Bringing Jane Austen to the 21st Century
Kaitlin Saunders: A Modern Day Persuasion

Nobody minds having what is too good for them.

Posted by Kaitlin Saunders in Blog on July 25, 2011 - (Comments Off)

I’ve been receiving some great feedback from readers and I want to thank you all so much! It makes my day when someone shares how my book has touched their hearts…it just gives me that much more purpose to my pen! If you want to read what people are saying, click on the “see more” link to the right of this webpage.

I do want to mention one review in particular which I discovered. In it, the reader complained that I followed Austen’s original story too closely. Yet rather than this discouraging me, my mother and I were able to laugh with glee while patting myself on the back—I did my job—and I must have done it well! When sitting down to write A Modern Day Persuasion, it was my greatest goal to not falsely alter Jane’s beloved character Anne. My desire was only to update/interpret the story so that readers who don’t want to tackle the old-fashioned verbiage can enjoy such a beloved tale. Readers get exactly what the cover presents, a modern day Persuasion. I know that my book is no Pulitzer Prize candidate, but as long as I can warm the hearts of women world-round, it doesn’t rain on my parade!

My book represents what woman desire in this day and age—a good, clean and wholesome Austen inspired romance that will make you laugh, cry, and sigh wistfully, wishing that the story would never end.

Until next time my friends!    xoxo Kaitlin

Guess what–I’ve been asked to participate in Austenesque Reviews first ever Austenesque Extravaganza!

Over 90 authors were asked to participate and the event lasts the entire month of August.  As I’m already partial to that month, it being my birthday month, it’s bound to be a great way to end the summer!  I’ll be contributing a special blog post to debut August 9th, exactly a month from today.  What a great tribute to Austen and present-day authors dedicated to keeping Jane’s legacy alive!

You can check out Meredith’s website (per the link above) for more information about this event.

Looking forward to it,

Kaitlin

Mel of website “But When a Young Lady is to be a Heroine” completed her review of my novel.  What a way to start out my day–thanks for putting a big smile on my face, Mel!

Check it out! http://butwhenayoungladyistobeaheroine.blogspot.com/2011/07/book-review-modern-day-persuasion.html

Hugs,
Kaitlin

How quick come the reasons for approving what we like!

Posted by Kaitlin Saunders in Blog on July 1, 2011 - (Comments Off)

I’ve discovered something new about myself these last few months.  Although a self-expressed introvert who enjoys my private times of reflection, I like being around people.  I like the noise, the laughter–even if I’m just in the next room.  I find the presence of others soothing.  Growing up in a very close knit family where I was always surrounded by my parents and/or siblings, I find that sometimes I can’t bear the silence.  I’ve never been the life of the party type of girl, but I love observing people, interacting when addressed, but most of all–I love laughing.  I find some evenings when it’s just my husband and myself working away at our silent tasks that I’m more easily distracted and more likely to grow stir crazy if there isn’t something going on in the background.  My husband thinks it odd that I have to either have music playing or the television on.  He can go for hours with only the slight hum of the computer–but not me.  I think that’s why I long for a large family of our own someday.  Yes, the hectic life of mom might drive me mad at times, but there’s nothing like the buzz of being surrounded by the people you love.  

This leads me to ask myself though how I would have survived in the pre-stereo, pre-tv, basically pre-everything world of Jane Austen.  I complain to my husband from time to time that I was born out of time and find myself wishing there was a kind of time machine that would take us back to when I could wear beautiful dresses and share tea with our neighbors.  But how would I have dealt with the quiet life of a woman back then?  I guess there would have been only one solution: have a large family like most during that time.  Jane herself had 7 siblings and came from a close-knit family.  Even though she herself never married, it’s no wonder she and Cassandra were often off visiting their brothers who had children!

And then take a look at Jane’s novels.  Elizabeth had four sisters.  Emma, although practically an only child, had to meddle with others.  Fanny had eight siblings and then after moving in with the Bertrams inherited three more.  Elinor and Marianne had each other as well as their younger sister and half-brother.  Anne, although having two siblings, is not close to either and therefore lived a lonely life until Rick rescued her.  And Catherine had nine siblings.

Can anyone else relate to my dislike of silence?

Friends!

I apologize for my lengthy absence from posting any new blog entries.  As of late I filled the shoes of bridesmaid and it was a rewarding task indeed!  How wonderful to witness the uniting of my friend’s hopes and dreams with her now husband–and what a blessing to have been asked to be a part of a memory she will treasure forever.  Weddings are wonderful aren’t they?  I look back at my own with a sigh…what an amazing time!  Yet what a blur our wedding day was–thank goodness we have pictures to remind us of all that occurred that blessed occasion!  My husband and I often comment to one another that our wedding day was like a whirlwind of happiness.  We can only clearly remember bits and pieces, otherwise the rest is just a blurp of continual happiness!

Being a part of my friend’s wedding this past weekend, and also participating in the preparations and shower got me thinking: why do we celebrate weddings the way we do these days?  What traditions sprouted up years and years ago that morphed into a typical American wedding?  I did some research and here’s what I found:

The Bouquet.  My friend used fresh flowers while I opted for fake.  Centuries ago, a bride’s bouquet consisted of herbs (especially garlic) which were thought to cast off evil spirits.  Not only that but the type of herbs selected symbolized specific traits, much like flowers these days.  

The Wedding Party.  While my husband and I decided on only two in our wedding party (a matron of honor and best man), my friend and her now husband had seven each (including me!).  One site states that during the “marriage by capture” era, the wedding party only consisted of friends of the groom whom helped the groom in kidnapping the bride and thwarting off her angry family.  Bridesmaids and Maid of Honors became more common when weddings were planned.  And apparently the wedding party used to dress in clothing similar to the bride and groom in order to confuse evil spirits or jealous suitors!

Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue.  While I didn’t intentionally follow this Victorian tradition, my friend faithfully attired herself with the described.  The ‘Something Old’ represents a link with the bride’s family and the past.  The ‘Something New’ represents good fortune and success in the bride’s new life.  The ‘Something Borrowed’ is a reminder  to the bride that her family and friends will be there for her when in need.  And the ‘Something Blue’ symbolizes faithfulness and loyalty.  

Giving Away the Bride.  This tradition dates back to ancient times when the bride was considered property and the groom had to present her family with the named price before he was permitted to marry his intended.  Thank goodness we’re no longer property but instead princesses on our wedding day!  This passing off of the bride could also symbolize the passing of authority.  Nowadays, the act of giving away the bride at the beginning of the ceremony is seen more as the parent’s approval of the groom.

Carrying the Bride Over the Threshold.  As one site explains, it was considered lady-like for a bride to be, or appear to be, hesitant to “give herself” to her husband.  Thus the husband would often have to carry his new bride over the threshold to encourage her to go in!  

The Veil.  Although most brides today prefer to wear their veil tucked under their curls on the back of their head (like my beautiful friend), there are still girls out there like myself who enjoy the mystery of walking down the aisle with the veil gently shading our faces.  I can understand about not wanting your expensive hairdo or stunning makeup job to be messed up, but I even went as far as keeping my veil down until the Pastor told my husband he could kiss the bride!  A veil originally represented  the bride’s virginity, innocence, and modesty.  Veils can even be traced back to Roman times when they covered the bride from head to toe.  In some Middle Eastern and Asian cultures where arranged marriages were common, the bride used to wear a veil that covered her face completely, keeping her appearance a mystery for the groom until after they were married!  Talk about surprise!

The White Wedding Dress.  In ancient times blue, not white, symbolized purity (hence the something blue?).  It was the Greeks who initiated white robes to symbolize youth, joy and purity.  Yet wedding dresses were not always popular until Anne of Brittany 1499 wore a white gown to symbolize virginity.  Since then white, or off-white, are typical wedding dress colors, although pastels are becoming more popular.  

Diamond Engagement Rings and the Ring Finger.  In medieval times, the groom paid for the bride’s hand in marriage, sometimes with precious stones to symbolize his intent to marry,  Although this practice has stopped, the gift of a precious stone has endured the test of time.  And the fourth finger of the left hand was chosen because the vein in this finger  was once believed to be directly linked to the heart by the ancient Romans.  In some European counties, the ring is worn on the left hand before marriage and then moved to the right hand during the ceremony.

The Wedding Cake.  My husband’s Grandma made my wedding cakes and let me just say–she is an artist!  What a creative lady!  But you might be interested to know that the cake was originally not eaten, but thrown at the bride!  Man, glad they stopped that whacky tradition!  Apparently wheat represented fertility and fruitfulness–and what better way to bless the bride with a full quiver than to throw the cake at her as a symbol!  Thank goodness Roman bakers took their trade seriously and put an end to that, instead encouraging guests to nibble on sweet cakes during the ceremony!  Ahh shucks…nowadays we have to wait till the bride and groom get the first bite. haha.  

Honeymoons.  My husband and I were blessed with a wonderful trip to Hawaii for our honeymoon while my friend and her new husband chose to cruise around icebergs in Alaska!  Centuries ago, the Teutonic people began the sweet practice of honeymooning since their weddings were only held under a full moon.  This meant that after the wedding, the bride and groom would drink honey wine for 30 days (one full moon cycle) and thus came about the title “honey moon”.

Well, there you have it!  For more interesting information concerning the history of weddings, visit http://www.brideandgroom.com/wedding-articles/wedding-traditions-2.asp .

Hugs for now!

Kaitlin

A Modern Day Persuasion has been featured on the “But When a Young Lady Is To Be a Heroine” website!  Wow, what a lovely tribute.  Thanks Mel!  Stay turned for Mel’s review of my book in the next month or so.

Hugs!

Kaitlin

A Modern Day Persuasion is the latest book suggestion on the JASNA New Jersey chapter’s website!

Check it out:  http://cnjjasna.blogspot.com/

Thanks Meredith!

They make us cry, swoon, get up in arms, blush, smile, and adore…Jane Austen’s leading men are more than just gentlemen—they’re heroes.

My husband made a comment today which I felt rang very true when it comes to Austen’s ideal man. He’s real—he’s never perfect—he has flaws and he make mistakes. And that’s exactly what has made Jane’s leading men stand the test of time. Who wants to idolize a man who clearly couldn’t exist in our world?

Austen’s heroes rescue her female protagonists from their circumstances, in most cases poverty, and even themselves. Mr. Knightley saves Emma from her own folly.

Mr. Darcy rescues Elizabeth and the Bennet’s from ruination.

Captain Wentworth delivers Anne from her inconsequential life.  Henry Tilney comes to Catherine’s aid after she’s cast out by his father’s prejudice.  Edmund delivers Fanny from the everyday slights of Bertrams and eventually from his own oversight of heart.

And Colonel Brandon saves Marianne from her own demise while Edward softens Elinor’s heartbreak by turning up single and delivering her from a life of eventual spinsterhood.

Now I must ask: What must a leading man exhibit to qualify for such a calling as Austen’s hero?

  • He must be a person of noble and strong character
  • He must be handsome (or at least with features that become handsome with fondness)
  • He must be from a wealthy family (regardless if currently wealthy)
  • He must be honest
  • He must have dealt or be dealing with an internal struggle or conflict

Yes, every one of Austen’s heroes exhibit an internal struggle. Mr. Darcy didn’t want to love Eliza, but couldn’t help it. Not only that, but he did have some pride issues he had to work through!

Captain Wentworth, after his first proposal was rejected by Anne, was hesitant to love again but couldn’t resist her.  Edward struggled with his hidden and unhappy engagement to Lucy Steele.  Henry Tilney dealt with the inner conflict of pleasing his father and marrying a wealthy woman.

Colonel Brandon overcame not only the age-difference between himself and Marianne, but her love affair with Willoughby and the initial disapproval she held against second attachments.

And Edmund dealt with his internal struggle—a blind love for Mary.  Thank goodness he overcame it in the end to realize it was Fanny whom he truly loved!

It’s satisfying to know that even my husband can respect Jane’s heroes because they are relatable. He doesn’t have to worry about me swooning now and then over a man (a make-believe one, of course) who’s perfect and sets up this unrealistic standard for him to strive for and only fail. Jane wrote about real men that make mistakes, say the wrong thing at times, who can sometimes harbor grudges, exhibit jealousy—yet whom love their mates whole-heartedly and would do anything for them.  This is the point though however where I have to brag that my husband sets my standard for all other men (make-believe or not!). He’s my real-life hero.

Today my Guestpost debuts on the “My Jane Austen Book Club” website!  It was so much fun answering my friend Maria’s questions and talking more about my book, how it differs/compares to the original novel, and why I love Jane Austen so much!

You can visit Maria’s website by clicking on this link: http://thesecretunderstandingofthehearts.blogspot.com/

Thanks Maria!

If Time Travel Were Possible…

Posted by Kaitlin Saunders in Blog on May 14, 2011 - (Comments Off)

This past week I’ve taken up an old hobby—creating stationary. For months I’d been working steadily on A Modern Day Persuasion as well as my next installment and needed a break. How lovely it’s been reacquainting myself with crafting things of beauty!

Turning on the 1980s version of Pride and Prejudice, I sat down, surrounded by all my card stock, scraps of paper, fabrics, ribbons and glue, and got to work. While I shaped paper, got my hands covered with sticky glue and took occasional creative breaks, I enjoyed the classic rendition of one of Jane’s most brilliant stories.

I’ve often wondered what life would be like had I been born during the Pride and Prejudice time period. Indeed, I often find myself exclaiming now and then that I was born out of time and of course this upsets my husband unless I say “we” were born out of time.  It gets me thinking—what would my life circumstances have been like?

With two brothers, I certainly wouldn’t have lived in an estate which was to be entailed away to a cousin like Mr. Collins—meaning I’d also be safe from the threat of marrying him!

And although my mother feels I have a disposition more like Jane, the older I get, the more I can relate to Eliza.  Yet my family life would have been much different than the Bennets. My father would have been some Captain or other in the militia living comfortably until the start of another war. My mother is and still would have been a beauty who, although with no fortune, caught the eye of my father and with his legacy, they live happily. My older brother would have followed my father’s footsteps and joined the regiment but my young brother would probably have opted for the church, no doubt finding a position through my wealthy uncle who prospered in trade and was elevated to Knighthood. As for myself, although very much a homebody, I would have enjoyed myself and flirted at the local balls until one very worthy young man caught my eye (my husband obviously!) and we would have married in that life as well. Now, where’s our time machine?