One year ago today The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen was published! It also happens to be on sale right now on Amazon or available free in Kindle Unlimited!!
As many of you know, we celebrated the launch of the book in Bath at 4 Sydney Place (thank you again, Bath Boutique Stays!). This was an incredible event for the two of us as we were surrounded by such lovely support celebrating the publication of the book. Do you want to see pictures? Here! Look! It was so much fun!
We were able to have the books carried in JA Centre Bath and Visitor Information Centre Bath for what was initially a ten day period during the Jane Austen Festival. Well, we are very proud that The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen is still being sold in both places ten months later. This tickles us endlessly as I’m sure you can imagine.
Now it’s time to work on my side of the globe. Anyone who has spent any length of time in Pasadena will have heard of Vroman’s Bookstore. They are a large, local bookseller with amazing character. They have championed the local artist and author for many years… and, starting a couple days ago, that includes me (and Cass, who is an honorary local).
Here it is at the main location on historic Colorado Blvd:
And here it is at the Hastings Ranch location which is conveniently located next to an Einstein Bros Bagel shop ;)!
But, wait! There’s more! As part of the deal with Vroman’s, they will host a book signing at the Colorado Blvd location on September 24! BOTH authors will be there, (though one of us may be slightly jet lagged).
This is not a drill! Friends from near and far, please save the date as we would love you to show up and say hi! More information to come!
There have been a couple other notable things happening this year with the book which Cass will share soon, but for now I must end this post because it’s my birthday!
Thank you for your support on social media and in purchasing our novel. We will hopefully be sharing updates on… *gasp* the sequel soon.
*If it’s not July 7th where you are, please pretend it is. Having writing partners in different time zones does make anniversaries confusing!
We’ve had another exciting month in October of visits to Blogspots, and there have also been some more lovely reviews coming in for The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen!
Firstly, we were delighted to visit talented author, Wendy Clarke, on her blog, Wendy’s Writing Now, for a guest post a few weeks ago. We talked about how our co-writing works on a day-to-day basis, and you can read all about it here!
Sophia Lykke Illner Thorsen invited us back to her Blog, Interests of a Jane Austen Girl, where we answered several questions, including ones on our inspirations for the men in the book! You can read the interview here.
Then, to round off a wonderful month on the ‘road’, we have been delighted by several lovely reviews of the book coming in on blogs, Amazon and Goodreads, including Sophia at the aforementionedInterests of a Jane Austen Girl, Amazon Vine Voice Reviewer, Christina Boyd, Sophia Rose of Sophia’s Sofa Chats on Goodreads and the lovely Claudine at Just Jane 1813!
You can read Sophia’s review in full here, but we did love this bit (we’re assuming Sophia was in an aeroplane when she read the book!):
It felt like being there through Roses eyes, even if I was sitting 42000 feet above ground reading this exciting, lovely and nerve wracking book. You are definitely being forced through a lot of emotions, while reading, which I see as one of the best achievements an author/authoress can accomplish.
You can read Sophia Rose’s full review here. There was so much we loved about it, it’s hard to pick a quote, so we opted for her summary at the end!
This was a gently-paced, thoughtful, and heartwarming story of a woman and her simple life which grows richer for having her friends, her daydream romance maybe come to life, and her love of Jane Austen and her stories in it. I would recommend this to Austenesque lovers, of course, but also fans of contemporary romance and women’s fiction who don’t mind a bit of magical realism.
Christina Boyd is a Vine Voice reviewer on Amazon, and you can read her review here. We loved this review, but in particular, this:
Wow– just wow! What a story. The unrequited love was touching and the longing felt believable. I was captivated by the women’s friendships–rang very true to me. This is a great story that I’m glad I took the time to read. Now just to make time to get to Bath!
Finally, this week we’re part of the Haunted Austen feature over on Just Jane 1813, where we’ve shared an excerpt of the book and there’s also a giveaway!
You can read the full (lovely) review from Claudine here. We really enjoyed reading this, especially:
Ada Bright and Cass Grafton communicate their shared vision and passion for this story through their seamless collaboration. As an ardent Austen admirer, I could certainly relate to their love for Austen and the sheer despair their characters experienced in a world void of Austen’s work. My hope is that they’ve written this ending with a sequel in mind, even though the ending wraps this story up quite nicely.
I highly recommend this story to Janeites who want to experience the pleasures of Bath alongside the lovely Jane Austen and friends, as well as for readers who enjoy stories that allow us to explore the possibilities offered to us through friendship, shared optimism, and the bond we can share with other people through our love for the treasures found in the past.
Just leave a comment on the post on Just Jane 1813 to enter the GIVEAWAY, a chance to win one of two eBook copies of The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen!
What next for us? Well, we still have our virtual passports in our pockets as we have more Blog visits coming up between now and the end of the year and also quite a few reviews due to come in (continued serious nail biting on our side!), so we will continue to summarise things here in case you miss anything!
Aside from that, I’ve started to post a Pride & Prejudice inspired story (two chapters a week) called A Quest for Mr Darcy over on my Blog, Cass Grafton – Author. Do come on over and enjoy the read (and the comments!)
You can find the blurb and the chapters posted so far here!
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!)
What Book Club charm does The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen hold? We’ve been considering just that question after the subject was broached by some of our friends indicating we might be their next pick.
FRIENDSHIP is a strong theme in the book and also sometimes in Book Clubs! (I mean, I guess it’s not a pre-requisite for those of you into the serious art of reading literature, but I assume it helps!)
It’s got history in it! I mean, not all of it is totally true, but a good amount of it is, and I think it’s fairly easy to spot where we deviate (intentionally anyway).
It’s a virtual tour of Bath, UK. And trust me, Bath is AWESOME. I hate traveling. But I love Bath. When a cranky traveler gives a place a thumbs up, I feel that should mean something.
It’s FUNNY. And considering the sometimes subtle, sometimes substantial differences in UK and US humor, the fact that we both thought it was funny might just mean it is.
It’s LIGHT (the Kindle edition is anyway – *insert rim shot here*). In some Book Clubs, the books (no matter how worthy of being read) can be a tad heavy and depressing. The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen can be a nice palette cleanser between Nobel prize winning novels.
ROMANCE that you don’t have to cover your eyes for. I mean, I enjoy extra steamy love scenes as much as the next gal, but I grew up with the sort of subtle, funny romance that was almost like a secret between the writer, the characters, and only some of the readers. All my favorite romance novels have dog-eared pages where I’ve distinguished hints that the relationship is progressing, but would otherwise struggle to find those moments again.
Most our characters have British Accents! Okay, perhaps not as fascinating to you British people, but I love the British accent and feel extremely lucky to have an actual, real, live British person writing with me, transforming my Americanisms into verified Britspeak (unless I’m writing for an American character).
It has at least one American accent! No? This doesn’t get anyone excited? Of all the billions of people that adore the British accent, I thought maybe there would be one oddball who wanted an American one but no… How about… It has an American! Which I find funny and refreshing because it does help to highlight some of those subtle but all important differences between our cultures and why we should appreciate each other.
The characters are NERDS for Jane Austen (for those of you less nerdy than me, a nerd nowadays can be another way of saying fanatic). I know there are people out there that would not count themselves as nerds for anything, but these people are basically nerds about not being nerds. I mean, you kinda have to work at not being a nerd nowadays. We are in the Age of Nerd! a time when you can nerd out on gourmet cooking shows as easily as you can Star Trek. I can proudly list a dozen things in which I am overly invested (read: nerdy about) and a million ways to connect with others through each and every one of them.
Nerds create communities in which to be our most nerdy selves and these communities can be long- lasting, rock solid, and immeasurably fulfilling. Hey! Book clubs are communities too! Even if it’s not Jane Austen that you’re nerdy for, I bet you will recognize that spark – that love that inspires your nerd-hood in our characters’ love for Regency fiction.
A reader recently said of our book that “Loving Jane Austen is not a prerequisite but is a repercussion“. Speaking of, The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen has a lot of Austen references: JANE AUSTEN character references, JANE AUSTEN book scene location references, etc. It was a little unbelievable for me to be walking the SAME streets, seeing many of the same facades, the same views not simply of THE Jane Austen, but of her imagination as well. BUT you don’t need to ‘know’ Jane Austen or her life to enjoy the book. We know; we’ve been told!
There are animals! Both Cass and I adore animals and maybe your Book Club does too! One animal in particular changes the course of our character’s lives in an unexpected, but we hope charming, way.
Our main female characters are SMART. There are no damsels in this book, though one of our main females does tend to be flighty about directions and keys which may or may not reflect the real life of one of the two authors of this book who still believes she is smart despite this defect and a few more she may or may not have. No, don’t ask my husband if it’s me, I don’t want to talk about it! I have degrees people! Okay, they are in English and Art, but that doesn’t make me any less of a female person!
Our male characters are smart too. Our female characters do not need to put men, individually or as a gender, down to prove their own salt. Everyone’s great in their own way – except for that one character and, face it, we all know that one person we wish no harm to, but would rather not be forced to work with daily! It’s probably that person you talk about with your Book Club before you all buckle down to business and discuss the book you’re supposed to have read but didn’t have enough time to because THAT person mucked up the workflow and you were late.
There are HATS. Actually, this is just a test to see if you’re still reading.
This novel is rare in that it is co-written. That could be an interesting topic of discussion in a Book Club. It certainly was an interesting topic of conversation between us while we were co-writing it!
There is a lot of talk of what influences shaped our characters that could be good Book Club discussion. What are the small things that would change in your life if one key influence from your past disappeared? What were those influences? How would their absence have affected your life (if at all)? And would you be the only one who’s life changed? Would an entire industry or city change? Or… would there simply be something indefinable in the universe missing?
17. It introduces us Americans to the Love Hearts candy which you can have shipped and available to serve at your Book Club meeting. Cheerful colors, sweet messages and it doesn’t even have to be Valentine’s Day!
18. There’s an element of fantasy to The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen. And how often do you have an element of fantasy in your Book Club selection? Probably often if you’re fantasy fans… but if you are… all the more reason to choose us.
19. Our characters love books too! I mean – if you’re in a Book Club you are probably there for one of two main reasons. 1. You wanted to spend more time with the people in your Book Club; 2. You wanted to read more books. Both of these themes – friendship and the love of reading – are of central importance in The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen.
20. Our book is set during the Jane Austen Festival in Bath. This is an amazing annual event that you and your book club could attend together after reading the novel! And if you book thru Bath Boutique Stays, you might even be able to stay in 4 Sydney Place (one of Jane Austen’s actual residences!).
21. And finally, our TPCoMJA (wow, what a catchy acronym!) would be a great addition to your Book Club list because: For a limited time we are trying to figure out a way to get you a discount on the physical books if you buy 6 or more for your Book Club. Full disclosure: We haven’t figured out shipping costs yet, and I am slightly concerned that shipping will end up making this less exciting. But we’re working on it! Message us and you might be the Beta group for this offer!!
We are delighted this week to welcome Jackie Herring, Director of the Jane Austen Festival held every September in the beautiful city of Bath!
With Bath and the annual Festival being the main setting for The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen, we are doubly excited to have Jackie as our special guest!
As with all our guests, we were keen to know how and when Jackie first discovered Jane Austen, to hear more about the Festival and its organisation and to find out what the impact might be on Jackie if Jane Austen had never published her novels.
When and how did you first discover Jane Austen and her works?
I was introduced to Austen by my best friend when I was about 16. She handed me a copy of Pride & Prejudice and said “you will like this it is better than Jilly Cooper”. We had been working our way through Jilly Cooper’s girl novels. My friend was right!
Which is your favourite novel and why?
It probably is Pride & Prejudice but I love them all for different reasons.
P&P because of the wonderful characters and the language. How I would have loved to say what Lizzy does to Lady Catherine de Bourgh (chapter 56 is my favourite) plus it is the only book that I have ever felt really sad about finishing because I would never again be able to read it for the first time!
How did you become involved with the Jane Austen Festival?
I started doing walking tours for the Jane Austen Centre in 1999, then worked in the Centre as Shop Manager and Guide. In 2001, when David Baldock created the first Festival, I helped behind the scenes and as a steward until 2008 when I took over as Festival Director.
What is your favourite part of your role as Festival Director? And the most challenging?
Very difficult question, because I love it all and particularly anything that is a challenge. I really get a kick out of when all the bits of a plan come together and the Festival starts.
There are some very stressful times, usually in the planning stages. The most challenging event is the Promenade, where I have to deal with so many different agencies, including the Council for permission for us to cross the roads, use the park and disrupt the city on a busy Saturday!
Can you share anything with us about how the Festival is organised, such as how many people are on your team, how many venues are used or anything else you think might be of interest to readers?
My team throughout the year is very small, it consists of me and Rachel, my assistant. Then, at Festival time, we have lots of lovely volunteer stewards who give up their time to help. They are wonderful, and some keep coming back, for which I am really grateful.
Most of the organising of the Festival is done by email, but we do have visits to the venues to check their suitability. I like to try and use different places – this year we are using the Abbey Hotel, the Assembly Rooms, St Matthews Church at Widcombe and Bath Function Rooms. The Mission Theatre is the main venue for most events as it is easier to have a base besides I get a good deal on the hire price for having it for more than one day. All in all this year there are 17 different venues!
Do you have any funny stories about past festivals – either during the preparation or the Festival itself?
There are lots of amusing things but the one I can mention and which I know she will not mind me talking about was when:
A lovely lady called Joyce (who used to come to the Festival every year and who sadly lost her husband recently) at her first Festival came to an event at The Mission Theatre in a gorgeous Regency outfit. Unfortunately the look was spoilt by a modern plastic hair roller in the very front of her fringe which she had forgotten to remove and which her husband, who had dropped her off, had failed to tell her about! She did take it out of her hair very quickly when we pointed it out to her!
When do tickets for this year’s Festival go on general sale and where can they be purchased?
Finally, what would you be doing if Jane Austen had never published her novels?
Since talking to you about your book, I have thought about what I would have lost without Austen in my life. I have so many friends through working at the Jane Austen Centre and Jane Austen Festival and long term friendships that I simply would not have had otherwise.
Before my son was born, I worked for a firm of Solicitors as a Systems Administrator and then afterwards I took up part-time work at the Bath Chronicle, setting the adverts. I left that job to go to the Jane Austen Centre, but I also worked part-time on the open top buses. That was great fun and kept me on my toes, having to remember lots of information and also adjust what and how much I said to the traffic conditions and speed of the bus!
The short answer is, I would probably still be on the top of a bus and doing walking tours but would have needed something more, so perhaps I would have also gone into the Tourist Information Centre or Ticket Office, something like that.
That was fascinating, Jackie; thank you for sharing it with us! We appreciate you taking the time out of your busy schedule, especially as the Programme of Events for this year’s Festival has just been announced!
This week, we’re offering two lucky commenters the chance to win giveaway prizes!
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
NEW addition! A Jane Austen silhouette pin badge!
A copy of The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen (eBook or paperback, open worldwide)
A build-your-own Chawton Cottage!
A dress-your-own Regency doll
A miniature book of Pride & Prejudice
A charming necklace with a quote from Jane Austen
A Jane Austen silhouette pin badge
There will be further chances to win bundles of prizes next month when we continue our series of guest posts on 20th July with a visit from Hazel Mills. Hazel is one of the founding members of the Jane Austen SocietyCambridge Group and a regional speaker for the Jane Austen Society UK.
How to Enter
It’s simple! Just leave a comment below about anything in Jackie’s interview 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 winners, which will be announced the following week.