Halloween season is upon us, and that includes paranormal novels arriving to get us in the mood for the spooky holiday. Please join us today in welcoming author Mary Simonsen on her blog tour in celebration of the release of Mr. Darcy’s Bite a new paranormal Pride and Prejudice-inspired story published on October 1, 2011, by Sourcebooks. Mary has kindly shared her insights into her inspiration and research for our readers.
Hi Laurel Ann. It’s always good to be back on Austenprose, but today is especially significant. Not only do I have a new release, Mr. Darcy’s Bite, but today is my birthday. It’s one of those big ones that end in a zero. I won’t say how old I am, but I’m reading Social Security brochures.
I thought I might begin by sharing an excerpt from the prologue of Mr. Darcy’s Bite: The story opens with fourteen-year-old Darcy being bitten by a wolf in the Black Forest:
William retreated, but from a distance, the wolf followed him. With his heart pounding in his chest, he finally reached the road and could see the men working on the carriage. Before going in search of his father, he took one last look down the road and saw the wolf standing in plain view. Because of the full moon, the road was lit up as if it were daytime, leaving the female lupine completely exposed. Without thinking, William waved to her, and it was only then that she returned to the woods. The only conclusion he could draw was that she had wanted to make sure he was safe. But what kind of wolf did that?
You asked me to write about my inspiration for penning a werewolf novel. I had two motivations. The first was that I wanted to write a short story for Halloween for a fanfiction site where I posted most of my stories, and it was appropriately titled “Mr. Darcy on the Eve of All Saints Day.” But the response was so great that I just kept writing. Before I knew it, my short story had become a full-length novel. It shows what a little encouragement can do.
My second motivation was to respond to another Darcy werewolf story. Although I applauded the author for creating a dark atmosphere, her Darcy and Elizabeth were not mine. In the first place, Darcy did not tell Elizabeth he was a werewolf before marrying her, and because of the threat of exposure, he had separated his bride from her family by bringing Elizabeth to a castle far, far away from Longbourn. In my mind, Darcy would not have done either of those things. So with a sword (actually computer) in hand, I set about righting the wrong.
I did do some research for Mr. Darcy’s Bite, but after reading grisly stories about werewolves eating human flesh, I decided to go with my own concept of a werewolf. Most importantly, it was my goal to have Darcy remain true to the person Jane Austen had created. As such, Darcy’s honesty demanded that he inform Elizabeth of his other nature before they marry. At first, Elizabeth is horrified that the man she has fallen in love with howls at the moon and stalks deer, but her love is so strong she willingly agrees to share her life with a man who will leave her for two days during every full moon to become a part of the animal world.
Of course, there are difficulties—a she-wolf within the community who has her eye on Darcy—and external threats. From the time when men told stories in caves, wolves have been the enemy. Because of their bad (and undeserved) reputation, the usual reaction to a population finding a wolf in their midst is to “kill the beast.” As a result, Darcy and Elizabeth must always be on their guard.
Despite the fur, fangs, and four legs, Mr. Darcy’s Bite is a love story. Adjustments are required, but what’s a little fur among friends?
Thanks again for having me at Austenprose.
Mary Lydon Simonsen’s novels, Searching for Pemberley and The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy, were acclaimed by Publishers Weekly, RT Book Reviews, and Booklist. In her novels, the romance between Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet is told with a light touch and a sense of humor and presented as a battle of wits between two equals. She is well-loved and widely followed on all the Jane Austen fan fiction sites with tens of thousands of hits and hundreds of reviews whenever she posts. She has also self-published a parody of Persuasion, Anne Elliot, A New Beginning, two Austen novellas, Mr. Darcy’s Angel of Mercy and For All the Wrong Reasons, and a modern romance, The Second Date, Love Italian-American Style. Mary lives in Peoria, Arizona. Visit Mary at her blog, on Facebook and as @bibliofilly on Twitter.
Giveaway of Mr. Darcy’s Bite
Enter a chance to win one of three copies of Mr. Darcy’s Bite by leaving a comment answering what intrigues you most about reading a paranormal version of Pride and Prejudice, or what characters or novels you would like to see Mary write about next, by midnight PT, Wednesday, October 19, 2011. Winner announced on Thursday, October 20, 2011. Shipment to US and Canadian addresses only. Good luck!
Mr. Darcy’s Bite, by Mary Simonsen
Trade paperback (336) pages
© 2007 – 2011 Mary Simonsen, Austenprose