My guest today is new-to-me author Lou Faulkner, another author based in the antipodes, and I’m looking forward very much to getting to know her and her work.
She is here today in celebration of the recent release of A Certain Persuasion – an anthology of Jane Austen themed stories from Manifold Press.
Jane Austen’s grasp of the English language is justly celebrated. Is there any part that you can quote for us that you particularly relish?
Short of saying, “Just go and read everything!” I can think of no way of doing justice to Jane Austen’s command of the English language. But I love the instances where she nails a concept or two in a couple of words, like Anne Elliot’s dread of the “white glare” of Bath in the heats of September, or Mrs. Jenning’s opinion of Nancy Steele as “no conjurer”. That’s the fine brush in incomparable action on the little bit of ivory.
What inspired your story in the A Certain Persuasion anthology? May we have an excerpt?
Persuasion has been my favourite of her novels ever since I got over the sheer dazzlement of Pride and Prejudice. Given Jane’s vigorous endorsement of the landscape near Lyme, and my own memories of walking part of the South West Coastal Path, including a day’s march through the weird landscape of the Undercliff, the choice of setting was inevitable. Then there was the allure of writing two disreputable characters, which I thoroughly enjoyed!
Fortunately, the inn prepared its set dinner to coincide with the arrival of the coach. William and Musgrove were shown to a table by the window, through which William observed with amusement that Mary Anning was studying Musgrove’s fossils with a magnifying lens.
“Your expedition was successful! I think your prizes have met with favour.”
“A midshipman needs all the prizes he can lay hands on!” said Musgrove. “The King’s Service don’t pay well for us lowly fellows. It’ll take more than a sea-fight or two for me to set up my carriage; the captain has the lion’s share of the profits of any action, and any admiral within sight may claim a portion. Still, it’s a living, when all’s said and done – and there’s less study than being a parson, or a lawyer.”
“As it happens, I’m a lawyer myself.” William observed with amusement how Musgrove mentally reviewed his words to ascertain that he had not been disparaging, and on satisfying himself of this, took a sip of coffee to cover the awkward gap in his conversation. “But I agree with you about the study that is necessary. No longer for me, though; my wife and I have a more leisurely existence. At the end of the week I will meet her in London; she is visiting old friends at the moment.” Now why did he suddenly feel the need to mention his wife? But a little truth was easier to maintain than a wholesale lie, any lawyer knew that, and at some point soon, perhaps, he would reveal that he saw no need for strict – or even any – fidelity.
Indeed, this information was met with a guffaw. “So you’re off the leash for a few days, then?”
William poured himself more coffee. “I am indeed off the leash.”
What are you working on at present?
At present I’m working on a naval action-adventure, set during the middle of the eighteenth century. I wanted to write a sea-fight, and it got out of hand. This was a time when the mastery of the seas hung in the balance between French and English – and it was the Enlightenment, so all sorts of other interesting things were going on as well. There’s such a lot to play with in that period!
I live in a little house with a big garden in the far south of the world, and most of my life has revolved around books: reading them, selling them, lending them out and, more recently, writing them. Apart from bibliophilia, I’ve done a variety of different things, including years learning falconry, and I enjoy hands-on pursuits that might give me material for my stories: blacksmithing, sailing and flying. I will attempt things in my writer’s persona that I would never contemplate as myself; this does not, however, extend to bungy-jumping.
A Certain Persuasion
from Manifold Press
Thirteen stories from eleven authors, exploring the world of Jane Austen and celebrating her influence on ours.
Being cousins-by-marriage doesn’t deter William Elliot from pursuing Richard Musgrove in Lyme; nor does it prevent Elinor Dashwood falling in love with Ada Ferrars. Surprises are in store for Emma Woodhouse while visiting Harriet Smith; for William Price mentoring a seaman on board the Thrush; and for Adam Otelian befriending his children’s governess, Miss Hay. Margaret Dashwood seeks an alternative to the happy marriages chosen by her sisters; and Susan Price ponders just such a possibility with Mrs Lynd. One Fitzwilliam Darcy is plagued by constant reports of convictions for ‘unnatural’ crimes; while another must work out how to secure the Pemberley inheritance for her family.
Meanwhile, a modern-day Darcy meets the enigmatic Lint on the edge of Pemberley Cliff; while another struggles to live up to wearing Colin Firth’s breeches on a celebrity dance show. Cooper is confronted by his lost love at a book club meeting in Melbourne while reading Persuasion; and Ashley finds more than he’d bargained for at the Jane Austen museum in Bath.
A Pemberley-sized anthology featuring authors: Julie Bozza, Andrea Demetrius, Sam Evans, Lou Faulkner, Adam Fitzroy, Narrelle M Harris, Sandra Lindsey, Fae Mcloughlin, Atlin Merrick, JL Merrow and Eleanor Musgrove.