Many people believe that Jane Austen was the original Lit IT girl. And we've LOVED many of the adaptions of her novels over the years. (Clueless is our favorite movie EVEH!) She's also inspired many great books(Jane Austen Book Club comes to mind). So all of you Jane Austen lovers will be happy to discover we've crowned Cindy Jones, author of My Jane Austen Summer: A Season in Mansfield Parkas our latest Lit IT Girl! And we think you'll love this delightful book! Lily is caught in a cycle of loss: her mother died of cancer, her boyfriend left her for an earth mother, and she’s been fired from her job for reading Jane Austen novels when she should have been routing payroll tax deposits. When the opportunity arises to travel to England to re-enact Mansfield Park, she thinks she may finally realize her dream of living in a novel. But even in England, where Lily is immersed in a literary festival so rich it seems Jane Austen is present, her problems find her. Lily must summon her resources and confront painful truths before she is demoted to the role of secondary character in her own life.
And FYI: Cindy worked with Bingley’s Teas Ltd. to create a tea named after her protagonist, and now she's promoting her book through tea parties: Tea with My Jane Austen Summer. she believes that tea enhances the reader’s connection with the novel and raises the book from a solitary read to a social event. Book clubs can host their own Tea with My Jane Austen Summer using ideas and recipes offered on her website www.cindysjones.com!
Sound good? Leave a comment here and you'll be entered to win a copy! We'll choose the winners on Friday April 8th after 6pm PST. So. Freakin'. EASY!
1. How many agents did you query before you found "the one"? I knew my agent was “the one” when I heard her speak at a writer’s conference. Rather than dash off a query, I took her advice to heart and spent two years finishing and polishing my ms until it was ready. Eight queries resulted in five rejections, three requests to read the entire ms, and two offers of representation. I signed with “the one”.
I need to point out that my first novel received at least 21 rejections and would have gotten more except I retired it to a bottom drawer where it died a quiet death. What happened between my two novels? I surrendered. Not only did I listen to the advice of writing professionals and published friends, I acted on that advice. I think pushing beyond my personal blind spots led to success in the marketplace.
2. What was your rock bottom moment during the process? The day I received eight swift rejections from editors, shortly after the initial submission, I thought I was finished—not only with this novel—but as a writer. After wallowing in grief for several hours, I discovered I was unwilling to allow my dream to die. I returned to the rejections and studied the editors’ comments for a pattern. After finding one, I applied it to my manuscript, cut the middle 150 pages (again) and pushed my imagination two excruciating levels beyond its personal limit. A year of revisions later, the book sold.
3. How long did it take to write your book? I spent five years writing My Jane Austen Summer, taking so long because I was on a steep learning curve. Twice I cut the middle 150 pages and threw them in the recycling bin. The next book has been much easier to write since I learned hard lessons on the first.
4. What did you do to celebrate your book deal? I had a quiet dinner with my family, lemon shots with my book club, and champagne with my women’s guild.
5. Knowing what you know now about publishing your first novel, what would you have done differently? I would not do anything differently. Raising four sons, I could not have spent the time it takes to write and promote books when they were younger. Writing got as much attention as I could give it at each step of my children’s development and, I would have to say, the timing has been good.
6. Who is your writer crush? Peter Cameron, The City of Your Final Destination.
7. What's your biggest distraction or vice while writing? The internet is a terrible distraction. Why negotiate thorny plot issues when I can chat with friends on Facebook, check blog stats, and surf my favorite sites? It often takes more self-discipline than I can muster to ignore the call of the world wide web.
8. GNO (Girls Night Out) drink of choice? Chardonnay. I love a freezing cold glass of dry, mellow, nutty, buttery, chardonnay.
9. Favorite trashy TV show? Gilligan’s Island. I will never forget the episode when The Skipper and Gilligan produced Hamlet as an opera set to the music of Carmen. The fragments of great music and literature sent me on a voyage of discovery, seeking original sources. I now realize episodes like those influenced the childhood plays I wrote using fragmented fairy tales. Now I fragment Austen. Next: Keats. I will have succeeded if my work sends one person on their own voyage of discovery.
10. What celeb would you love to have a Twitter war with? I’m a Twitter newbie (@cindysjones) so it would be best to pair me with someone similarly disadvantaged. Say, Mr. Darcy.
Thanks so much Cindy! xoxo, L&L