I’m Shannon Winslow, and this blog is dedicated to writing and Jane Austen – two subjects I’m passionate about. I’ll use a JA quote as the inspiration or illustration for each post. Thus the title “Jane Austen Says…”
“Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery. I quit such odious subjects as soon as I can, impatient to restore everybody not greatly in fault themselves to tolerable comfort, and to have done with all the rest.”
I claim this Jane Austen quote (taken from Mansfield Park, chapter 48) as my motto, in that it illustrates my literary philosophy. I’m interested in books that entertain, that make you feel good, that sweep you away to another world. Although I know that without conflict there is no story, I’m glad when it’s time to do away with the culprits and reunite friends and lovers for a happy ending. Reader satisfaction, in my opinion, stems from the hero or heroine overcoming difficulties, not being destroyed by them. If someone prefers a dose of harsh reality, they can turn to “other pens” or turn on the news instead. But I can be trusted to not dwell on guilt or misery any longer than necessary, and to restore the characters I’ve come to care about to tolerable comfort by the end of the book, as Jane Austen always did.
Her fans wish she had lived long enough to author more than six classic novels, but unfortunately both Jane Austen’s life and her literary output ended prematurely. I’ve tried to pick up where she left off, writing the kind of stories she told, the way she told them: novels about the pitfalls of love and marriage in early nineteenth century English society, related with subtle wit, a touch of humor, and in the elegant language of the era.
Here’s how I got my start:
I was minding my own business – raising two sons and pursuing a very sensible career – when an ordinary trip to Costco about twelve years ago changed my life. That was the day a copy of the ’95 film adaptation of Pride and Prejudice fairly leapt off the shelf and into my oversized shopping cart. After watching the mini-series, I was hopelessly hooked on the story, Colin Firth’s Darcy, and all things Jane Austen.
One may guess what followed – compulsive reading, late-night trips to the library and video store, secret rendezvous with fictional heroes Mr. Darcy and Mr. Knightley. Finally, only one thing remained. My enthusiasm ultimately inspired me to begin writing my own stories a la Austen. I just sat down one day to attempt what I wanted most: a faithful sequel to Pride and Prejudice. I had no thought of publishing at first, but it turned out I have a flair for writing in an Austenesque style, and I’ve never looked back.
That early effort became my debut novel The Darcys of Pemberley, which quickly became a best seller in the thriving Jane Austen fan fiction niche market. Seven more novels have now followed. I’ve heard that if you truly are a writer, you can’t NOT write. That certainly has become true of me!
With my two sons now grown and my ‘day job’ a thing of the past, I’m grateful to have the time to indulge my creative pursuits in music, art, and especially writing. I consider this unexpected second career as a novelist a wonderful gift. I live with my husband, the love of my life, in the log home we built in the countryside south of Seattle. There I write and paint in my studio facing Mt. Rainier.
Thank you for your interest!