Interview with Trudy Brasure & Giveaway

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Hello everyone,

As you must have noticed, last week I returned from my holidays and posted a review on In Consequence, a North and South variation by Trudy Brasure. But before going on holidays, I also told you that this month From Pemberley to Milton would have a lot of surprises with interviews, guests post and giveaways so, today I am happy to share with you an interview with author Trudy Brasure.

If you already know Mrs. Brasure I hope you find this interview interesting, and in case you don’t, I hope it makes you curious about her and her work. She is one of the biggest supporters of North and South discussion groups as well as one of the most known authors of N&S fan fiction, and I was very happy to receive her in my blog.

 

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Interview with Trudy Brasure

When was your first contact with Gaskell’s work and what captivated you about it?

I stumbled upon the BBC’s adaptation of “North and South” in October 2009. It was a pivotal event for me. I’d never heard of Elizabeth Gaskell before. Richard’s performance of the lonely and misunderstood John Thornton was utterly riveting. I don’t think I’d ever seen a romantic hero as vulnerable as Thornton was during that profoundly moving scene with his mother the night before he proposed. The intensity of emotion in this love story is amazing. Both Margaret and John are striving so hard to do what is right in life, and they’re holding their families up — yet they’re really both quite alone.

 

 

know you are not alone in being captivate by Armitage’s performance. Do you think he is the biggest reponsible for North and South’s success?

I do think that Richard Armitage’s performance of John Thornton is the single most compelling factor in the BBC’s 2004 production of “North and South.”  Gaskell’s story is unique in its exquisite description of Thornton’s anguish, and Armitage is able to brilliantly convey all this intense emotion — often without even saying a word!

Armitage has brought thousands to Gaskell’s great story, and I’m immensely grateful he was chosen for that role. It was perfection. However, I must add that this particular BBC production was a masterpiece in every way. The screenplay, the cast, the cinematography, the setting, and the music all combined to make this mini-series truly stunning. And Gaskell’s story is well worth the attention and praise. Her themes are still very relevant to today’s problems.

 

Why did you decide to write North and South fan fiction?
I couldn’t stop thinking about the heartache Margaret and John went through in Gaskell’s story. I was convinced that if they had only known that the other was in love with them at that terrible good-bye scene when Margaret leaves Milton, they could have avoided a painful year apart. So I began to image a scenario in which they could be brought together much sooner. I spent days and weeks thinking about the exact circumstancs and dialogue.

I had discovered the glorious world of fan fiction at C19 since my discovery of “North and South,” so I knew that people wrote their own version of what happened to Margaret and John in sequels and variations.

The story unfolding in my mind was becoming so clear, I knew I wanted to try to write it out. Thank goodness for C19! It was a lovely place to try my hand at writing fiction.

 

C19 is definitly heaven for any North and South fans. When did you know it was time to go from writing in C19 to publishing a book?

I never thought of publishing my story when I wrote it. But then a fellow C19 member suggested I post “A Heart for Milton” at Wattpad.com, and I found that my story had a much broader appeal than I ever imagined. It gave me confidence that I had written something special. Sometime later I began to notice how many Austen stories were being self-published, and I saw that there was one “North and South” variation being sold at Amazon. I really wanted to share my story with as many “North and South” fans as possible, so it wasn’t long before I decided to try self-publishing. It’s been a wonderful experience – even the bad reviews. They’ve helped me understand how others see Gaskell’s story.

 

Both your books are variations from the original story, do you have a particular preference for this genre or can we expect a sequel, prequel or diferente POV in the future?
I love taking one moment from the original story and changing it to see how everything unravels in a completely new way. I love putting the characters in new situations to see how they would react.

I don’t think I can ever write a straight sequel. I adore writing the angst involved when Thornton is still uncertain of Margaret’s love. Tortured Thornton is just too delicious to avoid.

My current work in progress takes a twist in a whole new place, far from the middle of Gaskell’s work. I seem to keep creeping further and further toward earlier chapters with my variations.

Posts under progress3

You’ve got me really curious about your new work, what else can you tell us about it?

As I mentioned, I love to make one twist in the story and explore how it would change events and the interaction between the characters. I don’t want to give too much away, but my basic question for this new variation is: what if the circumstances and setting of John and Margaret’s first encounter were different?

 

Both in A Heart for Milton and In Consequence we see a lot of romantic scenes, but we are also presented with a portrait of Victorian society. Did you need to do a lot of research to write these books?

I was reading everything I could about Abraham Lincoln before I happened upon Gaskell’s story. So I had already been immersed in the Victorian world for some time. I’ve always loved the Victorian Era. But yes, I did much research to try to portray something of the reality of that time and place. I also learned a great deal about Victorian society and mannerisms from the “North and South” discussions archived at C19.

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Have you ever imagined a variation where Bessy wouldn’t die? How do you think that could impact the story?

I can’t say I’ve ever thought about saving Bessy from her fate. It seems like she’s already quite ill by the time Margaret meets her. If Bessy hadn’t died, Margaret wouldn’t have been so friendless. Bessy would have loved watching Margaret become Thornton’s wife. Then Bessy would surely have been invited at some time to dine at Marlborough Mills!

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Apart from John and Margaret, which is the character that you mostly like to write and develop?

I really enjoy developing Hannah. Outwardly, she has such a tough shell. But there is a warmth underneath that I love drawing out. It would be interesting to write her history. But I don’t think I’ll ever get around to that!

I also love writing Higgins and Mr Bell with elements of their insight and humor.

 

You say Hanna has a warmth underneath that you love drawing out, but I’ve seen a couple versions who portray her as an evil person. Why do you think she is so controverse amongst readers and writers?

Hannah Thornton truly is something of a complicated character. She’s a bit like her son: tough outer shell, but tender inside. However, her tender side is hidden much more deeply than John’s. I think the misunderstanding concerning Hannah comes from the tendency to see only the surface of the character – the crusty, unsmiling part. Also I’d have to say that it would be difficult to truly comprehend Hannah by just viewing the mini-series. If you haven’t studied the book, you will probably miss the hints that show us that Hannah actually admires Margaret’s strength, spirit, and honesty. The only thing that she dislikes about Margaret is that Margaret looks down on her son and hurts him. Once she sees how much Margaret truly admires and adores her son, I think she will grow to appreciate Margaret. Even if she can’t be first in John’s life anymore!

(Hannah is a subject I’m eager to explore someday at my new blog: MoreThanThornton.com)

 

It is impossible to think of North and South without thinking of Richard Armitage. Many people claim he would be perfect for a Mr. Darcy role, but for me Armitage will always be Thornton and Firth will always be Darcy. What are your thoughts on it?
I have to confess that I watched and read “North and South” first before watching and reading “Pride and Prejudice.” It was “North and South” that ignited my interest in period dramas and classic romantic literature. So I can’t say I was ever firmly in love with Darcy since Thornton is my first love. No one can beat Richard’s performance, however. He has defined John Thornton for the screen probably for at least a half century.

If I could pick a classic role for Armitage, I’d have to choose Mr. Rochester. Richard is brilliant at making you feel the pain of his characters. And I think Rochester is a good man in a very hard place. Richard would make us sympathize with this dark, mysterious character. (But I also think Toby Stephens already did an incredible job with this role.)

 

Is there anything you would like to share with your readers?

I’d have to share my surprise in finding out that not all fans of “North and South” interpret Gaskell’s story in the same way. My guess is that most Austen fans generally agree on the basic themes and character development of “Pride and Prejudice.” But there are varying views on Gaskell’s messages and her character development, including those that feel that the author was unable to bring the story’s conflicts to a satisfying conclusion.

I’m always eager to share my perspective of Gaskell’s wonderful, well-developed story — which I see in a very positive light. That’s one of the overiding reasons I started my own North and South blog: MoreThanThornton.org
But mostly, I just love discussing “North and South” with people! There’s so much in the book to explore.

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To all my portuguese speaking readers, I bring some news. A Heart For Milton was finally translated to portuguese!!!

As you can see in the picture, Trudy Brasure is holding a copy of Um Coração por Milton.

The book is currently available for sale in Brazil, but I’m confidente it will reach portuguese bookshops very shortly 🙂

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It’s giveaway time!!!

Trudy Brasure would like to offer one copy of In Consequence, e-book or paperback (winner’s choice) to our readers at From Pemberley to Milton.

The giveaway is international and to participate all you have to do is place your own questions to Trudy or just share your kind words and love with her by leaving a comment on this post.

The giveaway is open until the 17th of March and the lucky winner will be randomly picked and announced on the 19th of March.

Good luck everyone, and I hope you enjoyed the interview!!!

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57 Comments

Filed under giveaway, interview, North and South

57 responses to “Interview with Trudy Brasure & Giveaway

  1. Can’t miss this wonderful opportunity! Thanks for the giveaway, Trudy and Rita, and for the wonderful interview!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Loved the interview, ladies. Great questions, Rita, and Trudy, I enjoyed reading your answers. I very happy that you have a WIP! 😀

    I have read both your books found them to be very good. Your covers are beautiful and eye-catching. Since I have the eBooks, I would love the paperback should I be lucky in the giveaway.

    I just rewatched the first two episodes again today. (Sick with the flu so a good time to watch John Thornton) The scene you mentioned is so touching and also breaks my heart for him. His feelings so strong but his fear of Margaret not having him, just as strong.

    Thank you for the informative interview and the giveaway opportunity. (I just recently found c19 and was happy to learn of it).

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Surprised and glad to know that there are new books on the theme of North and South, loved the book and the series, so thanks for the giveaway

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I am so pleased to learn that Trudy had a work currently in progress. I love Nr Thornton too, who doesn’t?! I am sorry to hear that there are variations that make Mrs Thornton a bad person because I find her a very admirable character. Her love for her son is so fierce, and she had had such a hard life that I felt that she deserved to get satisfaction from her pride in him. Although my favourite relationship in the story is between John and Margaret I think it’s such a well-written mother/son relationship, it’s just so touching. Please don’t enter me for the giveaway because I’ve already read ‘In Consequence’, but I just wanted to join in the N&S love 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • trudystattle

      Hannah Thornton is an easy villain for authors looking to add conflict to their story. But I don’t think Hannah would have done anything to completely jeopardize her relationship with her son. In both the book and the mini-series we see signs of a thaw with Margaret before the end.
      I hope by announcing a work in progress, I will get busy writing again!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve been so insconced in Austenesque fiction, I had no idea that Haskell Fan Fiction titles existed. I am thrilled to say the least– Not just for the opportunity to win, but just to know about this. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wonderful interview with Trudy! I love N&S.

    Denise

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Sophia Rose

    You’re so right about how interviews give me insight into the author and her books. I have yet to read a N&S variation, but I’m very eager to try one. I think it is a fun fact that Trudy met Thornton before Darcy and loves him best. I didn’t, but I love Thornton over Darcy, too. 🙂
    Very cool that her books are in Portuguese now.

    Thanks for the giveaway opportunity.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thanks for such a lovely interview ladies. I think Trudy is right about Richard Armitage defining John Thornton for a very long time, much as Colin Firth has for Darcy. One of my favourite scenes in the dramatisation is when Thornton is looking at the back of Margaret’s departing carriage and thinking/saying “Look back. Look back at me”. Heart rending. Do you have a favourite scene, Trudy?

    Last year, when Joana Starnes’ latest book was published, she and I became two of the founder members of the “Let’s Torture Darcy” club. At that time, I said that it was probably the only legal form of torture. Now, it looks as if you’ve though up another, Trudy: “Let’s Torture Thornton”! What do you think?

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Pricilla T

    Lovely interview and thank you for the giveaway opportunity!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. trudystattle

    Although I can’t say the “look back” scene is a favorite — just too much desperate sorrow on both sides here! — I would rank those few moments as one of the highlights of Richard’s acting in this drama. It’s quite amazing if you think of it. The camera focuses on his countenance for several still moments and we see the depth of his agony expressed in his face. He didn’t even really need to mutter those words.
    I love the dinner party scene. Margaret looks resplendent and Thornton looks like he would like to feast his eyes on her all evening! Here we get see the sexual tension and the ideological battle — two powerful elements in Gaskell’s work.
    I do love a tortured Thornton! Gaskell is exceptional in showing us inside Thornton’s head. His anguish is very potent. I like to try my hand in putting Thornton through torment. But I also love describing his profound joy when he finally gets the girl.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. BeckyC

    Wonderful interview. I am a huge fan of North and South and Richard Armitage. (I would love to see him as Darcy and he makes a perfect Thornton) . I am so excited to see some N&S variations! Thank you for the giveaway.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Jane Murphy

    Lovely interview! I have both books, so don’t enter me in book give away, give to someone who has not enjoyed your lovely books. When do you expect for your lastest to go on sale. Can’t wait.

    Liked by 1 person

    • trudystattle

      Thanks Jane for reading my stories! It’s been a slow process trying to write a third book. Real life keeps interfering! I hope to finish this in a year’s time. You’re welcome to press me to my word, it may help me keep going. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Viviane

    As admin of the Elizabeth Gaskell Appreciation Page on Facebook, I’ve come to admire Trudy very much! She has the best ideas and analysis of Gaskell’s books and a tru understanding of the era! Also, A Heart For Milton is simply brilliant, and I can’t wait to read the new one!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Patricia Finnegan

    I love North and South! I think the book is my favorite from Elizabeth Gaskell

    Liked by 1 person

  15. arjanne

    I’ve read quite a few Austenesque variations, but I’m new to N&S ones. It’s always so nice to find new authors and new wonderful stories to read!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. There is whole world of fan fiction out there I didn’t know about… I am so going to get lost in it!

    Awesome interview, as it is a staple here! 🙂

    Thank you much for sharing your words and your thoughts with us, Ms. Brasure!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I read “A Heart for Milton” this November, and I remember one particular evening where I was wrapped up in a blanket, drinking tea and reading, sighing.. and giggling. Your portrayal of Mr Thornton is just too wonderful not to giggle sometimes, Ms Brasure! I especially loved the moments where I could see Richard Armitage very clearly, in angst as well as in joy … It was really a wonderful story, thank you so much for it!

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Pam H

    Wonderful interview! I loved the N&S miniseries (Armitage’s Thorton was perfection!), but I must admit that I’ve never tried a N&S variation. I’d love to be fortunate enough to win a copy of one of your books, Trudy!

    Thanks for the opportunity!

    Liked by 2 people

    • trudystattle

      Thank you for reading the interview and for your interest in my books! N&S should have more variations. The love story and the surrounding industrial setting has so much for a writer to explore.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Kirsten

    Though I adore North & South I have yet to read another version of this story. So I am glad to have read this interview and now know that there is more of Mr Thornton to love 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Mary

    Hi,
    Great interview-well done to all concerned.
    Must admit to loving N&S-both the book and the dvd. Richard Armitage,for me,is Mr Thotnton and I think he and Daniella Denby-Ashe did a remarkable job …..the chemistry between them,the glances and misunderstandings were so breathtaking to watch.
    Have read and thoroughly enjoyed A heart for Milton but would love z Chavez to win your second book!! Many thanks for this opportunity.

    Liked by 2 people

    • trudystattle

      I love the book and the mini-series. The passion and tension in Gaskell’s story is incredible. Glad you loved A Heart for Milton. Hope you will get the chance to read my second story.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Iqraa Benaid Liversidge

    I would love to win a copy and give it to my mum as a gift 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  22. Maria Held

    Dear Trudy,
    I enjoyed so much reading you “Heart for Milton”!
    And I love your use of the language. Some fanfiction makes me cringe, because the language used is that of a modern USA.
    But you immersed yourself in Gaskell’s own style.
    I long wanted to buy your “In consequence” for my tolino e-reader, but unfortunately it needs the epub format which is not yet available.
    So if I would be the happy winner, it should either be in epub or paper. 🙂
    I thank you for writing so wonderfully! For the first 100 pages of “A Heart for Milton” I had constantly this delicious ache in my stomach which I usually have only for a short time while reading a wonderful love story. But your pre-marriage tale had me in this state over hours! I read until the morning broke! 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    • trudystattle

      I’m honored that I can sustain a “delicious ache” while you read my stories. What a wonderful description of how you feel! I will treasure that. 🙂
      Yes, I still mean to make In Consequence available more widely. So many things to do when you self-publish….

      Liked by 1 person

  23. 3rdsephiroth

    Hi! This is Apala. First of all, I am so happy that I am connected to you both – Rita and Trudy. I had no idea that there were people just like me – who love period dramas and spend inordinate amounts of time reading, watching, and researching anything that has to do with the Victorian and Regency eras. It makes me feel that the 2 years of research that I’ve done on Ireland in the 19th Century, for a book that I’ve been writing in my head, might just find some readers one day. Till then I hope to enjoy the brilliant fiction by wonderful authors such as you Trudy.

    I love your insight about Mrs. Thornton – she’s definitely one of the most interesting characters in the book, along with Higgins. What doesn’t get talked about is the fact that Gaskell seems to have brought Jane Austen and Charles Dicken’s worlds together – on the one hand you have a thoughtful portrayal of the working class, on the other you have a timeless love story that rivals that of Elizabeth and Darcy’s. The only thing that’s missing is a touch of gothic (I love me some Bronte!) and it’d be the perfect recipe for a period drama.

    The BBC is such a gift to us for bringing wonderful adaptations of books that many people don’t know about, but should. I learnt about North and South and Wives and Daughters through these adaptations. Trudy you should definitely write a sequel – they did adapt Death Comes To Pemberly. Maybe once day it’ll be your name on the screen. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • trudystattle

      Yes, Gaskell’s work is very much a perfect blend of romance and serious social commentary. I love both aspects of her writing. Maybe having six deaths in the story is gothic enough? Mrs. Gaskell once joked about retitling N&S as “Death and Variations!”
      Historical fiction is a favorite genre for many. I hope you continue to pursue your interest in writing a story that takes place in 19th century Ireland.

      Liked by 2 people

  24. perioddramamadness

    Hi! This is Apala. First of all, I am so happy that I am connected to you both – Rita and Trudy. I had no idea that there were people just like me – who love period dramas and spend inordinate amounts of time reading, watching, and researching anything that has to do with the Victorian and Regency eras. It makes me feel that the 2 years of research that I’ve done on Ireland in the 19th Century, for a book that I’ve been writing in my head, might just find some readers one day. Till then I hope to enjoy the brilliant fiction by wonderful authors such as you Trudy.

    I love your insight about Mrs. Thornton – she’s definitely one of the most interesting characters in the book, along with Higgins. What doesn’t get talked about is the fact that Gaskell seems to have brought Jane Austen and Charles Dicken’s worlds together – on the one hand you have a thoughtful portrayal of the working class, on the other you have a timeless love story that rivals that of Elizabeth and Darcy’s. The only thing that’s missing is a touch of gothic (I love me some Bronte!) and it’d be the perfect recipe for a period drama.

    The BBC is such a gift to us for bringing wonderful adaptations of books that many people don’t know about, but should. I learnt about North and South and Wives and Daughters through these adaptations. Trudy you should definitely write a sequel – they did adapt Death Comes To Pemberly. Maybe once day it’ll be your name on the screen. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m very, very happy that The X-Files brought us together Apala! Mulder and Scully made us realize we also loved Thornton and Margaret 🙂 You are definitely not alone!!! And I can guarantee that you’ll have me as a reader if you do decide to put your book into paper 🙂 I honestly can not wait for you to start reading fac fiction so that we can discuss the books together 🙂 best of luck with your period dramas blog!!!

      Liked by 2 people

  25. Pamela Venneman

    Thank you for sharing your talent in your books! Keep on writing!

    Liked by 2 people

  26. caracoleta07

    Oh I’m sorry I only read this after the oportunity to enter the giveway has passed me by – I hadn’t realized it was international so I didn’t read it straight away – but I loved it immensely, and the comments as well, regardless, as I haven’t yet read either of your books.

    I feel the same way about Mrs. Thorton. It takes some time to warm up to her but she’s such an admirable woman, and it makes me sad how unfairly treated her character is by so many amateur writers. It is usually what makes me abandon fanfiction works on N&S.

    Oh it will be wonderful to find your books in stores around here when it gets translated into European Portuguese. Congratulations on your success. Everywhere I go people recommend me your books and it’s clear by this interview that you have a true insight into the characters and the values of the era as well. Like Janet T says the artwork are incredibly beautiful as well, I love it as soon as I saw your banner when you welcomed me to C19. Looking forward to be aquainted with your work

    Like

    • trudystattle

      Thanks for adding your thoughts. I really do believe Hannah Thornton has a heart, it just needs some patient revealing.
      I don’t know if you would find my Portuguese book at bookstores. Pedrazul Editora is the publishing house selling my work.
      I love both of my covers for A Heart for Milton! (English and Portuguese) I love all things historical and romantic.

      Liked by 1 person

      • caracoleta07

        Oh! Now I see.
        Pedrazul is from Brazil and I am from Portugal, so I’d understood this sentence “The book is currently available for sale in Brazil, but I’m confidente it will reach portuguese bookshops very shortly” as meaning that the book would become available in Portugal as well.

        Liked by 1 person

  27. It’s so nice to see Portuguese readers in my blog Caracoleta07!!! I do hope to see the book in Portuguese stores shortly, even if it is in Brazilian Portuguese 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Leah Pruett

    I just fell into the world of N&S fan fiction. Haven’t read this version yet!

    Liked by 1 person

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