Category Archives: interview

Interview with Elaine Owen

Hello everyone,

Elaine-Owen-portfolio-283x435Elaine Owen first fell in love with Jane Austen as a young teenager. She read Pride & Prejudice for the first time in the summer between eighth and ninth grades, and while other kids were giving book reports on things like The Hardy Boys and the Mystery of The Ticking Clock, she was describing the ways that character faults are explored in Jane Austen’s classic. Although her English teacher was vastly entertained, it is possible that her classmates viewed her as a cross between Mary Bennet and Lady Catherine.

Elaine eventually discovered Jane Austen fan fiction books in her local bookstore and spent lots of money she did not have in order to devour them all. When her credit cards were maxed out and store clerks said she really had to leave, she became desperate and discovered fan fiction sites online. Around this time her therapist suggested that she find some kind of creative outlet for herself. Elaine took a deep breath, swallowed nervously, and wrote down the first chapter of what eventually became her first book, Mr. Darcy’s Persistent Pursuit. And this year, she published Common Ground her first North and South variation book, making her one of the few authors writing fan fiction for my favorite novels: Pride and Prejudice and North and South.

With this background I obviously had to invite her to visit my blog. She happily agreed to concede me an interview, and I hope you all enjoy getting to know Mrs. Owen and her work as much as I did.

 

26120389__UY200_ common ground

 

First of all let me thank you for taking the time to visit From Pemberley to Milton Mrs. Owen. It is a pleasure to have you here!   Your first published book was Mr. Darcy’s Persistent Pursuit, and after that one, JAFF books followed. Why did you decide to write a North and South fan fiction book?

At some point last fall I noticed N&S referenced again and again on the various JAFF boards, and I finally decided to see what all the fuss was about. So I downloaded the book and started reading that, and I was about halfway through when I watched the movie. I was hooked! Who wouldn’t be, after both of *those* experiences? So then I just wrote a one-shot with my idea of what might have happened on the train ride back to Milton after that famous kiss. I only meant for it to be that one chapter, but the reaction I received convinced me to continue the story, and things just went from there.

 

Why did you choose to write a sequel and not a variation?

That was just where the story seemed to lead me, since I had started on the train platform.

 

Many authors choose to begin their sequels after the train station scene created by BBC and not the original ending scene in the book. Do you believe the BBC adaptation is crucial to the success of the story? Or would Gaskell’s work have the same effect on the public without the wonderful Richard Armitage performance?

No, I don’t think it would have. Gaskell’s book is easier for modern readers to absorb than Pride and Prejudice, but it is still fairly dry by today’s standards. The movie version is much more for modern audiences, and it helps that the movie was done so well.

 

In North and South Gaskell explores the workers difficulties and struggles. In Common Ground you choose to explore the difficulties faced by the masters. Would you like to tell us more about that?

Again, this story was inspired by the train platform scene, so automatically it was told from Thornton and Margaret’s viewpoint. That meant that the story would be more about their struggles together, which then put more focus on Thornton as a master and the difficulties he faced. However, in the end it becomes apparent that the fates of the masters and the workers are inextricably tied together, and they all profit when they learn to work together. I hope Gaskell would approve.

 

I am sure she would. North and South was much more than a romance and the social struggles played a big part on her writing. It is not common to see fan fiction who also delves on that, however, you did it in your book. In fact, in Common Ground you clearly explain what was the speculation in which Watson entered. Where did you come up with this specific idea?

There was a story I had read some years ago which had the same basic idea– basing the possibility of profit on a specific event in a foreign country. (No spoilers here! 🙂 ) The idea sounds horrifying to us today for moral reasons, as well as for the risk involved, but banks were not regulated then like they are now, and things like this *did* happen. The novelty of the idea stuck in my head, so I adapted it for my own use. I wish I could remember the exact book or author.

 

This book was released as part of the Margaret of Milton series, does that mean we are to expect another North and South book?

Yes. I am still working on a Darcy and Elizabeth story, tentatively titled Duty Demands, and then I will finish up my Longbourn Unexpected series. After that I would like to write in detail about the first ten years of the Thornton’s marriage, and possibly also base a story on the character of Nicholas Higgins. Who wouldn’t want to see more of Higgins?

 

I know I would! And I often wonder what would have happened to Higgins if Bessy didn’t die. Is there hope for a variation where she does not die?

I haven’t really thought about it, but that sounds like an excellent idea!!!

 

The number of writers who started with JAFF but are now also writing about North and South is increasing, do you believe we will start to see a boom of North and South fan fiction? Do you believe it will ever get to the proportions of Pride and Prejudice fan fic?

I hope to see it increase, as the dramatic possibilities are endless. But for it to swell to the almost cult-like devotion of Pride and Prejudice proportions is probably a number of years in the future. But that’s good news—we have years and years of Thornton and Margaret ahead of us!

 

Once again I would like to thank Mrs. Owen for her availability to chat a little bit with me. I hope you have all enjoyed the interview and if you are curious about Common Ground you can always see the review I posted last week.

Thank you, Rita, for taking the time to introduce my book on your blog. Also I really appreciate the thoughtful questions you put together. It has been a pleasure to “speak” with you, and I look forward to following From Pemberley to Milton for myself!

 

Until our next North and South post…which will be very, very soon 🙂

 

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Filed under interview, North and South, Pride and Prejudice

Hope for Mr. Darcy – Character Interview & Giveaway

Hello dear readers,

How are you today? I am incredibly happy today, in fact I’m as happy as I could be to be hosting Jeanna Ellsworth on her first post for the launch of Hope for Mr. Darcy which was released two days ago.

HFMDE-CoverHope for Mr. Darcy is the first volume of the Hope Series Trilogy, a Regency variation series based on Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

This trilogy promises hope and will always light our way through the darkness of unrequited love, but eventually bringing tremendously gratifying outcomes for our three favorite characters: Mr. Darcy, Colonel Fitzwilliam, and Georgiana Darcy.

I’m looking forward to read this book as Mrs. Ellsworth previous books are amongst some of my favorites, namely Mr. Darcy’s Promise that I have recently reviewed.

 

I hope you get as enthusiastic about it as I am after reading the book blurb and getting to know it’s main character a little better. That’s right everyone, Mr. Darcy himself visited from Pemberley to Milton and allowed me to ask him some questions.

Let me remind you that he came to visit just after he had been refused by Miss Elizabeth Bennet, and I might have been a bit impertinent for his taste, so his temper might not have been very tempered at the time. In fact, he had to leave and return a little later to finish the interview. But I won’t take your precious time anymore, I will leave you to read the interview and see for yourselves the state a man who has just been refused finds himself in.

 

 

***Book Blurb***

 

Still shaken from his horrible proposal, Elizabeth Bennet falls ill at the Rosings Parsonage upon reading Fitzwilliam Darcy’s letter. In her increasingly delirious state, unfathomable influences inspire her to write an impulsive response. The letter gives Mr. Darcy hope in a way that nothing else could.

As her illness progresses, Darcy is there at her side, crossing boundaries he has never crossed, declaring things he has never declared. A unique experience bridges them over their earlier misunderstandings, and they start to work out their differences. That is, until Elizabeth begins to recover.

Suddenly, Elizabeth is left alone to wonder what exactly occurred between the two of them in her dreamlike state. And for the first time since meeting the man from Pemberley, she finds herself hoping for Mr. Darcy to return and rekindle what once was.

 

 

***Interview with Mr. Darcy***

 

Welcome to From Pemberley to Milton Mr. Darcy!

It’s an honor to have you here sir, especially as I’ve been told this is a particularly hard time for you. I don’t mean to intrude, but I can’t resist the temptation to ask. What is it like to find your soul mate, or what some people call your touchstone, your one in five billion, and lose it before she was even yours to lose?

There really are no words to describe the torment. It is as if you truly have nothing and never did, nor will you ever have anything of value again. I am Fitzwilliam Darcy, a gentleman raised without needs. I have never had a desire long enough to know how to define it. But Elizabeth, pardon me, Miss Elizabeth––I still have a hard time thinking of her in any other way but intimately––she . . . she changed that for me forever. The only need I have ever had, the only thirst that has ever tortured me, will never be quenched.

 

I am sorry for being so frank, but why give up so easily? Fitzwilliam Darcy is not a quitter. Where there is love, there is hope. How far will you chase that hope and turn it into reality?

Hope? Ha! Pardon me, a gentleman should never scoff like that. Do be serious! My reaction to that question makes me just shake my head in disbelief. You think I should try again? I was refused! I haven’t been refused anything! Not in all my eight and twenty years . . . Nothing . . . ever.

 

Are you well, Mr. Darcy? You sighed just now and stopped talking. Would you like some wine?

Oh, yes, actually, no. What I mean is, no, I do not need wine, and yes, I am well, strangely so. Forgive me. I allowed myself to ponder that question a bit more. The idea that I might have a chance, and truly, if the chance was one in a million, I have to admit I would take it! How odd this feeling is. Hope.

 

You are smiling, sir. But you did not answer the question. How far would you go?

Well, for starters, my cousin, Colonel Fitzwilliam, just told me she was ill. He has been begging me to go see her at the parsonage. It was only this morning that I gave her the letter in the grove. I needed a minute to consider it before I answered him. I remember thinking, could I really be in her presence so soon after she refused me? The wound is still raw, so terribly raw. You have to understand that. But, I have to admit, I am considering it. I tend to journal my thoughts sometimes. Would you like to hear my exact thoughts from that moment?

 

Of course. What a privilege.

 

Just to explain, it is easier to write in the third person. I do not know why, but it helps me. These are my thoughts: “What did Richard mean that she was ill? Ill like one of those headaches ladies employ when they want to be left alone? Yes, surely that was it. “The last man in the world . . .” He had to distance himself emotionally from anything that had to do with Miss Elizabeth. He had no choice. He could ill afford to demonstrate any interest in her welfare. Even if he were still desperately interested. More than anything, he wanted to know whether his letter had helped to refute the two accusations she had spat at him yesterday. But was there really any hope of that? No. There was no hope; not for Mr. Darcy.”

 

There is no hope for Mr. Darcy? Might I parrot your sentiments from a moment ago; do be serious! Are you worthy of her if you are not willing to fight for her? What kind of man would give up hope?

I am sure what I said was not what you were expecting. I suppose we all have suffered some disappointment today, I know I have. Perhaps we should end this. I hate to say it, but this has been a very difficult interview. I suppose you see a prideful man too. I truly thought I had been sufficiently humbled yesterday when miss Elizabeth refused me. Yet, your probing, your sword of honesty has been a direct hit. I am being interviewed, questioned in every way, and the impertinence is quite foreign for me. Ha, well, perhaps not so foreign.

 

Why did you just chuckle? What is so humorous?

Do you mind if I postpone the rest of the interview? I find my mind is not engaged at the moment, at least not with you. I find a small rector’s cottage on the northeast corner of my aunt’s property has completely overtaken my mind. I shall return.

 

*****

 

Welcome back, Mr. Darcy. Oh my, I do not believe I have seen you smile so charmingly. It is late, but I see you have returned from the parsonage. But from the look in your eyes, you are ready to burst forthwith. Do not let me stop you.

Thank you Mrs. Deodato. You are absolutely correct! I did it! I went and saw her! And although feverish, and perhaps a little delusional, something was there.

––Something to hope for? Oh dear, forgive me, I did not mean to make you emotional. Here is a fresh handkerchief.

Yes, you took the words right out of my mouth. As miniscule as it sounds, there was something there. It can only be described as hope. It was amazing, truly unbelievable. She fell asleep shortly after we talked, for she is truly ill, but then this happened. May I share again what I have written?

 

If you do not, you will have several disappointed people.

Thanks you. After she fell asleep on the chaise, while we were waiting for the apothecary to come, this happened: “Darcy slipped his hand into hers just as her eyes closed peacefully. Colonel Fitzwilliam handed him a cool washcloth, and Darcy wiped her brow with it again and again. After a few minutes, her breathing slowed, and it was clear she had fallen asleep.

Darcy took a deep breath. These last moments with her had been the most pleasant interaction he had ever had with her. She was confused and feverish, but she had been kind and concerned about him. And for the first time, he had been honest and open with her. He had nearly forgotten anyone else was in the room.

Just then, as if determined to not be forgotten, Colonel Fitzwilliam loudly cleared his throat and curiously eyed Darcy’s hand clasping Elizabeth’s. The expression on his face spoke silent volumes. Darcy suspected that his cousin knew the whole truth now, and that irritated him somewhat. But that was Richard’s way. He investigated and searched out answers much like a lawyer who twisted and turned his witnesses until the truth burst forthwith in an onslaught. Yes, Richard wanted him to lay his cards out on the table. But this wasn’t any card game. His very heart was lying on a chaise, with new beads of sweat on her brow, gently reaching out to him with her tiny limp hand. He didn’t have time to explain himself to Richard.

He wiped her brow again and rubbed the cloth along her forearms down to the hand that he held. Every brush of the cloth seemed to calm her. She gently squeezed his hand. Whatever was ailing her, she seemed to find comfort with him there holding her hand. He could do that much. He would be happy to do whatever she desired. With a pang of anxiety, he paused with the cloth and wondered just how delirious she was. Was he taking liberties with her? Her words from yesterday still stung . . . “the last man in the world I could ever be prevailed upon to marry.” He heard Mrs. Collins pass by on her way to the front door, welcoming the apothecary. He leaned down and kissed the back of her hand and then folded her arm against her chest and reluctantly left it there.

Ever so quietly, he heard Elizabeth whispering in her sleep, “Mr. Darcy, do not leave me . . .”

 

What powerful prose. I can only imagine how light your heart felt with her asking you to stay. I am afraid our time is almost up. I want to thank you for your private feelings you have shared with us today. Is there anything else you would like to share with us before we end?

Most definitely. You cannot be more shocked than I was, but, Miss Elizabeth responded to the letter from this morning. She wrote me a letter in return! It is far too personal to include in this interview, but I will share my reaction after I read it. Allow me to share one more excerpt, if I may. “Darcy sat back and relaxed a bit. It was a good letter; it offered him a bit of peace. There was much to be thankful for. He folded the letter and took the lantern and stood up. As he walked to Rosings, his step had a bounce to it. His eyes saw all the many paths that he and Elizabeth had walked over the last few weeks. Each moment that he had found her on her walk, he had never once imagined that she thought ill of him. But she did. At least back then. He smiled slightly. But perhaps she felt differently now.

He reminded himself that she was feverish and confused, and that her kindness and civility towards him might not represent how she truly felt. But the letter still affected him, even more powerfully than holding her limp hand or cradling her sleepy head on his shoulder.

For the first time since yesterday, he felt hope.”

 

How did you do it? Few people have the strength of constitution to independently draw the line for themselves between defeat and perseverance. Did Elizabeth’s letter really affect you that intensely?

Most definitely. I cannot say more. It has been a long, taxing day. Thank you for pushing me in this direction. She is worth fighting for. She is my love, my life, the love of my life.

 

Wow, that just left me speechless. I won’t take more of your time Mr. Darcy! Thank you so much for visiting From Pemberley to Milton, and good luck with winning Miss Elizabeth’s heart!

A good friend of mine, Miss Dana Scully, once said something I believe is adequate for you at this time, and I would advise you to remember it: Maybe there is hope…

 

I hope you have enjoyed this interview and that it has piqued your interest, if it has, you can always find Hope for Mr. Darcy at:

Amazon.com – Hope for Mr. Darcy

Amazon.co.uk – Hope For Mr. Darcy (Hope Series Trilogy Book 1)

Amazon.fr – Hope For Mr. Darcy (Hope Series Trilogy Book 1) (English Edition)

 

***It’s giveaway time***

 

Mrs. Ellsworth would like to celebrate the release of Hope for Mr. Darcy by offering one copy to one lucky reader at From Pemberley to Milton. The giveaway is international and the winner may chose a paperback or an eBook copy.

Leave a comment on this post and share your thoughts on Hope for Mr. Darcy with us until the 8th of May and stop by on the 9th to see who was the winner.

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Filed under giveaway, interview, Pride and Prejudice

Darcy vs. Bennet Giveaway Winner

 

Hello everyone,

I announced the winners of Victoria Kincaid’s e-books a couple of days ago, and the lucky winners were Diana for When Mary Met the Colonel and Joana Starnes for Darcy vs. Bennet, however, Joana Starnes already has a copy of Darcy vs. Bennet, which means another reader had the opportunity to win it.

I randomly selected another comment, and the new winner is:

 

***Dung***

 

Congratulations Dung! Please contact me through ritaluzdeodato at gmail dot com, and let me know in which e-mail you would like to receive he copy of Darcy vs. Bennet.

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Victoria Kincaid Interview & Giveaway

when-mary-met-the-colonel vk ig darcy-vs-bennet-thumbnail (1)

Hello everyone,

As some of you must have noticed, a few days ago, I published a review of the recently released How Mary Met the Colonel by Victoria Kincaid. It was one of my favorite books from Mrs. Kincaid, and though it was only published a couple of months ago, luckily she didn’t’ stop there. She has recently released Darcy vs. Elizabeth and I’m incredibly happy to have had the opportunity to ask her a few questions about both books 🙂

Along with her presence in From Pemberley to Milton, Mrs. Kincaid also decided to present our readers with 2 e-books: one of How Mary Met the Colonel and another one of Darcy vs. Elizabeth.

I hope the interview will entice you to read these books and help you select the one you would prefer to win in the giveaway.

 

Thank you so much for coming to FPTM Mrs. Kincaid. This is a recurring question, but I always like to know this about authors. Why and when did you decide to write Jan Austen Fan Fiction? What attracts you the most in JAFF?

Like many JAFF authors, I started by reading—and loving—JAFF. I was so thrilled when I discovered this world. I had always wished there was more Jane Austen to read—and now there was! And, even better, a whole universe of (really nice) people to share it with.

I hadn’t written a lot of novels, although I’d been a playwright for many years; but after reading JAFF for a while, I started getting my own Pride and Prejudice story ideas that simply would not leave me alone. 🙂 I finally wrote one down — and was surprised and thrilled at the reception it got from readers.

 

You have recently released a novel called When Mary Met the Colonel. Of all the secondary characters in Pride and Prejudice why did you choose Mary as main character for your novel?

Like a lot of readers, I really empathize with Mary—since we’re both bookish introverts. But she’s not very interesting when portrayed as moralizing and pedantic. I thought maybe because she’s so quiet there were sides to her that no one had noticed, and I wanted to explore those other dimensions.

 

In this novel we see a different side of Mary that no else ever bothered to see. How did you create this character, what inspired you to make her the perfect bride for Col. Fitzwilliam?

When I thought about uncovering new sides of Mary, I considered who might bring those qualities to light. I thought Colonel Fitzwilliam was perfect, in part because he’s not the obvious choice; he’s her opposite in many ways. Because he’s friendly and extroverted (and a soldier), he discovers—and helps the reader see—sides of Mary we haven’t seen before.   They also seem like two of the lonelier characters in P&P, so it was fun to bring them together.

 

You are now releasing a new novel, what can you tell us about it?

It’s called Darcy vs. Bennet and is sort of Romeo and Juliet combined with P&P. The premise is that Elizabeth’s father and Darcy’s father had a falling out in their youth and the two families have been feuding ever since. Darcy and Elizabeth meet and fall in love, but their families—particularly Darcy’s father (who is alive in this version)—stand in the way of their marriage.

 

It’s not very common to see Darcy’s father alive in a variation, how is he like? And how does this affect Darcy’s personality?

It’s very interesting what happens when Darcy’s father is alive. We’re so used to Darcy being his own master and not having to answer to anyone. However, in this book his father is not only alive, but he controls the purse strings. So that adds additional consequences to Darcy’s actions. His father also hates the Bennets, creating more obstacles for our heroes.

 

What about Georgiana? With her father alive I’m guessing the incident in Ramsgate must have been different, is she very present in Darcy vs Bennet? And is she still the shy sweet girl we know her to be?

Georgiana appears in the beginning—on the verge of a Ramsgate-like mistake—and then again later in the book.   But her personality is basically the same; she’s very supportive of Darcy in his struggles with their father.

 

This is the second novel you will release in a very short time, can we expect you to become a full time writer?

I wish! It is a goal I’m working toward, but not there yet. When Mary Met the Colonel was actually written in 2015, but I didn’t publish it until 2016 because my family moved in November and I was overwhelmed with my day job. But Darcy vs. Bennet was written mostly in 2016 and it’s March, so I’m pleased with how fast it went. I’m finishing up the first draft of my next P&P variation, but there will be at least two more drafts. Still I’m hoping readers won’t have to wait too long for that one.

If I sell enough books this year I might consider going full time. My husband has been very supportive.

 

You mentioned your day job could be overwhelming, how do you combine a full time job with writing?

Not very well! J I’m actually a freelance writer/editor; I work on marketing materials—primarily these days for IT companies. Freelancing gives me a lot of flexibility in my schedule, so that makes it easier to write my novels. However, I also have two children, so that absorbs a lot of my free time. 🙂

 

It doesn’t seem easy to combine everything you’re doing, plus, you are a self-published author. Could you tell us which are the main obstacles self-published authors face? And what is more rewarding about it?

There are so many obstacles it’s hard to pick just one. 🙂 There are internal obstacles like getting yourself to write every day and meeting deadlines. Then there are more external obstacles like figuring out how to market your writing in an industry that’s constantly changing and building up a readership. But I really enjoy writing. I love every part of it: writing the first draft, doing revisions, and getting that sense of accomplishment when I finish a book.

However, I would say that the reactions from my readers are even more rewarding. It’s great when hundreds of people buy my books, but it’s particularly wonderful I hear from someone on Facebook or email about how much my work means to them—and how they re-read my stories. There are authors whose books have had that impact on me, and I’m honored and humbled that some of my readers see my writing that way.   Writing can be grueling, and sometimes it’s the readers who keep me going. I know there are people waiting for my next book, so I want to get it to them and I want it to be good.

 

***It’s Giveaway time!!!***

As I mentioned before, Victoria Kincaid was kind enough to bring 2 e-books to giveaway at From Pemberley to Milton.

The giveaway is international, and to participate all you have to do is leave a comment on this post. Let us know which of her books you would prefer to win and why, or just ask her your own questions.

To increase your chances of winning, you may comment on the review for How Mary Met the Colonel or the excerpt for Darcy and Elizabeth we will be posting in the end of this week.

The giveaway is open until the 11th of April and the lucky winners will be randomly picked, and contacted a few days later.

Good luck everyone!!!

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Filed under giveaway, interview

J. L. Ashton – Interview and giveaway

ASA cover

Hello everyone,

J. L. Ashton has just released her debut novel A Searing Acquaintance and I’m very happy to be receiving her today at from Pemberley to Milton with an interview and giveaway promoted by Meryton Press.

I didn’t know J. L. Ashton before the release of her book, and to be honest, I haven’t read A Searing Acquaintance yet, but when I got the chance to interview her, all I could think of was “why haven’t I read anything from her before?”.

J.L. Ashton was a true pleasure to interview; she is incredibly nice, easy going, funny, interesting and loves parenthetical asides, something I totally relate to 🙂

I truly loved to read her answer to my questions, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did 🙂

 

***Author Interview***

J.L. Ashton

 

After so many years of imagining variations of Pride and Prejudice, what prompted you to write A Searing Acquaintance? 

How many of us have read books or stories that, after we put them down, stay in our heads and lead us to imagine unwritten scenes or a continuation? That was me when I was a kid. I grew out of that mindset until I read a story at Firthness—the first JAFF site I found—that prompted me to start imagining my own what-ifs for Pride and Prejudice. When I started writing JAFF stories, I think I always had a specific Darcy in my head. I don’t mean an actor or a face but the kind of good but flawed ideal man we all adore. My first (unpublished) story, By The Numbers, is a softer, lighter version of a modern Darcy and Elizabeth. I wondered how a Darcy who was really damaged by losing his parents but retained the essence of the man we all love and admire, would live in the modern world, and an Elizabeth, who carried her own baggage, would thrive as a successful young woman. And of course, how they would affect each other.

 

There are several sub-genres in JAFF, why a modernization? 

My earliest short JAFF stories were moderns; they were a nice way to ease into writing fiction. And although I’ve now written a few regencies and I love reading them, the stories that made me really fall in love with JAFF were a couple of moderns. They each took Elizabeth’s POV and never took us inside Darcy’s head but still made clear his passion and his love for her. Now I admit, I can’t write a story without peeking into Darcy’s head or writing light comedy into the dialogue, and I wasn’t sure about comic banter in a regency. More importantly, the key turning point in A Searing Acquaintance, their early physical encounter and what both take from it (or don’t remember), could not take place in a regency. I wanted to explore how rejection, or the perception of it, haunts one character while the other has spent his life not trying to be accepted. And of course, explore what happens during the happily after ever.

 

What can you tell us about A Searing Acquaintance? 

It’s about as faithful a modern re-telling of Pride and Prejudice can be…except for a lot of incidentals, comic banter, allusions to pop culture, sexual innuendo, and even more tangled, tragic family dynamics than Jane Austen provided for Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy.

 

Which were your main obstacles and achievements while writing your first novel? 

Oh, I am a terrible outliner and planner, and a world-class procrastinator. I am what another author calls “a guerilla writer:” I have a deadline and must write to meet it, so I do. I like to put myself under pressure and writing this story and posting it as I wrote it really made me focus. Also, a lot of the bits of dialogue, character observations or key plot turns will pop up in my head when I’m driving or in bed, and so I filled my phone with notes and random bits. I was posting chapters of this story weekly at A Happy Assembly and flying by the seat of my pants. The fact that so many readers praised the continuity and seamless flow was hugely gratifying and their comments really pushed me.

 

So far, A Searing Acquaintance has been a success with a 5 star rating at Amazon. Where you expecting such a warm reception from readers? 

It’s been unexpected, and so heartwarming to receive such lovely reviews and to see people buying the book. I am a total neophyte in all of this book publishing business; I’m a reader! I read a lot of fiction and biographies, and got started buying JAFF books back in the early 2000s—Linda Berdoll and Pamela Aiden—and continue to buy both moderns and regencies. I know regencies are more popular with readers and book buyers, and my book doesn’t have a special setting or hook like a lot of JAFF. So I am really happy that my modern take on my favorite novel is resonating with readers.

.
You mentioned in one of your posts that you like characterization. In your perspective, which is the most challenging character to develop in Pride and Prejudice? 

Elizabeth Bennet, definitely. Pride and Prejudice gives us an outline and impressions of Darcy and we get to fill him in and choose his colors, etc. With Elizabeth, we have much more to work with from canon, but I think it’s hard to capture the Elizabeth Bennet that JA gave us. We imprint her with our own point of view or behaviors, or borrow or emphasize others.

There’s an old saying about how women don’t dress for men, they dress to impress or get approval from other women. Is that still true today? Maybe it is in how we read stories based on classic literary characters. As women (which most of us are in JAFF), we tend to judge Elizabeth for being too tough on poor Mr. Darcy at Hunsford or too soft on nasty old Wickham. (I may be influenced in my thinking because my mom raised a houseful of girls who measured and judged themselves against her; my husband grew up with a bunch of brothers who paid no attention to her clothes or decorating sense.)

And who is a modern Elizabeth Bennet? The social gulf between regency Darcy and Elizabeth is clear enough. Recreating that same structure dividing them in modern times is a tall order. There are stories that make it more of a Cinderella story and bring together a waitress/secretary and a billionaire but I tend to lean away from fairy tales and more toward a modern Elizabeth like the women I know: smart, funny, curious, made for happiness, and driven to do well and be fulfilled in whatever career she pursues—the kind of woman a Darcy would be drawn to. And that is hard work to make believable, not whiny or unlikable or shrill. I was so happy when I had feedback from readers telling me how much they liked Elizabeth, or that she felt real to them.

 

 

It’s curious you mentioned Elizabeth is the most challenging character as I believe she is the one that changes the most in JAFF books. It seems each author has its own interpretation of Elizabeth, unlike Darcy who is, generally speaking, always the same.

Now, we know how your Elizabeth is going to be, but what about Darcy? How is your Darcy in A Searing Acquaintance?

I don’t subscribe to the “Darcy is Shy” school of thought, but I do think he is introverted, and quiet, and something about Elizabeth Bennet unnerves him. Weird tangent: I was very young when I read The Godfather; that is the first place I ever heard of “the thunderbolt,” which hits a man when he lays eyes for the first time on the woman he loves and (hopefully) marries. Strange as the connection may be, I apply that Sicilian theory to JA’s Darcy. In canon, he notices Elizabeth and dismisses her, but just as quickly he begins to notice her again and has to fight to stop noticing her. I doubt he has ever had to try to flirt or charm a lady; in London, they fell at his feet trying to gain notice. But he is “at risk”—or as we say today, vulnerable—to Elizabeth Bennet. In A Searing Acquaintance, he is not only vulnerable to her almost from their first meeting, he is just rather vulnerable, emotionally. But Darcy is pretty sealed off and reticent. He has an especially painful family history he never talks about, yet at Netherfield, he reveals himself to Elizabeth. His story, and her “lack of remembrance” of it, is part of what triggers the entire plot of A Searing Acquaintance.

(And can I add, he is not a weepy Darcy either. Sad as his past may be, he strives to deal with it and has friends and works hard.)

 

And the villains, can we expect the usual ones, or will there be any new villain in this story?

Much as I hate to write his character, George Wickham does show up here, and his father’s role in the Darcy family history is explored a bit as well. The other villains might be memory, for Darcy; as for Elizabeth, she does battle with some anger and self-esteem issues stemming from a pair of especially self-centered, neglectful parents. The Bennets divorced when Elizabeth and Jane were quite young, and Elizabeth has to deal with the unwelcomed return of her mostly absentee mother to her life just when she is coming to terms with her feelings for Darcy. And her mother, readers tell me, is simply awful in her role as an “emotional villain.”

 

 

What is the best gift readers can give you? Anything you would like to share with them?

Reading my work, and telling me what struck them or stayed with them—good or bad. I know I am far from a perfect writer, and I love hearing how other people view my interpretation of Pride and Prejudice. And I’d like to thank them for reading!

 

 

Did you get curious about Darcy, Elizabeth and the villains in A Searing Acquaintance? You can find out more in the book blurb 🙂

 

***Book Blurb***

 

“I don’t know why I ever thought we made sense.”

Smart, educated people are fools in love, especially when they’re mired in denial and misunderstanding.

In this modern spin on Jane Austen’s classic tale, Elizabeth Bennet, a grad student with literary aspirations, has found her big career break—and broken up with yet another forgettable boyfriend. While grateful for the professional lifeline thrown by sports agent George Wickham, she is intrigued by the man she calls Mr. Noir.

Fitzwilliam Darcy, marked by tragedy, is a man accustomed to living his life in the spotlight even as his heart dwells on the dark side of loneliness. When he first meets Elizabeth, he thinks she looks like “a bloody pumpkin,” but he soon sees so much more. She, however, can’t even decide what to call him. Mr. Noir? Nurse Darcy? Sleazy British playboy? Ferdinand?

“So, it’s Fitzwilliam, right? That’s an amazing name, you know. Which came first—the name or the accent?”

He looked at her.

“Oh, come on. It’s like the name of a subdivision or a sofa at Pottery Barn. `Please note the extra firm cushions on The Fitzwilliam.’”

Can an accidental encounter that leads to shocking intimacy change the course they’ve both set and bring them into love’s light? Or will they stay mired in cold words and angry misunderstandings, overshadowing the deep connection they each feel? Getting beyond their own mistakes to find each other again is one thing; they also have to heal the wounds of their pasts. Can they do that together?

 

 

***Author Bio***

JanAshton headshot

 

J.L. Ashton didn’t meet Jane Austen until she was in her late teens, but in a happy coincidence, she shares a similarity of name with the author and celebrates her birthday on the same day Pride & Prejudice was first published. Sadly, she’s yet to find any Darcy and Elizabeth candles on her cake, but she does own the action figures.

Like so many Austen fans, Jan was an early and avid reader with a vivid imagination and a well-used library card. Her family’s frequent moves in the U.S and abroad encouraged her to think of books and their authors as reliable friends. It took summers in London, a history degree, and another decade or two for her to start imagining variations on Pride & Prejudice, and another decade—filled with career, marriage, kids, and a menagerie of pets—to discover the world of JAFF. Today, in between writing Jane Austen variations, Jan lives and works in the Chicago area, where she volunteers far too often and is a member of the local and national chapters of the Jane Austen Society of North America.

A Searing Acquaintance is her first book.

 

You can contact J.L. Ashton through the following social media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jancat10

Blog: http://jlashton.merytonpress.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JanAshtonAuthor/

Instagram: Jancat95

 

 

***Blog Tour***

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From Pemberley to Milton is not the only stop J. L. Ashton is doing to promote her book. Don’t miss the blog tour with reviews, excerpts, giveaways and much more 🙂

 

3/7: Excerpt & Giveaway at My Jane Austen Book Club

3/8: Guest Post & Giveaway at So Little Time…

3/9: Review at Tomorrow is Another Day

3/10: Author Interview & Giveaway at From Pemberley to Milton

3/11: Character Interview & Giveaway at Leatherbound Reviews

3/12: Excerpt & Giveaway at Babblings of A Bookworm

3/13: Review at Liz’s Reading Life

3/14: Review at Half Agony, Half Hope

3/15: Review at Margie’s Must Reads

3/16: Excerpt & Giveaway at Best Sellers and Best Stellars

3/17: Guest Post at My Kids Led Me Back to Pride and Prejudice

3/18: Review at Diary of an Eccentric

3/19: Review at Just Jane 1813

3/20: Excerpt & Giveaway at Delighted Reader

3/21: Guest Post & Giveaway at Austenesque Reviews

***

*** It’s giveaway time!!! ***

I hope you want to read this book as much as I do, and in e you do, you have an opportunity to win a free copy!

Meryton Press is offering 4 copies of A Searing Acquaintance to some lucky readers, all you you have to do is click in the link below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck everyone!!!

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Filed under giveaway, interview, Pride and Prejudice, Uncategorized

Interview with Trudy Brasure & Giveaway

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Hello everyone,

As you must have noticed, last week I returned from my holidays and posted a review on In Consequence, a North and South variation by Trudy Brasure. But before going on holidays, I also told you that this month From Pemberley to Milton would have a lot of surprises with interviews, guests post and giveaways so, today I am happy to share with you an interview with author Trudy Brasure.

If you already know Mrs. Brasure I hope you find this interview interesting, and in case you don’t, I hope it makes you curious about her and her work. She is one of the biggest supporters of North and South discussion groups as well as one of the most known authors of N&S fan fiction, and I was very happy to receive her in my blog.

 

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Interview with Trudy Brasure

When was your first contact with Gaskell’s work and what captivated you about it?

I stumbled upon the BBC’s adaptation of “North and South” in October 2009. It was a pivotal event for me. I’d never heard of Elizabeth Gaskell before. Richard’s performance of the lonely and misunderstood John Thornton was utterly riveting. I don’t think I’d ever seen a romantic hero as vulnerable as Thornton was during that profoundly moving scene with his mother the night before he proposed. The intensity of emotion in this love story is amazing. Both Margaret and John are striving so hard to do what is right in life, and they’re holding their families up — yet they’re really both quite alone.

 

 

know you are not alone in being captivate by Armitage’s performance. Do you think he is the biggest reponsible for North and South’s success?

I do think that Richard Armitage’s performance of John Thornton is the single most compelling factor in the BBC’s 2004 production of “North and South.”  Gaskell’s story is unique in its exquisite description of Thornton’s anguish, and Armitage is able to brilliantly convey all this intense emotion — often without even saying a word!

Armitage has brought thousands to Gaskell’s great story, and I’m immensely grateful he was chosen for that role. It was perfection. However, I must add that this particular BBC production was a masterpiece in every way. The screenplay, the cast, the cinematography, the setting, and the music all combined to make this mini-series truly stunning. And Gaskell’s story is well worth the attention and praise. Her themes are still very relevant to today’s problems.

 

Why did you decide to write North and South fan fiction?
I couldn’t stop thinking about the heartache Margaret and John went through in Gaskell’s story. I was convinced that if they had only known that the other was in love with them at that terrible good-bye scene when Margaret leaves Milton, they could have avoided a painful year apart. So I began to image a scenario in which they could be brought together much sooner. I spent days and weeks thinking about the exact circumstancs and dialogue.

I had discovered the glorious world of fan fiction at C19 since my discovery of “North and South,” so I knew that people wrote their own version of what happened to Margaret and John in sequels and variations.

The story unfolding in my mind was becoming so clear, I knew I wanted to try to write it out. Thank goodness for C19! It was a lovely place to try my hand at writing fiction.

 

C19 is definitly heaven for any North and South fans. When did you know it was time to go from writing in C19 to publishing a book?

I never thought of publishing my story when I wrote it. But then a fellow C19 member suggested I post “A Heart for Milton” at Wattpad.com, and I found that my story had a much broader appeal than I ever imagined. It gave me confidence that I had written something special. Sometime later I began to notice how many Austen stories were being self-published, and I saw that there was one “North and South” variation being sold at Amazon. I really wanted to share my story with as many “North and South” fans as possible, so it wasn’t long before I decided to try self-publishing. It’s been a wonderful experience – even the bad reviews. They’ve helped me understand how others see Gaskell’s story.

 

Both your books are variations from the original story, do you have a particular preference for this genre or can we expect a sequel, prequel or diferente POV in the future?
I love taking one moment from the original story and changing it to see how everything unravels in a completely new way. I love putting the characters in new situations to see how they would react.

I don’t think I can ever write a straight sequel. I adore writing the angst involved when Thornton is still uncertain of Margaret’s love. Tortured Thornton is just too delicious to avoid.

My current work in progress takes a twist in a whole new place, far from the middle of Gaskell’s work. I seem to keep creeping further and further toward earlier chapters with my variations.

Posts under progress3

You’ve got me really curious about your new work, what else can you tell us about it?

As I mentioned, I love to make one twist in the story and explore how it would change events and the interaction between the characters. I don’t want to give too much away, but my basic question for this new variation is: what if the circumstances and setting of John and Margaret’s first encounter were different?

 

Both in A Heart for Milton and In Consequence we see a lot of romantic scenes, but we are also presented with a portrait of Victorian society. Did you need to do a lot of research to write these books?

I was reading everything I could about Abraham Lincoln before I happened upon Gaskell’s story. So I had already been immersed in the Victorian world for some time. I’ve always loved the Victorian Era. But yes, I did much research to try to portray something of the reality of that time and place. I also learned a great deal about Victorian society and mannerisms from the “North and South” discussions archived at C19.

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Have you ever imagined a variation where Bessy wouldn’t die? How do you think that could impact the story?

I can’t say I’ve ever thought about saving Bessy from her fate. It seems like she’s already quite ill by the time Margaret meets her. If Bessy hadn’t died, Margaret wouldn’t have been so friendless. Bessy would have loved watching Margaret become Thornton’s wife. Then Bessy would surely have been invited at some time to dine at Marlborough Mills!

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Apart from John and Margaret, which is the character that you mostly like to write and develop?

I really enjoy developing Hannah. Outwardly, she has such a tough shell. But there is a warmth underneath that I love drawing out. It would be interesting to write her history. But I don’t think I’ll ever get around to that!

I also love writing Higgins and Mr Bell with elements of their insight and humor.

 

You say Hanna has a warmth underneath that you love drawing out, but I’ve seen a couple versions who portray her as an evil person. Why do you think she is so controverse amongst readers and writers?

Hannah Thornton truly is something of a complicated character. She’s a bit like her son: tough outer shell, but tender inside. However, her tender side is hidden much more deeply than John’s. I think the misunderstanding concerning Hannah comes from the tendency to see only the surface of the character – the crusty, unsmiling part. Also I’d have to say that it would be difficult to truly comprehend Hannah by just viewing the mini-series. If you haven’t studied the book, you will probably miss the hints that show us that Hannah actually admires Margaret’s strength, spirit, and honesty. The only thing that she dislikes about Margaret is that Margaret looks down on her son and hurts him. Once she sees how much Margaret truly admires and adores her son, I think she will grow to appreciate Margaret. Even if she can’t be first in John’s life anymore!

(Hannah is a subject I’m eager to explore someday at my new blog: MoreThanThornton.com)

 

It is impossible to think of North and South without thinking of Richard Armitage. Many people claim he would be perfect for a Mr. Darcy role, but for me Armitage will always be Thornton and Firth will always be Darcy. What are your thoughts on it?
I have to confess that I watched and read “North and South” first before watching and reading “Pride and Prejudice.” It was “North and South” that ignited my interest in period dramas and classic romantic literature. So I can’t say I was ever firmly in love with Darcy since Thornton is my first love. No one can beat Richard’s performance, however. He has defined John Thornton for the screen probably for at least a half century.

If I could pick a classic role for Armitage, I’d have to choose Mr. Rochester. Richard is brilliant at making you feel the pain of his characters. And I think Rochester is a good man in a very hard place. Richard would make us sympathize with this dark, mysterious character. (But I also think Toby Stephens already did an incredible job with this role.)

 

Is there anything you would like to share with your readers?

I’d have to share my surprise in finding out that not all fans of “North and South” interpret Gaskell’s story in the same way. My guess is that most Austen fans generally agree on the basic themes and character development of “Pride and Prejudice.” But there are varying views on Gaskell’s messages and her character development, including those that feel that the author was unable to bring the story’s conflicts to a satisfying conclusion.

I’m always eager to share my perspective of Gaskell’s wonderful, well-developed story — which I see in a very positive light. That’s one of the overiding reasons I started my own North and South blog: MoreThanThornton.org
But mostly, I just love discussing “North and South” with people! There’s so much in the book to explore.

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To all my portuguese speaking readers, I bring some news. A Heart For Milton was finally translated to portuguese!!!

As you can see in the picture, Trudy Brasure is holding a copy of Um Coração por Milton.

The book is currently available for sale in Brazil, but I’m confidente it will reach portuguese bookshops very shortly 🙂

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It’s giveaway time!!!

Trudy Brasure would like to offer one copy of In Consequence, e-book or paperback (winner’s choice) to our readers at From Pemberley to Milton.

The giveaway is international and to participate all you have to do is place your own questions to Trudy or just share your kind words and love with her by leaving a comment on this post.

The giveaway is open until the 17th of March and the lucky winner will be randomly picked and announced on the 19th of March.

Good luck everyone, and I hope you enjoyed the interview!!!

59 Comments

Filed under giveaway, interview, North and South