Jessica Day George

Sunday, September 14, 2008

FAQ (again) and Oh, Those Wacky Victorians!

I am really going to have to get a Frequently Asked Questions page on here, and soon, because once again, due to the high volume of emails I've been getting, I need to answer some FAQ's!

Yes, there will be a third book about Creel and the dragons.

I will not tell you anything about the plot.  I'm just that mean.  Sorry.

It will come out in spring of 2009.

It does not have a finalized title or cover art.

I will put up the cover art, tell you the final title and the more exact release date as soon as I know them. 

I don't know when that will be.

Even if you promise to be my best friend forever, and even if you promise that you are my biggest fan and will always be my biggest fan, I still will not tell you the plot.

Even if you send me chocolate.

Even if you send me your firstborn child. 

My own firstborn child is enough of a handful, and I will send yours right back, although I'm sure they're very cute.  I will provide them with fruit snacks and a juice box for the trip.

And now on to the Victorians!

The Victorians fascinate me.  They really, really do.  We always think of Jane Austen and Charles Dickens and their contemporaries as being so cute!  So prim and proper, with their corsets and their tea and their young ladies fainting left and right.

But look more carefully. . . .

A friend of mine is working on a book set in an imaginary country that is sort-of, kind-of like Europe in the 19th century.  In it, the two main characters are childhood sweethearts who at one point are talking alone together, holding hands.  A woman critiquing her story was SHOCKED at this.  According to her, they never would have been alone together (in the real 19th century) and they NEVER would have held hands.  She advised my friend to read Jane Austen for an example.

My friend looked at this woman and said, "Have YOU ever read Jane Austen?"

Seriously, have you?

Sure, there are no heaving bosoms and ripping bodices, but there's a lot more going on there than hand-holding.  Shocked?  Don't believe me?  Take a look at Pride and Prejudice:  Wickham and Lydia run off to London and are living together for weeks before Darcy finds them and they are forced to get married.  Sense and Sensibility?  Colonel Brandon's foster daughter has a baby out of wedlock with the handsome cad who is now wooing Marianne! 

But I'm not just talking about torrid affairs.  (Although it was fun.)

I just saw the miniseries "Daniel Deronda", based on the book by George Eliot.  No, I haven't read the book, although now I really want to, and I swear I will!  (I do at least know that George Eliot was actually a woman, so there's one point in my favor.) 

This was the most amazing thing I have ever seen, largely because it tackled a number of heated issues that it never would have occurred to me to associate with the cute little Victorians.  Racism.  Psychological abuse.  Spousal abuse.  For example: a woman gives up her child because he's getting in the way of her career!  Seriously!  And what makes the bad guy so bad is that he marries this young girl just so that he can torment her!  Honestly!  He marries this spoiled, pretty girl just so that he can teach her a lesson.  For the rest of her life he's going to play mindgames with her and treat her like dirt, just because he can.  It was like evil Taming of the Shrew!  Then there was also the extreme prejudice against the Jews, which was dealt with at length, and the problems they faced of being hated in England, and just about everywhere else in Europe, but having no country of their own to move to.

Heavy stuff.

And I started to think about how we really don't get the Victorians much credit.  We think of them as being so . . . good.  So quaint and, well, old-fashioned. 

And then you realize that Mansfield Park has a subplot about the horrors of slavery!

Makes you kind of wonder if there ever was such a thing as "The Good Old Days."


Anonymous said...

It's funny how people think that *rules* of society were always strictly followed in the past... No matter where or when, rules will always be broken by someone.

Anonymous said...

Although I've always been more interested in the Regency period, I also really like Victorian and YES! You are so right!

And are you sure I can't send you my firstborn? Ok, how about some really, really yummy chocolate?!!

Anonymous said...

I was just thinking of Mansfield Park (which I haven't read, but DID see the movie :) when you were talking about racism. I was just as shocked to read, in my 10th Grade U.S. History text, that over 1/3 of the marriages in the Civil War era were shotgun weddings!

Also, I have to tell you a BIG, BIG (this font would be 1000-point if it could be!) thank you for your book recommendations! In particular, I loved Wildwood Dancing -- it was so wonderfully vivid for me! I loved the Dragutsa (I'm sorry there's not the right letter and I had to write it out) parts -- I majored in Russian, and she was so much like Baba Yaga for me. I could go on and on... but you have work to do! :)

Anonymous said...

I just hope you get the exact date soon.

Anonymous said...

I just hope you get the exact date soon.

Anonymous said...

I just hope you get the exact date soon.

Anonymous said...

My mom is always talking about how it used to be a husbands legal right to beat his wife and Women used to have tohave a written reason that the judge approved to be divorced.
And Adults Always Say "Things like this didn't happen when I was a kid" HAH!!!!

Anonymous said...

I agree whole heartedly. I just finished North and South (Elizabeth Gaskell), and talk about prejudice! Working class vs. everyone else! Goodness! Look at Gaskell's other work, Wives and Daughters, can we say more prejudice! But I still love them.

Anonymous said...

what if its unlikely that i'll get to read it till christmas 09 because of having to get it online and only getting to do that at christmas? because barns and noble think that eragon is better than dragonslippers?(by the way, it's not. nor will it ever be!)
well, at least there IS a book three. i'm so very happy.
i stayed up half the night once, reading Dragons slippers with my mother, because when we got to a certain point, at about halfway through, she's like' lets keep reading! just one more chapter!" i hope it makes you happy. mst of the felames in my family are now eagary awaiting anything you write.
agg! i can't wait till christmas! must get all your books!
( one more hint won't kill you, please?, please? what if i send you chocolate, and then more chocolate, and, and...uh..hmm...what was i giong to offer? brother? no. free baby sitting? no(i wouyld if i could, but i'm in a diff state, sob)drat. i'll get back to you :)