Author Guest Post | Talking about a shared joy in reading #JaneAusten whilst learning a bit more about The Jane Journals by Heidi Jo Doxey!

Posted Saturday, 23 May, 2015 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

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What does a Janeite book blogger do whose spent two years attempting to be wrapped up inside Austen novels (during #AustenInAugust: Year 1, Year 2) and finds her life is ever so more complicated than any Austen character to the brink, she barely had time to read *1!* story vs the full grace of devouring the ones she projected to read!? IF your Jorie, you celebrate the fact your at least attempting to bring Ms Austen into your life and enjoying the small bits of her legacy you get to breathe into your heart!

However, with being a book blogger who reviews for Cedar Fort, you get the added wicked sweet joy in discovering *sequel authors!* who pay homage to Austen whilst giving you a stimulating brilliant read! Last year, it was a newly spun story for *Sense & Sensibility*! This May, it’s ALL the Austen books combined into one: *Liam Darcy, I Loathe You!*

Sometimes contemporary life mirrors a Jane Austen novel: where ordinary strife and the complexities of living in the 21st Century are as varied and wrought with extraordinary circumstances as any Austen novel could possibly explore! Austen brought with her a keen edge of insight into commoner life which befit her age so eloquently as to become a legacy of a time capsule of literary style, voice, and sociological perspectives each generation after her could personally relate too.

There is something to be said for the mannerisms she conveyed and the socioeconomic convergences she expertly knitted into her stories, where her observant eyes left nothing untouched that did not add to her character’s depth of perception and understanding of their local environs. Austen had a way of convincing you to become attached to her settings and characters by appreciating what each character had to learn within their own story’s arc. She brought together cheeky humour and convicting drama in a way that reads as deftly accurate now as it did then.

The timelessness of her collective works have been admired by afar for years, and it wasn’t until #AustenInAugust hosted by @RoofBeamReader in 2013, where I felt I could finally settle my mind inside Austen’s legacy. Cedar Fort has re-inspired me to pick up contemporary stories set within the metrics and structure of an Austen novel, re-envisioned with modern twists and compelling characters who give you a hearty measure of their Austenite counterparts.

Hence why I am thrilled to peaches to welcome Heidi Jo Doxey to Jorie Loves A Story! Let’s talk about Austen & her sequel novel, shall we!?

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Book Synopsis | Book No.1 of The Jane Journals series: Liam Darcy, I Loathe You!

This brings me to another point. Why do all the guys around here call each other by their last names? It’s weird, right? I mean, it’s never “Hey what’s up, Jack?” or ‘How’s it going, Sam?” Everything’s Elton this, Willoughby that. This makes it extra confusing when you get a couple of brothers who by the same name. Like the Tilneys or the Kulkarnis. Whatever.

I’m just saying, it’s not like all of us girls go by Bennet. That would be complete chaos.

Lizzie’s family is big and crazy. Nila’s best friend just moved to England. Fiona’s good at school Liam Darcy, I Loathe You by Heidi Jo Doxey and nothing else. Alice and Vivian are two sisters who couldn’t be more opposite. And Catherine reads vampire novels. What do these six girls have in common?

They all attend Pemberley Prep, where their English teacher, Ms Elliott, has just given them a year-long assignment to write down everything that happens to them – beach trips and boys to picking out ball gowns.

Quirky and cute, this is Jane Austen with a modern makeover. Set in a Northern California prep school, it’s a laugh-out loud read that will reunite Austen’s fans with their favourite characters and send the younger set straight to the classics to find out what happened next!

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Guest Post Topic: For all the Janeites and sequel authors of Jane Austen, how did you originate a new thread of interest in a sub-genre that is starting to take on it’s own life out of the legacy of Austen’s canon? To set-up a whole new spin on this wonderful world of Pemberley and give a new voice to those who might not be as familiar to the stories Austen left behind for us to curl up inside as though she knew the workings of our hearts and minds?

Heh. I love that you worded this question like I had a master plan in mind when I started writing this. Let me tell you, that was so not the case. The book that became Liam Darcy, I Loathe You began as an experiment for Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month) to see if I could write something really quickly. And because I was drafting so fast, the concept of the book just sort of evolved in the process.

However, there were a couple of things I knew right at the onset that I wanted to do differently from the other Austen sequels and re-tellings I’d read or seen before.

1. I wanted to combine all six of Austen’s best-known novels into one world. (I’ll tell you why in a minute.)
2. I wanted to write an epistolary novel.

The second one is easier to explain. I’ve been a crazy journal-keeper since my freshman year of college. That was when I read Meg Cabot’s Princess Diaries series and Louise Rennison’s Georgia Nicolson series. And that was when I fell in love with journaling. So I knew that I could draft this book fast because I was already very proficient in writing a journal. I would just be doing it for other characters instead of for myself. And since I already knew these characters pretty well—or at least the 1800s versions of them—I figured that would make things even easier.

(Incidentally, the Georgia Nicolson series has been called a younger version of Bridget Jones’s Diaries, which are in turn somewhat based off Pride and Prejudice. So the fact that I was influenced by Georgia to go back to the original Austen is one of those strange circle-of-literature things.)

My hope is that Janeites will appreciate the epistolary style since Austen herself wrote loads of letters, and since letters often pop up at key moments in her books—like the one Darcy writes Lizzie after he proposes.

As for why I wanted to combine all the books, that’s a little more complicated.

When I was in high school, my mom purchased a six-volume set of R.W. Chapman Oxford Illustrated edition Austen works. [see image below]

Photo Credit: Heidi Jo Doxey
Photo Credit: Heidi Jo Doxey. Personal photograph of the author’s boxed set of Austen novels from her personal library.

Of course, I’d seen some of the films before then and I’d read Sense and Sensibility a few years earlier for fun in middle school, but this was the first time I had easy access to Austen’s full canon. I read and reread them.

A few years later, in college, I discovered how much academia still loves Austen. My 300-level writing class focused exclusively on Persuasion, and that was when I began studying Austen beyond reading her books. I spent several long, lovely Friday nights that semester sequestered in a little carrel in the library, reading old editions of JASNA’s journal Persuasions. Such good times!

One of the things we all love about Austen’s writing is her rich characterization, but part of my research for that class led me to realize that some of her characters share similar roles across books. You’ve got the Westons in Emma that are this exemplary married couple, just like the Crofts in Persuasion and the Gardiners in Pride and Prejudice. Then there are all the bad boys: Wickham, Willoughby, Henry Crawford. The gossiping old ladies: Mrs. Jennings and her daughter, Mrs. Thorpe and Mrs. Allen, Mrs. Bennet and Mrs. Phillips, and of course Ms. Bates and Mrs. Bates. And you have the sidekick best friends like Harriet Smith and Charlotte Lucas. None of the heroines are quite the same, but a lot of the minor characters have similarities. That thought stayed with me in the back of my mind. But at the time I had no intention of becoming an author.

Fast forward to years later and that Nanowrimo experiment. I knew I wanted to write an Austen retelling; I knew I wanted it to be epistolary. So I was trying to figure out which novel to choose. And the more I thought about the similarities in the characters, the more I realized how fun it would be to put all of these people into the same world and let them go wild. So I decided not to choose just one of Austen’s novels. Instead I chose them all. Even Mansfield Park, which I confess I mostly dislike.

But I did not choose Sanditon or any of her minor works, and I realize now that to me there have always only been six Austen novels: the ones with their titles printed on the spines of that set of R.W. Chapman Oxford Illustrated editions.

Those six books, to me, simply are Austen. And so those characters are the ones that now roam the halls of Pemberley Prep, Donwell High, and Mansfield University. I hope you all enjoy reading about them as much as I’ve enjoyed writing in their journals.

As for Austen knowing our minds and hearts, I can’t explain her gift. But I do think that part of it stems from her ability to write rich, compelling characters. These are people with full-blown personalities and quirks and idiosyncrasies. It’s one of the things that makes them so fun and easy to translate into our modern world, and it’s one of the things that makes her books stick with us even now, centuries after she’s gone.

I just hope she’ll forgive me for reworking her masterpieces in my own feeble way. Liam Darcy, I Loathe You is not the purest retelling, but I have the utmost love and respect for Jane Austen and her legacy, and I hope fans will see my little book as an homage to Miss Austen and her characters.

Converse via:  #TheJaneJournals, #LiamDarcy OR #PemberleyPrep

#YALit and #AustenSequels

About Heidi Jo Doxey

Heidi Jo Doxey has written five books in the Tiny Talks series. She graduated from BYU with a BA in English and a minor in editing. When she’s not writing or reading, she loves riding her bike, going for walks, spending time with family and friends, and being outside. She currently lives in Utah, where she works in publishing, but she still calls the San Francisco Bay Area home.

Doxey on Pin(terest)

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I must admit, when I first heard back from Ms Doxey about this Guest Post, I honestly had forgotten I submitted it! Such is having a *major relocation!* on the horizon for a Summer which is arriving far too quickly for your own sanity! As soon as I opened the attached response, I couldn’t help but get wicked excited about what I was reading — not only because Ms Doxey and I have a heap in common (we’re both Wrimos & Janeites who appreciate a purity about after canons as much as a bit of liberty taken if your novel’s heart is akin to Austen) but because of ‘how she wrote!’ the Guest Post!

This felt like an open conversation between two Austen appreciators who simply wanted to converge on a topic that each are passionate about discussing! It is my hope that this will resonate with my readers and visitors alike, who will hopefully feel inspired to share their own Austen reflections in the comment threads! I had fully planned to release this earlier in the morning, however, life loves to throw you a curveball every blue moon (or with more frequency!) and for me, I simply have been running with the tides as they come along.

I was wicked happy finding another Wrimo who unearthed her writerly style during a November where every odd piece of an evolving puzzle fell together for her as I personally champion Nanowrimo as the catalyst of what turnt my own writerly pursuits around for the better! It’s a complete immersion of an experience that benefits the writer who is seeking clarity and inspiration from the craft of writing. When she revealed the ‘type of Austen sequel’ she wanted to create I was wicked happy! For starters, I knew by reading Liam Darcy, I Loathe You (which by the way the title alone reminded me of why I love the motion picture 10 Things I Hate About You a re-telling of Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew!) I would be stepping outside my promise to myself to *read each original canon of Austen* before reading a sequel author’s re-telling, but then again, technically I broke that promise last year when I read Rebecca H. Jamison’s novel and I didn’t feel guilty afterwards due to how well-written the story was conceived!

I think each of us has these ideal situations to approach a beloved author, and I’m a prime example where sometimes embracing the unexpected and unplanned route can be as wicked brilliant as the more traditional path!

Try as I might, the best I have accomplished in regards to journalling are the daily/monthly calendars where I write down little bits and bobbles of my life inasmuch as I maintain an active scheduling system for Jorie Loves A Story! I want to expand my journalling in the future, but for now, I appreciate reading Epistolary novels which give me the sense of what it will be like to embrace this practice in the future! I only knew of the Princess Diary series prior to this response, too! I am happy to chat about Brockmole’s Letters from Skye every chance I can, as it’s an Epistolary novel that gave me such a heap of joy to read!

I know I will seeking more stories writ in this style, as let’s face it, I like getting the inter-personal thoughts of the characters who are revealing themselves in a more raw state of emotional connection than reading straight narrative retreats. Journals are akin to letters, they are open windows into a persona’s mind and soul. They give a humbling approach to what is happening on the inside of a person’s internal world because they’re meant to be a sharing of a fluidity of thought as life is evolving in front of the person’s experiences.

In regards to Bridget Jones; the language turnt me off the books, but strangely I accepted the language in the motion picture (not that I cross-compare books & films; it’s much too apple to oranges to do so!) but I blame that on the acting brilliance of Renee Zellweger & Colin Firth! Quite a smashing duo!

I do wonder if other Janeites and Austenites (I personally prefer the first reference) collect different editions of Austen’s works as I do!? One birthday I purchased a special release of hardbacks with lovely covers which were a bit like special wallpaper (hard to describe) rather than illustrations. I also have a Barnes & Noble classic (portable hardback) version of Pride & Prejudice of which I read for #AustenInAugust 2013 as my second reading past the first where I timed it against Keira Knightley’s film (of which I LOVE and I know that irks the ire of most Janeites!). I love the fact Ms Doxey had me share one of her personal photographs to illustrate what her boxed set looks like on her bookshelf!

The only other copy of Austen I have unpacked (oy vie, to be a book blogger with a packed personal library is quite a unique situation!) is Persuasion and I’ve been on pins deciding when the timing is right for me to read it! I’ve had a lot of start/stops and even attempted to join a readalong to inspire me forward, but I could say the same about War and Peace! I’ve only managed to join three readalongs for Tolstoy’s novel and at least three Twitter chats — have I even read Chapter 1? Dare I admit!?

Here’s what I know being a classical literature appreciator and a 21st Century book blogger who is a reader who champions wordsmiths and literary worlds: we each strive to do the very best we can and the rest are the bits we ‘let go’ and ‘let rest’ for another day! I even noted Ms Doxey was worried about the reception on behalf of her novel which is equal to my worriment on ‘how I’m reading Austen’ — will other Austen readers accept the fact I broke the cardinal rule in reading order of canon vs after canons?

I love the heart she wrote into her novel, an attribute I appreciated *before I read the novel* as I had the pleasure of reading her Guest Post ahead of reading where Pemberley Prep would take me! I liked the way in which she talked about her characters and their counterparts of influence as much as how she tried to tow the line between inspiration from Austen to creating her own voice and style in an after canon that takes on it’s own identity. To me that is the best gift an author can give us — an honouring of the original canon and a new vehicle for expressing the joy of where the characters can illuminate a part of life that each reader can make a tangible connection too.

Do you agree OR disagree? Share your thoughts!

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This Blog Tour Stop is courtesy of Cedar Fort, Inc:

Cedar Fort Publishing & Media Be sure to follow the rest of the blog tour:

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Don’t forget to share your Austen reactions & reading preferences!

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Similar to blog tours where I feature book reviews, as I choose to highlight an author via a Guest Post, Q&A, Interview, etc., I do not receive compensation for featuring supplemental content on my blog. I provide the questions for interviews and topics for the guest posts; wherein I receive the responses back from publicists and authors directly. I am naturally curious about the ‘behind-the-scenes’ of stories and the writers who pen them; I have a heap of joy bringing this content to my readers.

{SOURCES: Book Cover Art for “Liam, Darcy I Loathe You”, author photo, author biography, book synopsis, blog tour badge and the badge for Cedar Fort Publishing & Media were provided by Cedar Fort Publishing & Media and used with permission. Post dividers & My Thoughts badge by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Photo Credit: Heidi Jo Doxey. Personal photograph of the author’s boxed set of Austen novels from her personal library and used with permission of the author Heidi Jo Doxey. Comment Box & Writerly Topics Banners made by Jorie in Canva. Tweets were embedded due to codes provided by Twitter.}

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About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Saturday, 23 May, 2015 by jorielov in 21st Century, After the Canon, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Bookish Discussions, Cedar Fort Publishing & Media, Coming-Of Age, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Epistolary Novel | Non-Fiction, Indie Author, Inspired By Author OR Book, Jane Austen Sequel, Modern Day, Reader Submitted Guest Post (Topic) for Author, Sequel Authors, Spin-Off Authors, Story in Diary-Style Format, Teenage Relationships & Friendships, Young Adult Fiction

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