Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Why I Added a Cat to Jane Eyre’s Life, by Joanna Campbell Slan (w/Giveaway)

Why I Added a Cat to Jane Eyre’s Life 
Written exclusively for Mochas, Mysteries and More 
 By Joanna Campbell Slan 
Author of Death of a Schoolgirl 

I know somebody to whose knee the black cat loves to climb, against whose shoulder and cheek it likes to purr. -- Charlotte Brontë

That “somebody” was Brontë herself. According to her biographer Elizabeth Gaskill, “The helplessness of an animal was its passport to Charlotte's heart.” Indeed, the author hated to get up from her chair and disturb the family’s black cat as it rested in her lap. And when she did rise, she would gently reposition the pet elsewhere.

“Charlotte was more than commonly tender in her treatment of all dumb creatures, and they, with that fine instinct so often noticed, were invariably attracted towards her,” wrote Gaskill.

According to Christine Alexander and Jane Sellars in their book The Art of the Brontës, “The Brontës were seldom without a cat…” First there was Tiger, whose striped marking lent him his name, and later came a black tabby named Tom. “Keeper, Flossy and Tiger” is one of the best-known Brontë animal portraits, painted by Charlotte’s sister Emily, and much treasured by the family. Of all the Brontë siblings, Emily seemed to best understand the true nature of cats. She wrote, “They know how to value our favours at their true price, because they guess the motives that prompt us to grant them.”

So why didn’t Charlotte give Jane a cat? At the start of the book, perhaps it is Charlotte’s way of showing us the emptiness of Jane’s life. We know the author must have thought about cats, and their contribution to blissful domesticity, because when we meet Jane’s cousins Diana and Mary, the latter has a cat on her lap.

Whatever the reason for the omission, you’ll be happy to know that I’ve corrected the problem. My book Death of a Schoolgirl begins where Jane Eyre leaves off. So I’ve taken the liberty of introducing a wonderful feline character named Mephisto, a cat described as not having “a spot of white anywhere.” Eventually, Mephisto goes home to live with Jane, who dotes on him.

I think Charlotte Brontë would approve.


Book Details:
Death of a Schoolgirl
(The Jane Eyre Chronicles)

First in Series
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Berkley Trade (August 7, 2012)
Genre: Historical Romantic Suspense

In her classic tale, Charlotte Brontë introduced readers to the strong-willed and intelligent Jane Eyre. Picking up where Brontë left off, Jane’s life has settled into a comfortable pattern: She and her beloved Edward Rochester are married and have an infant son. But Jane soon finds herself in the midst of new challenges and threats to those she loves…

Jane can’t help but fret when a letter arrives from Adèle Varens—Rochester’s ward, currently at boarding school—warning that the girl’s life is in jeopardy. Although it means leaving her young son and invalid husband, and despite never having been to a city of any size, Jane feels strongly compelled to go to London to ensure Adèle’s safety.

But almost from the beginning, Jane’s travels don’t go as planned—she is knocked about and robbed, and no one believes that the plain, unassuming Jane could indeed be the wife of a gentleman; even the school superintendent takes her for an errant new teacher. But most shocking to Jane is the discovery that Adèle’s schoolmate has recently passed away under very suspicious circumstances, yet no one appears overly concerned. Taking advantage of the situation, Jane decides to pose as the missing instructor—and soon uncovers several unsavory secrets, which may very well make her the killer’s next target…

About The Author
Award-winning and National Bestselling authorJoanna Campbell Slan is the creator of the Kiki Lowenstein Mysteries (an Agatha Award Finalist) and The Jane Eyre Chronicles (Winner of the 2013 Daphne du Maurier Award). This fall will see the debut of the Cara Mia Delgatto books, a new mystery series set on the Treasure Coast of Florida, featuring a young woman who runs a recycling/repurposing shop. In her past life, Joanna was a television talk show host, an adjunct professor of public relations, a sought-after motivational speaker, and a corporate speechwriter. She is the mother of Michael Slan, a professional poker player, and she is married to David Slan, CEO of Steinway Piano Gallery-DC. The Slans and their two dogs make their home on Jupiter Island, Florida. Visit Joanna’s website at www.JoannaSlan.com

Website: www.JoannaSlan.com

Blog: http://tinyurl.com/JCSBlog

Twitter: www.Twitter.com/JoannaSlan

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/joanna.slan?fref=ts

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/JoannaCampbellSlan

Purchase Links

AMAZON B&N Book World Book Depository Powell’s Books

Be sure to leave a comment with your email address, in addition to the tour-wide giveaway below, I have one paperback copy of Death of a Schoolgirl to give away! (US only, ending 9/30)

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
holdenj said...

I agree, if anyone needed a cat, it was Jane. I am looking forward to reading the new book, thanks for the chance to win!

Rita Wray said...

I can't wait to read it.

Rita Wray said...

Forgot my email


dollycas aka Lori said...

Thank you for being part of this tour!!!

Sue said...

I definitely approve of the addition of a cat in Jane's life---pets just make our life more complete.

Unknown said...


Joanna Campbell Slan said...

So glad to hear from so many pet lovers!

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

I have to tell all of you, that it was fascinating to see that the Brontes did own cats and dogs. I knew about the dogs, but not the cats, so writing this post gave me a good reason to do the research!

Unknown said...

Looking forward to reading this book. I 'm sure it's a great book . Thank you for sharing and please enter my name in the giveaway.
Barbara Thompson

Katreader said...

I loved Mephisto and was glad he got a good home! I already have a copy of this wonderful book, so you need not enter me in the giveaway.

Unknown said...

Happy to hear Jane gets a cat. This book sounds very interesting and I am looking forward to reading it. kumquat8 at hotmail dot com

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

You are so right. A cat fits her personality perfectly, doesn't it?

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

So glad to know that we caught your interest, Rita. I'd love to hear what you think!

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Isn't that the truth? They listen without judging. They always share their love, and they are lavish with their forgiveness.

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Katreader, aren't you sweet? I once had an all black cat named Sabbath, but I thought for the times that Mephisto would be more appropriate. I fell in love with Mephisto, too!

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Kim, I try to create a "world" for my protagonists that's very pleasant. How could I not include a pet?

Mer said...

What a wonderful idea for a continuation...I'd love to read more about Jane and your plot sounds very intriguing. Though of course, I'm a fan of anything that features a cat.

maudemaxine@gmail.co, said...

We had a cat named HOBO when we lived in WY. We named him Hobo because he was left by our travel trailor on the roadside. So, a fitting name. I used to love to watch him get set up to pounce on one of the girls if they moved any part of them. Then he would pounce unexpectedly. He was a good cat, never tearing my Christmas up as so many do, and stayed off my table and counters showing you can teach. One reason I hadn't wanted a cat. I would sure like to win this book. Sounds good. My baby girl and her daughter are the cat ladies with 4 cats in their home. they rule the house. The girls don't even want to move if it will disturb a sleeping cat. Please put my name in.

maudemaxine@gmail.co, said...

I enjoyed this reading this Joanna. Was a real good read. I liked your blog. Maxie

Unknown said...

Wow, what an interesting idea - definitely caught my interest here! Now I need to go re-read Jane Eyre, then pick up your sequel!