About the Author
Nearly eight years ago, Anne’s family, specifically her father, convinced her that she was too young to wed and insinuated that her fiancé Rick was solely interested in her wealth and status. Against her better judgment, Anne agreed to postpone the marriage, only to watch the love of her life walk away, never to be heard from again. Since then, time has not been kind, and with the family fortune now gone and Anne unable to move on with her life romantically, she struggles to make a name for herself as a greeting card designer. However, a series of serendipitous events causes Rick to re-enter her life, and at the same time a new beau seeks to claim her affections. The question that needs answering, however, remains the same: Can Anne recover from her previous rejection and love again?
Anna: Hi Kaitlin! Welcome to Austenised. Congratulations on publishing your book “A Modern Day Persuasion” and bringing Jane Austen to life. It was interesting to read your novel and see how Persuasion would fit into the modern context. I would like to know more about your experience of writing the novel and your inspirations for writing it.
Could you start by describing your biggest challenge in adapting a Jane Austen novel?
Kaitlin: My biggest challenge was taking Jane's premise for Persuasion and placing it into a modern context without perverting her original intent. Sure, you can write a modern day tale of her original idea, but will it really be Austen's beloved characters brought to life in our century? My number one goal while writing this novel was to simply modernize the circumstances and occupations of her characters, not alter who they are or how the story plays out.
Anna: In your dedication, you mention that your mother introduced you to Jane Austen. How did this happen and what was it that made you fall in love with her novels in the first place?
Kaitlin: My mother and I would have regular “girls nights” when I was growing up and watch old classics, including the 1980's Pride and Prejudice and any other adaptations we could get our hands on. I became entranced with the language, the manners and style of dress. As I grew older, I read the novels for myself and later, it was my mother who encouraged me to write A Modern Day Persuasion.
Anna: Which is your favourite Jane Austen novel? How did you choose to adapt Persuasion in particular?
Kaitlin: Persuasion is my favourite Jane Austen novel with Mansfield Park and Sense and Sensibility tying for a close second. I think I appreciate these three novels in particular because Anne, Fanny, and Elinor are so overlooked yet, because they are good and patient, they are given their heart's desires in the end. I chose to adapt Persuasion because I've heard it's one of the least popular of Austen's Major Six, and that's a pity if you ask me! Hopefully my modern day re-telling will help it gain popularity.
Anna: Your novel carefully follows the sequence of events in the original novel. How did you set off planning your novel?
Kaitlin: If you want the inside scoop, I first wrote A Modern Day Persuasion as a screenplay—which is why some readers comment that if flows like a movie and easily creates images. And Anna, I'm so glad you noticed how closely I tried to follow the original's sequence of events.
Anna: You have set your novel in modern California and Oregon. How did you select the settings for your novel?
Kaitlin: I am an Oregon-born and bred woman with family in California. Not only did it ease the writing process by keeping some familiarity to my story, but it also accommodated much of the settings necessary for the book's plot.
Anna: Your story is very faithful to the original. Did you face any difficulty in adapting any of the storyline or characters to the modern day context?
Kaitlin: Thank you! Yes, I did face some complications when adapting Persuasion. For starters, Rick couldn't make a fortune through the Navy like in days past; Anne would have a career; and it would be gross if Mr. Elliot, Anne's first cousin, was still pursuing her in this present day world!
Anna: Jane Austen’s main character, Anne, is a reserved and sensible, yet sweet woman with strong moral feelings. How do you think the character of Anne relates to a modern reader?
Kaitlin: It was important to me that Anne remain Jane's Anne. Anne is that shy girl in the background whom when you get to know one-on-one might have a lot to say! She's loyal, sensible, will listen to you, and feels things very deeply. Anne is the type of friend we all want standing beside us through the ups and downs, and that's what I call an ideal lady.
Anna: I enjoyed your hilarious adaptation of the hypochondriac Mary Musgrove. Who is your favourite character in “A Modern Day Persuasion” and why?
Kaitlin: Mary is a handful, isn't she! You should have heard my mother reading Mary's dialogue when completing some editing for me—hilarious! Mary was definitely one of the funniest characters to write, but it is Anne whom I so admire. Her patience, strong character, sweetness and especially her caring attitude is an everyday inspiration and standard to aspire to.
Anna: Jane Austen wrote in a unique style of her own, and there have been many attempts to replicate it since her lifetime. How is your style of writing inspired by Jane Austen?
Kaitlin: I want my stories to be relatable and Jane, I believe, was the master at making a circumstance hit home. She wrote about what she knew and had learned from those around her. Jane was a very observant lady! She brought to life characters that ring true even in this day and age and it inspires to me to likewise capture some of the ironic things we all encounter everyday.
Anna: Who is your target audience with “A Modern Day Persuasion”? Do you think that your novel will inspire new readers to explore the classic?
Kaitlin: My target audience is anybody and everybody! And yes, I hope my novel will inspire new readers to explore Austen's work as well as other classics. Ideally, after completing my novel, readers will desire to read the original and see how it compares and differs from mine.
Anna: Last, but not least, I would be curious to know if you are planning to write any more adaptations of Jane Austen’s novels - or are you planning to venture to something completely different?
Kaitlin: That's a great question. I'm currently working on two more modern day adaptations while writing several new and completely different stories. I like to keep busy!
Anna: Thank you for the interview, Kaitlin – looking forward to seeing more of you!
You can read more about Kaitlin Saunders on her website at http://www.kaitlin-saunders.com/.