Sunday, November 6, 2011

Guest Blog & Giveaway: Laurel Ann Nattress of Jane Austen Made Me Do It

I am so excited to have the wonderful Laurel Ann Nattress from Austenprose and the editor of the newly released Jane Austen Made Me Do It.  I'll be posting my review of the book tomorrow, but let me just say that Jane Austen Made Me Do It has been such a fabulously entertaining and relaxing read over the last several weeks.  When I was pushed to the wall to get grading finished, I could escape into one of the  many short stories in this compilation.  As a Jane Austen fan, this really was the perfect book for a nice escape from the daily grind.

Having said that, let me introduce Laurel Ann Nattress!

Hi Becky, it is a pleasure to be here at One Literature Nut during my Grand Tour of the blogosphere in celebration of the release of my new Austen-inspired anthology, Jane Austen Made Me Do It. One of the most rewarding aspects of editing the anthology was working with the twenty-four authors. With such a mix of personalities and styles, we were bound to get an equally varied assortment of stories – and we did! From Regency to contemporary, romantic to comical, there is something here for everyone.

One of the stories, “The Love Letter,” by Brenna Aubrey, I am particularly proud of. It was selected as the Grand Prize Winner of the Jane Austen Made Me Do It Short Story Contest that was held online at The Republic of Pemberley last January. The contest was my idea. I thought that since Jane Austen had dedicated much of her life to her craft, that fostering new writers was in the spirit of her ideals. My editor was also very excited about the project. We worked on the concept and the rules while Myretta Robens, the web mistress of our host site, created the pages and story board.

The contest ran for six weeks and we had hope for about twenty to thirty stories. Imagine our surprise when eighty-eight stories arrived! And, best of all was the variety and quality. The public had a chance to vote for the Top Ten Finalists, and my editor and myself had the difficult task of selecting the winner. I had been particularly moved by Brenna’s story the first time I had read it, and just loved it. I was thrilled when my editor revealed to me that she felt the same way and we were in agreement of the winner. The day I called Brenna at home was very memorable for me. She was so quiet when I called. I could hear the trepidation in her voice. When I finally told her that her story had been selected the Grand Prize Winner, there was silence, and then elation.

I think readers will be as moved as my editor and myself by “The Love Letter.” Here is a description:

“The Love Letter,” by Brenna Aubrey

Young doctor Mark Hinton thinks his life is perfect.  He is just about to finish his residency and has accepted the offer of a fabulous new job.  Things could not be better…  until the arrival of an anonymous letter in the mail forces him to confront the truth he’s been hiding from for seven years.

Sent on a quest by the mysterious contents of the letter, he is forced to discover the contents of his own heart thanks to Jane Austen, a canny librarian, a cantankerous patient, and a coolly observant sister.

Since the release of Jane Austen Made Me Do It on October 11, 2011, the reaction to Brenna’s story by readers has been amazing. Many reviewers have mentioned it as one of their favorites in the collection. That is especially rewarding for me. I feel like I have had a small hand in the beginnings of a talented new writers career. Jane Austen would be happy with that!

Thanks again Becky for letting me share Brenna’s story with you today. I hope that your readers enjoy “The Love Letter” as much as I did and can bask with me in my pride of playing a small part in spotlighting her talent.

Cheers, Laurel Ann    

Editor bio:

A life-long acolyte of Jane Austen, Laurel Ann Nattress is the author/editor of a blog devoted to the oeuvre of her favorite author and the many books and movies that she has inspired. She is a life member of the Jane Austen Society of North America, a regular contributor to the PBS blog Remotely Connected and the Jane Austen Centre online magazine. An expatriate of southern California, Laurel Ann lives in a country cottage near Snohomish, Washington. Visit Laurel Ann at her blogs and, on Twitter as @Austenprose, and on Facebook as Laurel Ann Nattress.

Ballantine Books • ISBN: 978-0345524966

Giveaway of Jane Austen Made Me Do It

Enter a chance to win one copy of Jane Austen Made Me Do It by leaving a comment by Sunday, November 13th, stating what intrigues you about reading an Austen-inspired short story anthology. Winners to be drawn at random and announced on Monday, November 14th. Shipment to US and Canadian addresses only. Good luck to all!


  1. This looks amazing! Since we already know the stories of jane austen i can see how variations done in the short story format would be perfect! Thank you for the contest!

    Also, I love Laurel Ann's blogs, I've visted many times!

    inthehammockblog at gmail dot com

  2. I loved reading this account of how things happened on your end, Laurel Ann. I just remember that when I picked up the phone and spoke with you, that I was certain you were just calling me to tell me that I hadn't won. It was an amazing day that I won't forget. Thanks again for including my story.

  3. LOL Brenna! You were certain that you hadn't won? Yes, I did call all 87 entrant too!

    Love your story.

    Thanks for hosting me Becky.

  4. Jane Austen is so canonical and it's always fun to read variations on beloved cannon. I enjoy when interpretations bring fresh insight to what some might regard as staid literature! (extemter at hotmail dot com)

  5. I find authors interpretations of Jane's stories quite fascinating. This short story collection would be very interesting. Thanks for the giveaway!


  6. After reading this post, I am super intrigued by the description of "The Love Letter!" :) Aside from that, I also want to see how the authors are able to bring Jane Austen's inspiration into such short stories.

  7. I’m always interested in seeing alternate imaginings of an author’s universe – to see how characters are given new depths or vices, and how stories can be twisted to put a different construction on events that seemed opaque and unchangeable. I’ve also really started to enjoy learning more about Jane Austen’s life, so this book is right up my street.

  8. I'm very intrigued by the description of "The Love Letter" - I love the hint of mystery in the story.

    What a diverse group of authors and themes! Thanks for hosting Laurel and the giveaway.

  9. So many of the stories in this book sound intriguing and many of the authors are favorites of mine. Thanks for the opportunity - I would love to win!

    lovetoread205 [at] gmail [dot] com

  10. i enjoy the possibilities that writers come up with in creating a story for other Austen characters.......thank goodness that there are people in the world who can do that!!!
    thank you for this giveaway!!!!


  11. Thanks for all your responses to what intrigues you! I love hearing how Jane Austen grabs other readers. :) Thanks for stopping by, and I hope to see you again.