1. How did you meet Jane Austen?
She waltzed into my life one day and said "Hello, Melody. I am going to take you captive." And so she did.
Haha, that's not actually a cop-out answer, it's just that I'll be going in to Great Detail about that later. Stay tuned. :)
2. In which order did you first become acquainted with and read Jane Austen's novels?
Well... I can't quite remember what order I became acquainted with them, but it was something like this:
1. Sense and Sensibility
2. Pride and Prejudice
5. Northanger Abbey
6. Mansfield Park
And those were all through watching the adaptations, haha. Although I started/poked through the first four on the list before I actually settled down and read them, so that was becoming acquainted with them too.
This is the order in which I read them (only abbreviated this time):
3. Rate Jane Austen's major novels from your most favorite to your least favorite and tell why.
Okay, so let's get one thing settled right now. With Jane Austen, there is no such thing as "least favorite". There's not-as-favorite-as-the-rest, but I like them all so very much!
Secondly, this is a very hard question. It fluctuates. (Well, my favorite is always my favorite, but as to the rest there are such thin lines between them...) It's something like this--
1. Pride and Prejudice
3. Sense and Sensibility
4. Northanger Abbey
6. Mansfield Park
Now, P&P, S&S and Emma are always in my top three. It's just that Emma and S&S switch around from time to time. NA and Persuasion also switch around. Mansfield Park is always at the bottom... but I DO like it. Really, I do. And I love Fanny, and if you don't like Fanny, you don't want to get into a discussion with me about it. Just sayin'. :D
As to Why... well, because. That's why.
4. Which Jane Austen hero/heroine couple is your favorite and why?
Umm... uuuummmm... um? Okay, okay, I'm going to have to say Emma and Mr. Knightley. And because they're so cute. (Heeheehee.) I just love their story. I adore the love story in P&P, but I have to say that I've been "into" Emma and Mr. Knightley's the most in the past.
5. Which hero/heroine couple is your least favorite and why?
LEAST favorite? Here we go again. I like them all in their own ways. But... I'll have to go with Fanny Price and Edmund Bertram. I'm sorry! Truth be told, if there was a good adaptation with a nice, redeeming speech of Edmund's at the end and finishing the love story off nicely and sweetly, I might like them a lot better. As it is, I just spend most the story feeling sorry for Fanny, and thinking that Edmund needs to become sensible. Okay, so they're cousins. But that was normal back then. And that doesn't mean he had to go for Mary Crawford, of all people, and keep getting past it when he found anything out against her, just like it was suddenly wiped from his memory when she acted all sweet to him again.
Not that I don't like Edmund in his own right, and that I wasn't happy when they finally got to their happy ending. (But I wanted it to be more descriptive... but don't go pointing fingers, people who say there isn't enough romantic stuff in Miss Austen's novels. She wrote three proposals very well, and as for the other three... she made up for them not being there quite nicely with everything else.)
6. Have you read any of Jane Austen's Juvenilia works? Which ones?
I've started Love and Freindship twice or thrice, and fully intend to read the whole thing someday. ;) I've also read The Three Sisters, which was quite amusing. I'm almost reluctant to read all her minor works, because I know after I'm done with those I won't have anything left by her that I've never read... haha.
7. If you could change the name of one of Jane Austen's characters who would it be and why?
Probably Mr. Darcy's first name. Fitzwilliam just doesn't go with him, and if you're trying to do All First Names for the couples you always don't want to with Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth. And I don't really like just calling him "Darcy", although I do it sometimes.
8. Have you ever introduced someone to Jane Austen?
Not exactly. I've 'cultivated' a few people who didn't know very much about her, though. But I daresay that someday I shall. :)
9. If a new film about her life was made, which actress would you want to play Jane Austen?
No comment. Er, that is, I have no idea. Nobody has got her right so far, and I daresay nobody ever will. They could do something a lot better than Becoming Jane and Miss Austen Regrets, though, and I do wish they would.
10. Pretend you're having a weekend party at your very own country house, which Austen characters (up to five) would you invite and why?
Wow. That's a tough one. Well, for starters I would invite Elizabeth Bennet and Henry Tilney so they could make everybody (including myself) laugh and be fun to converse with. Plus I've always just found putting Elizabeth and Mr. Tilney in the same story to be an amusing idea. I wonder what would come of it? Emma would never be allowed to come, so I can't invite her. Who else... okay, Mr. Knightley. Mr. Darcy might come since I've invited Elizabeth, but then he might just stand around and not talk much, because he does not converse easily with strangers, and though I think it would be quite interesting to meet him, Mr. Knightley would probably be easier to talk to. And get along better with Henry Tilney, because since they'll probably be the only two men in the party they must get along.
Who else... well, I could invite Mary Crawford just because she might feel quite put out when the gentlemen don't take notice of her, because I think they are both much too sensible. Henry Tilney might tease her, but inside he would be laughing at her and she'd probably figure that out eventually. It would amuse me. It would also be interesting to see her and Elizabeth interact, because it's been said that Mary is Lizzy gone wrong. But in the end, she might annoy me too much. So never mind her.
Okay, I just need to invite two more people and be done with it. Well... perhaps Anne Elliot, so that she could be in some agreeable company for once, poor thing. But for a good Jane Austen group I think I need somebody besides heroines and heroes... well, let's just say Mrs. Jennings. She's a good soul, rather hilarious, and her matchmaking attempts would be interesting.
11. In your real life have you ever attended a Jane Austen themed event, party or ball? Or have you hosted one yourself?
I hosted a Jane Austen party for my birthday a couple years ago. (You can read about that here.) I've also attended two Regency-themed balls... they aren't Jane Austen-themed exactly, but it's that sort of dancing and most people who can dress in Regency fashions do so. And a lot of people do know about Jane Austen there, as you might imagine
12. Suppose you were given the opportunity to ask Jane Austen two questions: one in connection with her real life and one about her stories. What would they be?
Such is always the case... I make up a question, and then once I go to answer it, I'm like... ehhhhh?
Okay, well, in connexion with her real life I would ask her about the seaside gentleman... although I suppose that would be too audacious, but you know, this is make-believe.
In connection with her books... I would probably ask what the general hair and eye color and heights of her heroines and heroes are. Hahaha. Is that too much to be one question? ;P Well then, just limit it to heroines. Or just hair and eye colors of heroines, because she talks about height more often than hair color in her books... but then, perhaps she might not know. Well, I would take a good long time and come up with some question I have while reading her books. Like whether Mr. Darcy knew that Elizabeth overheard his "tolerable" speech, or even meant her to...
Sorry no pictures, everybody... heh. I did not feel like taking the time.