An Interview with Cassandra Grafton & Giveaway

Hello everyone,

If you’ve read my last post, you know I was very lucky to meet Cassandra Grafton in Winchester last week. Ever since reading A Fair Prospect, I wanted to meet Cassandra and place her a few questions. Now, with all the celebrations occuring in Winchester, and with the release of A Quest for Mr. Darcy, I got a chance to finally meet and interview her.

I hope you enjoy this interview where she goes from her love for Jane Austen, how she discovered fan fiction and what we can expect from her latest book, A Quest for Mr. Darcy.

Thank you so much for your company last week, and for visiting From Pemberley to Milton Cassandra! It was delightful to have you here for the first time, and I hope it will not be the last 🙂

(Me and Cassandra in Winchester last week)

 

 

Rita! Thank you so much for this fun discussion! It was just lovely meeting you in person in Winchester on such a significant date as the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s passing, and I will cherish the memories forever. ❤

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Thank you Cassandra! It was lovely meeting you too! We’ve discussed many things already, but I have yet asked, how did Jane Austen influence your life?

Oh gosh, where do I begin? I first discovered Jane Austen and her works when I was 15 (that’s rather a long time ago!), and even now, every time I re-read one of her books, I take something new from it.

She speaks such wisdom through her characters (not all of them, of course!), and I never cease to be amazed at how relevant her stories are today and how her words resonate here in the 21st century.

It has to be said, however, that the biggest influence is far more personal. By nature, I am an introvert, and I’m a pretty solitary person when it comes to writing, but Jane Austen has persuaded me out of my comfort zone to attend events and meet-ups where I have been able to connect with some lovely people – many of whom I’ve encountered online – and who have since become hugely significant to me. My life has been enriched beyond measure as a result, and I only wish I could thank Miss Austen in person!

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And what inspired you to go from reading Jane Austen to writing JAFF?

I’d discovered the world of fan fiction in the early 2000s when I’d ventured into the online Harry Potter community during the three long years between books 4 and 5. I started to co-write Harry Potter fan fiction with Ada, a new friend I made online, and it was such fun!

Becoming curious about similar online communities, I began to look around for those connected to my favourite author and found several sites dedicated not just to the lady but also to writing JAFF!

After co-writing so many short stories inspired by Harry Potter, I finally decided it was time to try my hand at a full length one inspired by Jane Austen’s characters, and so I began A Fair Prospect.

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Following A Fair Prospect you wrote a Jane Austen inspired, but non-JAFF book, called The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen, but now you are back to JAFF with the recently released Mr. Darcy’s Quest, what can you tell us about it?

It follows the premise that Darcy does not go home to Derbyshire in the August following his rejection by Elizabeth but instead he goes abroad, taking his sister with him. Not around to ‘save the day’ when Lydia elopes with Wickham, the story begins as we discover the aftermath of that and its impact upon those affected.

Darcy is returning to England a year later, convinced he is over his foolish infatuation with Elizabeth and determined to do his duty, both to the estate of which he is guardian and to his sister: he intends to secure a wife and without delay.

Soon restored to his home in Derbyshire, he puts his quest in motion, preparing to welcome guests from Town, one of whom is a suitably eligible young lady he has earmarked as his future wife.

But it seems there are new tenants on the estate – tenants named Bennet. Could it be coincidence, or is his path fated to cross with Elizabeth’s once more?

With the addition of his friend, Bingley’s, mischievous twin younger sisters, mysterious letters from a stranger and a shadowy figure lurking in the grounds of Pemberley, Darcy’s carefully laid plans are soon in tatters as the rigid protection he has placed around his heart begins to falter.

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The mysterious letters and the shadowy figure bring some mystery to the book. Is this a genre you would like to develop?

Very much so! I didn’t realise how much I enjoyed the mystery genre until I co-wrote The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen with Ada Bright. It was so much fun. In fact, the mystery was the main element to that story, with the romance very subtle and underlying (though the sequel will expand on that). With Quest, I loved interweaving the mysterious elements with Darcy and Elizabeth’s growing awareness of each other’s feelings.

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But the main focus remains romance, right? What can we expect from Darcy and Elizabeth in this book?

Oh yes! I’m a complete romance geek at heart! I’ve always loved the dance of Darcy and Elizabeth’s courtship, how they move away from each other, then towards each other, then back again, only perhaps not so far, and slowly their steps become in tandem, until they are in each other’s arms. Sigh…

In this story, although Elizabeth read Darcy’s letter, she has seen nothing of him since the moment he put it into her hands, almost eighteen months ago. She is carrying some resentment towards him for keeping Wickham’s nature secret from the Meryton populace because of the impact upon her family and also is fighting her discomfort over how it is going to feel to meet with him again now she lives nearby. However, she has also realised how she misjudged him, and is daily reminded of his value by those in Derbyshire who hold him in great esteem, so she is in conflict with herself when they become reacquainted.

Darcy has convinced himself he is over his feelings for Elizabeth, dismissing them as a foolish infatuation. He believes he has himself under good regulation, but how long will his armour remain intact? I’m not going to say!

 

This story starts later than the majority of variations, why did you choose this approach?

My favourite JAFF stories take place after the first proposal has gone so disastrously wrong, so I knew I would continue in that vein. The first idea for the story came from a line in A Fair Prospect. Elizabeth is commenting on the fact poor Darcy seems unable to escape her, their having unexpectedly met again – post proposal – in Kent, London and finally Bath. She remarks jokingly that she will likely return home to Longbourn to find her father planning to move them all to Derbyshire.

This idea seemed like it had a lot of potential for fun and, sorry Darcy, also for throwing a few challenges in his direction! How to make it happen, though? Providing a reason for such a thing to take place was key, as it had to have some logic behind it to be credible enough. Darcy not having been around to step in when Lydia eloped seemed the obvious answer, and so I sent him away, hence the story taking place a year later.

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Readers will find Mr. Bingley’s sisters a little different than usual, what can you tell us about them?

The idea of Bingley having five sisters came from Jane Austen herself, or rather from a scene in Pride & Prejudice where Lady Lucas is speculating with Mrs Bennet about the rumours surrounding the number of ladies and gentlemen Mr Bingley will bring to the Meryton assembly.

Here it is:

‘Lady Lucas quieted her (Mrs Bennet’s) fears a little by starting the idea of his being gone to London only to get a large party for the ball; and a report soon followed that Mr Bingley was to bring twelve ladies and seven gentlemen with him to the assembly. The girls grieved over such a number of ladies; but were comforted the day before the ball by hearing that instead of twelve, he had brought only six with him from London, his five sisters and a cousin.’

Volume I, Chapter 3

I reasoned that although the early surmising was gossip, the latter comment above is after Bingley has returned from London with his guests, so the likelihood is it could have some truth to it. Just because only two sisters came to the assembly didn’t necessarily mean there weren’t three still at home at Netherfield. It therefore stood to reason they were younger otherwise they would have attended.

I decided Bingley’s mother had passed away when he was young and his father had remarried, having three girls, the twins, Olivia and Viola and a younger sister, Julia.

It is the twins who feature in the story, and I’m hoping readers will grow to love them! All I can say is, they are nothing like their elder sisters!

Mrs Hurst and Miss Bingley do of course feature briefly, but they remain pretty much the same as in the original novel!

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While reading the book I noticed some interesting names from secondary characters such as Thornton and Latimer. Was this a coincidence, or are you also a North and South fan?

Absolutely, Rita! I’m a huge North & South fan!

One of the many things I enjoy when writing is naming my characters, and I love it when friends and family say how fun they found it to find themselves or a family member mentioned in some form or another.

However, I do also love using names from other works of literature I have enjoyed. I did knowingly, therefore, use some from North & South such as Higgins and Latimer. As for Thornton, Darcy’s valet, he has an entire back-story though it’s not relevant to this story.

In brief, he is the grandfather of our lovely John Thornton (big sigh)! The family has always been in service and proud of its history of serving some of the country’s most significant families, but he has become estranged from his only son (John Thornton’s father) who has turned his back on the family tradition to try his hand in trade. Working his way up from a clerical apprentice, he has recently started his own small business in Lancashire. The John Thornton we know and love has yet to be born!

~~~

Thank you so much, Rita, for asking your great questions. I had a lot of fun answering them!

 


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A fan of Jane Austen since her long-distant school days, Cassandra Grafton has been indulging her appetite for all things Austen for many years. Having long wanted to be a writer, she began publishing her endeavours in 2013. A Fair Prospect, a Pride & Prejudice-inspired Regency romance, was released in three volumes.

She then went on to be part of the co-writing team on The Darcy Brothers, another Austen-inspired historical novel, before settling down to co-write with one of her best friends.

The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen, a contemporary mystery/romance, was released in July 2016 under the names of Ada Bright and Cass Grafton.

A former college lecturer and PA, Cassandra has lived in three countries, and loves travelling, reading, cats and dry wine (and she combines most of these as often as she can!)

She has two grown up children and splits her time between Switzerland, where she lives with her husband, and England, where she lives with her characters.

She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, the Society of Authors, the Jane Austen Society UK and is a founding member of the Jane Austen Society of Switzerland.

 


 

 

Cassandra Grafton would love to offer a giveaway – open internationally – of a copy of A Quest for Mr. Darcy (eBook or paperback, winner’s choice), plus some Jane Austen goodies from the gift shop at Jane Austen’s House Museum, namely:

  • Jane Austen 200 pen and key ring
  • Jane Austen compact mirror
  • Jane Austen lip balm
  • Miniature Pride & Prejudice
  • Set of 20 Jane Austen bookplates

 

The giveaway is open until the 4th of August and to be eligible all you have to do is comment on this post. Share your thoughts with us or place Cassandra your own questions.

The winner will be announced on this blog shortly after the 4th of August. Please follow the blog to make sure you receive an e-mail with the name of the winner. I would hate for people to miss a prize because they didn’t see they had won. Unfortunately this has happened in the past and I’m trying to avoid it from happening again 🙂

Good Luck everyone!

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89 Comments

Filed under giveaway, interview, JAFF, jane austen

89 responses to “An Interview with Cassandra Grafton & Giveaway

  1. That Darcy thinks his ardent admiration and love for Elizabeth is just a ‘foolish infatuation’ hurts to just even read in summary form. I wonder how it would feel actually reading the book! Sounds delicious!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Glynis

    Great interview Rita. I have had this book on my wish list since I first heard of it although I keep hoping to win a copy! I can’t believe Darcy is considering someone else as his wife 😱 what is he thinking? Luckily I am certain that something (or someone) will prevent that from happening. In fact I have great hopes of the Bingley twins who I’m convinced will help ODC to come together.
    Thank you for such a generous giveaway Cass and for writing such lovely books.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Well, he didn’t know where Elizabeth was and was hopeless, but that changes very quickly and he soons discovers he could never, nor should he ever, give up on Elizabeth. I haven’t finished it yet Glynis, but it ahs several romantic moments between the 2 of them, and I’m sure you would like it 🙂 There isn’t much angts so far, and I know you like that 🙂
      Good luck in the giveaway!

      Like

    • I’m glad you have high hopes of the twins, Glynis! Good luck in the draw!

      Like

  3. Fantastic post, ladies. Rita, you had terrific interview questions and I loved all of your answers, Cass. I am a huge fan of Cass Grafton’s writing and this book made me even more so. It is awesome. The mystery element was well done and added intrigue and suspense that I thoroughly enjoyed. I could hardly tolerate Darcy’s interest in the ‘other’ woman! The book has much Lizzy and Darcy time and it was electric! The twins, well, they are absolutely delightful. Goodness, how I go on. Sounds like I’m writing another review! lol

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m glad you liked the interview Janet, and I like to read your comments, so please do not refrain from sharing all your ideas about this book. I’m only at 65% so far, but I’m loving all the E&D moments, and the mystery…hum…very, very interesting. I hope I’ll be able to finish the book tomorrow 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • LOL Janet. Thank you so much for your lovely words!

      Like

  4. Pam Hunter

    Great interview, ladies! I’ve had this book on my wish list since it was released and would be thrilled to win a copy (plus the other lovely goodies, too!)
    Thanks for the great giveaway!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Mary

    ‘The rigid protection he placed around his heart begins to falter…’
    So beautifully worded!!

    And that is exactly what I’m looking forward to seeing, how Darcy realises that his ‘infatuation’ with the spirited Hertorfdshire lass is anything but(!), how he sets aside the paragon of staid good manners,beauty and wealth,(society’s necessary traits in a Ton wife) for the impish grin,raised eyebrow,auburn tresses and delightful heart stopping laugh that encompasses one Elizabeth Bennet!!

    Best of luck with this book,Cassandra!
    Rita,I loved this post! So interesting and informative!
    Cheers to you both for such! ☺️

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great interview! I love Cassandra’s stories and this last one was very special because I could follow it while she was posting (even though sometimes it felt like years from one post to another, lol). Thank you for the lovely giveaway, girls!! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  7. A lovely interview! A Fair Prospect is one of the first JAFFs I ever read and still one of my top favourites — and of course The Charm is one of my top favourite books of any genre. Altho’ I’ve read Quest in serial form, the completed book is still on my Must-Read list, but I’m determined to read it in paperback. So if I win I’ll be overjoyed; if not, I’ll start my Xmas wish list in August. Many thanks for offering this giveaway.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. J. W. Garrett

    Rita… this was a delightful post and such a lovely picture. Thank you for hosting this most excellent discussion. I was amazed at the background that made up the stories I’ve read and look forward to those in my TBR pile. I want to thank Cassandra 1st for writing JAFF for us. 2nd, for creating such memorable characters, and 3rd for her generous giveaway. This was so exciting. I look forward to reading ‘Quest’ and have stalked the blogs hoping to win one. If you see someone lurking the blogs, no worries, it’s just me. I’m harmless. Blessings on the success of this and future books. You have friends here. Have a blessed day. JWG

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Lovely interview ladies! I wish I could have been in Winchester last week and/or yesterday. My work diary didn’t allow it so I’ve had to live vicariously through blog posts, the media and social media. All is not totally lost though, as I’m managing a trip to Hampshire at the end of August due to an unexpected change in my work schedule then.

    As one of the gang who followed Quest for six months as Cass posted it online, I loved it then and even more when I got to read it as published later on. I don’t think I’m giving away any spoilers when I mention the second proposal! It’s one of those ‘melting into a puddle’ scenes – of which there are several more. Sigh!

    The twins are a total delight and though they need taking in hand a bit by Bungley (sorry, couldn’t resist that!), they’ll never be anything like their elder sisters, thank goodness.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh… you made me want to pick up the book and start reading so I can get to the second proposal asap Anji!! I think I’ll off line for a while now.. I’ll be reading non stop until I get to the end of the book 🙂

      Like

    • Anji! I’m so happy you will get to Hampshire soon! Enjoy all,the Jane Austen 200 exhibits!

      I loved having you as part of the Quest gang, and Bungley will be forever in my heart! 😂

      Like

  10. Christina Boyd

    I enjoyed this book. Then again I enjoy all her books! And those twins! Too fun. And I love that you two met. And in such a place. At such a time. So lucky!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Lovely interview. I’ve heard great things about this book, can’t wait to read.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. This story sounds really interesting and oh so mysterious… I’m intruiged!! Znd mr Bingleys twin sisters, did not know he had them but they sound fun. Would love the chance to read it myself. So please count me in, thank you!

    Liked by 2 people

  13. It was fun hearing a out how Cassandra came up with the story and the names for the characters. I have always enjoyed Cassandra’s writing. Please do not enter me as I have already won one of her lovely gift packages. Her gifts are so generous.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Kim P.

    Great interview. I cannot wait to read this book!! The Fair Prospect trilogy is one of my all time favorites and I loved The Particular Charm too (when is that sequel coming!?). Thank you for this awesome giveaway.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Sharon Legg

    I also have had this book on my wish list for what seems forever. I cannot wait to read it or win a book! 🙂 This was a great interview. I just wish I had been available to be here as it happened. Good luck everyone!!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Amanda Frank

    I love the sound of this. I find it interesting that there are now 5 Bingley girls. My first thought on that was that’s the same amount as Bennet girls, makes me wonder.
    Besides winning the book of course, I so want to win just to get the Jane 200 keychain since I collect keychains. Everything else would be icing on the cake

    Liked by 1 person

  17. caroleincanada

    I learned something new today! Cassandra co-wrote Harry Potter fan fiction! Who knew! Fair Prospect trilogy was one of my early JAFF reads that I absolutely love! Heck, anything Cassandra writes I love! As one of the ‘gang’, I am looking forward to reading the ‘Beast’ in the near future! Thank you Cassandra for such a delightful story and new characters…the Twins!
    Lovely interview Rita and I am soooo jealous you got to meet Cassandra and all the others on the 18th. What a fabulous opportunity to be there for Jane’s 200th memorial service.
    Please do not enter me in the giveaway, as I won a wonderful prize pack during the blog tour!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. This is a book that I am really looking forward to reading but I really need time, I hope to read it this year :S
    Great interview, Rita 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Karylee Marin

    I wanna win! I wanna win! I always want to win… lol!… and I thank you, Cass and Rita, for the lovely opportunity. You two most certainly WON – together for Jane200! So jealous! AND happy for you both.
    Cass, of all the particular charms of Ms. Cass Grafton, one in particular 😉 never fails to warm me… “She … splits her time between Switzerland, where she lives with her husband, and England, where she lives with her characters.” I just LOVE that!

    Thank you, ladies, and, congratulations, Cass!

    Karylee (like Carolee)

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Sally Cline

    I love Pride & Prejudice Mysteries! I would also love to win an ebook!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Mary Preston

    Thank you for such a wonderful post and giveaway.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. HeatherY

    I was so happy to see this pop up in my blog feed! More sisters for our poor beleaguered Mr. Bingley definitely has me intrigued. I’d love to be entered into this giveaway!

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Dung

    Great interview! Always love getting to know an author better! I’m looking forward to reading about the Bingley twins and Darcy & Elizabeth’s journey to HEA especially since he wasn’t around of the Lydia/Wickham incident…

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Sophia Rose

    Neat that you ladies were able to meet up in Winchester. I enjoyed learning about Cassandra’s journey from HPFF to writing her trio and then onward. I’ve got Quest for Mr. Darcy and can’t wait to snatch it up and discover all the delights inside.

    Great interview, ladies!

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Maria

    Ooh Winchester! I love that place! I went once in 2013 and it was such a touching experience.
    I’ve just finished A Fair Prospect series and absolutely loved it! Can’t wait to get to Cassandra’s new book! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Great interview. I’ve enjoyed all of CassCass’s books, thank you. The latest is hilarious with the addition of the twins.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Laura C

    Wow! I love the idea of additional Bingley sisters (especially of a different temperament!) and like that this takes place a year later, after Lydia’s ‘elopement.’ I’m intrigued to see what Darcy will do and how he’ll react!

    Liked by 1 person

  28. evamedmonds

    Thank you for the interview. I think many JAFF readers live in England with their characters and live elsewhere with their family. I cannot imagine Mr. Bingley with five sisters! How does he handle them? Let’s hope they are not all like Miss Bingley and Mrs. Hurst. I have enjoyed all of Cass’ books and hope to win an ebook of Mr. Darcy’s Quest. Thank you for the giveaway.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. I love the nod to the lovely Mr Thornton! This is an interesting springboard for a story, all the best with it Cassandra.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. I just simply love Jane Austin! Thank you so much for this post!

    Liked by 1 person

  31. I have been following Cassandra’s virtual tour and hope to win it this time. Cassandra is very generous to sponsor Austenesque gifts that are lovely and memorable. The interview was great too as I get to know more about the author.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Leah Pruett

    Cassandra is such a talented writer! Darcy’s Quest is one I haven’t read yet. I hope to pick it up very soon! Thank you for the generous giveaway!!

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Pingback: An Interview with Cassandra Grafton & Giveaway | Thehouseai's Weblog

  34. thehouseai

    I love the premise. It sounds ripe for conflict, characters for future books or stories, and I really want to read this, my first JAFF.

    Liked by 1 person

  35. I love the cover for this new book. Love how writing FF for Harry Potter led you to JAFF. Quite a journey.

    denise

    Liked by 1 person

  36. ! […] Source: An Interview with Cassandra Grafton & Giveaway […]

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  37. I’ve had the pleasure reading your novel, The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen, which really got me hooked! Congratulations Cass, and I am so excited for this new work of yours. (and reading more about Darcy…of course 🙂 ) So much love for Jane Austen!

    Liked by 1 person

  38. I have enjoyed all of Cass’ books. Good luck to those in the draw. Thanks for sharing.

    Like

  39. Pingback: And the giveaway winners are… | From Pemberley to Milton

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