Today I have the pleasure of sharing my discussion with Karin Quint, a freelance journalist and photographer, who has written the most comprehensive Jane Austen Travel Guide to date. When I saw a sneak peek into Karin’s book, I knew I wanted to share this amazing project with Janeites all over the world!
I hope you enjoy learning more about her Jane Austen project.
Good day, Karin Quint and welcome to Just Jane 1813.
Thank you for sharing your amazing project today with my readers. Your book, Jane Austen’s England, is the first comprehensive guide to all of the places in Jane Austen’s novels, the places she lived and visited in her own life, and the locations from all of her film adaptations. Since the book has been published in Dutch, your native language, you’d love to raise enough money through a Kickstarter to have it published in English.
Can you share with my readers some information about yourself and your work on this project?
My love for Jane Austen started when I was about 20 years old and bought a copy of Pride and Prejudice on a flea market. I loved it from the first page to the last! After that, I read the other five novels, but I didn’t stop there. I watched every film adaptation that I could find and read many biographies. Unfortunately, I didn’t know many people who shared my passion for Austen, so in 2009 I started the Dutch website JaneAusten.nl. Since then my life has changed a lot! I made many new friends, with whom I visit and organise regency balls, go to the Jane Austen Festival in Bath and have book club meetings, amongst other things.
Please explain all of the details about this unique book.
The book has descriptions of ca. 200 locations that have a relation to Jane Austen’s life, her work or the adaptations of her novels. Every location has a description of what the connection with Jane Austen is, the history of the location and practical information like address and opening hours. Where I could, I added nice anecdotes (I love anecdotes!). For example, I talked with people who were involved in the filming of various adaptations and who could give me some nice details. Did you know that Judi Dench, while playing Lady Catherine de Bourgh in Pride and Prejudice, had a Tesco bag under her chair in Burghley House with her knitting project in it? Every time lamps had to be adjusted or there was another pause in filming, she started knitting. Since I know this, I can’t help imagining Lady Catherine knitting a nice scarf for her nephew Mr Darcy!
What inspired you to begin this book?
As the webmaster of JaneAusten, I frequently got asked for advice about visiting locations that are related to Jane Austen and her novels. In the summer of 2012, when I was on an Austen pilgrimage of my own and was staying in Lyme Regis, I received an email from a man who wanted to surprise his two daughters by taking them on a Pride and Prejudice tour. I had made such a tour myself, so it wasn’t very hard to give him some advice. When I replied to his email, I suddenly wondered why there wasn’t a comprehensive Jane Austen travel guide. Because I am a journalist and photographer, I decided to write one myself.
How did you prepare for this book?
For three months I reread Austen’s novels, her letters, and many biographies. Every time I encountered a location, I made a note of it. And I rewatched every adaptation from 1995 to 2013 and made screenshots of scenes where a location was clearly visible. After all that, I had a long list of over 300 locations. I researched online which locations (streets, houses, buildings etc.) are still there and accessible to the public. I ended up with a long list of over 200 locations. In January 2013, I started travelling through England to visit each and every one of them. It took me almost three months in total.
How long did it take you to complete this book?
Researching, travelling and writing took about a year. After that, I had to read and reread the proofs. In all, from the time I had the idea to the moment the book was available in the bookstores, it took a year and 8 months.
What surprised you throughout this process? Any funny stories you want to share with us?
I found it surprising how well known and loved Jane Austen is in England. I encountered many people during my travels, men and women of all ages and all of them talked about Austen as if she was an old friend and everyone had a favourite Austen novel.
I had a great meeting with dowager baroness FitzWalter from Goodnestone, a lovely estate in Kent, where Jane Austen sometimes visited. The 90-year-old dowager was a real Janeite and an active member of the Kent branch of the Jane Austen Society. She had promised to show me around, but first, she wanted to test my knowledge. A day earlier an American gentleman had visited her who had said he was an Austen fan, but she wasn’t much impressed by what he knew. So she asked me questions to see if I had done my research. After that, she showed me around for over an hour, so I guess I passed the test!
Last year the dowager passed away, but I have very fond memories of meeting her.
What new insights about Austen did you uncover throughout this process?
I was amazed to discover how much and how far she travelled! In those days travelling was expensive and time-consuming, but in the 41 years that she lived, Jane saw much of the south of England and travelled as far north as at least Warwick, in the West Midlands. It was amazing to visit places she had visited and to see that a lot of the buildings she had known were still there, over 200 years later.
What’s next for this book?
With my Kickstarter campaign, I want to have the book translated and published in English. When we reach our funding goal of €14.000, my Dutch publisher is going to print an exclusive English edition, that won’t be available in stores. We want to reach this goal by selling the book in advance through Kickstarter. And there are no risks for backers: if we don’t reach our goal, you don’t pay anything. And if we reach our goal, you get a one-off English edition of Jane Austen’s England, which you can use to make your own Austen pilgrimage, for real or from your armchair!
What will the funds be used for?
A large part of the funds will go to translation costs. Other expenses they will cover include production, printing, distribution/shipping and Kickstarter fees.
Funding on Kickstarter is all-or-nothing. No one will be charged for a pledge towards a project unless it reaches its funding goal.
Why publish this book now?
2017 is an important year: it is not only the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death, but it’s also when the new 10-pound banknote featuring her image will be issued. Many Jane Austen fans will want to visit England to experience some of the many events that will be organised (or to be one of the first to pay with the Austen banknote!), and such a guide will help them get the utmost out of their visit.
How can readers learn about how they can support this book?
It is really important that many Janeites support this book by buying one in advance. If we don’t reach our goal, the book will not be translated and published in English!
So please back our Kickstarter project via this link: http://kck.st/2fuhfJJ
And if you want more information, then please visit www.janeaustentravelguide.com
Check out the Table of Contents below to see the list of locations included in this book:
I just made my donation today. I hope this project reaches its goal and we get to see the English translation in publication!
Thank you, Karin, for stopping by to share your project with my Just Jane 1813 readers.