First of all Melanie, welcome to our online book club. Would you mind to introduce yourself to our readers?
Thank-you, I am thrilled to have this chance to talk with you. I am a long-time Austenite as well as a lawyer and a mother of two little boys. I make my own Regency costumes and force my friends to drink tea out of china cups. I have just released my first novel, Follies Past: a Prequel to Pride and Prejudice.
Of course, my first question is: “When was your first encounter with Jane Austen and how was that?
A friend gave me Pride and Prejudice in university, about 15 years ago. She had read it in a literature class and thought I would like it. She was right - I couldn’t put it down. When I look back on it, I remember sort of imagining it in a modern setting, because I didn’t have any references for the aesthetic of the period. I hadn’t seen any of the movies and didn’t know what anything would have looked like. I have, over time, come to love all Jane Austen’s work, and to develop a fascination for the period, which is consistent with my lifelong love of petticoats and pastoral imagery, but my first encounter with Jane Austen didn’t involve any of that, and I loved it anyway.
“Follies Past: A Prequel to Pride and Prejudice” has just been released. How would you invite our Janeite friends to grab their copy and read it in about 50 words?
Before Darcy came to Netherfield, refused to dance at Meryton or laid eyes on Elizabeth, he rescued his sister from certain peril at the hands of the infamous Mr. Wickham. This is that story, knitted together with characters and histories of my own invention and all told with love and reverence.
What was your intent at rewriting Wickham and Georgiana’s story?
One of the great things about Jane Austen’s storytelling is the way she ties everything up into a deeply satisfying ending. We all want the books to go on and on, but extending the characters and the plot after the final chapter felt to me like interfering with that perfect ending. And it would all have to be speculative. Nobody knows what happens after the close of a book, but Jane Austen herself tells