Contest is over ... and the winners of an ARC of Jane and the Damned are...
Nymfaux and Anne!
Please send your snailmail address to jmullany AT comcast DOT net.
... or, how I evolved into a paranormal writer.
Actually, it was quite simple. My editor asked me to become one.
I'm Janet Mullany and far too often in my life, my words, pronounced loud, frequently, and in public, come back to haunt me. Things like Who needs paranormal elements in Regencies? There's so much more interesting stuff in the period no one writes about and it's all true.
Another example was, Of course I'll never write about a nineteen year old virgin prancing around in drawing rooms. The result of that one was The Rules of Gentility, written for the same editor, who gave me this terrific opportunity to subject Jane Austen to blood, biting, and other unwholesome activities in Jane and the Damned, which will be released in October, 2010.
I had changed my mind about paranormal/fantasy elements during the Regency when I read, and was blown away by, Naomi Novik's amazing Temeraire series (I think she may have been one of the writers who prompted my original comment). But I never thought I'd write one or incorporate Austen into a book (You'll never catch me writing an Austen knock-off--oh, shut up already).
But when I thought about it I had dabbled in fantasy when I first started writing, because it was such fun to make stuff up. It still is. And I didn't know what I was writing or going to write then, so I was trying all sorts of things, and I wrote this scene, The Companions Are Chosen for the wonderful Toasted Cheese Literary Journal in 2001. I should point out that it is meant to be a parody, which is why there's so much alliteration and Smeg has (at least) three hands, but I didn't intend the Mighty Phlegm's name to change to Dork halfway through. These things happen.
So I'd never written vampires before and I had to forget all the vamps I'd ever read about: the ones with exhtra letters in their names, the excessively bloody ones, and Terry Pratchett's funny ones that are all about the girls in underwired nighties. I had to have vamps who would fit in in Georgian England (the book is set in 1797) because I wanted them to be "out" and visible in society. I broke some of the vampire rules--the Damned can go out in daylight, for instance, although they like to stay up late partying so they don't generally get up too early. (My critique partners said they sounded like teenagers.) They are oh so sophisticated and the ton adores them and the gossip papers report on their activities. And having a vamp suck your blood--or dine on you, as they'd say--is very, very pleasurable.
So what's not to love about being a vampire? They're damned, immortal but not indestructible, in a culture that takes heaven and hell very seriously. They have too much knowledge: they've seen too much, they've seen love fade, and they've learned not to regret anything.
On the other hand, they do manage to have a very good time. And so does Jane.
How do you feel about incorporating real characters like Jane Austen into fiction? Or which about books about her characters, sequels and prequels, have you read and would recommend?
I have two ARCs of Jane and the Damned to give away today! I'll pick winners by midnight (EST) Friday and post names of the winners at the top of this post on Saturday morning.
There's also a Damned Good Contest taking place on my website and some excerpts, so please go on over and take a look.