by Guest Blogger, Sabrina Jeffries
I cheated with my introduction of Sabrina Jeffries. What I didn’t already know about her, I went to her website to discover. The author of more than 20 novels, Jeffries is a regular on both the New York Times and the USA Today bestseller lists. Born in New Orleans and reared in Thailand, Jeffries earned a doctorate in English literature from Tulane University and holds a specialty in Early Modern British Literature, and as we would expect on this site, Sabrina is a huge Jane Austen fan. Jeffries says the impetus for her stories is “always ‘what if’ – not what if her hero likes this or that, but what if this happened and this happened… what would it do to a person?” Her newest book, A Lady Never Surrenders, hit shelves on January 24 and is part of today’s giveaway. Now living in Cary, NC, Sabrina champions causes dealing with autistic children. (Regina Jeffers)
“Everything I Learned About Writing Romance, I Learned from Jane Austen”
I started out reading romance novels when I was pretty young – age ten or so. I began with Grace Livingston Hill, Emilie Loring, and some classic novels like Lorna Doone. In high school, I moved to reading Barbara Cartland’s romances, which I devoured like candy. In college, I discovered the sexier romances and read Rosemary Rogers, Kathleen Woodiwiss, and others of that ilk. But when I began graduate school in the field of English literature, I learned very quickly that English graduate students did not read romance. Oh no.
Foolishly, I bought into that idea. I read only books designated by my professors. Then I chose to teach Emma for one of my classes even though the first time I’d read it, I hadn’t been mature enough to appreciate the humor. But I had to reread it to teach it, and lo and behold, a few years made an enormous difference. I loved it! I immediately went out, bought all Austen’s novels, and read them one after another. And best of all, Austen was considered “acceptable” by my professors!
It took me a couple more years to realize I was a square peg in a round hole in grad school. But I honestly think that reading Jane was the beginning of the erosion of my adopted contempt for happy endings. She helped me slide back into reading romance. And the I started writing it, and I have never looked back. I decided I’d had enough of academia and quit to write romance novels.
Fortunately, by that time I’d already learned a lot about writing romance from Jane. For example…
** Rich men need wives, too.
** Nothing complicates a plot better than a wayward sister.
** Love should never be too easy.
** Nothing is funnier than a man of low degree who thinks too much of himself.
** Weddings make satisfying endings to books.
** Sometimes, the bonds of family chafe, which is where the hero comes in.
** Sometimes, friends don’t know what’s best for you.
** Sometimes, family does.
** Talking trash about a woman in her hearing is a guaranteed way to delay your romance for … oh, about 300 pages.
So, what have YOU learned about Jane Austen? For that matter, what have you learned from reading romance? The names of those who comment will be put into a drawing for an autographed copy of A Lady Never Surrenders AND the edition of Emma that has my afterword in it. Don’t forget that using Rafflecopter increases your chances to win. Why not recommend this post to your friends on Facebook or Twitter?
P.S. I have a web comic called Will and Jane’s Excellent Adventure that features a Jane Austen action figure and a William Shakespeare caricature figure. You can check it out at http://www.sabrinajeffries.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=author&pageID=3