Happy Monday, everyone! I hope you all are enjoying a great week so far! I’m so excited to welcome Cass Grafton back to Austenesque Reviews today! She has been a long time friend of this blog and as you may have noticed we love her writing! Cass will be answering some questions about some news regarding her books, her writing, and lastly Bath. We hope you enjoy!!
So Cass, there have been some exciting developments happening with your stories these past few months. Can you share them with us?
Yes, of course, and thank you so much, Meredith, for giving me the chance to share the news with your lovely readers!
Since The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen was already self-published by you and Ada Bright, how did it come about that it got picked up by a traditional publisher?
It was all down to a little blue bird! I’d never been a massive user of Twitter, but last year I started to write a new series (contemporary upbeat romances set in Cornwall) and wasn’t sure how to connect with writers, readers and bloggers in the genre. A writing friend told me she found Twitter to be a really useful ‘business’ tool. I decided to embrace her approach and started to use it more regularly, including following some publishers and connecting with other authors in this new (for me) genre. One day last summer, I was procrastinating hard at work online, when a Tweet caught my eye.
Canelo was inviting people to pitch a novel in a Tweet, and if one of their editors ‘liked’ the Tweet, you could submit your manuscript to them, and they guaranteed detailed feedback by the end of the month.
Although we were delighted to receive such excellent reviews from bloggers and readers when The Particular Charm came out in 2016, we’d never had any feedback from a publishing professional, so we decided it was worth a shot. I came up with a two-sentence pitch, and we were excited to receive a ‘like’ from the editorial director.
Cue a frantic weekend, whereby, across our 9-hour time difference between Switzerland and California, Ada and I edited the story, adding a new opening paragraph, removed a couple of minor characters who added nothing to the plot and tightening up the pacing in the opening chapters. Then, we submitted it.
We waited patiently – yes, honestly! – for our feedback, keen to know how we could improve the book, only to get the best sort of email a writer can: not just an editor in love with the story and the characters and wanting to re-issue it but also commissioning the sequel (which we had outlined a plot for back in 2017, but never really made much progress on).
The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen will be published by Canelo on 12th September 2019. The cover hasn’t been officially revealed yet, but you can get a sneak peak at the style of it and read the book blurb HERE on the Canelo website.
Fans of The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen may remember that the wonderful ending left the door open for possibly more…*we were especially big fans of your ending!* Can you share if any more is in store for Rose, Morgan, and Dr. Trevellyan?
I can… but will I? (insert evil laugh – but quite restrained, because I’m a repressed Brit, remember?) Okay, I’ve talked to my partner in crime, Ada, and although we can’t give too much away, we can say this:
Much of the book is set in Chawton, and readers will be reunited with many of the key characters from the first book, such as Rose, Dr Trevellyan, Morgan and, of course, Jane Austen, along with some of her family members and a certain 4-legged friend.
Beyond this, let’s just say that, never before has Rose’s obsession with all things Regency served her so well… or led her into so much trouble!
The yet to be titled sequel will be released on 7th November 2019.
And you have some other exciting book news to share don’t you?
I do! Much to my amazement, Canelo also wanted to pick up the eBooks of my old P&P-inspired titles, and they have re-issued them, as of today.
A long read – I write big books, and I cannot lie!
Both stories begin after Darcy’s failed proposal. A Fair Prospect is an introspective, character-driven piece, which explores the what-if of Darcy and Elizabeth constantly being thrown into each other’s company rather than not seeing each other for four months and how that impacts their growing understanding of each other. I had a desire, at the time of writing, to ‘see’ Darcy and Elizabeth walking around Bath, and I was determined to get them there!
A Quest for Mr Darcy explores the what-if of Darcy not going to Pemberley in the summer following his proposal, but instead going abroad for a year and not being there to save the day for the Bennet family. I also added in some extra family members for Bingley and an element of mystery (I love a good mystery!) Funnily enough, one of the inspirations for the story came from a line in A Fair Prospect.
Are there any other changes to these books other than their new covers?
No, apart from some minor edits, the stories remain exactly the same, so if you already have my two JAFF titles (A Fair Prospect (2013) and A Quest for Mr Darcy (2017), my only books in the genre), please don’t buy them again – unless you like collecting covers!
The only noticeable difference to anyone who has already read it is that the ending of Disappointed Hopes (Vol I) happens a little earlier. As a result, the opening of Darcy’s Dilemma (Vol II) is in a different place, and this book also ends with a later scene, as some content of Desperate Measures (Vol III) has been brought into the middle book. This was to give the 3 books a better balance in terms of size and to ensure a conclusion to one of the sub-plots in the second book.
At present, this relates purely to the eBooks. The paperbacks remain unchanged, as do the original covers on these (which is nice, because I am very attached to them. Ada and her mom did the beautiful artwork for the trilogy covers, and Ada both took the photo for and designed the entire cover of Quest).
How about we end with some Quick-Fire Questions about Bath as The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen takes place there?
Does it matter if some of my answers aren’t quick?
🤣 LOL! Would you rather visit bath with Anne Elliot or Catherine Morland? Anne
Would you want to live in the Royal Crescent or in Sydney Place? Sydney Place
If you were to visit Bath in Jane Austen’s time what would be your ideal itinerary for a day in Bath? Stalking Jane Austen as she went about her daily business, probably! More seriously, I’d love to see Sydney Gardens (and the hotel) in all its former glory. I know there are plans to restore parts of the gardens, but to be there back then and perhaps attend one of the concerts and see the Regency version of fireworks would be fantastic.
If you were to visit Bath now what would be your ideal itinerary for a day in Bath A float around in the rooftop pool at Thermae Bath Spa followed by a stroll along the Royal Crescent, then afternoon tea in the Pump Room. I’d spend the evening watching a performance at the Theatre Royal followed by late-night cocktails at Circo.
That sounds amazing! Great itinerary! What is your theory about why there is little evidence of Jane writing (manuscripts or letters) during her years in Bath? Haha! Well as you know from The Particular Charm, Meredith, our theory was, Cassandra had to destroy the letters because of their rather unusual content (wink wink). In reality, of course, it is generally believed the sisters were parted less often than usual, hence there were less letters exchanged during that period. However, I do believe Cassandra destroyed some of them for whatever reasons she chose to get rid of all the others – probably to protect her sister and her privacy.
Jane did do a little writing that we know of. She revised Susan Northanger Abbey) for publication, submitting it via her brother, Henry, in 1803 to Richard Crosby, a London publisher, who purchased it for £10 but never published it. Some time around 1804, she began The Watsons, but when her father died suddenly in early 1805, she stopped writing just five chapters into the story.
There are a few theories around this, including her finding the poor status of the heroine and her family a little too close to home. It was an unsettled time in Jane’s life. Mrs Austen and her daughters had become, in effect, destitute and were reliant on what Jane’s brothers could contribute financially to help them. The ladies moved around between progressively smaller and cheaper lodgings in Bath before they were offered the lifeline of staying with her brother, Frank’s, family in Southampton.
Jane was also a country girl at heart. I don’t think she ever had quite the same inspiration to write in Bath as she did when living in small Hampshire villages like Steventon and Chawton. Thank heavens another brother, Edward (Austen) Knight, offered his mother and sisters the cottage in Chawton, or none of Jane’s books might ever have been published.
Just imagine what that would be like – oh wait, you don’t have to imagine. You could just read The Particular Charm to find out! 😉
What do you love most about Bath? There’s a limit to the length of this blog post, yes? I could go on… and on… and on…
I love the way the sun bathes the golden stone in a warm glow. I love the vibrancy of the city centre, yet there’s always somewhere quiet if you wish for peace, such as a stroll through secluded Henrietta Park, a visit to Beechen Cliff (quiet mainly because you don’t have the breath to speak on the steep climb!) or the beautiful Bath Skyline walk.
I love being surrounded by a sense of history on almost every corner; al fresco dining, especially by the abbey, where you can listen to the incredibly talented buskers; strolling along the Royal Crescent; the fabulous museums (the Building of Bath Museum, the Fashion Museum and No 1, Royal Crescent, to name but a few); I’d add some more, but I have to dash. I have a pressing urge to book a flight…
Wonderful answers, Cass!! Thank you! Can we please join you on that trip to Bath?!? 😁 Congrats on all these exciting rereleases! We are so excited about the upcoming sequel for The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen!! We love hearing that it takes place in Chawton!! 🙌🏼
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