Laurel Ann Nattress is a life-long acolyte of Jane Austen, having been converted at a young age by the BBC/PBS 1979 mini-series Pride and Prejudice. On a whim she was inspired to create Austenprose, a blog honouring the brilliance of Jane Austen's writing, and she also co-blogs at Jane Austen Today, with Vic (Ms Place). She delights in introducing neophytes to the charms of Miss Austen's prose as a bookseller at Barnes & Noble. An expatriate of southern California, Laurel Ann lives near Seattle, where it rains a lot.
Why do you blog? > I blog for self-expression and as an outlet for my creativity. I chose Jane Austen because I am passionate about her works and thought that I could add something to the online community that I have been enjoying for over 10 years.
What has been your best blogging experience? > Reader response. Sometimes I am just amazed by others' comments or observations. Janeites are quite smart and funny. Two deadly combinations! Being chosen by PBS to blog about Miss Austen Regrets in 2008 was also quite flattering.
What has been your worst blogging experience? > Hate mail. Some people have no sense of humour.
What would be your main blogging advice to a novice blogger? > Be part of the online community and learn and observe before plunging into creating your own blog. Narrow down your focus to what you are passionate about, and be flexible enough to change slightly if need be.
What are your favourite blogs? > Jane Austen's World, AustenBlog and The Duchess of Devonshire's Gossip Guide to the 18th Century. Vic, Mags and Heather are three very smart ladies, who constantly amaze me and make me laugh.
Who are your intellectual heroes? > Well, that is easy: Jane Austen, Oscar Wilde, Vita Sackville-West. Three incredibly creative minds who changed how we observe our world.
What are you reading at the moment? > Evelina by Frances Burney, Lady Susan by Jane Austen and An Accomplished Woman by Jude Morgan.
Who are your cultural heroes? > Jane Austen and Sir Thomas Lawrence.
What is the best novel you've ever read? > Pride and Prejudice; and a distant second by another author would be Jane Eyre.
What is your favourite poem? > William Wordsworth's 'Ode: Intimations of Immortality'.
What is your favourite movie? > Jane Eyre (1944).
What is your favourite song? > 'Begin The Beguine' by Cole Porter and performed by Artie Shaw and his Orchestra.
Who is your favourite composer? > Giacomo Puccini, and Arthur Sullivan when I need a boost.
Can you name a work of non-fiction which has had a major and lasting influence on how you think about the world? > Gardner's Art Through the Ages: studying art history in college changed my life by teaching me to appreciate what others value, and what I hold dear.
Who are your political heroes? > Thomas Jefferson and Winston Churchill.
What do you consider to be the main threat to the future peace and security of the world? > Prejudice and hate.
Do you think you could ever be married to, or in a long-term relationship with, someone with radically different political views from your own? > 'Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance.'
What do you consider the most important personal quality? > A sense of humour.
What personal fault do you most dislike? > Arrogance and condescension are the most offensive faults that a person can subject another to.
Do you have any prejudices you're willing to acknowledge? > I am churlish to a fault about snobbery.
What commonly enjoyed activities do you regard as a waste of time? > Nothing. Who am I to judge how others should spend their time? 'One half of the world cannot understand the pleasures of the other.'
If you were to relive your life to this point, is there anything you'd do differently? > Hmm? That is a loaded question. Possibly not be so critical of myself. I am too much of a perfectionist, I fear.
Who would play you in the movie about your life? > My mother - that way I could re-write the script, direct the actors and pocket the gate.
Where would you most like to live (other than where you do)? > I would love to live at the seaside in Cornwall or Devon.
What would your ideal holiday be? > A six month Grand Tour through Europe, finished off by a month in the Caribbean.
What do you like doing in your spare time? > I enjoy reading, blogging, watching movies and attending opera and live stage productions when I can.
If you had to change your first name, what would you change it to? > Emily Sheridan.
What talent would you most like to have? > Quickness of mind. I so envy Elizabeth Bennet's clever retorts. I always think of great comebacks a day later!
Who is your favourite comedian or humorist? > Oscar Wilde, hands down.
If you could have one (more or less realistic) wish come true, what would you wish for? > I wouldn't turn Mr Darcy away if he knocked on my door.
How, if at all, would you change your life were you suddenly to win or inherit an enormously large sum of money? > I would give half of it away to struggling performing arts organizations, and with the second half I would buy a seaside cottage in England, invite my friends to tea, and travel the world.
If you could have any three guests, past or present, to dinner who would they be? > Jane Austen, Oscar Wilde and Georgiana Cavendish, The Duchess of Devonshire. Now, wouldn't that make for interesting dinner conversation? Two wits and a whip. I would not have to say a word. Just listen in amazement, and laugh.
What animal would you most like to be? > My cat Molly, because she lives the life of Riley.
[The normblog profile is a weekly Friday morning feature. A list of all the profiles to date, and the links to them, can be found here.]