Historical Fiction Virtual Blog Tours Presents…
The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen Vol.II
By Collins Hemingway
Jane Austen Lived a Quiet, Single Life-Or Did She?
“An enjoyable novel in an imaginative, well-researched series. … A well-researched work of historical fiction … [with] sweet moments and intriguing historical insights. … An incredibly moving portrait of a woman facing loss and love.”
“Hemingway captures the energy of the times, while also writing with the irony and sly humor of Austen herself. … A strikingly real Jane Austen fully engaged in the turbulent times. … She is a living, breathing presence. … [He] displays a notable ability to recreate time and place. … A lively, compelling read, [a] sobering but moving conclusion.”
Blueink Starred Review
A Conversation with Historical Fiction author, Collins Hemingway.
My name is Collins Hemingway. I was born and raised in the South and have spent most of my adult life in the Northwest. Consequently, I’ve experienced a broad mix of cultures and people. I’ve done a lot of different jobs, but writing has always been central to all of them. I worked my way through high school and college as a reporter and worked for newspapers till I was thirty. This was when newspapers were becoming computerized, and I ended up taking the lead. That experience led me into the high-tech world as a technical writer and technical marketer. Eventually, I went to Microsoft while PCs were becoming big business. I ended up writing a business book with Bill Gates. I always loved fiction, though, and I wrote as much as I could around my family and career. It wasn’t that much, but some. I was finally able to write fiction fulltime.
It is so nice to meet you Collins. May I ask, what inspired you to write The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen?
I wanted to write a novel that would really test a woman—her intelligence, her spirit, her courage. I have always been interested in the Regency era as an historical period, and the match was perfect. In that time, laws, culture, biology—everything was stacked against a woman. I also knew Austen’s novels pretty well. In very early efforts at the book, I realized I was creating Austen’s voice. There were gaps in her life record, and when I looked deeper, I realized I could use a seven-year “blank” period in her life to make her the main character.
In my head, it’s a book that explores what Austen would have done, had she had these experiences. It’s also how she would have written about it.
I am a huge fan of Jane Austen. Your book sounds amazing. What were the challenges you faced in researching this period of history?
There have been innumerable Regency novels, beginning with Georgette Heyer. I know I didn’t want to do another drawing room romance. I knew I wanted to take Austen into the broader world around her quiet country villages. Truth is, the Regency was a period of enormous and sometimes violent change. Getting my head around all that was happening in Austen’s lifetime, and shaping it into a digestible story, was quite hard. A year or more ago, I counted the number of books I’d read. It was something above 70. Plus hundreds and hundreds of articles. The sheer volume was daunting.
There are many books about the Regency era. Can you tell us three things that set your novel apart?
First, the trilogy is historically accurate, and historically detailed, at the personal level and the geopolitical level. Events from Austen’s life, and the major events of her lifetime, are carefully woven together. Indeed, the personal and political repeatedly interact in important ways to drive the story ahead. Second, the book, though it has a lot of funny moments, is not a light-hearted romance. It’s a story of what marriage would have really been like for a woman in the early 1800s. It has depth and grit. Third, the male and female protagonists are fully developed. They’re good people, and they’re flawed people. Much as they love each other, they fight over big and little things as real couples do. At times, they drive each other bonkers. But the way they challenge each other—and the way they can be painfully honest with each other—is what creates their shared love.
Your book sounds so interesting. Could you tell us what are you currently working on?
In re-reading Austen’s novels and letters, and a good deal of literary criticism about her, I realized I had quite different ideas about her work. I come at her as a professional writer rather than as a historian or sociologist or traditional literary academic. Once I was done with the trilogy, I began writing a collection of essays about Jane Austen developed as a writer. It will cover everything of interest that I couldn’t work into the fiction. The essays will also include new interpretations of some of the most important passages in her novels. I think of the fiction as exploring her inner life that no one can really know, while the nonfiction documents her innovations as a writer.
Thank you, Collins, for taking the time to talk to us today!
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During the Blog Tour we will be giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!
• Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on February 9th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
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• Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.
Whether his subject is literature, history, or science, Collins Hemingway has a passion for the art of creative investigation. For him, the most compelling fiction deeply explores the heart and soul of its characters, while also engaging them in the complex and often dangerous world in which they have a stake. He wants to explore all that goes into people’s lives and everything that makes tThe hem complete though fallible human beings. His fiction is shaped by the language of the heart and an abiding regard for courage in the face of adversity.