The next Holidays with Jane writer on the blog is Melissa Buell. Melissa wrote the story based on Pride and Prejudice in Holidays with Jane: Thankful Hearts. She blogs at Have Imagination, Will Travel and is the author of a young adult fantasy series titled The Tales of Gymandrol.
Jennifer says: Hi, Melissa, and welcome! Aside: Your author pictures is adorable too!
Thanks for having me on your blog, Jennifer!
Tell us a bit about yourself.
Hey there! I’m Melissa Buell. I’m an English teacher by day and author by night. I live in Southern California with my husband and kids. I love to read, bake, and take photographs. I’ve always had a vivid imagination and would fall asleep to scenes I would make up. That turned into writing those scenes out which turned into a novel. Since then, I’ve written a YA fantasy trilogy, a children’s book, and short stories for Holidays With Jane.
What is your favorite Jane Austen book to read?
Pride and Prejudice is my favorite Jane Austen novel and my favorite novel of all time.
Jennifer says: Mine too. It was such a pleasant surprise to find a great novel that did not end in misery.
What is your least favorite Jane Austen book to read?
Like most people, Mansfield Park is my least favorite. The cousin factor is just icky.
What was your most unexpected revelation from delving into the Austen canon?
I keep learning how snarky and clever Jane Austen was! She amazes me as I re-read her novels.
Did your opinions of any novels or characters change?
I liked Northanger Abbey on my third reading of it once I realized that it is making fun of the Gothic novel, popular at the time JA was publishing.
Which Austen novel was your favorite/easiest-to-write HwJ story based on?
Northanger Abbey was the easiest for me. Cate Moreland was easy to jump into.
Which JA novel was your least favorite/most difficult-to-write story based on?
Pride and Prejudice was actually the hardest story for me to adapt! I think since it’s my favorite and very popular with readers, I felt a lot of pressure to get it right.
Jennifer says: Pride and Prejudice was hard for me to adapt too. There’s such a high expectation to get Darcy and Elizabeth just right, which is why I like to focus on the minor characters in P&P.
Tell us a little about your writing process. Do you outline?
Outliner! I’ve tried to just pants it but it always goes horribly off the rails. My brain needs an outline.
Where and when do you do the majority of your writing?
At night and at Panera Bread or Starbucks.
Jennifer says: And now I’m hungry again. I could eat a vat of Panera’s Creamy Tomato Soup.
What is the most difficult part of the writing process for you? The easiest?
Outlining is the easiest part. Re-reading to make sure all of the timeline and details are correct is difficult.
What is your favorite writing beverage?
I either get coffee-of-the-day (cheap!) with a little cream and sugar or Earl Grey tea straight up.
Jennifer says: I wish I liked Earl Grey, but I’m not a fan of bergamot.
Tell us about your new Holidays with Jane story.
Elizabeth Bennet credits the success of Bennet Homes to her close-knit family, however dysfunctional they might be. The Meryton Chamber of Commerce calls on local businesses to host the annual All-Town Thanksgiving Feast. Unfortunately, Elizabeth is paired up with pretentious businessman Will Darcy of Pemberley Estates, her main rival in the construction business. Will Elizabeth be able to fill up her Thankful Jar this year?
What was your favorite scene to write in your current story?
When Elizabeth and Darcy meet is one of my favorite parts.
Jennifer says: I love a good meet cute! I can’t wait to read it. Speaking of reading it….
Join us for a tweet along of Holidays with Jane: Thankful Hearts beginning tonight (November 22, 2016) at 7:00 PM EST (or thereabouts) on Twitter.
Be sure to follow us and tweet with the hashtag #HolidayswithJane.
Don’t forget to check out Melissa’s young adult fantasy novels!