Jane Austen, Dan Brown, and a Heroine in a Certain Gothic Abbey

Vera NazarianWe are pleased to welcome back Vera Nazarian. She has guest posted with us before, and now has the honor of being our featured author as we read her novel Northanger Abbey and Angels and Dragons for this month’s selection. Here, she tells us a little about the novel, and then we tell you how you can win an autographed, specially artistically “doodled”, gold seal embossed copy!


It’s genuinely impossible for me to say which Jane Austen work is my favorite.  Usually it is whichever book I am reading at the moment.

The easy answer for most people is Pride and Prejudice. However, I reserve the right to withhold my final decision until I’ve completed writing the Supernatural Jane Austen Series—all of her novels reworked as mash-ups with the addition of various humorous and supernatural elements. 

It’s a daunting task, but it will also allow me to see which novel really sings to me more than the rest—depending on the writing process…. Because in the writing, you actually get to know the secret heart of the characters and the story.  As a reader, you may think you know… but when you are an active participant in the literary treatment, it’s a whole new layer of experience.

Northanger Abbey is definitely in the top tier of my Austen favorites.  Probably not the first, but in the top three.  And since it already happens to be a parody and satire of the Gothic romance genre, it might seem very odd to try to imagine how it can be made into a parody mash-up.

Before beginning the project, I agonized for some time, and then it hit me—simply take it one step further! Expand the satire with additional silliness, and take all the references to the supernatural and make them real. Voila!

But the question remained, how to accomplish this?

Okay, I thought, what is the modern “equivalent” of the Gothic Romance?  Why, the religious thriller.  Both employ suspense, edge-of your seat melodrama, and both dabble in the occult or unnatural flavors of dark and scary.

And so I decided that my mash-up of Northanger Abbey must be a weird love child of Jane Austen and Dan Brown, with Ann Radcliffe serving in the inspirational capacity of the fairy (or demonic) godmother.

Northanger Abbey and Angels and DragonsAnd so, in Northanger Abbey and Angels and Dragons, we get it all—actual angels and demons (you’re welcome, Dan Brown), and also hot-and-cold “running” nephilim, ghosts, monstrous ducks, mysterious hidden treasure, and ancient dragons.

Then there are the Omens and Signs, Secret Clues which drive everyone in the novel batty including the entire town of Bath, England—clues rendered inane and silly by extreme absurdity (and John Thorpe), such statues pointing in various directions, cowbells, root vegetables, and a marvelous invention combining practical utility and high fashion, known as the walking-shovel.

Finally, there is the arcane and amazing Udolpho Code….

And it’s all Catherine Morland’s fault.

Because our brave innocent heroine has the ability to see angels and other supernatural beings in the world around her. And by seeing them all, she can think and act in ways that can literally change that very same world.

Will Catherine find true love? Does John Thorpe know the difference between a dragon and a duck? Does it really rain indoors in Bath? Will they all crack the Udolpho Code and find the secret treasure? Do demons belch on cue? Can you use angel light to read under the bed covers? Must ghosts always rattle those tediously annoying chains?

So many questions! Such unusual answers! 

But—as with all true wonder, you must find out for yourself. 


To enter the giveaway:

Mandatory entry: please leave a comment on this post.

Bonus entries: Additonal entries can also be claimed, please leave a SEPARATE COMMENT for each entry! You may have a total of 5 possible entries!

  1. Join the Dark Jane Austen Book Club site (you will have access to additional materials and discussions, and it’s free!)
  2. Follow @DarkJaneAusten on Twitter!
  3. Like The Dark Jane Austen Book Club on Facebook.
  4. Tweet the following: I heard an angelic choir to win NA&A&D from #DJABC and @DarkJaneAusten and @Norilana!
The giveaway will end one week after this post, and winner will be announced April 30. We shall select a winner using Random.org!
*Photos: 1) Vera Nazarian 2) Northanger Abbey and Angels and Dragons cover

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