Tuesday, July 7, 2009

AustenFest: Final Thoughts & Book Giveaway Winners!!!

Although my AustenFest comes to a close tonight, Austenmania is never quite at an end...nor would I want it to be.

I was talking with a very personable bookseller a few weeks ago, and she told me the staff is thrilled with -- but rather surprised by -- the mushrooming popularity of Austen. She wondered if I could account for it in some way.

Truthfully, I could not. To my limited (and seriously prejudiced) perspective, it seems the world is finally catching on to the genius of Jane. I'm sure I wasn't the first 14-year-old to fall in love with Jane's characters, her humor and her worldview, nor was I the first to claim her as my favorite author in the early 1980s...but it does feel as though many more people are jumping on a bandwagon of collective Austen consciousness these days.

It's impossible for me to see that as a bad thing, even if I can't quite explain it.

I began writing According to Jane in the summer of 2004 and finished it in early 2005. And that wasn't the first Austen-esque novel I'd tried to write. (I attempted to do a P&P spinoff in the late 1990s, but I didn't have either the determination or the narrative skill to push this beyond the idea stage back then.) But publishing is an industry where the wheels often turn at a snail-like pace, so I've gotten a raised eyebrow or twelve this year at my premise, along with a knowing nod and an air of certainty that I'm jumping onto one of the faster-moving writing wagons.

I shall let doubters ponder what they will. I, personally, don't think it's possible to fake a love for Austen, however. I believe true fans of her work will spot copycats in a matter of paragraphs. And it thrills me that amongst the authors of heartfelt Austen-related projects, I've had a chance to host four such dedicated writers in the past few weeks. Thanks to all of them, and to all of you, for being a part of the "fest."

So, now...onto the giveaways!!!

Names have just been drawn and, so, let me be the first to say Congratulations to all of the winners below for coming away with a book. And, for the record, we'll be giving away 12 books tonight, not just 10!!

The winner of Syrie's Charlotte Bronte novel is Melanie!

Kim's In the Garden book goes to Caroline!

Abigail added an additional novel tonight, so her FOUR winners are: alison (who is with the Knitty Bloggy Baby Bumpers), Erica, Marlyn, and hthideman!

The winner of Laurie's Confessions novel is Maria Geraci and the person whose name was drawn for Rude Awakenings is Deb Jensen!

Finally, I have personally decided to give away four ARCs of According to Jane, as well as some Starbucks VIA Ready Brew coffee, so the winning names for that are: AlisonB, Kwana, Nina (aka: Lizzy), and Stargazer!

Some of you I know I can reach, but if we have never emailed privately before or if you know for sure that I don't have your mailing address--and that's most of you!--please contact me here with it: marilynbrant AT gmail DOT com. I will be passing along those addresses to the authors as soon as I get them. So, the faster you email me, the faster you'll be able to get the books you won!!

Congrats, again, to everyone, and thanks to you all for making this event a success. And, don't forget, if you're a coffee lover, I have something exciting coming up very soon especially for you. Expect further details no later than Monday!!!


Melanie said...

Yay! I'm off to email you now. So excited. Thanks for holding the AustenFest. It was tons of fun!

Caryn Caldwell said...

First of all, congratulations to all the winners! That's so exciting, and it was so generous of you to host the authors. :-)

And, secondly, as I was reading your post I was wondering about the popularity of Austen, and my guess would be that with the economy as it is many people are longing for what seemed like a simpler time. Plus romance is a real pick-me-up, and Austen writes some terrific romances.

Marlyn said...

How wonderful! Thank you sooo much!

Marilyn Brant said...

Melanie~You're welcome! Congrats, again :).

Caryn~Great to hear from you!! I think you've hit upon several of the reasons Jane is so popular. I know her books always make me feel more optimistic...

Marlyn~Yay!! You're very welcome!!

Deb said...

I am soo excited! I can't wait to read Laurie's new book! I do hope that Austenfest will become an annual event! :) As for me, I like Jane because her heroines were always strong women. And many of the issues they faced still resonate today--love vs. money, family dynamics, doing what's expected vs. pursuing your dreams. And as others have noted, at the heart of her books, is an underlying faith that things can be better.

Kwana said...

Yay! I'm so excited to get your book. Cut to me clapping my hands. Thanks so much. Off to email you now.

L.A. Mitchell said...

What a great fest you ran, dear Marilyn. You must be spent, but what a huge success :)

See you next week!!

lainey bancroft said...

As always a terrific giveaway, Marilyn. Mega congrats to all the lucky winners!

There is a huge AustenFest stirring. Way to go for hitting the right project/right time/right writing dynamic and catching the wave!

(p.s. I really must go check "the Knitty Bloggy Baby Bumpers" the catchy name just...fascinates me) =)

Marilyn Brant said...

Oooh, Deb, yes!! All of those reasons you mentioned are excellent ones. Jane's themes are universal and timeless, which is why, when they make adaptations like "Bride & Prejudice" and "Clueless," I think the story still works so well :).

Kwana~Yay!! Glad you're excited to read it. Hope you'll still feel that way when you're finished with it!!

Thanks, L.A. Can't wait to see you in your GH gown next weekend! You will know where I'm sitting from my loud cheers for you.

Lainey~Thank you!! It was a fun "fest" for me and, IMO, any time people want to gather to celebrate Jane, I'm there! BTW, are you a knitter?? I have friends who are great with needles. Me...not so much :).

Pamela Cayne said...

Congrats to all of the winners--woo hoo! And thanks to Marilyn for hosting a lovely (and hopefully repeating) AustenFest. Kudos!

(And if I may prevail upon you for a blow-by-blow (including pictures) of the lovely L.A. in her GH dress and acceptance speech? If you'd like, I can send you my Dukes of Hazard bullhorn...

Marilyn Brant said...

Thanks, Pamela! You (and your Dukes of Hazard bullhorn) will be missed this year... I have a digital camera now, so all those I encounter in D.C.--L.A. included-- should consider themselves forewarned :).

Dina said...

congrats to the winners.

Marilyn Brant said...

Dina~thanks :). Hope you're having a great weekend!!

Caroline said...

Marilyn--Woo Hoo!!!

Thank you! I am sooooooooooo thrilled to win Kim Wilson's, In the Garden with Jane Austin!!! I was fairly drooling over it and was visualizing about it all the time. Can't wait to receive it. It will proudly be displayed on my coffee table---it matches my sofa! LOL ….Yea!!

Also, your Jane fest was such a great success. I hope to plan something of the sort for my blog.

Huge hugs and CAN'T WAIT to see you in DC. That is very soon. Have a great flight..


Congrats to the other 'lucky' winners!

Marilyn Brant said...

Congrats, Caroline!! Kim's book is lovely--I have no doubt you'll enjoy it! Looking forward to seeing you in D.C., esp. at the big book signing where you'll be autographing *your* novel :).