Compulsively Mr. Darcy Blog Tour with Author Nina Benneton, & Giveaway!

Compulsively Mr. Darcy, by Nina Benneton (2012)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. Continue reading “Compulsively Mr. Darcy Blog Tour with Author Nina Benneton, & Giveaway!”

Reading Austen: Guest Blog by Jeffrey Ward

Jane Austen, by Cassandra AustenGentle readers: We are happy to add the story of another conversion to Jane to our monthly column, Reading Austen. Today’s guest blog is by Jeffrey Ward, fellow book reviewer and frequent visitor here who shares his personal story of how he discovered Jane Austen and why reading her novels is so special for him.

“Intolerably Stupid:” My Improbable Journey to Jane Austen

As a youngster growing up in and near San Francisco, when I wasn’t goofing around outdoors, my earliest memories of reading were of an old used set of the massive encyclopedia called The Book of Knowledge.  I remember it encompassing about a dozen intimidating volumes but this kid read EVERY page. This imprinted into my psyche a life-long habit of reading non-fiction and my overt disregard for practically everything fictional.  Consequently, I’ve been a life-long fact-finding trivia geek; however, by Jane Austen’s standards, I was still “intolerably stupid.”

This stubborn habit continued throughout high school, the military, and university.  After two decades and some 330+ semester hours of credits in every possible discipline, this career student finally received a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications from the University of Washington.  My lop-sided education was a mile wide and an inch deep.

I worked in the airline industry where my non-fiction reading continued unabated and most prominently featured history, biographies, current events, technical articles and industry-related topics.  My fiction-loving wife, family, and friends, continually asked me if I had read this novel or that novel to which I replied haughtily “Reading that stuff is a waste of time.” So, my contempt for fiction continued shamefully for about 55 years!

My fiction epiphany began a scant five years ago in an almost mystical manner. One evening, I had exhausted my current stash of non-fiction and was having a “nothing to read” anxiety attack.  In an effort to stave off withdrawal symptoms, I wandered into our home office and perused our largest book case.  At first, I saw nothing but my familiar non-fiction.  But what was THIS and how did it get here? My eyes locked on to Emma by Jane Austen.  I thought “Oh well, why not?”  So, I pried out the volume, blew some dust off the top and returned to my bedside. Little did I know that in my smug non-fictional pride I was just about to be struck off my mount on my own personal road to Damascus by an irresistible force which was poised to draw me inexorably into the sublime realm of fiction.

Still, it almost didn’t happen. Totally unfamiliar as I was with Miss Austen’s style, I struggled through the first 100 pages of Emma, trying to make sense of her bewildering cast of characters and how she so ingeniously “set the table.”  At around 100 pages, the “scales” fell from my eyes and I hungrily devoured Emma, starved from a lifetime of depriving myself of a great story!  When I got to the resolution of Emma and Mr. Knightley’s second turn in the bushes, I was totally overcome with emotion.  I jumped up, wept openly, howled with glee, and pranced around the room with exultation! What was happening to me?  Here was something I had seldom experienced in my drab, sterile non-fiction existence:  Being baptized into the warmth of human affection, irony, desire, longing, sorrow, comedy and suspense.  Dear God, I was an incurable romantic and it took Jane Austen to finally pry open my long-suppressed heart to release this latent gift!  With a wink and nod to Laurel Ann’s, Jane Austen Made Me do It.

I later learned that Emma was left in our book case and forgotten by our daughter following her graduation from college. I’m convinced that this was no coincidence but a divine appointment!

I’ve since read all of Jane Austen’s novels multiple times; this from a guy who hardly ever read a book more than once. Our divine Miss Austen has been critically referred to by some as the greatest writer of English literature since William Shakespeare.   Her unique and distinctive writing style has been imitated but never equaled. Her unforgettable characters fairly leap off the pages as if fully alive.  Her humor is a hammer covered in velvet.  Her gradual crescendos of emotional suspense are palpable. Her ironic twists and turns are astonishing.  Her dialogues are so captivating that I find myself vocally entering into her conversations as I read!

It is appropriate that Jane Austen was the gateway through which this stone-cold empirical naysayer would finally enter into the promised land of fiction.  Here at Austenprose, I’m now expanding my horizons by enjoying the works of many talented contemporary authors who ply the rich legacy left to us by Miss Austen.  As I post, review, and opine throughout the blogosphere, I hope my love, enthusiasm, and gratitude for all things Austen shines forth.

Jeffrey Ward, 65, native San Franciscan living near Atlanta, married 40 years, two adult children, six grandchildren, Vietnam Veteran, degree in Communications from the University of Washington, and presently a Facilitator/designer for the world’s largest regional airline.  His love affair with Miss Austen began about 3 years ago when, out of boredom, he picked up his daughter’s dusty college copy of Emma and he was “off to the races.”

© 2007 – 2012 Jeffrey Ward, Austenprose

Reading Austen: Guest Blog by Tara O’Donnell

Jane Austen, by Cassandra AustenGentle readers: We are happy to share our second contribution to a new monthly column, Reading Austen. Today guest blogger Tara O’Donnell shares her personal story of how she discovered Jane Austen and why reading her novels is so special for her.

Persuaded into Austen

Like many of many fellow Jane Austen fans out there, I came to her books via a movie. No, it wasn’t that one where Darcy soaks his shirt (although, I have seen it numerous times and own two different DVD editions, plus a VHS set……so you could say I’m familiar with that film). The year was 1995 and I was hearing high praise from movie reviewers about a little British film named Persuasion.

That was also the year of Sense & Sensibility starring Emma Thompson and a pre-Titanic Kate Winslet, which received just as much praise but a much wider distribution in theaters. I had no

choice but to pick up the book first and Persuasion became my gateway into Jane Austen country.

What compelled me to check out this story in the first place was its heroine, Anne Elliot. I was around the same age as Anne was and that anyone, particularly back in a time where women were considered permanent spinsters if they weren’t married before the end of their teen years, would have a mature woman being granted a second chance at love and a life of her own was an eye opener for me.

Also, like Anne, I was somewhat of an “old reliable” sort within my social circle. While my family was much kinder and considerate, plus far from being any where near as snobbish as the Elliots, I did tend to be the one who was instantly counted on or asked to  pass on advice from one person to another, much like poor Anne did whenever she went to stay with her forever “sickly” sister Mary and her down to earth in-laws, the Musgroves. That scene in the film where she’s clearly exhausted after a round robin session of grievances during the first couple of days of her visit is amusingly relatable.

Persuasion is a brief book and a bit more somber in tone than most of the more popular introductory Austen novels that people read such as Emma or Pride and Prejudice. It’s not as lively as say even Northanger Abbey (which was published with Persuasion after Austen’s death) yet the wit and satire is at Austen’s sharpest point in her writing. While Persuasion is getting its due more often these days, back in ’95, the story wasn’t seen as the prettiest sister amongst her more celebrated siblings.

Yet, it struck just the right note with me in its precise portrait of two people (Anne and Captain Wentworth) who felt keenly the regret of their earlier decision not to take a chance on love and so wanted to remedy that but were still uncertain if their affections would be returned. As much as I adore Mr. Darcy, Captain Wentworth’s declaration of “you pierce my soul….I am half agony, half hope.” makes him number one in my heart.

I then went on to not only reading the rest of Austen’s work but learning more about her life and times, which lead me to finding websites like The Republic of Pemberley where I discovered that Austen mania was a worldwide epidemic for which there is no cure, thank goodness!

In addition to joining in on many Austen related discussions, I joined the RoP folk on a trip to England in 2002 that took me to two of the prime locations in Persuasion. At Lyme Regis, I got to walk on the Cobb where silly Louisa Musgrove fell and then went sightseeing in Bath, which I probably enjoyed a lot more than Austen did in her day. That trip was one of the best experiences of my life and one that I will cherish always.

While in some ways I am still like Anne, in the best sense of that statement, over the years I have grown a little more assertive and prefer to take my cues in behavior and decorum from some of Austen’s fine examples of steadfast women such as Elinor Dashwood, Elizabeth Bennet and Fanny Price. I can’t credit all of my developing maturity to Jane Austen but she was and is a wonderful encourager of seeking your own way to happiness and it would be wrong of me not to acknowledge her part in my continuing emotional conversation.

Persuasion, much like its leading lady, may have been a most unlikely place for me to begin my literary journey with Jane Austen. However, starting at the end seems to have been a good choice and one that I wouldn’t change for the world.

Author Bio:

Tara O’Donnell is a former independent bookseller who now devotes herself to writing and hopes to have some great novels in book stores herself one day.

In addition to her pop culture blog, Living Read Girl, she recently had a small sketch entitled “Bennet Bridezillas” as her entry into the 2011 Bad Austen writing competition, which was included in the completed companion book Bad Austen: The Worst Stories that Jane Never Wrote from Adams Media.

Over this past summer, Tara released her first eBook, a comic book novella called “The Hench Woman’s Handbook”, which is available as a free download from Smashwords. Jane Austen is only one of Tara’s many literary influences on a list that includes Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Louisa May Alcott, Gilmore Girls, Edith Wharton and Batman: The Animated Series. An odd list, to be sure, however she suspects that Miss Austen would approve at the very least of Buffy Summers and Rory Gilmore.

Would you like to share your personal story of reading Austen here with fellow Janeites? Submit your essay of approximately 750 words revealing how you discovered Jane Austen’s novels and why they are so special to you to Austenprose. It just might be included in our monthly column, Reading Austen, that will be published on the first Friday of every month.

© 2007 – 2011 Tara O’Donnell, Austenprose

Reading Austen: Guest Blog by Anthony Garcia

Jane Austen, by Cassandra AustenGentle readers: We are happy to share our first contribution to a new monthly column, Reading Austen. Today guest blogger Anthony Garcia shares his personal story of how he discovered Jane Austen and why reading her novels is so special for him.

Growing up, if you would’ve asked me who Jane Austen was, I probably wouldn’t have even known the answer. I wasn’t what you would call a reader back then, and nobody who knew me would have ever thought that I would eventually go to a graduateprogram in literature. I actually didn’t read my first novel until I was about 14. It was Lord of the Flies, a far cry from Austen. Eventually I did become an avid reader, but it took a lot of coaxing from teachers and friends who were readers. Even when I found out who Jane Austen was, probably around junior year of high school, there was no way I was going to read her. Why would I? The only people I ever heard talking about her were female, and I certainly didn’t want to be the only guy reading Jane Austen.

So, you can imagine my chagrin when I got to college and one of the first assignments for our English class was reading Persuasion. I was very skeptical, but soon discovered Jane Austen’s magnificence as a writer. After that introduction, I was hooked forever. I read Pride and Prejudice next, followed by Northanger Abbey, and all the rest. Then came the re-readings. Through this process, I became an avid Austen fanatic and started to rent and watch all of the film adaptations. I eventually decided that Austen was my passion in life, and went to graduate school to pursue my love of a female writer from Regency England.

I found that dream more difficult to realize than I had anticipated for a couple of different reasons. First, my gender worked against me. Most people at orientation had read Austen, sure, but they were certainly not men, and they were not making Austen their primary focus. I got a lot of questions about that choice, especially from the other men in the program. I realize now that there are othermenwhoreadAusten, but back then I felt like a weirdo. The second problem that came up in graduate school was the stigma about studying anything that is considered “popular” or that “everybody reads” because it is enjoyable. If you study something that people actually enjoy reading you are punished a bit for it. One of the reasons this stigma exists is practical: for research, many interesting thongs I could point out about a popular novel may have already been said before by other scholars thirty years before me.

After the first semester of graduate school, I realized that my passion, reading Austen, would not be an avenue I could pursue as a career. But, you know what? I am almost glad that was the case. I did still read Austen in school, but I read her for my own pleasure. In between Mary Rowlandson and the Wicazo SA Review, my thesis on Native American literature left little time for recreational reading, but what time there was, I filled with Austen.

I am glad that I never had to associate her with my work. I had a love-hate relationship with the texts I worked most with in grad school, and I am not sure I would want my joy dampened in my readings of Austen’s texts. Reading Austen is not an activity I would not want to enjoy anymore, and the chance of that happening to her through the cynicism rampant in graduate studies was one of the reasons I chose not to study her in school. I was worried that examining her texts too thoroughly may have ruined the magic of reading her stories.

If I was not able to have Jane Austen’s novels to read for respite from the onslaught of literary theory on Native American literature from the 1700s, and hundreds of pages a week of assigned texts, (which were interesting, don’t get me wrong), as well as poorly crafted student papers, I could have gotten so lost in the minutiae of my education that I may have never graduated.

In graduate school for literature, it is really important to remain close to the text that remind you why you went in the first place. This is due to the fact that each day becomes like a test of reading endurance; reading can begin to seem as mundane as drinking a cup of coffee, and it is very easy to lose the joy that you had when going in. Reading Austen for pleasure in my spare time saved me from that fate. In other words, I have Jane Austen to thank for both inspiring me to go to graduate school, and for getting through it with my love of literature intact. I know work, following her footsteps, as a writer, and am working on my first novel. Thank you, Ms. Austen.

Author Bio:

Anthony Garcia recently completed his graduate education in English Literature, and is working as a freelance writer. He writes primarily about education, travel, literature, and American culture, and is an avid fan of literature blogs, especially Austenprose.

In his spare time, he reads as much as possible, and works on his list of life goals, which include currently includes publishing a novel, visiting Spain, climbing Mt. Rainier, and solving a Rubix cube. A New Mexico native, he currently resides and writes in Seattle, Washington.

Would you like to share your personal story of reading Austen here with fellow Janeites? Submit your essay of approximately 750 words revealing how you discovered Jane Austen’s novels and why they are so special to you to Austenprose. It just might be included in our monthly column, Reading Austen, that will be published on the first Friday of every month.

© 2007 – 2011 Anthony Garcia, Austenprose

Expectations of Happiness Blog Tour with author Rebecca Ann Collins, & Giveaway!

Expectations of Happiness, by Rebecca Ann Collins (2011)As 2011 marks the 200th anniversary of the publication of Jane Austen’s first novel Sense and Sensibility, it is a great pleasure to see a new sequel to it arrive from Pemberley Chronicles author Rebecca Ann Collins.

Please join us today in welcoming Rebecca Ann on her blog tour in celebration of the release of Expectations of Happiness published this month by Sourcebooks. Rebecca Ann has kindly shared with us some insights on creating the novel.

Thank you very much, Laurel Ann, for inviting me to contribute to your blog; it is a pleasure to be able to speak directly to you and your readers about my work and the new book – Expectations of Happiness.

You have asked why I chose to write a companion volume to Sense and Sensibility and how I managed to “get my head into the Regency period after writing The Pemberley Chronicles.

If I may answer your second question first – I had absolutely no difficulty with the Regency Period, which covers the latter part of Jane Austen’s life; I was familiar with the historical, social and cultural background of that era.

As a Jane Austen addict ever since I first read Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility when I was just twelve years old, and a student of both English Literature and History, I had read everything I could get my hands on about the author, her family, her life and times.   Her novels were published within the period of the Regency so it was inevitable that a passionate reader and student of Miss Austen’s work and the society in which she lived would absorb the events and ambiance of the era. Continue reading “Expectations of Happiness Blog Tour with author Rebecca Ann Collins, & Giveaway!”

Jane Austen: Blood Persuasion Blog Tour with author Janet Mullany, & Giveaway!

Jane Austen: Blood Persuasion, by Janet Mullany (2011)Just in time to get you into a Gothic mood this Halloween season, please join us today in welcoming author Janet Mullany on her blog tour in celebration of the release of Jane Austen: Blood Persuasion, her second novel featuring Jane Austen as a vampire, published today by William Morrow.

Janet graciously offers us a sampling of her witty writing with a guest interview with the undead Jane Austen.

Austen: I believe you have done it once more, Mrs. Mullany.

Mullany: Yeah. I have. Sorry.

Austen: My sister is furious and my brothers talk of little but lawyers these days.

Mullany: Does Mrs. Austen have no say in the matter?

Austen: I regret my mother wishes only to know if you can spare a cutting of your red clematis and a root or two of lemon balm.

Mullany: Absolutely, although I should warn you that the lemon balm takes over. I very much admired the garden when I visited your house last year although I was disappointed that you were not at home. Please convey my regards to Mrs. Austen and tell her the lavender is doing very well although I am not confident it will survive the winter.

Austen: I am much obliged. I shall tell my mother so.

Mullany: But do you wish to sue me for libel? I really wouldn’t recommend it. My book may help sell more of yours, although I strongly recommend that you publish under your own name. “By A Lady” sounds so prissy. (Nervously) So, um, what did you think of the book?

Austen: It was tolerably well written and had a few moments of genuine wit although I cannot approve of the excessive sensuality; however one may behave between the sheets should not necessarily reflect on that which appears between the pages of a book. In all fairness, though, I have taken the liberty of borrowing a few of your ideas—the idea of the upstart newcomer forcing her neighbors into a music club is something that appeals to me, for instance. I am also considering another novel in which an aging woman meets her former lover.

Mullany: Absolutely. I’m glad you adopted my idea of two or three families in a village as a starting point for a novel. For the new one, you could even borrow my title if you like. I think “Persuasion” would be a wonderful name for a book. How is the current WIP going? Continue reading “Jane Austen: Blood Persuasion Blog Tour with author Janet Mullany, & Giveaway!”

Mr. Darcy’s Bite Blog Tour with author Mary Simonsen, & Giveaway

Mr Darcy's Bite, by Mary Simonsen (2011)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. Continue reading “Mr. Darcy’s Bite Blog Tour with author Mary Simonsen, & Giveaway”

The Deception at Lyme (Or, The Peril of Persuasion) Blog Tour with author Carrie Bebris & Giveaway

The Deception at Lyme (Or, The Peril of Persuasion), by Carrie Bebris (2011)Please join us today in welcoming author Carrie Bebris during her blog tour in celebration of the release of The Deception at Lyme (Or, The Peril of Persuasion), the sixth book in her Mr. & Mrs. Darcy Mystery series released today by Tor Books.


Laurel Ann, thank you so much for inviting me here to talk about my new Mr. & Mrs. Darcy Mystery, The Deception at Lyme (Or, The Peril of Persuasion) on its release day. It is always such a pleasure to visit Austenprose and enjoy, as Anne Elliot would say, the good company of “clever, well-informed people, who have a great deal of conversation.” Continue reading “The Deception at Lyme (Or, The Peril of Persuasion) Blog Tour with author Carrie Bebris & Giveaway”

Persuade Me (Darcy & Friends 2) blog tour with author Juliet Archer

Persuade Me (Darcy & Friends 2), by Juliet Archer (2011)Please join us today in welcoming author Juliet Archer on her blog tour in celebration of the release of Persuade Me, the second book in her Darcy & Friends contemporary series published today in the UK by Choc Lit.


I’m thrilled to be here at Austenprose – thank you, Laurel Ann, for inviting me and ‘hi’ to everyone out there!

By the time you read this, I’ll be at the annual Jane Austen Festival in Bath. My burning question is – will it rain, so that Captain Frederick Wentworth can offer me his umbrella? Because, weather permitting, I’m doing two guided walking tours of central Bath, visiting the places that Austen made Continue reading “Persuade Me (Darcy & Friends 2) blog tour with author Juliet Archer”

Definitely Not Mr. Darcy Blog Tour with Author Karen Doornebos

Definitely Not Mr. Darcy, by Karen Doornesbos (2011)Please join us today in welcoming author Karen Doornebos on her blog tour in celebration of the release of Definitely Not Mr. Darcy, a new contemporary Austen-inspired novel published tomorrow by Berkley Trade.

Thank you, Laurel Ann, for inviting me into your drawing room here, and hosting the beginning of my Grand Tour—my Grand Blog Tour, that is, celebrating the release of my first novel, Definitely Not Mr. Darcy. I’ve been a fan of your blog for years and it’s an honor to be here. (Virtual curtsey.)

Handsome men in breeches. Ballroom dances in empire-waist gowns. Tea parties…

Chloe Parker hopes for all this and more when she joins a documentary film set in Jane Austen’s England. Just like you and I, Chloe is an Austen fan. She has the complete set of “I Love Mr. Darcy, Mr. Tilney, Mr. Knightley, Captain Wentworth, Colonel Brandon” mugs to prove it. She happens to be a single mom, 39 years old, and tends to glamorize the Regency era. What she gets instead of the glam includes:

No cell phones. No deodorant. And no plumbing…

Not to mention the fact that the “documentary” turns out to be a reality dating show set in 1812. Soon Chloe’s up to her stockings (and then up to her stays) in trouble, competing against eight other women to win over the Mr. Darcy of the show. What’s worse, she can’t get the two other men on the set—off her mind!

Yes, you counted right. Definitely Not Mr. Darcy features three possible heroes. Two of them are clad in the Regency breeches, boots, and cravats we all swoon over, while the third looks pretty hot in his blue jeans. But I digress…

Have you ever wished for something, but it doesn’t turn out quite the way you’d expected?

My debut novel Definitely Not Mr. Darcy will make you laugh, I hope, and possibly wince, as Chloe’s romantic perceptions of Regency England crumble around her faster than a well-made scone.

Speaking of scones, living and working in London when I was young(er) did inform this book. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in English Literature (what else?) I bought a one-way ticket from Chicago to London. I landed my first job as a writer, working in the employee communications department at a management consultant firm in Westminster. What an experience that was, to live and work in the city that I had read so much about! I worked for six months and proceeded to travel throughout Europe for six more, until I ran out of money and came home to Chicago, alas. Continue reading “Definitely Not Mr. Darcy Blog Tour with Author Karen Doornebos”

Fitzwilliam Darcy, Rock Star Blog Tour with Author Heather Lynn Rigaud

Fitzwilliam Darcy, Rock Star, by Heather Lynn Rigaud (2011)Please join us today in welcoming author Heather Lynn Rigaud on her blog tour in celebration of the release of Fitzwilliam Darcy, Rock Star, a new contemporary retelling of Pride and Prejudice published today by Sourcebooks.

It’s so nice to be here on Austenprose today. It’s the first stop on my very first every blog tour, so I’m very, very excited.

So many people have asked me “Why a modern Pride and Prejudice and WHY a Rock Band???” Well, as always, it’s Jane’s fault. I came to Jane Austen, as many people have, through the movies. It started with Bridget Jones’ Diary the movie, then the book, then the 1995 Pride and Prejudice movie, and then the book. And then Persuasion, and then Northanger Abbey, and then Emma, and then Sense and Sensibility and then… Well, your readers know how that goes.

Like many hungry JA fans, I found JAFF fan fiction on the web, and soon was writing and posting my own. That’s when I met Abigail Reynolds. I was writing a modern P&P adaptation called Longbourn & Pemberley Go to War and she was writing Impulse & Initiative when she asked if I’d be willing to look at her love scene. Of course it was fantastic, but it started us beta-reading for each other.

It was Abigail who got me thinking about how would Darcy live in this modern time. It’s given that he would be wealthy and successful, but he also needed a modicum of fame. I was puzzling on how to make him a celebrity, but still Darcy- proud and aloof. He would never be glad-handing fans on TV Guide, or pushing his next big thing on Letterman.

He would be Darcy, at heart always true to his integrity, and yes, his pride. It came to me that he could be some kind of artist. They could easily maintain a quiet and aloof persona. A musician maybe? At the same time I was thinking about this, I heard a new song from a new band called “Puddle of Mudd”. The song was ‘She Hates Me’ and it occurred to me that this was so much like Darcy right after Elizabeth rejects him at Hunsford (I freely admit to having Jane Austen on the brain, and I strongly believe I’m not the only one) The chorus of the song goes like this: Continue reading “Fitzwilliam Darcy, Rock Star Blog Tour with Author Heather Lynn Rigaud”

Murder Most Persuasive Blog Tour with Author Tracy Kiely

Murder Most Persuasive: A Mystery, by Tracy Kiely (2011)Please join us today in welcoming author Tracy Kiely on her blog tour in celebration of the release of Murder Most Persuasive: A Mystery, a new Persuasion-inspired mystery novel published today by Minotaur Books.

Murder, Jane Austen, and Me  

I’ve wanted to be a writer ever since I was little. That’s not to say that I was one of those child prodigies who effortlessly create witty/insightful/touching tomes at a tender age, and land on the couch with Ophra. Far from it. In fact, here’s a little sample of one of my earliest works that proves my point quite nicely. It was my first (and, thankfully, only) attempt at poetry. Ready? Here goes:

The rain comes down

Upon the ground

Will it ever stop?

I’ll get the mop.

See, what I mean? But, despite my rather shaky start, I still loved the idea of being a writer. As the years went by, I narrowed that down to being a mystery writer. Growing up, I spent a great deal of time reading Agatha Christie, Jane Austen, and watching Alfred Hitchcock movies. I loved the twisty, deviously clever plots of Christie, the sublime wit of Austen, and the “average man caught in extraordinary circumstances” themes of Hitchcock.

Anyway, when I began to think of writing my own mystery, I realized it would have to include those elements. As I struggled to come up with something in the way of a viable storyline, the characters of Pride and Prejudice kept swirling around in my head. It dawned on me that while there is no murder in Pride and Prejudice, there are plenty of characters who certainly inspire murderous thoughts. I began to wonder, what, if after years of living with unbearably rude and condescending behavior, old Mrs. Jenkins up and strangled Lady Catherine? Or, if one day Charlotte snapped and poisoned Mr. Collins’ toast and jam? I realized that most likely no one would be surprised had Jane written these plot twists into follow-up versions of her books as these characters were exactly the sort of odious creatures that would be bumped of in a mystery novel.

But, I didn’t want to write a period piece, and I definitely didn’t want to take over existing characters and try and make them my own. It’s not that I don’t enjoy reading other authors who do exactly that. It’s just as Dirty Harry once said in one of his movies, “A man’s got to know his limitations.”  I know mine, and recreating Elizabeth and Darcy is not one of then.  So, I instead I tried to figure out a way to work in the themes and personality clashes of Pride and Prejudice into a modern-day mystery. Continue reading “Murder Most Persuasive Blog Tour with Author Tracy Kiely”

Website Built with

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: