Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Revisiting the past in Jane Austen Made Me Do It + GIVEAWAY

Many thanks to blog mistresses: Alex, Kelly, Ana and Marg, for hosting me today at Historical Tapestry on my Grand Tour of the blogosphere in celebration of the release of my new Austen-inspired anthology, Jane Austen Made Me Do It. I am so looking forward to your daily posts in its honor during Jane Austen Week, here, October 10-16, 2011.

Jane Austen Made Me Do It contains twenty-two original stories inspired by my favorite author. As the editor, I was responsible for selecting and inviting all of the authors to contribute to the anthology. We were shooting for twenty stories at about 5,000 words each and wanted a variety from all genres. My only request was that they “stay within the theme of exploring Austen’s philosophies of life and love by reacquainting readers with characters from her novels or introducing original stories inspired by her ideals.” Interestingly, just about half of the stories turned out to be set in the Regency-era. They seem to fall into three categories: 1.) Jane Austen as a character, 2.) stories about her characters, and 3.) stories about her family. Here is a preview of the historical stories in the anthology:

“Jane Austen’s Nightmare,” by Syrie James
On a foggy day in Bath, all of Jane Austen’s heroines, and a compendium of other characters from her novels, meet their creator to discuss or complain about the way they were portrayed, a distressing but ultimately illuminating experience which inspires her to write Persuasion.

“Waiting: A story inspired by Jane Austen’s Persuasion,” by Jane Odiwe
Captain Wentworth and his beloved Anne Elliot have been waiting almost nine years to marry. As they await her father’s blessing, they look back on the beginnings of their relationship.

“Jane and the Gentleman Rogue: Being a fragment of a Jane Austen Mystery,” by Stephanie Barron
The Gentle Rogue returns! Lord Harold Trowbridge: confidant of the Government, Rake about Town, and spy, must unmask a French Adventuress and her traitorous paramour leading to an unexpected meeting at dawn. Only Jane’s wit stands between England and disaster.

“Nothing Less Than Fairy-Land, by Monica Fairview
In this amusing continuation of Jane Austen’s novel Emma, the day has arrived for the married Emma and Mr. Knightley to move into Hartfield, upsetting the measured life of Emma’s valetudinarian father, dear Mr. Woodhouse. When even Mr. Knightley’s patience is tested, Emma must use all of her “imaginist” skills toward a happy resolution for all.

“Jane Austen and the Mistletoe Kiss,” by Jo Beverley
A widow and her three young daughters must cope with reduced circumstances after the death of her husband and removal to a small cottage near Chawton. When their neighbor Jane Austen shares the holiday tale of the “mistletoe kiss,” a romance ensues that will change their lives in an unexpected way.

“Heard of You,” by Margaret C. Sullivan
In Jane Austen’s novel Persuasion, Captain Wentworth’s elder sister Sophie Croft is instrumental in advising him on his own happiness. Discovery her brother’s earlier role in her own marriage to Admiral Croft, in this enchanting tale of the Royal Navy and the value of a female correspondent.

“Mr. Bennet Meets His Match,” by Amanda Grange
Poor Mrs. Bennet! In Pride and Prejudice her husband is not very tolerant of her nervous flutterings and spasms! They seem such a mismatched couple until we learn of their original romance in this enlightening tale of the strength of fear as a strong motivator to marriage.

“Letters to Lydia,” by Maya Slater
Maria Lucas may have been a minor character in Pride and Prejudice, but she is silent witness to some of the most eye opening events in Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy’s relationship. Learn the inside gossip, or is it fact, from the horse’s mouth as she writes to her dear friend Lydia Bennet from Hunsford Parsonage.

“Jane Austen’s Cat,” by Diana Birchall
Jane Austen’s nieces remember the wonderful fairy tales she would tell them when they were children. Capturing her playful spirit, here is one of delightful stories that she entertained them with relaying “cat tails” as they were told on one level for children, and as stories based on her novels, and on her own life.

“The Riding Habit,” by Pamela Aidan
Negotiating London Society has been a challenge that the newly married Elizabeth Darcy faced and conquered. Why then, must her beloved Fitzwilliam insist she learn to ride a horse now before the eyes of them all?

“The Chase,” by Carrie Bebris
Jane Austen’s elder brother Francis Austen served in the Royal Navy eventually rising to its highest position, Admiral of the Fleet. This story depicts true events in a March 1800 action off Marseilles, so amazing it could be from a Horatio Hornblower novel, earning him promotion to post-captain and the respect and renowned of all who served during the Age of Sail.

It was a pleasure to work with so many fabulous authors on this project. Thanks again ladies of Historical Tapestry for letting me share my excitement and pride in all the great historical stories in this collection!

Editor bio:
A life-long acolyte of Jane Austen, Laurel Ann Nattress is the author/editor of a blog devoted to the oeuvre of her favorite author and the many books and movies that she has inspired. She is a life member of the Jane Austen Society of North America, a regular contributor to the PBS blog Remotely Connected and the Jane Austen Centre online magazine. An expatriate of southern California, Laurel Ann lives in a country cottage near Snohomish, Washington. Visit Laurel Ann at her blogs and, on Twitter as @Austenprose, and on Facebook as Laurel Ann Nattress.
Jane Austen Made Me Do It: Original Stories Inspired by Literature’s Most Astute Observer of the Human Heart, edited by Laurel Ann Nattress

Ballantine Books • ISBN: 978-0345524966


Giveaway of Jane Austen Made Me Do It

Enter a chance to win one copy of Jane Austen Made Me Do It by leaving a comment by October 19, stating what intrigues you about reading an Austen-inspired short story anthology. Winners to be drawn at random and announced October 20. Shipment to US and Canadian addresses only. Good luck to all!


  1. Do not enter me as I've already got a copy, but I thought I'd stop by to say how much I'm enjoying reading it. I love the variety of the stories, the obvious love that the authors and editor have for Jane Austen and her creations.

    I also feel like I may be stalking Laurel Ann on her blog tour as she makes the rounds of my favorite blogs:-)

  2. I would love to win a copy of this anthology! I love to read anything that has to do with Jane Austen, and it is especially exciting to see other authors' imaginations "fill in" backstories or future episodes for the characters we have all come to cherish like old friends.

  3. I would love to win a copy of this anthology. Reading this book will almost be like having a whole bunch of people in the same room sharing their favorite stories about our dear friend Jane and her world.

  4. Anthologies are great for bringing you stories from several of your current favorite authors and have the potential for introducing you to future favorite authors. The fact that in this case these authors are all writing about stories of your all time favorite author? That just makes it marvelous.
    Thanks for the opportunity for a giveaway.

  5. What a great compendium of all things Austen! I'd love to win a copy. It sounds like something all Jane Austen addicts should have on their shelves.

    I also wanted to let you know I am hosting a giveaway in honor of your Jane Austen Week! The information can be found at the link below:

    Thank you for hosting a great week of all things Austen!

    --Rachel B.

  6. Thanks for the opportunity to share. I'm probably the novice of the group, having never been interested or wanting to read anything by Miss Austen until just 4 years ago. I'm now madly making up for lost time and have read the works of many of the heavy-hitters in the JAMMDI anthology. And, I've made a career out of being cheap so why not try for a free copy before going out and buying one?

  7. I've had rather mixed feelings about reading Austen spin-offs, but this sounds like such an interesting anthology, and reading short stories sounds like a way to ease into this new genre. Thanks for the giveaway.

  8. OOh! I think what intrigues people in general with Austen-inspired stories is the appeal of the original Austens - they were such good stories, sequels and additions just prolong the stories we love. And in this way, the wave of new Austen fiction makes sense in its popularity. I have read some great ones lately - including Monster Mash Ups like "Pride, Prejudice and Zombies", and re-tellings like "Lost in Austen".


    Ammy Belle
    apereiraorama @ gmail . com

  9. I would love to read this book because I think it would be interesting to read Jane Austen like stories from so many different points of view and writing styles.

    tmrtini at gmail dot com

  10. Ooh, please enter me! I like the idea of an Autsen-themed short story collection because Austen's original novels, despite having very satisfying endings, also leave a lot of room for speculation and creativity. Also, I have read and enjoyed a lot of the authors featured in this book!


  11. I would love to read this book! I've just began reading Jane Austen. Her novels have grabbed me and refused to let go, this anthology looks absolutely amazing and I can't wait to add it to my already growing Jane Austen collection.

    rosaliepetals @ hotmail .com

  12. why I would read this anthology? Why the authors of course! In fact, I was so excited about this book that instead of waiting for my library to pick this up like I always do, i treated myself to an early birthdya present by ordering it online! Was so excited to get the "Your order has shipped" email today!

    Joanna Y.

  13. I enjoy reading other people's takes on Austen's work, and they often present interesting spins or perspectives that I would not have thought of myself.

  14. I'm not really big on short stories but an anthology of fictional Jane Austen shorts is enticing. Count me in, please.

  15. I love the characters and love how these continuing stories help develop them. Particularly the not so prominent ones. Thanks for the giveaway!


  16. I adore all things Austen, and the idea of getting to see characters from her different novels interact is beyond intriguing! It would also be interesting to compare perspectives of so many fellow writers/Janeites side by side in one volume.

  17. I've been curious for months to hear more about the stories from the authors. I'm intrigued that "Heard of You" is about the Crofts. It'll be great to read more about them.

  18. I'm in Jane Austen heaven!

  19. Thanks ladies at Historical Tapestry for hosting me today and for Jane Austen Week. What fun! I hope that the winner enjoys Jane Austen Made me Do It as much as I enjoyed editing it.

    Cheers, Laurel Ann

  20. what intrigues you about reading an Austen-inspired short story anthology? the variety of perspectives on my fave JA characters! their adventures continuing imaginatively and creatively... lots to anticipate !

  21. I just think this sounds like so much fun! I really like to read short stories. I like being able to pick up an anthology and bounce around inside it and even leave some unread for later. And of course, I love Jane Austen. So, what could be better? Thanks for the chance to win a copy!

    geebee.reads AT gmail DOT com

  22. This book sounds so interesting. I really like anything Austen so I know I'd like this book. Thanks for the giveaway. My e-mail is