Wednesday 11 April 2012

On Writing Suspiciously Reserved - The Idea

Suspiciously Reserved: A Twist on Jane Austen's EmmaThe idea of writing Jane Austen’s Emma from Jane Fairfax’s point of view came to me as I wrote a Jane Austen murder mystery called Murder of a Matchmaker.  Jane Fairfax was one of the actors in the play and therefore, one of the suspects.  I’ll admit the 2010 BBC version of Emma starring Romola Garai was also a big impetus.  This version made Jane much more sympathetic than others.  She was appropriately pretty, sweet and shy.  It explained the injustice of her life of dependence.

However, the seed for the idea came long before I could do anything about it – or more to the point, write anything about it.  After writing Murder of a Matchmaker, I returned to my yet-to-be-published novel, Taking Comfort.  I worked on revising Taking Comfort, republishing Expectations and preparing Subgirl for publication before I could take a breath and decide to work on something new.  I also began another novel about a book club in a small prairie town.  In April 2011, I had to decide – would I continue my book club book or would I venture into another Jane Austen venture?  Jane Austen won again!

Writing Suspiciously Reserved was the fastest, most enjoyable project I have done yet.  I wrote the entire book between April and August 2012.  I was inspired by my upcoming return to full-time teaching to get the book finished.  An excited entry in my daytimer states “Finished book rough draft!!” on August 15.  I even had time to do a first edit before school started. 

I’ll be the first to admit that at the beginning of the book, even I was in love with Frank Churchill, but coming up to the end, I decided Jane must give him up and turn to her rightful partner – George Knightley.  Knightley remains the true “knight in shining armour” that he is in Emma.  But could I go through with this major revision to the original story?  I’m not giving out any spoilers.  You will have to read for yourself!


  1. I'm addicted to Emma reimaginings/continuations, and would love to read your novel - but when will the Kindle version be released, please? (I'm in the UK - much easier to download than send for a copy!) Thanks, Sarah.

  2. Sarah, I will do my best to have the Kindle version ready within a week! Thanks for posting:)