While reading there are any number of questions that pop into the mind that if one had the opportunity to pose to the author would reveal interesting insights. We consulted our members reading this month’s selection Mansfield Park and Mummies to see what questions they might like to ask the author, which Vera Nazarian has graciously answered here. Don’t for get to check out Vera’s previous post for Mansfield Park and Mummies for a chance to win a special autographed copy.
Fanny Price may well be the least liked of all of Jane Austen’s heroines due to her being shy and uncertain. What are your thoughts about Fanny Price?
Great question! Believe it or not, I love Fanny Price. In fact, she just might be my favorite Austen heroine. While she is indeed shy (as would be any other young girl in her reduced social position of “poor relation” and companion, at that historical time period), I actually beg to differ that Fanny is in any way uncertain. Far from it—Fanny may very well be the most steadfast and consistent character of all. She has a moral compass set to true north, and she does not deviate from what she truly believes is right. We need to remember that she really is a woman of her time, and her strength is expressed in her “virtue” which is really something that modern audiences have trouble understanding (and that’s why so many mistakenly think her a doormat). There is a difference between being humble and being weak. Fanny is the former, but not the latter. And with all her quiet humility, she is a fount of strength, not only in the way she stands up to her uncle—the ultimate authority figure in her life—and sticks to her guns to refuse Crawford’s attractive proposal, but in the way she takes responsibility for her sister and is everyone’s shoulder of loyal support. Fanny may not be sparkling, silver-tongued and vivacious; she may not be feisty in the modern sense; but she is real and true to herself.
What was the strangest or quirkiest bit of research you did for Mansfield Park and Mummies?
Oh wow! There were many very odd bits to research, particularly things related to Ancient Egypt and mummification—natron salts, anyone?—but I would say the weirdest thing was the Opening of the Mouth Ceremony to raise a mummy! And my version of it is kind of, well, mind-boggling, to say the least… Ahem! But, read for yourself.
Will there be any inside jokes from Mansfield Park and Mummies and Northanger Abbey and Angels and Dragons for readers to enjoy in Pride and Platypus?
Definitely! First of all, you just know there has to be the Brighton Duck—it’s like the Hound of Baskervilles—everpresent, magnificent, terrifying, and yes, it will wreck even more havoc. There will also be references to certain dragons, walking-shovels, and yes, cowbells! Bath and London fashions will never be the same! Also, watch out for the Scholarly Footnotes—they will be even more insane.
If you had the chance to jump into any Jane Austen novel and be one of the characters, who would be your second choice? (Less pressure than your first choice.)
This is a tough one. I would say I’d like to switch genders and be Colonel Brandon in Sense and Sensibility. He is awesomely noble, and I think his undertaking to woo Marianne is a real character challenge.
Anything you’d like to share with fans and readers?
Next up in the Supernatural Jane Austen Series is Pagan Persuasion: All Olympus Descends on Regency. It will have Greek Gods gone wild, mermaids, magic, mayhem, and of course True Love. I expect to have it available by December, just in time for Jane Austen’s birthday. Stay tuned, this is going to be epic!
Thank you so much for taking the time to engage with us.
And thank you for having me. It’s always a pleasure to chat and share my version of dark or supernatural Jane.