Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Retellings: Susanne Dietze and Austen in Austin

Today we're featuring another Jane Austen retelling!

Meet Susanne Dietze...

Susanne Dietze began writing love stories in high school, casting her friends in the starring roles. Today, she's the RITA® nominated, award-winning author of over a dozen romances with Timeless Heart. A pastor's wife and mom of two, she loves fancy-schmancy tea parties, the beach, and curling up on the couch with a costume drama.

Facebook: Facebook.com/SusanneDietze/Books
Twitter: @SusanneDietze

Susanne's Retelling...

Four Texas-Set Novellas Based on Jane Austen's Novels

Discover four heroines in historical Austin, TX, as they find love--Jane Austen style. Volume 1 includes:

If I Loved You Less by Gina Welborn, based on Emma
A prideful matchmaker examines her own heart when her protégé falls for the wrong suitor.

Romantic Refinements by Anita Mae Draper, based on Sense and Sensibility
A misguided academy graduate spends the summer falling in love . . . twice.

One Word from You by Susanne Dietze, based on Pride and Prejudice
A down-on-her-luck journalist finds the story of her dreams, but her prejudice may cost her true love . . . and her career.

Alarmingly Charming by Debra E. Marvin, based on Northanger Abbey
A timid gothic dime-novel enthusiast tries to solve the mystery of a haunted cemetery and, even more shocking, why two equally charming suitors compete for her attentions.

Find out about Volume II here.

Note: Susanne's novella can be purchased separately on Amazon here.

Behind the Retelling
A note from Susanne... 

Austen in Austin Volumes I & II were born out of a conversation between friends.
I belong to a group blog called Inkwell Inspirations, and several years ago (seven, maybe?) we decided to fill a few of our empty weekend spots with backlists of books that fit a theme: Christmas reads, medieval settings, etc. I chose to compile a list of books inspired by the works of Jane Austen, from Austenland to Pride, Prejudice & Zombies to the Jane Austen mystery series to Death Comes to Pemberley. It was a long list!

I asked the gals in the blog if they had any favorites I’d forgotten, and Anita Mae Draper quipped, “I might like Mr. Darcy a lot more if he wore a Stetson.”

That single comment got our minds racing. Mr. Darcy in a Stetson…Austen heroes retold as 19th century Texans in a series of related stories. “Austen in Austin?” I joked. As in Austin, Texas?

It stuck!

Eight of us wanted to participate, so we divided up Austen’s stories to retell (Sense and Sensibility received two retellings, one each for Marianne and Eleanor). Together, the eight of us built a world where we could set our stories: historic Austin, of course, but we needed more. We settled on a ladies’ finishing school, Austen Abbey where our Austen-inspired heroines could either attend, work, or visit. Certain characters, like the headmistress, remained constant through the stories. Some heroines knew one another. Others didn’t. We gave our characters new names, but the stories’ plots were based on the Austen originals.

My story was the Pride and Prejudice retelling, and I named it after a bit of Mr. Darcy’s dialogue: One Word From You. It’s the story of an Austen Abbey student named Eliza who attends a party and forms a most unfortunate first impression of Will Delacourt, a railroad tycoon. 

Supporting characters are easily recognizable as their Austen counterparts (Jane, Mr. Bingley, etc.), but we gave them a Texas twist.

I ended up entering my story in the novella category of the ACFW 2013 Genesis Contest. Unfortunately, the novella category didn’t receive enough entries that year, so it was closed. My entry was moved to the Historical Romance category and…it won! 

Soon after, WhiteFire agreed to publish the stories in two volumes. Our hope and prayer with the collections was that Austen fans of all sorts could enjoy the stories and receive encouragement and entertainment from them. 

We still hope that’s true, but I can also state that we authors were blessed by the experience. Working with friends was a joy and a treat, and we all cherish that book and that time we spent putting it together.


Susanne Dietze said...

Thank you so much for sharing our story today! What a treat. :)

Have a great day!

Debra E. Marvin said...

So nice to see this beloved collection - eight novellas in all! -on the post today. Thank you!

Anita Mae Draper said...

Thanks for featuring Austen in Austin, Amanda.
This was a fun story to write, especially because it involved close consults with each other to enable characters to flow into the other stories for a richer reader experience.
I hope this book shows that Jane Austen's writing crosses genres. :)

A.M. Heath said...

I loved hearing the backstory of this precious series. And congratulations on the award!

And thanks for the blog series, Amanda. It's been so much fun.

Amanda Tero said...

@ Susanne - I'm so thrilled to have you on my blog! :) Thanks for taking the time to write up a post!

@ Debra - thanks for stopping by!

@ Anita - my pleasure! :) I love hearing from another author in the series!

@ A.M. - backstories are always such fun! I'm so glad you're enjoying the blog series!

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