Janet Mullany is the author of the new book, Jane and the Damned, the story of Jane Austen, the young authoress. This story takes a small turn as our young Jane has a slight affliction, she has become a vampire.
After reading the book and being admittedly fascinated by the idea of Ms. Austen ‘fanging it up’ I had a few questions for Ms. Mullany about the blood sucking Jane.
Tell us a little bit about the Jane Austen you portray in your new novel Jane and the Damned.
Mullany: I came to this project knowing I would ruffle some feathers and probably also get some facts wrong, but I was discovering that the more I find out about Austen, the more enigmatic she becomes. Since I was taking massive liberties with history as well as Austen, I felt I could go all out. I particularly wanted to get away from the rather precious persona that the Victorians, particularly her descendants, created. The Austen I wrote is passionate, courageous, smart and tough. As a vampire she can’t write, but she’s very busy gathering material and observing.
Did you always have a plan to write a book where a famous novelist becomes a vampire?
Mullany: No, but after claiming publicly and loudly that I’d never write a paranormal set in the Regency and pooh-poohing those who did, it was inevitable I should do so, with mud on my face. That seems to be the pattern of my writing career.
Which of Jane’s male protagonists would you have turned into a dashing vampire if given the chance?
Mullany: Other than the ones who clearly are vampires to begin with–Henry Crawford in Mansfield Park, Willoughby in Sense and Sensibility, and Wickham in Pride and Prejudice–my wannabe vampire of choice is Henry Tilney. Why? He’s just so adorable and charming and flirty, he’s halfway there already.He also has the ruthlessness that the Damned possess.
What is your favorite Jane Austen novel?
Mullany: At the moment, Mansfield Park, which I reread quite recently for the first time in decades. It’s an adventurous, complex, sexy book (with a great pair of vampires!) that doesn’t quite work, and I tend to like books like that.
What are you reading right now?
Mullany: Maybe This Time by Jennifer Crusie, which is her take on The Turn of the Screw–it’s quite scary and a real page-turner.
What are you working on now?
Mullany: I’m working on the second book about Austen as a vampire, which is set in Chawton in 1809, when Jane was writing after gathering all that valuable material from her time as one of the Damned.
Jane and the Damned is on bookshelves September 28th, 2010.
Read my review of Jane and the Damned here.
Read more about Janet Mullany and her other published works here.
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