Saturday, October 22, 2011

Jane Austen Made Me Do It: It’s like a box of chocolates! by Laurel Ann Nattress (and GIVEAWAY)

Jane Austen Made Me Do It: It’s like a box of chocolates! by Laurel Ann Nattress

Hi Laura, thanks again for hosting me during my Grand Tour of the blogosphere in celebration of the release of my new Austen-inspired anthology, Jane Austen Made Me Do It.

“It is only a novel… or, in short, some work in which the greatest powers of the mind are displayed, in which the most thorough knowledge of human nature, the happiest delineation of its varieties, the liveliest effusions of wit and humour are conveyed to the world in the best chosen language.” Northanger Abbey, Volume 1, Chapter 5

Novels in Jane Austen’s day were not as popular, nor did they garner the respect that they do today. Considered low-brow fare, her poke at those who objected to young ladies reading novels is evident in this quote from the narrator in Northanger Abbey. The reader is obviously reading a novel, so it is a double pun.

I proudly profess to be an ardent novel reader. I have also always had an affinity for short story anthologies. I will pull a Forest Gump on you and proclaim anthologies are like a box chocolates. You never know what you are going to get. Because of that unknown adventurous element, I have discovered fabulous new authors over the years. My new anthology, Jane Austen Made Me Do It, is indeed like a box of Austen-inspired confections. Each story is unique and a surprise.

While I was working with the twenty-four authors on their twenty-two stories (two stories are written by teams) as the editor of the anthology, my idea from the beginning was to give them a free reign by asking them to “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.” They could write in any genre, era or style. I asked them to send me their ideas and I encourage them with my best instincts.

My editor and I had wanted a mix of stories, of which we hoped about half would be historical, and the balance contemporary. Interestingly, with very little micro-managing, that is exactly what happened. It split right down the line. To further enlighten you, here is the genre breakdown:

Jane Austen as a fictional character or inspired by her ideals: 7

Mystery: 2,

Inspired by her characters or a novel: 10

Paranormal: 3

So you can see there is quite a mix. I was delighted with the end result. I hope you will be too.

Contributing authors:

Pamela Aidan • Elizabeth Aston • Brenna Aubrey • Stephanie Barron • Carrie Bebris • Jo Beverley • Diana Birchall • Frank Delaney & Diane Meier • Monica Fairview • Amanda Grange • Syrie James • Janet Mullany • Jane Odiwe • Beth Pattillo • Alexandra Potter • Myretta Robens • Jane Rubino & Caitlen Rubino Bradway • Maya Slater • Margaret Sullivan • Adriana Trigiani • Laurie Viera Rigler • Lauren Willig

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 midnight on Saturday October 29th, stating what intrigues you about reading an Austen-inspired short story anthology. Winners to be drawn at random and announced on October 30th. Shipment to US and Canadian addresses only. Good luck to all!


  1. Jane Austen is my favorite author and I love tales inspired by her. Thanks for the giveaway.

  2. What intrigues me right away are some of the ideas presented here: the novel as showing the workings of the mind, the powers of intellect, and understanding of human nature (although considered low-brow fare in an earlier era), and the analogy of this anthology as a box of chocolates, full of surprises and delights. Please enter me in this great giveaway. I will post it in my blog's sidebar. Thanks!


  3. i love reading stories about other Austen characters, other than Darcy & Elizabeth......i'm always intrigued by the possibilities & creativity that Austen-inspired authors come up with!!!

    thank you for this giveaway!!!


  4. cant wait to read this!!! I love Jane Austen!

  5. Having previously read and been thrilled by at least half of the authors in this anthology, what more incentive does one need to pique their curiosity? The creative talent in this group of writers is enormous and their love of Miss Austen comes through in all that they have written. Laurel Ann: I read your introductory remarks to JAMMDI and it is a testament to what Jane Austen has meant to your enjoyment of life. Count me in as well!

  6. I love Jane Austen and I'd love to read how others have been inspired by her writing as well. I think her writing themes are universal and the possibilities are endless.


  7. I always think that short stories tend to get down to business sorta speak a little quicker because of course they are shorter so I like the possibilities with a relationships. This looks like a good selection!


  8. Thanks for hosting me Laura. I am anxious to hear from readers which of the stories are their favorites. They are all so diverse. It amazes how Austen inspires us.

    Cheers, Laurel Ann

  9. I've heard such great things about this book. Reading short stories inspired by Jane Austen all gathered together in one book is such a great idea.
    laurafabiani at videotron dot ca

  10. I haven't read a good book of short stories for some time. This looks like a good mix of stories and I'd really enjoy it. Thanks!

  11. I agree with the box of chocolates sentiment for that is why I read anthologies. I also often learn something new about Jane Austen or about her era when I read stories inspired by her. I often do find new authors that I like, and so when I am low on reading material, I just return to an anthology and pick out an author that had interested me and go find more novels by them!

    melorabrock {at} gmail {dot} com

  12. Love reading Austen shorts and spin-offs :)

  13. Hi, Laura! and Hi, Laurel Ann
    Thank you both for hosting this Giveaway.
    Stort story collections can be difficult reading for me. I usually want the storyline to keep going! However, the box of chocolate analogy puts a different perspective on things. Thinking that I can dive into the book, and read whatever story I jump in on, makes it a little more interesting. I think this may change how I view short story collections.
    It would be wonderful to win this particular book, so many perspectives on Austin writings. Such a good idea, Laurel Ann!
    I look forward to winning this Giveaway!! (hahaha)
    My email: madley (AT) cogeco (DOT) ca
    Thank you!
    P.S. not sure about the paranormal.........

  14. I love the idea of this anthology, interested to see how it all comes together!

  15. I like the idea of so many takes on the Jane Austen stories and Jane herself. I recognize and enjoy several of the authors so I look forward to their contributions and 'meeting' the new to me authors.
    Thanks for the post and the giveaway opportunity.

  16. loverofaustennovelsOctober 27, 2011 at 9:08 PM

    I would love to win this book because I've read reviews of it and it sounds fascinating. Also, I love anything Austen. I also like Amanda Grange who's an author in this book. My e-mail is Cheers!

  17. This giveaway has now ended and winners have been posted.