To celebrate the release of her first novel, CHARLOTTE COLLINS, Jennifer Becton introduces her heroine and work herself. If you like reading Austen sequels, you'd  be happy to know about this new continuation of Pride and Prejudice which tells the story of Charlotte Lucas after her marriage to  Mr Collins. You still have few hours to win a signed copy of this book. Read my interview with Jennifer Becton on My Jane Austen Book Club.  Leave your comment and e-mail address there and good luck! But ... hurry up! Tonight  I'll announce the name of the winner.

Now here's to you Jennifer Becton!

"When I first began reading Jane Austen sequels, I was absolutely thrilled by the concept. Modern writers got to ask a few simple questions—What happened next in Pride and Prejudice? Or what if something different had occurred?—and then write the answers themselves. I loved reading other people’s interpretations of what happened to Elizabeth and Darcy and, in some cases, their children. But as time passed, I looked for books about characters other than the Darcys, and much to my disappointment, I found few, none of which were about minor characters.

Surely, I was not the only Janeite who wanted to read a sequel about someone other than the Darcys and their progeny. Austen created so many vibrant, interesting characters, and certainly, some of them deserved to be plucked from relative obscurity and given the chance to be the hero or heroine of their own romantic tale. So when I decided to write my own novel, I chose to tell the story I’d always wanted to read: a Jane Austen sequel about someone new. I asked myself this question: What happened to Charlotte Collins?

To me, Charlotte called out for the chance to make a different matrimonial decision, and I had to give it to her. Even Jane Austen herself said, “I consider everybody as having a right to marry once in their lives for love, if they can.” My goal was to allow Charlotte to grow and change based on her circumstances at the end of Pride and Prejudice. She had chosen a marriage of convenience to a simpering dolt, and afterward, she had observed the truth of love in the marriages of Jane and Elizabeth. From there, I wanted to bring her back to the philosophical point where she started and allow her the chance to make a different decision. In order to do that, she had to lose everything: her husband, her child, her friend, and the independence she had so greatly desired. Only then would Charlotte be able to open herself to new possibilities.
When Mr. Collins dies, finally relieving everyone of his tedious conversation, Charlotte must work feverishly to secure her income and home. She gives no further thought to the prospect of love until her flighty sister Maria begs her to act as her chaperone in place of their ailing parents. Hoping to prevent Maria from also entering an unhappy union, Charlotte agrees, and they are quickly thrust into a world of country dances, dinner parties, and marriageable gentlemen.

But when an unprincipled gentleman compromises Charlotte’s reputation, her romantic thoughts disappear at the prospect of losing her independence. As she struggles to extricate herself from her slander, her situation reveals both the nature of each gentleman and of true love."

Charlotte Collins is available at www.jenniferbecton.com and through www.amazon.com as both a paperback ($9.99 US) and an e-book ($4.99 US). Read the prologue here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/36261956/Charlotte-Collins-Prologue. I look forward to hearing from readers and hearing your thoughts about Charlotte’s fate.

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