Both are authors I discovered in my late teens and who have had an influence on my writing, but it’s an odd match-up. The two are radically different in tone as well as scope.
Austen focused her literary attention on personal and domestic scenes–what she called her “two inches of ivory,” portraits in miniature of families and social circles in country villages. Lovecraft’s vision, on the other hand, was of the incomprehensibly vast gulfs of time and space and things that lurked beyond the perceptions of the limited human sphere. So how does one reflect the influence of both at once?
In Maiden in Light, I’ve tried to do it via the experiences of my heroine Laurel. As a budding magician, Laurel has perceptions beyond the human norm and in the course of her apprenticeship with her wizard-uncle, gains a terrible knowledge of dark cosmic forces outside the cozy little world she has grown up in. When she returns to her old home in the city of New York* burdened by the responsibilities attendant on her knowledge, she lives among ordinary people who remain ignorant: her young cousins, her match-making aunt and Mr. Bennet-like uncle. The juxtaposition between Laurel’s duties as a magician and the petty social concerns of her family make up the second half of the novel.
New York is a medieval merchants’ city rather than a country village, but it does have gambrel-roofed houses with eaves nearly meeting across narrow and twisted streets, which Lovecraft so admired in Providence, RI.
*Not to be confused with any reality-based New Yorks the reader may be familiar with.