Chatting with Kara Louise, Author of Only Mr. Darcy Will Do

From the desk of Laurel Ann Nattress:

Please welcome Austenesque author Kara Louise today on her first stop on her blog tour for her new book, Only Mr. Darcy Will Do, a Pride and Prejudice variation due out today from Sourcebooks.


Her worst fears come true…

After her father’s death, Elizabeth Bennet goes to work as a governess. Little does she know the Willstones are social acquaintances of the Bingleys and the Darcys, and Elizabeth finds herself once again drawn into Mr. Darcy’s orbit. To make matters worse, Mrs. Willstone’s sister sets her sights on Mr. Darcy. With Elizabeth’s social status even lower than it was before, she knows she must abandon all hope of Darcy renewing his proposals, even as she begins to see him in a completely different light…


LAN: Hi Kara. Thanks for joining us today. Only Mr. Darcy Will Do is a new title to many, but some may recognize the plot from the description as your previously self-published Something Like Regret. Can you share with us its publishing history and if it has gone through a rewrite or any changes for this new edition?

KL: Thanks for inviting me! It’s a pleasure to be here with you.

I had just finished writing Something Like Regret and had self-published it when Sourcebooks contacted me and said they were now interested in my books. (They had previously turned them down.) They wanted to publish Pemberley’s Promise (which became Darcy’s Voyage) and Assumed Engagement, both variations. When I told them about Something Like Regret, they agreed to publish that one instead, after Darcy’s Voyage.

There are no major changes in the book. There are, of course, grammatical corrections. (I have some very bad habits!) I was also asked to shorten the last part of the book slightly. There is really only one little scene I removed, but basically the book is the same as it was originally published, except for the title, of course.

LAN: Your previous novel Darcy’s Voyage was released last September to much acclaim. That must have been very gratifying for you. It was also inspired by Pride and Prejudice. I find these variations both fascinating and perplexing. Can you explain what a variation is opposed to a retelling of a classic story?

KL: A variation changes some of the events and alters different aspects of the story whereas a retelling would keep all the main elements the same, with possibly inserting some scenes that weren’t covered in the original story.

In Darcy’s Voyage I changed the way Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy meet, by having them meet on a ship. The story eventually ‘merges’ with the events of Pride and Prejudice, but because of what happened prior to those events, they are quite different.

In Only Mr. Darcy Will Do, I’ve taken the liberty to begin after the proposal [Mr. Darcy to Elizabeth Bennet] at Hunsford. Although I refer to the events that took place earlier, I chose to begin the story the following Easter with the news that Mr. Bennet died the year before, preventing Elizabeth from taking her tour [to the Lake District] with her aunt and uncle Gardiner. In reading Only Mr. Darcy Will Do, it would be much more beneficial to have read and know the story of Pride and Prejudice. Darcy’s Voyage, however, is a complete story in itself. But I always hope these variations will lead readers to Jane Austen herself, if they haven’t already read her.

LAN: So, Mrs. Bennet’s worst nightmare comes true. Mr. Bennet dies and the estate is inherited by Mr. Collins and his wife Charlotte. Does she fret about living in the hedgerows??? This is such a great set up Kara. There are so many directions to go from here. How do you as a writer make these choices? Do you have it all plotted out in advance or do you let the characters and scenes just take over?

KL: Yes, I believe Mrs. Bennet’s fear of being thrown out of Longbourn was a driving force in wanting the girls to marry well (as well as the source of her insufferable nerves!). When I began writing this variation (which was about 8 years ago!), I wondered if there were any others out there with this premise. I discovered that Abigail Reynolds was writing one with a similar plot, but hers takes a completely different turn, and the two of us even talked about the fact that the books were similar in that Mr. Bennet has died and Elizabeth has become a governess.

When I said I began it 8 years ago, I actually set it aside because I wasn’t sure where I wanted to go with it. I had an inspiration for another story, wrote it, and then finally went back to finish it. I knew I wanted the family Elizabeth worked for to know Mr. Darcy and for her to suddenly begin hearing about him. I wanted Elizabeth to struggle with the ill feelings and prejudices she had toward him and the way in which she was beginning to see him, all the while knowing her station in life would not allow for him to renew his address.

Once I went back to finally finish the story, I have to admit I wasn’t sure how everything was going to play out. There were a couple directions I initially thought I would take, but as I got into the novel and developed some of the other characters, I realized I needed to do something different. Sometimes I’ve scratched large sections because they just don’t work. (Or save them to use in another story.)

I do have an idea where I am going in the story, but I don’t plot it out completely or make an outline. Sometimes I’ll write a later scene if it comes to me and I don’t want to lose it. And yes, sometimes the characters just take over and refuse to go somewhere and insist on going somewhere else!

LAN: You have also introduced new characters in your story. Can you tell us a bit about them? Do you have a favorite that you really enjoyed creating? How did Austen influence your choices in developing them?

KL: I do have a handful of new characters in this book. There are Mr. and Mrs. Willstone and their daughter Emily. Elizabeth is Emily’s governess and is very happy in her position. The Willstones treat her well and little Emily is a joy to work with. Mrs. Willstone’s sister, Rosalyn, is about Elizabeth’s age and when she comes for a visit, she and Elizabeth enjoy spending time together. To Elizabeth’s dismay, she comes to discover that Rosalyn has admired Mr. Darcy for a long time, and when they find out that Elizabeth spent time with him in Hertfordshire, Rosalyn cannot stop pressing her with information about him. She will talk of nothing and no one else, and Elizabeth fears that somehow she and her family might discover that her made her and offer of marriage and she refused it.

When they are invited to Pemberley for a couple weeks, we meet a few other new characters. Mr. Darcy’s cousin on his father’s side, Peter Hamilton, adds a little mischief and levity to the party. You will also meet the Goldsmiths, their children, and their governess. Mr. Goldsmith was a friend of Mr. Darcy’s from Oxford.

I think my favorite new character was Peter Hamilton. Although he is a little rough around the edges, he is kind-hearted.

In developing these characters, I tried to create ones that would interact well with and possibly cause a little tension and fun for the characters Austen created that we have come to dearly love.

LAN: What’s up next for you Kara? Are you working on a new project?

KL: I had really hoped to have a good answer for this question by the time my blog tour began, but I have not yet heard if Sourcebooks is going to publish any of my other self-published books. They have the option to pick them up, and I heard from my editor today that they are now planning the Spring 2012 release of books. I hope they will decide to pick up Assumed Engagement.

As for other projects, I have written one full chapter of a book based on another Jane Austen novel, more of a back story, but haven’t really had that lightning bolt of inspiration that will propel me to get writing. I have a general plot idea, a twist at the end, but not sure where the middle is going. Hopefully that will come together soon.

LAN: Now for a bit of fun. If you could be introduced to any of Jane Austen’s colorful heroes or villains, who would it be, and what penetrating question would you ask them?

KL: Of course I would love to meet the ‘real’ Mr. Darcy. I would really like to see if he lives up to all our expectations of him! I might ask him what he thought of all the literature being written about him 200 years after he was ‘born’ in the mind of Jane Austen.

Thanks again so much for allowing me this visit. It’s been fun!


Author Kara LouiseKara Louise is the author of several books based on Jane Austen’s novel, Pride and Prejudice. Darcy’s Voyage (2010) and Only Mr. Darcy Will Do (2011) were published by Sourcebooks and previously self-published as Pemberley’s Promise and Something Like Regret, respectively. Kara grew up in the San Fernando Valley, just north of Los Angeles, and moved to Kansas in 1991. She and her husband currently live in the country on 10 acres and are entertained by a dog, 6 cats, 3 horses, and 2 goats. Inspired by Jane Austen, in 2000 she began writing “what happened next” and “what if” stories based on her novel Pride and Prejudice. She has since written 6 novels inspired by the Austen classic, and may not be finished yet.


  • Only Mr. Darcy Will Do, by Kara Louise
  • Sourcebooks (March 1, 2011)
  • Trade paperback & eBook (368) pages
  • ISBN: 978-1402241031
  • Genre: Austenesque, Historical Romance 


Cover image, author interview, & author bio courtesy of Sourcebooks © 2011; text Laurel Ann Nattress © 2011,

52 thoughts on “Chatting with Kara Louise, Author of Only Mr. Darcy Will Do

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  1. I tried to stay away for all Jane Austen sequels or variations for a long while. Then I caved in and now I can’t stop. I love all of her characters and it’s a way to revisit them.

    It would be nice to see some adventures with Capt. Wentworth and Anne. Maybe even something with Eward and Elinor Ferrars.


  2. I would love to be entered in your contact. I would love to see the continuation of Eleanor and Maryanne (S&S). I would also love to see how the Bennett’s met — their “love story” before it turned into a not so happy marriage.

    I would also love to hear of Georgianna’s (Darcy’s sister’s) story – her falling in love and marriage.


  3. I too enjoyed Peter Hamilton! He was my favorite new character in Only Mr. Darcy Will Do! I have read Lydia Bennet’s Story, but I would love to see Mr. Wickham’s view/take on his marriage.


  4. I love Kara’s variations of P&P. I read this one under it’s original title and must say it is probably my favorite. Although I would, of course, like to see another P&P variation, I would also like to see what she might do with persuasion. After all, it is a shame that Anne and Her Captain had to wait seven years for a second chance!


  5. I like seeing how things could be different if something was changed! I’m waiting for someone to write my story idea – Lady Catherine doesn’t know that Sir Lewis’ first wife was _____ No, I can’t give away that secret here!


  6. While I’ve only read Pride and Prejudice variations, but what I love about them is getting to read different takes on the comming together of my all time favorite couple– Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth. Thank you, and keep writing! :-)


  7. I love reading variations of Pride and Prejudice and this one looks like a really good one! I loved hearing about the book from the author herself! So fun and interesting!


  8. Thanks to you all for taking the time to comment. My 2nd favorite novel of Jane Austen’s is Persuasion, and it would be fun to write a variation to that story. I can’t recall if there are any that have been published. I’ll have to think on that!


  9. Enjoyed hearing about some of your publishing experiences, Kara. I admit I haven’t read many sequels/variations. If I didn’t write Austenesque myself, I would be all over them. But as it is, I want to avoid being influenced too much by anyone elses ideas or style. For the same reason, I’m sure you’ll understand if I keep my thoughts about what would make a good story to myself!


  10. I’m just very interested to read the many variations of what people think would happen next in the saga of Darcy and Elizabeth – or any of Jane Austen’s other characters. And since I never wanted the story to end, this kind of fulfills that need.


  11. I’m fascinated by Elizabeth’s serving as a governess.
    And, I’d love a novel based on the characters and the situation in Persuasion.
    Thanks for the giveaway.


  12. I loved this story! Just enough angst to keep you turning pages. I think you successfully kept the essense of JA’s characters while taking them through a different scenario. As always your writing made me LOL at times and sigh in all the right places!


  13. This sounds fascinating. I once wrote a thesis paper about “The Watsons” and in it, I posited how different the outcome of “Pride and Prejudice” would be if Mr Bennet died and the family was turned out of Longbourn. And I love the idea of Elizabeth having to becoming a governess. I look forward to reading this one.


  14. I love reading the variations on P&P which is my favorite JA novel. It’s fun to see how each author takes the characters in different directions. The authors have so many characters to develop. Miss Bates in Sense & Sensibility is one I’d like to know more about. Or I’d love to read the “back story” on Mr & Mrs Bennett, as one commenter said. What a hoot that could be. Thanks for a great interview.


  15. Nice interview! I love to read about Darcy and Elizabeth! They are like old friends and when I read a variation or a what if story it’s like going on another adventure with them!!

    Oh, and Kara, Persuasion is also my second favorite Jane Austen story.


  16. Nice interview! I love to read about Darcy and Elizabeth! They are like old friends and when I read a variation or a what if story it’s like going on another adventure with them!!

    Oh, and Kara, Persuasion is also my second favorite Jane Austen story.

    I tried to post this once but it wouldn’t let me…hopefully it doesn’t show up twice!


  17. I enjoy reading P & P variations because I am so familiar with the story. It is nice to see the similarities and differences. I usually am not as impressed with the modern day interpretations because it is that time period that I truly love, but I see it’s worth in bringing the classic story to a younger audience. I have not yet read the “monster” type…maybe my son will. lol


  18. Of course, imagining Elizabeth becoming a governess is very intriguing but I’m also curious to know what happens to her sisters (after and because of Mr Bennet’s death). I look forward to read this new book and thanks for a very interesting interview.


  19. I would like the author to w3rite a what if on Mansfield Park

    Mansfield Park could be what if edward still persued Mary or Fanny never going back to mansfield with her sister.

    I think it would be interesting to read about this topic. I always like Mnasfield Park


  20. The direction Kara takes with her P&P sequels are not only creative, but give us faithful Austen fans the reassurance that the story of P&P will never end. With not only the introduction of new characters, Kara will take her readers on the journey of an unexpected and undiscovered path. Kara intrigues us by teasing that her new characters will “cause a little tension and fun”. What Austen novel or sequel would be complete without that wicked combination?


  21. What most intrigues me about Austen fan fictions and variations is the fresh perspective that is often provided. For instance, I love seeing more of the story from the point of view of a different character. A really well-written fan fic or variation brings a little bit of Jane Austen to life again.


  22. I used to stay away from all variation novels, especially those focused on the work of Jane Austen. She is one of my favorite authors, and I was worried that variations on her novels would leave me disappointed. I’m reading my first variation novel centered on Mr. Darcy (An Assembly Such as This by Pamela Aidan), and I’m really enjoying it!

    The thing that intrigues me most about reading a Jane Austen sequel variation is that it allows me to see how other people interpret her characters and their motivations. In the novel I’m reading now, it’s interesting to see what motivates Mr. Darcy according to the author.


  23. i must admit that JAvariation books aren’t tops on my list, but when i do read one from time to time, i fall in love with them a little bit more each time!! does that make sense???

    i try not to overwhelm myself with reading too many in succession; i read one after every 5-7 books…………

    i must admit also that i haven’t read all of JaneAusten’s books, as i prefer the variations……i feel it has to do w/JaneAusten’s writing, but no fault to her, she wrote the way her era spoke……& i can’t wrap my head around it…….but when i read the variations, i SOOOOO get it (sorry for sounding so teeny-bopperish!!!)……..

    so Kara, i just want to wish you MANY congratulations & GoodLuck on your latest book & your FUTURE writings!!!!!



  24. I am new to Kara’s books. I picked up Darcy’s Voyage at a book signing she participated in and I absolutely adore it. I would love to read a book about Mary finding her true love. Or one where Miss Bingley is reformed by love herself. I liked to read these variations because I feel like there is so much more story to tell with these characters. What happened next? What would have happened if…? What was Charles (or Charlotte or Mary) thinking during all this? It’s wonderful fun!


  25. I am always intrigued by Austen variations, because they are willing to explore what happens in real life — one decision can change the course of one’s personal history, as well as of those around one. Especially with Pride & Prejudice, it is always interesting to explore what would happen to the Bennet daughters if they were unable to marry before their father passed away. My biggest question in all this has always been: How would the Collinses moving into Longbourn affect Elizabeth’s friendship with Charlotte? I can’t wait to read Only Mr. Darcy Will Do.


  26. Great Q&A Laurel Ann! I’m always intrigued by the depth new writers bring to Jane’s characters. I especially love seeing how they interpret Elizabeth and Darcy, who naturally are my favorite couple.


  27. I’m thrilled by the response here – you all have such great ideas! Good luck to each of you on the book giveaways!


  28. I enjoy having more of the wonderful stories of Jane Austen through these variations and continuations.
    It would be wonderful to also see some variations of Sense and Sensibility. Another wonderful story, let’s see what happens when we tweak the story line.
    Thanks for putting my name in the hat for a chance to win one of the books by Ms. Louise.


  29. I would like to receive a copy of this book because I think the author has found a creative way to address what would have happened to the Bennet family if all had not gone so well as portrayed in the original book. I am also a big fan of Jane Eyre and understand the plight of the marginalized, educated woman very well, so I think seeing Elizabeth Bennet in this role will be very gratifying.

    Thank you!


  30. I would absolutely love a copy of this novel! Pride and Prejudice is one my most favorite novels and it would be wonderful to find out what could have happened in a different scenario.

    Thank you for giving us more to enjoy about characters that are so very dear to all of us!


  31. I like Austen sequels because it is a different take on a classic and I want to relive time with those characters. I always look for Austen sequels which have a fresh twist. A little something new. :)

    Only Mr Darcy Will do sounds like it has a fresh twist.


  32. I guess what most intrigues me about reading a sequel variation is the great ‘what if’ aspect to it. What if Mr. Bennet had died before Lizzy and Darcy got together? The ‘what if’ adds another whole level to the stories that we all know and love.
    I would really love to see anything written about Anne Elliot and Cpt. Wentworth from Persuasion. Sense and Sensibility is an intriguing choice as well. :)


  33. I love Darcy’s Voyage, so I’m thrilled Kara has a new book out. I believe variations are the hardest kind of Austenesque novel to do well. With an alternate universe story (such as Pemberley Ranch), you have leeway to change quite a bit as long as the essential nature of the characters remains the same. Sequels give you the opposite safety net–you are continuing from an established story that everyone is familiar with.

    Variations fall somewhere in between. You can make changes, but they have to be ones you can explain. This is especially true of the first change, the point where you deviate from the original plot. Kara really excels in finding a point of departure that makes sense, and then following through on the ramifications that change has for the characters.


  34. What amazes me the most is the fluidity with which Kara weaves the new characters into the greatest novel written in the English language.

    No small feat and most appreciated. Love to see Kara address Persuasion in such a way. Now that would be the icing on the Austen teacake!


  35. I think her plan to do a back story is an excellent one! There are so many lovely possibilities, and I couldn’t possibly ever have enough.

    Best wishes on up-and-coming books.


  36. I love Austen’s work, and all it took was one well written novel to convince me to read Austen inspired works. (: I’m always looking for a good book to read, and those reading Austen generally have good taste!


  37. What a great interview, Erin :) I didn’t know about this book. Happy to “meet” you, Kara :) I’m definitely going to order your book, and that will definitely make me have no choice, but to take my hand once again at Pride and Prejudice :) I gave up last time lol

    Denise of Ingleside, PEI


  38. I am a 50+ mother of 3 who hadn’t read more than a handful of books since I graduated high school. I saw the 2005 version of Pride and Prejudice on tv and thought there has to be more. So I actually bought the book which totally shocked my family. I loved it and I was hooked. I bought the 1995 tv version and Jennifer and Colin played their parts wonderfully. In fact when ever I read the books, they are the ones I picture in my mind as the true Lizzy and Darcy. I first read all of the Jane Austen books and am lost to the P&P sequels, variations and continuations. I just can not get enough of them. In the last 15 months I have bought over 50 of the books and am excitedly waiting for my next order to arrive. I truly get in to the books when I read and actually crying at some parts and bursting out laughing with tears streaming down my face at others. And since I literally get in to the books, my husband has been enjoying them also (in a different way). Within a few chapters of a new book he is actually asking me “Is it a good book?!) And my son and his friends walk in from school and as the pass the family room, smile and say thinks like “Oh, Mr Darcy, Mr Darcy!) I am hopelessly loss to these books. I find I like the variations the best. When it is actually about Lizzy and Darcy and their families, more than the distant future sequels. But, I have not found any of these books that I have not liked and I will continue reading them all. Please keep writing them. I am amazed at the imaginations all of the wonderful writers have and I am proud to own all of these books, several of which I have read several times!
    Again, keep writing!!!


  39. I love revisiting Jane and her characters, but especially love when books provide insight into the men who are often secondary to the women for much of Jane’s stories.


  40. I think variations are wonderful because they really drive home how rich Austen’s worlds and characters are. It’s always interesting to see if someone’s interpretation matches yours, and it’s fun to consider different points of view too (and not just Mr. Darcy’s).

    My favorite book by Jane Austen is Persuasion. It would be nice to see a really creative variation!


  41. What intrigues me most about JAFF and especially P&P variations is the myriad of way the authors can write a story…using the characters and their personalities as Jane Austen wrote them and come up with such a different story or a different way of bringing Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet to a life together.

    I have read many of Kara Louise’s stories and have loved each one and some I have read many, many times. I read the preview when it was titled “Something Like Regret”…and I congratulate Kara Louise on what promises to be another excellent book!


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