So! September draws to a close, and so do our recent travels, both actual and virtual!
Earlier this month, I took myself off to the annual Jane Austen Festival in the beautiful city of Bath in search of our characters and, more particularly, Jane Austen herself, as Ada and I had a few pertinent questions for her!
At this stage, I can’t reveal how successful or otherwise this quest was, but aside from that adventure, I did make some exciting discoveries during my brief trip, including spotting The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen on the bookshelves in the Jane Austen Centreon Gay Street, the Bath Visitor Information Centre near the abbey and as part of an Austen-themed display in Bath Central Library!
As for our virtual travels, we’ve had a busy month! Firstly, we were delighted to visit talented author Karen King on her blog for her Friday Reads Blogspot a few weeks ago, where we answered questions about our writing habits, our inspirations and more, and you can read all about it here!
Then, Sophia Lykke Illner Thorsen interviewed me for her Blog, Interests of a Jane Austen Girl, where I answered several questions, including ones on my favourite Austen novel, my favourite Darcy and even my favourite Pemberley!
You can read this interview here, and soon Ada and I will back to visit Sophia, when she will interview us about the story and characters of The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen and the potential sequel! (Shh, we’re not talking about it!)
This week we also had the honour of being featured guests on Being Anne, a lovely Blog where we had the chance to talk about the some of the inspiration behind the story, and you can read this post here!
There is also a GIVEAWAY! All you have to do is enter the draw for a paperback or eBook copy of our book (winner’s choice), open internationally.
You can read Susanne’s review in full here, but we did love these quotes:
What a wonderful “ride,” ladies, and congratulations on a delightful book!
And how in the world do two authors write in tandem so seamlessly??? So very impressive!!
Meredith’s full review can be found here, and as you might imagine, we were over the moon with this lovely, thoughtful and fun reflection on the story and characters, especially seeing them all through Meredith’s eyes!
We particularly loved this:
A tale of dear friends coming together, a mystery turned adventure, and more than one budding romance – Ada Bright and Cass Grafton seamlessly blended and perfectly balanced every ingredient of this novel. Each component was well-crafted and it is impossible to tell where one author’s writing ends and one begins. Hats off to such a stellar writing team!
And also, for those who recall how Ada and I first met:
I love it when characters geek out over Jane Austen! Not only did this book show that in abundance, but they threw in some Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings geekery for us multi-fandom book lovers! Readers who love these series will be pleased to find so many references and nods to these stories. I loved how they all tied together.
Kelly’s review was full of enthusiasm and so enjoyable to read, and we particularly loved this:
I was completely captivated by this story and the characters, so much so that there was a huge void in my world when I finished it. I missed the characters so much and visiting their world each day like you wouldn’t believe!
and also this:
The men in this book were also a huge plus. They were utterly adorable and downright gentlemen. James, Rose’s boss was sweet, kind and cute and I liked that he and Rose got on so well outside of work and that he looked after her. As for Doctor Aiden Trevellyan, there was just something irresistible about him, maybe it was the passion he had for his work and his good looks, or maybe it was the fact that he was so unaware of Rose’s feelings, which in turn made him seem a little mysterious. I don’t know, but whatever it was, I loved him and I still miss him…..
What next for us? Well, we still have our virtual passports in our pockets as we have several more Blog visits coming up between now and the end of the year and also quite a few reviews due to come in (cue serious nail biting on our side!), so we will continue to summarise things here in case you miss anything!
Aside from that, it seems we may have a little bit of writing to do ourselves… 😉
Woo hoo! Friday, 9th September kicks off the annual 10-day Jane Austen Festival in the beautiful city of Bath, and to celebrate, the eBook of The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen is on sale at only $2.99 for the whole duration of the Festival! That’s a 50% saving on the usual price of $5.99!
Set in the city during the very same Festival, this is a story of friendship and fun (too many ‘f’s?), it’s a mystery and a bit of a rom-com, and as if that isn’t a wide enough variety of genres, there’s also the small matter of a little bit of fantasy woven into the story – something for everyone!! (Except vampire lovers. There are no vampires. Or zombies. Or… well, you get the gist!)
Read more about it and a couple of excerpts on the About the Book page here!
You can obtain a Kindle copy at this special price at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk (and hopefully every other Amazon site there is!)
The price reduction should also be reflected in the Nook, Kobo andApple stores, but sometimes it takes a while to filter through. If it still shows the $5.99 normal price, then please go to Smashwords.comhere and enter the code LK28F at checkout and the 50% reduction will be applied!
(Any problems finding your favourite eBook format at the reduced price, including PDF, let us know in the Comments below, and we will do our best to sort it out!)
It’s the final week in our series of guest posts (for now, at least!), and today we’re welcoming Sophie Andrews, also known for her popular Blog, Laughing with Lizzie.
As it’s the final one, we’re making sure we finish with a bang, so the giveaway is a double one (more at the end of the post)!
Sophie was given three questions to consider, much as our other guests were, and here are her responses!
How and when did Jane Austen enter your life?
Jane Austen has been very important in my life, for many different reasons. I was just 9 when I saw the 2005 film version of Pride and Prejudice, but I was a little too young to fully understand the language, so it didn’t really make an impression on me. (I remember very vividly the evening I watched it with my mother, and how she had to keep pausing it to explain what had just been said whenever I looked particularly confused – they often speak very quickly in that film too!)
I watched that film a few more times, and as I grew up I began to fall completely in love with it! But I still wasn’t hooked on Jane Austen, it was just Pride and Prejudice – or actually, to be more accurate, I was just hooked on Mr. Darcy!
However, back in 2011 I was going to be studying Pride and Prejudice for my English exams, and so that summer I had to read it – you have to understand that at the time I really wasn’t a reader. However, given I enjoyed the film, I was looking forward to it. When I was on my summer holidays (in the, rather appropriate even if Lizzy didn’t get there in the end, Lake District!) I read it in a week. I just couldn’t put it down! It seemed strange to my family to see me engrossed in a book, as I guess I used to be like Emma Woodhouse in regards to books and reading!
Pride and Prejudice was amazing from start to finish; I was entranced by the humour and social commentary, and I enjoyed reading the scenes I knew well from the film. I knew Jane Austen was brilliantly funny, but you really don’t get to appreciate her wit first hand unless you read the books. Something seems to get lost in translation when it is adapted into a film; the true Austen humour must be experienced straight from the authoress herself.
From that moment I was caught up in the elegance and eloquence of Miss Austen’s world and words! I re-read Pride and Prejudice straight away, and I really enjoyed studying it at school, becoming the class expert, and earning myself the nickname “Mrs Darcy” – hence the blog persona! I also got Sophie Jane “Austen” Andrews, as Jane actually is my middle name!
As you can see from these photos, my poor homework diary was completely vandalised that year – I had very dedicated friends too, as the “I ❤ Mr Darcy very much” was scrawled on EVERY page. (They even went so far as to go backwards and write it on the old pages from previous weeks as well!)
Following this, I read Sense and Sensibility, then Emma, followed by Persuasion, Northanger Abbey and finally Mansfield Park. There was no stopping me! Having devoured the 6 main stories, I devoted myself to studying all aspects of the Jane Austen phenomenon, from the film and television adaptations, to the fan fiction, commentaries, critiques, information books and biographies, as well as the worldwide online Jane Austen community. There was no going back now – I had become a true and proud Janeite.
Tell us about Laughing with Lizzie
Carrying on from the above, fast forward a year or so, and after a lot of ‘persuasion’ (if you’ll excuse the pun!) from a friend, along with the offer that she would set it all up and design the layout for me (I am such a technophobe!) I eventually started my blog, “Laughing With Lizzie“.
It was my space to rant and rave about my passion for Jane Austen. It was also my escape; I was having a hard time at school and some family health issues at the time, and so I really threw myself whole heartedly into the world of Jane, enjoying my escape into her world through her books and, subsequently, my blog. Slowly, slowly my blog became more well known, and then about 2 years ago I started my Facebook page. From there, I have no idea how, but so many amazing things have happened for me, and I have participated in so many wonderful events. I have to pinch myself every day, as it is all beyond my wildest dreams!
I have now been blogging for just over 4 years, and I still love to rant and rave about Jane – I don’t think I will ever run out of things to say about her! Since my blog becoming more well known, I have enjoyed being asked to participate in blog tours and having various authors visit with excerpts or guest posts, and I have enjoyed the various interviews I have hosted there too.
Also, since beginning to participate more in the annual festivals and events throughout the year, I have loved sharing my Austen adventures in posts on my blog.
Beginning my Facebook page has been a wonderful way to meet many more Janeites and has been a fun way to share smaller and often silly Jane Austen related things which don’t really necessitate a blog post, so I am very pleased to have gone down that route. (I am currently attempting to get to grips with Twitter as well, but I am still learning the ropes at the moment!)
What I love about my blog and Facebook page is seeing the vast numbers of people, and in so many different countries, that the Jane Austen fandom reaches. I find my blog statistics fascinating; about a year ago my country count reached over 100 different countries, and I have just hit 10,000 followers (or ‘likes’) on Facebook, which just astounds me. It really makes me feel happy to know that through sharing my thoughts and adventures with so many wonderful people and Janeites across the globe, in some small way, I am helping to bring us all together as a ‘family’ with a common interest and passion!
Through my various Internet mediums I just love to spread the wit and wisdom of Jane Austen to every corner of the world, and the fact that people seem to enjoy what I share, and like following all my adventures is just a bonus!
How would your life be different if something had prevented Jane Austen from publishing any novels?
Oh don’t even say such a thing! Jane Austen really was a saviour for me, so it just doesn’t bear thinking about! She has been such a huge influence in my life, even in this short time since I really got absorbed by the Jane Austen fandom. She has really helped me to find myself as well.
How would it be different… Well, where to begin! Probably most significantly, would be, well, you know how I mentioned earlier that I never used to be a reader? Well, the truth is that I had never read another ‘proper’ book before Pride and Prejudice! Jane Austen brought me to reading, and so without her, I highly doubt if I would be a reader today!
My love of all things Austen has opened up so many exciting opportunities for me; I have dabbled in the world of audiobook narration, I have been asked to and have had a go at editing or reviewing new Austen-related publications, I play the piano and naturally love to play Regency era piano pieces and music from the screen adaptations which has led me to being asked to perform music recitals for various Jane Austen societies across England, and I attend many annual events, festivals and (which are my favourites!) balls across England throughout the year in full regency costume – I even organised my own regency house party!
I have also been given the opportunity to become an ambassador for the Jane Austen Literacy Foundation, a charity founded by Caroline Knight, Jane Austen’s 5th great niece, which has been a wonderful chance to give something back and feels like a way to thank Jane Austen, and in a way which is going to do some real good for others who are less fortunate.
I could go on and on and on, but I don’t want to bore your readers! In summary, I really don’t want to think about my life without Jane. I can’t even try to imagine it anyway! As well as being the perfect escape when I first read Pride and Prejudice, she is also a perfect escape for me now, for, as many of you are aware, I suffer with some health conditions and have been battling them for the past few years, so yet again, Jane Austen is there for me to escape to, and to give me a welcome and much needed change from hospital appointments!
Right, I shall end my rambling there. Thank you, Cass and Ada, for inviting me to your blog and congratulations on the new book! I remember sitting with you both at Basildon Park over a year ago and hearing you talk about this book – I look forward to finally reading it! And so, all that remains to be said is…
We’re delighted to announce the winner of the latest giveaway:
Congratulations, Sophia Rose! You have been commenting all through our many guest posts, and we were delighted when your name finally came out of the hat today when we drew the winner for Hazel Mills’ post last week!
We will email you, but in the meantime, thank you for following our guest blog posts so ardently!
Our final guest in this series will be here on Wednesday, and as it’s the last one for now, we’re ending with a mega-giveaway (open internationally, as always). Do come along to read Sophie Andrews‘ (from Laughing with Lizzie) post and leave a comment to enter!
Now that all the excitement of the release of The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen is behind us, we are happy to resume our series of guest posts and giveaways today! Please welcome Hazel Mills to our Blog!
Hazel is a founding member of the Cambridge Group of the Jane Austen Society, and a dedicated book collector (including finding different copies of Pride & Prejudice, her current tally being 246!)
Over to you, Hazel!
I must first say think you for inviting me to be part of this series amongst such august Austen people celebrating this exciting new venture and book. I feel highly honoured!
My Austen journey began many years ago, in the late 1960s, thanks to Thomas Hardy. I was brought up in the beautiful county of Dorset and as such was required to read, in my first years at school, the celebrated local author, Mr Hardy. The books we were forced to read were The Trumpet Major and Jude the Obscure, the latter being an incredibly depressing book for any twelve year old girl to read with children being murdered. However, the next class reader was…Pride and Prejudice! Suddenly death and destruction was replaced with sparkling wit and Mr Darcy. I was hooked. Pride and Prejudice became the first class reader I completed before it was necessary and I soon followed up reading Jane Austen’s other books as quickly as I could.
The books, Pride and Prejudice particularly, continued to give me pleasure throughout my school life and my set of Penguins followed me to college when I left home to learn to be a science teacher. My relationship with Mr Darcy was very strong, (even though Captain Wentworth and Colonel Brandon were making claims on my heart too) and I found that I went back to the book many times when I felt in need of a bit of comfort. At that time I did not realise that, as much as I loved Jane Austen and her works, that she would in fact change my life and what I would do with it!
Living in Cambridge certainly had its benefits; there were often days dedicated to different writers. I was so glad that I chose to attend a literary day dedicated to Jane Austen at Newnham College. I picked up a flyer asking if there were any people interested in starting a Cambridge Jane Austen Society. Did I need asking twice? Of course not! Then I saw the date, my husband’s birthday! To say I have an understanding husband is an understatement!
Duly, on the 11th November 1997 I became a founding member of The Jane Austen Cambridge Group for which I am the social secretary and editor of the newsletter, so a great deal of my time is taken up thinking of all things Austen for the group. Thanks to them I began giving illustrated talks, some of which have become very popular, particularly a talk on travel in Jane Austen’s time which I have been lucky enough to give in many places including Dunfermline, Exeter, London, York, Bath and even, most satisfyingly, Chawton Cottage.
I am also thrilled to have worked for the Jane Austen Society of the United Kingdom as a regional speaker giving Society talks on Jane Austen and her works to groups, societies and schools who contact the society for talks in the eastern region of the UK. One week I could be helping a group of schoolgirls understand what it was like to be a woman in the early nineteenth century and the next telling a Rotary Club group about Jane Austen’s life!
The Cambridge group meets five times a year for a variety of events. We have talks by a range of speakers, discussions, a Strawberry Tea every July when the sun always shines, and a wonderful Birthday Reception and Lunch in December at Queens’ College, Cambridge in rooms which were built in the mid fifteenth century so would have been known to Harry Austen, cousin to Jane’s father and rector of Steventon before her father George; Sackville Austen, son of her Godmother Jane Chadwick Austen and Old Uncle Francis; Samuel Egerton Brydges, brother of Jane’s particular friend Anne Lefroy and John Papillon, rector of Chawton in Jane’s time, as all were Queens’ men.
Anyone interested in more information on the Cambridge Group can find it here.
One of the most momentous moments of my life was a group visit to Kings College Library where I was able to hold the manuscript of Sanditon in my own hands, without gloves! A very precious experience indeed!
I was asked how my life would be different if something had prevented Jane Austen from publishing any novels. The short answer would be, I would be a lot richer financially! I mentioned my set of Penguins that followed me everywhere earlier. The Pride and Prejudice had become so tatty that, in about 1984, my lovely husband replaced it with a beautiful copy from Purnell. It was so lovely that I almost didn’t want to read it. About the same time I found a very old biography of Jane and bought that too.
That was the slippery slope. I then began buying other copies of Pride and Prejudice and biographies. Then came the purchase of the other novels and literacy criticism, swiftly followed by historical books, books Jane may have known, influences on her writing, the Juvenilia etc. At the last count I have about 246 copies of Pride and Prejudice including the much desired Peacock Edition and 14 audio books, and about 2,500 books in my collection altogether. My Agatha Christie, Charles Dickens, Walter Scott collections and modern novels were all relegated to the attic as my collection grew. However they are now all boxed for our move where I will have a library!
Without doubt, a life without Austen would not be as full as my life is now. I cannot imagine a world without my books but as importantly, it is the wonderful people I have found in the online Austen world that have now become ‘real’ friends whom I meet regularly, maybe in Regency Costume, maybe not. Previously my love of Austen was shared with those people in my Cambridge group. Now I can share my passion with fellow lovers of Austen from all around the world!
Thank you ladies, for allowing me to share my Jane Austen story with you all.
Hazel, thank you so much for visiting Tabby Cow and for such a delightful post! It’s been lovely to learn all about how you discovered Jane Austen and about the impact she has made on your life! Thank you also for supporting us last week by coming along with your husband to the launch party for our book in the beautiful city of Bath!
Once again, we’re offering one lucky commenter the chance to win a copy of our new release, The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen(find the blurb here), along with the following:
A ‘Peacock’ tote bag
A Jane Austen silhouette pin
A miniature version of both Persuasion and Sense & Sensibility, from the Jane Austen House Museum
A build your own Chawton Cottage
How to Enter
It’s simple! Just leave a comment below about anything in Hazel’s post above, or simply share how your life would be affected if Jane Austen had never published her novels.
All those who comment will be entered into a draw to select the prize winner, which will be announced the following week.
Please excuse us for our excitement, but we’ve been so looking forward to today (which is extra special, as it’s also Ada’s birthday)!
The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen is now available through all the usual outlets. You can find links to them here!
We hope you enjoy reading the story as much as we enjoyed writing it.
If you decide to give it a try, we would love to hear your thoughts (during or after!) you read, so please share them with us!
Today, Ada and I are still thousands of miles apart with a 9-hour time difference between us, but as of next week, we will be together in the beautiful city of Bath (of course!) to celebrate together, and we’ll share news of our adventures, including our book launch party being held at No 4 Sydney Place, here on Tabby Cow!