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Have you seen the fun covers on Katherine Reay’s books?! They definitely stand out on the shelf, and her newest release is no different. We had a chance to visit with Katherine about A Portrait of Emily Price, and I’m excited to have her back again today to share her new story, The Austen Escape. Before we visit, let’s take a quick peek at the story.
Mary Davies finds safety in her ordered and productive life. Working as an engineer, she genuinely enjoys her job and her colleagues – particularly a certain adorable and intelligent consultant. But something is missing. When Mary’s estranged childhood friend, Isabel Dwyer offers her a two-week stay in a gorgeous manor house in England, she reluctantly agrees in hopes that the holiday will shake up her quiet life in just the right ways.
But Mary gets more than she bargained for when Isabel loses her memory and fully believes she lives in Jane Austen’s Bath. While Isabel rests and delights in the leisure of a Regency lady, attended by other costume-clad guests, Mary uncovers startling truths about their shared past, who Isabel was, who she seems to be, and the man who now stands between them.
Outings are undertaken, misunderstandings play out, and dancing ensues as this company of clever, well-informed people, who have a great deal of conversation, work out their lives and hearts.
Welcome back, Katherine! What inspired you to write The Austen Escape?
Inspiration for The Austen Escape came from many places. One source was a C.S. Lewis novel and the other was a nonfiction book positing on how we become our best selves. That premise stuck with me – How do we become our best selves? What do we (or two young women) need to lay down or pick up to get there? And so… The Austen Escape began.
That’s a great question! Why did you choose this particular setting for your story, and have you been there?
I lived on an expat assignment in London for a couple years, so I dusted off my memories of both London and Bath for The Austen Escape. I wanted the quintessential escape experience and Bath provided it – along with the twist that Jane Austen herself didn’t like Bath. The setting (a wonderful juxtaposition to Austin, TX too) gave me that extra layer of what we perceive and what is real.
Perception can be a tricky thing… We’d love to get to know you a little bit. Would you share a few fast favorites with us? What is your:
Favorite color? Orange
Favorite writing snack? Chocolate
Favorite beverage? Chamomile tea
Favorite animal? Elephants
Favorite movie? Remember the Titans
Favorite vacation destination? Italy
Favorite ice cream flavor? I can’t eat ice cream any longer so I’d rather not think about all the yummy flavors
Then let’s quickly think about something else! Did you have a favorite story/book as a child? Why was it a favorite?
I loved C. S. Lewis and Susan Cooper, but my favorite (in the fifth grade) was Lloyd Alexander’s The High King. I simply loved it, and the whole series. When I wrote to him about it – Mr. Alexander wrote me back. That has secured his place as an all-time great. And is one of the reasons, I reply to anyone who writes to me. (Lewis did that as well… I just wasn’t alive early enough to write to him.)
I didn’t discover Lloyd Alexander until college (although I have no idea why — I’ve always had my nose in a book). How very cool that he took the time to respond! What are you reading right now?
Right now I’m reading my usual and varied array of books… I’m deep into Ruth Ozeki’s A Tale for the Time Being, George Weigel’s Lessons in Hope and an ARC I’m reading for endorsement.
That’s quite a variety! Can you give any hints about what you’re working on now?
I am so excited about my new story. I’m examining friends once again in this novel and here’s my one-liner: Amidst a backdrop of literature and lattes, three women discover it is never too late for love, second chances and the adventure of being someone’s best friend. I am having so much fun with these women and their very different voices.
Oh, that does sound fun! Another to add to my list… 😉 Thanks so much for taking the time to share with us today, Katherine!
Your turn! Thinking of literature and lattes… Are you part of a book club, either locally or online?
More about Katherine:
Katherine Reay has enjoyed a life-long affair with classic literature – which provides constant inspiration both for writing and for life. She is the author of Dear Mr. Knightley, a Christy Award Finalist and winner of the 2014 INSPY Award for Debut Novel and two Carol Awards. She’s also the writer behind Lizzy & Jane, The Bronte Plot, a finalist for an ALA Notable Book Award, and her newest offering, A Portrait of Emily Price. Wife, mother, continually rehabbing runner, former marketer, and an avid chocolate consumer, Katherine and her family live outside Chicago, IL.
Thank you so much for asking me here today. Please feel free to reach out to me on social media. I can always be found at my website www.katherinereay.com and social media:
Also by Katherine:
After years of hiding behind the voices and stories of her favorite literary characters, twenty-three year old Samantha Moore finds her own voice, her own story and true love by sharing it, through letters, with another.
After a whirlwind romance and marriage, Emily Price heads home to Italy with her new husband to find that life at its richest is found only when she accepts its chaotic beauty.
The Austen Escape Giveaway:
Katherine has generously offered to give away not just one but two paperback copies of The Austen Escape! Giveaways are subject to the Giveaway Policy.