Sunday, October 18, 2009

Welcome Marilyn Brant!

The Girlfriends Cyber Circuit is on fire lately! I noticed According to Jane by my fellow GCC-er Marilyn Brant was doing well on Amazon before it was even released at the end of September, and there's already over 35 reader reviews. Good on you, Marilyn. I haven't read the book yet, but the synopsis makes me think of my own first novel. In According to Jane, the main character gets dating advice from the spirit of Jane Austen. Sound familiar, Orange Mint and Honey readers? (For those who haven't read OMAH, the main character gets advice from the spirit of Nina Simone.) So this is another one (sigh, such a terrible problem) to add to my to-read pile.

If you like romantic women's fiction, you should check this one out too. Here's the synopsis:

It begins one day in sophomore English class, just as Ellie Barnett's teacher is assigning Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. From nowhere comes a quiet "tsk" of displeasure. The target: Sam Blaine, the cute bad boy who's teasing Ellie mercilessly, just as he has since kindergarten. Entirely unbidden, as Jane might say, the author's ghost has taken up residence in Ellie's mind, and seems determined to stay there. Jane's wise and witty advice guides Ellie through the hell of adolescence and beyond, serving as the voice she trusts, usually far more than her own. Years and boyfriends come and go--sometimes a little too quickly, sometimes not nearly fast enough. But Jane's counsel is constant, and on the subject of Sam, quite insistent. Stay away, Jane demands. He is your Mr. Wickham. Still, everyone has something to learn about love--perhaps even Jane herself. And lately, the voice in Ellie's head is being drowned out by another, urging her to look beyond everything she thought she knew and seek out her very own, very unexpected, happy ending. . .

Read a sample chapter and check out this Q&A and get to know more about new author, Marilyn Brant:

Q: Tell us about your latest release and the inspiration behind it.

A: My debut novel, According to Jane, is the story of a modern woman who--for almost two decades--has the ghost of Jane Austen in her head giving her dating advice. I first read Pride & Prejudice as a high-school freshman. Like my heroine Ellie, I raced through the novel way ahead of the reading assignments. I loved both the story and Austen’s writing style immediately. Her books changed the way I perceived the behavior of everyone around me, and I spent the rest of freshman year trying to figure out which Austen character each of my friends and family members most resembled! Also like Ellie, I had a few (okay, a lot) of less-than-wonderful boyfriends, and I would have loved to have been given romantic advice from the author I most respected and the one who’d written one of my all-time favorite love stories.

Q: Which scene in this novel did you love writing? Why?

A: One scene I had a lot of fun with was the bar scene in the first chapter where my main character runs into her ex-high-school boyfriend for the first time in four years. It was a situation I had never experienced personally, but I could imagine the comical possibilities so clearly and feel and the frustration of my heroine as if I’d been the one standing there, facing the jerk and his latest girlfriend, while Jane Austen ranted about how “insufferable” he was.

Q: If you could ask one author (in all of history) for one piece of advice, who would you ask and what you would want to know from them?

A: Oooh, getting to be like my main character here! If I could have asked Jane Austen for advice before I was married, it would have definitely revolved around which type of man was the right one for me. (She would intuitively know the answer, I’m sure.) However, even without Jane’s help, I was fortunate to find “my Darcy.” Now, I would ask her for her thoughts on the crafting of a perfect novel. What were the qualities she felt a great piece of fiction should possess? What was she consciously trying to achieve with her novels?

Q: What is your author fantasy?

A: I’m secretly, unrelentingly ambitious, even when I have no right to be. Of course I want to hit the NYT bestseller list and get a movie deal. Also, I’d like an Oprah invitation and a few RITAs. However, these are not quite enough to satisfy every daydream I’ve ever had. I’d greatly enjoy winning an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, a Tony and an Olympic gold medal (in both ice skating and gymnastics). The fact that I’m pathetic on skates and terrified of the uneven bars is, in no way, a deterrent from these unrealistic fantasies. My simple ability to *imagine* them, makes them almost real. Furthermore, I like shiny things (although I don’t like to dust them), so I hereby promise that if I win ANY heavy golden statuettes--ever--I will dust faithfully. Especially that Grammy award. Really.

Q: What’s next for you?

A: I get to visit a number of book clubs that chose my debut novel, According to Jane, as their monthly book pick--wildly fun!--while also starting the production/promotion process all over again for my next women’s fiction project. That second book is done, but we’re still working on finding the right title. It’s a modern fairytale about three suburban moms who shake up their marriages and their lives when one woman asks her friends a somewhat shocking question… That comes out in October 2010.


Travis Erwin said...

Great interview. I'll be sure and look for the book.

Barbara Albin said...

Carleen, This book sounds great. My stack of books is getting really high! My husband pays for me to have free 2 day Amazon shipping so UPS visits us every other day. I am about to order it nowl.

Marilyn Brant said...

Travis~I'm so glad you liked the interview :).

Barbara~Thank you for ordering it!! I truly hope you'll enjoy the story!

Carleen~Thanks so much for hosting me here--it was a pleasure to visit your blog ;-).

M. L. Kiner said...

"The Hong Kong Connection" is a legal thriller about a gutsy female attorney who takes on high ranking International officials. It's a taut, rollercoaster of a ride from New York to Palm Beach to Washington D.C. to Hong Kong. The plot is expertly woven, the characters persuasive, and the dialogue snappy and spot on.