Working with Classic Characters, Austen Inspirations

austen-inspirations-graphicMy Austen Inspirations series is loosely based on Jane Austen’s works, some more than others. Emma’s Match features my character, Emma Wallace, a modern version of Austen’s Emma. She first came into being in the second book in the series, None But You, as the heroine’s best friend. My goal was to craft her personality as closely as I could to Austen’s Emma, while setting her in modern-day South Carolina. She’s well-bred and classy, and while some may see her a snobbish, she has a generous heart and the best intentions when matchmaking her friends. But Emma’s Match is not the story of Emma Woodhouse and George Knightley. What I set out to do was to take her character, add similarities to the original Emma, but make it my own story. And while None But You has many similarities to Persuasion, it’s also a new story. Following the original books exactly didn’t work for me, it felt too much like being boxed in. Obviously women of today have more opportunities than women in the early nineteenth century, but human emotion hasn’t changed. The internal struggles women faced then with things like self-image, financial security, and understanding the opposite sex remain today. Using Jane Austen’s characters as a springboard, I allowed myself the freedom to go in new directions. Pride and Butterflies shares simply a theme with Pride and Prejudice: first impressions can go seriously wrong and opinions can change. These heroines are women striving to succeed in building their own businesses, and struggling with personal weaknesses, when the leading man either unexpectedly crashes into the back of her car, suddenly reappears seven years after a broken engagement, or lives down the hall and has no idea of her feelings. All three of the books in this series can be read on their own. They’re filled with clean romance and plenty of humor. Austen, of course, was the first to combine humor and romance.

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