Thursday, October 28, 2010

Interview with Janet Mullany

Janet Mullany, author of Jane and the Damned, has been kind enough to stop by Reading with Tequila to answer some questions.

Janet Mullany is an award-winning, multi-published author who writes books set mainly in Regency England. Her first book, Dedication (2005) won the New Jersey Romance Writers 2006 Golden Leaf Contest. The Rules of Gentility, a funny, chicklit style Regency, won the 2008 HOLT Award (Virginia Romance Writers) for Best Romantic Comedy. She's contracted to Little Black Dress Books, UK, for three more funny Regencies, the first of which, A Most Lamentable Comedy, will be released in July, 2009. In 2010, she makes her paranormal debut with a book about Jane Austen joining vampires to fight a French invasion (HarperCollins), and a novella in an anthology based on paranormal re-tellings of Austen's novels (Harlequin). Janet's novella is a
contemporary based on Emma, about a paranormal dating agency in Washington, DC.

Janet is originally from England but now lives near Washington, DC. Her day jobs have included working as an archaeologist, performing arts administrator, classical music radio announcer, and editor/proofreader for a small press.

Reading with Tequila: While many have recently taken classic authors like Jane Austen's characters and mixed them with monsters, you chose to feature the author herself. Why Jane Austen?

Janet: It was my editor's idea and she thought I could handle Austen. I think it's a question of branding--anything connected with Austen is so popular and there are all sorts of literary Austen spin-offs, sequels, prequels and so on. I wasn't the first writer by any means to represent Austen as a vampire. Michael Thomas Ford's Jane Bites Back represents her as the owner of a bookstore who deplores all the Austen triviality and whose latest novel keeps being rejected. I didn't allow myself to read that until I'd finished the book although I think we have completely different approaches.

RWT: I don't know much about Jane Austen beyond her novels, but in Jane and the Damned, Jane proves to be strong-willed and completely unconcerned by what others think of her. Was this an accurate portrayal of who she was, or is this just how you envision her?

Janet: The more I find out about Austen, the more enigmatic she becomes. I think she certainly was strong-willed but she also had a very strong sense of duty to her family. When Jane becomes a vampire her humanity and her loyalty to her family are challenged, but she has the normal vampire appetites for blood and sensual experiences. As a vampire she loses what makes her happiest--her ability to write, and that again is something that is part of her intimacy with her family.

RWT: Instead of sticking with the usual maker/fledgling vampire relationship, you introduced the concept of a bearleader who is responsible for educating the neophyte in vampire ways. Do you think a bearleader would be helpful for all vampires, or just to navigate the sticky etiquette situations of Austen's era?

Janet: Generally the Creator acts as Bearleader, but in this case Jane's Creator abandons her because he has obligations to the Crown. So Luke takes over as Bearleader. But definitely part of the Bearleader/Creator's responsibility is to guide the fledgling through the baroque etiquette of the Damned and to introduce them into polite Damned circles. The Damned like to live in groups, rather as in Austen's novels where you have extended families living together, relatives by marriage as well as by blood, and although Damned and fledglings always stay close, for a fledgling to join another household they would have to carry letters of introduction.

RWT: What can we expect in the future from you? More Jane Austen? Other classic authors mixed with paranormal creatures?

Janet: This month I also have a novella in the anthology Bespelling Jane Austen, headlined by Mary Balogh, paranormal spins on Austen. I'm finishing up the second book about Jane and the Damned, set in Chawton in 1810 which is where she wrote her major works and that will come out sometime in 2011. I also have a Regency chicklit coming out from Little Black Dress (UK) in March of 2011, Mr. Bishop and the Actress, and the first of two erotic contemporaries for Harlequin Spice in August 2011. So I'm busy!

About the Book

Jane Austen
Novelist . . . gentlewoman . . . Damned, Fanged, and Dangerous to know.

Aspiring writer Jane Austen knows that respectable young ladies like herself are supposed to shun the Damned—the beautiful, fashionable, exquisitely seductive vampires who are all the rage in Georgian England in 1797. So when an innocent (she believes) flirtation results in her being turned—by an absolute cad of a bloodsucker—she acquiesces to her family’s wishes and departs for Bath to take the waters, the only known cure.

But what she encounters there is completely unexpected: perilous jealousies and further betrayals, a new friendship and a possible love. Yet all that must be put aside when the warring French invade unsuspecting Bath—and the streets run red with good English blood. Suddenly only the staunchly British Damned can defend the nation they love . . . with Jane Austen leading the charge at the battle’s forefront.

Reading with Tequila's review of Jane and the Damned

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