Monday, March 25, 2013

Caroline's Classroom Connections

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March 25, 2013
Caroline's Classroom Connections
A BREATH OF EYRE by Eve Marie Mont

setting: twenty-first century America and nineteenth-century England
age range: young adult
Kirkus starred review
This richly satisfying tale of first and last love transcends its genre -- not another breathless, fan-fiction take on a literary classic but an intertextual love letter.
Please tell us about your book.
A BREATH OF EYRE is about Emma Townsend, a girl who seeks solace in books to help her escape her loneliness at her exclusive prep school. She has few friends and even fewer romantic prospects, unless you count her crush on her English teacher. But escape soon arrives in a leather-bound copy of JANE EYRE. Emma feels a strong sense of kinship with the lonely, headstrong Jane, but when a lightning strike catapults her into Jane's body and her nineteenth-century world, Emma is torn between two vastly different worlds, and two vastly different men. 
Moving between her two realities and uncovering secrets in both, Emma must decide whether her destiny lies in the pages of Jane's story, or in the unwritten chapters of her own.
What inspired you to write this story? 
Ever since I first read JANE EYRE in eleventh grade, it has remained my favorite book, one I return to again and again and that never loses its fascination for me. 
I've never found another story with such a restrained yet passionate romance. And Jane is the ultimate heroine: strong, intelligent, moral, and unafraid to speak her mind. I knew I wanted my protagonist, Emma, to step into her shoes as she awakens to first love and discovers her own strength of character.
Could you share with readers how you conducted your research or share a few interesting tidbits you learned while researching? 
As an English teacher, my main research was to read JANE EYRE numerous times -- not really much of a hardship for me! 
The most exciting part of this process was recreating scenes of JANE EYRE from a modern girl's perspective, wondering how Emma would respond to Jane's fashion sense, using a chamber pot, being without cell phone or computer or electricity. I also love researching places in my attempt to create a fully realized setting. Emma's contemporary world is a fictional town in eastern Massachusetts, but I based it on a real place that I adore for its quirky New England charm and atmosphere. 
A Breath of Eyre Book Trailer
A Breath of Eyre Book Trailer
What were some special challenges you faced while writing A BREATH OF EYRE?
JANE EYRE is one of the most beloved books in literature, so the idea that I have tampered with a treasured classic causes me plenty of sleepless nights. Rather than a straight retelling such as April Linder's JANEA BREATH OF EYRE is more of a mash-up of a contemporary YA with a classic Gothic novel. It was a challenge to balance the scenes that take place in Jane's world with those that take place in protagonist Emma's real world. 
While I use some of Brontë's text verbatim, most of the JANE EYRE scenes have been recreated to show a modern girl's reaction to being thrust into a nineteenth-century world. But Emma's own story is just as important as her adventures in JANE EYRE, so two-thirds of the novel takes place in her modern world. Yet in this case, life imitates art, and Emma soon realizes she has far more in common with Jane than she initially thought.  
What topics does your book touch upon that would make it a perfect fit for the classroom?
I would hope that my novel might direct young readers to pick up JANE EYRE to see which elements I borrowed, adapted, or omitted, and of course, so they could discover for themselves what an amazing and romantic novel it is. 
Beyond any curriculum tie-ins, the book touches on a lot of issues relevant to today's teens -- self-esteem and identity, depression, loss of a parent, gender and women's issues, self-expression, the powers of writing, first love, and most important, finding one's voice. 
I think the book would be suitable for middle and high school libraries, English classes, and even mother-daughter book clubs.
Thank you, Eve, for joining us today! If you'd like to learn more about Eve Marie Mont, stop by her website. Eve's next book, A TOUCH OF SCARLET, which leads Emma into the world of Hester Prynne, releases tomorrow.



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Meet the Spellbinders
Caroline Starr Rose Caroline Starr Rose spent her childhood in the deserts of Saudi Arabia and New Mexico, camping at the Red Sea in one and eating red chile in the other. She's taught English and social studies to upper elementary and middle-school students in New Mexico, Florida, Virginia, and Louisiana. Back in New Mexico, Caroline now writes middle-grade novels and picture books full time. 

To find teacher's guides, writing activities, and information about author visits, go to her website, stop by her blog, or follow her on Twitter.


Carolee Dean
Carolee Dean has made numerous appearances as a guest poet/author at schools, libraries, poetry events, and teacher/library conferences. She holds a bachelor's degree in music therapy and a master's degree in communicative disorders, and she has spent over a decade working in the public schools as a

Comfort Paperback Cover
speech-language pathologist.

Her first novel, Comfort,was nominated as a Best Book for Young Adults, was named the Best YA Novel of 2002 by the Texas Institute of Letters, and was on the TAYSHAS (Texas Library Association) reading list. Take Me There is a YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers.
Take Me There Cover

She conducts teacher trainings on inspiring reluctant writers including "The Secret Language of Stories" and "Random Act of Haiku."

 Follow me on Twitter 

Kim Bio PhotoKimberley Griffiths Little is the recipient of the Southwest Book Award, The Whitney Award for Best Youth Novel of 2010, and the author of the highly acclaimed, The Healing Spell and Circle of Secrets, published by Scholastic Press. Look for her books at the Scholastic Book Fairs, as well Circle of Secretsas two more forthcoming novels in 2012 and 2013.
She lives on a dirt road in a small town by the Rio Grande with her husband, a robotics engineer and their three sons. Kimberley is a favorite speaker at schools around the country, presenting "The Creative Diary", a highly successful writing workshop and has been a speaker at many conferences.

Please visit her website to download free Teacher's Guides and Book Club Guides. 
Follow me on Twitter 

Upcoming Events

Caroline Starr Rose
April 19
New Mexico Library Association Youth Luncheon
Albuquerque, NM

July 27
19th Annual Norfolk Public Library Literature Festival,
Norfolk, NE


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1 comment:

JennaQuentin said...

Sounds like a great story! I'm sending the book trailer to my sister, another Jan Eyre admirer. Thanks for sharing.



Winner of The Southwest Book Award!

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