Thursday, August 12, 2010

Q & A with Sherri Browing Erwin


Discusses Popularity of Vampire Novel Jane Slayre (released last spring and co-authored with Charlotte Bronte)

Q—What’s your reaction to the popularity of your novel Jane Slayre, which was released last spring?
Sherri — I’m very excited that Jane Slayre has been welcomed so warmly by fans of romance, comedy, horror, science fiction-fantasy, and fans of Jane Eyre. That I have been able to cross over and draw readers from genres other than romance, where I started out, has been such a thrill. It’s great to run into people who have heard of the book, which hasn’t really happened to me with past titles. I have readers of all ages, from young adults to senior citizens. Jane Slayre is everywhere.

Q—What was the reception like for you and the book at the recent RWA convention in Orlando?

 Sherri — For the first time, I had people coming to the multi-author literacy autographing specifically to find me to sign their books. At the smaller signing for my publisher, Pocket Books, I ran out of books within the first twenty minutes. I’m still amazed by it.

Q—When Jane Slayre was released what were your expectations for the book? 

Sherri — I hoped that Jane Slayre would be embraced by Jane Eyre fans, but I expected some negativity from literary purists. The negative reaction has been minimal, fortunately. Even some of the purists have been won over. My favorite letters are the ones I get from people who claim Jane Eyre as a favorite book, and congratulate me for capturing the spirit of the original while adding a fun new twist.. The Library Journal said that I “raised the bar for monster classics.” I thought perhaps Jane Slayre would sell well, after Pride and Prejudice and Zombies commanded such attention, but I had no idea it would be getting such glowing reviews.

Q—Why do you think vampire novels are so popular now?

Sherri — With the recession, wars, environmental disasters, and a contentious political environment in the news, I think people look to fiction for an escape, and there’s nothing like getting lost in a fantasy world that does not exactly resemble our own. Vampires are fascinating creatures. Are they good? Are they evil? Misunderstood? In a world where it’s sometimes hard to tell the good guys from the bad, I think it’s fun to examine characters that are also a little ambiguous.

Q—Was your goal to keep your book close to Bronte’s classic story?

Sherri — It was very important to me to keep to Charlotte Bronte’s themes and intentions in writing Jane Eyre when I twisted it to Jane Slayre. I wanted to maintain her tone and style while adding new ways to think about her characters and their actions, and yes, some comedic moments. I consider Jane Slayre an homage to Jane Eyre more than I think of it as a parody.

Q—You’ve written other genres, what was the biggest challenge writing the vampire genre that you feel you accomplished?

Sherri — I think I managed to create a strong conflict within Jane Slayre as to her purpose and her taking on the daunting task of judging others and ending lives. Who is she to decide if vampires or other creatures are to live or die? It’s in her nature to examine the issues and try to make the right choices between good and evil, but it’s not always an easy decision. Just because someone has been made into a vampire, are they evil? Do zombies really want to live that way? Werewolves? She takes her mission very seriously and considers the nature of every creature she comes across before reaching for the stake.

Q—Would you write another vampire novel?

Sherri —Absolutely. I’m working on one now.

About Sherri  ~

Sherri writes historical and contemporary fiction, often with a paranormal twist. Her books have been mentioned in People magazine, USA Today, the Huffington Post, the Wall Street Journal blog, UK's Telegraph and Argus, and once, as the subject of a New York Times cartoon.

A graduate of Mount Holyoke College, Sherri lives in Massachusetts with her husband, two nearly grown children, and a Pembroke Welsh corgi.

A little more from Sherri ~ 

I read JANE EYRE for the first time when I was thirteen, and again when I was sixteen. I decided to read it again, twenty-five years later, so I could discuss it with my daughter after she reads it for a school assignment later this year. What did I find? The same dramatic, thoughtful, persevering young heroine I remembered.
But why, dear reader, did I start imagining paranormal forces working against Jane? A bolder Jane? A fiercer Jane? A Jane who could occasionally laugh in the face of danger, and triumph over not only her own sorry circumstances, but over actual evil in the form of vampyres, zombies, and werewolves? The whole new story unfolded to me as if Charlotte were over my shoulder, re-imagining it with me. She was, in fact, the voice in my head as I wrote, my muse.

I know she wasn't really there. In 1855, she died from severe dehydration and perhaps typhus at age 39, only recently married and pregnant with her first child. But I consulted her, in my mind, as I worked (What would Charlotte do?), and I feel she would be satisfied and even amused with my retelling, which by no means intends to replace the original JANE EYRE, a celebrated and beloved work of English Literature. I only hope I can encourage some new readers to enjoy my version, JANE SLAYRE, and to go back and delight in JANE EYRE all over again, or for the first time. Happy reading!


 Jane Slayre 
Jane Slayre  (paperback)
Jane Slayre (Kindle)


 Jane Slayre, our plucky demon-slaying heroine, a courageous orphan who spurns the detestable vampyre kin who raised her, sets out on the advice of her ghostly uncle to hone her skills as the fearless slayer she’s meant to be. When she takes a job as a governess at a country estate, she falls head-over-heels for her new master, Mr. Rochester, only to discover he’s hiding a violent werewolf in the attic– in the form of his first wife. Can a menagerie of bloodthirsty, flesh-eating, creatures-of-the-night keep a swashbuckling nineteenth-century lady from the gentleman she intends to marry? Vampyres, zombies, and werewolves transform Charlotte Bronte’s unforgettable masterpiece into an eerie paranormal adventure that will delight and terrify.

Visit Sherri at her website HERE
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Find her HERE at Good Reads
Check out Sherri's blog posts at The Whine Sisters
Sherri & Charlotte chat HERE
You can email her @

Other books by Sherri Browning Erwin ~