Indie Author Farida Mestek decided to tackle the writing style of Jane Austen and succeeded! It’s also worth mentioning that Farida is a native of Ukraine. Reading her books (see her Amazon author’s page) definitely adds meaning in the midst of current world events.
In her book Margaret’s Rematch, Mestek tells the tale of Margaret Fairfax who is the least favorite person of her brother-in-law, Mr. Westfield. Her life is a bit wild and always on the precipice of scandal unlike her elder sister Isabella.
After Isabella’s death, the widowed Westfield feels obligated to invite her to his country home with his family and her nephew. Margaret accepts if only to escape her reputation. While Margaret and Mr. Westfield attempt to mend their feud, Margaret’s underhanded friend from London decides to undermine their efforts.
And here’s how the conversation with Farida went:
Jenn: How did your journey as a writer begin?
Farida: I’m afraid it will sound very boring and cliché, but I’ve always wanted to be a writer. So I guess my journey started a long time ago! I honestly don’t remember a time when I wasn’t writing or coming up with stories that I wanted to share with others. And even when I wasn’t working on my books, I wrote poems, songs, fanfiction, journals, reflections, etc. Writing has always been the most important part of my life.
J: Where did the inspiration for Margaret’s Rematch come from?
F: It was inspired by Jane Austen and my love of her works: her language and style and the time period she wrote about in her books. I always regarded “Margaret’s Rematch” as my tribute to her and (fun fact!) originally the book was titled “Imitation.”
J: What was it like writing in a classic literary style about Jane Austen’s era?
F: I was actually quite scared to begin! I wasn’t at all convinced that I was up to such a formidable task, because English isn’t my first language (I’m from Ukraine), but I showed what I wrote to a friend of mine (also a big Jane Austen fan) and she encouraged me to keep going. She was there to read every new chapter that I wrote and that helped a lot. Nowadays, it feels quite natural and I’m always happy to go back to that era and style!
J: Do you have a favorite character in the book?
F: Oh, absolutely! My favourite characters are Anne Westfield and Clifford Stockley. I think that they are both lots of fun and I would definitely enjoy knowing them and spending time with them.
J: If you were to wake up tomorrow in Regency England, how would you fare?
F: I want to believe that I would fare quite well or at least adequately, knowing what I know about the time. It wouldn’t be easy by any means, but I am quite adaptable, so I think I would do fine!
J: What are you working on next?
F: At the moment I’m editing another Regency-era novel, which I’m hoping to publish ere long. And I’m also finishing writing a fantasy novel in my own language (Ukrainian).
J: How did you decide to become an independently published author?
F: It was quite simple, really. I tried to find an agent or a publisher time and time again and eventually took matters into my own hands. I love sharing my stories with readers and it seemed like something I could do. Of course, I’m not all that good at it, but I get lucky on occasion!
J: Which novel by Jane Austen is your favorite?
F: That’s a tough one! I always say that my favourite novel is the one I’m currently re-reading because they are all very different and I love them all. However, I must confess that I have a soft spot for “Mansfield Park”. I know that a lot of Jane Austen fans don’t like it as much as her other novels, but I find it a fascinating study of that time and the manners of that time. Also, I believe that Fanny Price is her toughest heroine, considering her circumstances.
J: What are you reading now?
F: I always read several books at the same time. I’m an English teacher, so I’m reading Arsenic for Tea by Robin Stevens with one of my student groups. I’m also reading a novel by a Ukrainian author and Bel-Ami by Guy de Maupassant – a classic that I never got around to reading before.