Today, I’d like to welcome Eve Marie Mont, the author of an interesting new YA release, which brings the classic story of Jane Eyre into the modern realm. It comes out today (3/27) from Kensington Teen and is the first book in a new Unbound series. Eve lives in the Philadelphia area, where she teaches high school English and creative writing. You can find out more about her on her website.
Want a copy of A Breath of Eyre for yourself? (I do!) This is an international contest. Read on...
ABOUT A BREATH OF EYRE Emma Townsend has always believed in stories—the ones she reads voraciously, and the ones she creates in her head. Perhaps it’s because she feels like an outsider at her exclusive prep school, or because her stepmother doesn’t come close to filling the void left by her mother’s death. And her only romantic prospect—apart from a crush on her English teacher—is Gray Newman, a long-time friend who just adds to Emma’s confusion. But escape soon arrives in an old leather-bound copy of Jane Eyre. Reading of Jane’s isolation sparks a deep sense of kinship. Then fate takes things a leap further when a lightning storm catapults Emma right into Jane’s body and her nineteenth-century world. As governess at Thornfield, Emma has a sense of belonging she’s never known—and an attraction to the brooding Mr. Rochester. Now, moving between her two realities and uncovering secrets in both, Emma must decide whether her destiny lies in the pages of Jane’s story, or in the unwritten chapters of her own…
Now, let’s hear from Eve. Welcome!
Give us the “elevator pitch” for A Breath of Eyre:
A 21st century girl gets transported into Jane Eyre and must decide whether her destiny lies in the pages of Jane’s story or in the unwritten chapters of her own.
What was your inspiration for the book? Are you a big Jane Eyre fan?
I’ve had the idea for A Breath of Eyre rattling around in my head for years, long before literary retellings became a hot trend. Ever since I read Jane Eyre in eleventh grade, it has remained a favorite, one I return to again and again and that never loses its fascination for me. I’ve never found another story with such a restrained yet passionate romance. And Jane is the ultimate heroine: strong, intelligent, moral, and unafraid to speak her mind. I knew I wanted my protagonist, Emma, to step into her shoes as she awakens to first love and discovers her own strength of character.
Favorite scene in your book:
I think it would be the waterfall scene. It wasn’t in my original manuscript, but it came to me one night and resolved so many issues I was struggling with. Now I can’t imagine the book without it.
Hardest scene to write:
Probably the scene when Emma first wakes up in Jane Eyre. I wanted to make it fantastical yet believable. It was also important for Emma not to accept her strange fate too quickly. I rewrote this chapter many times.
What’s on your nightstand or top of your TBR pile?
Kenneth Oppel’s This Dark Endeavor. I’ve always loved Frankenstein, and the idea of a literary prequel that explains young Victor’s fascination with cheating death sounds amazing.
Favorite book when you were a child:
Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden, which taught me the power of character, setting, and simple storytelling.
Your five favorite authors:
I’m going to be a bit all over the place here, but throughout my life, these authors have figured more prominently on my bookshelves than any others: Dr. Seuss, Shakespeare, Kurt Vonnegut, Jane Austen, and Emily Dickinson.
Book you've faked reading:
Moby Dick in college, although I did go back and read it as an adult, and I really enjoyed it.
Book you're an evangelist for:
The Sky is Everywhere. Jandy Nelson writes gorgeous prose and even lovelier poetry. I’m quite in awe of her talent. And I’m a little in love with Joe Fontaine.
Book you've bought for the cover:
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer. That cover is so lush and mysterious, it’s irresistible.
Book that changed your life:
Well, since my young adult debut is based on it, I’d have to go with Jane Eyre! Plus, after all these years, it’s still in my top ten.
Favorite line from a book:
“A purpose of human life, no matter who is controlling it, is to love whoever is around to be loved.”--Kurt Vonnegut, The Sirens of Titan
Book you most want to read again for the first time:
Probably Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. It was spare, haunting, surprising, and oddly beautiful the first time around.
Most horrifying moment while reading a book:
The basement scene of The Road.
Favorite book about books or writing:
Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird, as it gave me permission to write a crappy first draft. Without this advice, I would still be staring at that imperfect first page.
I’ve just finished a draft of A Touch of Scarlet, the sequel to A Breath of Eyre. As its title suggests, it is loosely based on The Scarlet Letter and has my protagonist, Emma, doing a lot of growing up as she navigates her way through secrets and scandal. Book 3 is inspired by The Phantom of the Opera and will take place in Paris; I’m hoping to work in a research trip for this one!
Many thanks, Eve! I was so excited to see her favorite childhood book was the same as mind, Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden. I read that book over and over as a kid, and now that I’m thinking about it, have an urge to dig up a copy and read it again. What was your favorite book as a kid? You know the drill to win a copy of A Touch of Eyre. One entry for comment, another for blog follow, a third for a Twitter follow @Suzanne_Johnson, and a fourth for a Tweet or Retweet. Be sure to include your email. Now...Go forth and comment!