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.
I’ve always been a Jane Austen fan, and first read Pride and Prejudice as a 16 year-old in high-school English class. But it wasn’t until the late 1990s (yes, that long ago) when my husband and I traveled from Chicago to California’s wine country for vacation that the idea for this book hit me—literally.
Since I enjoy research so much, I had done my homework and found this romantic Victorian-era hot springs spa resort where my he and I “took in the waters” in stone bathtubs in our swimsuits outdoors.
Sounds idyllic, relaxing, and healing, right? It sure did when I’d read about it in the guidebook. (These were the days before heavy internet use.)
And it was idyllic, really. Except the spring water had a high sulfur content—sulfur as in smelling like rotten eggs. On that vacation, the idea for my debut novel hit me like a waft of, well, rotten eggs:
What if a hopeless romantic gets to experience her beloved Jane Austen’s England, but—it stinks!
Well, not all of Definitely Not Mr. Darcy stinks. There are some redeeming, romantic, and blissful moments and you’re sure to find one, if not all three of the main men at the very least—diverting. You might even detect a hint of lavender water here and there.
So pour yourself a cup of tea, an “I Love Mr. Darcy” mug of coffee, or even a glass of Madeira wine (the same wine that Mrs. Jennings brought Marianne after hearing of Willoughby’s engagement) and post a comment for your chance to win!
After years of writing in the ad world for brands such as Diet Coke and Johnnie Walker, Karen Doornebos has switched to tea with her debut, Definitely Not Mr. Darcy. Living and working in London informed the book, but the reality of living in a Chicago suburb with her husband, two children, and various pets provided the opportunity to write it.
As an English Literature graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and life member of the Jane Austen Society of North America, she is appreciative of the benefits that a gown and above-the-elbow gloves offer.
Visit Karen at her website Karen Doornebos, on Twitter as @KarenDoornebos, and on Facebook as Karen Doornebos.
Enter a chance to win one of three copies of Definitely Not Mr. Darcy, by Karen Doornebos by leaving a comment answering if you would join a reality show set in Jane Austen’s England? If so, what role would you like to be cast in, by midnight PT, Wednesday, September 14th, 2011. Winners to be announced on Thursday, September 15th, 2010. Shipment to US and Canadian addresses only. Good luck!
Definitely Not Mr. Darcy, by Karen Doornebos
Berkley Trade (2011)
Trade paperback (384) pages
© 2007 – 2011 Karen Doornebos, Austenprose