What a great weekend I had in Orange, CA! As I have alerted over the past weeks, on Saturday September 22 I was part of a panel discussion on Jane Austen Sequels and Adaptations. The 1st Annual Big Orange Book Festival took place on the gorgeous campus of Chapman University. At 9am I joined fabulous author Syrie James – The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen, Dracula My Love, Nocturne – and Dr. Lynda Hall, professor of English at Chapman University for an interactive discussion. It was a blast!
Among the topics we covered: how we began writing our unique novels, how writing has changed our life, how we adapt the writings of 19th century authors for a modern readership, what we have learned from life by Jane Austen, our theories on why Austen remains so popular 200 years later, the influence of the cinematic adaptations on Austen’s popularity, and writing the unusual secondary characters.
We were a nice mix. I write sequels with an emphasis on the romantic aspects and came to Austen later in life. Syrie writes from an imagined Jane Austen point-of-view, cleverly filling in missing pieces of her life. Dr. Hall is, of course, the scholar writing academic dissertations about Austen novels. We kept the discussion light and fun, ending with questions from the listeners.
Most of our listeners came up afterwards to say hello and have us sign books. Cool! I was especially thrilled to meet the lovely Lori Hedgepeth, a longtime fan of the Darcy Saga. I love, love, love meeting my fans!
Afterwards it was time to relax in the “blue room” with several other authors present at the festival for presentations. It was a pleasure to meet romance novelist Nancy Holder. We attended the talk on Sherlock Holmes history by expert Leslie Klinger. It was fascinating!
Thankfully Syrie, Lynda, and I were free after that. Free to stroll the festival and enjoy an extended lunch. Guess what we talked about? Yes, Jane Austen! But lots more too. Lynda is a new friend, but Syrie has been a pal for a long time, although this was our first extended hang-out session. It was fabulous! Lunch at the Filling Station in Orange was super delicious too.
My husband accompanied me for the weekend, making it a nice getaway for us. We ate at our favorite Indian restaurant one night and Outback another, relished the fine weather for a long walk, and visited The Huntington Museum on Sunday. All in all a terrific weekend!