JANE AUSTIN LIED TO ME by Jeanette Watts ~ Genre: Humor
BLURB: What college girl doesn’t dream of meeting Mr. Darcy? Lizzie was certainly no exception. But when Darcy Fitzwilliam comes into her life, he turns out to be every bit as aggravating as Elizabeth Bennett’s Fitzwilliam Darcy. So what’s a modern girl to do?
Jeanette Watts’ satire pokes loving fun at Jane and all of us who worship the characters who shall forever be our romantic ideals.
Today I’d like to welcome Jeanette Watts, author of the very clever tale, “Jane Austin Lied to Me“. OK, – I confess – I’m a HUGE Jane Austin fan. I’ve read her books, I’ve seen the movies, I’ve sighed over Darcy, and so when I read this book, I could completely identify with the heroine! So, herewith is an interview with Jeanette, an excerpt from the book, and my (glowing) review (I really had fun with this book – it kept me up nights!)
Me: What inspires you most?
Jeanette: Inspiration can come from anywhere. The first book I published, Wealth and Privilege, was inspired by the relics of old steel mills along the Monongahela River in Pittsburgh. Seeing them made me write a story about what it was like when they were in use, not just giant, ghostly shells. I was inspired to write Brains and Beauty by my readers, who threatened to run me over with a bus if I didn’t write another book. I wrote my textbook on waltzing because I’m a dance teacher, and there are no good textbooks out there. For years I have been wanting to write a children’s book about my guardian angel; he was my landlord in Pittsburgh, and a wonderful man. Someday I’ll write it. The inspiration for Jane Austen Lied to Me came as my husband and I were driving home from the Jane Austen Festival in Louisville.
Me: What were your favorite books when you were young, and what are your favorite books right now?
Jeanette: When I was in 4th grade, I discovered the biography section in the school library. There were books on Betsy Ross, Helen Keller, Clara Barton, Florence Nightingale; I found it odd that history classes were being criticized for excluding women. There were plenty of books about women – I was reading them all. Not that I wasn’t also reading biographies on Thomas Jefferson and Ulysses S Grant… I read plenty of biographies of famous men, too. Here it is almost 40 years later, and biographies are STILL my favorite books. I adore David McCullough. I’m a big Civil War buff, and I’ve read Shelby Foote’s huge history books on the topic, and Grant’s autobiography, and Sherman’s biography. Recently I thought I ought to branch out a little bit, so I read biographies on Benjamin Franklin and Alexander Hamilton. Near the top of my reading stack are books on Teddy Roosevelt and Kick Kennedy. So I’m still finding books about intriguing women in history, and I still love biographies as my favorite genre to read for fun.
Me: Tell us about your book – who is the main character, and what do want readers to know about this story?
Jeanette: I love my main character. She’s every American college girl. Waging a war between her brain and her hormones, trying to please her parents and teachers, trying to be herself. I have been teaching social ballroom dance at the college level for the past 16 years, I know and love the late teen-early twenty years. Older adults roll their eyes at the “drama,” but for a writer, drama is not a bad thing! Life is so much more difficult when you’re 18 than it is at 38. By 38, you know who you are and you’ve got a few experience points behind you when you’re dealing with problems. People forget what they were like when they were in college, and faced adult problems for the first time in their life. This is a story about the vicissitudes of being 18,19, and 20.
Me: Can you share a favorite recipe or life hack – perhaps something that is connected to your book?
Jeanette: Hmmm. You know, most of my life seems to be about making life more complicated, not easier. And if a life hack is supposed to defy the status quo, wine is certainly not going to qualify. A judicious application of wine makes most problems better. A judicious application of wine to your friends when they are having a bad day makes everyone’s problems better. Okay, here’s my life advice: keep a mental list of all your friends’ favorite wines, and keep some in the house. Sweet, dry, red, white… so when they walk in the door with that look on their face and growl “I saw the in-laws last night,” you can hand them a glass of a wine you know they’ll like. Friendship maintenance is a really good thing.
Me: My favorite wine is a nice, dry white – so when I come over, you’ll know! (And it’s a good life hack, lol!) Anything else you’d like to add?
Jeanette: If you haven’t read, or at least seen movie adaptations of, Jane Austen, you might want to go do some homework before you try to read my book. It’s like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies; if you aren’t familiar with the source, you’re not going to get as much out of the story. This was written for and about Jane Austen fans, who know who Captain Wentworth and Fanny Price and the Dashwood sisters are.
Me: Thank you for being a guest on my blog!
Jeanette: Thank you very much for having me!
EXCERPT: Well! That was interesting. My roommate invited me along to this frat party she was going to. She went through something called rush week, and she is now pledged to a sorority. She said the frats are less formal than the sororities, and even though I wasn’t a pledge I could go with her. I figured, why not, it should be fun, right?
I got to meet the guy she’s chasing. I couldn’t blame her for being interested. He’s cute, and sweet, and considerate, and a total people-pleaser. One of his parents must be the demanding sort who is never happy.
He introduced us to his friend… whose name is Darcy Fitzwilliam! I wasn’t sure at first that the guy wasn’t just pulling our legs.
“Your mother obviously loves Jane Austen,” I laughed.
“Obviously,” he answered. Not much to go by.
“I love Pride and Prejudice,” I continued.
“I hate Pride and Prejudice.” I can only describe the look he was giving me as hostile.
“I think you will find yourself very much in a minority,” I answered, returning his look with one of my own.
We didn’t talk any more that night. Talk about getting off on the wrong foot!
AUTHOR Bio and Links: Jeanette Watts had been writing historic fiction when the inspiration for Jane Austen Lied to Me hit her on the drive home from the Jane Austen Festival. The idea was simply irresistible, and she put aside other writing projects in order to focus on writing a satire, thinking it would be a “mental vacation.” It turned out to take every bit as much research to write a modern story as it does to write a historical one.
She has written television commercials, marketing newspapers, stage melodramas, four screenplays, three novels, and a textbook on waltzing. When she isn’t writing, she teaches social ballroom dances, refinishes various parts of her house, and sews historical costumes and dance costumes for her Cancan troupe.
Links: Buy book at Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B075XHNR3W/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1
Jeanette Watts will be awarding a doll dressed in Regency clothing, handcrafted by the author (International Giveaway) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
Enter to win a doll handcrafted by the author – a Rafflecopter giveaway
Review: As a Jane Austin fan, I couldn’t pass this up! The story isn’t about Jane, but it’s about her characters and the plots of all her books are cleverly woven into a modern tale of a young woman who is searching for herself. Elizabeth has always been called Beth, much to her chagrin. As a Jane Austin fan, she’d much rather be called Lizzie, so when she leaves for college, she takes the opportunity to reinvent herself. I liked Lizzie – she’s determined, frank, fun, and yet fragile. And she wants to fall in love with the perfect Jane Austin hero, which means each male she comes in contact with immediately ‘becomes’ one of the heroes. The results, often enough, go hilariously wrong. People, as Lizzie soon discovers rarely fit fictional molds and even more rarely follow the plots of a Jane Austin book. The title, Jane Austin Lied to Me, is a good summary of what Lizzie finally concludes – but not without a good deal of laughter and tears, heartbreak, soul-searching, and in some cases, embarrassment. I must admit, my favorite part of the book was when Lizzie misunderstands her professor’s interest in her homework, but there was also the best friend turned possible suitor, the Darcy namesake, and the boy who was always there but never noticed. The book was great fun, I highly recommend it to everyone, and it’s a must read for Jane Austin fans!