Wednesday, September 29, 2010

At long last—Jane!

          I suppose it’s fitting that the tenth book in the Jane Austen Mystery Series should appear in the Year Ten, as one Austen hero might put it.  When I started writing these books—ahem, when I began editing Austen’s long-lost journals of her detective adventures—I was thirty-one years old and pregnant with my son Sam.  He’s now nearly sixteen and thinking about college, his little brother is twelve, and I’m forty-seven.  (I think often about the fact that Jane died at forty-one.)  During the intervening years, Colin Firth laid down a Darcy for the ages, and Zombies somehow ate their way through Regency England.  Austenmania is a full-blown publishing, blogging, cinematic and tweeting phenomenon.  The obsession with Jane’s intelligent women and satiric men has found its way to Bollywood and back.  I wonder, often, what that mordantly funny woman in Hampshire would have thought of it all.
In my parallel universe, it’s now 1813 and Jane has only four years to live.  She doesn’t know that, of course—she’s too busy publishing Pride and Prejudice and writing Mansfield Park to be aware of the insidious disease creeping through her body.  This is the year Jane seized at life: though still an anonymous author, she was beginning to be a successful one.  Her acute and independent voice empowered her, in a world that gave little room to women.  Jane’s determination to speak and be heard continues to inspire me.  
And so I’ve decided to start writing this blog.  It won’t be a daily posting, and it won’t deal solely with things Austen.  I like to think of it as a voice in the dark—a place where I can whisper my thoughts about life and writing, debate my direction, and perhaps enjoy a conversation or two.  Feel free to comment or question; feel free to lurk unawares.  I’ll do my best to answer.

Stephanie Barron  


  1. Hi Stephanie, I feel honored to be the first commenter on your beautiful new blog!

    I think you might be surprised at how often you will want to post. It is very addictive and you have a strong and unique voice that many will enjoy and benefit from. In addition to talking about Jane and your books, I hope you will share some of your writing insights with others.

    Best wishes on your blogging journey.

  2. Hey, Laurel Ann, it's a treat to have such an Accomplished Blogging Woman stop by. :)

    I truly don't intend this to be Jane-centric, but rather a place to think out loud about a lot of things. When the urge moves me. We'll see how often that is; I'm in the throes of writing a non-Jane book at the moment, and sometimes the daily pages exhaust the writing urge completely. We'll see!

  3. Hello, Stephanie.
    I wrote to you once before, when I discovered that you were born here where I live, in Binghamton, NY. When I first discovered your Jane Austen mysteries, I needed a babysitter to attend our informal reader's group. Now, I have a son in college, a son in the Marines, and my baby is 17. I find that because of these changes, I am spending more time in deep thought, contemplating my life and my faith. While I keep a journal, I don't have a blog, but I will enjoy checking in with yours. And I am looking forward to reading your latest Austen mystery.

  4. I am so glad to see you in blog land. When I read the first Jane Austen book, I kept pinching myself that the book wasn't written by Austen herself. You channel her so well!
    I often felt that the world was robbed of great fiction when Jane died so young.

    And here you were channeling her and having her star in a mystery series. Jane and mysteries, perfect chemistry.

    Looking forward to reading your latest.

  5. @Dar

    You know, Dar, you can take the girl out of Binghamton, but...I got another Blast from the Past this weekend when my younger son, Steve, had to interview me for a class. He asked: "What's something about you that I don't know?" And I said: "That I was on television for two weeks when I was five years old, on a show called Romper Room." He'd never heard of Romper Room. But it filmed over in Endicott-Johnson, the town next to Binghamton, and for a minute I was right back there, being a Do-Bee. Let me know if you enjoy the latest Jane--Best, Stephanie

  6. @Amisha

    When I was writing the first Jane, I felt almost illicit about it--as though I were violating something sacred. Tampering with a Perfect 10. I think that's a healthy feeling--it keeps me from taking Jane for granted. Or my own writing. As time has passed and I've written a number of different books, however--most of them NOT Jane, and most of them challenging for me to tackle--I've come to see this series as a sort of refuge. I come back to Jane with a sigh of relief. It's such a pleasant world to inhabit mentally, Amisha, as you undoubtedly know.

  7. Lovely to blog about Jane and your mysteries. Why was the most recent one published only in paperback? Such a setback for collectors of your books:-(