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Janet talks about Reader, I Married Him

What if it was Mr. Rochester chained up in the attic?

It’s Tuesday, but I’m not Amanda! We’ve swapped days this week so I can celebrate the release date of my novella Reader, I Married Him, published by Loose-Id today. AND I’m offering a download as a prize to one lucky person who makes a comment or asks a question.

First off, big thanks to editor Treva Harte at Loose-Id for making me an offer on this novella five (gulp) years ago and making me another offer last year, and to fabulous cover artist Christine M. Griffin who obligingly made Rochester look a bit more grubby at my suggestion. And although the flying critters may be bats elsewhere, they’re crows, I’m telling you. Crows. This is Bronte country.

This novella has been in the works a long, long time. I blogged about it here in a post on Jane Eyre in 2005, which was around the same time a NY editor sent me a wounded rejection that included the phrase I don’t want Jane to be a slut. I still think that’s one of the most fabulous rejections I have ever received. It’s also interesting how things have changed in five years. Re-reading the novella in preparation for editing and sending in to Loose-Id, I was struck at how tame most of the dirty stuff is. All fairly ho-hum (oh, go wash your mouth out with soap) vanilla stuff.

So why did I take that great icon of romance, Jane Eyre, and subvert her? I guess I’m just a troublemaker. Also, Jane isn’t the heroine, although she does behave, er, sluttishly (but no more and no less than anyone else in the book). I wrote it because Jane Eyre fascinates and impresses me and lures me in to read it again and again; and also because I admire Bronte’s marvelous, spare, sinewy prose. I wanted to include quotes within the novella, and I’ll be really interested to see if readers recognize them–some, the title for instance, are obvious. I’m particularly proud of the way the last line falls into place. You’ll see why.

It’s a bit of a departure for me but I’m writing under my own name; I have no innocence or innocents to protect. And I’m very proud of this novella.

I’d love everyone to rush off and buy it and I will be picking a winner here on Wednesday at noon EST. But–WARNING–do not buy this e-novella if you have strong feelings about Jane Eyre as the iconic great grandmother of romance.

So, let’s talk about Jane Eyre. Why is the novel important to YOU?

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Christi Barth
12 years ago

Janet, I love how you’ve put a twist on a classic without going to the extreme of zombie aliens. I read all the Brontes at age 11, and Jane always stuck with me as the most readable (at least at that age). Loved her independent spirit, and I am head over heels crazy for the Broadway musical (off topic, but a great soundtrack!) Looking forward to diving into your book – Christi Barth

J
J
12 years ago

I have to admit I haven’t read Jane Eyre, but really enjoyed the Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde, which does a bit of reinvisioning itself.

Anonymous
Anonymous
12 years ago

Janet,
I may need to re-read the original before I tackle your spicy version! (I always knew you were a naughty girl!)

Beth W.

Jane Austen
12 years ago

I have what I like to call Bronte Schizophrenia. When I’m away from Jane Eyre I think I hate it and I don’t want to read it and I don’t want to watch it. Then it comes on TV and suddenly I want to watch it and I love it. But the second the show is over I’m pretty sure I hate it again. I like some of the places Jane Eyre has gone. I recently wrote a letter to Jasper Fforde asking him if he would send Thursday Next back into the original Jane Eyre so he could make St. John actually marry Jane Eyre. Although at the time I had seen a play where St. John was my type of guy and Rochester was a little old for my tastes. So there you have it. I suffer from Bronte Schizophrenia and I fear there is no cure, but to read how other people have changed this story and fall in love with it and then hate it when I’m done over and over again. It’s like Groundhog Day only with a book instead.

Jane Austen
12 years ago

Christi Barth,
I”m unsold on the Broadway musical. I mean how could you NOT give a song to the crazy wife? If anyone was begging for a song it was crazy Bertha. I can hear a little ditty with a Rastafarian beat…..I stabbed my brother, but I swear it was in self-defense. I tried to burn my husband, but he locked me up cause I got no sense….. (Please sing that along with I Shot the Sheriff by Bob Marley).

Leanne Shawler
12 years ago

I think Jane Eyre may have been my bible growing up … I read it as a pre-teen, as a teen multiple times (the non-abridged edition which I now can’t lay my hands on and its making me very unhappy!) and as an adult. I love the book and I get different things each time I read it.

So I don’t know how I feel about it being given the erotic treatment, but you’re doing it, Janet, so I feel it is in good hands!

Elizabeth Kerri Mahon
12 years ago

Jane Eyre has always been a favorite of mine, and Charlotte my favorite Bronte sister. Perhaps it’s because Jane doesn’t take any guff from Rochester, or from anyone for that matter. She’s feisty, and I believe in their happy ending.

Janet Mullany
12 years ago

Hey Christi, I’m rather fond of the zombie alien extremes! My favorite Bronte is Villette, which is an angry, painful sort of book where Bronte plays all sorts of subversive narrative tricks. Fascinating stuff.

J, I love the Eyre Affair too!

Beth, you MUST read the original for so many reasons, the least of which is that you’d have more fun with my version!

JA, I’m confused. Wasn’t the original Jane Eyre (that obscure and almost totally forgotten Victorian novel where the dull heroine marries the missionary cousin) the one Thursday Next subverted?

Hi Leanne and Elizabeth, thanks for stopping by!

Laura
12 years ago

Hi, Janet,

What fun! Can’t wait to read Janet’s Eyre!!

Best,
Laura

Jane Austen
12 years ago

Janet, I wanted Thursday Next to change it back to how Jasper Fforde had the book originally written where Jane went off and married St. John. I guess I assumed too much and thought people familiar with the books would get my points. My friends and I love Fforde so much that we’d totally get it. Sorry….sometimes I’m in my own world. Must be my Bronte Schizophrenia kicking in.

Janet Mullany
12 years ago

JA, wasn’t the point that JE was a totally dull book until Thursday shook things up? Or do you anticipate a lifetime of missionary position fun?

I think I made a vague promise to talk about the Regency connection in Jane Eyre. It is actually the first Gothic Regency, since it’s set sometime before 1832. There is one reference to Walter Scott that places it, I think, in 1807, and another that places it in the early 1820s. So Bronte is very much making a statement that this is a time and place of her own imagination and I think there’s a nice parallel there to what we do with historical romance.

Shelley
12 years ago

I have to admit, I am very very intrigued by this concept. LOL While I do have some sacred cows, I love playing with classic stories and seeing what happens. I bet I’m going to love this one.

Sharon Buchbinder
12 years ago

Hi Janet–

Congratulations on your new release. Sluts rule and prims drool!

Sharon

laurelwanrow
12 years ago

Janet,
Unlike Beth, I can’t even say I must go RE-read; it’s read for me. I suspect I may like your version better. (!)

Must say, I do like the cover. Not only does he have a disturbing look, but placing him looming in the fog adds to the forbidding character.

Happy Release Day!

Laurel

Bunnie's Mom
12 years ago

I snap up all of your work as soon as I can get my hands on it, and LOVE each one. Can’t wait to see your Jane Eyre!

Kate
12 years ago

I love the taking of liberties with icons. It’s such a challenge to do it well! Just because the Misses Bronte didn’t share details didn’t mean they weren’t going on. I can’t wait to read it.

Trace
12 years ago

I love a different take on a classic, I think Darcy should get the erotic treatment. I know he has been defiled more than once in my fantasies. 😉

Amanda McCabe
12 years ago

I can’t wait to read about your naughty Jane 🙂 (“Jane Eyre” has long been one of my favorite books, I have to do a re-read soon!)

Alison
12 years ago

I read ‘Jane Eyre’ at a very early age, but I almost find myself – not exactly identifying more with other characters, but being more interested in them than Jane. What eventually will hapen to her horrible cousins, for example, how will ST John fare in India, will the pretty Diana whatesname ever regret her conventional mariage. WHile I love ‘happily ever afters’ Jane is almost missing out on an even beter life she might have had as herself. It’s a very thought-provoking book…

Susan/DC
Susan/DC
12 years ago

When I reread “Jane Eyre” a few years ago I was surprised at how much I loved it – but the parts I loved most were the first and last thirds, not the middle section with Mr. Rochester. Jane just shines when she is by herself, and the book is full of such wonderful self-awareness and strength. For example, the reason she turns down St John’s proposal is not that she doesn’t love him but precisely because she is afraid she will fall in love with him. She would then die (spiritually and emotionally if not physically) because she needs to love and be loved, and St John essentially loves no one but the Lord. I love this girl, her insights, and her insistence on living up to her own moral code, whether that fits with the code defined by others or not.

Janet Mullany
12 years ago

Hi Laura and Sharon, thanks for coming by. Laurel, I think the cover is fabulous; I’m so pleased with it. Bunnie’s Mom, thanks for the vote of approval.

Hi Kate and Trace. Ann Herendeen has a book out called Pride/Prejudice which deconstructs Darcy sexually (Pride Slash Prejudice, clever!) You might enjoy that. I haven’t read it yet.

Alison, when I first read Jane Eyre I loved Lowood (all that discipline!), probably because I was of an age where I loved English boarding school stories, and it was tremendously disappointing that she ever left. I really wasn’t that interested in Jane growing up.

Susan, isn’t it interesting how books change with us. I find the book raises more questions each time I read it.

katsrus
12 years ago

I have never read Jane Eyre either. I cannot wait to read you new version. It sounds wonderful. I think it’s fun to think some of the older classics could be a bit more spicy. LOL.
Sue B

Janet Mullany
12 years ago

I’m shocked that people escaped having Jane Eyre crammed down their maws at school–possibly one of the differences between a UK and US education. In England you didn’t have the option of electing Laundry 101 instead of tackling at least one of the Brontes, Trollope, Dickens, George Eliot… but then we didn’t have to read The Scarlet Letter, for which I’m so thankful.

So if the winner hasn’t read Jane Eyre, I’m throwing in a copy too, because otherwise RIMH won’t make much sense!

Diane Gaston
12 years ago

Well, there are too many here who have not read Jane Eyre for me to say what bothered me about it. I do remember loving the book as a kid.

I also loved the movie, the Joan Fontaine/Orson Welles one, but what made the biggest impression was the young Elizabeth Taylor, whose character dies. (Beth in Little Women was also my favorite – I think I had a thing for young girls who die tragically)

I’m sure this book is naughty and delightful, Janet! Only you could think of this.

Pat Cochran
12 years ago

Hope I’m not too late, I’d love to
see how an erotic Jane Eyre turns
out! How did you decide to take her in this direction?

Pat Cochran

librarypat
librarypat
12 years ago

This should be interesting. I love it when someone takes and event or story and does a “What If?” and plays with it. Amazing how one little change can make a big difference in the way things turn out.
If I did read Jane Eyre, it was in high school and that was so long ago (really) that I’ve forgotten. I need to read or reread all the classics. I did read Fforde’s THE EYRE AFFAIR. Different. As someone else here has commented, rereading the original before reading your version might be a good idea.

Treva Harte
12 years ago

I just figured with this story Jane and Mr. Rochester finally got what they deserved. 😉

Treva Harte
http://www.trevaharte.com
http://www.loose-id.com

Janet Mullany
12 years ago

Pat, no you’re not too late and thanks for commenting. Why did I do it? Basically because the book intrigues me every time I read it and it’s so rich yet the prose is so spare and sinewy.

And hi to librarypat and to Treva who got the ball rolling on this!

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