Thursday, October 19, 2017

Jane Austen Lied to Me by Jeanette Watts - Book Tour and Giveaway

About the Book

What college girl doesn’t dream of meeting Mr. Darcy? Lizzie was certainly no exception. But when Darcy Fitzwilliam comes into her life, he turns out to be every bit as aggravating as Elizabeth Bennett’s Fitzwilliam Darcy. So what’s a modern girl to do?

Jeanette Watts’ satire pokes loving fun at Jane and all of us who worship the characters who shall forever be our romantic ideals.


I’ve been thinking about my conversation with Professor Jacobson over and over.  The thing about formulas and people.  It makes a certain kind of sense, but does it lack a romantic sensibility?

Ha!  Sense and Sensibility!  

This is the second time that Professor Jacobson has me thinking about S&S. Well, if I’m no Lizzie Bennett, there are worse things in life than being a Marianne Dashwood.  She had youth and beauty and high spirits.  She wasn’t good at the dating thing, either, and overlooked the better man at first.  Why was that?  Did Colonel Brandon seem unromantic at first impression?

Even though I’ve got an assignment due in Spanish, as well as the inevitable calc and chem homework, I grabbed Sense and Sensibility to take with me to read while I went to dinner. I wanted to read everything in the book about Colonel Brandon.

Anne spotted me in the dining hall while I was halfway through a tuna sandwich and a really big pile of potato chips.  “Hey, Roomie.” She slid her cafeteria tray onto the table across from me and plopped her book bag down beside it.  “You having a really bad day?”

“Um, no I don’t think so, why?” I asked.

“Usually, if you’re having a bad day, you pick up Jane Austen and read a little something before you start to study.  Since instead of sitting here doing your homework, you’re sitting here reading Jane Austen, I take it you had an exceptionally bad day today.”


Tell us about your book, what inspired it?

The title of the book is Jane Austen Lied to Me, so obviously Jane… 

I love Jane Austen, and it’s fun playing at JASNA (Jane Austen Society of North America) events. But I do get this nagging question in the back of my head, even while adoring the works, the characters, and Jane’s unique and delightful writing style: how would her characters hold up, today? 

My favorite example of how different times are is looking at Mrs. Bennett. In the early 1800s, all that was expected of her was to produce a son. She failed. Under those circumstances, the only opportunity that life presented her was to marry off her daughters as well as possible. Think about what a narrow life that is! But the woman was something of a genius. Look at her machinations on several occasions to pull off her goal. She no doubt utilized the same skill to get herself married above her station in the first place.

Now, put that woman in 2017. With her understanding of human nature, and a world that gives women a few more choices than just marriage, she would be a pretty fearsome trial lawyer.

Applying that same line of questioning to the heroes of Jane’s novels is what gave me JAL2M. 

What is your favorite scene in the book?

The scene where my heroine throws herself at her college professor. I feel sorry for her, she was getting signals that she interpreted other than how they were meant. But her professor is a kind man, how was he supposed to behave differently? This scene is actually based on something that happened to a friend of mine, who really is a college professor. It’s a moment that is funny, and yet awkward and horrifying all at the same time.

How do you react to a bad review of your book?

It depends upon how you define “bad review.” To me, a bad review is one that demonstrates the reader wasn’t paying much attention. I spend something like $100 on a Kirkus Review, and I got back this lukewarm, mechanical, corporate paragraph that wasn’t too much different than a 7th grade book report. That, to me, was a horrible review, and I was irritated. Worst review I’ve ever seen. I get MUCH better reviews from people who just feel like posting on Amazon. I would rather get 1 star from a reader who says they don’t like my hero, and here’s 3 insightful reasons why. I love those sorts of reviews! It’s honest, and well thought out. When the next review gets posted, and it’s someone saying how much they love my hero, and here’s 3 reasons why, I’m absolutely giddy with glee. It proves that my characters are well-developed portrayals of real human beings. They are a collection of qualities, both good and bad. Not everyone should react to my characters the same way. If they do, I did it wrong.

Do you listen to music when you're writing?

I don’t know how people can do that! I don’t mind a fairly noisy hotel lobby, I like the sound of ocean waves or train whistles in the background. But how am I supposed to write when there’s a cha-cha playing in the background? I’m a dance instructor, whenever music is playing, I’m listening to it and filing it into what kind of dance or dances can be done to it. So no, never any music. Except for that internal radio all of us have inside our heads. Mine seems to be playing Vivaldi right now. Which is a nice change, it’s usually playing classic rock.

What’s something unusual or fun that most people don’t know about you?

Wow, you ask hard questions! I’m an extreme extrovert. I’ve never met a stranger. I also travel in packs, like a wolf. My dancers are all closer than family members: they can order for me at restaurants, pick my favorite songs, bring me wines they know I’ll like, nag me to eat more salt when I stand up and get dizzy from low blood pressure. They know me so well, they can tell me things about myself that I didn’t even know. And of course right now I can’t think of any examples… 

What are your ambitions for your writing career?

To write more books! I have so many stories trapped inside my head, beating on my brain yelling to get out. JAL2M has taken a long time, because of other demands going on in my life. Now that it’s out in print, I’m impatient to start the research on my next book. But first I’m taking a break for a couple of weeks, because I’m moving to Charlotte, North Carolina. I’m sad to leave my house and friends and dance groups, and excited to have a new adventure.

Any last words?

Two of them:
Serendipity. One of the most powerful forces in the Universe.
Defenestration. It strikes me as endlessly funny that this word even exists, because it really used to happen… which strikes me as even funnier. 

About the Author

Jeanette Watts had been writing historic fiction when the inspiration for Jane Austen Lied to Me hit her on the drive home from the Jane Austen Festival. The idea was simply irresistible, and she put aside other writing projects in order to focus on writing a satire, thinking it would be a "mental vacation." It turned out to take every bit as much research to write a modern story as it does to write a historical one.

She has written television commercials, marketing newspapers, stage melodramas, four screenplays, three novels, and a textbook on waltzing.  When she isn’t writing, she teaches social ballroom dances, refinishes various parts of her house, and sews historical costumes and dance costumes for her Cancan troupe.

Author Links:

Jeanette Watts will be awarding a doll dressed in Regency clothing, handcrafted by the author (International Giveaway) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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