has given me so much pleasure as a chld.. Now grown, the lovely ladies who write P & P variations have given me so much more pleasure as there are so many excellent novels out there with our favorite characters that Ms. Austen wrote about and gave us hope in the future. Reading is ten times better than being idle or watching tv. Thanks a million for my reading pleasure and all the great giveaways!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Delighted you enjoyed Jane’s interview, MaryAnn!

      Ten is perhaps the youngest I’ve ever heard of anyone discovering Jane Austen’s works. Wow! I was 15 – makes me look tardy! lol

      So pleased you are enjoying all the variations!

      Good luck in the draw!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Thank you, Mary Ann- there’s nothing like a good book, I quite agree-isn’t it wonderful that we all found Jane Austen?!

      Like

  14. I loved ‘Jane Austen Lives Again’! Actually, I love all Jane’s books! The only one I haven’t read yet is ‘Mr. Darcy’s Christmas Calendar’ but it is on my Kindle and I might wait until closer to Christmas! I was wondering though if Georgiana’s story will be continued from ‘Mrs. Darcy’s Diamonds’? I so enjoyed that novella. Thank you for the giveaway! Looking forward to your book coming out!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I loved it too, Carole!

      I read Mr Darcy’s Christmas Calendar in ‘real time’, so I read a chapter for each nominated day! It was really tough having to stop, but it also made it a lot of fun!

      Good luck in the giveaway, Carole. Please keep coming back each week if you’re not successful in this draw! We have several more guest post/giveaways to go yet!

      Like

    2. Hello Carole, thank you for your very kind words! I am intending to finish Georgiana’s story before the end of the year-all fingers crossed!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Jane Austen Lives Again has done what I thought no story could! It’s pushed Searching for Captain Wentworth off the top of my Jane Odiwe title favourites!!!!

        Liked by 1 person

  15. I really enjoy reading Jane Austen´s novels but what I would miss more is the JAFF world, because I find a lot of amazing people that without JA I would have not met.
    Obviously everything is connected and I would not want to miss her books but if I have just to choose what would be the biggest loss, I may say the JAFF world and its people 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I totally understand, AnaDarcy! The people I’ve met (and many in person now too) and the friends I’ve made would be a huge loss!

      This giveaway had already closed, but there will be a new guest post on Wednesday if you wish to enter again by commenting on the new blog post!

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s