Kinship with Jane Austen

Kinship with Jane Austen

“But I could no more write a romance than an epic poem. I could not sit seriously down to write a serious romance under any other motive than to save my life; and if it were indispensable for me to keep it up and never relax into laughing at myself or at other people, I am sure I should be hung before I had finished the first chapter. No, I must keep to my own style and go on in my own way; and though I may never succeed again in that, I am convinced that I should totally fail in any other.” *          ~ Jane Austen


I recently read the above Austen quote and instantly felt a kinship with Jane Austen. This was a lady who would not be cowed into writing what others wanted. She wrote for her own amusement as much as for the hopes of being paid a pittance for her efforts.

Each of us interprets Jane Austen’s writings in our own way. I see her as a pioneer of the Moonlighting school of romance where it is all about the journey and not the destination. In almost every Pride and Prejudice variation, whether Regency or Contemporary, Lizzie and Darcy end up together, but how many intrigues, how many quirks, how many bumps will occur before they admit to their destiny?

Having interviewed over five hundred men for an investigation I performed on the male mind, I know it takes a long time to bake a wedding cake. There will be lots of adventures before you get to the altar. And those adventures can be funny, titillating, and even heartbreaking.

I prefer good banter over snogging. One my greatest thrills is when a reader “gets” the one-liners and movie references I hide in the dialogue of my comedy mysteries.

Romance Guidelines

Many, many years ago my family adopted a well-known author as our uncle. I shall call him Uncle C.

Uncle C was visiting my home in Florida when snail-mail brought the story guidelines I had requested from one of the top romance publishers at that time.

A big bear of a man, with thick messy hair, and a booming voice, Uncle C paced my family room, the guidelines in his hands, his theatrics a commentary on the pre-packaged rules for crafting a romance acceptable to that publishing house.

I fell to the floor in a giggle-fit as he diced the list to shreds making funny faces and sarcastic comments. Each rule had him clutching his chest or yanking on his impossible hair.

  • The heroine must be between the ages of eighteen and twenty-six and a virgin.
  • She must be employed in some traditional position such as teacher, nurse, or flight attendant.
  • The hero must be at least five years older than the heroine but no more than thirty-five. He must hold an interesting career for which he is well compensated.
  • Neither heroine nor hero shall have been previously married.
  • There will be no sexual contact or innuendos.
  • No kissing until the last quarter of the story.

Uncle C threw the guidelines in the air and bellowed, “How dare anyone bind a writer with %$#&* like this?”

Romance Writing

Not just anyone can pick up a pen and turn out a memorable romance ~ especially by following publisher specific rules, as they will completely miss the free-form magic that a romance book captures for a reader.

I never gave romance writing a try, because like Jane Austen, I can’t write a serious romance, but I greatly admire those authors who are able to create such lovely tales.

My humor is unharnessed and sometimes zany. I find pleasure in writing about the bumps in the journey knowing the destination will always be there, warm, waiting, and romantic. If I can add giggles to the love scenes, I am delighted.

My heart skips when I hear from readers who tell me of the joy they derive from reading my series and how they long for the next book. I feel blessed that although I cannot write a serious love scene, I can bring giggles mixed with romantic suspense to readers.

With love & laugher!

  • Prince Leopold via his private English secretary had suggested Jane Austen write a historical romance and dedicate it to the prince.

Mister Darcy’s Templars

Coming May 2015


 Wordlessly, Darcy extended his hand and I took it. We were both breathless as we stepped into his bedroom.

I stood on tiptoe and touched my lips to his. We struggled to shed our clothes without breaking our embrace. I thought of how silly we must look desperately stripping with lips locked. I burst into a giggle.

“Oh please don’t…” Darcy groaned.

But it was too late. Silvery laughter took over and I flopped on the bed. My sense of silly overwhelmed my amorous feelings. Darcy lay next to me, smiling as he patiently watched me run out of giggles.

“May I begin?” he said grinning like a hungry lion.

I lifted my chin to expose my neck, and nodded. My heartbeat thrummed in my ears as I enjoyed non-giggling lovemaking.






26 Responses to Kinship with Jane Austen

  1. I like finding humor on writing. It’s funny, but I didn’t find Jane Austen until in my mid thirties and that was thanks to my DH. I had never heard of her, but after being forced to read Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre I found them so dark and ponderous I kept away from anything classic from the 1800’s. I have regretted that, as Jane’s works are wonderful and have great humorous moments lacking in the aforementioned stories. Glad you follow her example by adding that humor.

    • Deborah, Thank you! I so enjoy slipping in those little jokes. Not all readers will find these little bonbons, but the ones that do are quite tickled with themselves. 🙂 It makes me happy to know that my readers are happy.

  2. Well, I have recently “discovered” modern JAFF and have loved some of them….BUT ODC in those were not virgins, men or women. In fact the one complaint I had about one was that Darcy had over 500 one-night-stands. That is a bit too much for me. And wouldn’t those rules eliminate Persuasion due to age constraints? Horrors. There are so many good books about second chances, widows/widowers, and even some modern stories about senior citizens discovering love. I agree about the humor – love it when I story has me laughing out loud. That, many times, is when I send an e-mail to friends to read a portion or the book. Make me cry or make me laugh and you have won me over.

    • Sheila, I love to hear that my readers have shared a giggle with a friend. I did not know about the 500 one-night-stands. Tsk…tsk…

  3. Love the excerpt – very intriguing! another book to add to my wishlist. Romance and humour – who could ask for more? Thank you!

    • Glynis, I agree that romance and humor do go hand-in-hand. I believe that is a part of Darcy’s appeal… that any moment he may favor us with a dimpled smile. 🙂

  4. Barbara, the excerpt is too short but I loved it nonetheless. Those romance guidelines are rubbish in my opinion so write whatever you want. I’m sure some readers will get what you are trying to convey in your story.

    • Thank you. That excerpt was just a tease. Happily so many readers do get my sense of humor. Some don’t but most do. I like to think Jane Austen would read one of my stories and get the giggles. 🙂

  5. Lovely excerpt! And I agree! I love some humor with the love and don’t believe you can put it on a checklist. I agree with Jenni, too. The Gothic romances are not for me!

  6. Your books always make me smile, and laugh and bright my day! I could write as you do for a million dollars, so I guess we all have our place. 🙂 Love the quote from Jane Austen too.

    • Apparently my fingers are not cooperating today! heh heh I meant ‘brighten’ my day and I could NOT write as you! So much for getting in a hurry.

      • Brenda, Thank you! Don’t you hate when that happens? I am so guilty of sending emails and not catching the auto-correct which is forever changing my words or spelling. 🙂 Thank you for your kind compliments. 🙂

  7. I don’t normally read the modern JAFF stories, but I really enjoy the humor in yours. Can’t wait for the next installment!

    • Linda, Thank you! I really appreciate your comment. I try to give my modern characters a voice that conveys the politeness of Regency with just a smidge of sarcasm. I so enjoy giving Lizzie lines to mumble under her breath. And of course, she always has the poodle slippers to speak for her…if she gets cold feet.

  8. Not just as a writer, but as a reader also, I think a mixture of humour with more serious things is essential to making something into a good book.

    • I agree Gerry. The one-liners that are hidden in dialogue are what make for a tasty and memorable read.

    • Kathy, Thank you. I am so enjoying writing Mister Darcy’s Templars. I can easily imagine Darcy as a Knight Templar.

  9. Ah Ha Ha Barb! I too love a good laugh and Dr. Oz says that 15 minutes of laughter is worth 3 hours of sleep. So who couldn’t use a few extra winks? Great fun…keep the comedy coming. ~ Jen

    • Thank you, Jen! The next book will be out the end May. Mister Darcy’s Templars. More laughs and tender moments between Lizzie and Darcy.

  10. Oh thank goodness she didn’t write one of the more serious romances! Gah. I despise wuthering heights. (I know, I know… it’s after Jane Austen… but it’s considered a very serious romance) However, I despise it. And then those Gothic novels of her time–those outlandish serious romances! I’m so grateful she decided to write much more normal relationships. The relate-able wonderful novels and topics she chose to write about. I loved how she did what she wanted instead of what was popular. I love it! Also, I think I love Uncle C. He sounds hilarious. Lol! 🙂

Your thoughts are precious!