Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!
If you only *knew!* how *excited!* I have been to share the conversation I had with Mr Fife (the narrator of the #JaneAustensDragons series!) – you’d be curious how I’ve been sitting on this beautiful lovely convo and haven’t spilt a word of it online! When I first received it back from Mr Fife via our hostess for this lovely audiobook blog tour (The Audiobookworm herself!) I was overjoyed, brilliantly ecstatic and couldn’t wait for my tour stop to arrive fast enough to share it with everyone!
Fife took the extra time to truly round out his answers, think about his responses to my enquiries and gave me & you, a wicked brilliant conversation which seeks to examine how one author (ie. Jane Austen) seeks to unite us all. We both mutually share a strong passion for the collective works of Austen (even if technically I still haven’t shifted past “Pride & Prejudice” – except I am making headway, I’ve joined a buddy-read which begins with “Emma!” this year) and a hearty curiosity about Fantasy and all things fantastically spellbinding inside works of Speculative Fiction!
We’re also both happily drawn into #dragonfiction which you’ll soon see as we discuss not only the components of this series and the breadth of joy Maria Grace is giving us as readers inasmuch as sparking his own creativity in bridging the gap from page to audio narration – but you’ll see how two bookish & geeky chatterboxes endeavour to bring a lively conversation to my blog Jorie Loves A Story!
This is definitely the convo for any reader who loves to dig into the *stories!* behind-the-book & behind-the-audiobook – where you get to see an interpersonal glimpse into what is happening in the making of an audiobook & the direction of a series the narrator is enjoying bringing to life with his voice & his incantations of the characters, dragons and other lovely creatures who inhabit Maria Grace’s world!
As you know I love being able to bring interviews with authors to my blog but every so often I am #blessed with the chance to interview a narrator who has brought to life an audiobook (or series of #audioreads) I simply cannot stop listening too!
Without further adieu,
I give you an up close & personal glimpse into the life of Benjamin Fife!
What I loved about the first novel in this series “Pemberley: Mr Darcy’s Dragon”:
We retreat back into the world lit alive by Mr Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett in a rather charming viewing of this family’s evening traditions. It is here were we find the incomparable Mrs Bennett still with a glint of criticism to share on her observations of her family and Lizzie herself, who is gathering requests for a story to be told about dragons. The young boys in her presence are besotted with the idea – barely able to contain themselves or the immediate glee they are experiencing over the prospect of what Lizzie might tell them about their favourite creature. And, thus our entrance into the Jane Austen Dragons series begins as if we never left this world at all – well, except with one minor difference, the last time I visited dragons were never whispered about nor aptly disclosed.
It is in this children’s story about the back history of dragons we first caught a glimpse of the first human who could interact with dragons due to his ability to ‘hear’ them; an unfamiliar trait amongst humans who previously were unable to communicate with dragons previously. This man was Uther Pendragon. And, thus the back lineage of dragons and humans is explained through how our original contacts with dragons began quite humbly and how Pendragon forged a unique capacity for peace with the dragon king he had met and of whom had given him gifts to takeaway with him. This was an interesting section of the story as it set down the tradition of how men kept falcons and why women kept birds; a seemingly uninteresting habit and yet, if you were to view this with the back history of how this tradition was manifested first through the meetings of dragons, it gives new meaning behind why humans have feathered companions.
This was a beautiful segue moment – where you can view this world in one dimensional lens and re-view it through the dimensional lens Ms Grace is writing for us to find disclosed. It was shortly after the bedtime story concluded where we first understood who Lizzie’s feathered companion really is and how she fits into the history of dragons inside this world. It is a slow building arc towards showcasing how most of the inhabitants still believe themselves to be living a rather ordinary experience – to see the non-magical elements round them and taking that as stock for what is truly the reality they know and love. Yet, behind that veilled reality there is a keener one, a more fantastical one which is seeking to merge into known history and the perceptional assumption everyone had already made about their own living sphere. It here I felt Ms Grace made a wonderful gesture towards breaking us out of the tradition of Pride and Prejudice and what we knew of the Regency to exchange it for this wholly new set of rules and traditions for this new world emerging into our view. I found it as fascinating of a transition as I had previously when I first learnt the word muggle and the differences therein in a universe just as fantastical as this one.
Ms Grace took us through a conjoined and mutually admired lens of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice storyline – keeping us clued into the familiar and then taking us into heightened new additions – not just the dragons but how she constructed this world ‘behind’ the lore and legend which has become the Jane Austen universe. It is in that breadth of entrance I could definitely see why the narrator Mr Fife was talking to me in my forthcoming interview about how expansive this world is going to become – because it isn’t locked into strictly resonating with our memories of Pride but will endeavour itself to re-transition through different components of theory and thought from each of Austen’s novels.
I truly loved her instincts – such as how she put in a new reason and central arc of intrigue into why the soldiers would be in Meryton and how this had a cross-effect of importance with the dragons. Similarly to how she enlarged the mindfulness of understanding why female heirs were not giving real estate and how this new component of needing a Dragon Keeper (a person who can hear and see dragons) is just as relevant as the old rules for the entailled property to go to a male heir. She takes the traditions of the story itself and then re-visualises how it can become augmented into a dragon society living adjacent and cohabitating with the humans who reside here. I found it wicked brilliant!
If you haven’t read Pride and Prejudice in a long while this is a wonderful re-visitation of the story – as Maria Grace aligns you so wholly true to where Jane Austen took us into her novel. The added benefit is the secondary arc wherein the dragons reign alongside the ton and country society the Bennett’s have become renown. As you take this journey each new corridor of the original story is re-explored and re-heightened by the presence of Grace’s dragons. It is hard not to spoilt what you will find within this new series because of how readily true she has written her world into Austen’s and vice versa. You almost question which of the world’s came first – even knowing the answer and that is a mark of a wicked good storycrafter who has given those of us who love Austen a new experience of her stories!
-quoted from my review of Pemberley: Mr Darcy’s Dragon
The Jane Austen Dragons series:
A Proper Introduction to Dragons (prequel)
Pemberley: Mr Darcy’s Dragon (book one)
Longbourn: Dragon Entail (book two)
Netherfield: Rogue Dragon (book three)
→ Hybrid creatures like the cat-snake Rumblkins who was really a Tatzelwurm
→ Dragons have telepath or empathic powers of influence over humans
→ A wholly fully realised dragon society including their own legends, cultural history with a spoken and written language!
Formats Available: Trade Paperback, Audiobook and Ebook
Converse via: #JaneAustensDragons + #AudioReads, #Audiobook
as well as #Pemberley, #MrDarcy OR #LizzieAndDarcy
& #JaneAusten, #PrideAndPrejudice #aftercanon
What draws your interest into stories about dragons? What do you hope to find inside the world in which they are built round and the kind of fantastical details which give you a wicked good read (or listen)?
Fife responds: Dragons are larger than life. I adore the How to Train Your Dragon film series (the books are a little weak). Stories with dragons are so incredibly varied, from them being mindless beasts driven by instinct alone, to being sentient & more wise than humans. I love when authors incorporate all kinds of different dragon species, with different abilities. Maria has done so extensively through this series, but what she has also done is researched dragon folklore extensively to come up with a “well rounded society” of dragons. Read More