Yesterday was a significant date in Naval History .... in 1805, Vice Admiral Lord Nelson led the British fleet in the Battle of Trafalgar. Although he defeated the French and Spanish fleets, Nelson died from a sniper's bullet. All of England mourned for him. His courage became a bedrock of Regency chivalry We all know Jane Austen (and BBC) captured that chivalry in her beloved novels. Today Sally Smith O'Rourke joins us for a cozy chat about her latest release, YOURS AFFECTIONATELY, JANE AUSTEN. From Sally's bio (at this link),
That I reside in the Victorian village of Monrovia, California; a mere two miles from my place of employment. A local hospital where I spend most daylight hours in the operating room as a scrub nurse.
Kim: California! What is your favorite sight, sound, and smell? What would Jane Austen like (and dislike) about California?
Sally: I live at the foot of the San Gabriel Mountains and love the sights, sounds and smells of the mountains; I particularly like the sound of moving water, the smell of pine trees and the sound of pine needles under foot. At the same time I am only 45 minutes from the Pacific Ocean¸ the feel of the sea mist and smell of the ocean coupled with the sound of waves on the sand I find calming. Jane was a strong proponent of nature, the country and didn’t much care for the city. I believe she would have liked California even though it is nothing like the Hampshire countryside, her favorite place in the world.
Kim: How do you "research" Regency England as a scrub nurse in California?
Sally: I read a lot, started with Austen’s books, moved on to several biographies. When my late husband and I decided to write a book about Austen I read books on society, mores, language, history, cook books; pretty much anything I could find about the era. One of the things I found interesting was that some words have different meanings today than they did then. My favorite is condescension which today is an insult but in Regency, England it was something of a compliment. I’ve always thought that since Jane used it in reference to Mr. Collins in Pride and Prejudice, she used it as something of an insult as well. Maybe she is why the meaning changed.
Kim: Tell us about your Austen books, including AFFECTIONATELY YOURS, JANE AUSTEN?
Sally: After re-reading all of Austen’s novels I became fascinated not by her characters but by the author herself. Unlike other authors of the era whose heroines were generally over emotional victims needing to be saved by some heroic man, Jane created highly intelligent, fiercely independent (for the time) women and the men who loved them. I wanted to know why she wrote that way, what kind of woman she was. That was when I started reading about her and the reading led to the writing.
The most extraordinary character, of course, is Fitzwilliam Darcy of Pride and Prejudice. A man who alters his perceptions and attitudes not to win the woman he loves but to better himself. Winning Elizabeth’s hand is an unexpected result.
There was no one in Austen’s life who resembled Darcy in any way and since she used the people in her life as the basis for her characters my Mike and I decided to create a ‘what if’ story about who Mr. Darcy was. And so was born The Man Who Loved Jane Austen. The story of a 21st man transported back in time to 1810, the spring Jane was working on Pride and Prejudice (still titled First Impressions).
After losing Mike suddenly, I put all our projects on hold. Ultimately I realized that I didn’t want his work to die with him. I set out to get an agent, which I did and he set out to get a publisher, which he did. The Man Who Loved Jane Austen was published in 2006, The Maidenstone Lighthouse in 2008 and Christmas at Sea Pines Cottage in 2009.
Yours Affectionately, Jane Austen reacquaints readers with Fitzwilliam Darcy of Pemberley Farms, Virginia and Eliza Knight, the New York artist who finds the letters proving he did travel in time to meet Jane Austen. Yours Affectionately, Jane Austen delves into the complex nature of the man who was the embodiment of Jane Austen’s legendary hero; the enigmatic Mr. Darcy. The blossoming relationship with between Fitz and Eliza is juxtaposed with Jane Austen’s summer following the publication of Pride and Prejudice.
Sally: Over the years people have asked me how I write, my process, where I get ideas, how I name characters. I’ve begun work on my next book, Physician, Heal Thyself, and I’m going to try and post regularly on my blog, sallysmithorourke.com, with the what, why and how that book is going. Never done anything like this so not sure how well it will go but it should be a grand adventure.
Mahalo, Sally, for joining us at SOS Aloha! Sally is giving away two ecopies of YOURS AFFECTIONATELY, JANE AUSTEN from Smashwords. To enter the giveaway, leave a comment about a character, other than Mr. Darcy, you would like to meet from Jane Austen. Comments are open through Saturday, October 27, 10 pm in Hawaii. I'll post the winner on Sunday, Ocotber 28.
Kim in Hawaii
|Turner's THE BATTLE OF TRAFALGAR|
Here are links to Sally's books:
CHRISTMAS AT SEA PINES (link)
THE MAIDENSTONE LIGHTHOUSE (link)
THE MAN WHO LOVED JANE AUSTEN (link)