Born and raised in Brazil I moved to the USA in 2001 after marrying an American. Until then I had made money teaching English as a Second Language and I loved it. The English language is my first passion. Having only a BA in English with a Minor in Literature I felt I had to pursue another career in the US. I did not feel comfortable teaching native speakers their own language and even though I taught English to Japanese speakers at the Berlitz School of Language in Atlanta in 2004 it did not pay off. Many years later I became a nurse to fulfill my passion for helping others which is ultimately what teachers do.
I read Pride & Prejudice when I was only 12 years old but when in College all they talked about was Shakespeare. It was before the BBC series that changed everything forever – the 1995 version with Colin Firth. In 1990 I was the recipient of a Rotary scholarship where I could choose a Master’s degree of choice and I chose… Applied Linguistics!! It was one of the hardest things I had to study in my life. All because I was afraid of Shakespeare and his unattainable English. If only that happened a few years later… but no matter. Maybe it was not meant to be since I had a ski accident and could not finish my degree. At least I can claim (and very proudly I might add) that I lived in England for a full school year and visited Bath for the first time. No. There was no Jane Austen Museum then. Years later, I watched Persuasion – the 1995 version and delighted myself in knowing I had been there.
In 2011 I found JASNA – The Jane Austen Society of North America – through Facebook and in 2012 I started my page All Things Jane Austen. Later on, I started this blog to talk about my adventures in the Jane Austen universe and the cool people I met along the way. Also to suggest books, have giveaways, and post movie and book reviews. But being a full-time nurse made it difficult and just curating a page was a lot of work. At the beginning of 2020, my page was about to hit 50,000 followers but it got hacked. I thought about giving up but my followers helped me redirect the traffic from the page to the small group I had created as a members area. Covid hit and in just one year the group that had only 2,000 jumped to way over 20,000. Long story short, because of Facebook algorithms, I was no longer able to administrate that same group and had to rebrand it. Now it is called Austen Without Prejudice (Previously Known as All Things Jane Austen).
I’ve learned the hard way social platforms are not to be trusted with your content. The good news is this blog is about to get so much better! I’ve shared a random post about creating a VIP membership but it is a lot of work for someone who is a full-time nurse that loves to read and watch way too many detective series. Yes, there is another British lady that also stole a piece of my heart – Agatha Christie. She made me fall in love with crime and mystery solving. But I will not talk about that on the blog. This is after all a blog all about Jane!
Stay tuned and follow the blog, sign up for the newsletter, and join the group on Facebook, follow me on Instagram @allthingsja_2012 or on TiKToK @ritawatts12 to find out details of what is coming next. I have many yummy ideas in mind. We are going to have free Zoom calls to solidify our community, maybe some personal calls, and eventually the membership I’ve been dreaming of and when the big event will be launched!
Visit my group following the link below: