The Making of a Janeite. Eliza Shearer Debuts on Austen Authors!

The Making of a Janeite. Eliza Shearer Debuts on Austen Authors!

Almost eight years ago, I found myself in the Royal Crescent in Bath, dressed in a crimson gown, coiffed with a bonnet and clutching a reticule. I was surrounded by gentlemen in breeches and cravats, ladies in gowns in all the colours of the rainbow, the odd militia officer and children in Regency attire running around. The crowd was a sea of top hats, feathered turbans, straw bonnets and dainty parasols, while the master of ceremonies tried to maintain some semblance of order. The occasion was the legendary Grand Promenade, part of the Jane Austen festival, which takes place every September. I was over the moon, yet bewildered: it was a scene that, just a few months earlier, I could have never imagined witnessing. 

For years, my love of Austen had the taint of a dark secret. I was an avid (re)reader of Jane Austen’s works, and knew the places and characters in her books as intimately as if they were real. I also watched the film adaptations with much enthusiasm, cheering (or booing) the different casting choices for my favourite heroines. Unfortunately, none of my many friends and family shared my interest. They were used to seeing me read my dog-eared Penguin Classics volumes but thought that it was all down to a general love of English literature. I suspected that if they knew the real extent of my Austenesque obsession, they would be slightly taken aback, so I kept it to myself.

Then I moved to Edinburgh, Scotland, a beautiful city steeped in history and with a magical castle in its midst, and everything changed. It all started harmlessly enough. To meet new people, I joined a book group, and quickly bonded with the other members over a shared love of Austen’s novels and Colin Firth’s rendering of Mr Darcy. My new friends also introduced me to the world of Jane Austen adaptations, variations and continuations, and I devoured all the ones I could get hold of. For the first time in my life, my love of all things Austen was out in the open, and joyfully so. It was a revelation to realise that I was part of something much greater than I could ever imagine. 

Some time later, when a fellow book group member suggested going to Bath for the Jane Austen festival, I immediately said yes. The experience was just perfect. I remember loving every minute of our trip, having wonderful conversations with people from the farthest-flung corners of the planet, and smiling so much that my cheeks hurt. But the best bit was realising that I was surrounded by men and women who cared as much about Jane Austen as I did.

Looking back, I believe that it was on that magical occasion that I decided that I would one day pen my own Austen continuations. But what I treasure the most from the day is the warm, happy feeling that came with spending time with like-minded souls. It is a feeling I have experienced in subsequent Janeite gatherings, as well as online, in places such as the wonderful Austen Authors community. I consider myself incredibly fortunate: what I felt in Bath is very much present in my life. I have found my tribe. I am a Janeite.

What’s your story? How did you become a Janeite? Tell us below.


To celebrate my first blog post as an Austen Author, I have three eBook copies of Miss Darcy’s Beaux, a  Persuasion, Mansfield Park and Pride and Prejudice Continuation for those who comment below.

The giveaway will run from May 12 through May 17, 2018 and will close a midnight EDST on May 17. Winners will be announced on Sunday, May 20.

 

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52 Responses to The Making of a Janeite. Eliza Shearer Debuts on Austen Authors!

  1. Welcome, Eliza! It’s so great to have you join Austen Authors!

    I came late to Jane Austen…tried to read her in high school and couldn’t follow the language. Many years later I went back and tried again and it was a VERY different reaction that time! 🙂

  2. Welcome Eliza,

    I came late to Jane – it was the Colin Firth version of “Pride and Prejudice” that did it for me. I fell and fell hard and then began working my way through all of Austen’s novels. Austen related fiction (and non-fiction) came next – my collection has outgrown the floor to ceiling bookcase my husband built for me so he didn’t have to wade his way through my piles of books.

    Look forward to reading your book – thank you for the chance to win a copy.

    Lilyane

  3. I love watching BPS. That is how I was hooked Jane Austen movies then books. Now I have most of her movies and books.

    • The film adaptations are a great introduction to Jane Austen’s work, and it is quite wonderful to see how they help new audiences discover the novels. Thanks for sharing Sadie!

  4. I already have a copy so don’t include me in the give-a-way. I loved your pictures… thank you for sharing them. That sounded like a wonderful experience. Thanks for the generous give-a-way for some lucky winners. Blessings on the success of this work and your future writings.

  5. I fell in love with Jane Austen’s work in the tenth grade in H.S. A wonderful Teacher introduced her to our reading. I then read everything I could get my hands on by her…
    Marilyn ewatvess@yahoo.com

  6. Welcome to authenauthors. I have always loved Pride and Prejudice for its witty lines, characters, and, of course, Elizabeth and Darcy. When I found and read my first JAFF, I was hooked! And the love of my fascination for all things Austen continues. Thank you for your story and giveaway.

  7. It was after watching the 1995 P&P that both my daughter and I fell in love with Jane Austen. We read all the novels and watched every adaptation that came out. After my daughter left home I discovered the JASNA and became a confirmed Janeite. Fortunately for me my husband has accompanied me on this journey and we love learning more about Jane and her times. I fell in love with JAFF about 12 years ago and it has since become almost the only thing I read. I look forward to reading you book.

  8. I can’t exactly remember even the year I became a Janeite but I believe it must date back to the first time I saw the 1995 BBC production of Pride and Prejudice starring Mr Colin Firth! Since then, I have rewatched that series several times, sometimes all in one setting; read dozens and dozens of “variations;” seen the 2005 movie version with Keira Knightley (who makes a wonderful Elizabeth but the chosen Mr Darcy is just no Colin Firth); and logged on to countless blogs, columns, websites,, etc having to do with Jane Austen and Pride and Prejudice. Oh, I’ve also seen the movie Sense and Sensibility with Emma Thompson! Thank you for the chance to win your book!

  9. Welcome!

    I discovered Jane Austen about 10 years ago when I saw the 1995 BBC version on PBS. I was hooked.

    Thank you for the chance to win a copy of your book.

    • Colin Firth’s charm is difficult to resist, is it not? He is my favourite Mr Darcy. I love how he expresses a million emotions with minimal facial expressions. Thanks for sharing your story Linda!

  10. I always loved JA but didn’t meet like-minded women until I found the Republic of Pemberly online way back in the ’90’s. Today, I have many online friends but not many in real life that share my passion. So, I go to Louisville every summer and hope to attend the JASNA AGM this year.

    • I’m so jealous that you were meeting these wonderful people online so many years ago! It took me a while to even realise such communities existed. Attending the JASNA AGM sounds like a dream come true, have a lovely time!

  11. Thank you for the giveaway!
    I first got into Jane Austen when I was in high school. I had seen previews for the 2005 movie of Pride and Prejudice and I had been a fan of Kiera Knightley so I looked the movie up and then discovered Colin Firth (whom I am also a fan of) had been in a previous version of the movie so I checked it out from the library to watch. After watching that version I was completely hooked and went on to read the original book and several variations and sequels from my library and in my senior year was able to pick and prejudice for an English project and have one on one conversations about the book and share different movie versions with my teacher who was also a big fan.

    • It is wonderful to see those stories on screen, isn’t it? I love that your English teacher was a big fan, it must have been so wonderful to have a teacher support your interest. Thanks for sharing!

  12. Welcome to this lovely online community of Austen Authors, Eliza! I’m glad you are part of the family now. I look forward to reading more posts written by you and interacting with you more.

    The first step in my Janeite journey began when I was about 12. My mother lend me her school’s copy of the abridged version of P&P and I like the story but wasn’t a true fan yet. It was only after watching the brilliantly acted and wonderful adaptations and reading Austenesque fiction that my addiction for all thing concerning Jane Austen emerged.

    • Thank you! And what a family it is, too! I love that your mother introduced you to P&P. It is wonderful to have a world of adaptations and variations, it really adds to the original story, doesn’t it?

  13. Congratulations on the publication of your first book. I do like mash-ups and will put this in my TBR pile.

  14. Sounds like an interesting adaptation! Welcome to Austen Authors Eliza. I became a janeite when I wanted something new to read and picked up a copy of P&P and loved it!

  15. My journey started at school, about the age of 14 when we started to read Pride and Prejudice, in preparation for sitting our English exam

  16. Welcome Eliza!!! We are absolutely thrilled to have you with us as a permanent contributing member of our wonderful blog! Thank you for agreeing to take this journey of celebrating Austenesque novels with us. I am confident it will be a win for everyone!

  17. Welcome, Eliza.

    It is wonderful moment when you find a community of fellow Jane Austen lovers!

    I have been a Janeite since being introduced by my bibliophile mama. 🙂

    Now, all these years later, she is the illustrator for my own debut novel.

    Thank you for the chance to win your book. It would be lovely to add to my collection. 🙂

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