Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Interview with Scott D. Southard - Author of "A Jane Austen Daydream"

Here at the Booknatics, we are both passionate about Jane Austen, and find much delight into coming across other fans who are just as adoring. When I bumped into Scott D. Southard on the tangles of Social Networking, (Twitter, Goodreads) never did I guess that I'd be falling head over heels for a historical story that shines bright for one of our greatest literature heroes. Scott D. Southard gives Jane Austen a chance at love of her very own and a journey towards a happy ending she so much deserved. Southard's writing proves to be very powerful in this novel where the characters are nearly tangible with their emotions and movements. It was indeed very much a daydream for us reader; I am positive any other fans will find this story just as absorbing!

Here's an interview with the author!


1. What inspired you to write "A Jane Austen Daydream"?
Two things actually.
The first was the sad discovery of how little her biography mirrors her books. While in her
novels her heroines find love and a place in their world, Jane didn’t. Sadly, she died of a young
age in a cottage in a small village with only her sister and mother for company. There was no
Mr. Darcy waiting for her. Her name was not even on her books then! So my first thought was
to correct that error the fates made, giving her an adventure and a love like one would find in her
books, filled with surprises and wit.
The second is a little difficult to explain without ruining the big twist in the book. Let me
just say that it started as a joke that grew until I couldn’t avoid trying it. In the end, I think I
did something very unique in literature, possibly the first time something like this has been
attempted. If I was successful…well… the readers will have to decide for themselves.

It certainly is the first I've seen, and you did an astounding job!

2. Were you always a fan of her work, or was it something that had developed as you grew?
Until I was in college—I admit it—I only saw Jane Austen’s novels as books for love-struck
romance readers.
That changed while I was at Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I took a class with
Dr. Brent Chesley and he argued that Pride and Prejudice was the greatest work in the English
language. It was a wonderful class, one of the best, and I was convinced. Reading Pride and
Prejudice for the first time was mind-opening. That summer I read all the rest of Austen’s work.
She is one of the giants in literature.
3. What did your writing process for this book look like? Did you have to rely on extensive
research at all? I noticed the subtle character similarities from her previous works and guest
appearances. The book is so well written!
Thank you!
Honestly, it took many years before I even had the courage to write the book! For a long time,
A Jane Austen Daydream was my Mount Everest, and I would jump to any other project than
take it on. It was my wife that argued for me to get on with it, believing wholeheartedly in the
project and idea. She definitely earned the dedication in it!
I read a few biographies, of course, but I wanted Jane’s own stories and words to direct the plot
and the characters and the dialogue. So while I have people from her actual life in it, when it
came to mapping the book out, it was definitely more fiction than fact in the end. And then I had
to put some of my own plot points in so even the Austenites would be surprised.
I went through a few different paperbacks of each of her books, covering each with highlighter
and stickit notes. I had a whole system with different colors. Once I was happy with an outline
(which took almost a year) I then began to add into each chapter’s notes what quotes, characters,
settings, etc. I wanted to make a reference to or to outright use.
Whenever I hit a wall, I would always return to her books for inspiration on what to do next.

4. Were there any challenges in the writing of this novel that you found to prove difficult? The
dialogue, landmarks, etc. to match those from her era?
This is a very technical question and one that kept me up during the writing!
See, while I wanted to “capture” Jane’s voice, I also didn’t want to make it a book that would
possibly be difficult for modern readers to digest, those not used to Austen.
I want everyone to enjoy A Jane Austen Daydream, give it a read!
So I had to make a hybrid of the two of us, Jane’s voice and my own. This was such a
challenging line to walk, especially since Jane’s own words (and famous quotes) slip in all the
time in the book. Over the writing, creating this unique narrator voice was probably the most
stressful part of it, hands down.

5. As you were writing, or possibly even more near the book being published, were you afraid
of the reader reactions to your take on her life behind the scenes, so to speak?
This is about the twist in the book, right? Ha! The answer is yes to that part. But it was such a
fun idea I couldn’t help not seeing what happens. If this book does find success, it could be a
very unique experience.
One of the reasons I argued for the Preface in the front of the book, is that I don’t want anyone to
confuse this with a biography. This is a daydream, plain and simple.

6. In a world where adaptations have grown to be quite popular, would you ever allow this
novel to become a movie? If so, who would be your perfect choice to portray Jane Austen?

I would always be open to talking to producers and the like, hear them out. Personally, I think
this would work best as a mini-series; with each volume being its own night on TV. (Hello
Masterpiece Theater!)
I’m a Doctor Who fan, so I would probably point to Jenna Coleman first. She would definitely
be a lot of fun to watch in the role. Of course, there is also a great argument to be made that
Sophia McShera (Daisy from Downton Abbey) would be a good match as well.

I am guilty as a fan of those shows, as well! And I have to say that Sophia McShera is an excellent choice.

7. What inspired you to become an author?
I’ve always been drawn to the idea of writing, creating books. Looking back at my childhood,
I remember losing afternoons in a book, swept away by a tale… until my mom would kick me
outside. Of course, usually, I would just bike to the park and continue reading there. 

8. Do you have any other projects in the works?
I have a few books out that readers can check out if they like A Jane Austen Daydream.
• My Problem With Doors is the story of Jacob and he is lost in time. He has been lost
since he was a toddler. See, he cannot always guarantee when he steps through a door
where he will end up or when. The book is filled with surprises and adventure, as well as
some fun cameos like Lord Byron and Jack the Ripper.
• Megan is the story of Megan Wane. During the day she works as an event planner in a
boring 9-to-5 job, but in her imagination she is a superhero princess ruling a kingdom
called Prosperity, a magical world where each morning the moon and sun need to battle
for the sky. Megan covers a day where everything changed in her fantasy and in her
• Maximilian Standforth and the Case of the Dangerous Dare is a very mad
experimental novel hiding in a Victorian period mystery. This is the fifth book in a madeup series of thrillers (the introduction walks the readers through the other “books”), and
in this episode Maximilian and his loyal biographer Bob are set to stay in a haunted
castle; but what they find there might break their very reality.
Currently, I am finalizing a novel entitled Permanent Spring Showers. It is a multi-cast
contemporary work about the clash of artists and academics. That line where art crosses reality
and the impact it can have on people’s lives and loves and relationships. I hope to find an agent
or a publisher for it in the future.

These all sound so unique and fun! Checking them out, thanks! (You Booknatics should, as well!)

9. Do you have a preference for the style/genre you write in?
The idea of genres always feels very limiting to me. And whenever one of my works has dipped
into a genre, it’s usually to play around with a reader’s expectations, creating surprises. For
example, in my book Maximilian Standforth…, it begins as a very playful period mystery in
the style of Sherlock Holmes and other books like that. Then the book shifts into something very
different and experimental.
If there is one thing I can guarantee a reader if they pick up one of my books is that they will be
surprised. It is always about trying something new for me.

A great exercise for the imagination, love it. =)

10. What are some things you like to do when you’re not writing?
My life right now revolves around my writing and my family. And when I am not with my
kids, I am writing on my blog (“The Musings & Artful Blunders of Scott D. Southard” at
SDSouthard.com) or working on a book. I’m also the book reviewer for my local NPR station,
WKAR, and I appear every other week on their show Current State.
Getting out on my mountain bike and video games are both fun… never at the same time, of
course. That would just be dangerous.

We'll have to find a way to combine the two, think of the euphoria of that fun! hahah

11. This is a question we love to ask our favorite authors! Who is your ultimate book-crush? An author? A character?
I think there is a chance readers might be disappointed if I don’t say Jane Austen, right?
When it comes to a character, I would also lean towards an Austen creation- Elizabeth Bennet
from Pride and Prejudice. I’m sorry, but there are times in that book that I don’t think Darcy is
even worthy of her.

 Mr. Southard, you have fantastic taste! =)
As for Mr. Darcy, no need to apologize, I agree with you, actually!
Hmm, this would also be a fun topic to begin one day, Booknatics. *ponders*

12. If there is one piece of advice you can give to any aspiring authors, what would that be?
Write for yourself first.
If you write for yourself first, your own pleasure, then anything else that happens is a nice bonus.
Doing this is the only guarantee of happiness in the writing world today.

Fabulous advice, Mr. Southard, thanks! I also would like to mention how much of an honor it was to have you with us today. Thank you for taking some time to be here with us and give us some insight to your devotion and writing process. Now, time to go hunt down some other of your stories to explore! ;)

Oh, before I go, this is for all of you Booknatics!
Add to your shelf and rate A Jane Austen Daydream on Goodreads.com *HERE!*
Buy your Amazon copy here *HERE*
And your Barnes and Noble copy *HERE!*


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