Today, my Just Jane 1813 readers, we have bestselling romance novelist, Maya Rodale, here visiting with us. Maya has written numerous, bestselling, romance novels, and recently she penned her very first JAFF story, “Lady Bridget’s Diary” , which is a mash-up between “Pride and Prejudice” and “Bridget Jones’ Diary.” I know she’s quite busy putting the final touches on her next book in this series, so without further adieu, please help me welcome Maya Rodale to Just Jane 1813.
Maya, I want to begin by thanking you for joining us at Just Jane 1813. I have to say that I am relatively new to your work and after doing my research into your writing work, I was quite impressed with the interviews I read about you online and the reviews I read for the books you have published.
My reading interests, as well as my Just Jane 1813 readers’ interests, center around what is usually referred to as Jane Austen Fan Fiction. Therefore, when I saw that Beau North had recommended your new book in her recent JAFFcast, I knew my readers would love to hear about your new book and learn more about your work as an author.
Would you mind starting by telling us why after writing so many successful romance novels did you decide to write one based on Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice?”
Why not tackle the ultimate romance novel? 😉 With my new series, Keeping Up With The Cavendishes, I knew I wanted to revisit modern rom-com plots we all know and love because I love the idea of exploring how love and stories change (or don’t!) over time. So I really started with the idea of writing a Regency era version of Bridget Jones’s Diary, which is (and is not) Pride & Prejudice. Long story short, I took a round about way to revisiting that classic plot and romance. The result is Lady Bridget’s Diary.
What can you share with my readers from the next book in this series?
The next book in the Keeping Up With the Cavendishes series is Chasing Lady Amelia. Readers of Lady Bridget’s book will know that Amelia goes missing halfway through the novel and this story reveals where she went and with whom (hint: she runs off with the hero, of course). This book is based on the Audrey Hepburn classic, Roman Holiday, but there is a P&P connection…
Oh, I love the idea of connecting Audrey Hepburn to a JAFF story! Will you write more JAFF books after this second book?
I don’t plan to write more JAFF books after this one, though Amelia’s story was definitely inspired by Lydia’s scandalous elopement in P&P. That’s such a pivotal part of Elizabeth and Darcy’s story, so I knew I had to include it in Lady Bridget’s Diary. Because my series features interconnected books about a batch of siblings, I also knew I had to write Lydia’s side of running away (or in my case, Amelia’s version). I loved how the plot of Roman Holiday dovetailed with that plot point in P&P and thus, the story was born! Note: because it’s a romance novel, Amelia and her hero end up truly living happily ever after (I don’t get the sense Lydia and Wickham do).
I don’t get the sense that Lydia and Wickham did either, but I do enjoy JAFF stories that try to redeem them a bit as a married couple. I love that your next book is a twist on Lydia’s story, but it sounds a bit lighter and brighter. When you decided to write a JAFF inspired story, what influenced your decision to exclude Elizabeth Bennet from this story and include Lady Bridget as your heroine instead?
The book was a result of my amusing* habit of “Regency-ifying” titles of modern pop songs, TV shows, movies, etc. So when I hit upon Lady Bridget’s Diary instead of Bridget Jones’s Diary, my imagination ran wild and I knew I found a story I wanted to write. Plus, I love a character like the Bridgets—wonderfully imperfect, totally doesn’t have her sh*t together, good hearted, and funny. That’s not to say Elizabeth doesn’t have those or other fine qualities, but the story I wanted to write was really about a bumbling girl, her diary, and her Darcy.
*It’s amusing to me!
What essential elements from “Pride and Prejudice” did you hope to capture in your story?
Well, the plot is so perfect! In trying to determine which scenes and characters to include or exclude, I discovered how tightly and perfectly Jane Austen wove all the story threads together and how it’s very tricky to pick and chose which elements to cut.
I also noticed how little time Elizabeth and Darcy spend together on the page—something that probably wouldn’t go over well with today’s readers of Regency romance—but that means the love story doesn’t come from a series of cute moments, but real and deep character development. It’s a love story that happens largely in their heads. And that is something I hope I captured in Lady Bridget’s Diary.
Why do you think people are still so drawn to Jane Austen and her work over 200 years later?
Jane Austen wrote great books. Full stop. I think it also helps that her stories are taught in school, which means each generation of readers gets to discover them during their required summer reading.
What has helped you develop your readership over time?
I think it comes down writing more and more books, as well as being available to readers either online or at events. But probably just writing book after book.
So being a proficient has paved the way for you. Lady Catherine would be so proud! How can readers discover more about you and your work?
Great question! J Readers can find me online at www.mayarodale.com where I blog about the romance genre and behind the scenes stories about my books. I’m also on Facebook (/mayarodalewriter) and Twitter (@mayarodale)
Thanks for visiting Just Jane 1813 today, Maya, and for taking the time to share your love of Jane Austen with us today. When your next book, “Chasing Lady Amelia” is published this summer, I will be sure to share it with my readers. For all of the readers who want to catch up with the Cavendishes, check out Amazon to purchase “Lady Bridget’s Diary,” and to preorder “Chasing Lady Amelia.” I also highly recommend visiting Ms. Rodale’s blog for deleted scenes from “Lady Bridgey’s Diary,” and for lots of awesome JAFF related posts!
I know Maya would love to hear from my Just Jane 1813 readers. Please feel free to comment on this post and share your feedback with us. If you have read “Lady Bridget’s Diary,” we’d love to read your comments about this story. Please also share any other comments regarding other romance novels you’ve enjoyed by Maya Rodale and thank you, dear readers, for joining us today!