Ex-Microsoft Exec Goes from High Tech to Novel About Jane Austen

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Read Collins Hemingway's new book, The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen, which reimagines the life of the English author to ask how marriage would have changed her as a person and a writer.

Book cover

A long-time Microsoft executive who co-authored a book on business and the Internet with Bill Gates and a book on the retail industry with Starbucks executive Arthur Rubinfeld is publishing an entirely different kind of work this week: a novel that reimagines the life of Jane Austen.

Collins Hemingway, who worked in marketing and communications on Microsoft’s systems business for several years in the 1990's, is launching The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen at the Annual General Meeting of the Jane Austen Society of North America (JASNA) in Louisville, KY, Oct. 8-11. The novel, the first installment of a trilogy, is now available on amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com.

Hemingway, a nonfiction author who has earned his reputation for tackling challenging subjects with clarity and insight, has now applied these literary talents to a work of fiction. Reimagining the life of Jane Austen, a literary icon beloved by readers around the world, The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen examines how a serious romantic relationship would have changed her as a person and a writer. The approach uses historical fiction to provide a thoughtful, in-depth look at what life was really like for women in the early 1800s.

The love story takes the heroine out of Austen’s balls and country houses of rural England and plunges her into what the Regency era was really about: great explorations and scientific advances, political foment, and wars that were among the longest and most devastating in European history. The characters become bound up in these outside events even as they become bound together. The novel imagines a life for Austen in which she opens her heart to a man as independent, as passionate and as complicated as she is herself.

Early reviews of The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen have been very positive:
What if Austen, who penned so many classic love stories, found her own romantic match? Ashton Dennis fits right into the Austen universe, while this Jane remains true to life, an intelligent and determined young woman. The writing is Austen-ian, and Hemingway has a talent for witty banter and wry observations that would make Elizabeth Bennet proud. An enjoyable first novel in an imaginative, well-researched series. —Kirkus Reviews

Hemingway’s book … [places] a very human Jane into a vibrant, turbulent England that is seeking new ideas but also fighting the Napoleonic Wars. … He captures the energy of the times, while also writing with the irony and sly humor of Jane Austen herself, complete with the stylistic language of the Regency period. … This is truly a worthy addition to the Jane Austen legacy, a story sure to please all Austen fans. —Blueink Starred Review

A skillful portrayal of an early nineteenth-century literary icon takes this historical romance on an imaginative journey of the soul. … Insight and intuition, along with meticulous research, have created a believable version of her character in this tender story of Ashton and Jane. … Excellent character development enhances the plausibility of the scenario. Background, motivation, eccentricity—everything that constitutes a personality allow these fascinating people to step off the pages in lifelike form. Bright, colorful descriptive passages establish a sense of place, building atmosphere and mood. … Hemingway immerses himself in [Austen’s] unique world—a stylistic tribute that evokes the genteel atmosphere of the period. —Julia Ann Charpentier, Foreword CLARION Reviews, 4 stars

[An] engaging and remarkably convincing romance. … Wry, observant, laconic—much like Jane Austen herself, without ever dipping into pastiche or mimicry. … Hemingway, with the lightest touch, builds up a thoroughly convincing alternative history for Jane. … [A] thoughtful re-imagining of Austen’s love life. —Joceline Bury, Jane Austen’s Regency World

The common theme between The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen and Hemingway’s nonfiction is the handling of complex subjects in a clear, intelligent and creative manner. As a nonfiction author, Hemingway has worked with a number of thought leaders to produce insightful books on topics as diverse as corporate culture and ethics; business, the Internet, and mobile technology; retail branding strategies; and the cognitive potential of the brain. He is best known for partnering with Gates, then Microsoft’s CEO, on the #1 best-selling book Business @ the Speed of Thought.

Hemingway will be signing books from 3:45 to 5:45 pm, on Saturday, Oct. 10, in the Galt House Grand Hall at the JASNA conference. For more information about The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen and the author go to http://www.austenmarriage.com.

About the Author
After a career in the high-tech industry, Hemingway, a native of Arkansas, now lives in Bend, OR. His range of interests shows in the books in which he has been involved. He is:

  •     Author of the novel The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen (Oct. 2015);
  •     Co-author with Microsoft CEO Bill Gates of the #1 best-selling book on business and technology, Business @ the Speed of Thought;
  •     Co-author with Starbucks executive Arthur Rubinfeld on Built for Growth, the gold standard about how companies can create and renew retail brands;
  •     Co-author with Dan Baker and Cathy Greenberg on What Happy Companies Know, about how positive cultures help companies outperform competitors;
  •     Co-author with Robert Marcus on The Fifth Wave, about the mobile revolution and how it is changing the world;
  •     Co-author with Shlomo Breznitz on Maximum Brainpower, about how to keep the mind active and the brain healthy throughout life.

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