Monday, 13 July 2020

Murder at Northanger Abbey by Shannon Winslow - Guest Post

Blog Tour: Murder at Northanger Abbey by Shannon Winslow
Today I’m welcoming a first time visitor to the blog, Shannon Winslow. Although I haven’t had the pleasure of hosting Shannon previously, I’ve featured a Persuasion anthology that she contributed towards. Funnily enough, although most Austenesque books are based on Pride and Prejudice, Shannon’s latest book isn’t a P&P work either. Murder at Northanger Abbey is an NA sequel, which picks up after Austen’s books closes. As it says in Northanger Abbey, “There must be murder” and although Catherine only now expects to encounter murder in novels, it appears that just has she has learned to be sensible, she will be encountering it in real life too.

Let’s look at the blurb and then I will hand over to Shannon Winslow for a guest post.

Book cover: Murder at Northanger Abbey by Shannon Winslow
Book Description

Sequel to Jane Austen’s Spoof on the Gothic Novel

Newly married to her beloved Henry, Catherine’s eyes are now open to the grownup pleasures of wedded life. Yet she still hasn’t quite given up her girlhood fascination with all things Gothic. When she first visited Northanger Abbey, she only imagined dreadful events had occurred there. This time the horror is all too real. There’s been a murder, and Henry has fallen under suspicion. Catherine is determined to clear her husband’s name, but at the same time, she’s afraid for her own safety, since there’s a very good chance the real murderer is still in the house.

This delightful sequel reprises the mischievous spirit of Austen’s original spoof on the Gothic novel, while giving Catherine a genuine murder mystery to unravel.

Guest Post from Shannon Winslow 

As Jane Austen’s earliest novel (first written, although last published), Northanger Abbey occupies a unique place in her canon. And it boasts a few unique features as well. For one thing, in it, Austen occasionally comes out from behind the narrator’s mask to address her readers directly, even sometimes using the words, “Dear reader…”

For the most overt example of what I’m talking about, I would direct you to chapter five, where Austen (referring to herself as “I”) launches into a protracted statement in defense of the novel as a literary form:

Catherine and Isabella… shut themselves up, to read novels together. Yes, novels; – for I will not adopt that ungenerous and impolitic custom so common with novel writers, of degrading by their contemptuous censure the very performances, to the number of which they are themselves adding – joining with their greatest enemies in bestowing the harshest epithets on such works, and scarcely ever permitting them to be read by their own heroine, who, if she accidentally take up a novel, is sure to turn over its insipid pages with disgust. Alas! If the heroine of one novel be not patronized by the heroine of another, from whom can she expect protection and regard? I cannot approve of it…

 As with much else in Northanger Abbey, Austen’s diatribe (of which this is only a fraction), was no doubt written more in tongue-in-cheek humor than as a serious complaint. In the final line of the book, Austen again shows herself, as she tells us directly that we readers must decide for ourselves the lesson to be learned from the tendency of this work.

 This technique – the author speaking directly to readers – was not uncommon at the time, but it’s long out of fashion now. In fact, were you as a writer to attempt such a thing today, or otherwise draw attention to your presence, your editor would probably shake her head, mark the offending phrase in red, and accuse you of “author intrusion.”

However, since my goal was to carry on in my Northanger Abbey sequel with the same playful tone and quirky style as the original, I thought I might just get away with it!

And so, dear reader, as you peruse Murder at Northanger Abbey, keep your eyes open for places, here and there, where your authoress breaks into the story – sometimes very obviously and sometimes less so. Here’s an example taken from the final chapter:

 …However, as this tale comes rapidly to a close, you will be wondering about Henry and Catherine. You will wish to be assured that they are also safe and well, to witness for yourself their early perfect happiness at Woodston restored, and to catch at least a glimpse of the years ahead.

Far be it from me to deprive the reader this satisfaction, although we must agree to be discreet. We must grant them a degree of privacy. After all, they are still essentially newlyweds. And yet I owe you this much…

 I trust you won’t consider this a spoiler, since I ALWAYS write a happy ending to my novels!

I’ve read that in certain circumstances – especially in works of satire or where the narrative voice is firmly tongue-in-cheek – author intrusions can contribute to the humor. I hope you agree because, believe me, I wrote Murder at Northanger Abbey with my tongue firmly in my cheek the whole time!

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Author Bio

Author Shannon Winslow
Shannon Winslow says she was minding her own business - raising two sons and pursuing a very sensible career - when she was seduced by the writing bug a dozen years ago. Stirred by the novels of Jane Austen, she set out to produce more stories in the same vein, beginning with a sequel to her favorite, "Pride and Prejudice." "The Darcys of Pemberley" (published in August 2011) quickly became a best-seller, praised for being true to the original's characters and style. Several more Austen-inspired novels have followed. "Winslow is one of the few authors who can channel Austen's style of prose so well that I could not tell the two apart if I tried," reports one reviewer. A life-long resident of the Pacific Northwest, Ms. Winslow resides with her husband in the log home they built in the countryside south of Seattle, where she writes and paints in her studio facing Mt. Rainier.

You can connect with Shannon via her website, Facebook and Twitter.

Book cover: Murder at Northanger Abbey by Shannon Winslow
Buy Links

Murder at Northanger Abbey is available to buy now in Paperback and Kindle.

Amazon USAmazon UKAmazon CA • Add to Goodreads shelf

Note Regarding Comments: I love to read your comments, but a few blog visitors have reported difficulties in posting comments. If you can’t add your comment please contact me and I will add your comment for you :)

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16 comments:

  1. Would always want a happy ending for Henry and Catherine

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    1. That, you shall have! In fact, you'll have two of them. ;)

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    2. I agree, Vesper, I want only happiness for Henry and Catherine.

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  2. Enjoyed all of Ms. Winslow's Austen novels enhancements and sequels.

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  3. I read and enjoyed this story. It got a 5 star review from me.

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    1. Thank you, Sheila! - for reading and then for going the extra mile to leave a review. Much appreciated!

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    2. This is excellent praise for me to hear because if you rate a book highly it means I will enjoy it too :)

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  4. sounds delightfully clever!

    denise

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    1. I do hope you find it so! I had tremendous fun writing it. :D

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    2. Hope you enjoy it when you read it, Denise!

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  5. Yes, author intrusion was a good fit for this story. Loved it, Shannon!

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    1. Thanks, Sophia! So glad you agree that it works, adding something to the story.

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    2. I love the author intrusion in Northanger Abbey, it's such a nice touch to include it.

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