Hey, everyone! Melanie Stanford, here, and this is my very first post for the MP blog. My short story, BECOMING FANNY, appears in the holiday anthology THEN COMES WINTER, and I also have a PERSUASION retelling coming December 29th titled SWAY.
So how did I come to love Jane Austen in the first place, you ask? Actually, you probably wouldn’t ask because we’re all Jane Austen lovers here, and the answer is obvious to us. BECAUSE SHE’S AWESOME. But I refused to see that at first.
My mom has always been a lover of the classics, but as a teenager, I was more into fantasy. I wanted magic, I wanted dragons, and I wanted nothing to do with some heavily buttoned-up dude with a British accent (oh, how times have changed). So at around sixteen, when my mom would watch the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice that she’d taped off the TV, I would sneer and walk away. How boring. What ugly wallpaper. Don’t those people do anything but yap at each other?
Not long after, my older sister came home from college. She was watching this same movie with this same ugly wallpaper and the girl with the curls around her face. I stood there. I watched for a bit, because if my sister thought this was cool, I wanted to know why.
It happened to be the part where Elizabeth first sees Mr. Darcy’s “beautiful grounds at Pemberly.” Just as Elizabeth was starting to fall, so was I. I didn’t understand what was going on, why the awkward conversation between the two of them, so we put the movie on pause so my sister could give me the low-down on Elizabeth and Darcy.
I ended up watching the rest of the movie with her, then restarting it from the beginning so I could see the whole thing. And that was that. I was hooked. It helped that only a few months later I read PRIDE & PREJUDICE in my Brit Lit class. It helped that around this same time Hollywood made some great adaptations of both SENSE & SENSIBILITY and EMMA.
It would take me a few years to finally read all of Austen’s works. To build my collection of movie adaptations. To read different biographies, many retellings, and lament that I hadn’t named my daughter Jade after her because they share a birthday (Jane and Jade are close, though, right?). It would take a few years after that for me to be inspired to write a modern retelling of my own, then later a short story inspired by Fanny Price. In all this time, my love for Austen has never waned, it’s only grown stronger.
So a big thank you to Meryton Press for putting BECOMING FANNY in their holiday anthology, and for having me on the blog. I love to be where the Austen fans are because just like Jane, we’re all awesome!