Friday, March 27, 2015

Chinese-American Jane Austen

So it's been a few years since I posted anything, but it's time to start again!

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen has always been my favorite book since I read it in high school as a summer reading book for school. (More than 10 years ago...I feel old...) The sad thing was that I hadn't read all of Jane Austen's books, maybe just Pride and Prejudice (a few rereads), Sense and Sensibility, and maybe Persuasion. (I know, I know. How can I not remember if I read a book?)

So last year in November, I decided to do a marathon of Jane Austen's 6 novels, 2 unfinished novels, 1 novella, 3 volumes of her juvenilia, and the unfinished novel The Watsons that her niece finished (which I'm currently reading called The Younger Sister). My goal was and is to read at least a chapter a day. In December, I added film and TV adaptations to my Jane Austen experience. My goal was and is to watch an hour every day! I have been able to keep both of these goals up!

I never thought about rewriting Pride and Prejudice because it's my favorite book. I didn't want to "ruin" it. I would have nothing new or different to offer when there are countless retellings floating around.

But then I started thinking about doing YA versions of all 6 Jane Austen books and somehow connect them in some way like Sarah Desssen does with her books. (I love how she has Easter eggs in her stories.) I also love how Caroline Lee in The Lizzie Bennet Diaries is a character in Emma Approved. Because I'm Chinese-American, I wanted one of the families to be Chinese-American, but which one? Finally, I picked Emma Woodhouse to be "Emma Woo."

It didn't stop there.

Why do I have to make one family Chinese-American?

Why don't I make them all Chinese-American?

Boom.

An ambitious idea was born!

Now I'm working on a Chinese-American retelling of Pride and Prejudice (YA or NA, I haven't decided) with a plan to incorporate some of my experiences as a Chinese-American girl with parents who still have traditional Chinese ideas. And yes, I will also include my awkward experiences with my parents' matchmaking which I hated wholeheartedly :)