by Alice Chandler
How did I come to write Aunt Jane and the Missing Cherry Pie: A Jane Austen Mystery for Children?
Jane Austen has been part of my life for almost all of my life, ever since my parents took me to see the 1940 movie version of Pride and Prejudice when I was nine. They must have wondered if I was old enough to enjoy the movie. But I loved it—so much so that my mother took me to buy a copy of the book the very next day. I still have that much-worn, much-loved volume. Its thick pre-war paper has not yellowed over time. But the fake-leather, gold-tooled binding is frayed and showing its age.
My favorite chapter as a child–the one that I read, and reread, and read again—was the scene in which Elizabeth rejects Darcy’s first marriage proposal. Was it because I was envisaging the darkly handsome Laurence Olivier of the 1940 movie as Mr. Darcy, or because I subconsciously wanted to be as archly clever as Elizabeth? I know that I tried to model my personality on Elizabeth Bennet—a daunting task for a nine-year-old.