If you’ve read Rita’s latest post on From Pemberley to Milton, you know that I’ve recently visited NYC to meet Rita. I had the most amazing time with Rita and what many readers may not know is that Rita and I became such great friends due to a mutual acquaintance of our, the lovely and gracious JAFF author, Joana Starnes.
Our mutual love for Joana’s books and the long talks we both had with her, brought us closer together, and while we were in NYC, we often wondered what it would be like to have Joana with us and have her share in our conversations. So, despite having an ocean separating the three of us, we decided to do just that! We asked Joana to take part in this adventure and she asked us a series of questions about our time together, JAFF, the Regency era and of course, Jane Austen.
We both replied to Joana’s questions and today we are sharing our answers with our readers. If you are interested in seeing my perspective of our time together, visit From Pemberley to Milton, but I think the most interesting perspective is Rita’s and you can find it right here at Just Jane 1813.
Thank you for taking the time to enjoy her answers, and feel free to ask her anything in the comments below! I’m sure she’ll love to talk more about our time together.
- How long have you known each other before meeting face to face? Where did you first ‘meet’? Did you already know you’ll hit it off by the time you met in real-life?
We’ve known each other for about 9 months. I heard about Claudine when she started her blog at the end of 2015 and then I started talking to her through blog comments, Goodreads comments, etc. It was only a few months ago that we started exchanging e-mails and later on text messages. It has become such a habit that I currently send more text messages to Claudine than I do to some of my friends; so yes, I knew we would get along as soon as we saw each other!
- Where did you go? What did you see? Any pics you’d like to share?
We were only in NYC, but we had a chance to do a lot of things, visit lots of places and have lots of fun. You can read more about my visit in my latest post, My Jane Austen Road Trip, Chapter II, NYC.
- How soon into the conversation did you get to mention Jane Austen and JAFF? How much of that endless list of goodies did you get to cover?
I think it was 30 seconds after we saw each other and stopped saying “Oh my God, I can’t believe I/you am/are really here”.
I’m kidding! Obviously, it wasn’t that soon, but I think it was the first thing we started talking about after we checked in at the hotel. Of course, when we started talking about Jane Austen and JAFF, we covered almost everything! Darcy, favourite authors, Darcy, favourite genres, Darcy, favourite JAFF books, Darcy, when did they fall in love, Darcy. You get the picture right?
- Did you get the chance to chat about anything other than Jane Austen and JAFF?
Oh yes, two days is a long time to be together with someone. We spoke about the educational system in our countries, our husbands and our views about marriage, our jobs, the different architectures of the old and new continent, etc.
- Did you discover common favourites among Jane Austen’s novels? Would you like to share your top three?
We did speak a little about Austen’s novels, especially because Pride &Prejudice is a common favourite and I’m one of those people who cannot love Emma, but our conversations were more about JAFF than Austen herself.
My top three are definitely:
Pride & Prejudice
Sense & Sensibility
- What drew you to reading Austen?
Well, I think that what drew me to read Jane Austen was Mr. Darcy’s personality. I was in the cafeteria of my University with some friends when one of my best friends arrived with a book she was reading and demanded that we listen to some of the passages in it. She was completely in love with Mr. Darcy and could not stop praising him and the book. Initially, I could not understand why she was so in love with a man who would be so mean to the woman he loved when he proposed, but then she explained her view of Mr. Darcy’s character and I thought he would be THE perfect man for (I know, every woman thinks the same thing, lol), so I decided to read the book, and was hooked on Jane Austen ever since.
- What drew you to reading JAFF in the first place? What keeps you attracted to the genre?
I just wanted more of those characters. I read the book several times, saw the BBC adaptation many more times, and then one day when it finished, I just felt I needed more. I started thinking about what it would be like to have more scenes between those characters in different scenarios and situations, so I just typed Mr. Darcy in Amazon’s search bar and that’s how I discovered JAFF.
- Are you glad / not so glad that most JAFF is based on Pride and Prejudice? Do you think that’s all Mr Darcy’s fault?
Oh yes! Pride and Prejudice is my favorite Austen novel and Mr. Darcy my favorite hero, so I wouldn’t mind reading just P&P fan fic. Maybe not just P&P, but definitely those are the books that give me the most pleasure to read.
I would love to say that it’s all Mr. Darcy’s fault, but I would be lying. He is clearly the biggest part of why I prefer Pride and Prejudice over the other books, but I don’t think I would love it as much if I could not love and respect the female character as much as the male character. I love Elizabeth Bennet’s character and I would not enjoy the story so much if it weren’t for her. Persuasion is my second favourite book and one of the reasons why it falls behind P&P is not the male hero (because I also love Wentworth) but the female character. I am sympathetic towards Anne, but she does not have the strength of character and fierceness that I love in Elizabeth Bennet. Also, P&P offers a great variety of settings while some of the other books are more limited in this area, which makes them a little more “grey” in my opinion. So, yes, Mr. Darcy in the PERFECT imperfect man, but he is not the only thing that makes me love P&P.
- What do you like most about P & P? What (if anything) in it drives you crazy?
Cliché, I know, but clearly Mr. Darcy is my favourite thing in P&P. Well, it’s not Mr. Darcy per se, but the fact that the book portrays the perfect match between opposites. Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth’s personality complete each other in the most perfect manner. The strengths one has are the other’s weakness, and what one requires, the other can offer. Mr. Darcy lacks some social abilities, Elizabeth is the most sociable person you can imagine; Elizabeth rushes to conclusions, Mr. Darcy ponders his decisions carefully before he makes them. I could go on, but what I mean to say is that their personalities create a perfect equilibrium that I love to see in couples. Let’s not forget how crazy I am about the X-files and how Mulder and Scully are also the perfect opposites.
- What do you like most about the Regency period? If anyone offered you a seat on the time machine (and promised hand on heart you’d be comfortably well off on the other side, not scullery maids) would you go? How long for? What would you miss apart from friends, family, showers and modern medicine?
Hum…everything? No seriously, I like the values that existed in the Regency period: honor, respect, family, and even pride. People and even objects had a meaning and a value. Nowadays, it seems everything is digital, disposable, and even love does not have the same magic and strength it had in the Regency period. One look at someone during the Regency period meant so much more than one kiss or a one night stand in our society. I identify myself with that way of living and I believe that we have lost many valuable things when compared to the Regency period.
I would definitely go! I often feel I was born in the wrong century, so I would give everything for an opportunity to live in the Regency period. I’ve often imagine what it would be like to have a travelling machine and the ability to come and go as I wished. I’m not sure how long I would want to stay there, but at least 6 months!
Apart from everything you mentioned Joana, I would terribly miss the wide variety of books we have (I’m not much of a Shakespeare person and would miss literature from the 20th and 21st century), electricity and the tv!!! It would be hard to live without my shows !
- If you could ask Jane Austen anything at all, what would that be?
Oh my… Tough question! I would probably ask 2 things; where she got the inspiration for Mr. Darcy and what was her greatest regret.
- Would you tell us more about your plans for your blogs?
I’m planning on starting a new feature called “Readers Reviews” where fellow readers will be my guests to share their opinion about a certain book that I haven’t read yet. I know that some people write beautiful reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, but they do not have the time or the availability to share those reviews with the rest of us on a blog, so I thought it would be a nice idea to ask my readers to take a more active part on my blog, and post a different review by a different reader once a month. What do you think? Is it a good idea?
- Will you meet again soon? Where? (Say UK, say UK 😉 )
I’m personally cheering for Portugal, but something tells me it will be Bath
It’s Giveaway Time!
You can tell from Rita’s comments that we walked a lot through New York City and visited lots of places. That means, of course, that we also entered a lot of shops!
We could not resist buying several Jane Austen related items and we would like to share some of them with our readers!
We would like to giveaway 3 different items to 3 different winners: (Each item is pictured below)
1 – Pride and Prejudice adhesive page flags
2 – Mr. Darcy Funko POP from Pride & Prejudice and Zombies
3 – Elizabeth Bennet Funko POP from Pride & Prejudice and Zombies
To enter this giveaway:
Let us know what you thought about our adventure and ask us anything you would like to ask us; basically, have your share in our conversation. When we are talking about Jane Austen, the more the merrier. To enter this giveaway, you must comment on both of our posts. We will randomly select the winner among the readers who have posted their comments on this post and on Rita’s post at From Pemberley to Milton too.
The giveaway is international and ends on the 20th of August. The winners will be announced on both blogs, Just Jane 1813 and From Pemberley to Milton on the 22nd of August.
Good luck everyone!
Thank you, Joana Starnes, for not only writing some of my favorite JAFF stories but for being a faithful friend and such a passionate supporter of our blogs. I always appreciate the time and effort you put into everything that you do! Thank you for creating such fun questions for our interviews. I loved reading and answering them and I can’t wait to see Rita’s post too!
To Rita, I have to say, thank you for being such a dear friend; you’re such an inspiration to me and I love how you challenge my ideas in such fascinating and engaging ways! Thank you for spending two unforgettable days in NYC with me and making me a tourist in “my own town.” I look forward to the day when I can visit you in Portugal and walk the streets of Lisbon together; discussing JAFF, Austen, and your very own home city! Thank you for being you and sharing yourself through JAFF. You are quite an amazing woman!