I am very excited to welcome Kaitlin Saunders, author of a brand new modern adaptation of Sense and Sensibility titled, A Modern Day Sense and Sensibility, to Austenesque Reviews today! Kaitlin has graciously agreed to answer my grilling questions about Jane Austen, her writing, and her new release, A Modern Day Sense and Sensibility! How about we begin by talking about you! For those readers who do not know you and your works, can you share a little about yourself – your first encounter with Jane Austen, what prompted you to start writing Austenesque fiction?
First of all, thank you so much for featuring my novel on your lovely website! As for a bit about me – I am a stay-at-home mom/busybody who loves to write in my free time, which hasn’t been often with two little ones to love and care for! I love my job! Jane Austen and I were introduced at a very young age. My mother is an Austen fan and would watch her favorite film adaptations with me as a child. When I was in my teens I discovered the novels and soon began imagining what Jane’s stories would look like in this present age. I wrote these ideas first as screenplays until my mother encouraged me to convert them to books. It’s all because of her that I am a published author!
That’s so wonderful that your mom gave you such great encouragement! (We are very thankful!) Let’s talk about your new release a little. With period issues like inheritances and secret engagements, I would think that Sense and Sensibility is one of the most challenging of Jane Austen’s novels to translate to modern day. And before A Modern Day Sense and Sensibility, you published a modern rewrite of Persuasion – another novel that has period-specific conflicts. What were some of the most challenging aspects with updating these beloved novels?
With Persuasion, the most challenging conflicts were explaining why Anne hadn’t run away with Rick despite her family’s objections and also why she seemed stuck/was still living at home despite the common practice these days of moving out before/after college. Sense and Sensibility, in my opinion, was far more difficult to adapt. First, why on earth would Edward remain engaged to someone he doesn’t love? And of course – the Dashwood ladies being unable to inherit their house and husband’s/father’s fortune is completely unbelievable nowadays. Then there’s what Ellie and Marianne occupy themselves with while waiting for their men to enter the picture, as well as Willoughby’s motivation for deserting Marianne and having to quickly marry someone rich instead of becoming a self-made man. These are just some of the conflicts I had to overcome when writing my novel, and hopefully I did so successfully!
There definitely are some differences between Jane Austen’s world and our own! One thing that hasn’t changed are sibling relationships, there a lot of people who can relate to having a Marianne or Elinor in their lives. Just like Jane Austen’s Dashwood sisters, your Ellie and Marianne are polar opposites in how they handle their emotions and experiences in love. Which sister do you feel you understand and relate to more? Are you more practical and introverted like Ellie, or are you more on the dramatic and extroverted side of the spectrum?
My mother and I often joke that we are Ellie and Marianne – and you’d probably be surprised to find that I am ‘Ellie’ in our relationship! While my mother is very emotional and can chat away with complete strangers, I keep my emotions bottled up and can be very shy! I definitely relate more with Ellie.
Ah! That’s funny! You and your mom sound like you are really close, how lovely! Speaking of close relationships, I love how you highlighted the Dashwoods as a family unit, my favorite scenes are those where they are overcoming their grief, heartache, and troubles and finding happiness together. What is your opinion of the Dashwoods? Is Mrs. Dashwood a good mother? What was important to you in your portrayal of this family?
It was important to me to portray them as a family who sticks together and supports one another – even if they don’t agree with each other’s actions. And yes, I do believe Mrs. Dashwood is a good mother. Although she does empathize with Marianne’s emotions more than is beneficial at times, her top priority is her children.
Absolutely, she feels their pain, celebrates their joys, and cares for their happiness and well-being. I know you are busy nowadays being a mommy yourself, but what is next for you in the literary world, Kaitlin? Any upcoming projects you can share with us?
Although I have plans for updating another Jane Austen novel, I’m currently working on an original plot which focuses on the relationship between a match-making mother and her single, middle-aged daughter. However, seeing as I just had a baby and have an almost two-year-old, it’s going to be a slow process!
So happy to hear about your future projects, but yes, definitely make time to enjoy your little ones! How about we switch it up with some Quickfire Questions:
What is one of your favorite scenes in Sense and Sensibility?
Willoughby’s confession to Elinor – it makes me tear up every time!
What is one of your favorite scenes from one of your own novel?
Wow – so many!! But if I had to chose, then I’d chose the scene where Ellie and Edward have their first real interaction – on the porch after Edward stumbles upon Ellie crying.
Who is the greater evil: Fanny Dashwood or Lucy Steele?
Lucy Steele. Fanny, or “Francil” as I call her in my adaptation, can send a dirty look or sometimes intimidate Ellie by her behavior, but ultimately it’s Lucy Steele who could have ruined everything for Ellie.
Who do you prefer: Edward Ferrars or Colonel Brandon?
This is a tough one … I like the stronger presence of Colonel Brandon, but he’s older and well, type-cast as a little boring, so I’d chose my Edward.
What Jane Austen character would you want to trade place with?
Elizabeth Bennet, of course! Who wouldn’t want to end up with a dashingly handsome and very wealthy hero-of-a-man! Haha I also love how she speaks her mind!
What do you love most about Jane Austen’s novels?
I love how relatable her characters are, and how the heroines get what they want/need in the end – so satisfying!
Wonderful answers! Thank you so much for visiting Austenesque Reviews, Kaitlin! Wishing you much success with your new release!
Today, Kaitlin Saunders brings with her ONE PAPERBACK copy of her newly released novel, A Modern Day Sense and Sensibility for me to giveaway to ONE lucky winner!
To enter this giveaway, leave a question, a comment, or some love for Kaitlin below!
- This giveaway is open worldwide. Thank you, Kaitlin!
- This giveaway ends February 24th!