Good Afternoon everyone,
Today I’m welcoming author Elizabeth Adams to talk a little about her latest book, The 26th of November. Initially I asked her to explain to us how she got this idea as that’s always something I like to know about a book, but as we talked about how funny the book was, and how satisfying it was to read and write a few scenes, we decided to change the theme of this guest post a little.
In it, you will not only discover how this book came into life, but also get to know Elizabeth Adams as she talks about what she always thought people should be able to do, Mr. Bennet’s attitude, and of course, Lydia Bennet and how to tame her. I hope you enjoy it and that you join us in this conversation 🙂
I wish I could say this story was the product of deep thought and detailed planning, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Here’s what happened.
It was a Wednesday afternoon. I was getting ready to go to my daughter’s school where I was choreographing a few numbers for her chorus after classes. I got my music and notes together, grabbed my water bottle, and there it was.
All of a sudden, more than half the story was in my head. Just a regular sunny afternoon, going about my usual routine, and bam! I didn’t have time to write it down, so I hopped in the car and I wasn’t more than two blocks away when I knew I had the majority of the story—plot, characters, sequence—in my mind, ready to go. I was four blocks away when I called my graphic designer and asked her how quickly she could turn around a cover. After rehearsal I called my editor. Before I went to bed, I had the first chapter locked down and notes all over the place.
After that, I wrote a chapter a day. I had to pause to take my kids to Dollywood for a long-planned weekend away, and I couldn’t wait to get back to my story. Two weeks in and I was halfway through chapter ten.
Quick side note: I know many of you are not remotely impressed by this writing speed. Allow me to tell you that for me, this is incredibly quick writing. I normally write rather slowly, especially if I don’t have a solid idea of where I’m going (which is often). Usually I have a good idea for a scene, and I write that pretty easily. Then comes the next part. I sit. And I stare. I write something, delete it, start again.
This can go on for a while, usually until I get an idea for another scene. Green Card took FOREVER to write, in fits and starts over several years (I had a baby, finished my degree, remodeled a 90-year-old house, the usual). Unwilling was faster than that, but still a laborious process. The first half of On Equal Ground came quickly, the second half in bits and pieces. The Houseguest was more similar to this experience—I got bit pretty hard by a plot bunny and started writing. Every morning, I woke up curious to see where the story was going and what the characters would do next. Eighty percent of that book was incredibly smooth sailing. *insert nostalgic sigh*
But that was a long time ago now. The baby that was in my womb at the time is six years old. I haven’t experienced anything as smooth and complete as that since… until this last spring, when I was in the process of writing a much more involved, enormous beast of a story and this suddenly dropped into my head.
When I say the story was in my mind, I mean the germ of it, and some scenes, not every tiny detail. So I still had some work to do.
The beauty of the repetitive day theme, and why I think the writing came so quickly, is because Elizabeth can behave however she wants now that she is essentially in a world with no consequences. I have always wanted her (or someone) to tell Mrs. Bennet to shut up. Just stuff a sock in it. You’re embarrassing literally EVERYONE in the room. But no one can ever say that.
I’ve often thought this is an odd rule. To avoid offending one person, in this case Mrs. B, we will offend dozens of others because that is the polite way to do it. This makes no sense to me. Someone should have taken her aside years ago and told her what was what. But obviously, that never happened, or if it did, she ignored the conversation.
So in this story, Elizabeth finally gets to tell her mother how she feels. And she REALLY tells Lydia how she feels. More than once and in a variety of ways. But the lecture/dressing down in the library was one of my favorite scenes to write. It was something I’ve been wanting to say to Lydia ever since I first read the book.
I’ve always thought Mr. Bennet is incredibly dense or has entirely too much faith in his daughter when he sends Lydia to Brighton. Did he seriously think a young, vivacious, well-developed and pretty girl would find herself insignificant at a beach crawling with men in uniform? What rock was he living under? The men likely outnumbered the women ten to one. It was never going to make any girl feel insignificant, especially not one like Lydia. Why he thought it would teach her anything useful, and not leave her pregnant, I don’t know. He was likely just burying his head in the sand because he didn’t want to deal with anything difficult or have to tell his wife no and listen to her whining.
See, this is why it would have been helpful to tell Mrs. B years ago that she should be more mature and not put girls out at fifteen. Mr. B would have felt less hounded and more able to say no, Lydia would have more discipline, etc. It all circles round. But no one tells her, Mr. B is frustratingly uninvolved, and Lydia is so stupid it’s painful.
In this book, Elizabeth gets to tell her parents, her sisters, Caroline Bingley, and Mr. Darcy exactly what she thinks of their behavior and their personalities. She gets to have cat fights and say things in public or to her parents that she would never normally be able to. It is very cathartic for her as a character, and writing it was cathartic for me as a writer. I hope it will be for the reader as well.
So there you have it. There was an idea floating around out there, I suppose it saw me as an easy target, and a few months later, here we are. What I learned from this experience and others like it, more than anything, is to be open and ready for the muse at any time. You never know when it will strike (though it does seem to have an affinity for vehicles), and if you let it, it will surprise you beyond your wildest imaginings.
Elizabeth Adams is a book-loving, tango-dancing, Austen enthusiast. She loves old houses and thinks birthdays should be celebrated with trips – as should most occasions. She can often be found by a sunny window with a cup of hot tea and a book in her hand.
She writes romantic comedy and comedic drama in both historic and modern settings.
She is the author of The Houseguest, Unwilling, On Equal Ground, and Meryton Vignettes: Tales of Pride and Prejudice, and the modern comedy Green Card.
You can find more information, short stories, and outtakes at elizabethadamswrites.wordpress.com
The Netherfield Ball: Classic. Predictable. Immortalized.
But, what if Elizabeth were forced to relive it over and over and over again? Night after night after night?
Elizabeth: Clever. Witty. Confident.
Suddenly, her confusion and desperation make her question things she long thought she knew.
Mr. Darcy: Proud. Unapproachable. Bad tempered.
In this world where nothing is as it seems, Elizabeth must learn to see through new eyes.
Including a man she thought she hated.
Let the hilarity ensue.
You can find the 26th of November at:
July 9 / From Pemberley to Milton / Book Review & Giveaway
July 13 / From Pemberley to Milton / Guest Post & Giveaway
July 19 / Of Pens & Pages / Book Review & Giveaway
July 20 / Babblings of a Bookworm / Book Review & Giveaway
July 21 / My Love for Jane Austen / Character Interview & Giveaway
July 25 / More Agreeably Engaged / Book Review & Giveaway
July 28 / Just Jane 1813 / Book Review & Giveaway
August 2 / Diary of an Eccentric / Book Review & Giveaway
August 6 / Austenesque Reviews / Excerpt Post & Giveaway
August 8 / My Vices and Weaknesses / Book Review & Giveaway
August 9 / Margie’s Must Reads / Book Review & Giveaway
Elizabeth Adams is offering five copies of The 26th of November, 5 audiobook codes, each one is good for one of her audiobooks and two autographed paperback copies of one of her books, readers’ choice from her catalog.
Readers may enter the drawing by tweeting once a day and daily commenting on a blog post or a review that has a giveaway attached for the tour. Entrants must provide the name of the blog where they commented. If an entrant does not do so, that entry will be disqualified.
Each winner will be randomly selected by Rafflecopter and the giveaway is international, to enter it, click here.
Good luck everyone!