Bespelling Jane Austen

Cat 243 Dover by Mary Jo

In marketing, a brand name can take you a long way, and there is no stronger brand in romance than Jane Austen.  Her wit and sharp but compassionate characterizations and social commentary have never gone out of style.  Her stories have been filmed again and again, and there have been an incredible variety of spin-off pastiches. 

Which brings us to Bespelling Jane Austen, in which four most excellent Bespelling cover authors:

Mary Balogh  

Colleen Gleason 

Susan Krinard  

Janet Mullany

have paranormal fun with Jane.  They are visiting the Wenches today (particularly Janet, who is a member of my local RWA chapter) to talk about their stories and how Jane Austen might feel about them!

There are very well organized authors!  Bespelling Jane Austen has a website and here is a link to excerpts of all four stories

For this visit to the Word Wenches, I decided to cut right to the chase: 

“Would Jane Austen forgive the liberties you've taken with her?”  <G>

MARY BALOGH
Jane Austen not only had a great sense of humor, but she also had a fine sense of the Secretaffair-med absurd. Think of Mr. Collins as a perfect example. I think if she were living today she might well get a chuckle out of finding her stories being so irreverently (but very affectionately!) used as a jumping off ground for wild tales of vampires and reincarnated lovers and the like. I know I would if anyone should ever try doing something similar with my books.

And that for me is the ultimate test. Would I mind if it happened to me? Since the answer is definitely no, I can only assume and hope that Jane Austen would not find our stories disrespectful. Please, Jane, don't turn over in your grave. One or four of us might just have to write a story about it…

Janet cover JANET MULLANY

Consider that if Austen did mind and was around to do something about it she’d have her revenge on all four of us in the most devastatingly elegant and merciless satire. I hope she’d admire our humor and our inventiveness in analysis and reconstruction of her books into shorter works.

For instance, the episode of Mr. Elton and the picture of Harriet, which takes up several chapters in Emma, I interpreted as a photo on his cell phone; the gift of the piano to Jane Fairfax is the gift of a car, something extravagant and not altogether suitable for someone living in a historic area with cobbled streets. Austen might object to us not including enough of her originals and not going far enough with it—she was a woman who wasn’t afraid of a literary challenge.

As Shadows Fade COLLEEN GLEASON

Jane would, I think, very much enjoy the liberties I took with Northanger Abbey for my own version simply because her version was a take-off on the very popular "horrid" novels of the time. She obviously had a sense of humor, and I like to think that she would have liked the wink-wink-nudge-nudge I tried to incorporate into “Northanger Castle.”

In her book, Catherine Morland is terribly wrong about certain things, and she is mortified when her overactive imagination gets her in trouble. In my version, Caroline Merrill has her own embarrassing moments, but they aren't quite as tenuous as Catherine's. Plus, I think Jane would have loved Lord Rude. 😉

SUSAN KRINARD

Yes, I think she would. Jane Austen was ahead of her time in writing a story that BrideOfTheWolf gently mocked social conventions but also wrote books that were enjoyable purely as fiction. We, as romance writers, are doing much the same thing by couching the language of modern life in stories readers can relate to. I'm sure Jane had plenty of imagination, and would have appreciated the tribute of other writers.

So there you are! Riffs on Jane Austen by four authors who love, admire, and know her work. 

A free copy of Bespelling Jane Austen will be given to one commenter between now and midnight Tuesday. 

Bespelling cover Fangs for the visit to Janet, Susan, Colleen, and Mary!

Mary Jo

100 thoughts on “Bespelling Jane Austen”

  1. I’ve been out of the loop and didn’t realize this was already available. I’m thrilled that one of my favorite romance writers and her friends have taken on my all-time favorite author! And I’ll be gifting this book to several friends for sure. 🙂

    Reply
  2. I’ve been out of the loop and didn’t realize this was already available. I’m thrilled that one of my favorite romance writers and her friends have taken on my all-time favorite author! And I’ll be gifting this book to several friends for sure. 🙂

    Reply
  3. I’ve been out of the loop and didn’t realize this was already available. I’m thrilled that one of my favorite romance writers and her friends have taken on my all-time favorite author! And I’ll be gifting this book to several friends for sure. 🙂

    Reply
  4. I’ve been out of the loop and didn’t realize this was already available. I’m thrilled that one of my favorite romance writers and her friends have taken on my all-time favorite author! And I’ll be gifting this book to several friends for sure. 🙂

    Reply
  5. I’ve been out of the loop and didn’t realize this was already available. I’m thrilled that one of my favorite romance writers and her friends have taken on my all-time favorite author! And I’ll be gifting this book to several friends for sure. 🙂

    Reply
  6. Aloha! Indeed, Jane Austen is a brand name … but so is Mary Balogh, Collean Gleason, Susan Krinard, and Janet Mullany. These lovely ladies could write about sand and I’d still buy the book! Looking forward to reading their take on Bespelling Jane!

    Reply
  7. Aloha! Indeed, Jane Austen is a brand name … but so is Mary Balogh, Collean Gleason, Susan Krinard, and Janet Mullany. These lovely ladies could write about sand and I’d still buy the book! Looking forward to reading their take on Bespelling Jane!

    Reply
  8. Aloha! Indeed, Jane Austen is a brand name … but so is Mary Balogh, Collean Gleason, Susan Krinard, and Janet Mullany. These lovely ladies could write about sand and I’d still buy the book! Looking forward to reading their take on Bespelling Jane!

    Reply
  9. Aloha! Indeed, Jane Austen is a brand name … but so is Mary Balogh, Collean Gleason, Susan Krinard, and Janet Mullany. These lovely ladies could write about sand and I’d still buy the book! Looking forward to reading their take on Bespelling Jane!

    Reply
  10. Aloha! Indeed, Jane Austen is a brand name … but so is Mary Balogh, Collean Gleason, Susan Krinard, and Janet Mullany. These lovely ladies could write about sand and I’d still buy the book! Looking forward to reading their take on Bespelling Jane!

    Reply
  11. I love this anthology and have already read it three times! I particularly enjoyed the different interpretations that the anthology authors gave to Jane Austen’s themes. An inspired idea and beautifully executed as well as a lot of fun!

    Reply
  12. I love this anthology and have already read it three times! I particularly enjoyed the different interpretations that the anthology authors gave to Jane Austen’s themes. An inspired idea and beautifully executed as well as a lot of fun!

    Reply
  13. I love this anthology and have already read it three times! I particularly enjoyed the different interpretations that the anthology authors gave to Jane Austen’s themes. An inspired idea and beautifully executed as well as a lot of fun!

    Reply
  14. I love this anthology and have already read it three times! I particularly enjoyed the different interpretations that the anthology authors gave to Jane Austen’s themes. An inspired idea and beautifully executed as well as a lot of fun!

    Reply
  15. I love this anthology and have already read it three times! I particularly enjoyed the different interpretations that the anthology authors gave to Jane Austen’s themes. An inspired idea and beautifully executed as well as a lot of fun!

    Reply
  16. Hi everyone!
    This anthology was such fun to write–for me, at any rate! Kim and Nicola, thanks for your enthusiasm about the book.
    It all came together very easily–no vicious fights about who wanted to do Mansfield Park, for instance. Can’t think why, although I love the book. Mary and Colleen decided to go historical, Susan, whose idea it was, had already started Blood and Prejudice as a contemporary, and so I decided to make my version of Emma a contemporary too. I actually think it would have been much harder to do as a Regency-set; having that distance, and the opportunity to create a new environment gave me a lot more freedom.

    Reply
  17. Hi everyone!
    This anthology was such fun to write–for me, at any rate! Kim and Nicola, thanks for your enthusiasm about the book.
    It all came together very easily–no vicious fights about who wanted to do Mansfield Park, for instance. Can’t think why, although I love the book. Mary and Colleen decided to go historical, Susan, whose idea it was, had already started Blood and Prejudice as a contemporary, and so I decided to make my version of Emma a contemporary too. I actually think it would have been much harder to do as a Regency-set; having that distance, and the opportunity to create a new environment gave me a lot more freedom.

    Reply
  18. Hi everyone!
    This anthology was such fun to write–for me, at any rate! Kim and Nicola, thanks for your enthusiasm about the book.
    It all came together very easily–no vicious fights about who wanted to do Mansfield Park, for instance. Can’t think why, although I love the book. Mary and Colleen decided to go historical, Susan, whose idea it was, had already started Blood and Prejudice as a contemporary, and so I decided to make my version of Emma a contemporary too. I actually think it would have been much harder to do as a Regency-set; having that distance, and the opportunity to create a new environment gave me a lot more freedom.

    Reply
  19. Hi everyone!
    This anthology was such fun to write–for me, at any rate! Kim and Nicola, thanks for your enthusiasm about the book.
    It all came together very easily–no vicious fights about who wanted to do Mansfield Park, for instance. Can’t think why, although I love the book. Mary and Colleen decided to go historical, Susan, whose idea it was, had already started Blood and Prejudice as a contemporary, and so I decided to make my version of Emma a contemporary too. I actually think it would have been much harder to do as a Regency-set; having that distance, and the opportunity to create a new environment gave me a lot more freedom.

    Reply
  20. Hi everyone!
    This anthology was such fun to write–for me, at any rate! Kim and Nicola, thanks for your enthusiasm about the book.
    It all came together very easily–no vicious fights about who wanted to do Mansfield Park, for instance. Can’t think why, although I love the book. Mary and Colleen decided to go historical, Susan, whose idea it was, had already started Blood and Prejudice as a contemporary, and so I decided to make my version of Emma a contemporary too. I actually think it would have been much harder to do as a Regency-set; having that distance, and the opportunity to create a new environment gave me a lot more freedom.

    Reply
  21. I was very interested in this book when Janet mentioned a bit about it at Risky Regencies. I am especially interested in Mary’s story because I had a similar idea where instead of being reincarnated and not getting together I thought it would be interesting to have two people who when they got together time traveled to a different period and didn’t remember what happened before, but kept going through the same get together story in different time periods. The time travel was brought on by an amulet and the curse finally broke in present day times.

    Reply
  22. I was very interested in this book when Janet mentioned a bit about it at Risky Regencies. I am especially interested in Mary’s story because I had a similar idea where instead of being reincarnated and not getting together I thought it would be interesting to have two people who when they got together time traveled to a different period and didn’t remember what happened before, but kept going through the same get together story in different time periods. The time travel was brought on by an amulet and the curse finally broke in present day times.

    Reply
  23. I was very interested in this book when Janet mentioned a bit about it at Risky Regencies. I am especially interested in Mary’s story because I had a similar idea where instead of being reincarnated and not getting together I thought it would be interesting to have two people who when they got together time traveled to a different period and didn’t remember what happened before, but kept going through the same get together story in different time periods. The time travel was brought on by an amulet and the curse finally broke in present day times.

    Reply
  24. I was very interested in this book when Janet mentioned a bit about it at Risky Regencies. I am especially interested in Mary’s story because I had a similar idea where instead of being reincarnated and not getting together I thought it would be interesting to have two people who when they got together time traveled to a different period and didn’t remember what happened before, but kept going through the same get together story in different time periods. The time travel was brought on by an amulet and the curse finally broke in present day times.

    Reply
  25. I was very interested in this book when Janet mentioned a bit about it at Risky Regencies. I am especially interested in Mary’s story because I had a similar idea where instead of being reincarnated and not getting together I thought it would be interesting to have two people who when they got together time traveled to a different period and didn’t remember what happened before, but kept going through the same get together story in different time periods. The time travel was brought on by an amulet and the curse finally broke in present day times.

    Reply
  26. From MJP:
    One of the great things about writing shorter formats, like novellas, is that we can play with ideas we wouldn’t be able to do as full length novels. And when authors play–the results are usually fun. *G*

    Reply
  27. From MJP:
    One of the great things about writing shorter formats, like novellas, is that we can play with ideas we wouldn’t be able to do as full length novels. And when authors play–the results are usually fun. *G*

    Reply
  28. From MJP:
    One of the great things about writing shorter formats, like novellas, is that we can play with ideas we wouldn’t be able to do as full length novels. And when authors play–the results are usually fun. *G*

    Reply
  29. From MJP:
    One of the great things about writing shorter formats, like novellas, is that we can play with ideas we wouldn’t be able to do as full length novels. And when authors play–the results are usually fun. *G*

    Reply
  30. From MJP:
    One of the great things about writing shorter formats, like novellas, is that we can play with ideas we wouldn’t be able to do as full length novels. And when authors play–the results are usually fun. *G*

    Reply
  31. I would think that Jane Austen would be amazed at how influential she is all these years later and this book looks like a fun take on her stories.

    Reply
  32. I would think that Jane Austen would be amazed at how influential she is all these years later and this book looks like a fun take on her stories.

    Reply
  33. I would think that Jane Austen would be amazed at how influential she is all these years later and this book looks like a fun take on her stories.

    Reply
  34. I would think that Jane Austen would be amazed at how influential she is all these years later and this book looks like a fun take on her stories.

    Reply
  35. I would think that Jane Austen would be amazed at how influential she is all these years later and this book looks like a fun take on her stories.

    Reply
  36. Alison, it was a whole new genre for me and Mary–this is Mary’s paranormal debut. And it was actually two new subgenres for me, since it was my first paranormal and my first contemporary.

    Reply
  37. Alison, it was a whole new genre for me and Mary–this is Mary’s paranormal debut. And it was actually two new subgenres for me, since it was my first paranormal and my first contemporary.

    Reply
  38. Alison, it was a whole new genre for me and Mary–this is Mary’s paranormal debut. And it was actually two new subgenres for me, since it was my first paranormal and my first contemporary.

    Reply
  39. Alison, it was a whole new genre for me and Mary–this is Mary’s paranormal debut. And it was actually two new subgenres for me, since it was my first paranormal and my first contemporary.

    Reply
  40. Alison, it was a whole new genre for me and Mary–this is Mary’s paranormal debut. And it was actually two new subgenres for me, since it was my first paranormal and my first contemporary.

    Reply
  41. Maureen, I wonder if Austen had any idea that she’d still be read two centuries later, and not only that but imitated, studied, and idolized. I think she’d find it rather funny. I know she was very proud of the fact that she made some money as a writer.

    Reply
  42. Maureen, I wonder if Austen had any idea that she’d still be read two centuries later, and not only that but imitated, studied, and idolized. I think she’d find it rather funny. I know she was very proud of the fact that she made some money as a writer.

    Reply
  43. Maureen, I wonder if Austen had any idea that she’d still be read two centuries later, and not only that but imitated, studied, and idolized. I think she’d find it rather funny. I know she was very proud of the fact that she made some money as a writer.

    Reply
  44. Maureen, I wonder if Austen had any idea that she’d still be read two centuries later, and not only that but imitated, studied, and idolized. I think she’d find it rather funny. I know she was very proud of the fact that she made some money as a writer.

    Reply
  45. Maureen, I wonder if Austen had any idea that she’d still be read two centuries later, and not only that but imitated, studied, and idolized. I think she’d find it rather funny. I know she was very proud of the fact that she made some money as a writer.

    Reply
  46. I believe I would read this book just because it is a quartet of writers I would never think of as writing together, so to speak. What an interesting idea! I am also intrigued by Mary Balogh’s inclusion in this. I wouldn’t expect it, but I know that she will rise to the challenge. Now I am off to search out books by the other authors to see what I have been missing!

    Reply
  47. I believe I would read this book just because it is a quartet of writers I would never think of as writing together, so to speak. What an interesting idea! I am also intrigued by Mary Balogh’s inclusion in this. I wouldn’t expect it, but I know that she will rise to the challenge. Now I am off to search out books by the other authors to see what I have been missing!

    Reply
  48. I believe I would read this book just because it is a quartet of writers I would never think of as writing together, so to speak. What an interesting idea! I am also intrigued by Mary Balogh’s inclusion in this. I wouldn’t expect it, but I know that she will rise to the challenge. Now I am off to search out books by the other authors to see what I have been missing!

    Reply
  49. I believe I would read this book just because it is a quartet of writers I would never think of as writing together, so to speak. What an interesting idea! I am also intrigued by Mary Balogh’s inclusion in this. I wouldn’t expect it, but I know that she will rise to the challenge. Now I am off to search out books by the other authors to see what I have been missing!

    Reply
  50. I believe I would read this book just because it is a quartet of writers I would never think of as writing together, so to speak. What an interesting idea! I am also intrigued by Mary Balogh’s inclusion in this. I wouldn’t expect it, but I know that she will rise to the challenge. Now I am off to search out books by the other authors to see what I have been missing!

    Reply
  51. Dee, we are an odd collection of writers. Susan, who has written paranormals for years, well before they became mainstream, has the same agent as me and so I was invited to join the anthology and find other writers. I invited Colleen Gleason, who is a friend, and then Susan, who knows Mary better than I do, persuaded her to join in. But I think it works because we are all so very different but we are all admirers of Austen.

    Reply
  52. Dee, we are an odd collection of writers. Susan, who has written paranormals for years, well before they became mainstream, has the same agent as me and so I was invited to join the anthology and find other writers. I invited Colleen Gleason, who is a friend, and then Susan, who knows Mary better than I do, persuaded her to join in. But I think it works because we are all so very different but we are all admirers of Austen.

    Reply
  53. Dee, we are an odd collection of writers. Susan, who has written paranormals for years, well before they became mainstream, has the same agent as me and so I was invited to join the anthology and find other writers. I invited Colleen Gleason, who is a friend, and then Susan, who knows Mary better than I do, persuaded her to join in. But I think it works because we are all so very different but we are all admirers of Austen.

    Reply
  54. Dee, we are an odd collection of writers. Susan, who has written paranormals for years, well before they became mainstream, has the same agent as me and so I was invited to join the anthology and find other writers. I invited Colleen Gleason, who is a friend, and then Susan, who knows Mary better than I do, persuaded her to join in. But I think it works because we are all so very different but we are all admirers of Austen.

    Reply
  55. Dee, we are an odd collection of writers. Susan, who has written paranormals for years, well before they became mainstream, has the same agent as me and so I was invited to join the anthology and find other writers. I invited Colleen Gleason, who is a friend, and then Susan, who knows Mary better than I do, persuaded her to join in. But I think it works because we are all so very different but we are all admirers of Austen.

    Reply
  56. Four of my very favorite writers and one of my very favorite genres on a tribute (so to speak) to my very favorite author ever? I can’t wait to read it!! What a wonderful idea. I wonder for whom this was the biggest stretch or the biggest challenge to her writing chops?

    Reply
  57. Four of my very favorite writers and one of my very favorite genres on a tribute (so to speak) to my very favorite author ever? I can’t wait to read it!! What a wonderful idea. I wonder for whom this was the biggest stretch or the biggest challenge to her writing chops?

    Reply
  58. Four of my very favorite writers and one of my very favorite genres on a tribute (so to speak) to my very favorite author ever? I can’t wait to read it!! What a wonderful idea. I wonder for whom this was the biggest stretch or the biggest challenge to her writing chops?

    Reply
  59. Four of my very favorite writers and one of my very favorite genres on a tribute (so to speak) to my very favorite author ever? I can’t wait to read it!! What a wonderful idea. I wonder for whom this was the biggest stretch or the biggest challenge to her writing chops?

    Reply
  60. Four of my very favorite writers and one of my very favorite genres on a tribute (so to speak) to my very favorite author ever? I can’t wait to read it!! What a wonderful idea. I wonder for whom this was the biggest stretch or the biggest challenge to her writing chops?

    Reply
  61. Special hello to fellow Risky Regency pal, Janet, and our fellow Noodler, Colleen. Big hi, too, to Mary, who I have not seen in so many years she probably doesn’t remember me. Along with Sue you’ve pulled off a brilliant idea! Way to go, ladies! I think Jane would be very proud of you.

    Reply
  62. Special hello to fellow Risky Regency pal, Janet, and our fellow Noodler, Colleen. Big hi, too, to Mary, who I have not seen in so many years she probably doesn’t remember me. Along with Sue you’ve pulled off a brilliant idea! Way to go, ladies! I think Jane would be very proud of you.

    Reply
  63. Special hello to fellow Risky Regency pal, Janet, and our fellow Noodler, Colleen. Big hi, too, to Mary, who I have not seen in so many years she probably doesn’t remember me. Along with Sue you’ve pulled off a brilliant idea! Way to go, ladies! I think Jane would be very proud of you.

    Reply
  64. Special hello to fellow Risky Regency pal, Janet, and our fellow Noodler, Colleen. Big hi, too, to Mary, who I have not seen in so many years she probably doesn’t remember me. Along with Sue you’ve pulled off a brilliant idea! Way to go, ladies! I think Jane would be very proud of you.

    Reply
  65. Special hello to fellow Risky Regency pal, Janet, and our fellow Noodler, Colleen. Big hi, too, to Mary, who I have not seen in so many years she probably doesn’t remember me. Along with Sue you’ve pulled off a brilliant idea! Way to go, ladies! I think Jane would be very proud of you.

    Reply

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