Maria Grace has been an important name in the Jane Austen community for many years. She has written several fiction books and novellas celebrating our dear characters from Pride & Prejudice, but also some non fiction works where she shares with us the costumes in regency, namely A Jane Austen Christmas: Regency Christmas Traditions and Courtship and Marriage in Jane Austen’s World.
Apart from all her work in JAFF, she has always been a dear author and I am very happy to interview her today regarding her recently released book: Snowbound at Hartfield.
I hope you enjoy this interview but if you still have any question that you would like to see answered, please do not hesitate to ask it in the comments. I’m sure Maria will be glad to answer you and it will enter you in the giveaway she is hosting.
Hello Maria, welcome to From Pemberley to Milton. I know you have just released a new book called Snowbound at Hartfield. What can you tell us about it? What can readers expect?
Maria Grace – Snowbound at Hartfield is a romance about second chances and the difficult reality single adults, men and women, faced in the regency era. Even though it deals with some difficult subjects, there’s a generous helping of humor and lots of warm fuzzies as well.
FPTM – This book is a mash up of several Austen stories, and even though I’ve seen crossovers between two different Austen books, I never saw one putting together characters from three different books. How did you come up with this idea?
MG – The idea for Snowbound came out of a March Mash-up Madness theme we had last year at Austen Variations.
FPTM – But why Emma, Persuasion and Pride and Prejudice?
MG – One of our readers suggested a scene between some of the Austen fathers, like Mr. Woodhouse, Mr. Bennet and Sir Walter Elliot. I took that idea and ran with it. By the time all was said and done, Snowbound was the result.
FPTM – The book is written from 2 different points of view and one of them is Miss Elizabeth Elliot from Persuasion. She is hardly ever seen in JAFF and I had never seen her as a main character, why did you decide to give her the spotlight on this novel?
MG – That came out of having Sir Walter Elliot as one of the fathers in the mash-up scene. I couldn’t imagine him traveling without company of some kind, and what more natural company for him to have that the daughter who still lived with him?
FPTM – Miss Elizabeth Elliot is a controversial character, what is her story on Snowbound at Hartfield? How did you decide to approach this character?
MG – We pick up Miss Elizabeth Elliot after she has had two very difficult experiences. First, the heir presumptive of the family, William Elliot has taken her friend, Penelope Clay ‘under his protections’–which is to say he has made her his mistress. Worse yet, she is living in his house, which was just not done. All this happened while Elizabeth was expecting an offer of marriage from him. On top of that humiliation, her younger sister Anne is married to the very desirable Captain Wentworth, leaving Elizabeth, the eldest sister who should have been the first to marry, the only one left unmarried.
So, Elizabeth is an humiliated spinster, whose financial situation requires her to live with her foolish father. In such a situation, she would be the mistress of the house, handling the management aspect of this home. With little money to work with, it would have been very challenging to live the lifestyle of a baronet, as her father would have required.
Living through all would tax anyone. To me, it seemed the perfect motivation for potential personal change, so that’s where I wrote her from.
FPTM – The other POV in this book is Col. Fitzwilliam whose character also takes an interesting turn in with a different side of him being explored. What can you tell us about his character?
MG -I think Col. Fitzwilliam is a complicated character. As a military officer of the era, he would have seen action in the Napoleonic wars. Those wars were brutal and horrific and it is hard to imagine a man who could experience that without some lasting effects. Those experiences impact him greatly, and leaving himself feeling ‘less’ than the man he used to be. That is part of the challenge he faces in this story.
FPTM – Thank you so much for letting us know more about Snowbound at Hartfield Maria. Is there anything else you want to tell my readers?
MG – Snowbound started as a bit of a lark, but the characters had a story to tell and wouldn’t leave me alone until I had allowed them to tell it. It didn’t end up to be the story I expected it to be, but after all was said and done, I’m very happy with the results.
You can find Snowbound at Hartfield at:
Though Maria Grace has been writing fiction since she was ten years old, those early efforts happily reside in a file drawer and are unlikely to see the light of day again, for which many are grateful. After penning five file-drawer novels in high school, she took a break from writing to pursue college and earn her doctorate in Educational Psychology. After 16 years of university teaching, she returned to her first love, fiction writing.
She has one husband and one grandson, two graduate degrees and two black belts, three sons, four undergraduate majors, five nieces, is starting her sixth year blogging on Random Bits of Fascination, has built seven websites, attended eight English country dance balls, sewn nine Regency era costumes, and shared her life with ten cats.
You can find Maria at:
Maria Grace has offered a giveaway of an ebook of “Snowbound at Hartfield for my From Pemberley to Milton readers. To enter it please leave a comment on this post until the 1st of March, and if you want to double your chances of winning, comment the review that will be posted here on the 23rd of February.
The winners will be announced in the beginning of March. To make sure you receive the winners announcement notification please follow From Pemberley to Milton to make sure you receive an e-mails every time a new post is published. I would hate to see someone didn’t win the book because they missed the announcement.
Good luck everyone!