My guest today is a fellow resident of this green and deliciously damp corner of the UK – a place that has more sheep than people and it’s own language, mostly made up of vowels. She also writes a cracking historical!
She’s here today in celebration of the release of 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?
It’s the overall economy of language which appeals to me, and which I feel lends so much elegance to her work. That, and the way she draws such memorable characters with the sparsest description.
Any quote would end up far too long for a blog post – just go read one of her books, they’re not long!
What inspired your story in the A Certain Persuasion anthology? May we have an excerpt?
I had two ideas of what & who I might write about when I first saw the submission call for A Certain Persuasion. I don’t think there was every any doubt in my mind that I would be writing a historical story, featuring at least one of Austen’s characters.
My first thought was to write about one or more of the secondary female characters – there are, after all, a wonderful abundance of intriguing women in the Austen-verse.
My second idea was “Oooh, I could write Age of Sail!” – after all, it’s a kind of going back home for me to be writing about ships and sailors. So I curled up and re-read both Persuasion and Mansfield Park, and found myself drawn to the character of William Price. Not that the story went where I expected it to. One of the lines which stood out to me from Mansfield Park was that William seemed to have absolutely no urge to marry, only to save enough money to set up a household for himself and his sister, Fanny… but you’ll have to read the book to see what happened when I started exploring what happened to him once he stepped off Austen’s page 😉
An excerpt from near the start of Man of War…
The first time Robert Oakes dared suggest to his second lieutenant that a slight change of trim would benefit them, William inwardly dismissed him as impertinent while making a mental note to check his disciplinary record. After an hour, with the wind unchanged and progress not quite as swift as William had expected, he ordered the change of trim suggested by Oakes and was pleased to note an improvement in their speed.
After making his discreet enquiries and learning that Mr Oakes was as far from a troublemaker as an ordinary sailor could be, William wondered what had made the man speak up in such a fashion. Whenever he could, he watched Oakes at his work, and found himself impressed by the young man’s persuasiveness when working with his less willing crew-mates, as well as his knowledge of his ship and profession. He noted also that Oakes behaved correctly with the midshipmen, a task which did not always come easily to experienced able seamen. Polite and deferential, as he should be, Oakes also guided and taught the young gentlemen, honing their knowledge of sea-craft in a manner which seemed quite in advance of Oakes’s seemingly young age.
On a sloop such as the Thrush, it was easier to see and to know the men as individuals than it had been on the Antwerp. Over the course of his first fortnight aboard, William observed that it was this ability to discern and know one man from another that enabled their captain to maintain such good discipline. Far from the tales spread in fearful whispers of ships lorded over by a rule of iron, aboard the Thrush he saw about him the Navy’s ideal of every man working together from a sense of comradeship with his crew-mates and respect for his officers.
What are you working on at present?
Why, a story for Manifold Press’s next anthology, of course!
Sandra lives in the mountains of Mid-Wales with her husband. Their garden is full of fruit and veg plants as well as home to a small flock of rare breed chickens, and she is a servant to two cats.
Sandra loves indulging in stories because she gets to spend her time with imaginary friends, and the research and observation required to write fiction open her eyes to a myriad different ways of seeing the world. Find her on Twitter @SLindseyWales, Facebook (Sandra Lindsey) – or curled up out of the way reading a good book!
website link: http://www.sandralindsey.wales
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.