Laurie Viera Rigler interview + giveaway
June 24th, 2009

Laurie Viera Rigler’s new novel, Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict, is available in stores today! Luckily I had the chance to read it last week and simply loved it, just as I loved her first novel, Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict. So that I don’t overwhelm you with too much reading, I am saving my review for another day. For your enjoyment I present to you a mini-interview with the author, which answered so many questions in my mind. Don’t forget to visit her website, watch her book trailer and leave your name for the giveaway!

Interview with Laurie Viera Rigler

You have found a unique spin on the immensely popular genre of Austen continuations. In fact, your novels are more chick-lit than Austenesque. Do you find you are creating new fans of Jane Austen by introducing them to the classic novels they would not have considered reading otherwise?

It was really important for me to write these books in a way that makes them as accessible to readers who have never read Austen as they are to those who are addicted to Austen. Many readers have told me that after reading my work they felt inspired to read Austen for the first time or to re-read her, and that makes me really happy. After all, aren’t we all working towards total Janeite world domination?

Did you have to do a lot of research on words and items that Jane may not have been acquainted with or, as an Austen expert, did the writing come naturally without too much study?

I felt really comfortable writing in Jane’s voice and had a lot of fun with it, yet at the same time I did a lot of research to ensure that her language was entirely authentic. I constantly consulted the OED (I’ve got an online subscription), e-texts of Austen’s works (Mollands.net is fabulous for this), and other works of the period to make sure that every word I used in Jane’s speech and in her thoughts was true to her time. It’s astonishing how many commonplace words we use today either did not exist in Austen’s time or did not have quite the same meaning then as they do today.

I also needed to keep in mind a language arc for this character, because the more time she spends in her borrowed life and her borrowed body, the more she begins to access and use twenty-first-century language.

Did you find writing a novel with a time travel element difficult? Was it more challenging to write Courtney in Regency England or Jane in modern day L.A.?

I could more naturally put myself in Courtney’s shoes and imagine seeing the past through her Austen-fan eyes than I could imagine being a nineteenth-century woman in today’s world with no frame of reference for cars, DVDs, electricity, or a thousand other things we don’t pause to think about. It was tremendous fun to write both books. In CONFESSIONS OF A JANE AUSTEN ADDICT I got to visit Jane Austen’s world vicariously through Courtney. In RUDE AWAKENINGS OF A JANE AUSTEN ADDICT I got to see my own world anew through the eyes of the awestruck, astonished, and sometimes scandalized gentleman’s daughter from Regency England. I don’t think I will ever look at my world—or Austen’s world—in the same way.

You use reincarnation as a means of explaining Jane and Courtney’s mixed up souls. Are you a believer in reincarnation or is it just an explanation that seemed to fit the story?

After hearing from and talking to many readers, I can see that everyone puts his or her own construct on these stories based on what their own personal beliefs are. It’s not my place to impose my personal beliefs on my readers—I’d rather they take from my books whatever is important for them to take away. And, if these books open up a new realm of possibilities for readers in terms of how to think about destiny, and life purpose, and time, and reality, then that’s very exciting!

The ending, while providing closure, also allows room for more to the story. Are there any more novels on Courtney and/or Jane planned?

For now, Courtney’s and Jane’s stories feel complete. But I have no idea if that will change in the future. For me, not knowing what’s going to happen next is one of the things I love most about writing.

Visit JaneAustenAddict.com where you can watch the book trailer, get the latest news from the world of Austen and much more!

Giveaway Info

Not only do you have the chance to win a brand new copy of Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict, but it will be personally inscribed to you! How great is that? Just leave a comment, and in the meantime you really should check out her book, Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict, on Courtney, who is stuck in Jane’s body in Regency England. This giveaway ends July 11, 2009. Good luck to all!