Thursday, November 8, 2007

Greetings from Author Paula Marantz Cohen

Paula Marantz Cohen (BA Yale; Ph.D. Columbia) is Distinguished Professor of English at Drexel University in Philadelphia, where she teaches courses in literature, film, and creative writing. She writes nonfiction and novels; her very first novel was Jane Austen in Boca. Paula agreed to answer a few questions for our very own Boca Blogathon!

How did you get the idea for the story, Jane Austen in Boca?

I was visiting my in-laws in Boca (they live in Boca Lago) and thought there were many parallels between their life and that of characters in a Jane Austen novel.

What specific parallels do you see between Pride and Prejudice, and modern life in Boca?

Boca residents, like those of the English country gentry whom Austen wrote about, constitute a fairly homogeneous community. People tend to know each other (or know each other once removed); there's the sense of ritualized activity (playing golf, having lunch and dinner, visiting, gossiping, etc). There's the focus on family. And then, of course, there's the fact that many people are widows and widowers and therefore open to new friendships and romantic attachments.

Are there any special nods to Boca Raton readers in the book, things that only we might recognize?

There are references to certain shops and shopping areas (Mizner, the Boca Loehman's, the upscale movie theater with plush seats and popcorn). Also, I make reference to some of the popular clubs and residences (some are fictionalized, some real), and to habits that I've gleened from my in-laws (the influx of grandkids during school holidays, for example).

What do you think Jane Austen would think of your book?

I think she'd see that it was written in the same spirit of affectionate satire in which she wrote her books.

Is there any special greeting you'd like to send to the book-loving members of Congregation B'nai Israel in Boca Raton?

My favorite appearances have been in Boca--I love the Boca residents, whom I find to be full of life, zest, curiosity, and intelligence. I also have them to thank for launching my career as a novelist!

Thanks, Paula! Hey everyone, be sure to visit Paula's web site at!

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