Today’s Guest Blog Post and Give-Away by Abigail Reynolds
Hi, Darcyholics! I am very happy to share with you a guest post by Abigail Reynolds. For anyone who has read JAFF online, you have most likely have read one of Abigail’s stories. I am thrilled to have her visiting with us today!
Today is Charles Dickens’ 200th Birthday. If you missed it, please be sure and read my Sunday post for a chance to win a copy of Fitzwilliam Ebenezer Darcy in honor of the occasion.
Upcoming Guest Posts Are As Follows:
February 10--Ola Wegner
February 14--Sandy Cook! Celebrating Mr. Darcy and Valentine’s Day
February 17--Nancy Kelley
February 21--Janet Taylor
February 24--Nina Benneton
February 28--Maria Grazia (My Jane Austen Book Club)
March 2--Rita W.
March 6--Ruth Oakland
March 27--Lucy S.
And Many more to come!
Abigail is giving away a soft cover copy of Mr. Darcy’s Undoing, North American only. Entries will be based on comments on the blog post; but additional chances will be given for joining this site, tweeting this post, sharing this on Facebook or your blog, Friend me on Facebook, clicking 'like' on Barbara Tiller Cole, Author's Facebook page, or following BarbTCole on Twitter; or ‘like' Abigail Reynolds, Writer’s Facebook page, follow Austen Authors Facebook page, or join Austen Authors. Please note any of these things that you do in your blog post for extra entries.
And now... Abigail Reynolds...
Why do we do it?
Okay, hands up now – how many of you have been asked why you love to read/write Jane Austen fanfiction, usually in a fairly dubious tone of voice? I get that question all the time, so I have a host of different answers to it, and I thought I’d share some of them with you today.
My formal answer, suitable for interviews and giving talks, begins like this. It’s because there aren’t enough books by Jane Austen. Lately I’ve been reading some novels by Georgette Heyer that weren’t available when I first discovered her books. I’ve been forcing myself to read them slowly, rationing them out instead of devouring them all at once because I know once I’m done with them, there won’t ever be any more new ones for me to enjoy. And she wrote over 50 books!
We’re in much worse straits with Jane Austen. She only wrote six novels, and only one of them is about Darcy and Elizabeth. When people ask me why I write Jane Austen fanfic – or sometimes, why I waste my time writing about Austen’s characters rather than creating my own – I tell them that if Jane Austen had been courteous enough to write a dozen books about Darcy and Elizabeth, I probably wouldn’t be writing mine. But she didn’t, something I’m still perfectly capable of sulking about. I mean, how dare she create such brilliant characters and then only write six books? What a tease!
So that’s my current answer. The truth is that there’s a multitude of reasons why I write Pride & Prejudice variations and adaptations. I enjoy the chance it gives me to delve deeper into Austen’s characters and the excuse to research life in the Regency. One side benefit of writing JAFF has been the social aspects of online communities where I made many wonderful friends, and more recently, the opportunity to connect with readers of my books. I love knowing that I have friends and acquaintances around the world now because of my writing, and I probably would never have finished a story if there hadn’t been a group of online readers waiting for the next chapter.
The next question is the easy one – do people really read these things? We all know the answer to that is yes! Then comes the discourse about why someone would want to read about Darcy and Elizabeth over and over and over again. Again, I can list lots of reasons which basically come down to that it’s like reading a series or watching an ensemble TV show like NCIS or Bones. You know the characters, you know basically what’s going to happen, but viewers love coming back to the familiar world and characters who have grown to be like friends. It’s also social, because we can connect with other readers around our shared world, just like most people can engage in a discussion of Harry Potter with complete strangers.
But all this ignores the actual truth about why I do it, because outside our little Jane Austen universe, people don’t always understand this part. I write Austen variations because it’s fun. I read Austenesque novels because they’re fun. What can be better than that?
Still, when people sound dubious about JAFF, I try to say, “Please don’t read my books, if this kind of thing isn’t your cup of tea. I don’t expect everyone to like it, and that’s okay.” To myself, I always add, “Of course, if you never try it, you’ll never know what you’re missing!”
I’d love to hear from you now. Why do you read or write Austenesque novels?