My guest today is new-to-me-author Fae Mcloughlin who, I believe, is enjoying her debut in this terrific anthology.
She is here today to help my celebrate A Certain Persuasion – an anthology of Austenesque 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?
I love Jane Austen’s descriptions and use of metaphors. This account of Pemberley House is a favourite; I particularly like the stream that is full of its own self-importance.
“It was a large, handsome stone building, standing well on rising ground, and backed by a ridge of high woody hills; and in front, a stream of some natural importance was swelled into greater, but without any artificial appearance. Its banks were neither formal nor falsely adorned.”
What inspired your story in the A Certain Persuasion anthology? May we have an excerpt?
I knew that I wanted to set Thirteen Hours in Austen in modern times and that I wanted to write about a fictional Austen museum at night. I’ve always wanted to spend a night in a museum, to wander the corridors alone and really get a feel of the exhibits, instead of dodging kids, pushchairs, and the people that read every word and don’t move on. So I took a uninterested young lad and an exuberant cos-player and let them have an empty museum adventure.
He flounced in front of me like a drunken ballerina, all arms and out-of-control legs, forcing me to retreat against the brickwork. ‘But, like Mr Wickham I’m charming, an excellent conversationalist, and possess a gift for making friends. Unlike him, I’m not wicked, although sometimes it might be fun to be so,’ he said and winked.
I smiled. There was something appealing about the nineteenth-century soldier amongst rubbish of the twenty-first. I held out my hand. ‘Ashley, Ash.’
‘Hello Ashleyash, I’m Mr Wickham.’ He clicked his heels and shook my hand with a surprisingly firm handshake.
‘No, you’re not.’
‘Okay, I’m Noah and you’re still out of bounds.’
I took one last draw on the e-cig then said, ‘Don’t worry, I’m off.’
‘What is that?’ Noah pointed towards the vaporiser.
‘Um, an electronic cigarette. Have you not seen one before?’
‘No. Why do you smoke that and not a real cigarette?’
Did he live under a rock? ‘Erm, for health reasons.’ I turned to leave.
He caught my arm and there was urgency to the grip. ‘Did you dress up today? It’s the museum’s most popular activity.’
I pulled away. ‘Nope. I’d rather stick pins in my eyes.’
‘Oh, you’re out of luck, the wardrobe department has run out of pins.’
‘Ha-ha.’ I turned towards the door.
A red jacket filled my vision and blocked the way. ‘Why are you here if you hate Austen so much?’ Noah asked.
‘My mother dragged me along on some kind of parent/child bonding thing.’
Noah leaned in, he smelt of mints and brass polish, and his breathing was quick and low. ‘I bet you a week’s wage I can make you fall in love with Austen before the night’s out,’ he murmured.
‘My week’s wage wouldn’t buy a novelty eraser from your shop.’
‘If they are your thing then my week’s wage would buy you a thousand.’ He waited, his eyes round, and his lips parted.
The only people who spend a night at the museum are boffins and Ben Stiller. It was lunacy, but I said, ‘What the hell. Nothing to lose—’
‘—and a lot to gain.’ Noah took my hand.
What are you working on at present?
At present, I’m researching Spitfires, particularly how you eject from one, so I can contribute towards Manifold’s WW2 anthology – Call to Arms.
Writing is my first love but my other passion is photography, in particular taking pictures of big skies, random cloud formations, plane trails, sunsets, rainbows, and the weather.
When I’m not tapping on a keyboard or standing on my garage roof taking pictures of the sunrise, I like to make perfectly smooth ice balls and plink them into Jack Daniels.
You can follow Fae on Twitter @FaeMcloughlin
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.