What Would Mr. Darcy Do? Blog Tour: Chatting with Author Abigail Reynolds & a Giveaway!

What Would Mr. Darcy Do, by Abigail Reynolds (2011)Please join us today in welcoming Austenesque author Abigail Reynolds for the official launch of her blog tour of What Would Mr. Darcy Do, a new Pride and Prejudice variation that was released on April 1, 2011, by Sourcebooks.

LAN: Hi Abigail. It is such a pleasure to have this opportunity to chat with you today about your new book, What Would Mr. Darcy Do? Previously self-published as From Lambton to Longbourn, this novel is your fifth Pride and Prejudice variation to be re-issued by Sourcebooks. Could you share with readers the premise of the book, and how you were inspired to write it? Are there any changes from the original publication?

AR: I started with one of Darcy and Elizabeth’s classic misunderstandings, when they part at the Lambton Inn, Elizabeth thinking that Darcy will despise her now and Darcy believing that Elizabeth understands his love for her.  That scene always makes me want to lock them up together until they talk instead of trying to read each other’s mind.  I didn’t lock them up physically, but I did make them use their words, as we tell quarreling preschoolers.  I’ve added a new scene at the beginning, but most of the book is the same as the original publication.  Sourcebooks outdid themselves with the cover – it’s beautiful.LAN:  Besides altering the course of Austen’s original plot and placing her characters in new situations, this book has some really clever, funny, letter exchanges – particularly between Elizabeth and Georgiana. Can you share your impressions of Austen’s effective use of letters in her own novels, and how you used it to our advantage in What Would Mr. Darcy Do?

AR: As you know, Austen originally wrote Pride & Prejudice as an epistolary novel called First Impressions.  The strengths of the form still come through in the letters that remain in the final version.  Austen often uses letters when she has important and complicated information to impart, which makes sense given that the reserve typical of the Regency made it difficult for people to talk openly.  She also does an amazing job of conveying the character’s voice in their letters.  In the letters I wrote, I tried to catch Elizabeth’s wit, Georgiana’s shyness, Darcy’s intensity, and Mr. Gardiner’s sly sense of humor.  The letters were particularly helpful in building the relationship between Georgiana and Elizabeth.

LAN: With the re-issue of this novel, I noticed that you placed Mr. Darcy in your new title. His name not only commands the attention of Janeites, but scholars and pleasure readers alike. What is it about this haughty, endearingly flawed personality that fascinates us so? How did you approach writing his character in the novel, and did you have any revelations to share with your readers?

AR: Much as I love Mr. Darcy, it’s actually my editor at Sourcebooks who is responsible for his name appearing in all my titles.  She thinks it’s important for marketing.  What fascinates me about Darcy is how profoundly he changes in the course of the novel.  It’s rare to find someone who is willing to listen to criticism and reassess their lives.  In writing this book, I was struck by how often Darcy believes Elizabeth can read his mind, even after multiple misunderstandings.  It’s only at the very end of P&P that he learns to tell her what he feels.

LAN: You were one of the first Austenesque writers to specialize in Pride and Prejudice variations, a sub-genre within the Austen sequels. Since 2001 you have written seven novels inspired by Elizabeth and Darcy’s love story and are presently working on the eighth. It must be incredibly challenging to be fresh and innovative after traveling the same path for many years. How do you rev yourself up for the writing process? Do you have a favorite room to write in, a cherished movie to pop into the DVD player, or a lucky charm to inspire you?

AR: After five books, I felt as if I’d reached the end of my ability to make my P&P variations unique, so I took a break and went over to writing moderns.  Learning to write a different type of novel ended up giving me ideas for creating fresh variations as well, but I’m still slower at it than I was at first.  I have an unusual ritual for creating the mood for writing Regency.  I search out photos of English stately homes and formal gardens and turn them into virtual jigsaw puzzles.  Putting the puzzles together forces me to notice detail I’d otherwise miss, and by the time I’m done, I’m usually well into my characters’ mindset.

LAN: As we know from Jane Austen’s own experience, the road to publication can be long and trying. You first chose to self-publish, and then to re-issue with a commercial publisher. You have been very supportive of new authors seeking publication. What advice can you offer an unpublished author in this rapidly changing market?

AR: In a word, self-publish.  Your book will be available much faster, you’ll have more control over it, and you’ll make more money.  But please, please, please proofread carefully, then make everyone you know proofread it as well before you sell it!  Typos and errors make books seem amateur and make readers less likely to trust other self-published books.

LAN: What’s up next for Abigail Reynolds? Could we tempt you to write a variation of Persuasion or Sense and Sensibility? Or, better yet, Mansfield Park? Being Jane Austen’s dark horse, there are many roads not yet traveled that might end far more favorably for Fanny Price and Mary Crawford. Seriously, if you could write about anything you chose, what would be your heart’s desire?

AR: I’d love to write a Persuasion variation!

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?

AR: I’ve always wanted to ask Darcy what he felt about Elizabeth in the time between Netherfield and Rosings, and what he thought when he saw her again for the first time.

Thanks for inviting me!  It’s been a pleasure.


Abigail Reynolds is a lifelong Jane Austen enthusiast and a physician. Originally from upstate New York, she studied Russian, theater, and marine biology at Bryn Mawr College before deciding to attend medical school. She began writing Pride and Prejudice variations in 2001 to spend more time with her favorite characters. Her most recent releases are What Would Mr. Darcy Do? and an anthology of Pride and Prejudice stories, A Pemberley Medley.  Abigail is a lifetime member of the Jane Austen Society of North America and lives in Wisconsin with her husband, two children, and a menagerie of wild animals masquerading as pets.  Her hobbies include beading, reading, and finding time to sleep. Website: Pemberley Variations; Blog: Austen Authors; Facebook: Abigail Reynolds and at Twitter: @AbigailReynolds


Enter a chance to win one of three copies of What Would Mr. Darcy Do?, by leaving a comment answering what intrigues you most about reading a Pride and Prejudice variation, or which of Austen’s novels you would like to see Abigail write about next, by midnight PT, Wednesday, April 13, 2011. Winner announced on Thursday, April 14, 2010. Shipment to US and Canadian addresses only. Good luck!

© 2007 – 2011 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

30 thoughts on “What Would Mr. Darcy Do? Blog Tour: Chatting with Author Abigail Reynolds & a Giveaway!

Add yours

  1. What intrigues me most about a re-telling or variations of “Pride & Prejudice” is how authors can take parts of the novel, or a few characters, and focus entirely on that aspect of “Pride & Prejudice” and further elaborate on it. Instead of having to juggle all the stories, and story-lines, we get a more comprehensive look into the life of one couple, or a few characters – which makes you feel akin to the characters, brings you closer to them. Also, the different perspectives on the inner machinations of each character are always refreshing and a welcome change. It makes all the characters so much more dynamic and multi-faceted.

    Thank you much for sharing this wonderful book with us, for this revealing interview, and this splendid giveaway opportunity.

    Email: Enamoredsoul(at)gmail(dot)com
    Twitter: @inluvwithbookz


  2. What intrigues me most about variations is the chance to see all of the “what-ifs.” Each author that takes on a variation of Pride and Prejudice can show us what could have happened if Elizabeth had originally accepted or what could have happened if she refused Darcy’s second proposal. There are so many possibilities and each one provides not only a fresh perspective, but also insures that interest in Jane Austen’s work lives on.


  3. The intriquing thing about Pride and Prejudice variations is the ability to see all the possibilities of Darcy and Elizabeth’s story. I’d love to read her variations on Sense and Sensibility.


  4. At first, I didn’t want to read any “what if’s” but Ms Reynolds were so imaginative I was hooked.
    I do agree with her that Persuasion would be a fun variation but I think I would vote for a Mansfield Park variation first.


  5. I vote for Sense & Sensibility. It would sell well because it is one of the more popular Austin books. I’d love to see Edward and Elinor lives more fleshed out. Margaret is another character that could stand more importance in a book.


  6. What intrigues me is that Abigail will fix some of the misunderstandings that Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy hard–sometimes I just wanted to shake them! :) I would also love to see a book about Northanger Abbey (one of my favorites that no one ever writes about!


  7. What I like the most is that she adds some humor (not that there was a lack in the original), and that I can revisit the wonderful world of Jane Austen (and P and P).


  8. I’m always interested to see how others would envision the love story of Darcy and Elizabeth continuing. It’s amazing how many different variations there are!


  9. I appreciate why P&P would inspire so many variations and sequels — it’s my favorite. And I also can see why fans of such genres would like to see variants or sequels of “Mansfield Park” and “Persuasion.” I wonder why no one mentions “Emma” — it’s been successfully modernized (the film “Clueless”), but I would enjoy a variations approach to it in its own period. Maybe its comedic perfection discourages attempts at variants?


  10. I love the Pemberley Variations for their creativity. I never know quite where they will go next or what will happen to two of my favorite literary characters. I think it would be interesting if Ms. Reynolds tried a Persuasion variation, too. :)


  11. I’ve never read a Pride and Prejudice variation. This one sounds pretty interesting though. I’m particularly curious about the letters written between Elizabeth and Georgiana.

    I would like to read a Persuasion or Emma variation, if Abigail Reynolds decided to write one.


  12. What intrigues me about Austen Variations is that very principle of “what if…” My sister and I have had long conversations discussing such possibilities.


  13. In variations I love seeing what my favourite characters will do next! I also like knowing that they are going to have a good ending!


  14. First, I just have to say how much I love your books, Abigail! I’m actually right in the middle of reading Mr. Darcy’s Obsession, and absolutely adoring it!
    What I love about Pride and Prejudice variations is the fact that I get to visit these characters again and again, but always in different situations :-)


  15. I would definitely love to read something about Persuasion. It seems to be such a neglected title and I love it so. More Wentworth, I say ;)

    raoreviews (at) gmail (dot) com


  16. Congratulations on the publication of What Would Mr. Darcy Do! I am also very excited to see that you have (at least partially) rejoined the ranks of self-publishing. It is an exciting time to be in the publishing industry and to be a reader too. I do not regret my decision to self-publish, and I’m sure you won’t either.

    Please don’t enter me for the giveaway. I just wanted to come say hi.

    Jennifer Becton


  17. Well, I disagree with the editor at Sourcebooks, much as I also love Mr. Darcy, I think we might be able to handle a title without the words Darcy or Pemberley in it. But that could just be me!

    I would love to see more Persuasion adaptations out there!

    Thanks for the chance!


  18. I love Ms. Reynold’s variations on P & P because Jane Austen did such a terrific job of writing them that I couldn’t help fall in love with them and the possibilities of their courtship. It didn’t hurt matters that my intro to JA was Colin Firth as Darcy! I think if he got a cut of every fanfiction author who was furthering the Darcy character, he’d have a nice bundle. I know that I’m always picturing him when interacting with Elizabeth! I have read all of Ms. Reynold’s variations because I found them on amazon.com and just had to have more of Darcy and Elizabeth.


  19. Thanks for all the great comments! It’s interesting to hear what you enjoy about variations, since it’s very similar to why I enjoy writing them. I love putting the characters in different situations and seeing what happens.

    My problem with an Emma variation is that when I’m writing, I spend an extraordinary amount of time in my mind with the characters, and Emma gets on my nerves even in short doses. If JA hadn’t done such a great job of making her irritating, I’d probably be more inclined to write about Emma! I’d have to agree that it’s one of the easiest to modernize. I’ve already discovered that Persuasion is almost impossible to modernize without either bending the characters or changing bits of plots.

    Thanks for your interest!


  20. i am just in awe of those who can be so creative & inventive w/the tiniest bit of inspiration!!!!
    i’m such a straight-laced, by-the-book person, that i can’t imagine coloring outside of the line!!!!

    congrats to Abigail & many many blessings of luck to you!!!

    thank you for the giveaway!!!



  21. I love the Pride and Prejudice variations because I love to know more about what Darcy is thinking and feeling! I would love to read a variation novel based on Emma! Emma and Mr. Knightley are two of my favorite Austen characters!!


  22. Ever since reading The Guernsey Literary…Society, I’ve been fascinated by the use of letters within a novel to move the plot along. This novel sounds so attractive. Thanks for the giveaway.


  23. Not sure if I replied before so I apologize in advance if I had

    I love reading Pride and Prejudice variations since it gives me a new take and perspective of the story through a different character’s eyes, whether original or not . Same thing goes for any books. I also like having an idea and story that takes place after a novel ends by someone else, depending if they are true to the original author’s way of storytelling or not. It
    ‘s nice to know what happened , or could happen , after the end of a novel.

    Wonderful blog post!


  24. I’ve fallen in love with Abigail Reynold’s P&P variations, and I can’t wait to read this one. I’ve read lots -and I do mean LOTS – of P&P related books, and Ms. Reynolds is one of the few authors who really seems to write Lizzie and Darcy the way that I feel Austen wrote then, and the way I have always seen them. Its so much fun to get back into their story, each way slightly different, and yet, they always remain true to the original characters and story.


  25. Congratulations on the release of the new book! I’m really looking forward to reading it, and I LOVE the variations on Darcy & Elizabeth and am always wondering what they’re going to do next! :) I would also like to see variations on Sense & Sensibility and Persuasion… Northanger Abbey would be another great one for a variation.


  26. Love the new book! The best thing I love about the P&P variations is the what if’s that I didn’t think about but that at the same time it is still the Lizzy & Darcy that we love. I would love a Persuasion variation next or even a Sense & Sensibility.


  27. What I mostly like about P&P variations is that they give us more of E & D, of what they think, and of what they _could_ do to express their feelings to one another… but what I’m most surprised about these variations is that they always succeed in keeping me interested and passionate about E & D’s story with original twists and new intrigues. I never get tired of it! And Persuasion would surely be my choice also for a future variation…


  28. The variations are fun to read to see what other possibilites are out there for our Lizzy and Darcy. I do like it when we get the chance to learn more of what Mr. Darcy is thinking and feeling.

    I do like Ms. Reynolds variations because they are wonderful reads even if “Darcy and Lizzy” were not the characters. The novels are wonderful Regency stories in their own right.

    Other variations? Hmmm, maybe something with Col. Brandon.

    Thanks for the interview and giveaway!


  29. Why am I compulsively pulled to variation after variation? It is that desire for comfort, for a break from the everyday, that feeling of visiting old friends and the opportunity to see what else I can discover about them or their world. Reading a good Austen variation is like being wrapped in a warm blanket, in front of a fire, and letting the comfortable warmth sink into your bones.


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