Would Miss Austen approve?

There is much discussion lately about Jane Austen’s works and the variations written of them by people like me. I try to be very careful when I work with Miss Austen’s characters. My main objective is to avoid having her main characters say or do anything that goes against the way she wrote them. Canva Guardian Cover

I have written both modern and Regency books using the characters from Pride and Prejudice, but in my view, I have never had them do anything that would be objectionable to Miss Austen. The most controversial thing in my work is having Darcy be an angel in the Guardian Trilogy. He is separated from Elizabeth by the difference in their stations. According to the Bible, angels are higher in creation than are humans. Though Xander Darcy is not proud, he is commanding and reserved. He often holds himself aloof. Guarding Elizabeth causes him to change and loving her makes him willing to give up everything he is to marry her. He is a being of high principles. In that respect, I follow the plot line of Pride and Prejudice. There is a time when Darcy loves Elizabeth, but she doesn’t love him because she doesn’t really know him. After she becomes aware of him, there is a “Hunsford” which separates them and nearly destroys her. There is a reconciliation as well.

They do not sleep together before they are wed, and they don’t use foul language. I will never write a dark Darcy, though I have read a few variations with dark Darcys, and I’ve enjoyed them when they were written in good taste. I don’t write Elizabeths who are promiscuous, either.

That’s just me. I have to live with myself and my conscience. I am constrained by my personal beliefs.

I do realize that this blog post sounds judgmental, and heaven forbid we should state an opinion that someone else might not like. There was a day, not so very long ago, that most people would have agreed with me. Now, I’m an outlier. That being said, I haven’t given any bad reviews or heckled anyone who wrote more erotic Austen. Authors have the right to write whatever suits them.

I would hope that I would be allowed the same freedom.

 

 

8 thoughts on “Would Miss Austen approve?

  1. Regina

    I am going to finish Accidentally Yours tonight and I absolutely love it! I totally agree with your premise: you have the freedom to write what works for you and who you are. That said, I enjoy all kinds of JAFF: some simply sweet and romantic, some overtly sensual, detective types, mixing of Austen’s titles, you get the idea. It’s a wonderfully rich world you all are creating! Carry on!

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    1. Robin Helm Post author

      Thank you so much, Regina! I don’t like to read the same plot over and over, so I like different kinds of JAFF, too. I’m a big fan of “what ifs.” Wendi Sotis published a modern mystery romance with a nod to Austen that I love. I also like the Darcy vampire books and a Darcy werewolf book I found. I’m a sci-fi, paranormal geek, so there’s always that element in my stories.

      I’m really glad that you’re enjoying Accidentally Yours. The time-switch premise fascinated me.

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  2. Laura Hile

    Jane’s people are so wonderfully human that they transition into different eras and situations. But as you say, borrowing another author’s characters is tricky. Like you, I am careful when I use them.

    Not many people write minor characters from Persuasion, but everyone writes Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy. Using them took some getting used to!

    I’ve been out of the loop for a while, so I missed the discussions you reference, Robin. How would I feel if someone wrote fan fiction using people I’d created? Not sure.

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    1. Susan Kaye

      I can say how I feel about someone else writing my characters. I’ll never allow it again.

      Laura, it’s not that you don’t do a great job, but no matter how carefully another author tries to stay faithful, it is impossible to keep from layering on their own interpretations. This changes the character, and forever changes what the original author can do in the future. (Not a problem that Jane has.) There will always be shades of Mercy’s Embrace on McGillvary. There will always be the possibility of confusion when I use him. I would dare say that more people associate him with Laura Hile than Susan Kaye.

      I think it’s different with Austen’s characters. She is dead. She knows nothing of what we do with any of her cast. Though, I’ll bet if she could come back and write any of them again, she’d be flogged by some as not keeping in the spirit of the characters.

      As an author, I respect her and so try my best to write them in keeping with how she built them. However, as we go along, the characters age, etc, we will change them to suit that growth.

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Why yes, we DO want a piece of your mind. ;-)

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