Apparently in June the number of JAFF releases decreased in comparison to the previous month, but still, we had some very interesting new releases, and one of them was Chaos Comes to Longbourn from Victoria Kincaid.
Today she is visiting From Pemberley to Milton to talk a little about the writing of this story, to share with you an excerpt, and offer a copy of Chaos Comes to Longbourn to one lucky winner.
I would like to welcome and thank Mrs. Kincaid for her visit, it is always an honor to receive her in From Pemberley to Milton! And I hope you enjoy her guest post and excerpt 🙂
*** Chaos Comes to Longbourn by Victoria Kincaid***
Chaos Comes to Longbourn is a bit of a departure for me. Of course every book an author writes is a new adventure and presents different issues, but this one offered some very particular challenges. It is only the second of my Pride and Prejudice variations that I would consider to be an out-and-out comedy. All of my books have humor and funny moments, but this is only the second one (after Mr. Darcy to the Rescue) where I set out with laughter as a consistent goal.
In addition, it is the first P&P I’ve written with multiple points of view. My previous books have focused on two main characters, the people falling in love—who are usually Darcy and Elizabeth (although When Mary Met the Colonel focused on Mary Bennet and Colonel Fitzwilliam). Usually we see events unfolding only through these characters’ alternating viewpoints. But the point of Chaos Comes to Longbourn was to have everyone engaged to the wrong person. I needed to get inside the heads of other characters to observe their reactions to their various betrotheds.
I was more than halfway through the first draft when I realized I was writing from eight different points of view! On the one hand it was great fun. In the original P&P, we never have a chance to see Charlotte encounter Wickham or hear Darcy’s thoughts about Lydia. So it was endlessly amusing to imagine how those characters would react to each other (especially when they are engaged to each other).
On the other hand, it was very challenging to keep eight different perspectives and storylines going at the same time—and intertwining them effectively. I’d never done it before, so I didn’t realize how difficult it would be. I was forever looking back to make sure the story made sense. Did Elizabeth learn about X before or after she met Darcy on the road? Should Wickham talk to Lydia after his conversation with Charlotte or after seeing Darcy? When I sent a draft to my betas I begged them to check for errors in continuity, fearing a character knew something or said something when the chronology didn’t make sense.
But writing Chaos Comes to Longbourn was a great learning experience and I would do something like it again in a heartbeat—if the right plot bunny came along that necessitated multiple POVs. I learned so much more about the various characters of P&P—beyond Darcy and Elizabeth— by entering their heads and imagining how they would think and act. It reminded once more how brilliant Austen is. Just when I thought I knew all about the novel, it surprised me again!
Now that we know how Mrs. Kincaid came up with the concept for Chaos Comes to Longbourn we are ready to read the blurb and the excerpt. I hope you find it as curious as me 🙂
*** Book Blurb ***
While attempting to suppress his own desire to dance with Elizabeth Bennet, Mr. Darcy flees the Netherfield ballroom only to stumble upon a half-dressed Lydia Bennet in the library. After being discovered with her in a compromising position, Darcy is forced to make her an offer of marriage.
Fearing the Bennets will attempt a similar “trick” with their brother, Mr. Bingley’s sisters convince him to leave Hertfordshire without any intention of returning. After Elizabeth refuses Mr. Collins, a heartbroken Jane Bennet accepts his proposal.
Having resolved to propose to Jane, Bingley returns to Longbourn; but when he learns of her betrothal, he makes an offer to Elizabeth instead. She accepts, with the hope that Jane will change her mind if Bingley remains at Netherfield.
Meanwhile, Sir William Lucas is aware that Wickham had actually compromised Lydia in the Netherfield library and blackmails him into proposing to Charlotte Lucas, who is in danger of becoming an old maid.
Hertfordshire has become a tangled web of misbegotten betrothals.
Although Darcy yearns for Elizabeth, he feels honor bound by his promise. Elizabeth is also developing feelings for the master of Pemberley, but he has never seemed so far out of her reach. How can Darcy and Elizabeth unravel this tangle and reach their happily ever after?
*** Excerpt ***
“Is your estate very grand?” Lydia interrupted.
Darcy blinked at the rapid shifts in conversation. “My family house is Pemberley…” he temporized. Did she wish him to brag about his possessions? He found the thought distasteful.
“How many rooms does it possess?”
He rubbed his forehead. This was not how he had imagined his first conversation with his fiancée. “Two hundred and twelve.”
Lydia clapped her hands as if she had received a sweet. “Two hundred and twelve! How wonderful! There should be plenty of space for my friends to visit. There is Maria and Helen and—”
Darcy disliked interrupting people, but he could not tolerate any more. “Are you certain they would all like to travel to Derbyshire to visit you?”
Lydia’s eyes grew wide. “Pembleton is in Derbyshire? But that is so far away!” she squealed. “It must be closer. That is impossible!”
Darcy sighed. “Unfortunately, I cannot relocate my family’s estate to a more convenient location.”
Lydia waggled her head. “How vexing!” But then she sat up straighter. “Do you have a house in town?”
“Then I shall live there most of the year, and I will not need to go all the way to Peckerly!” she declared triumphantly.
“If you wish.” Darcy silently resigned himself to years of avoiding London.
“It will be wonderful!” Lydia clasped both hands to her bosom. “I shall host the most elegant balls in all of London. And I shan’t invite anyone who has been cruel to me.”
He needed to redirect the conversation. “About the—”
“And I shall have ostrich feathers for my hair!”
Darcy had never given a moment’s consideration to what women wore in their hair. “If you wish—”
Darcy was not sure when this conversation had gone wrong, but he must regain control. She would never stop spinning fantasies in her head. “Lydia, you and I both know there was another man with you.”
Lydia froze, suddenly wary. “I am sure I do not know what you mean,” she sniffed.
Darcy stepped closer, deliberately looming over her. “I must know the man’s identity.”
“There was no man.” Lydia’s voice quavered as she stared straight ahead, refusing to meet Darcy’s eyes.
“You did not untie your bodice yourself. Nor did I. I never touched you, save inadvertently when I fell on you.” Lydia clamped her lips together tightly. Darcy raised his voice. “I agreed to a betrothal to salvage your reputation, but we cannot marry. You must marry the man who is actually responsible for your plight.”
Lydia jumped up from her chair. “Mama says it will be a great scandal if you do not marry me! You cannot renege on your promise!”
Darcy scrubbed his hands over his face. Lydia was correct about the scandal, unless Darcy found the other man and persuaded him to marry her. If she jilted Darcy, it would be a minor contretemps, but if he did not keep his word, the Darcy name would suffer. He prayed that the other man was not already married—and that he would be susceptible to monetary inducement if necessary.
Lydia’s lower lip protruded stubbornly. It was time for a different tactic. “Miss Lydia, please see reason. We do not suit each other.”
“Of course we suit each other!” she cried. “You shall buy me jewels! And I can be very charming!” She gave him a winsome smile. Darcy shook his head, endeavoring to think of an appropriate argument if such was Lydia’s notion of compatibility. “And I shall be a good hostess for your elegant balls!”
The Darcy family had not hosted a ball since his mother’s death, and he had no intention of remedying that situation. He sighed. “I could not make you happy.”
Lydia slumped into her chair, pouting in a most unladylike manner. “Am I not pretty enough?”
Darcy sighed. This was like arguing with Georgiana at age ten—and at her most petulant. “That is not the issue at all.”
Her eyes glistened. “I know I do not have Jane’s beauty or Elizabeth’s eyes, but—”
“I pray you, do not misunderstand me. You are very pretty.” Lydia preened. Oh, Good Lord! “You are…very young—a full thirteen years younger than me.”
***It’s giveaway time!***
Victoria Kincaid would like to offer one copy of Chaos Comes to Longbourn to one lucky reader who will be able to choose either a paperback or an e-book copy.
The giveaway is international and to participate all you have to do is comment this post. Let us know what you think of the blurb or the excerpt and share your love for JAFF with us.
The giveaway is open until the 14th of July and the lucky winners will be randomly picked and announced a few days later.
Good luck everyone!