Monday, March 7, 2016

Austen in Austin by Debra Marvin, Susanne Dietze, Anita Mae Draper, and Gina Welborn

We're happy to have Debra E. Marvin with us today, talking about Austen in Austin. To learn more about Debra and Austen in Austin, read on!

Why did you choose to write this book? 
Years ago, my blog-mates on the Inkwell Inspirations blog decided to pull together an anthology of novellas. We tossed around ideas via our group email and had almost settled on stories set in the Regency era or Austen inspired, when one of us commented that they’d be more comfortable with a western setting. So it sort of morphed into Austen in Austin (Darcy in a Stetson?). We spent a lot of time on details and making sure our stories connected and carried characters and setting through over a 20 year period. Volume two comes out this fall.

What is the toughest test you've faced as a writer? 
The funny thing is, I’d quit writing when we were offered a contract for Austen in Austin. My novella, Alarmingly Charming was completed a couple years before that and I’d relegated it to ‘such a shame it won’t be seen’.  Writing takes so much time and work and to really succeed, it means giving up things that ‘normal’ people do.  I’d written on and off for at least fifteen years and I had multiple completed manuscripts. I felt like I’d given a lot to writing and got very little back (like a bad relationship). So I stopped. I relaxed, watched more movies, spent more time with my friends and family, and I started quilting and knitting again. Then we sold the book!  I’m enjoying writing a lot more now because I was able to find where it fit in my priorities.

What are you working on right now? 
I’m working on my second novella with Forget Me Not publishers and it’s also the second one that’s set in Arizona in the 1930s. I’m having a blast getting my head into that decade. My Christmas release Desert Duet was a bit of Old Hollywood, gangsters and a ghost town. This summer, Starlight Serenade comes out, and it’s set in Flagstaff with a Broadway show girl and a straight-laced English astronomer trying to solve a blackmailing scheme.
What would you be doing if you weren’t writing? 
I would definitely be quilting. I absolutely love color, texture and design, so fabric is a big deal to me. I’ve always been a sewing fiend--making things, costumes, curtains, clothes--and I like to craft, paint, knit and crochet. I’d never be bored at home if I could just ‘make’ stuff. Now, if I had more money, I’d be doing more traveling and special things with my family and friends. Definitely more trips with my grandchildren!

Tell us a little more about yourself, with three things not many people know about you. 
1) Sadly, I could be a hermit and live in a hovel. Not quite squalor, but dishes and brushing my hair are low priorities when I’m writing or sewing!  
2) I drive a truck with a stick shift. It’s my big, useful sports car.   
3) I have a terrible fear of heights but went parasailing at 1200 feet in the Outer Banks of NC. It was so beautiful and silent that I wasn’t afraid, though I kept praying about that one knot that was holding the harness to the parasail!
Do you listen to music when you write and if so, what kind of music – or do you find it distracts you?   
I try to listen to music of the decade in which I’m writing, but preferably instrumental. If I know the words, I can’t write…I sing!
Tell us about your latest release and what you think readers will enjoy about it. 
My novella Alarmingly Charming is my take on Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey. Miss Austen’s story was written as a parody of the gothics that were popular at the time and the heroine is a rather silly girl. It was a challenge to recreate her for today’s audiences, but I personally love suspense, mystery, and dark tales. (I was quite the gothic reader back in the seventies!) My heroine, Kathryn, is a bookworm with a huge curiosity and kind heart. She’s completely without guile, a bit quirky and determined to stop being so timid and embrace life. She just wasn’t expecting two men vying for her attentions. Visit my novella’s Pinterest page at:
What is your personal definition of success? 
Success comes late in life because it takes many years for most of us to stop worrying about what other people think and learn to look at all we’ve accomplished and all we have to be thankful for. Success for me is being comfortable and confident that I know who I am and I’m okay with it.

How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website)
          Please follow my FB author page and stop in to say hi! Facebook Author Page:                            

            Amazon Author Page:
Group Blog- Inkwell Inspirations:


  1. Thank you so much for inviting me! Your questions were wonderful, and I'm looking forward to hearing from your readers.

  2. Fabulous interview! I loved learning some new things about my dear friend Deb. (Really Deb? A hovel? I'm with you on the dishes, though...)

    Many thanks for hosting Deb and telling the world about our take on Austen!

  3. Interesting question about Austen vs Western. I used to be a serious non-fan of Austen until my then-teen son had to read her for high school. Then I reread, got hooked, and was enormously thrilled to hear then-teen son announce in tones of bemusement, "She's a pretty good writer isn't she?"

    1. Austen, like other classics, can be a difficult read at times. I think it's because we just don't often feel we have the time to sink in and luxuriate in the prose. I prefer to listen on audio now, so I can enjoy the words as I 'do something else'! What resounds is her insight... Thanks for commenting Sheila!

  4. Yay, Deb. Great interview. And so very humbled to think we had a small part in furthering your writing. Life is good. :)

  5. Thanks ladies. Good to see Susie and Anita visiting. We made a great team and hope you all enjoy our stories!

  6. I love these interviews!
    And I'm so glad you didn't quit writing. ;)

  7. Wonderful interview with Debra! I love the idea of Austen in Austin! Thanks for the giveaway.

    1. Thanks Caryl. Have you had the chance to read Susie Dietze's yet?

    2. Thanks Caryl. Have you had the chance to read Susie Dietze's yet?

    3. Debra, I've not yet read Susie Dietze's yet... Hope to soon.

  8. Although I haven't read anything by Austen, I still think I would prefer Western vs. Austen, but I'm willing to try. I do have a couple Austen books on my to read list, just haven't gotten to them yet. Great interview by the way.

    1. Debbie, these stories are definitely westerns and don't need an "Austen" fan card to enjoy! We used Austen novels in a way that a fan of say, Pride and Prejudice, would see it hidden in our story, but these are basically a set of novellas linked by setting and time. Thanks for commenting and stopping in!