Good Morning everyone,
It’s release day for Mr. Darcy’s Persuasion and I am extremely honored to have its authors here with me to celebrate this special day 🙂
When I heard this book was coming out, I immediately added it to my TBR because what could be more perfect then a Pride & Prejudice and Persuasion mash up? This book brings together my two favorite Austen novels and my two favorite male heros, so my expectations are really high! Plus, A Fair Prospect from Cassandra Grafton remains to this day one of my all time favorite books, so I believe the writing will be to my liking. But I definitely wanted to know more about this book, so I decided to ask Cassandra and Ada Bright some questions about it. I hope you like the interview, but if there is something you’d like to know and that I forgot to ask, please do not hesitate to ask it in the comments, I’m sure they’ll be delighted to answer all yours questions 🙂
Thank you so much for choosing From Pemberley to Milton to celebrate release day Cass and Ada! It was a true pleasure to welcome you here today, and best of luck with this new novel 🙂
Can you tell us what inspired you to mash up Pride and Prejudice with Persuasion?
These are our two favourite Jane Austen novels and, as is so often the case when creating stories around characters we love, we wanted to find a challenging but fun way to move them around on the page.
Cass had the idea of how the connection might come about (explained in the short Prologue) a long time ago, and the plot flowed from there. It did evolve as the book was written, because as always, the characters took over at times and dragged us where we didn’t think we were going, but we managed to rein them in at the end!
Should readers expect two romance stories in this book, or will the book focus mainly on Darcy and Elizabeth?
Readers can definitely expect more than one romance in this book. Darcy and Elizabeth’s is the backbone, but there will be romance in the air for certain other characters.
Which character was easiest for you to write? And the most difficult?
Ada: As always when we collaborate on a writing project, we both write all the characters, but I found Anne the easier voice to produce because, though she is reserved, she has so much going on underneath the surface. The most difficult voice for me to write was Mary, because I kept wanting to turn her into a cartoon character!
Cass: I find writing the male characters more natural, and I always have particular fun with the colonel, because he just flows onto the page with great ease! There aren’t any I found difficult, exactly, but there were a couple I really didn’t enjoy writing!
It is curious to see none of you mentioned either Wentworth of Darcy, what can readers expect from these two characters in Mr. Darcy’s Persuasion?
Ada: They are two of the most romantic men out there, and we hope you will feel the longing that they both represent for our female heroines. We meet Mr Darcy at a time in Pride & Prejudice before he has understood the depth of his own pride, so unfortunately for him, he will still have to learn the lessons that Jane Austen laid out for him in our story as well, albeit in different circumstances.
Cass: The story is set in the winter of 1811, which is three years before the timeline of Persuasion. Anne Elliot is therefore only 24 and is closer in age to Lizzy than readers might expect. As a result of the timing, Captain Wentworth is away at sea…well, at first. We can’t say much more than that, other than we think people will enjoy—er, well, some of what we have in store for both gentlemen!
It is true, normally I would have said I found Darcy the easiest to write, but that’s because in previous stories, I have started either with a Darcy in shock from being rejected or one who is already changing. Staring as we have, after the Netherfield ball, I found it less appealing to write a Darcy who has some opinions I’m not too fond of. Thankfully, it didn’t last too long!
You are now publishing a variation of Austen’s stories, but you’ve also published original stories with original characters, which challenges you more? Original characters or JAFF? Why?
Ada: Oh, that is a good question! They each pose different challenges, as you might expect, but for us, because we are writing together but apart, particularly when we are creating original characters, we have to have a very specific—and identical—image in each of our minds. Therefore, to me, it feels the same. Either I’m trying to write “in character” using a beloved, established character or I’m trying to write “in character” using the framework Cass and I have agreed upon for our original characters.
Cass: Yes, when we sat down to co-write the time-travel adventures with Jane Austen, we spent a very enjoyable few hours on Google images, picking actors for each character, which was essential to ensure we were picturing the same features, build etc, when working separately on a scene.
I was a bit Poldark-obsessed when we plotted the first book in the series, so it was a natural step for Aidan Turner to be ‘cast’ as Aiden Trevellyan (did you see what we did with the initial thing there?), and therefore, Eleanor Tomlinson (with Demelza Poldark’s auburn curls) became Rose!
I find writing JAFF characters more challenging than original ones, mainly because you want them to remain true to the characters Jane Austen gave them whilst presenting them with different situations.
I believe people don’t often think or appreciate how difficult it is to write JAFF precisely because, as Cass mentioned, you want the characters to be true to Austen, but I also believe JAFF readers have now created their own version of Austen’s characters, which adds another difficulty for authors. How do you feel about that?
Ada: Just like the characters in our time travel romance books, Cass and I are no strangers to deeply invested fandoms where this sort of thing happens, and we love the communities we’ve been involved with. If there’s a spot to add a beloved fan reference, we will, but on the whole we do our best to keep our characterizations close to canon. Usually, anything we add is there not just because it suits the plot, but because Cass has researched and found that the winter in this specific year was particularly harsh and moved farther south than normal or that spoons didn’t exist yet (I’m joking about the spoons, but not about the weather!).
Cass: I think it’s fantastic to have readers so invested in these amazing characters created by Jane Austen, that they expect certain things from them. I do remember someone once complaining they had read a story where the colonel was called Colin or Anthony or something like that, and they just didn’t enjoy his character because to them, he should always be Richard! This is funny in itself, because Jane Austen was never very complimentary about Richards in her novels.
How is it like to write a book in collaboration with someone else? Can you tell us how different the process is?
Ada: It is an absolute joy, and don’t let Cass tell you different!! Writing with another person should only be undertaken with someone that you can trust and have humility with because that person is going to see your writing in its rawest form, and you have to hope that they will not run screaming for the hills.
The biggest difference between writing together and writing individually is that we always have someone else to help lighten the load of work or the pressure of making a decision. When one of us is weak, the other is often strong. When one of us is stuck, the other can at least make both of us laugh until a solution presents itself.
Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead characters from Mr. Darcy’s Persuasion?
Oh, another good question. Because there are beloved adaptations of both novels, we wanted readers to make their own decisions up to a point on how the leads looked, so we don’t specify too much detail.
Ada: Right, I really let my mind merge different parts of each of the actors we’ve already seen play the leads as I wrote.
Cass: I once longed to see Richard Armitage as Captain Wentworth, but he’s a bit too old for the role now, and I definitely wasn’t thinking of him as we wrote. I think Ada has the perfect answer for this.
I loved to see Richard Armitage in your list, and that leads me to a very important question! Will you ever consider writing a North and South variation?
Ada will have to watch it first (covers her face in shame).
Cass: I’m laughing! Ada, as you can probably tell, has never seen or read it. Much as I love both the book and the adaptation, I don’t think I know the characters well enough to attempt it, though I will own up to having pictured Richard Armitage for Oliver Seymour in my contemporary Cornwall romance. There’s even a scene in the book, which is an homage to one in North & South (the one where John Thornton falls asleep at his desk from exhaustion) only it’s not Oliver’s mother who discovers him!
How would you rate this book in terms of angst?
We do not feel like we write angst specifically—we just write to a plot that we have to resolve. That said, when re-reading the entire thing, Ada, who co-wrote this book, got very stressed even though she knew what was coming and had co-written it.
So, we have to be honest, and admit this story is not exactly angst free. However, both of us are strong believers in happy endings, and we can promise you more than one of those!
Two of Jane Austen’s classics collide in this intriguing tale of pride, prejudice and persuasion, set in England’s beautiful West Country.
In the aftermath of the Netherfield Ball, Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet are determined to find respite—Darcy from the allure of the lady and the feelings she evokes in him, and Elizabeth from the drama unfolding at Longbourn.
Fate is not done with them, however, as they both—unbeknownst to the other—take refuge on the Kellynch estate in Somersetshire, home to Sir Walter Elliot and two of his daughters.
Whilst Elizabeth takes solace from her friendship with Anne Elliot, Darcy finds little comfort in his reacquaintance with the woman fast taking hold of his heart—or, indeed, in the eldest Miss Elliot’s company, whose fluttering eyelashes make her intentions plain.
As for Anne, it is five long years since she last laid eyes upon Frederick Wentworth, and though her regret lingers, she has found some contentment in life… until distressing news of the captain arrives.
When hints of deep secrets emerge—some recently stolen, others harboured for decades—the mystery begins to wrap tendrils around Darcy as he struggles to free himself from its ever-tightening bonds.
Can Darcy discover the truth before it is too late? Will Elizabeth even care if he does? And just what has become of Captain Wentworth?If you enjoy Austen-inspired variations, then you’ll love Mr Darcy’s Persuasion—a tale of romance, friendship and mystery from award-winning writing duo, Cass Grafton and Ada Bright.
You can find at:
and on Kindle Unlimited
Cass and Ada would like to offer my readers two ebook copies of Mr. Darcy’s Persuasion, plus two different giveaway bundles as shown in the below pictures. The giveaway is international and all you have to do to apply is to leave a comment on this post. The giveaway is open until the 12th of March and the winners will be announced shortly after that.
Good Luck Everyone!