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:
I tried too hard
and she tore my feelings like I had none
and ripped them away
It was perfect. It expressed so clearly Darcy’s bitter anger at Elizabeth after she rejects him, as well as his underlying anger at himself. It was something I had to incorporate into my story. So then I thought about well known guitarists: Joe Perry of Aerosmith, Eddie Van Halen from Van Halen, The Edge of U2, even Slash from Guns & Roses. Men who were perfectly content to let someone else do the front man stuff. Men who let their instruments express what they felt. Then in a flash I had it:
Fitzwilliam Darcy is the enigmatic virtuoso guitarist of the world famous rock band Slurry.
I knew right there I had my story, and my Darcy. It was remarkable how quickly the pieces fell into place after that: Of course Bingley and Col. Fitzwilliam would be in his band. Of course, Wickham would have previously been part of the band until the ‘incident’ at Ramsgate. Of course Lady Catherine would own the record company. And of course Lizzy would be part of an ‘up & coming’ band. A new band seeking success and fame by playing with a world famous group is an excellent parallel to poorer women in the regency seeking to improve their lives by finding and marrying richer men. And of course Darcy would try and protect his friends from these opportunistic women.
In short, it was all there and I just had to write it down. I took the blueprint for my Mr. Darcy from JA – tall, handsome, dark eyes and hair. From there, I made him very talented, so there would be a basis of his pride. I made him independently wealthy, so he would be jaded by the whole music industry. And because he’s so good, and so rich, and so proud, I also made him very responsible. For him, everything connected to his band is his concern, especially his tour. So when something comes along to upset it, he’s going to be very defensive.
Into that already messy pile of emotions comes Elizabeth Bennet, who is as talented as Darcy, but is not rich and is not famous, and who has a big chip on her shoulder about being ‘good enough’. Is it any wonder that when these two fiery, driven, brilliant souls come together it’s explosive?
Fitzwilliam Darcy, Rock Star is their story. There are also the stories of their companions to keep things rolling, but it’s always Darcy and Elizabeth.
I hope your readers will try this crazy premise out and read it, and let me know what they think.
Thank you for having me, Laurel Ann, I’ve enjoyed being here.
Heather Lynn Rigaud can usually be found trying to juggle too many things. A wife and mother of two, she suffers from excessive interest in almost everything that comes her way. She cooks, she sews, she writes, she knits, she Geo-Caches, she makes soaps, she collects perfume, she paints silk-and she overthinks every single one of them. But she’s lively and has a good (if bawdy) sense of humor.
Born and raised in world famous Woodstock NY by Republican parents, Heather Lynn has a lot of experience feeling like you just don’t fit in. This used to bother her greatly, but she’s mostly managed to overcome it, and even learned to enjoy walking ‘to the beat of a different drummer’. She enjoys reading, fine food and wine, and art. She is a professional writer with degrees in music therapy and teaching who lives with her husband and two sons in Kingston, New York. Fitzwilliam Darcy, Rock Star is her debut novel.
Visit Heather Lynn at her blog Austen Nights, on Twitter as @hlrigaud and on Facebook as Heather Lynn Rigaud.
Enter a chance to win one of three copies of Fitzwilliam Darcy, Rock Star, by Heather Lynn Rigaud by leaving a comment stating what intrigues you most about reading a contemporary retelling of Pride and Prejudice, or which character from the original novel will, in your estimation, translate easily into a modern rock band setting, 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!
Fitzwilliam Darcy, Rock Star, by Heather Lynn Rigaud
Trade paperback (432) pages
© 2007 – 2011 Heather Lynn Rigaud, Austenprose