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INTERVIEW: Damianne Scott, the Woman Behind "Black Girl Loves Jane"

Updated: Jan 30


Welcome to the Tuesday Author Interview with Christina Boyd for the Who, What, When, Where, and Why.


I first started following Black Girl Loves Jane on Facebook, a page celebrating any diverse group that enjoys Jane Austen. Damianne Scott's commentary is thoughtful and inspiring, especially showing how Classic literature is not just for white heterosexual people. Then, I learned she's writing an Austenesque book. Need I say more?


Christina: When did you first think you had a book to write and how did you start?


Damianne: To be truthfully honest, I always thought I had a book, screenplay, or script to write since I was young. I loved writing romance. You know, boy meets girl; boy loses girl; boy wins girl back. However, I attempted my first and only completed novel in 2015. It was the perfect storm of being off the summer with no teaching job, a broken heart, and a love for Jane Austen's Persuasion.

Black woman wearing white ball cap in front of Jane Austen Centre of Bath entrance
Damianne in front of the Jane Austen Centre in Bath.

I desired my own reunion with a lost love like our girl, Anne, so I decided to write it. The writing process for me was not really thought out. I would read a chapter of Persuasion, and then try to transform the plot into a modern situation and dialogue that involved BIPOC who I knew. The first product did not turn out so well as I hired an editor (from Fivver) who had never read Austen. I did receive one piece of advice from that editor: Show, not tell. So, I rewrote the draft, less Austen-like in language. And now, I am stalled on re-writing the third draft because I am not sure what to do with it.


Christina: Aw, the torture of a writer. Keep going. It's so important to find an editor who edits in your genre. I look forward to reading your debut novel. I do love me a good contemporary Austen novel!


Pantser or plotter or hybrid?


Damianne: I am a hybrid. Usually, I have a pseudo plan in my head of what I want to write about in regard to an article or a portion of my novel. Then, I start writing. There are several stops and starts in this process in regard to researching or talking out the plot, dialogue, or tone. On the page, it sometimes seems that I have not accomplished much. But, in my head, I have.


Christina: Tricky stuff, this writing business...and getting it out of your head and onto the page. You can do it!


What is your current project?


Damianne: I have some presentations I am working on in regard to Colorism and Regency. I am also waiting for an article that I wrote regarding Austen, fandom, race, and film adaptations to be published soon in a new scholarly book for next year. I am creating some fun items to celebrate the five-year anniversary of Black Girl Loves Jane. And of course, I am trying to figure out how to improve my novel, Persuaded, so it can be published before I die, LOL.


Christina: Yes! A thousand times, yes. I love how you are always using your platform to show young people that Austen is for everyone, how her work is timeless.


What makes you get up in the morning? What do you love?


Damianne: I believe that what makes me get up in the morning, besides the Good Lord, is my love for knowledge. I love learning something new about myself through discovering new interesting ideas, conversations, and subjects that I am exposed to. For example, I woke up at 3 a.m. (I couldn't sleep) and turned on PBS. Do you know I watched a whole show about how they built the old 14th-century cathedrals in England? I was fascinated. I couldn't get enough. I learned that geometry does have a purpose, lol, and true greatness takes time, patience, and skill. And if I want to create something that will last, I must acquire and master these virtues.

Christina: I think I may have watched that one too. Is that the one where they talk about arches and strength? That curves are stronger than straight lines? I digress...


What does literary success look like to you?


Damianne: I used to think that literary success would be for the published book of my Austen adaptation would be purchased and turned into a Lifetime TV movie of the week i.e., "Pride and Prejudice in Atlanta," so I could pay off my student loan debt. This is no longer the case. Now, I believe that literary success has already occurred for me. I have completely written a novel. I have articles and presentations with arguments read and listened to, and sometimes, debated. I do not know if my novel will be groundbreaking or if I will ever write another one, although I do have ideas for a few more. But the most important thing is that my ideas are being read and discussed, and I call that success.


CHRISTINA: I find your work and presentations are very much being discussed. I like what you said about Austen:

She has opened the door for me to express myself without any inhibitions; I do not hide myself when I discuss or talk about Austen. It is not always understandable to be an African American woman who loves an author, who, on the surface, lives in a world that does not include you. So one has to obtain a little thick skin, has to learn to be a little less sensitive, and has to cultivate a little more patience with those who do not get this love for an author and her characters that are over 200 years old.--Damianne Scott

Keep doing what you do. Keep being a light, a positive leader, and readers will continue to flock to hear your perspective and opinions. Best of luck finishing Persuaded. So exciting! I look forward to reading it. And thank you for your time and candor with this interview.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Damianne Scott (Dami) graduated from Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio, where she earned a BA and MA in English, and more importantly, garnered her love for Jane Austen after her beloved high school English teacher declared that Austen was too sappy for a person who loved reading Thomas Hardy. After many years of having to defend her love of Austen and other Regency and Victorian authors, Dami decided to create a Facebook Page dedicated to her beloved Jane, and to the idea that it was perfectly wonderful to be an African American woman who loves Austen novels. Black Girl Loves Jane (BGLJ) was born in 2018.


Since then, Dami has become a member of the Jane Austen Society North America (JASNA Dayton), has gained over 1400 followers through her BGLJ page, and has been a guest speaker, panelist, or presenter for numerous groups such as Jane Austen Summer Program, The Austen Connection, and The Thing About Austen Podcast. Her most well-known presentation is for Jane Austen; Company’s Race and Regency Series regarding Bridgerton’s Queen Charlotte

which you can find on YouTube. While many JASNA members may know her for writing the

essay “Sanditon and the Pineapple Emoji Craze” (2021) for the JASNA’s Persuasions On-Line

Journal.


Becoming a more evolved campaigner for the pure mission of celebrating and encouraging diversity in Austen and other classic literature in whatever variation fashioned, Dami is a member of the JASNA EDI committee and is currently working on a few articles discussing Austen and diversity.


Dami is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the University of Cincinnati Blue Ash and an Adjunct Instructor at Cincinnati State, where she teaches English Composition.


You can check out her page, Black Girl Loves Jane, on Facebook, Twitter/X, or Instagram.



5 commentaires


Christina Morland
Christina Morland
03 oct. 2023

Fantastic interview! Dami, I wish you all the best with your writing. I loved the excerpt you shared on my podcast; I can still picture your Anne walking across that parking lot in those shoes! Also, kudos to you for spending your 3 an hour learning about cathedrals and geometry! Thanks for this thoughtful interview.

J'aime
Christina Boyd
Christina Boyd
03 oct. 2023
En réponse à

I think it’s going to be a terrific read. I’m looking forward to it!

J'aime

Invité
01 oct. 2023

Great interview! I look forward to seeing ”Persuaded” finished and in the world too! 😊

J'aime

Sophia Rose
Sophia Rose
29 sept. 2023

I can't wait until your book is out in the wild Damianne!

J'aime
Christina Boyd
Christina Boyd
03 oct. 2023
En réponse à

Thanks for stopping by. She’s such a terrific writer—I think PERSUADED will be top of the must read list when it releases.

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