Jane Odiwe is the author of Willoughby’s Return, a sequel to Sense and Sensibility and her debut novel. She is also a very talented illustrator. I am so happy to have her here today.
Thank you so much for inviting me along to talk about my work and illustrations!
Writing, drawing and painting have been such a special part of my life that I cannot remember a time when I didn’t spend my spare time scribbling in one way or the other. I’ve always loved the fact that you get totally lost as you attempt to create on paper both in the written and drawn form – the real world disappears for an hour or two as you become completely absorbed.
I first started drawing pictures of Jane Austen because I couldn’t find many. There are a couple of paintings by Jane’s sister, but one has her sitting with her back to the viewer and the other one, whilst interesting in its own way, just did not answer all the questions I had about her or seemed to represent what I had read about Jane. I wanted to portray the young girl who had written such wonderful books asPride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility, a young woman full of life and fun. It seemed to me that some of her own experiences of love, lost and found, that she writes about so beautifully must have been woven into her novels, and I wanted to explore her world.
I was intrigued by the love affair that Jane Austen had with Tom Lefroy long before my cravings to see them together would be satisfied by the movie Becoming Jane. Jane met Tom one Christmas in 1795. They were both twenty, just the age for flirting, dancing, and falling in love. A couple of letters written to her sister Cassandra reveal that Jane was quite smitten at the time, and I believe she fell in love. Tom Lefroy might even have been the inspiration for some of Jane’s heroes like Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice. I wanted to draw them together arm in arm, show them dancing together, and that was how it started. Once I had drawn Jane and Tom, I started on family members using what portraits and silhouettes were available. Scenes from Jane’s life and scenes from the books came next and I put them into a book, Effusions of Fancy.
This little book inspired some more writing. I wanted to write about one of Jane Austen’s naughty girls – Lydia Bennet, the youngest daughter who runs away with Mr Wickham. Whilst waiting for Lydia Bennet’s Story to be published, I wrote an online blog based on journal entries that Lydia writes as Pride and Prejudice unfolds and finishes just before my book starts. All the entries can be found with accompanying illustrations on http://janeaustensequels.blogspot.com/ in the lefthand column under Lydia Bennet’s Online Diary.
I was delighted when Sony Pictures asked to use some of my illustrations in a little film on the DVD of The Jane Austen Book Club – it was such a thrill to see my work as a backdrop to a commentary about Jane Austen’s life.
Willoughby’s Return is my latest book and to celebrate its launch there will be some new illustrations which I hope you will enjoy!
WILLOUGHBY’S RETURN—IN STORES NOVEMBER 2009
A lost love returns, rekindling forgotten passions…
In Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, when Marianne Dashwood marries Colonel Brandon, she puts her heartbreak over dashing scoundrel John Willoughby in the past.
Three years later, Willoughby’s return throws Marianne into a tizzy of painful memories and exquisite feelings of uncertainty. Willoughby is as charming, as roguish, and as much in love with her as ever. And the timing couldn’t be worse—with Colonel Brandon away and Willoughby determined to win her back, will Marianne find the strength to save her marriage, or will the temptation of a previous love be too powerful to resist?
About the Author
Jane Odiwe is an artist and author. She is an avid fan of all things Austen and is the author and illustrator of Effusions of Fancy, annotated sketches from the life of Jane Austen, as well as Lydia Bennet’s Story. She lives with her husband and three children in North London.
Thank you so much to Jane Odiwe for taking the time to stop by!! Sourcebooks has kindly offered a copy of Willoughby’s Return for a giveaway.
To enter, leave a comment and tell us your favorite Jane Austen book or movie.
Make sure I have a way of contacting you if you email is not in your profile. Contest will be open through Thursday October 29th and I will announce the winner on Friday. Only open to US and Canada.