Archive for March 9th, 2009


Mark Knightley – handsome, clever, rich – is used to women falling at his feet. Except Emma Woodhouse, who’s like part of the family – and the furniture. When their relationship changes dramatically, is it an ending or a new beginning?

Emma’s grown into a stunningly attractive young woman, full of ideas for modernising her family business. Then Mark gets involved and the sparks begin to fly. It’s just like the old days, except that now he’s seeing her through totally new eyes.

While Mark struggles to keep his feelings in check, Emma remains immune to the Knightley charm. She’s never forgotten that embarrassing moment when he discovered her teenage crush on him. He’s still pouring scorn on all her projects, especially her beautifully orchestrated campaign to find Mr Right for her ditzy PA. And finally, when the mysterious Flynn Churchill – the man of her dreams – turns up, how could she have eyes for anyone else?

With its clueless heroine and entertaining plot, this modern re-telling of Jane Austen’s Emma stays true to the original, while giving fresh insights into the mind of its thoroughly updated and irresistible hero.

The Importance of Being Emma is the first in Juliet Archer’s series, Jane Austen in the 21st Century.

Juliet Archer brings Jane Austen into the 21st Century!

Hi, I’m Juliet Archer from England, and I’m thrilled to be a guest author on the Novel Thoughts blog in association with Romance Readers at Heart.

I’m writing a series of novels called ‘Jane Austen in the 21st Century’. The first book in the series, The Importance of Being Emma, has just been published in the UK by Choc Lit. In view of the series title, I reckon I’ve got 91 years left in which to produce the remaining books, although my publisher begs to differ!

As you may have guessed, my mission is to bring Jane Austen’s six completed novels firmly into the present day. Some of her stories have already been modernised – by Kate Fenton and Melissa Nathan among others – so why am I adding to the list?

Well, never one to do things by halves, I’m going for the complete set of six, the ‘Full Monty’ – which hasn’t been done before, as far as I know. And there are other reasons.

First of all, I believe that Jane Austen’s novels have inspired much of today’s romantic fiction, whether consciously or unconsciously. Even the super-talented Stephenie Meyer has admitted to being influenced by Pride and Prejudice when writing about Bella and Edward’s early relationship in Twilight. And why not? It’s one of the most powerful love stories of all time.

Second, I’m sticking more closely to the original plots and characters than other modern authors. Despite initial reservations, Jane Austen enthusiasts seem to love this, while readers who don’t know the originals enjoy the story on its own merits.

And, last but by no means least, I develop the male point of view. Yes, it’s already been done by authors such as Pamela Aidan and Amanda Grange, but their novels are set in Jane Austen’s time. A 21st-century setting provides a great opportunity to experiment with fresh insights into the hero’s character.

So, what have I done with Knightley? Well, for me he’s never been one of Jane Austen’s more appealing heroes. As a 37-year-old farmer courting a nubile 21-year-old with the line ‘God knows, I have been a very indifferent lover’, he’s not exactly promising material for Choc Lit, ‘where heroes are like chocolate – irresistible!’ This means that my Knightley gets a makeover. I’ve cut the age difference, to make sure he’s not old enough (technically) to be Emma’s father. Changed his first name from George to Mark (‘George’ just didn’t feel right, in spite of my weakness for George Clooney). And given him more obvious sex appeal – I hope. You can read a short extract from The Importance of Being Emma here.

And Choc Lit has a special offer just for you! Visit my website home page at www.julietarcher.com and look for the link ‘Special Offer for Novel Thoughts Readers’. You’ll then be asked for a user name and password. Type in a user name of romance and a password of austen1815 and you’ll be able to download an ebook (pdf, prc and lit formats available) of The Importance of Being Emma for a special low price until 9th April 2009.

If ebooks aren’t for you, you can order the paperback at www.choc-lit.co.uk. Simply click on ‘Buy a Paperback’ and follow the instructions, and it should reach you in about a week (assuming you’re based in the US).

I’d love to hear from you – you can leave a comment on this blog or email me at juliet@julietarcher.com. And I might even meet some of you when I visit Chicago, Dayton and Quincy, Illinois, in June 2009 – details of talks and book signing events will be on my website nearer the time.

I’d like to leave you with the lines from the original Emma that particularly inspired my modern version:

(Emma) You have shown that you can dance, and you know we are not really so much brother and sister as to make it at all improper.

(Mr Knightley) Brother and sister? no, indeed!



Excerpt after the jump!


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