Miss Jane Austen,Somewhere in Heaven
Okay, that's a bit presumptuous. I have no right to call you by your given name. I mean, you called your betrothed "Mr. Darcy." I'll bet you didn't call him that after you were married, but I'm off purpose.
I want to thank you from the depths of my being for writing your "little stories," as you called them. I wish you were here today to see how popular they still are, especially Pride and Prejudice. People still love Elizabeth Bennett and her love/hate relationship with Mr. Darcy. I, personally, have read it so many times that I can quote large sections of dialogue verbatim. You don't know, but they made it into a movie, not once, but three times! My favorite is the six hour BBC/A&E production because it follows your novel almost word for word. I know, because I've sat with the book in my lap following each character's words on the screen. They only changed one scene―the one where Elizabeth comes to Pemberly for the first time and meets Georgiana―which isn't bad if you know what screenwriters are doing to novels these days…but those words won't mean a thing to you.
They made your other books into movies, too. I'm afraid this is the day of the visual media, but if it introduces people to your wonderful works, that can't be so bad. I've seen all the movies, and read all your books. I even have a volume of your letters to Cassandra. How she must have grieved when she lost you! I also have your early works, the ones you wrote for your family, and your last, unfinished novel, Sandition. I so wish you'd finished it. I've done so in my mind many times.
I'm an author, too. Although I don't have your skill with words or your sardonic wit, I strive to write novels that you would read and enjoy. I guess you could say that you're my hero, and I can't think of another more worthy. I'll keep trying to get better, and maybe someday I'll develop just a smidgeon of your writing skill.
You taught me one thing that has shaped my writing: no matter how good the plot, if the author doesn't develop her characters until they're as real to her as someone sitting in the next chair, she's failed. Plots are good, complications essential, but nothing is more important than the people. Thank you for teaching me that. And thank you for being you. There are no others like you, although many have tried. I'll keep working to make you proud of me.
Yours with deepest affection,
p.s. Did you know that my books are selling well in England? It's a point of pride with me.