Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Guest Post & Giveaway: Jane Odiwe of Searching for Captain Wentworth

The Calico Critic is thrilled to welcome the wonderful Austenesque writer Jane Odiwe to today's post.  We're celebrating the recent release of her work, Searching for Captain Wentworth.  My review copy just arrived, and I can't wait to dive into it!  This novel looks like a great mix of Janeite fiction and time travel-- some of my favorite literary devices!  Here's a summary of what we can expect:

When aspiring writer, Sophie Elliot, receives the keys to the family townhouse in Bath, it's an invitation she can't turn down, especially when she learns that she will be living next door to the house Jane Austen lived in. On discovering that an ancient glove belonging to her mysterious neighbour, Josh Strafford, will transport her back in time to Regency Bath, she questions her sanity, but Sophie is soon caught up in two dimensions, each reality as certain as the other. Torn between her life in the modern world, and that of her ancestor who befriends Jane Austen and her fascinating brother Charles, Sophie's story travels two hundred years across time, and back again, to unite this modern heroine with her own Captain Wentworth. Blending fact and fiction together, the tale of Jane Austen's own quest for happiness weaves alongside, creating a believable world of new possibilities for the inspiration behind the beloved novel, Persuasion.

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Stop by The Calico Critic on October 28th for my review of Jane's work, which I'm sure will be just wonderful!  In the meantime, here are a few thoughts from her, as well as an excerpt to whet your appetite. Be sure to enter to win a copy of the book for yourself, in the Rafflecopter widget below!

Searching for Captain Wentworth:
A Tale of Love Lost in Time

There’s something about time travel that’s always held an irresistible fascination for me. Brought up on books like Tom’s Midnight Garden, The Green Knowe Books and A Traveller in Time, any escape into the past is a little like re-visiting my childhood. So, when I was thinking about what to write after Mr Darcy’s Secret, the idea that I could combine my favourite period of history with Jane Austen and time travel seemed an exciting combination.

The books I’d enjoyed in my childhood had characters travelling backwards and forwards through time and I decided this was something I’d like to try. I loved the idea of several layers of stories - in this book there are three couples with their own stories of love lost and found. I particularly enjoyed switching from the past to the present though I did experience some challenging moments!

In my childhood tales there are always objects that travel through time or treasures that are found later - it was fun deciding how and where such objects might appear and disappear in my book. Keeping track of them was tricky at times and more than once I was caught out. But, it certainly made it fun to write. I still love reading the moment in Tom’s Midnight Garden where he finds Hattie’s skates hidden under the floorboards and realises she must be real and not a ghost after all! I loved writing my own ‘moments’ and paradoxes, tying the loose ends of the past and present together. There’s a certain fantasy element to a time travel book and to really enjoy them at their best I think you need to leave all sense of the real world behind - because there is much that cannot really be explained. That’s half the fun!

Any Janeite who managed to travel back into the past would have one special wish, I think, and for most that would be to meet Jane Austen herself. My heroine Sophie becomes friends with Jane Austen and finds herself drawn to her handsome brother Charles. He is on leave after serving as a young lieutenant on the frigate, Endymion.

In this excerpt Sophie has gone back in time and she’s beginning to realise just how different living in another time can be - she’s in Sydney Gardens when she bumps into her neighbour.

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It was then that I heard a voice calling me. ‘Miss Elliot, you are not lost, I hope.’

Charles Austen was hurrying towards me. I had to smile. ‘Lieutenant Austen, I have not yet ventured into the Labyrinth, and can safely find my way home, thank you.’

I wondered if I’d sounded rude, but I didn’t want him to think that I was a helpless female who couldn’t walk round a park without needing male assistance. He touched his hat and I thought he might walk away, but then he seemed to change his mind.

‘My sisters are clambering up Beechen cliff this afternoon,’ he said. ‘I must admit I had not the energy for such a jaunt today. I wanted peace, solitude, and a level walk.’

There was more than a hint of laughter in his voice. I wondered if he was finding it difficult being in the company of such strong-minded women after being on a ship completely dominated by men. When I thought about Mrs Austen’s apparent hypochondria and her interfering ways, I could understand why a profession that took you away from home for months and even years at a time might be such an inviting one.

‘I enjoy being on my own, and the gardens are so convenient,’ I began.

‘Do you always prefer your own company to that of being in society?’ His face looked serious for the moment, though his dark eyes twinkled as if there were some hidden secret only he delighted in.

‘Oh no, but I do love to have time to think,’ I said, knowing that this was perfectly true, ‘and I can never think so well in a room full of people as I can on my own.’

‘Your thoughts mirror my own, exactly. And even if you do manage to slip away with your thoughts in a crowded room, there is always someone who wants to know just what you are about. In my house, Miss Elliot, it is impossible to have private thoughts.’

I imagined that it would be far more difficult. At least in the twenty-first century you could be in a room full of people watching television and no one would know whether you were far away with your own thoughts or whether you were taking in everything on the screen. It was much more difficult in a time where conversation ruled the day and where you needed to be taking notice of what was being said at all times so that you could respond. I was learning how different it was to have your attention constantly demanded. Opinions were always required, and yet, I was beginning to feel that the only opinions considered worth having were those that matched everyone else’s.

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I hope you’ve enjoyed this little taster of Searching for Captain Wentworth. I’d love to know what your favourite time travel books might be! Do you read fantasy/ time travel books now or did you have favourites as a child?

--Jane Odiwe


 Searching for
Captain Wentworth Giveaway

Sound like a book you might enjoy?  One of you can win a copy! Be sure to read the guidelines below, enter via the Rafflecopter widget, and good luck!

  • The contest period ends at 12:01am EST on September 30th, 2012.
  • Contest is open to U.S. and International entrants. Come one, come all!
  • Make sure you leave your email address in the one required portion of the Rafflecopter form. Should you win, I will contact you on Sunday, September 30th.  Please take measures to ensure that my email will make it past your spam filters, lest you miss my message. ( You'll have 72 hours to respond before I pick another winner.
  • All entries must go through the Rafflecopter form. When you leave a blog post comment, in order for it to count toward your contest entry, be sure to indicate this through the "Leave a Blog Post Comment" button on the form.
  • The winner's mailing information will be sent to Jane Odiwe for prize shipment.
  • Entries will be verified.  If a fraudulent entry is detected for the winning name, another winner will be drawn.
If you can't see the Rafflecopter form below,
try clicking on the "Read more »" link

Want another chance to win?
Stop by this other participating blog as well:

My Jane Austen Book Club




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