In the Bookcase


A fun interview about an Austen-themed novel... Emmeline!

Hi readers,

Today I'm talking with author Sarah Holman about her book Emmeline, which was released earlier in the year. It is the first in the brand new Vintage Jane Austen series, a collaboration series with several authors participating.

Emmeline by Sarah Holman (5 star review)


written by Sarah Holman

214 pages // published in 2017 // Christian historical fiction


What if Jane Austen’s Emma lived in America in the year 1930?

The talk of stock market crashes and depression isn’t going to keep Emmeline Wellington down. Born to wealth and privilege, Emmeline wants nothing more than to help her new friend, Catarina, find a husband. Emmeline sets her sights on one of the town’s most eligible bachelors, but nothing seems to go right. Even her friend and neighbor Fredrick Knight seems to question her at every turn.

Will she help Catarina find the man of her dreams? Why is her father acting so strangely? Will the downturn affect her life, despite her best efforts?

I've already read Emmeline myself, and definitely recommend it! Be sure to take a look at MY REVIEW of the book, and get a copy to your Austen-crazy friends!

Let's get to the chit-chat >>

TARISSA: So, let's start with the basics, Sarah ... How many of Jane Austen's books have you read? ... How long have you been an Austen fan?

SARAH: I have read three of the books: Pride and Prejudice, Emma, and Northanger Abbey. I have also watched the movies of Pride and Prejudice and Emma many times. I discovered Jane Austen when I was fifteen. I was sick and wanted something new to watch and someone brought Pride and Prejudice from the library. I loved it so much! So I guess that makes me a Jane Austen fan for 12 years now.

TARISSA: You are leaps and bounds ahead of me. I actually haven't *cough* read any of Jane Austen's books. Even though I know I'll love her books... And even though I loved your re-telling of Emma. So... reading one (or some) Austen novels is going on my 2018 "list of things to accomplish in life".

TARISSA: After you found out that you were going to write a book in the Vintage Jane Austen series, why did you choose to rewrite the story of Emma, specifically?

SARAH: Jane Austen was brilliant at capturing flawed people that you still love. Emma was one of those characters that I normally would have hated, but with Mr. Knightley to balance her out, she became a lovable person. Mr. Knightley is my favorite literary guy ever. I love how this duo are both flawed, yet they help to bring out the best in each other (and sometimes the worst).

TARISSA: The Vintage Jane Austen series transports the reader from Regency England to the Great Depression time period in America. What were some literary hurdles you had to overcome in seamlessly guiding elements of the original novel into a different location and era?

SARAH: I think that the whole team was pretty surprised at how easy it was to transport the stories. They fit very nicely. For instance, one of the biggest things that I noticed about Emma is how many parents were missing from the story. Both Knightley parents were gone, Emma's mother was gone, and Mr. Church's mother was gone. The influenza epidemic of 1919 was the perfect explanation for all these deaths.
The locations were a bit difficult, but we worked it out as a team and I think it came out well.


TARISSA: While digging up research for historical context, did you come across any particularly interesting tidbits? (Perhaps something fascinating about Jane Austen, the Great Depression, or anything else you might have studied...)

SARAH: I have been a huge fan of Grace Livingstone Hill for years. Her books have a strong faith and feel good stories (Beauty for Ashes and By Way of the Silverthornes are two of my favorites). Some of the things she had an issue with (makeup, movies, and dancing) I didn't understand. It was in my research that I found out makeup had only been used by very bad women until the movies became big and women started copying the stars. Even then, it wasn't considered nice for a while. Movies had no rating system and had become known for putting in elements that violated basic decency. Dancing had become very sensual at this point, far from the ballroom dancing of Jane Austen's time. Those are a few of the things I learned.

TARISSA: Another double question! Who was your favorite character in Austen's Emma? ... When you were writing Emmeline, who was your favorite character to interact with?

SARAH: Mr. Kightley was my favorite character because he loved Emma despite all her flaws. He loved her enough to correct her and offer her advice even when it wasn't wanted.
While writing, anytime Fredrick was in the room, I loved it. But I wouldn't have loved him as much if Emmeline wasn't there. They kind of come as a packaged deal. One without the other just isn't as much fun.

TARISSA: How neat! Well, Sarah, I sooo enjoyed learning some "behind-the-scenes" facts about Emmeline. And I'm glad I got to interview you about this unique book of yours. I look forward to reading more of the Vintage Jane Austen series from the other contributing authors, and I hope my readers will check out these books too! Emmeline is the perfect place to start, ya'll.

Available on Amazon in e-book format.

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Visit The Vintage Jane Austen book series online!

The Vintage Jane Austen book series

Author bio:
Sarah Holman is a not so typical mid-twenties girl: A homeschool graduate, sister to six awesome siblings, and author of many published books and short stories. If there is anything adventuresome about her life, it is because she serves a God with a destiny bigger than anything she could have imagined.

Author Sarah Holman

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  1. Wow, what a great idea for a novel series and interesting interview :) Mr Knightley is my favorite Austen hero too! I liked his integrity and that he wasn't afraid to tell Emma the truth, even if he thought it might affect her opinion of him.

  2. Sarah, it's so interesting to hear about how your relationship with Emma and Mr. Knightley. I loved how you wrote Emmeline and Fredrick in your novel. Great questions, Tarissa!