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Thursday, December 27, 2012

"Austensibly Ordinary" by Alyssa Goodnight~Interviewed...

Steaming, funky, and thoroughly modern, Austin, Texas, isn't much like the gardened country estates of Jane Austen's work. But there might be a few similarities in its inhabitants. . .
Cate Kendall is no stranger to daydreams of brooding men and fancy parties--after all, she teaches one of her beloved Jane Austen novels in her English classes every year. But as for romance or adventure in her own life, the highlight of most weeks is Scrabble with her cute coworker, Ethan, and he draws the line at witty banter.
But Cate is ready for a change. When she finds a mysterious journal that seems to have a link to the soul of the great Jane Austen herself, she knows it's her chance. And she grabs on with both hands. . .
Before she knows it, Cate has invented an alter ego with an attitude, attended some seriously chic soirees, and gotten tangled up with a delicious mystery man. And she's uncovered enough unexpected secrets about Ethan that her Scrabble partner has taken to brooding looks and unfathomable silences. It's a positively Austenite predicament, and Cate is sure she'll land in hot water and heartbreak--but maybe not with Jane herself to guide her. . .

Published by:  Kensington Publishing
Pages:  320
Genre:  Fiction/Jane Austen inspired
Author:  Alyssa Goodnight
Find out more about her here:  Alyssa Goodnight and books


The lowdown:

I currently live between Houston and Galveston with my husband, two sons, and our adventure dog, Indiana Jones. I do my writing with an ice-cold can of Dr. Pepper and my reading with cake whenever possible. I’m dreaming of the day when I find myself conscripted into a flash mob dance.

The highlights:

1990 Read Pride and Prejudice for the first time in high school British Lit.
1992 Re-read P&P for British Lit at UT Austin, wrote a spot of literary criticism.
1994 Graduated from UT Austin with an electrical engineering degree, started reading Emma in my spare time. Married my best friend!
2000 Became a mom and moved from Austin to Houston. During afternoon naptime, started writing what would become my first novel.
2002 Welcomed baby number two, another boy, and officially became a Boy Mom.
2004 Self-published my Regency historical romance, Unladylike Pursuits, started on the manuscript that would become Austen-tatious.
2007 Read Jane Austen’s Complete Works, became obsessed with Austen sequels and re-writes, and developed a girl crush on J.A.
2009 Signed with Rebecca Strauss of McIntosh & Otis
2010 Contracted by Kensington in a two-book deal, the first, Austen-tatious, to be published in February 2012.


haikus, Anthropologie, live oaks, Hitchcock films, soda fountains, summer fruit, aqua, tea cups, chips & salsa, pretty, sparkly things, rooftop gardens, fairy lights, little splurges, books, quilts, journals, juicy color, lemon meringue pie

Find Me…

Email: alyssa@alyssagoodnight.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/AlyssaGoodnight
Twitter: www.twitter.com/a_goodnight
Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/alyssagoodnight
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/alyssagoodnight


Hi, Alyssa!   Thank you for taking time over this busy holiday time to answer some questions for an interview.  Your book is a delight, and I know everyone will love getting to know you better. 

With a warm welcome, I give you, Ms Goodnight....

1) First of all, please tell us a special something about what makes you “tick.” When you aren’t writing, what are you doing?
I'm going to assume you'd like my answer to be interesting and not, "forever cleaning up after three boys (one of them my husband) and two dogs." Reading would definitely be my first answer, but I like to quilt too, when I have the time. And I got a cruiser for my birthday last year, complete with wicker basket, and I'm enjoying biking around the neighborhood with the Wicked Witch of the West song running in my head like a soundtrack.
2) We’re always curious about where a writer chooses to write. Could you tell us about your favorite place to write? Describe it in detail…what’s on your desk, what do you see from the window if any…do you have a favorite lucky charm?
I write in the office in my house, where the window looks out, past some landscaping, to my front yard and the street beyond. I have my finger on the pulse of my corner of the neighborhood in there. Basically my desk consists of a PC with wide screen and various stacks of things to do. (Translation: It's a mess.) I have a little card propped up next to a photo of my boys that says, "I am fairly certain that given a cape and a nice tiara, I could save the world." I also have a collection of journals and a Jane Austen action figure. My good luck charm is a "Lucky Pisky," a tiny ceramic sprite 'trapped' in a jar that I bought on a trip to Scotland.
3) Bronte or Austen? Hemingway or Hawthorne? Why?
Austen! Definitely. My personality is more light than dark, and I love a good dose of sarcasm. Hawthorne, only because I remember enjoying The Scarlet Letter and disliking The Old Man and the Sea.
4) In your opinion, what makes a book a great one?
The characters, and a sense of urgency that keeps you turning the pages, rooting for them, worrying over them, obsessing over what will happen next.
5) Which author(s) most influenced your love of books?
Arnold Lobel (the Frog and Toad series), Russell Hoban (the Frances books), Laura Ingalls Wilder, Mary Rogers, Mary Stewart, Victoria Holt
6) Read any good books in the past 6 months?
My favorite book of the year was Code Name Verity. I also loved Mr. Churchill's Secretary, The Raven Boys, and the Graveyard Queen series by Amanda Stevens.
7) Choose 4 guests from any era for dinner. Who would they be and what would you choose for a topic of conversation?
Ellen Degeneres, Jane Austen, Eleanor Roosevelt, Cary Grant. I'd ask them what four guests they'd choose as dinner companions.
8) There’s a song that goes along with your book, what is it?
"Crazy Love" by Mindy Gledhill.
9) If you could cast your book for a movie, who would you choose for your 2 main characters?
I would cast Emma Stone as Cate Kendall and Lee Pace as Ethan Chavez.
10) Worst habit you have while writing?
Checking email. When I hear that little chime, I try to resist it, but I wonder if it could possibly be my agent emailing about a movie deal. So far, no luck.
11) How much research did you do before and during writing this book?
Not very much beforehand. Once I got started, I researched a couple of topics everyday in the course of writing. Sometimes I got so involved in the research that I had to shake myself free to get back on task with writing the book!
12) Psychologists tell us the thing we think we’d most like to grow up to be when we’re ten years old is our avocation. What did you want to be?
I honestly can't remember, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't a writer. (It was probably a stay-at-home mom!) I was an engineer before I quit to be a stay-at-home mom. The writing came after that.
Thank you, Alyssa.  I look forward to reading your new books as they come along in the future.  I have a feeling we're going to hear more from you!
I spent the weeks before Christmas reading several books of my own choosing that would put me in a holiday spirit.  This is one of the books I chose.  Alyssa Goodnight has a light-hearted grasp of  human nature that is akin to Jane Austen, and she is easily adept at sharing the hearts of her characters.  Reading one of her books is up-lifting.  It makes you smile! Just what I needed when the stresses of the holidays started to come in on me.  But this would be a great book to read no matter what time of year it is!
The characters in this novel are sexy and saucy.  Cate, a reluctant heroine...a teacher of English lit. who has become stuck in her ways; and Ethan, her handsome but slightly "overlooked" Scrabble-player friend with brooding secrets, makes this the perfect mix for a Lizzie and Darcy mock-up.  I loved the hesitancy and build up that Alyssa gives the story, only to keep us guessing around ever turn.
The journal that Cate finds becomes a persona in and of itself, lending a Janeite feel to Cate's predicaments.  And what a wonderful idea this is as a foil.  Beautifully choreographing the moves the characters are afraid to make on their own!  I loved this mechanism and the secret it holds.
"Austensibly Ordinary" is a fun and fashionable romp into the world of those who are older than teens; those young people looking for love and wishing they could find the perfect match...just like in Pride and Prejudice.  Alyssa Goodnight makes Jane Austen a sort of absentee "Dear Abby" in the form of a magical journal, making this a wonderfully entertaining book for a cold winter's night!  (Or a cozy night in FL under a fur throw...:]       The perfect gift for the new year... 
Merry Christmas, Everyone!!
4 stars                Deborah/TheBookishDame



Awesome review, Deb! Fantastic interview too. "Austensibly Ordinary" by Alyssa Goodnight sounds awesome!

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