Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Author Interview with Sherri Browning Erwin, author of Jane Slayre

If you are a Jane Austen fan and loved Jane Eyre, than you'll really enjoy Jane Slayre. Sherri did such a wonderful job at keeping Jane's true voice in the book, as she put a great paranormal spin on this classic story.
What inspired you to start the project?
My daughter, 16, was going to read Jane Eyre for a school assignment this year. It is one of my favorite books, so I decided to read it again, too. While reading, I kept finding all sorts of places in which paranormal activity seemed to fit right in. I blog with the Whine Sisters (http://www.whinesisters.com) and I happened to joke about it. Jane Slayre! With Jane as a vampire slayer! But my friend Kathleen Givens said, "Don't joke! That sounds like a hit. Get it off the blog and write it." I took her advice.
We think you have done a wonderful job at rewriting Jane Eyre. How daunting of a task has it been to tear apart a classic and add in a paranormal twist?
Thank you. I'm so pleased that it has come off so well. It was a very daunting task to attempt to write "with" Charlotte Bronte, in a way. I wanted to fit my voice seamlessly in with hers so that it seemed we were writing with one voice. Fortunately, I think we really might have got on well, and it wasn't as impossible as it first seemed. Charlotte had a fantastic sense of humor. Her wit shines through time and again. And the paranormal elements fit in as if she'd intended to lean in that direction, though perhaps not as far as I pushed it.
In Jane Eyre, we already know which characters are "monsters", but how did you go about adding in their paranormal character in Jane Slayre?
I spent a lot of time reading, re-reading, and getting to know the characters. I had an idea of what vampyres, zombies, and werewolves might be like, and I decided which character fit which role best as I proceeded. Charlotte Bronte, at one point, compares Bertha Mason to a vampyre. But when I thought about Bertha, she just seemed so werewolfish to me, all that hair and snarling. The Lowood girls could only have been zombies. The Reeds were vampyres to me from the start, right from John Reed attacking Jane at the beginning.
Who's your favorite character in Jane Eyre and why?
I know he's controversial, but I'm a fan of Mr. Rochester. He's quite the man, a big, burly, man's man. He sees the beauty in Jane right away and he pushes her to accept her own beauty. I love that about him! Even though he was hiding a wife in the attic the whole time, the scoundrel. Jane is a steady moral compass through the book, but we get to see Rochester grow and learn and reform. It's very exciting to see the change in him by the end of the book.
Who was your favorite character to re-write in Jane Slayre?
Jane! She didn't need much work, but I never liked how she was so down on herself sometimes, so willing to accept that she wasn't a beauty and she would always be plain and average. I never bought it, because we see that inner confidence flair out when she expresses her opinions on circumstances and people around her. I always thought she protested far too much. I loved having the chance to see her embrace her own confidence and feel strong and powerful. And yes, even pretty.
Are you planning on working on any similar projects like this in the future?
I am. I really hope so, anyway. I'm always reading, and I favor the classics. If I came across a book that inspired me the way that Jane Eyre did, I would jump right in and put my spin on it. It hasn't happened yet. The characters of Jane Eyre are still so alive in my mind that I think of working more with a few of them, too. We'll see. I'll keep you posted! Thank you for talking with me. I've had a great time with Mundie Moms. :)

Thank you so much Sherri for taking the time to chat with us. You can visit Sherri's site to learn more about Jane Slayre here- http://www.sherribrowningerwin.com/


  1. Thank you again for a wonderful interview. I'll be popping in through the day, so if anyone has any questions, please ask away.

  2. Sherri -
    Thank you so much for visiting us here on Mundie Moms! Taking on a classic like Jane Eyre must've been both fun and formidable. What was the hardest scene to write?

  3. I loved the interview and can't wait to read Jane Slayre!

  4. Thanks, Lauren. Katarinas Mama, the hardest scene to write was the one in which she was meeting Edward Rochester for the first time and saving him from vampyres as he remained oblivious to their presence. Introducing him as both manly and passive, in need of saving, at the same time was a challenge.


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