A Weekend with Mr. Darcy Blog Tour with Author Victoria Connelly

A Weekend with Mr. Darcy, by Victoria Connelly (2011)Please join us today in welcoming Austenesque author Victoria Connelly for the official launch of her book blog tour of A Weekend with Mr. Darcy a new Pride and Prejudice-inspired contemporary novel that was released on July 1, 2011, by Sourcebooks.

Inspiration for my books can come from anywhere.  It always amazes me what can get the imagination going.  My first book published in the UK, Molly’s Millions, was inspired by junk mail – a very unlikely beginning for a romantic comedy!

But it was when I was visiting Chawton in Hampshire that I seriously began thinking about writing about Jane Austen fans.  I’d visited Lyme Regis – the gorgeous setting for Persuasion, and Bath which was also used in Persuasion as well as Northanger Abbey.  I kept thinking about these three very different and beautiful settings and soon came up with the idea for a trilogy about Jane Austen addicts – each book set in a different Austen location.

The first book, A Weekend with Mr. Darcy, is set in Hampshire at a Jane Austen conference and I knew I wanted a grand Georgian manor house to have the starring role.  I’d pictured Newby Hall in North Yorkshire as my ideal house.  It had starred as Mansfield Park in the recent TV adaptation, but Yorkshire was a bit too far away for a research trip and so started an Internet search and discovered a gorgeous Georgian manor called Ardington House in the depths of the Oxfordshire countryside.  It was the perfect Purley Hall for my book with is sweep of driveway, its great cedar tree, and its pretty gardens leading down to the river.

Visiting locations for a book is a pleasure and a privilege.  Not only is it nice to get away from the desk once in a while but it’s vital if you want to make a place come alive and help readers really visualize it.

So, I went back to Chawton because I knew I was going to have a couple of chapters set there.  I also visited the nearby hamlet of Steventon and sat in the little church where Jane Austen would once have sat and where my own heroine, Robyn, sits, contemplating heroes.

I also visited Winchester.  I wanted to end the book at Jane Austen’s resting place and managed to visit it on the very day when the scene is set – Jane Austen’s birthday on the 16th December.  The Christmas market was in full swing and there were ice-skaters in front of the cathedral and, inside, there was a giant Christmas tree covered in simple white lights.  I sat next to Jane Austen’s grave and quietly thought of the scene I wanted to set there.  It was a magical moment.

The second book in my Austen addicts trilogy is called Dreaming of Mr. Darcy (The Perfect Hero in the UK) and is set in Lyme Regis.  We were lucky enough to stay in Lyme for two separate weeks whilst I was writing the book – choosing an apartment in the heart of the town with the most incredible view of the Cobb.  I wanted to write as much of the book as possible in situ and spent a freezing afternoon on the beach at Charmouth where my heroine and hero, Kay and Adam, go fossil hunting.  My hands were so cold that I could barely hold my pen and yet I wrote a good amount for the scene I had in mind.  I also walked the length and breadth of Lyme Regis, really getting to know the place which is just as well because I’d written a scene in which my heroine looks out of her bed and breakfast on Marine Parade and the hero spots her from the Cobb and waves.  I quickly realized that he’d never ever see her from that distance and so revised my idea for the scene.

The third book in the series, Mr. Darcy Forever, is set during the Jane Austen Festival in Bath and I had the good fortune to spend a long weekend there – but more about that another time.

I feel very fortunate in my chosen profession.  Not only do I get to spend my days creating stories but I get to visit some truly inspiring and beautiful places.  Now, I really must think about setting a novel in the Seychelles one day …

Author Victoria Connelly (2011)About the author:

Victoria Connelly’s first novel was promoted in Germany to celebrate World Book Day and was adapted into a TV movie. Her second novel was published as a lead title in the UK and chosen as a “hot pick” in Closer magazine. Her new trilogy is her first foray into Jane Austen related fiction. Connelly lives in London with her artist husband, Springer spaniel and ex-battery chickens. Visit Victoria at her blog, on Facebook and as @VictoriaDarcy on Twitter.

Giveaway of  A Weekend with Mr. Darcy

Enter a chance to win one of three copies of A Weekend with Mr. Darcy by leaving a comment answering what intrigues you most about reading a Pride and Prejudice-inspired contemporary novel or what characters you would like to see Victoria write about next, by midnight PT, Wednesday, July 13, 2011. Winners to be announced on Thursday, July 14, 2011. Shipment to US and Canadian addresses only. Good luck!

A Weekend with Mr. Darcy, by Victoria Connelly
Sourcebooks (2011)
Trade paperback (352) pages
ISBN: 978-1402251320

2007 – 2011 Victoria Connelly, Austenprose

35 thoughts on “A Weekend with Mr. Darcy Blog Tour with Author Victoria Connelly

Add yours

  1. My mind is made up–I absolutely must move to England. How else can I research all the locations for my novels? I loved hearing how visiting the settings you used influenced your writing.

    And I thik that’s what intrigues me about reading a contemporary Austenesque novel. The locations haven’t changed–your characters will walk down the same streets as Catherine Morland or Anne Elliot. People haven’t really changed much either, even though social situations may be vastly different. Basing a contemporary novel on an historical or classic work gives you a chance to play with the old adage, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.”

    I can’t wait to read your trilogy, Victoria.


  2. I love seeing how characters that were created hundreds of years ago would react and live in our world today.


  3. Although I love Mr. Darcy, there are so many new novels which feature him. I would love to see some novels that concern Captain Wentworth.
    Thanks for the giveaway.


  4. I love seeing which occupations the author gives to Darcy and Elizabeth. Just like with any P&P variation, I love to see how the two get together and what obstacles they face and how they compare to obstacles in the original.


  5. I concur with Nancy! We visited England back in 1996 and loved it so much we almost “jumped ship.” This was unfortunately before I stumbled onto the wonderful world of Miss Austen because our itinerary would have been drastically altered. The magic isle has so much history, quaintness, uniqueness, beauty, and tradition. Your trilogy also sounds tantalizingly UNLIKE many other Austenesque knock-offs and that might be a good thing. I’m stressing because I can’t keep up with the flood of offerings here! Best wishes….


  6. After years of lurking, perhaps I am to be a regular now! I love all the new JA offerings–there’s always some new, unconsidered perspective. My favorite male character is Mr. Knightley–I just love him. But I also love Mr. Darcy, Col. Fitzwilliam, Capt. Wentworth…so I’m really not choosy!


  7. I can’t wait to read the book! I think that the modern day versions of P&P or modern stories that incorporate P&P themes is that you know it will end as it should but the twists and turns in the middle are the best part!


  8. deliteful Victoria! i too feel honoured to explore the treasured places of the UK, and feel sure that will definitely add to your trilogy! thanks for sharing & your giveaway generosity ! looking fwd to reading these “)
    i’d luv to read more about Cptn Wentworth and Anne Elliot…you wouldn’t mind a longer stay in Bath i’m sure “))


  9. I find it so interesting that Jane’s stories can be related to modern times. Things have certainly changed however a girl is still a girl, a boy is still a boy and love is still love then or now.



  10. Hello everyone – lovely to hear your thoughts!

    Nancy – give us a shout if you ever make it to England – you’d adore Chawton.

    Linda – The second book in the trilogy features a handsome actor playing Captain Wentworth. He’s a favourite hero of mine too.


    1. I actually visited Chawton in March when I spent two weeks in England. The trip was half fun and half to aid my decision to move there. Everything I saw there and everything I’ve heard since has solidified that goal.

      For now, I have my own pilgrimage to guide my writing. Even a two week stay gave me so much insight into the various settings. I can’t wait till I can visit at leisure.


  11. One of my favorite bits about modern adaptations is what careers the characters have. I also like that there is less social etiquite at times and the speech can be more direct. Thanks for the giveaway. Looking forward to reading this new story.


  12. I love reading contemporary novels because it shows modern women finding their own mr. darcy and being in Jane Autens places


  13. Victoria, you are very lucky to live in the UK and visit all these Jane Austen sites. (The best thing about it is that you don’t have to get on an airplane!) I would like to see more stories on Anne Elliot and Captain Wentworth. After Mr. Darcy, he is my next favorite “guy” character, followed by Mr. Knightley. Your book sounds like a great read. Thanks for the giveaway, and the best of luck to you on your books!


  14. I love reading about these characters. I don’t think I could ever get enough!
    This book sounds fabulous!


  15. I’d like to see her write a what-if about Emma–it seems like she isn’t written about too much!


  16. I really like Jane Austen variations, and especially what-if ones. I think the thing I like most about modern-day variations is that it helps us rethink the cultural/romantic ideas that existed in Austen’s day.


  17. I love seeing how authors bring the characters into the 21st century and the problems they have in the present. It’s always interesting to see new ideas and thoughts about JA’s characters. I just don’t ever seem to get enough of them. I have read so many variations and they never get old.

    If I ever get to England I’d love to so see the places Jane lived and visited.


  18. I think it would be fun to see more of Edward Ferrars or Captain Wentworth. Even in a modern setting, these characters would be fun to see how they adapt and change to the 21st C.


  19. I *love* Pride & Prejudice, so I am always interested in seeing how the classic story translates into current, contemporary society :)

    And I definitely think Edward Ferrars and Henry Tilney need to be resurrected as 21st C heroes, hehe


  20. I am always looking for someone to write about Emma. She seems to be someone writers don’t like to take on, but I adore her! And I think Mr Knightley has some of the best lines Jane Austen wrote!!


  21. I have already read this lovely book (while stilling living in the UK) – so no need to put my name in the hat. But I do want to let everyone know what a delightful book this was!

    I am SO glad to hear that there are follow-on books. I would love to chance to ‘see’ Lyme-Regis, as that was one place I did not make it too! Thanks for letting me know about follow-ones…I will be waiting!


  22. I love modern retellings. It just goes to show how timeless the story of Pride and prejudice is. It’s as relevant today as it was in the 19th century when it was written


  23. How wonderful it must be to travel and enjoy what you do so much! I love modern Austen-Inspired novels because they are about characters who are similar to us, have the same issues, face the same dilemmas. Yes, Jane Austen’s characters are highly accessible and universal, but none of them are Austen Addicts like me! None of them feel like they were born in the wrong time period, they don’t long for living in Jane Austen’s time, because they already do! I love that you wrote a trilogy! Can’t have too much of a good thing!


  24. I enjoy contemporary, Austen inspired books because I believe Jane Austen’s stories truly reflect human nature, of any time period. Unfortunately, too many people today view relationships too casually. Austen’s romances had depth, and tenderness, that I think we want & need more of.


  25. I would love to read a book about a modern day Henry Tilney! This book sounds great & it will be going on my “books to buy” list.


  26. Henry Tilney would be a perfect metrosexual fun modern. But, Wentworth and Darcy are certainly the most intriguing men Austen wrote. So conflicted and mistaken, yet so loyal. That’s what makes them such wonderful characters.


  27. What intrigues me most about a P&P-inspired contemporary novel would have to be seeing the way Austen’s classic plot is adapted to suit a modern plot and sensibilities. Though her themes are definitely timeless, I love how modern authors morph characters into guys I feel like I could pass on the street . . . not that, you know, we’re ever likely to pass a Darcy without noticing. :)


  28. I want to read more about Edmund and Fanny and fanny’s relationship with her sister Susan. Or maybe more about Susan…


  29. What a lovely post! I’ve been waiting for this book to be published in America since I first heard about it. I’d be intrigued to see a modern take on Northanger Abbey. The lessons Catherine Morland learns are very relatable for today’s teens.


  30. I am impressed by your dedication to find the perfect setting for your books. It must be thrilling to visit the same locations that you have read about in books and to imagine the characters there.
    I would love to read a what-if about Emma.
    Thanks for the giveaway.


  31. These books sound delightful! I look forward to reading them. As far as what character I’d like to see written about next, I would probably have to pick Emma. I enjoyed reading about the visits to locations featured in the books. Wish I could do the same!


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