Interview with Jane Dawkins by Rose Brungard (Romance at

I have asked Jane Dawkins to grace us with an interview and she has graciously acquiesced to my request. She is currently working on her third book, a Regency Romance called One Perfect Afternoon, but currently has two wonderful books out that follow Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, called Letters from Pemberley and More Letters from Pemberley.

How may readers contact you?
By email at, or by writing to me at
1408 Petronia Street
Key West, FL 33040

Do your fans' comments and letters influence you in any way?
Not really, though I always enjoy hearing from readers.

Why did you decide to write romance novels?
Actually, it was my agent who threw out the challenge following the success of my two Jane Austen sequels, Letters from Pemberley and More Letters from Pemberley. Having tried very hard to emulate the language and style Jane Austen, and be true to her characters, I found that writing a novel in my own voice with my own characters very liberating and great fun.

How much of your personality and life experiences are in your writing?
Very little indeed. My heroines are mostly strong young women-even head-strong. As a former extremely shy shrinking violet, I wish I had been more like them as a young woman.

Generally, how long does it take you to write a book?
My first two books were researched and written over several years. One Perfect Afternoon was done in three months.

What is your writing routine?
I use a laptop computer and sit outside on the front porch or out back by our pool-rarely at a desk, though I always sit at a desk for editing and correcting, because it is just more convenient to go through the ms that way, and for the ease of using a “proper” mouse.

Do you have a set schedule for writing or do you just go with the flow?
I definitely just go with the flow.

What about your family, do they know not to bother you when you are writing - or are there constant interruptions?
My wonderful husband knows not to bother me when I am writing.

What do you do to relax and recharge your batteries?
Reading, painting, ceramics, movies, theatre, walking the dogs.

Where do your ideas come from?
I wish I knew the answer to that one!

Do you feel humour is important in women's fiction and why?
I think humour is important, period! It is also one of the hardest things to put across successfully in fiction, I think. Tragedy and tears are much easier to get right. Our actor friends say it is exactly the same in the theatre.

What are your thoughts on love scenes in romance novels, do you find them difficult to write?
I don’t find them difficult to write, but I definitely belong to the “less is more” school. I think my love scenes, and certainly my sex scenes are suggestive rather than explicit, which to my mind makes far more erotic reading.

What kind of research do you do?
That’s my favourite part of all! So far, my books have been set in the Regency period in England (my native country) and I love to try and get things right. I am so grateful for the resources of the Internet, which enable me to get information very quickly. For instance, in Letters from Pemberley, knowing that balls would often be arranged to coincide with the full moon, thus enabling guests to arrive and leave with some light to guide them safely (assuming the sky was clear, of course) I wanted to know when the full moon appeared in July 1813. An email to the Royal Observatory in Greenwich gave me the answer in a matter of hours! To most readers this would hardly matter, but it gives me enormous satisfaction to be correct.

What does your husband/wife think of your writing?
He is very proud and most supportive.

Do you ever ask him/her for advice?
Not while I am writing, usually, but I always ask his opinion on the first draft of a book.

Please tell us about yourself (family, hobbies, education, etc.)
Born in Palestine, I grew up in a small country town in Wiltshire, which borders Hampshire where Jane Austen lived.
- My husband, Chuck, and I live in Key West, in Florida, with the two most wonderful golden retrievers in the entire world.
- Hobbies are painting, reading, ceramics, walking, movies, theatre.
Fill in the blank favorites - Dessert. City. Season. Type of hero. Type of heroine.
Apple crumble, Key West, summer

What are some of your favorite things to do?
See above.

Do you have a favorite author? Favorite book?
Jane Austen. Pride & Prejudice

Who are some of your favorite authors?
Barbara Kingsolver, Maeve Binchy, David Lodge, Nick Hornby, Zadie Smith

Who, if anyone, has influenced your writing?
Jane Austen

Are you a member of any author groups - RWA, critique groups, etc.?

Where do you see yourself in five years?
Three books. Two already published, one to be published in 2004.

After you've written your book and it's been published, do you ever buy it and read it?

What book for you has been the easiest to write? The hardest? The most fun?
One Perfect Afternoon was the easiest and the most fun. The hardest: my latest, still in progress.

What are the elements of a great romance for you?
Great writing first and foremost.

Are you in control of your characters or do they control you?
I am definitely in control-I think! Though once they have established themselves on the page, I may have to change my mind about what I originally thought they might do in the story.

Have you experienced writer's block---> If so, how did you work through it?
Yes, several months worth. I just set the ms aside and didn’t get too anxious about it. When I returned to the ms, it was as if I was reading the story for the first time and the wheels started turning again, thankfully.

What is the most rewarding thing about being a writer?
Seeing your words between covers is very exciting.

If you weren't writing, what would you be doing?
Painting, ceramics, learning another language, perhaps.

Any words of encouragement for unpublished writers?
Just keep at it!

Jane, thanks you so much for this look into your life, and your incredible books. I know that I enjoyed Letters from Pemberley, and More Letters form Pemberley, and I am looking forward to reading One Perfect Afternoon. Thanks you for taking the time for me, and our readers and members, Jane. It is greatly appreciated.

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