There are a lot of Mr. Darcy novels out there. Hundreds, in fact. Some are retellings of his side of Pride and Prejudice. Others continue his life at Pemberley after his marriage to Elizabeth Bennet, but, a new Mr. Darcy novel released today has an entirely new twist!
Please join us today in welcoming author Nina Benneton on the first stop in her blog tour in celebration of the release of her debut novel, Compulsively Mr. Darcy published this month by Sourcebooks. Nina has generously shared with us some insights on creating the novel, and offered a giveaway to three lucky readers.
I wish to thank Laurel Ann and Austenprose for inviting me to guest blog today. It’s an honor.
“There’s no one to touch Jane when you’re in a tight place.” – Rudyard Kipling, “The Janeites”
Reading and rereading Jane Austen’s works have gotten me out of a few “tight places” in my life.
To quote Lee Siegel in his article, A Writer Who is Good for You, (Atlantic Monthly, January 1998) “…few authors are at the same time so quietly fearsome and so intensely consoling.”
So quietly fearsome and so intensely consoling. That’s exactly how I experience Jane Austen’s works. As Siegel and the WWI soldiers in Kipling’s “The Janeites” did, I, too, have always found Austen’s writing soothing. Siegel’s words expressed better than I could my reason: “Austen’s sentences operate inwardly at once—they go into a quiet corner of the mind and out into the busy world.”
I love Austen’s stories for her characters. In particular, her secondary characters. Mrs. Norris in Mansfield Park, General Tilney in Northanger Abbey, Mr. Woodhouse in Emma, Mrs. Jennings in Sense and Sensibility, Sir Walter Elliot in Persuasion, and of course, Mrs. Bennet in Pride and Prejudice. For years, the quirks of Austen’s secondary characters held me captive as a faithful reader. Their foibles and follies appealed to a particular defect in my own personality: my tendency toward irreverence. Austen’s heroes/heroines protagonists and antagonists and their so-called romance were simply plot devices to showcase how funny Sir Walter Elliot, Mr. Woodhouse and Mrs. Jennings were.
At first, Austen’s novels were not romance novels for me. To really escape from tight places, and to get that heart palpitating, swooning, shivering read of a romance, I read genre romance novels. Novels that weren’t assigned by high school English teachers. Novels with covers of women with bosoms more bodacious than mine. Novels with covers of men with hair longer than mine.
Then, during a particular “tight place” period a few years ago, on a shelf in my library, I stumbled across Jane Austen sequel books.
Be still my heart.
I read. I palpitated. I swooned. I shivered.
I searched for more of these stories, on shelves and then online. My space was no longer tight. My mind was no longer quiet. My soul was pierced by the romance of Mr. Darcy and Miss Bennet.
Mr. Darcy’s cropped locks, a la Brutus, replaced Fabio’s mullet. Miss Bennet’s spencer, demure yet still saucy, replaced bodacious bosoms.
Inspired by these writers’ interpretations of Mr. Darcy and Miss Bennet’s romance, I dipped my nib into ink.
A modern interpretation of Mr. Darcy and Miss Bennet’s romance appealed to me. To take beloved, iconic characters and infuse my own irreverent contemporary interpretation, while staying true to the joyful spirit of Austen’s work: what audacious challenge! To go to town on secondary characters: what bliss!
A collision of coincidences gave birth to the beginning setting of Compulsively Mr. Darcy. I’d discovered the addictive nature of reading tabloids at the same time I discovered the addictive nature of Jane Austen sequels.
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie had just adopted a Vietnamese orphan. What must that been like for the locals to have these rich and famous people come to adopt one of their own?
That’s just like the Netherfield gang arriving in Hertfordshire. The comic potential of Bingley & Darcy and company coming to Vietnam to adopt a trendy Hollywood baby sparked my muse.
I had some familiarity with international adoption and had traveled to Asia and to Vietnam a few years earlier for a visit, I had emotional geography—memory of the cacophony of noises as soon as one left the airport, memory of the zany sight of people riding bikes carrying chickens and pigs, memory of the hilarious sight of a ninety-pounds cyclo driver taxiing an American tourist three sizes his weight through dust-filled streets. Emotional geography is essential for a writer because the setting is truly another character in any story. I decided to begin the story in Vietnam. The city of Da Nang replaced Hertfordshire as the setting. Netherfield became Net Thi Phen resort. Marble Mountains replaced the woods at Rosings.
How to interpret and develop the heroine? From repeated readings of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, what struck me about her Elizabeth Bennet was how quick-to-judge she was, how assured she was in her snap judgment of people. I knew I wanted to explore that aspect of her characterization.
But how to get her to Vietnam? What would she be doing there? She needed to be more than a tourist. She needed a local, an “expat.”
Write what you know.
I had a classmate, Lisa, who grew up in a nice suburb near Berkeley, California. Lisa went to Africa to work with orphans afflicted with AIDS, and I’ve always admired her for that. Before going to Africa, Lisa had never even traveled beyond the hundred-mile radius of Berkeley (the center of the world to us Berkeley gals!). Lisa was the smartest girl in the class, and the most innocent, tender-heart person I knew. She’s still there. Lisa is Elizabeth. It’s fitting. I had to use her as inspiration for my Dr. Elizabeth Bennet.
I didn’t have a specialty for Dr. Elizabeth Bennet until an obsessive-compulsive Mr. Darcy came fully fleshed to me one day. It was sheet-and-blanket laundry day at home, and it occurred to me that, if I were traveling, I wouldn’t have to wash the sheets. My mind jumped to how well and how often hotel sheets were actually washed, at home and abroad, whether at the Super 8 motel near my home or in the four-star resorts in Asia. From my repeated reading of Jane Austen’s Mr. Darcy, I had an impression of an alpha male who liked to be in control. I decided my hero Mr. Darcy would be control-freak who’d bring his own sheets to hotels.
If my Mr. Darcy was an OCD control-freak, then my Dr. Elizabeth Bennet had to be an infectious disease doctor who’s impulsive as heck to yin his yang.
And that was how Compulsively Mr. Darcy came to be written.
Author Bio: Nina Benneton was on her way to save the world and earn a Nobel Prize in something, anything, when her own Mr. Darcy and a bevy of beautiful children interrupted her plans. She woke up one day and saw she was too obsessive about alphabetizing her spices and searching for stray Barbie shoes. She turned to writing.
Her debut novel, Compulsively Mr. Darcy, earned a Best Book review from Long and Short Review, “Hands down…a must read for lovers and fans of classic romance.” Fresh Fiction Review called it a “tenderly written novel.” Publishers Weekly wrote, “Die-hard fans of everything Austen will enjoy this update of her classic tale.” Visit Nina at her website: Nina Benneton; Facebook: as Nina Benneton; Twitter: as @NinaBenneton; and at Austen Authors.
Giveaway of Compulsively Mr. Darcy
Enter a chance to win one of three copies of Compulsively Mr. Darcy, by Nina Benneton by leaving a comment stating what intrigues you about this new retelling of Pride and Prejudice, or which character in the original novel you love or hate, by 11:59 PT, Wednesday, February 15, 2012. Winner announced on Thursday, February 16, 2012. Shipment to US and Canadian addresses only. Good luck!
Compulsively Mr. Darcy, by Nina Benneton
Trade paperback (352) pages
Nook: ISBN: 978-1402262500
Kindle: ASIN: B006IBFYGU
© 2007 – 2012 Nina Benneton, Austenprose
I had already heard about this book coming out and have it on my wish list. I think what intrigued me most and still does is the idea of these characters in modern day and an exotic (to me) setting. I am very anxious to see how this story plays out.
Nina, that was fascinating learning how your book came about especially with your friend being immortalized as your Lizzy.
Thanks for the giveaway opportunity!
Hi Sophia Rose (I love your name),
I responded to your comment last night (my first on my blogtour! You’re my lucky talisman) but I must have forgotten to hit post comment.
I gave my Dr. Elizabeth Bennet my friend Lisa’s generous heart and innocence, but my heroine came into her own being. She’s too irrepressible to remain an imitation of someone else and demanded her own snarky voice. She was a great character to write.
Thanks for commenting and good luck!
Sophia Rose, how I love your name!
I think Vietnam is an exotic setting to those of us who live in America. But, you know, Berkeley is quite exotic in itself also…to the rest of America and the world. Berkeley is also mentioned as a setting.
I took Lisa’s generous heart and intrepidity and gave it to my Elizabeth, but, as every writer discovers sooner or later, your fictional character takes a life of his or her own…and you have to respect their quirks and their voice. The novel’s Dr. Elizabeth became way too impulsive and quixotic as the writing progresses… she was really fun to write.
Thank you for stopping by and being the first commenter on my blog tour.
How will Nina get Lady Catherine to Vietnam??? I cannot wait to see! I have just placed Compulsively Mr. Darcy on my TBR list..thanks for the giveaway!
LOL! Someone who loves secondary characters too?
Can’t tell you about Lady Catherine’s travel plans…but reading your comment, it occurred to me Darcy’s aunt is a Tiger-mom! Hmm… another plot idea just sparked.
Good luck. Thanks for commenting.
i’m always fascinated how different authors can re-tell a classic & it is still interesting!!!
thank you for this giveaway!!!
cyn209 at juno dot com
I’m always fascinated, too, and I never get tired of reading the different interpretations. It’s like being in a perpetual book club and learning the different slant people put on the same characters and basic plot, isn’t it?
I get asked that question a lot. How can you re-tell a classic?
My fellow writers (the non-Jane Austen addicts) are very curious.
A writer forum even asked me to run a craft/art live chat this month that’s open to everyone (see my website for details once I get it posted ), discussing how to do that–how to take iconic literary characters and make them your own.
Thanks for commenting and good luck.
I have just put this on my tbr list. I hope Wickham gets lost in the jungle…fitting for him. Thanks for the giveaway and good luck with the book.
Oooh. Where were you when I was thinking of evil things to do to Wickham?
I think you’d enjoy what happens to Wickham…it’s what every woman wants to do to a cad.
I’m honored you put this on your tbr list. Good luck.
Sir Walter Elliot is one of my favorite secondary characters. He is so awful to Anne, but he sure makes me chuckle.
Isn’t he a hoot? Those mirrors every where in Kellynch-hall crack me up. (No pun intended). A modern version of him would be someone who’s hawking those dermatologists’ approved wrinkle creams, eh?
Thanks for commenting. Good luck.
This book has been on my radar for a little bit now and I am so intrigued by the modern update to the Elizabeth/Darcy story – I’d love to be entered. Thanks!!
The setting and the quirks I gave Elizabeth and Darcy would not have worked in a Regency setting (I love, love Regency!).
An OCD man with a chamberpot under his bed? Shudder! Couldn’t do it.
Good luck. Thanks for commenting!
What a fascinating setting in which to place the P&P characters! I love Mr & Mrs Bennett as supporting characters – so much comedy there, and yet from Mr Bennett there is certainly a great deal of affection and tolerance for his quirky family as well. I’d love to see what Nina’s Mrs Bennett will have to say about Dr Elizabeth going to Vietnam.
I LOVE your name. My kids would get it!
I love secondary characters so much that in the first draft and probably up until the seventh draft, the likes of Mrs. Bennet took up too much of the book, and I had to learn to kill off my little darlings–as they tell us writers in craft classes. But, Mr. Bennet and Mrs. Bennet still have their moments.
I made Mr. Bennet a professor of feminist theory at Berkeley. It just seems fitting for him as a man with five daughters in modern time.
Good luck and I hope it’s possible you will win because of your name.
I am particularly interested in the setting of this book–Vietnam–and how the author considers her setting as another character in the book. Sounds fascinating!
About setting as a character, I think that’s why I love Jane Austen’s novels. The setting of Hertfordshire gives a different tone than Kent and Derbyshire, the characters act differently.
As a reader, I’m really not that interested in the minute, physical details as much as how that setting affects the character, and that’s why I consider setting is another character. As a writer, I tend to be short on descriptions unless the details influence my characters’ thought or mood or action in some ways.
Thanks for commenting. Best of luck.
Aside from the main characters (obviously!), I’ve always loved how Jane Austen portrayed Mary Bennett and Charlotte Lucas. Mary Bennett plays a small role, but such an amusing one. You can’t help but feel for her! And Charlotte Lucas, so sensible and pragmatic. She’s one of the few characters who can go toe-to-toe with Elizabeth and that’s what makes the friendship work.
This book sounds great! Loved Nina’s writing in this post, so the book is very promising!
I thought Mary Bennet was such a rich character in P & P, too, though she annoys a lot of readers.
I promise you, you WILL enjoy my Mary Bennet’s characterization. I love her. My inspiration for her modern characterization was: what if, instead of sermons being her bent, it’s environmental activism?
Blush. Thank you for the compliment about the writing her… I’m thankful you ignored the few typos I’ve just noticed.
Thanks for commenting.
This book sounds great–Lizzy as a disease doctor and Darcy with OCD sounds really intriguing!
One of the greatest comment I’ve received from a librarian who reviewed it for her blog was: ‘Darcy’s OCD is sensitively handled; Darcy is a man with OCD but he is not defined by it.’
That’s exactly what I wanted to portray a man so afflicted. Not that I didn’t make fun of his OCDs, btw (this is a humorous book, after all) but I’m glad the humor didn’t detract from his depth.
Thanks for commenting. Good luck.
Nina, thank you for taking us on your journey! I love your thought process on how you went from then to now, published author! Congratulations! I have had my eye on this one!!
I’m so glad you enjoy reading about my journey. As a debut author, many people are interested on how that came about, and I’m happy to share my process…because I want there to be more and more writers and authors in the world to feed the reader in me.
And may I confess that, on occasions, I’ve been known to bring my own sheets when I travel?
Thanks for commenting and good luck.
What a neat interpretation! I look forward to reading how Darcy’s decisiveness, pride and selfishness from the original translates into a modern control freak with obsessive-compulsive habits. Thanks for sharing your creative process with us and offering a giveaway!
About the ‘pride and selfishness’ part, (totally off topic, my apology) but I once read something by author Carol Shields about debut authors being very solipsistic on their book release day.
Well, the authors Carol Shields knew didn’t have children, I’m sure.
I had a very intelligent (I’m sure) response to your comment on my mind earlier, then my son got sick and throwing up, and now he wants chicken soup not from a can, and my husband (who took the day off so I can ‘celebrate’ my release day in peace and be ‘solipsistic’) decides to chop down some dead trees on the back patio (which have been dead for months, I may add).
Sorry. Back to Darcy (who I’m sure would never chop down trees with chain saw on Elizabeth’s book release day!) and Elizabeth and the modern interpretation. At first, I was going to write a faithful interpretation, but then I got bored because it just didn’t translate well–the conflict in the plot in P & P…and then the characters took over and showed me how to do it. I was only along for the ride–typing as fast as I could to keep up with them.
Thanks for commenting. Good luck with the win, if only because you had to suffer reading about sick son and chopping trees.
I can’t wait to read your take on Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett. Perhaps it is simply due to my own love affair with these characters for the better part of my life…or because I am a bit OCD, myself…or because your ability to place them in modern day fascinates me to no end. I was especially excited to hear that someone else enjoys Austen’s secondary characters as much as I do. I’ve often dreamed up some hypothetical stories of them in my own mind and had a wonderful time with that! Anyway, I am truly looking forward to the read. Enjoyed so much you sharing with us how these new – old characters came to life in your own mind. Thanks so much for a chance to win a copy! I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed.
Don’t you just love secondary characters? I’m ashamed to admit I recognize of elements of Mrs. Norris’s smooching in myself (I love it when my neighbors give me fruits off their trees and I don’t have to pay), or Sir Walter Elliot’s love of mirrors (who could resist checking themselves in a mirror when they pass a big one, I ask you?), or my screeching like a banshee a la Mrs. Bennet whenever one of my children or my Mr. Bennet (like the chopping down tree above) gets on my nerves.
Now, about the OCD-thing. I really think it’s an evolutionary advantage that’s been built into us from caveman time. If we didn’t have it, we’d be eating poison berries and die off long ago, the whole human race. So don’t you apologize for being OCD! Embrace it!
Dreaming up hypothetical stories of your own? My dear Paula, get thee to a nib and ink and sit down and write. We can never have enough stories to read. Don’t worry if it’s good enough for anyone to read. Write for yourself. That’s how I started. I wanted to write a story I want to read.
Thank you for commenting and good luck.
PS: With a phonetically memorable name like yours, you should become an author!
More than anything, the locale sparks my curiosity. I was stationed at DaNang Vietnam way back in 1966 as an Intelligence analyst and the totally distinctive sights, sounds, smells, people and topography have NEVER left my senses. Our airline also supplies flight crews for Air Mekong so we still have a connection with that part of the world. Sounds like a fascinating read. Thanks for sharing and wishing you much success.
Bite your tongue. How could you out yourself as an Intelligence analyst in 1966? The Viet Cong will get you! Off to the jungle with you (and Maggie’s Wickham above) with no shoes.
On a serious note, for many Americans of a certain age, the word ‘Vietnam’ has an aching connotation to it that’s bittersweet. I wanted to write humor using just that setting to start the book, because I believe laughter heals.
Having said that, this is not a fiction version of the Vietnam War book nor is it a fictionalized book about the plight of Vietnamese orphans. That would be authorial intrusion. I’m way too irreverent to write with such depth that would do the topics justice. OCD and impulsiveness, I can handle. .
Thank you for commenting and sharing your experience. I’m honored.
I’ve been looking forward to this day for a long time! How happy was I to see the UPS guy with a box that screamed “books” today? Very. What a fascinating story of how this wonderful book came to be. Thanks for sharing and I wish you much success.
Thank you. Now, what I want to know is did you order the whole box of Compulsively Mr. Darcy?
Thank you, my friend.
Popping in to wish you all the best. I loved your post. You have a delicious sense of humor. Because I already have a copy of your excellent novel, I am not entering the giveaway.
And I love people who laugh with me (and even at me!).
I’m glad you enjoyed the post and thank you for the good wish.
This sounds like it would be a very funny book to read. I really like the thought of Elizabeth as a doctor in another country and using that to torture poor OCD Darcy. I can’t wait to read this one.
I’m so glad that sounded funny to you (though I do worry a bit, may I confess, that part about you liking to torture poor OCD ;) ). Trust me, OCD people torture themselves and everyone around them enough, we…uh…I mean mean ‘they’ do not need outside help. [Unless you’re really, really messy and you’ve got a nasty chronic cough. Kitty in the JA’s P & P with her cough? She never got a line in Compulsively Mr. Darcy!]
Thanks for commenting. Good luck
Funny my boss worries about that as well. :-) I am a slightly (which means a lot) OCD myself. I find it fun to pick on others of my kind.
Oooh. A woman after my own…(I’m still in denial about OCD, too.)
I say you and I become dental hygienists. They’re the most happy OCDs I know! Wait, you said ‘boss’…. two OCDs in the same office? Got to be a dental office.
Lol…I can’t do dental work…I don’t have the stomach for the breath of some of my coworkers let alone work in a gross stinky mouth. Yuck! :-)
I am actually in Marketing. Neither of my bosses are OCD, they just torture me with things like not putting something back in the right drawer or not making sure the pages are aligned properly before stapling…it’s horrible!
LOL!!! The pages have to be aligned properly? That’s a new one. Where were you when I was brainstorming OCD quirks Darcy could indulge in!
Oh well I was busy aligning the pages so I could staple them! :-) If you ever need to come up with some new ones just let me know…lol
I loved reading this ‘behind-the-scenes’ story, Nina! And I loved the quotes from Rudyard Kipling and Lee Siegel! Perfection!
Congratulations on your new release–can’t wait to get my hands on a copy!
Wow. The talented author of Austenstatious took time out on her own release day to comment. Jane Austen devotees are classy people!
I love Lee Siegel’s article. He’s too smart for me, I had to hit the dictionary. But then, as I noted in the post, I spend most of my time reading tabloids.
Thank you again for commenting, Alyssa.
My pleasure, Nina!
Thank *you* for commenting on my post! :)
I think that is so wonderful of Lisa, what a wonderful person and spirit!
I love Elizabeth she is my favorite, she grew so much in the story to become a person of less judgment and more understanding. I can’t stand Wickham what a yucky guy not only knowing that he would smear the Bennetts name but hurt a young girl in the process. Hope to win, I really want to read this book! Thanks
My friend Lisa is amazing…and it’s even more amazing is that she does her work so quietly, without fanfare.
Though I wouldn’t want to her BFF, another person I admire for her good work (but not for Brad Pitt!) is Angelina Jolie and what she’s done with United Nations.
I had a lot of fun with what happens to Wickham in this modern version.
I hope you win, too. Thank you for commenting.
This sounds like a great book! Darcy brings his own sheet to the hotel! Ha! He certainly does have an OCD problem. With an impulsive Elizabeth! That should be quite a show! Can’t wait to read it!
Hey, don’t make fun of poor Darcy. He’s laughing at all those poor souls who got bed bugs from fancy hotels in NYC last year!
Thank you for commenting.
I can hardly wait to read your book, Nina!
Thank you for sharing the story of how it came to be written. I can see Lizzy Bennet perspiring (complexion brightened by the exercise) in Viet Nam, heading up a clinic staffed be incarmations of her sisters and the Lucases. Is Sir WIlliam in charge of fund-raising? Is Mr. Collins an ineffective psychologist?
Best of luck, and may inspiration strike again soon!
Children and tree-chopping maniac are in bed…peace!
I love your musing there… you should write your own story!
Yes, Lizzy does lead her sister into some shenanigans, Sir William got a unique twist and is in charge of something called Merry Bar, and Mr. Collins is an ineffective…well, person.
Thank you for the good luck wish. Inspiration strikes very often, it’s the execution, you see… it’s way harder to write a book than it is to get ideas, I have to tell you. I buy a lot more books now to support authors since I started writing, I tell you. (Not that I’m putting any guilt on anyone, you understand. ;) )
Thank you for commenting.
Sounds like a thumping good read and one for cozy nights by the fire. Am intrigued by the character development and the setting. Can’t wait to partake of this novel!
You know, it’s the thumping that started it. I had a migraine headache right off the bat when I arrived in Vietnam. My gosh, the noises!
Cozy nights? Nights? I’m hoping you’d be finished sooner than that. Not that I’m pressuring you or anything, but since the book became available 22 hours ago, I’ve already received a few comments from people who finished it. [And no, they’re not friends or families]. You don’t want to be known as a slow reader, do you? Remember that line in Big Chill movie where Jeff Goldblum said he writes things that people can finish… Well, I promise you this isn’t War and Peace. [Never did finish that one, btw].
Thanks for commenting and I’m sorry for my rambling. Good luck.
I have enjoyed many of the modern retellings but putting one in Vietnam? That is way out there to my thinking but I’ll go there for the ride. And Darcy as somewhat OCD to Elizabeth as an Infectious Diseases dr? That sounds like a truly intriguing read. I cannot wait to read this book. Thank you for the chance to win a copy and if I don’t win I’ll just have to go buy it!
Way out there? My dear Karen, people in Asia took bath long, long before people in England stop sponge-bathing themselves with eau d’toilet (blech sounding name). And believe you me, I bet Mulan’s many ancestresses have stood up to more haughty and prideful emperors than piddly Englishman Mr. Darcy.
Okay, I confess, even I thought it was way out there when I first wrote it. ;) However, don’t you worry, as the story progresses, they return to much saner and quiet places–like New York City and Berkeley.
Thank you for commenting and I’m hoping you win, too (even if it means 1 less sale).
Nina, by way out there I didn’t mean any insult. It is just way out there for the way that most of us Janeites think about Jane’s characters. But, I’m ready for the fun of the new setting and the possibilities. So, please, don’t think I was intending to offend. I’m really looking forward to reading your book and as I said, if I don’t win the book I will certainly buy it.
You are too sweet. I was not insult. I was being cheeky and quoting a line from the book (Bingley’s line)… which you will see why I was messing with you.
I’ll behave and be serious now.
I love to read author’s unique takes on books like these…
Many thanks, Cindi
I’d expect a woman (I assume?) who spells her name with an ‘i’ would like something ‘unique’! It must drives you crazy when people do a ‘y’.
I didn’t mean to write something unique, truly. It’s the water I drank as a child. It has made me see things a bit twisted, I admit. It was very fun to discover writing where I can put it to some use.
Thank you for commenting and good look!
I love all your ideas for this book and I am very intrigued with the location you chose for this story! I have only read YA modern day retellings of Pride and Prejudice. This story sounds wonderful and I will definitely have to read it! Congratulations on your new release!!=)
Thank you for congrats and I’m glad you like the ideas and location. Now that’s unique, a YA modern day retelling. Personally, if I was a YA gal, I’d go for Bingley. Much better to have a biddable guy when you’re young.
Good luck and thank you for commenting.
I love when they take the one of Jane’s stories and put them in a different setting ala Pemberley Ranch. This one looks really good. ssandmoen(AT)yahoo(DOT)com
Thank you. I love, love the setting of an English Village, London or anywhere in Great Britain, personally.
Setting is another character, and by changing where to place the setting, a writer already has a fleshed out character to help him or her set the tone. If I had set the story in Tai Pei, where I also visited in the same trip, it would have a very different feel. Even if I had set the local in Hanoi instead of Da Nang, the setting would change the dynamics.
Thank you for commenting and good luck.
I love the idea of Mr Darcy being a control freak. It suits him! My least favorite character has always been Mr. Collins. He is such a weasel, can wait to hate him in this version!
I like a woman who thinks as I do about a main character right off!
Hmm. I don’t think I’d call my Mr. Collins a weasel, though he is full of gas.
Thank you for commenting and good luck.
I always love it when writers continue classic stories or does it in various ways, even doing modern tellings of them. I wish they would do it for other stories like Mansfield Park, etc.
Funny you say that. I was just asked that question in a Q & A post for my blogtour stop on Monday and the first thing I said was how I’d interpret a modern Mansfield Park.
Mansfield Park is my 2nd most favorite novel.
There are pure readers and writers who sniff at people who retell classics, but as Cormac McCarthy said once, “The ugly fact is books are made out of books. The novel depends for its life on the novels that have been written.”
I love the new takes on the old classics. I love them because it gives you a conclusion to the story or adds to the story. Sometimes it is more of an updated version or just an extended story. I love when they do this to the classics. When I have read books that were stand alones I have always wanted to go and finish or have someone conclude the story or add to it.
Thanks for the chance to win. This book sounds great and would love to win and read.
I agree… I always want more after I read a good story, too.
Someone said Shakespeare is the original fan fiction writer. LOL.
Thank you for commenting and good luck.
Oops. Got to go pick up a kid now.
I’m originally from Vietnam and have been a Janeite since high school. Imagine my delight when I read that this book is set in the country of my birth! Can’t wait to read, to see how the author weaves in the culture!
Now you got me all curious how you will find it after you finish it. I received a comment from another Vietnamese reader on my FB author page yesterday–and she’s OCD. The two groups I wanted to hear from! She loved the book. Phew!
There’s definite culture, but it doesn’t take over from the storyline or the romance. I tried to edit out all the things that were interesting to me, but had nothing to do with the story or plot…. sniffed. It was hard, but they told me in writing school I had to do it.
Thank you so much for commenting and sharing your story.
I look forward to reading this book. The international adoption plot is close to my heart, as we adopted our daughter from Asia. Reading this post brought back my fond memories from traveling to get her… having no idea what I was eating but loving it, living out of a guide book, doing a lot of pointing and head nodding as a form of communication, remembering not to drink the water, sticking out among the masses of people everywhere, not being able to read any signs, price haggling in the markets, loved it!
Congrats, and I can’t wait to read the book!
Thank you so much for sharing. Your description brought back fond memory for me of that trip.
I love, love that you love the price haggling… my husband refused to go into one temple because they wanted to charge him 50X times what they charge the locals. He didn’t understand the haggling and flexible price system at all. It was quite comical.
I think you’d enjoy one aspect of Elizabeth’s character in the book.
Thank you for commenting and I hope you enjoy the book.
I can’t stand Lydia — probably because I’m an oldest child and my own youngest sister acts in the same irresponsible manner. Sigh. But I do love retellings of Pride and Prejudice, and this one looks promising!
I have a confession to make: Lydia and Mary (but not Kitty, for some reason–must be that cough!) and I gave them a little twist to their characterizations in the novel.
Thank for commenting and that exclamation at the end. ;)
OCD Darcy seems to make perfect sense. Can’t wait to read.
Virtual hand sanitizer to you for that comment.
That’s what I thought, too! Now why is it an OCD Darcy seems a better fit than an OCD Elizabeth or an OCD Bingley?
Thanks for commenting.
Obviously I love Mr. Darcy as a character, but the one I hate would have to be Lydia. She is so frivolous and clueless it makes me angry to read about her poor judgement.
Awl, Lynnette, but spoil children are the fault of their parents, you know.
I wouldn’t blame Lydia so much (she was only 15, you know) as much as her parents. When I see frivolous and clueless children, I want to send them to a Tiger-Mom!
A tiger-mom, Mrs. Bennet wasn’t!
Thanks for commenting.
Just finished reading my library copy of this and I’d love to win a copy. I really enjoyed it – it’s hilarious and romantic and definitely one of the most unique retellings of my acquaintence! Loved reading about Vietnam and it’s culture, as well.
Thank you. For that comment, I think karma is very good for your chance to win. It’s a BIG compliment that you want a copy of your own after you read it.
This sounds very intriguing! I enjoyed reading how the story came to be and appreciate all the attention to detail you have put into it. I like that Lizzy is an ex-pat as it seems more likely for them to find common ground under the circumstances. I look forward to reading it!
Thanks for stopping by and keep me from getting lonely here.
Attention to details? I want you to know I really did extensive research–you know how hard it is to squint at your armpits and holding a tweezer?
Now, did I intrigue you? Yes, that’s in the book.
Not only did I make Lizzy an ex–pat, I gave her a Vietnamese aunt by marriage for local flavor. Mrs. Gardiner is Vietnamese!
Oooh, now I’m having cravings for some of that rice soup Aunt Gardiner makes.
My favorite character from pride and prejudice is of course Elizabeth. She was a woman far before her time. Elizabeth is spunky, lively, witty, and brave. She refuses to allow others to walk all over her, but still knows when to admit when she’s wrong. Her love for Mr. Darcy is the kind all young girls should dream about and inspire to. I look to Elizabeth as a role model of sorts in my everyday life.
She was a woman before her time, wasn’t she? I’m so so sure I would have turned down Mr. Darcy’s first proposal (I like all those servants that come with Pemberley). I love your description of why you love her.
About her love for Mr. Darcy, I think that’s why I love Mr. Darcy, too. I think you’ll like how my Elizabeth love OCD Mr. Darcy!
Good luck and thanks for commenting.
I want to read this because it’s Mr. Darcy, of course!!!!!
LOL! Of course… if it’s Compulsively Mr. Woodhouse, it wouldn’t have the same ring, would it?
Thanks for commenting and good luck.
Although I don’t exactly love these characters, Mr. Collins and Lady Catherine de Bourgh are ones that I love to laugh at. I think they’re just a hoot! As far as just plain mean characters, you can’t beat Caroline Bingley and Mrs. Hurst. They are ones that you love to hate! Jane Austen always did such a wonderful job with all the background characters that they come alive just as much as the main characters. I look forward to seeing how you develop your background characters and what they do.
Not that I’m bragging or anything (ok, I am ;0 ), but the reviewer at Long and Short Review (where the book earned a Best book rating and Book of the month–more bragging, forgive me) wrote that each of these secondary characters in CMD could have their own book.
Not that I’d indulge in that. I’m not a series writer, alas.
Thank you for commenting and good luck.
The book sounds very interesting. I’m especially intrigued by the setting.
I recognize the handle! I love exotic settings. I’m trying to talk to my family into traveling to North Korea next. Don’t you think a P & P set in North Korea would be lovely? No?
Thanks for stopping by here, too!
You had me at the cover. Loved the post and all of your musings. Favorite character is Dr. Elizabeth Bennet in your PRIDE AND PREJUDICE inspired novel.
Congrats! Thanks to you, Sourcebooks and Austenprose an Austen trifecta.
Wow!!!! WOW!! A big Costco-sized hand sanitizer to you for that!!
Dr. Elizabeth Bennet is a fun character–she’s so unexpected from what you’d think someone who’s a ‘doctor’ would be…she defies stereotype, and I think that’s why Darcy cannot help but be drawn to her.
Thank you so much for commenting.
PS: I laughed at your inventive user names. I just bought a shopping cart load of books at the used book fair over the weekend and I wish I can whittle down my TBR list–POOF!
Even though I love Jane Austen’s P&P I love the modern versions so much too! I like to think what powerful position Darcy would hold and how sassy would Elizabeth be with the world available to her. Look forward to this version!
That was my guilty pleasure in creating a modern Darcy–I gave him mucho dinero and let him be the alpha dog, even if he’s never without hand sanitizer.
As for sassy Elizabeth…is there any other version?
Thanks for commenting.