Welcome to my good friend and guest blogger, Joanna Slan, who’s just begun an exciting new series, the Jane Eyre Chronicles. To celebrate, she’s promised to give one autographed copy of Death of a Schoolgirl to a Southern Exposure reader. To enter leave a comment here for Joanna before midnight Friday.
Take it away, Joanna.
Although many of you “know” Emilie through her books and her blog, I’m privileged to know Emilie in a different way, as a friend. A real life person who sends me emails that say, “Let’s get caught up” and best of all, “Want to come over for dinner?” She’s also the person who early on encouraged me to write a mystery series. I often call her “Kiki Lowenstein’s godmother” because Emilie gave me the idea that became the Kiki Lowenstein Mystery Series.
As you probably realize, Emilie is the sort of friend you always hope will come into your life. She’s loving, honest and loyal. For me, she’s also been a career asset, because a mentor like Emilie is hard to find. She’s been there by my side, every step of the way, offering me invaluable counsel, based on her extensive knowledge of the book business.
And yeah, she makes a pretty mean jambalaya, too!
When I sat down to write a sequel to Charlotte Brontë’s classic Jane Eyre, I gave a great deal of thought to populating Jane’s world. After all, our friends define us. They teach us, lead us, and shape us. Helen Burns, Jane’s first real friend, encouraged her to get an education and to succeed. Without Helen, Jane might never have considered going to work as a governess.
For Jane to be successful in London, where her first adventure takes her, she needed a friend conversant in the ways of high society. I created for her a first class BFF by the name of Lucy Brayton, a woman who is everything that Jane is not, but very much like Jane when it comes to intellect, bravery, and loyalty.
You see, one of our author “tricks” involves juxtaposing one personality against its opposite. Where Jane is an introvert, Lucy is an extrovert. Where Jane thinks before she speaks, Lucy is given to bloviating. (Don’t you love that word? It means to talk at length, but there’s something about it that always brings to mind a cow. Of course, that’s bovine, and this isn’t, but still…) Where Jane is sheltered, Lucy is worldly.
In the beginning, Jane is uncomfortable around Lucy. Lucy is most definitely a “hugger,” and Jane is not. You know how that goes. If you aren’t a hugger, you stiffen up. If you are a hugger, you throw your arms around people you barely know. But in time, Jane comes to enjoy Lucy’s affection.
My goal is for Jane and Lucy to have a long, rich and joyful friendship.
The kind I’ve had with Emilie.
Joanna Campbell Slan’s newest series, The Jane Eyre Chronicles, debuts August 7, with Death of a Schoolgirl. In it, a married Jane Eyre answers a cry for help from her former student, Adéle Varens. Rushing to the girl’s aid, Jane discovers that a murderer walks the halls of a London girls’ school. The plucky former governess must match wits with a killer—before another child loses her life!
To learn more about Joanna or this series, please visit her website.