Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Welcome Nancy Sanders and Jane Austen for Kids!

This week we have a very special interview with Nancy I. Sanders, who's written a book you'll want to hear about! Read on.

Nineteen Teen: Welcome to Nineteen Teen! We were excited to hear about your new release, Jane Austen for Kids. Your book gives people of all ages insight into our beloved Jane and her times. You’ve written similar works about Frederick Douglass and African-American history. What drew you to Jane Austen and her life?

Nancy: When I was 18, I read Pride and Prejudice aloud with my future sister-in-law. I fell in love with Jane Austen’s romantic writings on the spot…so much so that when I met my future husband, Jeff, he gave me a one-volume set of Jane Austen novels as a wedding gift. That was 37 years ago! As a children’s writer, I wanted to bring Jane’s life and times to teens and tweens so their interest with all-things-Jane would be sparked in this new generation.

19T: Where did you go to find information on her childhood?

Nancy: Researching her childhood was actually quite tricky. Most biographies on Jane include a chapter or two about her childhood and the rest of the books focus on her adult life and writings. I wanted this biography to be different. I wanted to focus on her growing-up years instead.

So I went to Jane’s own writings—her juvenilia—and started asking myself “Why?” Such as why did Jane write about “The Beautifull Cassandra” and make her story like she did? Then I followed numerous bunny trails and discovered that Jane had just made a trip to London at that time, perhaps even her first trip there! I started connecting the dots amongst scanty information in a huge stack of research books that was taller than I am! I scoured these books to find answers to my questions and was able to gain a better understanding of Jane’s teenage years.

19T: What surprised you the most about your research?

Nancy: I was surprised to learn that Jane had quite a famous music teacher and that she was such a lover of music herself. I play the piano, so when I read that Jane started each day playing the piano, I could understand how it helped her get in the mood to write for that day.

19T: You were in England in 2017, when the country commemorated the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death. What was your favorite site to visit and what did you learn there?

Nancy: I have so many favorite sites that we visited. There were the homes of Jane…the huge mansions…the movie sites…the small corners that Jane delighted in. One of my favorite sites to see was the ancient yew tree that stands in front of St. Nicholas in Steventon, the church Jane attended growing up where her father was rector. I stood under that tree and realized this tree was so old that Jane probably stood under it, too! I was expecting to see centuries-old buildings on our tour, but hadn’t realized there would be such historic trees, too.

19Teen: If you could have met Jane Austen in person, what’s the one question you are dying to ask her? How do you think she would answer?

Nancy: I would love to ask Jane, “Was Anne Elliot in Persuasion based on your own life?”

I think Jane would smile that witty smile of hers and say, “No…but maybe yes…”

19T: Which of the many wonderful activities you include in your book is your favorite and why?

Nancy: Self-publish a book. Why? Because Jane didn’t wait to grow up to see her stories in print. She self-published her poems, stories, and fragments by hand-printing then in three nice notebooks that are called her Juvenilia. Those notebooks can still be read today! I want to encourage young writers to take their writing seriously, even at this age, and self-publish their stories, too. Who knows? Two hundred years from now, someone might be reading and quoting their Juvenilia, too!

Popcorn Round
-Milk or lemon in your tea?
Neither. My current favorite tea is herbal mint. Plain.

-Cucumber sandwich or scone to go along with it?
Cucumber dill to be exact!

-Turban or bonnet?
Turban. Dark lavender turban. With color-coordinated reticule. I made both of them in classes at the 2017 Annual General Meeting of the Jane Austen Society of North America in Huntington Beach, CA.

-Ostrich plume or peacock feather in your hat?
Ostrich plume.

-Country dance or waltz?
Country dance. We hosted several in our home while I was writing this book. I also found the music to a couple country dances that Jane knew how to play and I played them on my piano, too.

19T: Finally, where can readers go to connect with you and learn more about your books?
Nancy: My book’s official site is here.


Unknown said...

Thanks so much for hosting me on your super-interesting blog! It was exciting to answer your fun questions about my life as a Janeite.

QNPoohBear said...

I am eager to read this book and hopefully share it with my nieces. Someone needs to do Jane Austen the graphic novel adaptations for tweens so my nieces will at least know what I'm talking about when I mention - frequently- Jane Austen and the characters. The 10 year old really liked the Anne of Green Gables graphic novel I bought her because she refused to read the real book. I knew she'd love it if she tried it. I bought a "Real Reads" juvenile adaptation of Emma for them. They refuse to read "big" (chapter) books but it has lots of full page, full color illustrations so hopefully they'll read it soon.

Evelyn said...

Thanks for sharing this interesting blog post, Nancy. I enjoyed hearing more about your research journey with this book. I especially enjoyed the question about dancing, because I felt extra connected to it. When I was in grad school I was active in a folk dancing group which did mainly English country dances. In fact, that's where I met my husband!

Charlotte Dixon said...

Refreshing blog! Thank you Nancy for sharing your research into the younger life of Jane Austen. I can't wait to read the bio!

Marissa Doyle said...

QNPoohBear, there are a couple of P&P graphic novels out there, as well as manga retellings. I haven't read them, but if you search on Amazon, they'll show up.

QNPoohBear said...

I have seen the manga adaptations but tween graphic novels are a different style. Tween girls love Raina Telgemeier https://goraina.com/

My younger niece did like BabyLit's Pride and Prejudice : A Counting Primer which is sort of like a graphic novel adaptation for toddlers when she was younger. There's another toddler adaptation I have my eye on too for a future baby gift. My nieces may at least read that to a little cousin if they won't read the chapter book version I bought. I also have The Beautifull Cassandra illustrated by Juliet McMaster to share with them.

Regina Scott said...

Thanks again, Nancy, for joining us! Glad you found the book interesting, QNPoohBear, Evelyn, and Charlotte! I really enjoyed reading it, and I hope you will enjoy it too. Sorry I couldn't respond sooner--I always hope there will be internet access while traveling--this time, not so much!

Jarm Del Boccio said...

How fun to hear about the research behind the book, Nancy. I too, am an Austen fan. Thanks for your insights!