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An Interview with Laurie Viera Rigler, author of Austen Addict novels

I had the honor and pleasure of doing this fun interview with the lovely Laurie Viera Rigler (photo, artworks, and banners used her are courtesy of Laurie herself. Thanks!), best-selling author of Jane Austen inspired novels, Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict and Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict (as well as the creator and writer of Sex and the Austen Girl, the web series inspired by her novels).

I must confess, I'm not a Jane Austen addict (probably because I'm more of a P&P addict, lol), but I had a great time reading both of her delightful, fun, witty, and fabulous novels. I couldn't put them down when I read them recently. They were quite a page-turner and I loved and enjoy reading them. Not too mention, in her novels, Pride and Prejudice was the favorite book of the main characters/heroines Jane Mansfield and Courtney Stone. There were lots of Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet mentions too as well as the 1995 BBC/A&E P&P miniseries, Colin Firth, and  Matthew Macfadyen. What's not to love? So, I thought why not do an interview with Laurie here as I loved her books and one of her novels were on the list of my Book Recommendations: Jane Austen Inspired Novels (Part 1). She was so wonderful and gracious enough to let me do an interview with her here on this blog when I asked her. Thank you so much Laurie!

Also, Laurie is giving away two signed copies of her awesome Austen Addict novels to two lucky winners!! All you have to do is leave a comment here to be entered a chance to win her novels. First, read part 1 (of my two-parts interview with her) and read further for more details on how you can win her novels (after the cut)...



Jeane: How did you discover Jane Austen and when did you become a fan?
Laurie Viera Rigler: Thanks for inviting me to your blog, Jeane! About fifteen years ago, there was a huge wave of Austen film adaptations coming out, and I wondered what the fuss was all about, having never read Jane Austen in school. SENSE AND SENSIBILITY was the first one I read, and I instantly fell in love.

J: Have you read all six of Jane Austen novels or seen all adaptations of each of her novels?
LVR: After SENSE AND SENSIBILITY, I read the other five major novels in quick succession, and I have been re-reading them ever since. I read all six novels at least once a year. I never tire of Austen's inimitable way of combining social satire, comedy, suspenseful love story, and even heart-wrenching tragedy in one book. And it's all done with a keen eye for the best and worst of human nature. These are deeply satisfying stories, and I always see something new in them every time I read them.

As for the films, it's always exciting when a new one comes out. But I have to see a new film at least twice to begin to enjoy it as a work unto itself. The first time I watch an Austen adaptation, I spend most of the time mentally comparing it to the book and thinking, why did they leave this out and why did they add that bit? But after I get that out of the way, I try to experience the film as an entertainment in its own right. I understand the impossibility of adapting any book in a truly faithful manner. The medium of film and the medium of literature are so different, that it simply isn't possible to simply transfer a book to a screen. Even a five-hour extravaganza like the 1995 BBC PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, easily the most faithful of all the adaptations, deviated to some degree from the text. But I do enjoy watching filmmakers try to bring these beloved books to life on the screen, and many of them have done a fine job. When they get it right, it's great fun to watch. Which is why I have seen all of the films made since the mid-1990's, plus the 1980 and 1940 versions of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE.

J: Which one of JA novels is your most favorite to read and why?
LVR: PERSUASION is my favorite, for many reasons. I love the idea of second chances, and the rewards of constancy, and the balance between persuadability and obstinacy, and most of all, The Letter, which may be the most romantic in all of English literature. And I have a thing for Captain Wentworth. But then again, I also have a thing for Mr. Darcy and Mr. Knightley and Henry Tilney.

J: Which TV or film adaptations from JA novels is your favorite?
LVR: A few of my favorites are the 1995 PERSUASION, directed by Roger Michell and starring Amanda Root and Ciarán Hinds. It is beautifully cast and acted and directed, and has an earthy realism to it that I find refreshing after the Hollywood gloss of most of the films.

But gloss is fun, too, which is why I also love BRIDE AND PREJUDICE, the Bollywood-meets-Hollywood version of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, directed by Gurinder Chadha, who also directed another of my favorite films, BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM. BRIDE AND PREJUDICE makes me want to sing and dance and wear bright colors. If anyone out there is feeling out of sorts with all the holiday madness, just pop this one in the DVD player: instant antidepressant!

And of course there is the Ang Lee SENSE AND SENSIBILITY, with the brilliant screenplay by Emma Thompson. Of all the Austen adaptations, I think Thompson came closest to capturing Austen's unique blend of satire, tragedy, and romance. It's really a challenge to make your audience laugh within five minutes of the main characters' losing their beloved father, but she pulls it off, just as Austen did in the novel.

I also love the 1995 BBC PRIDE AND PREJUDICE starring Colin Firth and , even more so now that it's been remastered. It's always been the most faithful of the adaptations (after all, it has five hours to be so), and at the same time what screenwriter Andrew Davies added was brilliant. Its lead actors completely embody Darcy and Elizabeth. And thus it's deeply satisfying to watch, despite its not being the most cinematically exciting of the films, in my opinion.

J: Speaking of Jane Austen and her classic novels, how did she (and her novels) inspired you to start writing your own novels?
LVR: Writing two Austen-inspired novels wasn't something I planned. It just happened. Courtney Stone, the protagonist of CONFESSIONS OF A JANE AUSTEN ADDICT, simply popped into my head one day. I saw her, this twenty-first-century Austen fan, waking up one morning in a bedchamber in Regency England, in someone else's body. I couldn't stop thinking about her, and I started writing down what I saw in my mind. I kept writing, the story kept coming, and eventually I had a book. Clearly my own immersion in Austen, my constant re-readings of her novels and re-screenings of the films, and my own fantasies about what it would be like to live in Austen's world, led to this character's appearance in my life.

Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict 
North American (L) and UK (R) editions
 (book covers by Plume US/Bloomsbury UK, courtesy of Laurie Viera Rigler)

J: So far, you've written two JA inspired novels, Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict and The Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict. How did the concept of those two novels came about?
LVR: I knew that if I was writing Courtney's story about taking over the life of a gentleman's daughter in !813 England, then that lady from 1813 England would have to be taking over Courtney's life in twenty-first-century L.A. Originally, I thought that both of these stories would be in one book, but it didn't feel right. And so I ended up writing these stories as two separate books, parallel stories rather than sequels. They are connected, yet each one is standalone. The first book is CONFESSIONS OF A JANE AUSTEN ADDICT, and the second book is RUDE AWAKENINGS OF A JANE AUSTEN ADDICT.

Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict
North American (L) and UK (R) editions
 (book covers by Plume US/Bloomsbury UK, courtesy of Laurie Viera Rigler)

To be Continued...

(Part 2 is coming soon! Stay tune!)


Confessions and Rude Awakenings Giveaway 
How to Enter and Win: Everyone who comments on this post starting today  till December 23rd will be entered on the book giveaway here. Two lucky winners (winning one signed copies each of the two books) will be announced on Christmas Day! Sunday, December 26th. All you have to do to win is leave a comment (with your name and valid email address) here or tell us What your favorite Jane Austen movie(s) is/are and Why? You'll be automatically entered on the giveaway for a chance to win the following... The contest is now closed and two winners has been selected. 

Prizes (for two lucky winners!):
2 Books (both signed copies courtesy of Laurie Viera Rigler)
1. Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict by Laurie Viera Rigler
2. Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict by Laurie Viera Rigler

NOTE: Open to all participants/entrants WORLDWIDE!

Good luck to all participants/entrants!!!

Links of Interest

Comments

  1. My favorite Jane Austen movie is Pride and Prejudice (2005). This is the first exposure I had to anything JA and I fell so madly, deeply in love that I watch the movie at least once a week, read her books multiple times a year, and own all of the adaptations of P&P. It will always be my favorite just for opening the doors but I also love Keira Knightley's portrayal of Elizabeth Bennet. And I think Matthew McFadyen as Mr. Darcy was brilliant! I think he portrayed the struggle that Mr. Darcy went through, the desire to be with Elizabeth but knowing that she was "beneath" him... :Sigh: Amazing.

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  2. I loved this interview. I felt as if there were some similarities with my opinions.

    My first contact with Austen was also through the adaptations, Pride and Prejudice 1995 to be precise. Still today it is my favorite. After seeing that and Ang Lee´s Sense and Sensibility I started reading the books and so fell in love. It took me so long to read Persuasion, but when I did it soon became my favorite. I love Anne´s struggles and Cap. Wentworth is my favorite Austen man. I can´t wait for the next part of this interview. I´m sure it will be fun. My email is elen.biguelini@hotmail.com

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  3. My favourite Jane Austen movie would be Pride and Prejudice (one with Colin Firth to be precise!).

    I loved Elizabeth feisty manner and Mr. Darcy's reticience! it was a magical mix.

    mystica123athotmaildotcom

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  4. Austen adaptation, I think, I spent most of the time mentally comparing it with the book and thought

    ReplyDelete
  5. Happy Birthday Jane!!
    Thanks for bringing our lives all the happiness of a good book! You are unique!

    ReplyDelete
  6. My favourite Jane Austen's adaptation is Pride and Prejudice '95. I think it's the most complete of all P&P adaptations, and the casting, locations, costumes, plot... are superb. I adore it!

    conchisc3atgmaildotcom

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  7. I have a couple of favs. My first favorite is my first encounter with Jane Austen, it was Pride and Prejudice of 1980 I think, with David Rintoul as Darcy! I was 17 than and he send me an autograph! My second favorite is the Colin Firth adaption of P and P. He is my best Mister Darcy ever (and yes, got his autograph too, 30 years later than the first :). And a third favorite is Emma with Jeremy Norton as Knightly. I loveeeeee the moment he says, I rode through the rain! I'd - I'd ride through worse than that if I could just hear your voice telling me......with that expression on his face...ah awesome. Gives me the shivers every time I see that again.

    Elsina
    elsinab@bezeqint(dot)net

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  8. My favorite Austen movie is P&P with Kiera Knightley. I was ready to scorn it after falling in love with the BBC adaptation but the movie really grew on me. The lush musical score was a really big plus. :-) A very close second was Emma starring Johnny Lee Miller. I finally got the appeal of Mr. Knightley. :-)

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  9. Persuasion - with Amanda Root
    and Ciaran Hinds is my
    favorite.

    Though I have to admit a
    fondness for Sense and
    sensibility (Emma Thompson
    et al

    Think I'll pull out Persuasion
    (the novel).

    Interesting interview ; on to
    part tow please

    Caroline

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  10. My first exposure to Jane Austen was 7-8 years ago. I saw the movie Sense & Sensibility by chance on TV and got the urge to further explore about it. That mini-search introduced me to the world of Jane Austen and ever since I’m an Austen fan. I have read all her works several times. My most favourite ones are Pride and Prejudice and Emma. I love both works because of 1. the witty, intelligent and stubborn nature of the heroines and 2. the ideal heroes: the kind of man every woman would love to spend her life with (and of course, here I am talking about Mr. Darcy and Mr. Knightley)… =)
    As to my favourite movie… I love them all… but my present favourite would be ‘Lost in Austen’ (based on Pride & Prejudice). It is really interesting to see a contrast between present day society and Jane Austen’s time.

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  11. 1st favorite: P&P 2005. Matthew Macfadyen really warmed up the role of Darcy. KK was an excellent Lizzy. The roles were well cast.

    2nd favorite: May have to be "Becoming Jane"...While although not "factual" it was nice to see a film about Jane, and what her daily life/social expectations may have been. Anne Hathaway did a great job, and would be how I would picture "JA". The soundtrack is beautiful

    ReplyDelete
  12. Choosing just one is hard... but I think I'd have to go with the '95 Sense and Sensibility. Emma Thompson is genius, as both screenwriter and actress!

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  13. just have to say that i love your books Laurie!! and this was a wonderful interview!!

    my favorite Jane Austen movie is definitely Pride and Prejudice 2005. it's what made me fall in love with and even notice Jane Austen's novels!!! I had to see it because Keira Knightley was in it and i instantly fell in love when the music played and again when Matthew Macfadyen (Mr. Darcy!) came on the screen.

    This movie is the reason I have read so many Austen related novels :D

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  14. Thanks, it was a great interview.

    My favorite Jane Austen movie is Persuasion (2007) with Sally Hawkins. I felt the same when I read the book. But I think the main reason that my favorite book is Persuasion too :).
    I really love Pride and Prejudice(1995 TV), I usually watch it with my Mom.
    Borcsa Tolvaj (tolvaj(at)gmail(dot)com)

    ReplyDelete
  15. Thanks everyone for reading the interview, commenting and participating on the giveaway here. I'll announced the winners this afternoon. So, be sure to check back here sometime this afternoon to see if you're one of the two lucky winners.

    ReplyDelete

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