Have you ever wished you could get paid to live in Jane Austen's world? In some ways that seems to be what Tim Bullamore, publisher of the delightful Jane Austen's Regency World Magazine has accomplished. I met Tim and his magazine last year at the Jane Austen Society of North America AGM in Minneapolis.
This year we met again at the same event in Montreal. After I told Tim how much I have enjoyed
my subscription to JARW this past year I asked if we could visit so I could share more about his magazine with my readers.
Ever the perfect English gentleman, Tim readily agreed, in spite of the fact that he was trying to get the proofs read for next month's issue. It wasn't always easy to chat, however, because his booth, just inside the door of the busy Emporium, was frequented by subscribers and enthusiastic readers (like myself).
Still, we managed our interview:
Donna: Tim, what brought you to Jane Austen?
Tim: I had always read Jane Austen. I was a particularly voracious reader as a child. But my involvement with the magazine came about when I was having lunch with a friend of mine who ran the Jane Austen Centre in Bath and had started the magazine. "How's business?" I asked.
"Well, the tea room is going well and the Centre is going well. But I started this dumb magazine and I'm going to close it," he replied.
I did the math on the back of a napkin and after the second glass of wine I agreed to buy the magazine. It's a business. I'm a journalist— that's my day job. I write obituaries for The Telegraph and am copy editor for The Times.
( I was impressed! The Telegraph's obituaries are the best in the world, along with The Economist, of course. I asked Tim if he had read the entertaining book about obituary writing The Dead Beat. Not only had he read it, he was in it! But we were straying from the topic.)
Donna: (Looking at the eye-catching covers of back issues surrounding the booth) You have published so many fascinating articles. Do you have a favorite?
Tim: (Big smile, not missing a beat.) The Pride and Prejudice issues. Because both sold out. As I said, it's a business. It has to pay its way.
Donna: Are most of your articles written in house?
Tim: A lot of them are, but we also have guest writers— such as John Major and Joanna Trollope. Some issues develop a theme, like the current issue on Jane and the Scots— to coincide with the Scottish referendum. Each issue is approximately 50% Austen and 50% Regency. We try to make people look forward to each issue.
Donna: I know you travel a great deal to promote the magazine. That must be a fun part of the job. Tell us about it.
Tim: Yes, very interesting travel. This is my seventh AGM [for the Jane Austen Society of North America] so I've been all over the States and across Canada. I've been to Jane Austen events in Italy, to a Jane Austen Circle in Singapore, there's even a Jane Austen site in Moscow— 50 ladies who meet in a coffee shop. In Australia I combine my Jane Austen events with university lectures on journalism.
Donna: Do you have a favorite place?
Tim: Wherever we sell magazines. (Again, the slightly self-deprecating smile. Very English.) I haven't been to Brazil yet, though. I'd like to go there.
Donna: Well, I'm so glad you always manage to work the JASNA AGM into your busy schedule.
Tim: I really enjoy it. There are two types of Austen fans: the academics and the bonnets and dancing— some societies frown on the bonnets and dancing— but JASNA is large enough to encompass both camps. You can have all the fun and still attract the serious readers who enjoy magazines.
Donna: Yes, and you give a discount on subscriptions to JASNA members.
Tim: That's right. Actually, the discount is for Austen society members (any Austen society in the world). To receive the discount Austen society members should go to www.janeaustenmagazine.co.uk/offers
Donna: Thank you so much, Tim. I hope lots of my readers will take a look at Jane Austen's Regency World. I know you'll enjoy it as much as I do.
And thank you to JARW's book reviewer who described my literary suspense A Jane Austen Encounter
as: "Great fun" She said, "Fletcher Crow brings Bath, Winchester and Chawton to vivid life in her pages, with a good helping of literary history and numerous references to Austen's writings that illuminate the narrative."
Little wonder that I love that magazine.
Here's Tim showing the advertisement for A Jane AustenEncounter in the current issue of Jane Austen's Regency World in his booth at the JASNA AGM Emporium in Montreal.
Donna Fletcher Crow, Novelist of British History, has written more than 50 books specializing in British Christianity. These books include: The Monastery Murders, clerical mysteries; Lord Danvers Investigates, Victorian true-crime; The Elizabeth and Richard series, literary suspense; and Glastonbury, The Novel of Christian England. She loves research and sharing you-are-there experiences with her readers.