Monday, 22 August 2011

Austenesque Extravaganza

In Miss Bennet & Mr Bingley, Fenella Miller returns to Jane Austen's best loved novel, Pride and Prejudice, giving an insight into both Charles and Jane's private thoughts through that difficult year. We discover what Jane did in London and how Charles filled the days until he was able to return to Netherfield. This book takes us past the wedding—when Kitty Bennet becomes the heroine of the hour. Sequel to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

I wrote Miss Bennet & Mr Bingley at the suggestion of Amanda Grange who is the bestselling author of many Jane Austen sequels. I had just completed a Victorian family saga set in Colchester (where I live) and wanted to write something completely different.
Like all of us here I love Jane Austen's books and Pride and Prejudice in particular. I had always wanted to know a bit more about Jane and Bingley and in my book I have explored this. I should love to write another book like this. Unfortunately my proposals have been turned down  as someone else has already written, or was writing, something very similar.
I suggested a ghost story set in Pemberley after Lizzie and Darcy were married and also a prequel were Darcy is an all action hero saving the world as a spy. I would love to do a contemporary taking on this but those have been done as well. Any suggestions gratefully received.
I started reading Regency stories with Georgette Heyer in my early teens and graduated to Jane Austen a few years later. I've read all of them several times and I think the only one I still don't enjoy as much as the others is Emma because I've always found her an unsympathetic heroine.
I also enjoy the television and film adaptations of the stories. I didn't like the Mansfield Park version with Billie Piper – not because she's not an excellent actress – but she was just wrong  person  in my opinion. What do you think?
I think the BBC version with Colin Firth and his white shirt must be everyone's favourite Pride and Prejudice film. However, I thought "Lost in Austen", a TV time-slip version of Pride and Prejudice, was terrific. The last scene with Darcy and the 21st-century heroine was the most romantic I've ever seen. I think I watched it a dozen times before I deleted the recording.
Now here is a small quiz for you:
1. How many film/TV versions of each of Jane's book has there been?
Sense and Sensibility
Pride and Prejudice
Mansfield Park
Northanger Abbey
2. Can you name three modern films that are based on Pride and Prejudice?
3. Can you name three other titles of work by Jane Austen not listed above?

Good luck.
Fenella J Miller