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Thursday, June 9, 2011

An Emma-Style Interview with the Austen Authors

All credit for this post goes to author Sharon Lathan (whose Dear Jane letter and giveaway you may remember from earlier this month); she did all the legwork in pulling together this bit of awesome.
Hope you enjoy.  :)

At Austen Authors, the only blog on the internet entirely composed of authors who write literary fiction in the Jane Austen genre, it is safe to say they are Jane-centric for all 12 months of the year! It is also safe to say that with 25 authors contributing they are a diverse lot. Of course that made it fun to read the unique responses given to the same three questions asked. Being writers, some of their replies were fairly wordy, so each question has been given its own post.

For today let’s see what their vivid imaginations conjured when asked: Which two characters from different Austen novels would you pair up and why?

George Wickham from P&P and Mary Crawford from Mansfield Park. They’d be an amazing couple of con artists, and I’d love to watch them try to con each other.  ~ Abigail Reynolds, Mr. Darcy’s Undoing

I'd love to pair up Lady Catherine from Pride and Prejudice with Sir Walter Elliot from Persuasion... mostly because both of them are so self involved that their conversations are bound to be delightfully absurd. I can just imagine Sir Walter in all his vanity getting clothing tips from Lady Catherine, who clearly knows everything about style. ~ Marilyn Brant, According to Jane

Can you imagine being the fly on the wall if Mrs. Bennet from Pride and Prejudice, Mr. Woodhouse from Emma, and Mary Musgrove from Persuasion got together to commiserate on all their various medical ills and troubles? Yikes! Not sure if it would be entertaining, laughable, or incite one to violence!  ~ Sharon Lathan, The Trouble With Mr. Darcy

I would pair James Benwick of Persuasion and Anne de Bourgh of Pride and Prejudice. He's has proven to be a whiz with invalids, and while Anne is chronically fatigued he is understanding and quite patient when they go on their long walks around Rosings Park. In the evenings, he reads poetry to the ladies. On evenings when Mr Collins is practicing his bowing and scraping, Benwick sits quietly, just out of Lady Catherine's view, making shadow puppets to amuse Anne. Occasionally, he will engage with Lady C in a confusing philosophical exchange to keep in practice. And who knows, all that poetry and mischief might just put Anne back on her feet.  ~ Susan Kaye, For You Alone

Oh, how I would love to see Willoughby married to Caroline Bingley. He gets her money and she gets the opportunity to be humiliated for the rest of her life by his roaming ways. Win-win.  ~ Kathryn L. Nelson, Pemberley Manor

The couple I would pair up from 2 different Jane Austen novels would be Marianne Dashwood and Frank Churchill. I am somewhat ‘cheating’ with this (as you will see later), but I think they would be a good match together. Both are basically good people, but have an edge of acting along the lines of impropriety. It is obvious he enjoys good music, as he went so far as to purchase a piano for Jane Fairfax, albeit secretly. (And we know how much Marianne loves secrets!) They are both clever and brash, and while they would certainly have their ups and down in their relationship, and would probably end up keeping secrets from each other, they would suit just fine. 
 Now the reason I am cheating at this, is because I have never felt that the love Colonel Brandon had for Marianne was based on who she was, but was merely the memory of someone else. That is not good! And I always felt that he and Elinor Dashwood had such similar personalities and got along so well, that I would prefer he would have come to realize she was the one for him and find true love with her. As for Edward Ferrars, that narrow escape he had with Lucy Steele seemed a little farfetched for my sensibilities, so I would allow him to end up with her rather than Elinor.  ~ Kara Louise, Only Mr. Darcy Will Do

I would pair up Mary Crawford and Mr. Wickham. Their courtship would be a long pas de deux as they each try to winkle out the truth about each other. He wants to know if she is rich enough to be worth his while and wants to marry her because she is attractive and well-bred. He somehow picks up that she is not exactly what she seems and his thinks she may have a larcenous heart that would beat in synchrony with his. She finds his air of the dashing military officer quite compelling and his manners gentle and open. Her main considerations are discovering if he has any money or if he is a fortune hunter. Certainly she would not mind appearing in society on his arm, but his seemingly open countenance does not give her enough information to categorize him and she cannot find anyone who knows him or his family. When they finally decide to marry he twists her around his little finger and eventually they become partners and travel around making friends with their engaging manners in one watering hole or another and then scam these "friends" out of large amounts of money, allowing the pair to live happily ever after.  ~ C. Allyn Pierson, Mr. Darcy’s Little Sister

Charlotte Lucas was far too sensible a wife for Mr Collins; he should have married Miss Bates. Their effusive union would have plumbed new depths in the English language, provided Mr Bennet with even more amusement and driven Emma Woodhouse to distraction. As for Lady Catherine de Bourgh, she would have banned the happy couple from Rosings entirely, and taken to sticking pins in a little doll called ‘The Wonderful Jane Fairfax’.  ~ Juliet Archer, Persuade Me

I’d have Lieutenant William Price falling in love with Miss Margaret Dashwood when they reach a suitable age. Like Captain Wentworth, his sense, amiable disposition, and a little help from his sister’s husband Edmund would ensure a rise in his profession, and his good, steady character would be the perfect foil for Miss Margaret’s romantic sensibilities. She, of course, would not only fall for him, but for his uniform, and the fact that she might have to wait to marry would not deter her!  ~ Jane Odiwe, Mr. Darcy’s Secret

This was hard! I kept finding that there are a lot of greedy, vain types in Austen and while they would be amusing to see together at a party, most of them would quickly figure out who were the 'have nots' and move on to the 'haves'.  How about Elizabeth Bennet and Henry Crawford. E would see though him, but she's got a thing for bad boys. Henry's charm is that while he's outwardly a bad man, there's just a tiny sliver of good man in there, tempting a woman to think she could reform him. It wouldn't last, but it'd be fun to watch.  ~ Heather Lynn Rigaud, Fitzwilliam Darcy, Rock Star

Well, in an unpublished novel, I paired up William Price from Mansfield Park with Margaret Dashwood of Sense and Sensibility. Be on the lookout for an excerpt of a scene that takes place in a garden of Mansfield Park where Lt. Price of the Royal Navy, who will soon be promoted to Commander, has come to visit his sister, Mrs. Fanny Bertram, and he has fallen in love with another guest, Miss Margaret Dashwood.  ~ Jack Caldwell, Pemberley Ranch

I don't feel comfortable bending the different novel barrier to allow characters to actually marry across it. However, I am willing to conjecture the following:  Lucy Ferrars, Lucy Steele as was, and her coxcomb of a husband Robert Ferrars, decide to take an extravagant cottage ornee in the country, for those times when the commands and restrictions laid upon them by the imperious Mrs. Ferrars are too much even for their boundless vein of flattery, and they want to rusticate and play country folks. They settle on the Surrey village of Hartfield, where Lucy instantly becomes dearest friends with the rector's wife, Mrs. Elton. The presumptuous, impudent pair of ladies are enough to try even the serenity of the newly married Mrs. Knightley.  Lucy's schemes are endless, and her ambition is to rule Highbury, but Mr. Knightley wisely counsels his wife that the best policy is to ignore her. Then comes the news that Mrs. Ferrars, angry at Robert for abandoning her for his cottage ornee, has changed her will in Edward's favor.  Forced to work, Robert takes a job selling gloves at Ford's. But Lucy cannot be kept down for long, and she has a scheme...  ~ Diana Birchall, Mrs. Darcy’s Dilemma

I would pair Fanny Price with Henry Tilney. Fanny needs someone who is charming and witty but is also an upstanding man.  I think some part of Edmund will always view Fanny as his "poor, little cousin" which will correspond to Fanny feeling inferior.  ~ Carolyn Eberhart, A Darcy Christmas

I would pair Lydia Bennet from Pride and Prejudice with Mr. Elliot from Persuasion. They are both shallow in their conceit and would judge the other purely on his/her looks. Generally, they would do well together. They each have pleasing personalities that others find appealing. They are also the types to "latch on" to whatever comes along and to make the best of their mistakes. Mr. Elliot would be disappointed that Lydia could not provide him additional income or status, but as he has already "made his bed," so to speak, with Penelope Clay, Lydia Bennet will make a nice bauble for his arm. She is much more attractive than Mrs. Clay. Plus, the girl will be easily led into whatever scheme Mr. Elliot concocts next. As for Lydia, Mrs. Bennet will be thrilled to have a daughter who is to be Lady Elliot. The kind lady's "nerves" can take a breather until it is time to find Mary Bennet a husband.  ~ Regina Jeffers, The Phantom of Pemberley

Colonel Fitzwilliam and Emma Woodhouse would do very well together. The Colonel is looking for a rich wife and Emma could do with someone who has seen the world. During their courtship, Emma is star-struck by the charming manners of the Colonel (who reminds her, by the way, of Frank Churchill) and loves hearing about his active life. The colonel is used to the likes of Lady Catherine and so he wouldn't be put off by Emma's tendency to arrange everyone's life. On the contrary, he rather admires a strong woman, and is amused by Emma's quaint mixture of youthful naivetĂ© and air of command. After the wedding, everything works out for the best. The colonel is called away to fight Napoleon in France and consequently, Emma can continue to live with her father. The only obstacle to Emma's complete happiness is that Mr. Woodhouse tends to fret a great deal about the colonel's absence and breaks into a sweat at least once a day, terrified that the colonel is in danger of catching a cold.  ~ Monica Fairview, The Darcy Cousins

I would make Anne Elliot be Emma's New Best Friend. Anne Elliot has already demonstrated that she can submit to bossy control types, and their similar socio-economic backgrounds would fix the tedious class problem Emma had with Harriet. Emma could supervise Anne's makeover, get her bloom back before Captain Wentworth arrives on the scene, and nip the Louisa Musgrove situation in the bud. On the other hand, with Emma in charge, there'd be no more Persuasion.  ~ Cindy Jones, My Jane Austen Summer  

Mr. Wickham and Lady Susan. They seem like they deserve each other. They might even like each other.  ~ Marsha Altman, The Ballad of Gregoire Darcy

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  1. These were very amusing. I think we have several novels in the making?!?

  2. We had fun with our spontaneous mash-up scenarios. The truth is there are so many fabulous characters within the pages of Jane's novels that the possible pairings are endlessly intriguing.

    Thanks, Misty, for allowing the Austen Authors to be a part of the fun. As we say in our blog by-line: "because there's never enough Jane Austen." You are certainly proving the truth of that sentence!

  3. I agree with Sharon. It took me forever to decide which two people to connect. The possibilities were endless.

  4. Excellent pairings! I'd like to be a fly on the wall for a conversation between any of these couples.

  5. This was great fun - and to think we've got a whole month of it!

  6. Kate - I have to admit that a few new ideas for books crossed my mind while answering this question!

  7. @Sharon: I love having all of you! I'm flattered you guys (well, mostly gals) are participating and putting together such awesome stuff!

    Kate and everyone else: All through the event people have been saying things that have made me think 'Ooh, THAT'D be a good story..."

  8. What creative and well-thought answeres. Of course, I wouldn't expect anything less from this group! I would definitely enjoy reaading some novels about these character pairings!

  9. Oh, my gosh, this was fantastic! it really gets the creative juices going, just thinking about it!

  10. Thanks so much for posting this, Misty! Really enjoying your Jane in June ;).

  11. These are great! There was definitely a lot of thought put into them. I especially like the Mr Wickham/Mary Crawford one. A match made in con-artist heaven LOL

  12. Lovely month of Jane, Misty! I had a great deal of fun matching up various characters. Too bad Mr. Wickham is already married...

  13. I had an amazing time reading all the responses to the question. I would dearly love to read stories created out of the unusual pairings.

  14. great post! loved reading the different couple combos. i was taken with Marianne Dashwood - Frank Churchill and Margaret Dashwood - William Price.


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