Friday, November 18, 2011

Get Lost in a Collection of Stories Inspired by Literature's Most Astute Observer of the Human Heart

Jane Austen Made Me Do It

Ballantine Books

Regency or contemporary, romantic or fantastical, each of these marvelous stories reaffirms the incomparable influence of one of history’s most cherished authors.

“My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.” If you just heaved a contented sigh at Mr. Darcy’s heartfelt words, then you, dear reader, are in good company. Here is a delightful collection of never-before-published stories inspired by Jane Austen—her novels, her life, her wit, her world.

Stories by: Lauren Willig • Adriana Trigiani • Jo Beverley • Alexandra Potter • Laurie Viera Rigler • Frank Delaney & Diane Meier • Syrie James • Stephanie Barron • Amanda Grange • Pamela Aidan • Elizabeth Aston • Carrie Bebris • Diana Birchall • Monica Fairview • Janet Mullany • Jane Odiwe • Beth Pattillo • Myretta Robens • Jane Rubino and Caitlen Rubino-Bradway • Maya Slater • Margaret C. Sullivan • and Brenna Aubrey, the winner of a story contest hosted by the Republic of Pemberley

A blurb or two from the anthology...

In Lauren Willig’s “A Night at Northanger,” a young woman who doesn’t believe in ghosts meets a familiar specter at the infamous abbey; Jane Odiwe’s “Waiting” captures the exquisite uncertainty of Persuasion’s Wentworth and Anne as they await her family’s approval of their betrothal; Adriana Trigiani’s “Love and Best Wishes, Aunt Jane” imagines a modern-day Austen giving her niece advice upon her engagement; in Diana Birchall’s “Jane Austen’s Cat,” our beloved Jane tells her nieces “cat tales” based on her novels; Laurie Viera Rigler’s “Intolerable Stupidity” finds Mr. Darcy bringing charges against all the writers of Pride and Prejudice sequels, spin-offs, and retellings; in Janet Mullany’s “Jane Austen, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah!” a teacher at an all-girls school invokes the Beatles to help her students understand Sense and Sensibility; and in Jo Beverley’s “Jane and the Mistletoe Kiss,” a widow doesn’t believe she’ll have a second chance at love . . . until a Miss Austen suggests otherwise.

And introducing our guest blogger, Brenna Aubrey, the “debut voice” who won the JANE AUSTEN MADE ME DO IT Short Story contest at bases her story on her favorite novel, Persuasion:

Young doctor Mark Hinton thinks his life is perfect. He is just about to finish his residence and has accepted the offer of a fabulous new job. Things could not be better… until the arrival of an anonymous letter in the mail forces him to confront the truth he’s been hiding from for seven years. Sent on a quest by the mysterious contents of the letter, he is forced to discover the contents of his own heart thanks to Jane Austen, a canny librarian, a cantankerous patient and a coolly observant sister.

Brenna Aubrey has always sought comfort in good books and the long, involved stories she weaves in her head. Brenna’s favorite author is Jane Austen and her favorite novel is Persuasion. She loves to write epic fantasy and historical romance. She also loves to read, garden and spend time with her family. She is a city-girl with a nature-lover’s heart. She therefore finds herself out in green open spaces any chance she can get. Brenna is a mommy, a teacher and a perpetual student, even when not in class. She resides on the west coast with her husband, two children, an adorable husky dog, a parakeet, and some fish.

Get Lost in a Story interviews Brenna:

Jillian: What’s your favorite fairy tale?
Brenna: “Beauty and the Beast” is easily my favorite. Beauty is a different kind of heroine, one with the substance to see through beastly appearances to the heart and soul of a man beneath the surface.

Jillian: Where do you read and how often?
Brenna: I read in bed practically every night. It's like a soothing nighttime ritual for me. Thanks to my e-reader, I also can bring my book along anywhere I go and read while waiting in line, sitting at the park watching my kids play or just about anywhere. Reading has always been a comfort to me and books have been my dear friends.

Jillian: What sound or noise do you love?
Brenna: The sound of waves crashing against the shore. I live near the coastline though because of my hectic life, I don’t get to the beach nearly as often as I’d like. There’s something wild and primal about the sound. And the rhythmic compulsion of the tide to follow the Moon. It’s ancient and timeless.

Jillian: Describe your favorite kind of hero to read/write?
Brenna: I love a man of honor, bound to his word and a higher code of ethics. I love a man who falls in love irrevocably with his heroine, even if he knows she might not be good for him. I love men of logic, who have a cool head and can take charge in chaotic situation. A man who can be relied upon.

Jillian: What was the first story you remember writing?
Brenna: I saw a book at the library when I was in 2nd grade and for some reason was unable to check it out. I loved the title of the book "The Mouse Who Fell Off the Rainbow," so I went home and with crayons and construction paper, wrote my own book with that title. My mom bound the pages by sewing them with her sewing machine. I can't remember the details, only that much later, I found the real book again and finally read it and I remember I was disappointed.

Jillian: What’s your favorite kind of story to get lost in?
Brenna: I love a story with a strong setting—a place that I can explore through the character's eyes. I love to escape to fantastical worlds with living castles, to slide across the Antarctic, to motor up a forgotten river in the Congo, to amble down a deserted New York alleyway and climb a fire escape—things I would never do or places I might never see in real life.

Jillian: What do you do to unwind and relax?
Brenna: I get out of the house! I love to camp but since I live in an urban megalopolis, it is not always easy to break away and get into the woods or mountains. I try to find any kind of nature and I love to sit quietly with my own thoughts, watch the clouds float overhead and feel a fresh breeze on my face.

Jillian: Tea or Coffee? And how do you take it?
Brenna: Both. I’m one-quarter English so I do love my tea. With a little sugar or honey and nothing else. Coffee, well I am American and I don’t get enough sleep so I love me some Joe as well: with milk and sugar.

Ladies? Shall we take a break and enjoy the Darcy love confession scene!?! Talk about tension and conflict! The recitation is by Matthew MacFadyen, Mr. Darcy circa 2005 (Part 2 on YouTube)

Jillian: I'd love you tell us us something about the JANE AUSTEN MADE ME DO IT writing contest. Did you receive a call, an e-mail? I understand you had to wait some time before you could announce that you won. How excruciating was that?
Brenna: On New Year’s day, as I was drafting up my writing resolutions for the year, I happened upon a tweet from a blogger that I follow closely, Laurel Ann Nattress of the blog. She was promoting a writing contest for unpublished authors for her new anthology that would be published later in the year. To be included with the likes of these amazing authors is a dream come true and a real opportunity to break out and be noticed in the writing community. To do so while also paying homage to one's favorite author ever, well, it's once in a lifetime.

I therefore set to work writing the story: no more than 5,000 words and it had to be inspired by Jane Austen’s life or works. I read Persuasion practically every year and I know it inside and out. I love that book so I knew that I would draw my inspiration from that.

After I submitted the story, my fellow aspiring authors and I were subject to two weeks of public voting and private nail-biting. On March 1st, I learned that I was one of the top ten finalists. My story, along with the other nine were forwarded to Ballantine for consideration by the editors there.

I received a phone call in early May from Laurel Ann. In fact, I had received a voicemail from her earlier in the day and knew she was trying to get a hold of me but because I was at work, we couldn’t connect. Finally, that evening when she called, I did not let myself hope that she was calling to tell me I had won. I didn’t believe it until I heard her say it. What an amazing moment that was!

Brenna has a question for readers: Who is your favorite author and what did he or she make you do? Brenna has a combo-pack giveaway for one lucky commenter. A copy of Jane Austen Made Me Do It (either hard copy or ebook) and an ebook novella (Tessa Dare’s Once Upon a Winter’s Eve)

For more about JANE AUSTEN MADE ME DO IT, check in with Brenna at the following addresses:

Twitter: @BrennaAubrey

***Note: Offer void where prohibited. Prizes will be mailed to North America addresses only. If an Advanced Reading Copy (ARC) is available, the author may utilize that option for International participants. Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants.


  1. This looks like a very interesting book. I love Jane Austen!

  2. HI Brenna!

    Diana Gabaldon made me realize how adventurous and richly complex a romance novel can be. She breaks a lot of romance fact I think she might break all of them (!) but OUTLANDER consistently makes the top five all time best romance novels ever written.

  3. This is definitely going on my Christmas list!

    One of my favorite authors is A.A.Milne. He turned a simple story into a timeless classic that brings joy to every generation of new readers.

  4. Brenna, I love call stories and yours is fabulous. Congratulations on having the guts to put yourself out there AND be so richly rewarded! I adore Jane Austen, too - my first foray into "Hey, I want to write romance" was to continue Mary's story from P&P starting after Elizabeth and Jane get married.

    Aside from Jane, I'm also a HUGE Diana Gabaldon fan and I love Mark Twain. Which I find amusing, because Mark didn't dig Jane so much. Hee. :)

  5. Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Jackson. I loved how Harold created what he wanted in his life and world.

    girlygirlhoosier52[at] yahoo [dot]com

  6. @Tammy: Good luck!

    @Gjillian I love Diana Gabaldon! It takes no effort at all to get lost in one of her novels...

    @Gillian Layne Who doesn't love Winnie the Pooh? Great call!

    @Abigail It does take guts to put your work out there. Jane Austen is such an amazing inspiration for that. And I agree, Mary's story really needs to be told! I always thought she and Kitty deserved their happy ending...

  7. Good Morning, Brenna, and welcome to GLIAS. I have to say I love ANYthing with an English accent (thanks for the video, Jill!).

    Have fun with your debut and best of luck!

  8. I will have to say Kaki Warner is my favorite author right now. I got hooked on reading westerns lately and hers are just awesome.

  9. @girlygirlhoosier52 awesome! I've never heard of that story. Always great to discover something new.

    @Angi Thanks for the welcome. I'm glad to be here.

    @Virginia I love westerns. It's all about those wonderful settings that let you escape. SO important.

  10. Hi Jill - you're right, Matthew MacFadyen is so swoonworthy, even his voice alone.

    Hi Bren - just wanted to say congrats again, you've worked so hard. What an exciting event seeing your work in print, I'm so happy for you. And my favorite author? Are you kidding? Too many to choose just one.

  11. Thank you for the Darcy love confession scene! Best heart wrenching scene in cinema! After reading one of Nora Roberts Irish trilogies, I went to visit the small town in Ireland that was the set of the stories!
    lvsgund at

  12. @Stephanee Ahh, sweetie, thanks for coming on over here to visit me. You're awesome!

    @LilMissMolly Well there's no arguing that it's effortless to get lost in any of La Nora's stories! Sounds like you had a lovely time exploring the real life locale of the books!

  13. This sounds so good!! I remember when I was at a chat with readers and they were talking vampire romance and I'm thinking 'horror' LOL. So they convinced me it wasn't. So I went and got Christina Feehan's GUARDIAN but i thought nah, its probably horror, so I returned the book, LOL. Well I told the group and they said 'returned the book! What horrors!' and told me I must get the first in the series and TRY. So I did and am hooked. I now love reading so many genres. (Historical is still my top favorite with paranormal very close to being first but its second).

    Would love to be in the contest! I do have Tessa Dare's ebook already but would love to be in for JANE AUSTEN MADE ME DO IT. Thanks!

    cathiecaffey @

  14. Anonymous: (girlygirlhoosier52[at] yahoo [dot]com)
    You are the lucky random winner of the anthology and Tessa Dare's novella! I'll contact you by email to settle out the particulars.

    Thank you to all the commenters for your thoughtful discussion and thank you again to my hostesses at Get Lost in a Story for the kind welcome and wonderful interview.