Thursday, October 14, 2010

Interview with April Lindner & Giveaway!!

I recently read April Lindner's new take on Jane Eyre, called Jane, and was completely blown away. Loved this book---so romantic, so mysterious. You can see my full review here. I was so excited to interview this author and find out a little more about her and her brilliant twist on a beloved classic!

Thank you, April!

When did you first read Jane Eyre and what was your first reaction to it?
I must have been in high school, in ninth grade or so. I read it because it was my mother's favorite book, and it hooked me right away. I'm sure I thought it was the most romantic book I'd ever read.

Making your version of Jane about a rock star and his nanny was a brilliant twist! What was your inspiration for this?
I love to read adaptations of Jane Austen, and one night after dinner, my husband and I were musing about why there hasn't been a hug rush to update Jane Eyre. We agreed that the sticking point must be the difficulty of finding a contemporary equivalent for the class difference that stands between Jane and Mr. Rochester. It came to me in a flash that if Mr. Rochester were a celebrity, he might seem untouchable to an ordinary young woman. From there it was a tiny little leap to making him a rock star. After books, rock music is my great passion and obsession. I'm a huge Bruce Springsteen fan, I've seen him in concert 21 times, and have gone on ten-hour road trips to get to a show. As soon as I realized there could be a way to mash up Jane Eyre and rock music, I knew nothing was going to keep me from writing it.

Can you tell a little about how you got interested in writing?
I've always loved books and I've always written poems, stories, even novels and a rock opera. I can't really remember a time before I was writing, but I also drew and painted. When I went off to college, I wanted to be an art major, but it became quickly apparent that I was a better at writing than painting. I took a poetry class and loved it. After that, I started to define myself as a poet, but I've always loved fiction and wished I could write something publishable.

Tell us about your ideal writing space.
I love to write in coffee shops, especially in the city where interesting-looking people come and go all day long and there's music but it isn't too loud. At home, I write on my laptop and on a nice day I'll sit out on the front porch with the windows open and the breeze blowing through. But my dogs have to sit out there with me and then they bark at anyone who passes by. So really, I'm better off at Starbucks.

What is up next for you, can you let us in on any secret future writing projects?
This summer I finished drafting a modernization of Wuthering Heights. I'm revising it now, and it's too soon to say much about it, except the setting is a nightclub on the lower east side of New York City and the Heathcliff character is a punk rocker.

How would you describe your writing style?
That's a tough one. I try to write crisply and clearly, and to capture the rhythms of speech in my dialogue and first person narration. I work had at being concise and musical.

Who are your favorite authors? What are you reading right now?
My favorite novelists are the Brontes, Jane Austen, George Eliot, Ann Pachett, Meg Wolitzer, Tom PerrottaÉ and probably many more I'm not thinking of at the moment. Right now I've got several books going at once. I'm reading and loving Richard Russo's That Old Cape Magic, Justina Chen Headley's North of Beautiful and Anne Osterland's Aurelia.

What kind of books did you love to read as a teenager?
I read everything I could get my hands on, especially novels and how to books--how to write, how to act, how to be a ballet dancer. After Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights, some of my favorites were A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Marjorie Morningstar and Rebecca.

Which of the characters that you've written is your favorite?
I have an irrational love for the characters I didn't know much about until I started writing their voices, especially ones who are kind to Jane when she's in need. I love them for lending her a hand and for speaking up and letting me know what they were all about. Yvonne and Dennis are examples, but I'm especially thinking of Diana. She's somebody I'd just love to spend an afternoon with.

Fun questions:

Favorite snack while writing?
Almond butter on fresh baked whole grain toast.

Favorite movie?
So many to choose from! If I have to pick one, probably Merchant and Ivory's A Room With a View.

Favorite color?
Electric blue

Favorite band and song?
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, without doubt. It's harder to settle on a favorite song, but I have a special love for Thunder Road, the first Springsteen song I stumbled across. I was thirteen, taking records (yes, records) out of the public library to acquaint myself with some new music, and it was love at first listen.

Favorite teacher from your school years?
Nancy Kenworthy, my high school creative writing teacher, was unbelievably supportive and taught me skills I still use today. She took me to Boston (from my hometown in Southern New Hampshire), to an art museum and to a restaurant on Newbury Street for lunch, to open up my horizons. I look back and am blown away by that; it was so giving, and it really nourished my soul.
Honorary mention goes to Kenneth Dugal, the music teacher at Merrimack High School. He's still there--I checked. He figured out a way to let those of us who loved music and didn't fit in so well spend our homerooms in the band room. That was my whole high school social world--the band room. Come to think of it, my high school experience was a lot like Glee, except Mr. Dugal looked and acted more like Steve Martin than Mr. Shue. He gave his band of student followers a refuge, and something to look forward to every day.

Like cupcakes? More frosting or more cake? :)
I'm crazy about cupcakes, and there's no such thing as too much frosting. Any cupcake is great but red velvet ones are best.

(Photo of April credited to Melissa Kelly/Saint Joseph's University Press)

Jane ARC Giveaway!!
I was lucky enough to receive an early review copy of this amazing book. I loved it and will definitely be buying a finished copy for my collection, so I am passing on my ARC to one lucky winner!
I have to keep this one US only (sorry international blog friends!) because of a tight budget, but look for an international contest coming later this week!!

Here's how to enter:
You must be a follower.
One entry per person, just comment below with your contact email and tell me what your favorite classic story is---even if it's just a classic to you!! (Mine are Little Women and Three Musketeers :D)

Contest ends on October 25th, winner chosen by Good luck, everyone!


  1. I just got this one in the mail today. Can't wait to start reading it. Great interview!

  2. Great interview! I have been really excited for this book. My email is My favorite classic is Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice or Ernest Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises. Thanks for this awesome giveaway!

  3. Ooh, I so want to read this book! My email is settle.nicole[at]gmail[dot]com. My favorite classic stories are The Jungle and Persuasion. Thanks for the giveaway!

  4. Sounds great! My favorite classic story would be Catcher in the Rye.

    stephaniet117 at yahoo dot com

  5. Pride and Prejudice is my favorite:0

  6. I love East of Eden. Thanks for the giveaway.

  7. Great interview! I've been dying to read this book! Sadly I haven't read too many classics! I'd say my favorite is Catcher In The Rye if that counts!


  8. Great interview and giveaway! I also am a fan of red velvet cupcakes and am so looking forward to April's adaptation of Wuthering Heights.

    I am not entering the giveaway since I already have my own copy but I would say that my favorite classic story is Jane Eyre (clearly) and Rebecca.

  9. I know a lot of people don't like this book, but my favorite is Great Expectations. Jane looks like an interesting story.

    autumn.crochet (at) gmail. com

  10. I've heard so much about this book so I'd love to read it :)

    lindsaydevine (at) bellsouth (dot) net

  11. Jane Eyre is my favorite classic. bkhabel at gmail dot com

  12. My favorite classic actually happens to be Jane Eyre :)
    throuthehaze at gmail dot com

  13. My favorite classic is Pride and Prejudice, hands down!

    whatinabox at gmail dot com

  14. Woo!

    and my favorite classic is GONE WITH THE WIND.

  15. I love Pride and Prejudice :)

    jessica b

  16. My Favorite classic's are
    Moby Dick by Herman Melville and Wuthering Heights by Emily Bonte


  17. My favorite classics are anything by Jane Austin or LM Montgomery (ie. Pride & Prejudice and Anne of Green Gables).

    jlynettes @ hotmail . com

  18. I have two favorite classics: Pride and Prejudice and To Kill a Mockingbird.

    This was a GREAT interview.

  19. My favorite classic story is Oliver Twist. I love Dickens and think that this story is pure genius. Thanks for asking!

    mrsderaps @ hotmail . com

  20. My favorite classic story is Little Red Riding Hood. It still creeps me out! Sisters Red was a great adaptation of that classic!

    Jen @ I Read Banned Books.


  21. Jane Eyre is one of my all time favorite books and one I reread from time to time.

    I also love Alex Flinn's retelling of Beauty and the Beast and Sleeping Beauty, so much so I bought the books and created an entire fairy tale unit for my students.

    Thanks for the great interview and the chance to win Jane.

  22. This is a hard question ... I want to say that "Jane Eyre" was definitely my favourite from about the age of 13 onwards. Then I read "Rebecca" by Daphne du Maurier and fell in love with that ... and then there's all the other ones who have a special place in my heart ... *frets* I am so indecisive! Hm ... I think I will settle for "The Count of Monte Cristo" - I scored a bunch of 1910 editions at a bookstore closing, and fell in love with it soon thereafter.


    Thanks for the interview (so excited about this book now!) and the giveaway! Way awesome! :D

  23. My favorite classic story is Romeo&Juliet.
    I'm a follower.

  24. Wow, awesome contest, and a tough question, lol!! I think Alice in Wonderland! Thanks!!

    inthehammockblog at gmail dot com

  25. Great interview~ I'm a new follower!

    I love Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier, it's wonderful.

  26. Thank you for the giveaway! My favorite classic is "Anne of Green Gables".

    sarahdc22 (at) gmail (dot) com