Romancing Jane Eyre

Which came first, Beauty and the Beast, or Jane Eyre? There are definite similarities between the two stories. The answer to this question is, of course, Beauty and the Beast (La Belle et la Bête – fairy tale by French novelist Suzanne Barbot de Villenueve, published in 1740).

In Jane Eyre, Rochester is a bit of a beast when Jane first meets him. Really, he’s just angry all the time, and for good reason. Like Belle, Jane “tames” the beast with her kindness.

This famous Gothic romance is still a best-seller today, so let’s examine some of my favorite story elements that in my mind at least, make this story great.

Our heroine is an outcast, rejected by her family. Her ill-treatment among those who should have loved her seemed to prepare her for what lay ahead. Most children sent to Lowood School don’t survive, which may have been the main reason her aunt sent her there.

But Jane did survive. Rather than allow herself to rot away as a teacher at Lowood Academy, Jane Eyre advertises for a suitable position as a governess. She desires adventure, and she certainly finds that at Thornfield Hall.

I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.

Like Beauty and the Beast, Jane Eyre is a societal tale. Belle’s father is a merchant, Beast is a prince. Jane’s situation in life is far below that of Mr. Rochester, during a time when the class system was ironclad. A titled man of property never dared to marry a governess. It was frowned upon.

Jane Eyre also presents the reader with situations that require acceptance and forgiveness. According to Bronte, Rochester is not an attractive man in the usual sense. He’s ugly and brooding. Though he is in possession of a good income and a fine estate, bad decisions have left him in an unfortunate condition. I’m leaving the poor man’s history at that, in case you haven’t read the book or seen one of the movies. I don’t wish to spoil for you. 😊

Our heroine is plain. But in my opinion, she’s not a typical plain Jane. Though in the beginning, she is reserved and seems overly prudish, she exhibits inner beauty and peace that is awe-inspiring. She’s a gifted artist and speaks fluent French. The reader can’t help but admire her, and Rochester is immediately drawn to her character. It’s a classic case of “opposites attract.”

The romance element is strong in Jane Eyre. The attraction begins early on as the unlikely couple banter about ordinary subjects. Rochester is not put off by her reticence but draws her out. Her intelligence and wit inspire many brow-arching moments on his part. As their relationship deepens, their two souls seem almost intertwined, prompting him to remark that their hearts are connected by an unbreakable cord.

It’s a Gothic tale, for all is not as it seems at Thornfield Hall. The manor house is pokey and dark, but still ten times better than Lowood School, where she’s spent most of her life so far. Then there are times when Jane hears maniacal laughter and piercing screams. Her doorknob rattles as though someone is trying to open it. Is the house haunted? Or, is it a more ordinary circumstance, as the housekeeper assures her? A laundress with a propensity for over-imbibing alcohol.

Days of sunlit gardens give some relief from the dark interior of the house, along with Jane’s growing affection for Adele, the little girl in her care, who is Rochester’s ward. But just when things seem to be headed toward happily-ever-after, something terrible happens that nearly drives Jane over the edge. She must leave Thornfield Hall at once!

Do you think, because I am poor, obscure, plain, and little, I am soulless and heartless? You think wrong! — I have as much soul as you — and full as much heart! And if God had gifted me with some beauty and much wealth, I should have made it as hard for you to leave me, as it is now for me to leave you.

She takes the coach to the end of its route and finds herself alone on the moors. Now in a completely different world, she’s living another life with a new suitor, though I never accepted him as suitable for Jane. 😊

It is evident that the writing of this tale must have taken years. Jane Eyre is a well-thought-out story filled with symbolism and truths that you may not catch the first time through. I’ve read it more times than I can count, and I’ve watched several film versions. Still, the original novel is stunningly detailed.

One of Jane’s strongest character traits is a direct result of her religious upbringing. She can seem closed and judgmental at times, but those deep, spiritual roots keep her moving forward and on more than one occasion, keep her from making a really bad decision that would most certainly destroy her.

Oh, to pen such a story as this one! Though some modern readers will find the language stilted and the narrative a bit wordy, others will discover as I did, the beauty of a timeless theme. Love banishes darkness.

All my heart is yours, sir: it belongs to you; and with you it would remain, were fate to exile the rest of me from your presence forever.

If interested, you’ll find an excellent study of Jane Eyre here:  Jane Eyre Study Guide

Click-to-Tweet: “All my heart is yours, sir: it belongs to you; and with you it would remain, were fate to exile the rest of me from your presence forever.” – Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre from Romancing Jane Eyre via @InspiredPrompt

Writing Prompt: “You say your heart belongs only to him. How then can you leave him? What terrible thing has he done to break your heart and bring your world crashing down?” How would your fictional heroine answer this question?

3 Questions Wednesday with Leeann Betts

This week we hear from Leeann Betts, who writes contemporary romantic suspense. Pique your interest? Read on.

Leeann Betts writes contemporary romantic suspense, while her real-life persona, Donna Schlachter, pens historical romantic suspense. Missing Deposits is the 11th title in her cozy mystery series, and together she and Donna have published more than 30 novellas and full-length novels. They ghostwrite, judge writing contests, edit, facilitate a critique group, and are members of American Christian Fiction Writers, Writers on the Rock, Christian Authors Network, and Sisters in Crime. Leeann travels extensively to research her stories, and is proud to be represented by Terrie Wolf of AKA Literary LLC.


Our first question for Leeann, if you could give a novice writer one piece of advice, what would it be?

Leeann: I think it would be the same piece my husband gave to me, although it wasn’t advice so much as it was a question: “If you knew right now that you’d never be published, would you quit?” My answer was “no”. And he said, “Then it doesn’t matter how many rejections you get.” I think if my answer had been, “yes”, he’d have said to me, “Then you’d better move on now and do something else.”

Staying power! Authors have to be ready for the rejections and the acceptances. Next Leeann described her writing space.  

Leeann: I write at a desk in my home office in my basement. My husband sits about five feet away. Every day. My space is uncluttered, most of the time, because I can’t stand piles of stuff. His space looks like Mount Kilimanjaro about to collapse under its own weight, because he likes to have everything close to hand. But once a week, I have an appointment at a local coffee shop to write with friends. Or by myself. Doesn’t matter. I just need to get out and be around people once in a while. Not to actually interact with them—the introvert in me shrinks at the thought—but just to be able to pretend I’m a little normal.

A little time out and about with others sometimes spurs writing ideas. Last question, were you a young writer, late-bloomer, or somewhere in-between?

Leeann: I was a late bloomer. In most things. I graduated college at 36, got married at 40, wrote my first novel at 44, published my first book at 57. Now, at 61, I’m just hitting my stride.

Click to Tweet: Advice I would give a novice writer would be the same piece my husband gave to me, although it wasn’t advice so much as it was a question: “If you knew right now that you’d never be published, would you quit?” My answer was “no”. And he said, “Then it doesn’t matter how many rejections you get.”

Thanks so much, Leeann, for dropping by!  If you would like to connect with Leeann, here’s how:


About her book Missing Deposits

Carly looks forward to a vacation when Mike is hired to assist a rancher family in western Colorado catalogue their various mineral rights following the discovery of a large copper field on their property. However, Carly soon learns that the real wealth—and the real danger—aren’t below ground. Someone is out to keep a secret bigger and more profitable than copper. And they’re willing to kill for it.

 

3 Questions Wednesday with Davalynn Spencer

Hello, friends of Inspired Prompt! Welcome to 2020 and our first interview of the year. We’re excited to have Davalynn Spencer with us, who holds the Will Rogers Gold Medallion for Inspirational Western Fiction.  Want to know more?

Davalynn Spencer can’t stop #lovingthecowboy. As the wife and mother of professional rodeo bullfighters, she writes romance for those who enjoy a Western tale with a rugged hero, both historical and contemporary. She teaches writing workshops and plays the keyboard on her church worship team. When she’s not writing, teaching, or playing, she’s wrangling Blue the Cowdog and mouse detectors Annie and Oakley. Learn more about Davalynn and her books at https://www.davalynnspencer.com Sign up there for her newsletter and receive a free novella.

Click to tweet: “So if writing is truly someone’s dream, I tell them to never quit. No matter what, don’t stop. Don’t let the ideas and images dry up, even if no one else reads them. Keep the words of life flowing; you’re bound to be washed and refreshed by the stream yourself.” Author Davalynn Spencer #WritingCommunity #romance

We took a moment to ask Davalynn a few questions and also about her new book…

For starters, what do you love most about the writing process? The least?

Davalynn: I take great delight in creating stories that touch a reader’s heart, and when I hear from someone who mentions a particular scene or dialogue that blessed them, well, that’s an answer to prayer.

The downside to writing is the “business” aspect of it. Authors today are expected to be the head of sales and marketing, the president of product development, and the director of distribution. I prefer to spend my time rearranging words on the page so they weave their way into readers’ hearts. But business is part of the deal.

What was the best money you ever spent as a writer concerning craft? How about marketing?

Davalynn: I am not a numbers person. Numbers are not in the alphabet, therefore I’m not a fan. However, numbers are sprinkled throughout the territory, and some of my income has been reinvested in learning the ins and outs of advertising in major markets.

However, I’d much rather invest in craft, and I do this by buying and reading well-written books and attending writers’ workshops. This is a venture that has paid off in a surprising way because now I’m teaching some of those workshops.

If you could give a novice writer one piece of advice, what would it be?

Davalynn: As a college writing professor, I tell my students to do more than make a living – make a life. It’s nice when these two sides of the career choice end up on the same coin, but it doesn’t always happen. Most writers must maintain a “day job” (or night job) so they can pursue their goal of putting words on the page that entertain, inspire, and encourage. So if writing is truly someone’s dream, I tell them to never quit. No matter what, don’t stop. Don’t let the ideas and images dry up, even if no one else reads them. Keep the words of life flowing; you’re bound to be washed and refreshed by the stream yourself.

Thanks so much, Davalynn, for dropping by!  We appreciate you offering an e-book of A High-Country Christmas: Romance Collection for one blessed person who leaves a comment…


A High-Country Christmas: Romance Collection

Two sweet tales of mishaps, memories, and emotions that test the mettle of two Western couples in the Colorado high country at Christmas.

 Just in Time for Christmas

Abigale Millerton is seventeen with a ranch to run, a fear of heights, and a cowboy intent on stealing her heart.

 Snow Angel

As a four-year-old, Lena Carver lost something precious at Christmas. Twenty years later, she’s about to lose her heart.

Purchase through Amazon an easy download or paperback edition of A High-Country Christmas: Romance Collection, click here.

Inspired Prompt: Abundance in 2020

By Jennifer Hallmark

You crown the year with your bounty; your wagon tracks overflow with abundance. The pastures of the wilderness overflow, the hills gird themselves with joy, the meadows clothe themselves with flocks, the valleys deck themselves with grain, they shout and sing together for joy.” Psalm 65: 11-13 ESV

Hello, friends of Inspired Prompt! It’s hard to believe that 2019 has almost come to an end. And we’re going to begin a new decade…2020.

It’ll be a year of an abundance of great articles, guest posts, and interviews to help you along your writing journey with Betty, Gail, Shirley, Tammy, Fay, Harriet, Carlton, Bonita, Karen, Cammi, Kristy, and myself. We want to help YOU be all you can be when it comes to putting words on paper.

2020 is going to be our best year yet. We will explore such topics as:

  1. Staying fit for the long run.
  2. Classic love stories.
  3. Writing nonfiction.
  4. Short interviews with people in the industry.
  5. Historical fiction.
  6. Marketing

And so much more! Join us for our Monday and Friday posts on the topic of the month and our fun Wednesday interviews.

Maybe you’d like to be interviewed or be a guest blogger. If so, go to our guest guidelines page to learn more.  We’d love to showcase your book, blog, or yourself. 🙂

We’ll see you soon!

Happy New Year from Betty, Jennifer, and the entire Inspired Prompt Crew!

3 Questions Wednesday with Betty Thomason Owens

Betty Thomason Owens

It is my pleasure to be back on 3 Questions Wednesday for three very good reasons.

  1. I’m celebrating the release of another book.
  2. I’m a co-founder of the Inspired Prompt blog.
  3. I helped come up with the three questions.

Okay, maybe those are more like confessions. Anyway, I’ve been looking forward to this day for several months, mainly because I wanted to answer the questions. So, here goes.

First question: Who is your favorite author?

I’m going to veer away from my usual answer of one of the classic authors. When I read historical fiction, my absolute favorite is fellow Kentucky author,  Ann Gabhart. Her stories are rich with history and heart. You can’t help getting all wrapped up them.

Yes, I am also a fan of Ann Gabhart. Mom has a bookshelf full of her books as well, and no, I am not trying to win brownie points with Mrs. Gabhart. 🙂

Let’s move on to the next question–

You’ve been chosen to write a biography about your favorite historical person. Who would that be?

It may surprise you to know that at one time, Amelia Earhart was my favorite historical person. I read everything I could get my hands on about her life. I watched the movies, and used to fantasize that she had somehow survived her flight into the Bermuda Triangle, and was still alive somewhere. Possibly on a deserted isle, happily hidden from the newshounds.

I’m not surprised by your answer. I remember all those biographies gleaned from the school libraries over the years. I believe we wrote a report once and made an A+ on it. So, next question: If you could spend time with a character from your book whom would it be? And what would you do during that day?

Oh, I would definitely spend a sunny day with Annabelle, working in her garden, listening to her sing as we work. She’d bake my favorite cookies and tell wonderful stories about her growing up years in Trenton, Tennessee. I fashioned her character after my grandma and her sister-in-law, Lona Wade, so I know her rather well. Sometimes, I long to hear their voices again. They echo in my mind and bring me great joy that I knew them and was loved by them.

I love Annabelle. She’s my favorite character in the Kinsman Redeemer series. Thanks for the interview, Betty. Anything else you’d like to say?

Yes! Join me tonight (6 – 8 pm EDT) for a Facebook Launch Party! If you don’t have time or you’re busy tonight, you can pop in at any time over the next week. There are prizes to win (no purchase necessary). Just click on “Going” to let me know you were there. Thanks so much! Here’s the link to the Event Page: https://www.facebook.com/events/2872476632767489/ If you’re not on Facebook, you can still enter to win prizes via the “Contact Me” tab on my website. You’ll find it here: https://bettythomasonowens.com/contact/


A 1950’s Clean & Wholesome Romance! – Annabelle’s Joy

She’s waited too long.

When Tom proposed last year, Annabelle wasn’t ready to open her heart to another man. Pain still held a thin crust around it. Time has healed her heart, but with a new woman in town, one who clearly has her sights set on Tom, does it matter if Annabelle’s heart is ready to love again?

Folks in town are keeping a close eye on their pharmacist, hoping to be the first to hear the good news. He’s been courting the widow Cross for nigh on two years now. Annabelle Cross better wake up and put her dancing shoes on. Mr. Tom is prime real estate.

Drift back into the simple, country life of Tennessee in 1957 with this sequel to award-winning ANNABELLE’S RUTH.


Betty Thomason Owens loves being outdoors. Her favorite season is spring, when she can work in the yard or take long walks while thinking through a troublesome scene in one of her stories. She considers herself a word-weaver, writing stories that touch the heart. She leads the Louisville Area ACFW group, serves on the board of the Kentucky Christian Writers Conference, and is a co-founder of the multi-author Inspired Prompt blog. Married forty-four years, she’s a mother of three, and a grandmother of eight. A part-time bookkeeper at her day-job, she writes for Write Integrity Press, and has eight novels in publication. You can learn more about her at BettyThomasonOwens.com. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and at Inspired Prompt.