Bespelling Jane Austen

… these multitalented authors cleverly twist the classics into delightful, scary, funny and original paranormal romances that only original, witty and wise authors could pull off. Romantic Times Book Reviews

…a superb Emma retelling with a wonderful paranormal twist. And She Reads

For more, visit twiceashungry.com.

Welcome to my big fat Regency paranormal celebration weekend. Today I’m talking about BESPELLING JANE AUSTEN which hit the shelves just a few days ago and giving away two copies. Tomorrow I’ll be back to talk about JANE AND THE DAMNED, also with copies as prizes.

I loved writing this novella, Little To Hex Her, and I was very lucky that Susan Krinard and I share the same agent, which is how I was invited to join the anthology. I also love that this cover gives me an automatic boost up the publishing ladder by defining me, along with the others who are the genuine article, as a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. Talk about a field promotion ….

This book represents a lot of firsts for me. First novella, first paranormal, first contemporary, first public appearance as someone doing terrible things to poor Jane Austen. Mary’s is Victorian set, Colleen’s is a Gardella-inspired Regency, and Susan and I wrote contemporaries to balance things out. I was really hoping that no one else would want to base theirs on Emma, which has long been my favorite Austen, although I’ve been having a fling with Mansfield Park which I blogged about a couple of years ago.

What do I love about Emma? Certainly neither its heroine nor hero; Knightley gets my worst in bed Austen hero award; and Emma herself is clueless and as terrified of the world outside her safe little provincial circle as her father is. Because Austen is so brilliant she can enchant you with a book where she admitted herself that the heroine is someone not many will like. But it’s the details, the delineations of class and village life, the interwoven relationships, the minor characters, that fascinate me: who knows what and when, how Austen carefully drops clues and hints. Pam Rosenthal, with whom I’ve had many conversations about Emma (no, really, this is what writers do) pointed out that the book works as a mystery as well as being full of mysteries in its own right.

So it was a real joy to slice and dice and translate Austen. I decided to set the story in Washington, DC because I live near there and I decided Emma should live in the classic art deco Kennedy-Warren Apartments. Emma runs a paranormal dating agency; matchmaking is her job, even if it’s one she doesn’t feel completely at home with.

As well as inheriting my sister’s job for a year, I’d also inherited her apartment in a gem of an art deco building a stone’s throw from the zoo at Woodley Park. At first I’d thought the strange whooping sounds that woke me at dawn were the gargoyles, until I realized they were the gibbons greeting the new day. I loved the apartment with its huge windows and elegant parquet floors.

I loved the marble and mosaics and gilding of the lobby, the wrought iron splendor of the dignified slow elevator. I even loved the gargoyles, particularly after I’d drawn the blinds.

There was only one problem with the place, and here he was ambling across the lobby, sporting a toolbelt and carrying a toilet plunger.

“Yo, Woodhouse,” said George I-hate-my-first-name Knightley. Despite his disguise as a janitor, he was the owner of the building. He enjoyed the occasional spot of maintenance as relaxation from the world of high finance—”it keeps me humble.”

Humble! As though any member of that renowned and ancient family of wizards even knew the meaning of the word.

“Hi George,” I returned, and had the pleasure of seeing him scowl.

The Kennedy-Warren doesn’t have any gargoyles, but the Cathedral, in the same neighborhood, certainly does.

Since the building where Emma lives is so important to the story, let’s talk about buildings! I’ll pick two winners who respond to the following question:

Which buildings do you love or are inspired by?

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