Tired of the same old beach reads already this summer? Why not step out of your comfort zone and try a book that’s like nothing you’ve ever read before?
Unclaimed, a dystopian spin on Jane Eyre, transports the reader into a world that, disturbingly, seems just around the corner. I was captivated by Jane E’s boldness and resilience as she navigated the challenging circumstances of living with a genetic defect in a designer-gene world. Erin McCole Cupp’s novel is a blend of three genres I rarely read (19th-century novel, dystopian fiction and fanfic) and it’s definitely a combo that works.
Unclaimed is the first of three novellas in the “Jane_E” series; the next installment is scheduled for release in early October.
I read this book before the cover design was released, and I’m beyond impressed at how well the design complements the story.
Q: So what made you think you could get away with rewriting Jane Eyre?
EMC: I never expected to get away with it! I think of it as more of a translation than a rewrite, anyway, and when you’re reading a translation, you must always keep in mind that it is but a pale image of the original. At any rate, way back in Y2K, I had spent the first part of the year reading a steady diet of William Gibson, Neal Stephenson and Bruce Sterling–the revered trifecta of the cyberpunk subgenre of science fiction. When our summer vacation came around, I decided I’d take a vacation from reading for professional development as an aspiring SF writer and bought a bunch of books from the literary classics bargain bin at a boardwalk bookshop. A few chapters into Jane Eyre, my mind kept throwing up these weird parallels between the character of Helen Burns as Jane’s spirit guide and the character of Molly as Case’s spirit guide in Gibson’s Neuromancer. I remember thinking, “Wow, Jane Eyre would’ve made great cyberpunk.” [beat] “Oh, crap, now I have to write it!”
Q: That was sixteen years ago, and the first edition of Jane_E dropped a decade ago. What made you decide to revisit your first novel and rerelease it electronically?
EMC: I just think (“hope” might be a better word) that the audience might be ready for it a bit more now compared to ten years ago. I’d already been thinking of re-releasing it as a single book and getting a fresh cover, having it available in hard copy as well as electronic format. However… it’s a long book when taken all in one slice! Jane’s story (mine as well as the Bronte version) also divides itself naturally into three parts: her early years, her developing relationship with her employer, and then everything that happens after that relationship catches fire, for lack of a better term (and those of you who’ve read Jane Eyre know of which I speak). I figured that by breaking it down into smaller portions, a reader could take a chance on Book 1 (Unclaimed) without the commitment to some giant tome. Of course if you wantthe giant tome, that’s still available.
Q: So when do the next two books come out?
EMC: I’m looking at October 7 for Nameless (Book 2) and December 6 for Runaway.
Q: Why make us wait so long?!
EMC: Because I’m mean. Ha! Actually, there’s the cover art to take care of, thanks to Fiona Jayde Media. I also wanted to give the text a little extra polish that may have gotten lost in the initial editing, which was done when I had infant twins. I’m working with Rebecca Willen over at Our Hearts are Restless, and she’s great–reasonable, thorough, no-nonsense–but I’m also letting those aforementioned twins (now 12 and homeschooled) provide an additional level of copyediting.
Q: What’s that like, letting your children correct your work?
EMC: You mean, besides the weird factor of letting them read something on the edgy side that came out of my brain before they were even born? Actually, it’s a lot less stressful than I thought it would be. It’s a good way to model humility, really. I mean, I’m the one always correcting their work, and now I’m letting them turn the tables. I think it’s good for all three of us.
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