Today I would normally be posting my monthly wrap-up, but I have something special to share, which is an interview with Jennieke Cohen! I am so delighted that she was open to doing this interview with me and I hope you are delighted when you read her insightful answers! I will be putting up my monthly wrap-up and February TBR in the next few weeks, but for now enjoy this interview!
Jennieke Cohen on her debut novel “Dangerous Alliance”
- Thank you so much for participating in this interview! To start us off, can you tell me a little about your book Dangerous Alliance and what inspired you to write it?
Thanks for having me! Dangerous Alliance follows Victoria Aston, who is a big fan of Jane Austen. Victoria reads all of Austen’s books as soon as they come out, and she turns to them when she needs help with basically any kind of problem. But when Vicky’s sister reveals that her seemingly-perfect marriage is, in fact, an abusive one, Vicky must find her own husband to financially support her sister’s escape. Vicky’s search ends up being far more complicated than her favorite novels led her to believe.
I’ve loved Austen novels since I devoured them all when I was twelve, and when I was a teenager, I always wanted more of them. I also loved the mysterious stories of Daphne du Maurier and old-fashioned adventure movies, so when I started writing Dangerous Alliance, I really wanted to figure out a way to incorporate all those elements I loved into a novel I would have really enjoyed as a teenager.
- What was your favourite thing about writing a historical fiction novel?
I love immersing myself in the time period. I think when historical fiction is done well it transports the reader and writer to another time and place and makes them feel like they understand the era! The research can also be fun—especially when it entails things like sampling 19th century desserts or attending a Regency ball!
- Which books of Jane Austen’s were the heaviest influencers of Dangerous Alliance and how did they influence it?
I think it’s really a mixture of all of her six completed novels. I didn’t consciously sit down to write it and think, well, this section will be like Pride and Prejudice and this next scene will be like Emma. Instead, I created a story and characters that spoke to me, and I think different elements from the novels came through subconsciously. In early drafts, Victoria and her sister were fans of Austen and had read her novels, but it wasn’t until later drafts that Vicky became a “super” fan, and at that point I started to consciously think (and have the characters think) about how their lives paralleled Austen’s books.
- For readers who are unknowledgeable or unread when it comes to Jane Austen, is there anything you think they should know about her or her works before jumping into Dangerous Alliance?
Dangerous Alliance really stands on its own, but there will be an added fun level of complexity for those who’ve read Austen’s books or seen the film and TV adaptations. Basically all anyone needs to know is that Austen wrote brilliant comedies of manners and injected her own wit into her stories—I’ve attempted to create a kind of modern homage to her works.
- Now for the last two questions, I tried to have a little extra fun: What is the weirdest thing you had to research (or the weirdest thing you found out about) while you were writing?
One of the odder things I learned was that “sapient” animals were apparently very popular in England during this time period. These animals could do tricks such as read and tell time. I thought this was such an interesting tidbit that I included it in the book!
- If you could describe Dangerous Alliance in only three words, which words would you choose?
Romantic, mysterious adventure.
Doesn’t her book sound amazing?! I actually already read it (spoiler alert-it was amazing) as my first read of the year, so my review for it will be coming out this friday! If you want to find out more right now, you can find Jennieke on Instagram at this link and add Dangerous Alliance to your TBR on goodreads at this link.
Happy reading! Are there any Jane Austen fans here?