Today I have a very special guest. Eve Marie Mont is here today to talk about what inspired her to write A Breath of Eyre!
Why the Classics Still Inspire Me
Ever since I read Jane Eyre in high school, I’ve been obsessed with Jane and Rochester’s story. Like many girls, I fell for the romance first, but Jane Eyre is so much more than a romance. It’s a coming of age story about a girl who must learn to trust and love herself before she can give her heart to another. The book also touches on issues of morality and religion, gender relations, class distinctions, child abuse, mental illness, education, and personal autonomy. It is rich and complex and moving, and that’s one of the reasons I love it.
A few years ago, I began writing A Breath of Eyre because I wanted an excuse to linger in Jane Eyre’s pages, to consider the characters and their decisions from a modern perspective. And what better way to do that than to send a modern girl, literally, into the novel? There is a danger, however, in taking a universally adored story and using it for your own purposes; readers will either love you or hate you for it. And often it will be the most ardent fans of the original who become the most ardent critics of the remake.
Consequently, it took me a long time to give myself permission to take Brontë’s story and make it my own, but once I added an element of magic, I let myself loose and the writing became a joy. While I use some of Brontë’s text verbatim, most of the Jane Eyre scenes have been recreated to show a modern girl’s reaction to being thrust into a nineteenth-century world: how does she respond to using a chamber pot, being without cell phone or computer or electricity, being wooed by a much older man with some very outdated attitudes toward women? And what does Emma learn by stepping into the shoes of Jane, a heroine who is strong, intelligent, moral, and unafraid to speak her mind?
The result is not so much a time travel novel as a coming of age story with a paranormal twist. While Jane Eyre plays a large role, it doesn’t overshadow Emma’s own story. In fact, two thirds of the book takes place in Emma’s contemporary world. Jane Eyre serves as more of a vehicle for Emma’s growth and self-actualization, and her time spent in Jane’s body causes her to reflect on the issues in her own life as she determines the kind of person she wants to be.
I sincerely hope that fans of Jane Eyre will find my book a satisfying and respectful tribute to one of my favorite novels. And for those who haven’t read Brontë’s masterpiece, I hope my book might send them into its pages.
As for Emma, her adventures will continue this spring in A Touch of Scarlet (March 26, 2013), inspired by Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, and in A Phantom Enchantment (March, 2014), inspired by The Phantom of the Opera and set in Paris!
Thank you so much for sharing what inspired you to write from the classics! And now I have a giveaway for you guys. One winner will geta signed copy of A Breath of Eyre, and an ARC of A Touch of Scarlet once they're available. If you win, the ARC will be sent to you once the publisher has them available.
13 or older to enter
Links for Eve Marie Mont’s A Touch of Scarlet, March 26, 2013 from Kensington Books