Austen Times

The State of My Life is delayed. I got distracted with a side project and quite brutal with myself about the state of the manuscript. But the side project should be finished soon and I hope to publish by the end of the year.

This has been a busy year with a lot of Austen things going on. I spent two weeks in the UK, speaking at the Jane Austen Society of London, visiting museums, seeing Bath, Jane Austen’s house at Chawton…plus a Harry Potter Studio tour and Harry Potter and The Cursed Child. It was a breath of fresh air from my normal life.

People always ask if I’ve been to Chawton. Part of the reason for my trip was so I could feel “legitimate” running the Austen Society. So I stood in front of an audience in London with a green streak in my hair and managed not to swear. Then I went to Chawton and tried on a pelisse which makes me look like red riding hood. I am a consummate professional.


There have been two Austen meetings since then, and another coming up next month. There’s also been; an Austen play (each novel in 15 minutes!), an Austen afternoon tea (where I was the only one screaming the answers to questions), an Austen movie night with friends, taking a visiting speaking to Te Papa, and a free online Austen course (which I never completed). Upcoming is another night with Austen friends to prepare for the cards meeting next month and I still have a copy of What Kitty Did Next waiting for me to read and review.

My primary school principal, who I visited recently, asked if I had any hobbies or played any sports. His wife admonished him, “wasn’t she the kid you always found reading in the hallway?” Yeah, I haven’t changed that much.

I drove straight through my childhood town on my way to research New Plymouth for The State of My Life but I did stop at Cobb & Co with my road trip companions. We had a great time then the baby threw up on himself but still he managed to smile through the spew in his eye.


All I remember of New Plymouth, as a kid, was the mall. I somehow missed that it’s amazingly beautiful. When I was younger I wanted to get out, live somewhere else. But now I found myself drawn back, I like the pace of life.

My editor, and best friend, Cassie, drove me around telling about the city. Places have their own personalities and I want to capture that. She showed me a park, looking over the sea, I’m going to set a scene right here:


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