Interview & Giveaway: The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen Vol. II by Collins Hemingway

Hello, dear readers! Today on the blog, I am very excited to bring you an interview with Collins Hemingway who is currently on blog tour with HFVBT for The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen, Volume II. You can also enter to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Hello Collins and welcome to Passages to the Past! Thanks so much for stopping by today to talk about The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen (Volume II)!

To begin, can you please tell us a little about yourself and your writing?

Born and raised in the South. Spent my adult life in the Northwest. Nice mix of cultures and people. Writing has been a big part of my life. I worked my way through high school and college as a reporter; worked for newspapers till I was thirty. Became involved with the computerization of newspapers, and that led me into the high-tech world. Became a technical writer and technical marketer. Ended up at Microsoft during its go-go days and wrote a business book with Bill Gates. What a wild and crazy time!

Fiction was always my first love, and I wrote as much as I could around my family and career. It wasn’t enough, but I kept at it as best I could in the background. Now I write full time.

What inspired you to write the Marriage of Miss Jane Austen series?

I wanted to write a novel about a woman that would test her intelligence, her heart, her courage. I have always been interested in the Regency era as an historical period, and the match was perfect. In that time, laws, culture, biology—everything was stacked against a woman. I also knew Austen’s novels pretty well, and realized the voice I was creating was hers. I knew there were gaps in her life record. Looking deeper, I realized I could use a seven-year period to tell my story with her as the main character. Think of it as the story Austen might have lived, and could have written, if things were just a little different.

Why did you choose to write an alternate history of Jane Austen’s life?

It’s not so much an alternate history as it is a history that fills in the blanks of Austen’s life with what could have actually happened. Her family destroyed all the records of her doings in this period, and there have always been rumors of a lost or tragic love. The story of the marriage proposal, which she accepted and then rejected, was not written down until 67 years after it supposedly happened, by a niece who hadn’t been born when it occurred! The niece claims her mother told her about it, but she admitted that her mother’s day books (diary) had no reference to what would have been a shocking event—Jane accepting a proposal from a wealthy man and then reversing course. Scandal! Other supposed romances are equally vague.

I wondered: What if all this misinformation covered up an actual relationship to a man the uptight Victorian descendants might have wanted to hide in the mists of time? It wouldn’t be the first time—Queen Victoria’s daughter censored passages in her diaries about Mr. Brown, who became Victoria’s “close friend” after Albert’s death.

What research did you undertake when writing the series?

I studied Austen’s life and writings, and the history of the period—politics, society, business, technology, war—for more than ten years. And wrote for more than four. At one time I counted more than 70 books I’d read. Hundreds, if not thousands, of articles.

Do you have a favorite Jane Austen novel?

A tie between Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion. P&P because it’s the one novel in which the heroine goes toe to toe with all her antagonists. Liz takes no guff from Mr. Collins or Darcy—and also none from Lady Catherine. Persuasion because it is the richest and most emotionally satisfying book, the story of a woman enjoying a “second spring.”

What was your favorite scene to write?

The first scene in which Jane and Ashton can really explore every aspect of their relationship—physical as well as emotional. It’s handled quite sensitively but it still has a mature (29-year-old) woman reacting to a fundamental change in her life at the deepest level. I worked on that scene during the entire 14 months I was writing the first volume.

What was the most difficult scene to write?

There are two terrible events that happen in the series. Both of them were agonizing to write. My wife told me she cried when she read them. I told her I cried the dozen times I wrote and rewrote each one.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I can’t recall a time when I didn’t want to be a writer. I’d have to answer: As soon as I learned to read!

What does your daily writing routine look like?

I write in the morning, go for a walk at lunch or ride my bike to let my mind percolate on what I’ve been doing, then go back to work in the afternoon. Often, I’ll print out what I’ve written and walk down the hill to a nearby Subway. Over lunch, I’ll edit what I’ve done and walk home. In this case, I start the afternoon session by inserting all the edits. When I’m beginning a section, things go slow, but once I know where the scene is going, I’ll write pretty much nonstop. Often well into the evening. At the end of the day, I try to leave something left to do. This way, I’ll know where to start the next day. And my mind can be turning it over all night long.

What has been your greatest challenge as a writer? Have you been able to overcome it?

Finding the time. And the confidence. Fiction writing has had to come after paying the bills. I didn’t write fulltime until after I stepped away from my corporate career. Even then, nonfiction books paid the bills so I could write fiction.

And, though I’d written a lot of nonfiction, it was mostly shorter pieces. Also true with fiction—mostly short stories. Writing 300-page technical manuals, and later, 300-page nonfiction books, gave me the confidence to write longer fiction. It’s like training for a marathon. I developed the discipline to “write long”—then it was whether I had the ability to come up with good characters and plots. I have three unpublished novels that haven’t seen the light of day, and didn’t deserve to. But they built my writing muscles.

Who are your writing inspirations?

Anyone who has the creativity and discipline to write professional-quality novels. I have a few favorite novelists, but they didn’t inspire me to write. I’ve always wanted to.

What was the first historical novel you read?

I think I read something about the Crusades in high school. My mother had a subscription to the Reader’s Digest condensed books. There was historical fiction in that—with probably the best parts left out. And probably something by Sir Walter Scott. I’m sure I read Austen in high school. I was an English major in college and have a master’s degree in English literature, so I have read dozens of books from all the English periods.

The first historical fiction that blew me away was Tolstoy’s War and Peace. People think of it as “literature” rather than “historical fiction,” but it was historical fiction to him—he was writing of the period 50 years before his time. I didn’t read War and Peace until my thirties. I was intimidated by its length and reputation. But as a literary guy, I figured I had to read it. Once in, I couldn’t put it down. It took a month, but by the time I was done with its 1,000 pages, I wanted more!

I’ve enjoyed a lot of current historical fiction too. Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series is a great one—good story lines, great characters. Love the King Arthur books. The Tudor books. I don’t distinguish between the genre and “literature”—a book is either a good read, or it’s not.

What is the last historical novel you read?

Wide Sargasso Sea, which is the story of the life of Rochester’s first wife in Jane Eyre before she came to England. It’s a fascinating—and quite dark—tale, the “back side,” if you will, of Jane Eyre’s experience. It was written by Jean Rhys, who herself came from the Caribbean. Rhys not only told this story of the forgotten woman in the novel but also wrote modern novels in Paris that may have influenced the writing of Ernest Hemingway.

What are three things people may not know about you?

My life has been balanced between science and literature. I was strong in both at school. Started out in engineering and ended up in literature. My career has had me going back and forth. This Austen series, a real literary effort, nonetheless has a strong technology component. So that’s one. Kind of related, I’m a space and aviation geek and a licensed pilot. I was involved in helping my state, Oregon, get involved in drones when they began to make the shift from military to civilian uses. For ten years, my vocation was writing fiction about Jane Austen, and my avocation was writing business plans and meeting with state officials about unmanned aerial vehicles. Finally, I like military history and I’m particularly drawn to spy stories—the real ones.

What appeals to you most about your chosen genre?

The Regency era has many parallels with the contemporary era—continuing wars, huge income disparities, automation undermining the middle class, exciting new inventions, business innovations. There was even controversy over vaccinations! Historical fiction enables me to tell a story about another time that, beyond the main love story, resonates with modern readers.

What historical time period do you gravitate towards the most with your personal reading?

I have always been drawn to the 1800s, beginning with Austen and continuing through the Brontes, Dickens, Eliot, and Hardy. With a major detour through the great Russian novelists. That century saw the novel fully develop into its modern, fully developed form, while maintaining the richness and rhythm of traditional language.

What do you like to do when you aren't writing?

Read, watch movies, exercise—getting outside away from a keyboard and screen. Enjoy time with my wife.

Lastly, what are you working on next?

I’m writing a collection of essays about Jane Austen—how she developed as a writer. The nonfiction will be a nice complement to the fiction. It will cover everything of interest that I couldn’t work into the fiction. The essays will also include new interpretations of some of the most important passages in her novels. I wanted the trilogy to be written as rigorously as a nonfiction academic work. I want the essays to be as original as a work of fiction. I think of the fiction as exploring her inner life that no one can really know, while the nonfiction documents her innovations as a writer.

After that, I may return to my unpublished works to see if I can fix the problems. Or maybe a spy novel!

Ooohhh...that sounds great! Thank you so much for spending time with us today! Have a great blog tour!

The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen Vol. II
by Collins Hemingway

Publication Date: August 8, 2016
eBook & Paperback; 332 Pages
ISBN-13: 978-1535444958

Jane Austen Lived a Quiet, Single Life-Or Did She?

Tradition holds that Jane Austen lived a proper, contemplative, unmarried life. But what if she wed a man as passionate and intelligent as she-and the marriage remained secret for 200 years?

The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen resolves the biggest mystery of Austen's life-the "lost years" of her twenties-of which historians know virtually nothing.

• Why the enduring rumors of a lost love or tragic affair?

• Why, afterward, did the vivacious Austen prematurely put on "the cap of middle age" and close off any thoughts of finding love?

• Why, after her death, did her beloved sister destroy her letters and journals?

The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen trilogy answers these questions through a riveting love affair based on the history of the times and the details of Austen's own life.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound

Praise for The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen Series

"A skillful portrayal of an early nineteenth-century literary icon takes this historical romance on an imaginative journey of the soul. … The adventure of a true romantic partnership and all the excitement that the nineteenth century had to offer. … [The] novel invites you to linger, to savor, and to enjoy. … Makes for wonderful reading. … A Jane that lives and breathes on the page."—Claire Foster, Foreword Reviews, 4 stars

"Hemingway captures the energy of the times, while also writing with the irony and sly humor of Austen herself. … A strikingly real Jane Austen fully engaged in the turbulent times. … She is a living, breathing presence. … [He] displays a notable ability to recreate time and place. … A lively, compelling read, [a] sobering but moving conclusion." —Blueink Starred Review

"An enjoyable novel in an imaginative, well-researched series. … A well-researched work of historical fiction … [with] sweet moments and intriguing historical insights. … An incredibly moving portrait of a woman facing loss and love." —Kirkus Reviews

About the Author

Whether his subject is literature, history, or science, Collins Hemingway has a passion for the art of creative investigation. For him, the most compelling fiction deeply explores the heart and soul of its characters, while also engaging them in the complex and often dangerous world in which they have a stake. He wants to explore all that goes into people's lives and everything that makes tThe hem complete though fallible human beings. His fiction is shaped by the language of the heart and an abiding regard for courage in the face of adversity.

As a nonfiction book author, Hemingway has worked alongside some of the world's thought leaders on topics as diverse as corporate culture and ethics; the Internet and mobile technology; the ins and outs of the retail trade; and the cognitive potential of the brain. Best known for the #1 best-selling book on business and technology, Business @ the Speed of Thought, which he coauthored with Bill Gates, he has earned a reputation for tackling challenging subjects with clarity and insight, writing for the nontechnical but intelligent reader.

Hemingway has published shorter nonfiction on topics including computer technology, medicine, and aviation, and he has written award-winning journalism.

Published books include The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen trilogy, Business @ the Speed of Thought, with Bill Gates, Built for Growth, with Arthur Rubinfeld, What Happy Companies Know, with Dan Baker and Cathy Greenberg, Maximum Brainpower, with Shlomo Breznitz, and The Fifth Wave, with Robert Marcus.

Hemingway lives in Bend, Oregon, with his wife, Wendy. Together they have three adult sons and three granddaughters. He supports the Oregon Community Foundation and other civic organizations engaged in conservation and social services in Central Oregon.

For more information please visit Collins Hemingway's website and blog. You can also find him on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, January 14
Review at Coffee and Ink

Wednesday, January 16
Review & Excerpt at The Book Junkie Reads

Thursday, January 17
Feature at What Is That Book About

Friday, January 18
Review at Rainy Day Reviews

Monday, January 21
Feature at Donna's Book Blog

Tuesday, January 22
Excerpt at T's Stuff
Interview at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, January 23
Review & Guest Post at To Read, Or Not to Read

Friday, January 25
Review at View from the Birdhouse
Review at Svetlana's Reads and Views

Monday, January 28
Review at For the Sake of Good Taste

Tuesday, January 29
Guest Post at Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen

Wednesday, January 30
Review at Library of Clean Reads

Friday, February 1
Review at History From a Woman's Perspective

Saturday, February 2
Review at Jorie Loves a Story

Sunday, February 3
Review at Bri's Book Nook

Monday, February 4
Review at Amy's Booket List

Tuesday, February 5
Review at Maiden of the Pages

Wednesday, February 6
Feature at The Lit Bitch
Interview at Bookish Rantings

Thursday, February 7
Feature at CelticLady's Reviews

Friday, February 8
Review at Book Reviews from Canada

Saturday, February 9
Interview at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots


During the Blog Tour we will be giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on February 9th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen Vol II

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