Win Autographed Copy of Midnight in Austenland!

A few days ago we ran an interview with Shannon Hale about her new book “Midnight in Austenland.”  We are thrilled to be giving away an autographed copy of the book to one lucky fan!  All you have to do to enter the contest is tell us what your favorite part of Austenland was or what you love about Shannon Hale as an author.  Just leave us a comment and we will pick one winner at random tomorrow, Jan 31, at noon.  The contest is only open to those in the USA.

And remember, the book goes on sale tomorrow, so be sure to grab your copy if you aren’t our winner!  Good luck!

Interview with Shannon Hale: Midnight in Austenland

It isn’t often that we feature other books here at the Lexicon, but we felt this was very fitting considering the connection to Stephenie Meyer.  Shannon Hale and Stephenie have been friends for a while now.  Stephenie’s new movie company recently produced the film version of Shannon’s book “Austenland.”  The two also headed up the charity event for The Book Babe a few years ago.  Shannon has a new book coming out in a  few days titled “Midnight in Austenland.”  It is a sequel to “Austenland” in the fact that it takes place in the same location, however the characters are nearly all new.

We were granted the honor of interviewing Shannon about the book and her experiences as an author.  We wish to thank Shannon and her staff for working with us and providing us this opportunity.  Midnight in Austenland will be on sale Jan. 31.

1. When you published “Austenland” were you surprised by the response that the book got?

Yes. I’m always surprised, by both the negative and positive responses. It think it’s a good thing, though. Reading is such an intimate experience, no two people ever read the same book the same way. That’s one thing that makes reading so cool! It’s funny how many emails I’ve gotten saying, “I am Jane. How did you know?”

2. How much research did you do for the book? Did you visit England or go to any living history sites to see how they worked?

I didn’t get to any living history sites. I would have very much liked to. Are there any for Austen? I didn’t find any in my research. I did go to England. I’d spent a summer in England in college, and while writing the book I returned for a book tour and was able to tour some Georgian and Regency locations. I also read a lot, of course. The trick with this book was not to try to recreate a historical era but one person’s fantasy of a historical era.

3. When the book was finished, did you want to revisit that world again someday, or did the idea of the sequel come as a surprise?

I loved writing Austenland, but it never once occurred to me to write a sequel. I think in terms of one book every time I write. I keep thinking I’ll do a good old fashioned trilogy someday, but I always end up focusing the entire story in one volume. Midnight in Austenland isn’t a traditional sequel in that way. It’s more like my Goose Girl books – different main character, though if you’ve read the first book and know the supporting characters, you’ll follow their ongoing stories as well. It wasn’t until 2009 when I was working on the screenplay for Austenland that I had the idea for another book. I usually let a book idea ferment in my brain for a year or years, but this one was so exciting to me, I put everything else aside and began immediately.

4. Do any of the original characters from “Austenland” show up in “Midnight in Austenland?” (We will refer to this as MiA)

Yes! Should I say which ones? Would that be a spoiler? I’ll say at least that Mrs. Wattlesbrook is in charge, and a year later, Miss Charming still hasn’t left.

5. How does Charlotte from “Midnight in Austenland” compare to Jane in “Austenland?” Would they get along and be friends?

I think so. Charlotte is very agreeable generally. They’re in different situations in life and have different interests though. The only place their lives really intersect is in their admiration for Austen–a lifelong obsession for Jane but a new love for Charlotte. I think that’s one thing that interests me in the idea of Austenland. The people who go there are quite unique individuals with this one common passion. I imagine you find that with Twilight fans – a large, diverse community of disparate backgrounds who find common ground because of their shared love.

6. How does Mr. Mallery (MiA) compare to Mr. Nobely?

There is definitely a kinship there. Mr. Mallery is so old world. Here, I’ll just slap in a quote from MiA. Charlotte is meeting the three gentlemen for the first time: “While the other two gentlemen would look comfortable on a GQ cover, Mr. Mallery didn’t seem likely to feel comfortable anywhere–except maybe a castle on a moor. He had dark hair and dark eyes and standing on the threshold as he was, he seemed too untamed and, well, dangerous, to enter the prim world of the drawing room.”

7. Even though this book isn’t about Jane and Mr. Nobely, can you give us some idea of just how their lives worked out? Did they get married? Kids? Do they live in the USA or in England?”

Oh! I love these delicious questions about the ongoing story! And it absolutely kills me not to answer. I have this thing about not limiting a reader’s ability to imagine the world after the last page. I definitely have ideas but I hate being the Authorial Voice of Authority.

8. What’s more difficult to write, YA fiction or Adult fiction? Why?

I’ve written three adult novels (i.e. novels for adults!) and six YA novels (plus a couple of graphic novels for kids), and overall I’ve found the YA novels to be more challenging. That might have more to do with the narrative style I’ve chosen for the YA novels than anything. But generally, a story for young adults must be so tight, so engaging, and stand up to dozens of rereads. It’s a demanding style. I love playing in many different kinds of styles. I get bored easily. Must. Have. Variety.

9. Why do you think we are still drawn to stories like Pride and Prejudice all these years later?

I’ve thought a lot about this and I think ultimately it’s just a really great story. The characters, the plot, the setting, the writing–awesome. Jane Austen is basically just a killer author. You like comedy? Human condition? Romance? Check, check, and check.

10. If you could spend a week at Pembrook Park, what type of character would you play? What would you most look forward to? Least look forward to?

I think I’d have to play someone close to my own personality. But much wittier and prettier, naturally. I’ve worn the corset and dress and sadly learned that that style is not flattering on me at all. Soul crushing. But I used to do theater, and I think the immersive experience would be such a hoot. If I could really let go and be that character, if the setting and cast were convincing, wouldn’t it be the most awesome experience ever? Like reading a really good book x 100.

Jane Seymour Talks About Stephenie Meyer’s Austenland Project

This past summer, Stephenie Meyer’s production company, Fickle Fish Films,did its inaugural project: Austenland. It’s an adaptation of the Shannon Hale novel by the same name. Jane Seymour talked about it on the radio.

Stephenie Meyer talked about the project on the Breaking Dawn red carpet.

Here are several photos tweeted out by cast members Jen Coolidge, Ricky Whittle this past summer. The film also stars Keri Russel and is directed by Jerusha Hess of Napoleon Dynamite fame.

Shannon Hale Talks Filming “Austenland” and Working With Stephenie Meyer

Deseret News has an interview with Shannon Hale about the process of watching her book “Austenland” be transforms into a film.  Shannon is a long time friend of Stephenie Meyer and interviewed Stephenie for a segment in The Official Guide to the Twilight Saga.  In this new interview, Shannon mentions how her relationship with Stephenie led into the filming of “Austenland.”

Hale remembers talking with friend and fellow author Stephenie Meyer a few years ago while she was involved with the filming of the first “Twilight” movie.

“I could hear it in her voice that she was really enjoying it (the process),” Hale said. So Hale suggested Meyer look into producing movies. Meyer responded that if she were to go into the business, “Austenland” would be the first movie she’d do.

Hale said they laughed about it, remarking at that time “of course it’ll never happen.”

But Hale just spent much of her summer in England.

“It was a crazy series of events as it always is for anything like this to happen,” Hale said.

Hale just happened to have a copy of her book with her one day, “and I never carry my books around with me,” she interjected, when she met up with Jerusha Hess, who’s co-written movies with her husband, Jared Hess of the “Napoleon Dynamite” fame.

Jerusha Hess emailed Hale shortly after reading the book and told her she wanted to make a movie out of it — this being her directorial debut. Meyer called Hale the very next day to tell her she wanted to produce “Austenland.”

With that serendipitous take off, the trio embarked on an adventure Hale lovingly referred to as “three chicks making a movie.”

The article goes on to describe what it was like for Shannon on set as well as her future plans.  You can read the full story here.

Shannon’s next book “Midnight in Austenland” is a sequel to “Austenland” with a new main character and a darker feel to the story.  As fans of Shannon’s and of Jane Austen, we are very excited for this film and for the new book.  We will be interviewing Shannon very soon and are interested to know any questions you might have for her!  If you have a great question for Shannon, leave us a comment and we might use it in our interview!


Jennifer Coolidge Tweets About Her Austenland Experience So Far

Jennifer Coolidge, who most people will probably best remember from her performances in Legally Blonde, American Pie, and Nip Tuck has Tweeted from the Austenland set. As we have been telling you, Austenland is from the novel of the same name by Shannon Hale, and is being produced by Stephenie Meyer’s brand new production company! Here’s what Jen had to say so far:

“Hi everybody! Early morning here in London…was very excited to meet Keri Russel yesterday….she’s gorgeous!
Shooting starts soon, sorry I haven’t been tweeting too much…

I’ll try and send some pictures of the gorgeous costumes I’ve been trying on for Austenland…but maybe I’ll just let you be surprised!

Early start today…hair tests, all the fun stuff that goes along with this…England is so beautiful!”

Jennifer plays Miss Charming, a character who, in the novel, is a long-time Austenland visitor with a wonderful, some times slightly bawdy, charm.

Follow Jennifer Coolidge on Twitter!/JENCOOLIDGE and on facebook

You can discuss Austenland on out forums in our newly created Austenland the movie section, or here on the blog

You can buy the book On Amazon, currently on sale for $7.98

Official Press Release For Austenland Issued

There isn’t much here that we didn’t already know, but Moxie pictures ( which is one of the groups producing the film ) issued the following press release:

“Seven weeks of principal photography recently commenced on location in the UK on romantic comedy “AUSTENLAND,” the big screen adaptation of award-winning author SHANNON HALE’s novel about Jane Austen-obsessed contemporary heroine, “Jane,” played by Golden Globe award-winner KERI RUSSELL (“Felicity”, “Mission Impossible II”,”Waitress”). JJ FEILD (“Captain America: The First Avenger) and BRET MCKENZIE (the Emmy award-winning “Flight of the Conchords”) join Russell in the directorial debut of JERUSHA HESS (“Napoleon Dynamite”), who adapted “AUSTENLAND” for the screen with Shannon Hale. LA-based UTA will handle international sales.

JERUSHA HESS previously co-scripted the indie hit and Sundance favourite “Napoleon Dynamite” with her husband and writing/producing partner, director JARED HESS. She also co-wrote “Nacho Libre” and “Gentleman Broncos” and is executive producer on Fox’s animated TV series “Napoleon Dynamite”.

The colourful international supporting cast on “AUSTENLAND” includes US actress and comedienne JENNIFER COOLIDGE (“American Pie”, “Legally Blonde”), JANE SEYMOUR (“Wedding Crashers”), RUPERT VANSITTART (“Braveheart”) and JAMES CALLIS (“Battlestar Gallactica”, “Bridget Jones’ Diary”).

“AUSTENLAND” is a romantic comedy about 30-something, single Jane Hayes, a seemingly normal young woman with a secret: her obsession with Mr. Darcy—as played by Colin Firth in the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice—is ruining her love life; no real man can compare. But when she decides to spend her life savings on a trip to an English resort catering to Austen-crazed women, Jane’s fantasies of meeting the perfect Regency-era gentleman suddenly become more real than she ever could have imagined.

“AUSTENLAND” is produced by Stephenie Meyer (“The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1,” “Breaking Dawn Part 2,” “The Host”) through Fickle Fish Films, the production company of Meyer and Meghan Hibbett, and Moxie Pictures‘ Gina Mingacci. Executive Producers are Robert Fernandez and Dan Levinson of Moxie Pictures and co-producer is Jane Hooks (“Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll, “Bronson”). Jared Hess (“Napoleon Dynamite,” “Nacho Libre,” “Gentleman Broncos”), Meghan Hibbett, and author Shannon Hale are associate producers.
Creative talent on board includes cinematographer Larry Smith, BSC (“Eyes Wide Shut”, “Bronson”) and Emmy award-winner and BAFTA-nominated production designer James Merifield (“Little Dorrit”,”Brighton Rock”).

The film is financed by Fickle Fish Films.”

You can find Moxie pictures on:!/MoxiePictures

On Shannon Hale’s blog, she states which actors are playing which characters:

Jane – Keri Russell
Nobley – JJ Feild
Martin – Bret Mckenzie
Miss Charming – Jennifer Coolidge
Colonel Andrews – James Callis
Mrs. Wattlesbrook – Jane Seymour
Mr. Wattlesbrook – Rupert Vansittart
Georgia King – Lady Heartwright
Ricky Whittle – George East

Shannon Hale also made the following clarification on her blog:

“There is no Sir John and Aunt Saffronia, Mr & Mrs. Wattlesbrook merging those roles. It was the right choice for the adaptation to screen. Isn’t that a gorgeous cast? I’m so thrilled! If there is anyone you aren’t familiar with and you read my blog, then you shortly will be. I’ll devote a post to each of them over the next few weeks. The actors playing George East and Lady Heartwright (she got bumped up to “lady” in the screenplay) weren’t mentioned in the official announcement, so I’ll wait to drop their names.”

You can follow Shannon Hale on Twitter!/haleshannon

Shannon Hale Reports on The First Day of Filming Austenland

Stephenie Meyer’s newly formed production company Fickle Fish Films is in the UK filming Shannon Hale’s novel Austenland. As producer, Stephenie is on set every day. Shannon just blogged about the first day:

“I got to meet crew, chat with the production designer, the line producer, the UPM, Stephenie, and other cool crew members. (This crew ROCKS!) I sat in a chair (it wasn’t mine, but I got to use it anyway), put on headphones, and watched characters I invented speak lines I wrote. I laughed out loud at one point at the way Keri delivered a line and will have to be very careful in the future or they’ll ban that unprofessional writer from the set! But it’ll be hard because it’s funny, and these actors are so great. Molly (Jane’s best friend) is played by the gorgeous and so funny Ayda Field. Oh you guys, I’m so excited! Can I freak out a little? Can I just get majorly giddy and excited and squeal and jump around? I mean, as long as they’re not filming a scene and I’m far from set. Because I’m a professional crew member and never make a peep.”

See more on Shannon Hale’s blog

The photo above is from the first time Shannon and Stephenie met in person, which ironically was at an Austenland signing.

Stephenie Meyer to Produce Shannon Hale’s Austenland Movie

According to the Hollywood Reporter:

“Keri Russell, JJ Field and Bret McKenzie will star in Austenland, an indie romantic comedy that is serving as the directorial debut of Jerusha Hess, who co-wrote Napoleon Dynamite and Nacho Libre with her husband, helmer Jared Hess.

In a twist, the movie is also serving as the producing debut of Stephenie Meyer, author of the best-selling vampire books The Twilight Saga.[Lexicon Note: This should perhaps read her first time producing with her own company as she is a producer on Breaking Dawn]

Meyer is producing and financing the pic though her Fickle Fish Films banner, which she runs with Meghan Hibbett. Moxie Pictures’ Gina Mingacci is also producing.

See more on THR

For those of you are are unfamiliar with Austenland, it marked the first time that children’s author Shannon Hale (of the Princess Academy fame) attempted an adult novel. Shannon Hale and Stephenie Myer have been friends for some time. Shannon did the Q&A with Stephenie that appears in the front of The Twilight Saga Official Illustrated Guide. She also took part in The Book Babe charity event with Stephenie. There is also a shout out to Shannon Hale in the Bree tanner novella where Bree reading her way through the bookshop had left off at Shannon Hale.

The basic premise of the book is that a young woman who is disillusioned by modern romance and dating inherits the chance to visit Austenland. Austenland is like a theme park for adult women where they can live out their own Pride and Prejudice type fantasy a la Fantasy Island (only without Mr. Roarke and Tatoo).

You can follow Shannon Hale on Twitter here and visit her blog here.

Edited: Shannon Hale commented on her blog:

“What I’ve done today:

  1. Done 3 loads of laundry
  2. Changed 6 diapers
  3. Dropped off and picked up preschooler
  4. Played games with my 7 yo
  5. Called insurance company to see why one of my twin babies mysteriously isn’t covered on our insurance
  6. Read about my book becoming a movie on The Hollywood Reporter
  7. Freaked out!

It’s happening! So much more news to come. I am at least freed to talk about. This has been in the works for two years and it’s so exciting! More soon.

Ps. Notice how THR doesn’t mention me or my book? Oh Hollywood, you just couldn’t love writers any more, could you?”



Book Babe Wrap Up Final Part

When last I left all of you, I was in a deep funk over having lost Stephenie’s dress and had a bruised rear end from my cell phone. 🙂  Seriously though, it was a great time, and the best came next.

Be My Escape, Dano, Nena and I were in the platinum seating ( I was not flying to Phoenix for 24 hours and not having platinum seating plus Faith is way worth it.) so we got to attend a reception afterwords with the authors. We got this huge bag of books that the authors’ publishing companies had donated in a Twilight Saga messenger bag. (thank you Little Brown!) We also got a fabulous poster signed by the authors there.

Now next to Stephenie the person I most wanted to meet was Shannon Hale. One word: Austenland. Yes, folks, blame it on Alphie again. She’s the one who got me hooked on Shannon, and she’s probably a bigger fan than me, and she wasn’t there. So I waited to talk with Shannon and when I got up to the front of the line I said, “Hi, I’m one of the people who runs the Twilight Lexicon and my friend Lori who runs it with me got me hooked on your books. Could you sign this for her?” I then handed her a copy of Book of a Thousand Days. The next thing I know Shannon Hale gets out of her chair reaches over the table and says, “You run the Twilight Lexicon, can I have a hug?” I said sure, mumbled something really inarticulate from shock at being hugged by Shannon Hale, and smiled a lot.

Next I went over to J. S. Lewis’ table and asked him to sign a copy of his book. Seriously, this man is the nicest person in the world and has a great sense of humor. He totally rocked keeping the flow of the day going and was a genius during the auction.  He also didn’t tease me too badly when he realized I was from New Jersey.

Last but not least we went over to Stephenie’s table where she personalized a copy of Breaking Dawn for me for a friend that lives in the UK. In our group people were asking about the filming.  Stephenie couldn’t say too much, but she assured us that the wolf pack was very hot, and very up to the task. So no worries on the wolf pack, guys!

So finally the event was over and our very jet lagged and in my case stun gunned (AKA my phone) group headed out to the parking lot when what did we stumble on but a Twilight car.

It was totally decked out and even had purple under lights. The DVD player in it was of course loaded with Twilight and Paramore was playing on the radio.

For other excellent coverage please see Shannon’s blog! All the pictures but the car were from her site. Also see the Phoenix New Times.

Also check out the online auction.