Kyra C. Kramer is a well loved author and historian. A short while back we published her novel Mansfield Parsonage, a quality re-telling of Mansfield Park by Jane Austen from a different perspective. We’ve had people tell us that they loved the book and thought that the style was as good as (if not better!) than Austen’s herself.
An interview with Kyra Kramer
In a recent interview about Jane Austen, Kyra gave these answers to some great questions:
What do you think Austen’s personality was like?
From what I’ve read she was very shy in real life, but in private and with close friends she had a very acerbic wit that I personally find very funny. Other people have called it “cruel” tho, but I think they don’t understand the amusement of gallows humor.
What’s your favourite Jane Austen book? And your least favourite?
My favorite is everyone’s favorite — Pride & Prejudice. It is the wittiest, the sharpest, and the fastest paced. My least favorite is Emma, although it is still an excellent book I enjoy reading. Emma Woodhouse was just such a snob that she exasperates me, and I don’t think she was sorry for what she had done to poor little Harriet Smith; I think Emma just regretted that her interference with Harriet’s life might have bothered Emma’s own happiness.
Who is your favourite character and why?
Mary Crawford, (from Mansfield Park) because she was as arch and sweet as Elizabeth Bennett yet her practicality was punished by the author as a moral tale while Elizabeth was allowed to be redeemed from her mistakes.
I know you have read “Emma”? What did you think of the main character? Which was your favourite part of this story?
Emma’s service to the poor, and kindness to her father, made her a character worthy of affection — so I actually like her in spite of her flaws. She was a God-awful snob and self-centered as a wind up top, tho. My favorite part was that Harriett Smith and Robert Martin got married at last, in spite of everything Emma did to lead the sweet little idiot astray. I think Harriett, with her kind heart and gentle temper, was a better person than Emma, even if she wasn’t as intelligent.
You wrote “Mansfield Parsonage” based on Mansfield Park. What inspired you to do this?
I though Edmund Bertram’s treatment of Mary Crawford was atrocious and repellent, and I really wanted to give him a piece of my mind in a very public setting. Mary’s “crime” was to want to save HIS sister from shame. How very dare she! I thought Edmund and Fanny were the be-all-end-all of priggish, self-righteous, hypocrites. THEY both benefited from slavery, which is 1000xs worse than not being judgmental enough regarding adultery.
It’s told from Mary Crawford’s perspective, why?
Because Mary was interesting and intelligent, and Fanny Price (though smart) was a drip. The biggest wet hen to ever cluck and moan her way across the pages of canon literature.
Finally, if you could meet only one character from all of Jane Austen’s stories, who would it be?
I’m torn. I would LOVE to become best friends with Lizzie Bennett, but I would also like to slap Edmund Bertram right across his smug face. I think that, actually, I would really like to meet Austen herself!
A great article about Kyra Kramer and Mansfield Parsonage
You can read a wonderful article about Kyra and her book here: