Hello bookworms! I was lucky enough to be on the blog tour for The Marriage of Jane Austen Vol. II by Collins Hemingway. You all know my love for Jane Austen knows no bounds, so when I saw that this tour was happening, I couldn’t sign up fast enough! The synopsis really draws you in and makes you want to read the book to find out more.
For my interview with Collins Hemingway, I was able to ask quite a few Austen-related questions as well as some writer-ly ones too (I can’t help myself). You will definitely want to give it a read. Oh, and don’t forget to check out the giveaway as well!
THE MARRIAGE OF MISS JANE AUSTEN VOL. II
BY COLLINS HEMINGWAY
Publication Date: August 8, 2016
eBook & Paperback; 332 Pages
Jane Austen Lived a Quiet, Single Life-Or Did She?
Tradition holds that Jane Austen lived a proper, contemplative, unmarried life. But what if she wed a man as passionate and intelligent as she-and the marriage remained secret for 200 years?
The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen resolves the biggest mystery of Austen’s life-the “lost years” of her twenties-of which historians know virtually nothing.
• Why the enduring rumors of a lost love or tragic affair?
• Why, afterward, did the vivacious Austen prematurely put on “the cap of middle age” and close off any thoughts of finding love?
• Why, after her death, did her beloved sister destroy her letters and journals?
The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen trilogy answers these questions through a riveting love affair based on the history of the times and the details of Austen’s own life.
Praise for The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen Series
“A skillful portrayal of an early nineteenth-century literary icon takes this historical romance on an imaginative journey of the soul. … The adventure of a true romantic partnership and all the excitement that the nineteenth century had to offer. … [The] novel invites you to linger, to savor, and to enjoy. … Makes for wonderful reading. … A Jane that lives and breathes on the page.”—Claire Foster, Foreword Reviews, 4 stars
“Hemingway captures the energy of the times, while also writing with the irony and sly humor of Austen herself. … A strikingly real Jane Austen fully engaged in the turbulent times. … She is a living, breathing presence. … [He] displays a notable ability to recreate time and place. … A lively, compelling read, [a] sobering but moving conclusion.” —Blueink Starred Review
“An enjoyable novel in an imaginative, well-researched series. … A well-researched work of historical fiction … [with] sweet moments and intriguing historical insights. … An incredibly moving portrait of a woman facing loss and love.” —Kirkus Reviews
Interview with Collins Hemingway
What sparked you to write this book?
I’ve been interested in this period for a long time, beginning on the American side, with the Revolutionary War. That took me over to the English side, which was the end of George III’s reign and the start of his son acting as Regent—hence the Regency period. At the same time, I wanted to write a novel that would test a woman. I wanted everything to be stacked against her—culture, laws, biology. I wanted to test her intelligence and her heart. To see how she would respond if thrown into a difficult environment. There was a seven-year blank period in Jane Austen’s life that enabled me to tell a story with her as the main character. Everything just came together.
What is your favorite Jane Austen novel and why?
This would be a tie between Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion. P&P because of the interplay between Liz Bennet and Darcy and because of the deft handling of all the other marriage subplots. Persuasion is the richest and most emotionally satisfying book, the story of a woman enjoying a “second spring” when she has a chance to rekindle a relationship with a man she had once turned away. This book gets deep inside Anne Elliot’s mind, which is a wonderfully sensitive place to be.
What was the most difficult part of writing this book?
A major theme throughout the novel is the heroine coming to grips with her first pregnancy and adapting to the physical and the emotional changes. I wanted to show her going through a gamut of emotions and adjustments over the nine months. As you can imagine, this was quite difficult for a man who had never had that experience. I was fortunate that six or seven female friends of mine were willing to share with me their experiences, enabling me to create a composite that, I think, comes across as a realistic series of physical and psychological transitions for a woman.
What’s your favorite scene in this book?
There are two. One is when Jane has to take over the running of a major house, having 80-odd servants, with no experience. Despite her initial fumbles, she discovers she has a knack for running the huge operation. So much so, it takes her away from her writing for a while.
The other is when she does take up her writing again. In the evening, she begins to read some of it to her husband, who doesn’t know that it’s her novel she’s reading aloud. He’s a sensitive man but he’s not a literary guy. He reads agricultural journals and likes action stories like Henry V. He’s bored to tears by her domestic scenes and tells her to skip those and get to the good stuff. You can imagine her response to that!
Is there a part of your writing process that you think is unique or different from other writers?
I don’t set a regular schedule. I’ve been a professional writer all my life, so I just write. I end up working a regular schedule, because once I get into a scene, it pulls me along until it’s done. I don’t outline in great detail. I start with a broad outline and develop more details as I approach a scene, but I don’t push too far because the ending of one chapter determines what will happen at the start of the next. Sometimes, the characters will surprise you at the end of the chapter. They’ll reconcile when you think they’re going to fight, or vice versa. I try to follow the psychological growth of the character rather than the outline.
What first drew you to Jane Austen?
I had a great professor who loved Austen and encouraged me to keep reading her as I grew older. I loved her writing but thought that her books should carry on beyond the courtship and wedding, because it’s after the wedding that life gets real. It was many years later that I realized how many constraints female writers faced in the 1800s—the entire century, really. Austen wrote as seriously as she could given those constraints. My trilogy is a way of giving her the chance to write about matters she couldn’t back then.
Who is your favorite Austen heroine and why?
It has to be Liz Bennet. All the other heroines are indirect. They demur, deflect, wait for matters to sort themselves out, take things as they are and hope for the best. Pride and Prejudice is the one novel in which the heroine goes toe to toe with all her antagonists. Liz takes no guff from either the men or the women—Mr. Collins, Darcy, Lady Catherine. Her verbal combat is wickedly smart and wickedly funny.
Do you tend to be attracted to this genre or do you write in other genres as well?
I wasn’t thinking of writing “historical fiction” as a genre when I began the project. I just wanted to tell a great love story. It happened to be set in a historical period. It was great fun to try to bring that era alive. I’ve also written present-day fiction, but none that is ready to be published.
What are the last three books you’ve read that you would recommend?
Left Hand of Darkness, by Ursula K. Le Guin. I’ve read several others of her books, but not the one she was most famous for. When I learned that she had died, I felt I owed it to her to read that one. Then Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood. I wanted to read a book other than her most famous, The Handmaid’s Tale. Blind Assassin is three stories, each one nested in the other. The last is She-Wolves: The Women Who Ruled England before Elizabeth, by Helen Castor. This is nonfiction, the history of the struggles of women who ended up on the throne before QE I.
About the Author
Whether his subject is literature, history, or science, Collins Hemingway has a passion for the art of creative investigation. For him, the most compelling fiction deeply explores the heart and soul of its characters, while also engaging them in the complex and often dangerous world in which they have a stake. He wants to explore all that goes into people’s lives and everything that makes tThe hem complete though fallible human beings. His fiction is shaped by the language of the heart and an abiding regard for courage in the face of adversity.
As a nonfiction book author, Hemingway has worked alongside some of the world’s thought leaders on topics as diverse as corporate culture and ethics; the Internet and mobile technology; the ins and outs of the retail trade; and the cognitive potential of the brain. Best known for the #1 best-selling book on business and technology, Business @ the Speed of Thought, which he coauthored with Bill Gates, he has earned a reputation for tackling challenging subjects with clarity and insight, writing for the nontechnical but intelligent reader.
Hemingway has published shorter nonfiction on topics including computer technology, medicine, and aviation, and he has written award-winning journalism.
Published books include The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen trilogy, Business @ the Speed of Thought, with Bill Gates, Built for Growth, with Arthur Rubinfeld, What Happy Companies Know, with Dan Baker and Cathy Greenberg, Maximum Brainpower, with Shlomo Breznitz, and The Fifth Wave, with Robert Marcus.
Hemingway lives in Bend, Oregon, with his wife, Wendy. Together they have three adult sons and three granddaughters. He supports the Oregon Community Foundation and other civic organizations engaged in conservation and social services in Central Oregon.
During the Blog Tour we will be giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.
– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on February 9th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.
Blog Tour Schedule
Monday, January 14
Review at Coffee and Ink
Wednesday, January 16
Review & Excerpt at The Book Junkie Reads
Thursday, January 17
Feature at What Is That Book About
Friday, January 18
Review at Rainy Day Reviews
Monday, January 21
Feature at Donna’s Book Blog
Wednesday, January 23
Review & Guest Post at To Read, Or Not to Read
Monday, January 28
Review at For the Sake of Good Taste
Tuesday, January 29
Guest Post at Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen
Wednesday, January 30
Review at Library of Clean Reads
Friday, February 1
Review at History From a Woman’s Perspective
Saturday, February 2
Review at Jorie Loves a Story
Sunday, February 3
Review at Bri’s Book Nook
Monday, February 4
Review at Amy’s Booket List
Tuesday, February 5
Review at Maiden of the Pages
Thursday, February 7
Feature at CelticLady’s Reviews
Friday, February 8
Review at Book Reviews from Canada
Saturday, February 9
Interview at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots