Category Archives: Pride and Prejudice

The art behind the covers & giveaways

Hello everyone,

Some of my latest posts have been dedicated to cover reveals and I’ve mentioned in all of them how much I love covers, so I believe the subject of this post will not surprise you.

I admit it, I do buy books because of the cover! I know that the cover per se does not tell us if we are buying a quality product or not, but the truth is, we do buy things that are appealing to the sigh, and that happens to me with books. I am always captivated towards books with beautiful, enticing covers and when the cover is everything but appealing, I tend to walk away. Of course I pay a lot of attention to the author, the plot, etc, but the cover is one more detail that could make me buy a book or not. It shows a certain taste that I often see reflected in the writing. Sometimes I stop to read the blurb of a book just because of it’s cover, and if the cover was not attractive I probably would never have read the blurb or bought the book, hence the importance of covers for readers such as me.

I love everything about covers, all the small details in it; the colours, the background, the font, the balance between the front cover and the back cover, etc. And I find that sometimes back covers are disregarded as inferior parts of the book, but I love them as much as front covers, I love to find a book whose back cover reveals me something about the story! And the good covers often do, have you noticed that?

This passion I have for book covers made me cross paths with Janet Taylor’s designs and fall in love with her work. In fact, I first learned about Janet  because I could not resist the cover of The Secret Betrothal by Jan Hahn and had to buy the book because of it. The cover was amazing and because I loved the book so much I decided to look for other things from the same designer. I soon found several covers designed by Janet and became a fan of her work ever since! I don’t know if it is a coincidence or not, but several books with covers designed by her were actually some of my favourites in the year they were published 🙂

Today I’m honoured to say she is my guest as she agreed to answer a few questions about her work 🙂

I also invited the authors with whom she worked with to share a little of their experience with her, and I could not be more delighted to read all these wonderful stories surrounding their covers and the process of their creation (have I mentioned how much I love to read about covers?)

I hope you enjoy reading this interview and the author testimonials as much as I did 🙂


interview

Janet you are quite active in the JAFF community with your blog More Agreeably Engaged, your blog tour coordination and the wonderful JAFF designs, but when did this love for Jane Austen and fan fiction began?

Rita, I am a late bloomer to the JAFF community. It was the last of 2010 or early 2011 when I started reading JAFF. I was going through a bit of a rough time and my friend, Jan Hahn, sent her copy of the 1995 miniseries of Pride & Prejudice home with me to watch. She thought it would be good for me! Ha! I guess you could say it was! I have since immersed myself in anything I could get my hands on, Jan’s books included. This was before An Arranged Marriage had been published but it was already in the editing process. I fell in love with it as soon as I read it and it is still one of my favorites. Believe or not, until that time, I had no clue that Jan wrote JAFF and her stories had been on forums since 2001 or shortly thereafter. Anyway, I had read Pride & Prejudice as a young girl but hadn’t picked it up again until after watching the miniseries.

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And when did it go from reading to drawing?

In 2012, Jan Hahn was getting The Journey read for publication. She asked me to draw Darcy and Lizzy and a highwayman. I did it but on regular typing paper and with regular colored pencils. It was not used for her cover but that was the beginnings of my drawings. I then decided to attempt the two drawings that I call ‘The Look, Darcy’ and ‘The Look, Lizzy’ from one of my favorite scenes in the miniseries. I’ve been drawing ever since.

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I always wonder if you took an arts degree of if you are self-taught, can you tell us a little of your progress in drawing?

I always loved to draw as a child. The summer after my fourth-grade year, there was a traveling artist that came at the invitation of our school. My mother and father allowed me to attend his two-week class where I learned about shading and a few other things. I loved the class but it is my only training.

Since I generally do not have a model, I use a photo for my model. I study it before I draw, while I’m drawing and after I complete a drawing. I look for places where my drawing is vastly different from the photo and what I could do to make mine look more like the photo. Many times it can be a shaded area as small as a couple of millimeters or 1/8 inch that alters how my drawing looks. It wouldn’t seem like something that small could make so much difference but it can. Too much shading, too little shading, not enough curve to a nostril or too much – these can make or break a drawing.

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I think it’s impressive what you can create without an arts degree, it takes true talent! Which type of drawings captivate you the most? And which are the most challenging?

I think I like close-up facial drawings the best of all. They allow me to go for the details and details are ‘my thing’ so to speak. It is all in the details. I love to do the eyes and usually do them first. Since the eyes are the windows to the soul, they are the most important feature. I love to try and capture the expression in the eyes. Sometimes I get it and sometimes I don’t.

As for the most challenging, I will have to say the nose on the facial drawings. It is what always gives me the most trouble. I know you asked which types of drawings and this is not a type but a part of the one I love most. My most challenging drawings would probably have to be buildings. I’m a math person, (I used to teach college preparatory mathematics to high school students) and the lines in the buildings need to be parallel. If they are not, it drives me crazy. It also makes me crazy trying to get them that way! lol

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I know what you mean about the eyes! That’s what captivates me the most in your drawings! You’ve used some of your drawings to do covers. Could you tell us a little bit more about your cover art design?

Designing covers is one of my favorite things to do. I love trying to bring a good story to life through the front and back covers. I am a cover junkie, too, Rita! 😊 Meryton Press gave me my first opportunity to design a cover. It was for Linda Beutler’s The Red Chrysanthemum and I was a nervous wreck in the beginning. I did drawings for the first three covers at Meryton Press, Linda Beutler, Suzan Lauder and Jan Hahn. I did some drawings for J. Dawn King that she used as part of her covers in The Men of Derbyshire Series. I now mostly do graphic design since drawings cannot be ‘fixed’ as easily as graphic designs. It would be great if I could hit a delete button and fix something but that is not the case. If I have used darker colors, they can be almost impossible to remove without ruining my paper. Sometimes, I must start over and that takes much time.

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I know you have lots of merchandising in your website. Do you use all your designs to create merchandising at JT originals? What kind of products can we find there?

I use most of my drawings to create merchandise at JT Originals. I have not had the new ones from 2017 made up yet as I am trying to get a new vendor to do them for me. I do have note cards and note pads from the new drawings. I do those myself so they are easily available.

I have mugs, mouse pads, tiles, compacts, Christmas ornaments, two sizes of note cards and two of note pads.  I can do address labels and bookmarks if they are requested. I am hoping to soon have prints on canvas for any drawing available for purchase.

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One of the merchandise you have on your website is an anual calendar with original drawings. How did that idea come up? Any idea’s for this years calendar? I know we’re still in the beggining of the year, but I’m already looking forward to your next calendar 🙂

I have been doing a calendar since 2013. I had gone to England in August of 2012 for a tour of the 1995 PnP film locations. It was fabulous, by the way! 🙂 One of the tour guides is a Jane Austen scholar and is also a writer. She knows the man that has his art at the Jane Austen Centre in Bath. I had told her of my drawings when viewing some of his in the village that was Meryton in the miniseries. Without my knowledge she contacted him and later told me that I would be able to sell my work. If you notice, I always have ‘my artistic interpretations of the scenes’ either on the back of the calendar or somewhere inside. That was what he told Hazel Jones to tell me. Since 2013 was the 200th anniversary of the publication of Pride & Prejudice, Hazel said that could be a good year for me. I’m not sure how it went from there, but the calendar was born. When I got home, I got busy drawing. The rest is history, so the saying goes.

I do have some ideas for the 2018 calendar. It will be drawings too. I’m thinking of possibly using the same men/films as last year but in a different way. That’s all I’ll say for now. Suffice it to say, I think the changes will be ones that you will approve! I’m looking forward to the next calendar too. I will begin working on it in a few weeks. I need to get started on the drawings.

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Thank you so much for allowing me to interview you Janet! I feel I could continue discussing every single detail of your drawings with you for hours. I am also a known geek who absolutely looooves merchandising, so I can not resist sharing with my readers some of the products you have on your website JT Originals 🙂

The 2017 Calendar has to be the first to be displayed 🙂 I remember eagerly waiting for Janet to share the next drawing that would be included in this years calendar, I knew Colin Firth would have to be in it, but I was thrilled to see that Richard Armitage and Ciaran Hinds as Mr. Thornton and Captain Wentworth respectively, were also included. I would just ask you to take a closer look at Ciaran Hinds card, isn’t it just perfect with the letter drawn in the back??

Oh…and you should look at all the faces here because Janet is offering one set of 12 cards with each one of these gentleman in one of the cards 🙂

 

But I could not finish my part on this post without showing a little more of what you can find at JT Originals. I confess to own a few of these items and to look forward to the new merchandising Janet will create with the new drawings, particularly the one of John Thornton 🙂

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I’m sure you’ve noticed by now how much I like and admire Janet’s work, but I’m not the only one loving her work! I’ve asked some of the authors who worked with her to write a few words about that experience, and was touched by how special they herJanet to be 🙂


author-testimonials

 

Nicole Clarkston

When Janet first wrote to me about No Such Thing As Luck, she graciously offered to host me on her blog. I had never explored the JAFF community at all, so I thoroughly enjoyed clicking through all the sights at More Agreeably Engaged. When I discovered her artwork, I was astonished. This lady has a true gift for capturing characters real or imagined, and her eye catches the balance, the light, and each nuance of expression. As a writer, my desire is to push the pause button on special moments, translate them into print, and breathe life into them. Janet does that very same thing with her images.

Though I barely knew her and was not quite certain what I was letting myself in for, I had to ask Janet to work on my next cover! As it happened, that was for Northern Rain, a book which was less than half completed at the time. Since we had months (at the speed I write), we spent that time becoming friends as we talked over cover ideas. Janet is what we Americans colloquially describe as a “Good People.” May I brag on her as a person a little more before returning to her work?

Janet was, very appropriately, my first taste of the wonderful enigma that is the JAFF community. She uses her speech and her actions to bless others, and you never hear a word of her which is not spoken in admiration. She encourages authors, bloggers, and readers alike, and she employs her precious time helping others find a good read to wind down after a hard day. When she is not blogging about new books or painting her breathtaking Richard Armitage portrait, she is a proud grandmother, a supportive mother, and a loving sister. In addition to these things, she spends her spare time caring for rescued dogs. Her heart truly aches for these canine orphans, and she invests more time and love into them than many people do into their own children.

Janet’s son Jeff happens to be a talented designer in his own right, and the two of them have continued to grow their artistic talents together. I have been the happy beneficiary of their combined efforts! I will allow Janet to fill you in on those details, but I would like to draw your attention to some of her trademarks. Firstly, each book cover she creates ties into the story. As far as I know, she has read every book before creating the cover, and she creates a visual catch for a reader to pause and take in. If you capture every detail she lovingly drops into that cover, you may as well not read the book, for you have already divined its essence.

Another talent of hers is for the eyes. They spark, snap, draw you in, or set you at ease. A talented actor is able to convey with a simple look an entire novel’s worth of feelings, and Janet can trap that look forever on canvas. Unlike with my own vocation, she cannot simply hit the “delete” button, so every flick of the brush must be precise. I will never know how she can transform an unruly glob of paint into (here I go again) Richard Armitage’s tender, impossibly eloquent expression in the legendary Kiss Scene, but she does. She even manages to create my favourite look on my period heroes- a roguish 5 o’clock shadow! How? Well, she tells me that it has something to do with admiring the real thing for hours on end, and I suppose there are less pleasant ways to develop a talent.

Perhaps it goes without saying that I have already forced Janet to promise that she will craft the covers for my next projects. I could not imagine turning my book babies over to anyone else! I am glad that this amazing woman is receiving the recognition she deserves for her work. I hope that one day soon we will all be able to sit down to a cup of coffee with Janet’s RA portrait smiling back at us. A Colin Firth coaster would match nicely, I think, and perhaps a Matthew Macfadyen mousepad would round out the collection. Good luck in the giveaway, everyone!


 

Jan Hahn

About ten years ago, I met Janet Taylor (in the flesh). Our personalities clicked, and we soon became friends. Four years passed, however, before I shared my love of Pride and Prejudice with her, much less the fact that I wrote Austen-inspired stories. I was a bit shy about my obsession. About the same time, I learned that she was an artist and a skilled photographer of the ‘critters’ that roam her property out in the Texas hill country. I soon discovered an abundance of information about birds, squirrels, raccoons and other wildlife. And what did Janet learn from me? She fell in love with Mr. Darcy and JAFF, a whole ‘nother type of wildlife.

My second novel, The Journey, was about to be published, and I wanted a highwayman on the cover. Janet drew a colorful picture of Darcy, Elizabeth, and a blonde highwayman dressed all in black. Unfortunately, my publisher couldn’t accept the scene because of copyright issues: Mr. Darcy happened to look exactly like Colin Firth, and Elizabeth was the spitting image of Jennifer Ehle. Well, why wouldn’t they be? Firth and Ehle were Darcy and Elizabeth in Janet’s mind.

Meryton Press, however, was impressed with Janet’s work, and they commissioned her to draw covers for two of their authors, Suzan Lauder and Linda Beutler. By the time The Secret Betrothal, was ready for publication, Janet created original versions of Darcy, Elizabeth and Wickham for my front cover.  For the back of the book, she drew a beautiful beach scene, including a huge rock that played an important role in the story, as well as a pair of Elizabeth’s slippers discarded in the sand.

By that time, Janet Taylor had become well known to the JAFF world through publication of her gorgeous calendars featuring her illustrations of Austen characters. Every year, I look forward to seeing what she will come up with in her new calendar. She outdid herself this year with Austen’s Men in Film Plus Two! I love when the month changes―I get to swoon all over again.

Janet is a delight to work with. She’s interested in the story, she listens well, and she’s eager to see that the cover reflects the book. She makes my idea come to life and then suggests touches that mirror portions of the plot. For A Peculiar Connection, I found separate 19th century paintings of three young boys executed by the same artist. That was my sole contribution to the cover. Janet did the rest. She combined the boys into one framed portrait, and in the background, she added muted illustrations of a ship, a letter containing the very words I had written in the story, and an old mansion―all of which played essential parts in the book.

Janet has a fantastic eye for color and style and a more than generous supply of talent to create an attractive, eye-catching book cover that draws readers’ attention. She’s a joy to know and a great friend.

 


 

Suzan Lauder

Had you asked the author prior to publishing what the cover of Alias Thomas Bennet would look like, she would firmly state it would be composed around a ship. When I found out that Janet Taylor would be the cover artist, I sent her dozens of images: tall ships from the 1700s, men on ships’ decks, artsy ships, ships on fire, ships in a storm, ships in dry dock, you name it!

But Janet had done one special thing—she read the book and fell in love with the characters in the story. Then during one email of ships, I made an offhand comment about seeing people on shore with body language to show their stress. She somehow knew that the author wanted the “feel” of this image even though I was concentrating on the idea of a sailing ship.

The artist’s process is fascinating. Imagine a bearded young man in a ball cap, t-shirt and sports pants holding a baby doll gently in his arm as only a seasoned father can do, with the finger of his other hand being held by a toddler in diapers. The child looks off to a sound in the distance, her face slightly startled and worried, and the man looks at her with typical fatherly interest. “Is she okay? Should I comfort her or leave her be?” Does that picture in your mind seem like the front cover of a Regency novel? The cover story was already in the eyes of the models, and the magic of Janet Taylor was there to capture it, because this is her son and granddaughter!

With the use of soft core lead pencil crayons, she redrew the images, changing a ball cap to a top hat, modern casual wear to evening wear of 200 years ago, lightening hair, adding a toddler’s traveling costume, making a causeway from a backyard deck. In the background, a period sailing vessel is coming into the harbour—or is it leaving? The sky is slightly ominous, the colours telling of an unknown worry for the future, as do the lines on the face of the gentleman. We correctly assume the children are Jane and Elizabeth Bennet and the gentleman is their father, yet once we read the story we realize the additional significance of the mystery within the romance novel—so the cover becomes a bit of a teaser.

Hands are supposed to be the hardest thing to draw. Janet drew them so well that I insisted the title not cover up where little Jane held onto her father’s finger.

Little touches made this cover so special. Janet worried that little Jane would be unsafe near the water, so she added posts and ropes to keep her just a little bit safer. That’s the magic of Janet.

Meryton Press is known for back covers that are so good, they could be front covers. Longbourn was a prized theme in the story, and Janet offered up a watercolour painting of Longbourn from a photo of an English manor house taken on her own trip to England. We added some flowers to spice up the real life photo’s simplicity, but then found out that watercolours don’t look that great on covers. Janet had to re-do the back cover in the soft lead pencil crayons of the front cover.

Thank you, Janet, for making my characters come alive, putting a perfect face to my hero, and telling the story of Alias Thomas Bennet in such a succinct and clever way. I’m honoured to have had one of your unique covers!

Alias Thomas Bennet_cover_rev2 (1).jpg

 


 

Caitlin Williams

How envious I am of those who can draw and paint. To create such beautiful images from nothing but your own imagination is a mighty skill. I have no artistic talents at all, so last year when I wanted to redesign the cover of The Coming of Age of Elizabeth Bennet, I shouted “help” in a very loud voice and in swooped Janet B Taylor ready to save the day with all her super skills.

The book previously had a very boring back cover but she found the perfect image and now it looks wonderful, and compliments the redesigned front cover beautifully.

Janet is unfailingly professional and a lovely lady to work with. She understood what I wanted, even when I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted myself. Thanks Janet and I hope we get the chance to work together soon.

TCoAoEB FC Final wobld 121516 M


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Joy King

My meeting Janet began with two people (Jan Hahn and Jack Caldwell) and Facebook.

One of the first variations of Pride and Prejudice I read was The Journey, by Jan. I was hooked. Soon after reading her story and almost everything else available at the time, I opened a Facebook account. What was the first thing I searched? Jane Austen. I happened upon a giveaway for a book Jack Caldwell released on Janet’s stop of his blog tour. I entered, and I won.

When Janet contacted me with congratulations, I mentioned I had published my first JAFF the month prior. She invited me to be on her blog and the rest is history. I later checked out her JT Originals website and fell in love with her work. I commissioned her for three pieces of art (Darcy/Elizabeth, Bingley/Jane, and Col Fitzwilliam/Constance Wickham). The first one I put on the cover of A Father’s Sins. The others are already designed into book covers. I’m still hoping to get the stories written, because the world needs to see these gorgeous works of art.

Last summer, I saw a stunning photograph of a young woman who reminded me of Lizzy Bennet. She had the wrong hair, the wrong clothing, and the background was not correct. As soon as I mentioned it, Janet started sketching. The project is almost complete. What she has shown me is STUNNING. Will it go on one of my book covers? Oh, yes. I LOVE the work she does.

In a wonderful coincidence, Janet invited my daughter, Jennifer Joy, to do her very first blog interview after the release of Darcy’s Ultimatum. So, our family has a special place in our hearts for our dear friend.


 

Linda Beutler

Janet Taylor was my first cover artist for my first published JAFF story, The Red Chrysanthemum, and as it happens, I was her first cover author! The very idea of having a say in a book’s cover was a novel one at the time (so to speak), since in the design of the two books on gardening previously published, I had little input in the cover. Meryton Press gave me Janet’s contact information, and I sent along the requested list of several ideas. But Janet had her own vision, to capture the pivotal moment when Georgiana Darcy’s skirts brush the titular blossom out of sight, behind Darcy’s boots.

I’ll admit I had to be convinced. It seemed like a huge self-spoiler, but Janet forged ahead. In time I came to think it quite natural for the cover to hinge on the story’s most important plot point. My only concern shifted to the Hessians being exactly like those worn by Mr. Darcy in the 1995 Pride and Prejudice mini-series. And the legs had to be the right proportion to be attached to a certain 6’2 actor. Janet would send a version, and I would send her back to Darcy’s moments with Elizabeth at Pemberley. Did Janet really spend six hours watching that one scene, as they ascend the outdoor stairway? I shall take her at her word!

The results have been greatly praised. Janet is self-effacing, but there is no way The Red Chrysanthemum would have won a silver IPPY for romance writing in 2014 without her dynamic, manly cover.  It takes a team, more than just an author’s story, and presentation is everything. What red-blooded woman wouldn’t at least pick it up to read the back cover with its glorious open red roses?

Every flower on the cover of The Red Chrysanthemum carries a message of love, and I loved working with Janet again on my latest novel, My Mr. Darcy and Your Mr. Bingley. Having worked with Janet before, I did not hesitate to suggest a crucial moment within a pivotal scene. She jumped on it! The result is beautiful and poignant and everything I wanted it to be.


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Sally Smith O’Rourke

Like many other Jane Austen fans, I first found Janet because of her beautiful paintings of scenes from the 1995 Andrew Davies adaptation of  Pride and Prejudice. I was writing a post for my blog (my idea of the Darcy’s wedding night) and wanted to use “The Kiss” to head the post, and she was gracious enough allow me to use it. It was the perfect complement to the story.

Afterwards, we stayed in touch. I advertised my JAFF books in her wonderful calendars and when I finished writing Days of Future Past, I needed a cover and Janet was where I went.

One of the great things about working with Janet on the cover was her flexibility and creativity. Originally I wanted a garden gate on the cover with a garden on the back. I owned the painting of the garden, but needed a garden gate. After reading the manuscript and seeing the ‘tea garden’ painting Janet suggested reversing the pictures, and as you can see that was a great suggestion, and was definitely the way to go.

While the painting on the cover existed, she did have to crop it and added some brightness to the images so the title would stand out. But her real talent shows in the back cover. She started with a photograph of a garden wall that she took on a trip to England. The story in Days of Future Past is about reincarnation, under hypnosis, the hero sees three garden gates, one  for each life. Janet created a perfect representation of that imagery for the back cover.

They (not sure who ‘they’ are) say a picture is worth a thousand words, and in this case it is very much the fact. Picture ‘a’ is the photo Janet took, and ‘b’ is the back cover she created from it.

And right now, she’s contemplating the cover for the Christmas book, that I hope to have out this year. Keep an eye out.

For what it’s worth my blog is sallysmithorourke.com 🙂


 

I have to tell you that it gave me a lot of pleasure to put up this post together, and it made me particularly happy to see how kind and generous all these authors and designers were. In fact, everyone involved in this post wanted to offer something to my readers, so today we are giving away lots of goodies :))))

We are giving away the below items:

* One 2017 Austen Man in Film + 2 calendar

* One set of twelve cards and envelopes featuring one of each Austen Men in Film + 2. The cards are 4 1/4″ x 5 1/2 ” and blank inside with matching square flap envelopes. (Check the calendar pictures to see whose portraits will be on the envelopes).

*One John Thornton canvas of 8″ x 10″.

* One copy of Northern Rain (winner chooses format)

* One copy of The Courtship of Edward Gardiner (winner chooses format)

* One copy of No Such Thing as Luck (winner chooses format)

* One ebook or autographed copy of The Secret Betrothal or A Peculiar Connection (winner chooses book and format)

* One ebook copy of Alias Thomas Bennet

* One paperback copy of The Coming of Age of Elizabeth Bennet

* One ebook copy of A Father’s Sins

* One paperback copy of A Father’s Sins

* One signed paperback of The Red Chrysanthemum

*One ebook or paperback of Days of Future Past (winner chooses format)

The giveaway is international and each reader will be entitled to win one prize. To participate in this giveaway all you have to do is comment this post and let us know how you feel about book covers! Feel free to say whatever you want, I am personally very curious to know everything you will tell me 🙂

If you want to double your chances of winning, share this post on any social media and add the link to it here.

Good luck everyone!

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Filed under Pride and Prejudice, Persuasion, Mr. Darcy, North and South, jane austen, JAFF, Emma

Pride & Prejudice vs North & South

Good Afternoon dear readers,

Today I would like to share with you a guest post under my readers reviews feature, even if this post is not exactly a review, but more of an analysis of my 2 favourite novels: Pride & Prejudice and North & South.

My guest today is Apala Bhattacharya, a dear friend I’ve met online due to our mutual love for The X-Files. As we started talking, we realized that we had much, much more in common. We both have degrees in the media areas, we love history and we are fascinated by period dramas, namely the North and South BBC adaptation.

We also share our love of Pride and Prejudice, but she didn’t know about the world of JAFF. I introduced her to it, and once she started reading JAFF, she was hooked!

Today she shares with you her view on P&P and N&S, and also a great idea she came up with for readers and writers of JAFF and North and South variations. I know you will love the idea! I’ll explain everything at the end of the post. 🙂

 


Pride and Prejudice and North and South: A Comparative Analysis

by Apala Bhattacharya

Most people will tell you that Darcy and Elizabeth make the most iconic romantic pair in the history of classic literature. Less well-known, but equally loved, is John Thornton and Margaret Hale of North and South. Both novels bind together nuanced perspectives of human nature and human struggles, with love stories that are timeless.

As if the books weren’t enough, the TV adaptations of both these novels cast the most perfect men for the roles. Colin Firth set hearts aflutter with his charming reserve and wet, wet shirt; Richard Armitage set the bar for hot businessmen who redefine enduring passion. (Christian Grey who?) Both characters are one half of an iconic pair; but let us consider who all four of these characters are as individuals, as couples; and what they might have in common.

 

 

 

 

Elizabeth and Darcy, Margaret and Thornton

In each of these romantic pairings, one half of the couple is a perfect foil to the other.  Elizabeth confronts Darcy’s pride, and he is a better man because of it. Darcy makes Elizabeth realize that first impressions are often prejudiced. In the end, Darcy is humbled, Elizabeth’s prejudices are rectified, and they live happily ever after together.

The theme of ‘pride’ and ‘prejudice’ runs through North and South as well. Margaret’s prejudice towards traders and the North, gives way to the realization that there is nobility in honest, hard work. Thornton learns that more can be achieved through understanding and cooperation, than with an Us vs Them attitude. In both stories, one helps the other reach a place of greater understanding.

Our female protagonists are somewhat alike. Elizabeth and Margaret are both sensible, thoughtful, intellectual women – no silly women are they. (Unlike Fanny in North and South, and Lydia in Pride and Prejudice.) Both conduct themselves with grace under pressure. Both are humbled by the events in their lives, and are the better for it.

Darcy and Thornton have some things in common as well. Though one may be part of the landed gentry, and another a self-made man, they are neither of them charmers – both tell it like it is. But it’s not what they say that matters, it’s what they do.  They rise to the occasion when their ladies are in a tight spot. Both passionately propose to the women they love, only to be summarily rejected. In time, both women have a change of heart, but it was rough going for a while. I’d imagine Darcy and Thornton would enjoy commiserating. (Crossover fanfiction idea. Writers, could we?)

 

Austen and Gaskell: their enduring legacy

Like her protagonist Elizabeth, Austen revels in the ridiculous. She holds up a mirror to human flaws, and does it with humour and charm. Whether it is Mr. Collin’s sycophancy, Charlotte’s mercenary approach to love and marriage, or even Elizabeth herself – Austen  parses human motivations and reactions with surgical precision.  And that’s why we love Austen. Her writing epitomzes the saying “It’s funny because it’s true”.

Gaskell is a more sombre writer. At least six characters die in novel. Plus, Thornton’s father killed himself. Cheerful subject. She doesn’t shy away from exploring death, disease, poverty, feudalism, capitalism and class divide. Gaskell explores these subjects with a real earnestness that is reflected in Margaret’s conversations with Thornton, Higgins and her father.  A Victorian woman wasn’t supposed to exhibit intellectual curiosity, so here’s Gaskell breaking gender stereotypes, like Austen does with Elizabeth. They are both quite feminist for a world that had not yet created the term ‘feminist’.

Unlike modern literature, classic literature wasn’t binary – it wasn’t escapist romance vs high art. Pride and Prejudice and North and South aren’t just great love stories; they’re great literature. Literature that will give generations of women unrealistic expectations of men, forever.

 


 

Did you like this post? You can find many more such as this and some others with a more serious and historical component at Apala’s new blog where she shares her love books and films set in historical eras (specially Victorian). She blogs as The Anglophile at https://perioddramamadness.wordpress.com/

Now I would also like to share with you a project that started out with a difficulty Apala found when searching and choosing her next book to read. It’s easy for us JAFF regulars to find the JAFF book to read that’s perfect for us, but for someone who is new to this world and doesn’t follow JAFF blogs, it can be confusing. So Apala asked me if I would help her develop a file that would list all the JAFF books available, and that sounded difficult but a great idea 🙂

We’ve been quietly working on setting up the JAFF google sheet for the past month. Now her blog has a list of what we hope will be the most complete list of all JAFF books, with info on the type of novel, number of pages, formats available,  price, amazon links, etc. Of course we couldn’t stop there, so we also created one for the North and South Fan Fic, which I believe is almost complete. These are crowd-sourced lists (with a moderator), so we hope you will add names of books we’ve missed out on – perhaps your favourites, or the ones you have written and published. As most of you know, there are dozens of JAFF books coming out each month, so it would be completely impossible for us to add them all, that’s why we need your help! With everyone’s input we might actually create a list where we could find hundreds of JAFF books and sort them out by our favourite genre, author etc. We have even added some books published this week 🙂

If you are insterested, go here to find the lists for JAFF, North and South Fan Fic, Historical Fiction, and Period Dramas: https://perioddramamadness.wordpress.com/category/lists/

10 Comments

Filed under Guest Post, jane austen, North and South, Pride and Prejudice, Readers Reviews

My Mr. Darcy and Your Mr. Bingley Back Cover Reveal

 

Good Morning dear readers,

How are you today?

I’m very happy to bring you today a partial cover release for Linda Beutler’s latest book, My Mr. Darcy & Your Mr. Bingley! And why partial you may ask? Because I will only be revealing the back cover! The lovely Ceri is revealing the front cover at Babblings of a Bookworm, so I would suggest visiting her blog to check the lovely front cover Janet Taylor worked on.

I believe you all know how much I love beautiful covers, so it makes me very happy to be able to be a part of this double cover release, but I’m also very happy because I got a chance to work with Janet and Ceri! It is an honor to be doing a separate front and back cover reveal with such a lovely lady and JAFF connoisseur as Ceri, I love her blog and her reviews, so I’m very proud to be joining her on this post 🙂

But the back cover is not the only thing I would like to share with you today! My Mr. Darcy & Your Mr. Bingley has just gone live at Amazon during the night!!! If like me you cannot wait to read it, you’ll be able to buy it right away through the below links. As the book went live just a few hours ago, when half the world was still asleep, you might even be the first to get it 🙂

 

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

 

After reading A Will of Iron and considering it one of my top 10 favorites from 2015, this is the greatest of news for me and I’m looking forward to read it.

But I’m sure you’re eager to know more about this book, so before showing you the back cover, I’ll let you read the book blurb 🙂

 

Jane Bennet had a heart to break after all, and I am a party to it.

Fitzwilliam Darcy

One simple, uncharacteristic subterfuge leaves Fitzwilliam Darcy needing to apologize to nearly everyone he knows! When Charles Bingley reaps the sad repercussions of Mr. Darcy’s sin of omission, Elizabeth Bennet’s clear-eyed view of the facts gives her the upper hand in a long-distance battle of wills with Mr. Bingley’s former friend. By the time Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth meet (repeatedly) in the groves of Rosings Park, neither knows the whole truth except that somehow, someway, their future is inextricably linked to the courtship of Charles Bingley and Jane Bennet.

In this Pride and Prejudice “what-if”, the additional dash of backbone and “far-sighted” action to the character of Mr. Bingley begs the question: how is Mr. Darcy to impress Elizabeth Bennet if Bingley does his own matchmaking? And how is Elizabeth Bennet to trust Mr. Darcy when even faith in a most beloved sister falters?

 

Linda Beutler’s professional life is spent in a garden, an organic garden housing America’s foremost public collection of clematis vines and a host of fabulous companion plants. Her home life reveals a more personal garden, still full of clematis, but also antique roses and vintage perennials planted around and over a 1907 cottage. But one can never have enough of gardening, so in 2011 she began cultivating a weedy patch of Jane Austen Fan Fiction ideas. The first of these to ripen was The Red Chrysanthemum (Meryton Press, 2013), which won a silver IPPY for romance writing in 2014. You might put this down as beginner’s luck—Linda certainly does. The next harvest brought Longbourn to London (Meryton Press, 2014), known widely as “the [too] sexy one”. In 2015 Meryton Press published the bestseller A Will of Iron, a macabre rom-com based on the surprising journals of Anne de Bourgh.

Now, after a year-long break in JAFF writing to produce Plant Lovers Guide to Clematis (Timber Press, 2016)—the third in a bouquet of books on gardening—we have My Mr. Darcy and Your Mr. Bingley bursting into bloom.

You can contact Linda Beutler though the following social media:

Twitter: @oregonclematis

Facebook: Linda Beutler Author

Wandering Pemberley’s Gardens (blog at MP)


 

And now, without further ado…the back cover of My Mr. Darcy & Your Mr. Bingley!

Isn’t it lovely? And aren’t you curious about the design in the back? I’m personally eager for the blog tour to start to learn more about the story behind this cover and all the details involving its creative process… Or maybe we can even find out about it a little earlier, so stay tuned for more information on this book and its cover 🙂

And if you still haven’t seen the front cover, please check it out at Babblings of a Bookworm or visit Amazon.

 

39 Comments

Filed under Cover reveal, JAFF, Pride and Prejudice

Caroline – Review, Excerpt & Giveaway

Hello everyone,

Did you ever think about what was Miss Bingley’s reaction to Darcy’s engagement? Can you imagine what it must have been like to realise everything she fought for during the last years of her life had been for nothing? What about her future? Did she ever get married? Or ended up an old spinster? Did she let go of her feelings of superiority towards the Bennet sisters?

Sue Barr clearly thought about all these questions and wrote a delicious novel describing Caroline Bingley’s life after the double engagement of Darcy and Bingley 🙂

I was never a fan of Caroline Bingley, but lately I find stories about her quite interesting and Sue Barr definitely made me want to read more about Caroline. In fact, there is so much potential about Miss Bingley’s character that I wonder why we don’t have more stories about her, Sue Barr clearly saw all this potential and used it in an exceptional manner.

Caroline is a romance whose main character is Caroline Bingley but it isn’t just a book about a secondary character of Pride & Prejudice, it is a book about second chances, lessons learnt and personal growth. This story tells us how Caroline took the news that shattered her life and how she moved on, but also how others continued to view her and react to her actions. These two aspects made the book very real because life makes us who we are, it shapes our behaviours and personalities, and some events may alter us into someone else, but it doesn’t erase who we were and the perception others have of us. That perception will only change if we change ourselves and if our new behaviours are different from what they used to be, and that is what happens to Miss Bingley in this book,she is brought to life as an imperfect human being who is forced to grow with life’s blows.

But as I mentioned earlier, this is a romance, so it’s not all about inner growth. Caroline’s love interest in this book will be Lord Nathan..err..I mean Mr. Kerr..or shall I say both? Let’s just say you would never picture Caroline with someone with this profession, but neither would you imagine someone with this profession exactly like him. I did like to know why he chose it though, it made me understand why someone with that background and personality ended up as a vicar. He is a charming man, and should I say too good for Caroline? Or is that my prejudice speaking? He is indeed an interesting character and I loved his interactions with Caroline but I would have prefered for them to have a different ending… don’t worry, there is a HEA, I would just prefer it if it wasn’t so perfect.

If you want a secondary character story which is fast to read and a page turner, this book is for you! I’m sure you’ll enjoy it between two ODC books 🙂

You can find this book at:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

And if you want to know more about it, you still have the blurb and an excerpt below.

 

 

Whatever happened to Caroline Bingley after her brother and unrequited love interest married a Bennet sister? Join me in this story of redemptive love and the healing of broken dreams.

Caroline Bingley, beyond frustrated with her brother, Charles and Mr. Darcy both proposing to the Bennet sisters, dreads their upcoming nuptials. For three years, her sole focus has been on attaining a marriage proposal from one Fitzwilliam Darcy of Pemberley, only to be foiled by a country miss with ‘fine eyes’.  Adrift and not sure of her place in life, she meets the mysterious and devastatingly handsome Lord Nathan, who equally vexes and intrigues her.

Lord Nathan Kerr, third in line to a Dukedom, had a well-earned reputation as a Rake. He cast all that and his noble title aside to become Mr. Darcy’s vicar in Kympton, finding contentment in leading his small flock and doing the Lord’s work. His plan for a quiet, country life is thrown into upheaval when he meets the fiery Miss Bingley. Can he reconcile his rising desire for the spoiled miss with how a vicar’s wife ‘should’ behave?

 

 

Good day, Rita, and thank you for hosting this excerpt post for my latest release, Caroline, Pride & Prejudice Continued… Book One. Today, I am sharing a post that reveals a slightly different side to Caroline, where we learn a little about how she discovered her own passion for music. I hope your readers enjoy this glimpse into Caroline.

“Thank you, Miss Bingley. Would you like to play something as well?”

“I’d love to. Do you have any requests?” Out of habit, she looked toward the fireplace where Darcy stood with the Duke. Odd how she still deferred to him, even when she knew he held no regard for her, if he ever had at all.

“Do you know Mozart?” The dulcet tones of Lord Nathan made her stomach quiver. He was standing not more than three feet from her.

She nodded and took her seat.

“Do you need any sheet music, Miss Bingley?” Georgiana asked.

“No thank you, Miss Darcy. I’ll play a piece I’m familiar with.”

Lord Nathan escorted Georgiana back to her seat while she settled at the pianoforte, cleared her mind and began to play Eine Klein Nachtmusik. As her fingers flew over the keyboard, she heard the music exactly as she had the first time she attended a concert with her father in Edinburgh. In her mind violins and cellos kept perfect harmony, transporting the music to unheard of heights.

To think, Caro, Mozart t’was but a boy when he wrote this music. Can you believe he started writin’ when he was a wee lad, three years of age? There’s nothin’ you can’t do if you set your mind to it.

Her father’s rough northern accent held awe at what was achievable and she’d never forgotten that night. It changed her whole life and from that moment, music was her passion.

When she finished to polite applause and took a seat in a nearby chair, Louisa took to the pianoforte and played and sang a popular piece. She didn’t have a strong voice, but it was enjoyable. From her vantage point across the room, Caroline watched as Lord Nathan conversed with Georgiana. He bent his head in conversation with her, his broad shoulders turned slightly toward her. He intrigued her greatly, this man of mystery. He was exceedingly handsome, to be sure, but other than that she knew nothing about him. Not a whisper of where he’d been for the past three years.

Georgiana’s soft laugh brought her attention back to her and Lord Nathan. She longed to have him give her the same undivided attention. Evidently sensing her study of him, he shifted his gaze toward her. Quickly she looked down, but almost against her will, she raised her eyes and found him watching her intently. She couldn’t look away, although her mind and senses urged her to. As if he knew her thoughts, like words being displayed on parchment, his mouth quirked at one corner and he inclined his head.

Her face flamed and prickles of heat threatened to turn her cheeks an unbecoming pink. As a precautionary measure, she snapped open her fan. The gold pomander on her wrist swayed with each flick of her wrist, setting off a pleasant aroma of her favorite rose water. She allowed the familiar scent to soothe her. It wouldn’t do for Lord Nathan to know he discomposed her.

 

Sue Barr resides in beautiful Southwestern Ontario with her retired Air Force hubby, two sons and their families. She’s also an indentured servant to three cats and has been known to rescue a kitten or two, or three…in an attempt to keep her ‘cat-lady-in-training’ status current. Although, she has deviated from appointed path and rescued a few dogs as well.

Sue is a member of Romance Writers of America and their affiliate chapter, Love, Hope and Faith as well as American Christian Fiction Writers.

For more information about her other books, visit her website: http://www.suebarrauthor.com/ of follow her on the below social media:

Facebook , Twitter , Goodreads, Pinterest

 

If this review enticed you and you liked the excerpt, please follow the blog tour for more information on this book. This is just the second stop and there is still much, much more to come 🙂

March 12 / My Jane Austen Book Club/Launch Post & Giveaway

March 13/ From Pemberley to Milton/ Book Review & Excerpt & Giveaway

March 14/ More Agreeably Engaged/Author Spotlight & Giveaway

March 15/ Every Savage Can Dance/ Excerpt Post & Giveaway

March 16/ Just Jane 1813/ Guest Post & Giveaway

March 17/ Babblings of a Bookworm/ Vignette Post & Giveaway

March 18/ My Love for Jane Austen/ Excerpt Post & Giveaway

March 19/ Every Savage Can Dance/ Book Review & Giveaway

March 20/ Austenesque Reviews/ Guest Post & Giveaway

March 21/ My Vices and Weaknesses/ Book Review & Giveaway

March 22 / Savvy Verse & Wit/ Guest Post & Giveaway

March 23 /Diary of an Eccentric/Book Review & Giveaway

March 24/ So Little Time…/ Excerpt Post & Giveaway

March 25/ Obsessed with Mr. Darcy/ Book Review & Giveaway

March 26/ Of Pens & Pages/ Book Review & Giveaway

 

Sue Barr is offering in this blog tour several copies of Caroline and some goodies as well!!!

Three winners will receive a paperback copy of “Caroline” and a Jane Austen Journal and three separate winners will receive an ebook copy of this book. All you have to do is click on this link and enter the giveaway through Rafflecopter.

All giveaways are open to international winners, so good luck everyone 🙂

 

 

13 Comments

Filed under 4 stars, JAFF, Pride and Prejudice

Snowbound at Hartfield Review & Giveaway

snowbound-at-hartfield-ebook4 stars

Snowbound at Hartfield is a crossover of books and characters that I never thought possible, but maybe the issue is with my imagination because Maria Grace made these characters interactions completely plausible and interesting.

Pride & Prejudice will meet Persuasion and Emma when both Mr.Darcy’s party and Sir Walter Elliot’s are trapped in an inn during a snowstorm without any rooms vacant. Luckily this inn is close to Hartfield, and Mr Knightley, who is Mr. Darcy’s old friend, invites them all to stay with him and his family until the storm abates.

It is due to these circumstances that we will have in the same house Mr. Darcy, Elizabeth, Mr. Bennet, Col. Fitzwilliam, Sir Walter Elliot, Miss Elizabeth Elliot, Mr. Knightley, Mrs Emma Knightley and Mr. Woodhouse. I’m sure you’re starting to imagine how much fun it will be to have Mr. Bennet and Sir Walter Elliot in close proximity! But Sir Walter will not even be the only person who will contribute to the amusement of Mr. Bennet, the Knightley’s neighbours are, after all, perfect to make sport of, and Mrs. Elton will always be a source of amusement for some and chagrin to others wherever she goes.

The originality of bringing all these characters together and developing a very different and unexpected couple has to be praised! The romantic couple in Snowbound at Hartfield is one I had never seen portrayed and would never think of, but Maria Grace made it work by showing us a deeper and darker side of these characters, one that is not often shown to us and will make us think of what is beneath the character’s usual façade. In fact, she picked up one of my least favourite secondary characters from Austen, and made her the love interest of one of my favourite characters succeeding to make me wish they would find happiness together.That wasn’t an easy task, and I still can not say Miss Elliot is a favourite of mine, but she deed redeem herself in this book, and Maria Grace’s approach to this character was remarkable.

The love story between Col. Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth Elliot will be very different from what we are used to, but they will be presented to us as two broken souls who can mend each other, and we can not stop thinking that they will do very well together.

Elizabeth Darcy and Emma Knightley are secondary characters in this story but it was very amusing and fun to see them described as matrons!

Snowbound at Hartfield is a creative, fun and romantic novella which will fill our hearts with the hope that it is never too late to find happiness. I recommend this book to any Austen fan who is looking for a secondary character story to read. This story is a quick read that will bring several of Austen’s characters into a new light, it is perfect to be read between two Darcy and Elizabeth centered books, and I’m sure any Austen aficionado will enjoy it.

 

You can find Snowbound at Hartfield at :

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

giveaway-time

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 interview with Maria Grace posted on the 20th 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!

17 Comments

Filed under 4 stars, Persuasion, Pride and Prejudice

Interview with Maria Grace & Giveaway

Hello everyone,

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.

 

interview

 

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?

MGSnowbound 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:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

 

biography

 

grace-38-lThough 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:

Amazon

Facebook

Twitter

Random Bits of Fascination

Austen Variations

English Historical Fiction Authors

Pinterest

 

giveaway-time

snowbound-at-hartfield-ebookMaria 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!

 

 

24 Comments

Filed under Emma, interview, Persuasion, Pride and Prejudice

Darcy’s Hope at Donwell Abbey Review & Giveaway

2-1-donwell-cover5 stars

Hello everyone,

Last year I devoured Darcy’s Hope: Beauty from Ashes in one day and the book caused such an impression on me that I considered it one of my favorites from 2016.

The only issue I had with the book was that the second volume, Darcy’s Hope at Donwell Abbey, would only be available in January 2017 and I didn’t want to wait that long to read it.

I eagerly waited until I could read Darcy’s Hope at Donwell Abbey, and when I put my hands on it, I was once again compelled to read it in one day. I simply could not stop reading this book, and that is because Ginger Monette has a fluid and enticing writing style that make her books true page-turners.

You don’t necessarily need to read Darcy’s Hope: Beauty from Ashes to enjoy Darcy’s Hope at Donwell Abbey because even if this is a continuation of the story, readers will easily understand and get immersed in this new story, but the impact this second book will have is much different if you read the first, so I recommend reading Beauty from Ashes first.

Darcy’s Hope at Donwell Abbey starts with Elizabeth receiving very disturbing news that imply she is part of a conspiracy of traitors who helped German officers escape from the Allies on the continent (if you haven’t read the blurb yet, the book occurs during the first World War). She knows that traitors are convicted to death and that people associated to them will most likely be shunned by society, so in an attempt to save her own life and protect Darcy she goes into hiding.

When Darcy discovers Elizabeth is missing, he understands the reasons behind this and does everything in his power to find her and let her know that the news she heard are not true, that she is safe from the malicious rumors and they can be happy together, but Elizabeth outsmarts him and assumes a new identity as a VAD nurse. She becomes Miss Juliet Thomas, the assistant of Dr. Scott, who is sent to work at Hartfield facility.

In the meantime, Darcy is obliged to remain in the continent and is send to the front. Being unable to find Elizabeth, he is devoid of hope, and in an altruistic and heroic act gets seriously injured in battle. He is then sent back to England and transported to Hartfield which belongs to his family. In this new hospital he will be under Dr. Scott’s care and in close proximity to Elizabeth who will be crucial to assist him in his recovery.

It is at Hartfield, close to Donwell Abbey, that our characters will face their biggest trial in life. They will suffer, despair, lose all hope and regain it once more; they will laugh, cherish each other and grow as human beings, and in the end, they will have their happy ending.

This book is simultaneously powerful, intense and beautiful. It is very hard for me to cry with a book, but on Darcy’s Hope at Donwell Abbey tears came to my eyes as feelings consumed and pulled me into the story and the characters reality. The path both Darcy and Elizabeth take in this book is a dark one, and the tone is completely different from Beauty From Ashes. In this book the characters are more mature and the relationship they establish is not a passionate love/hate one, it is based on understanding, friendship, respect and perseverance.

I particularly liked the fact that Darcy never gave up on Elizabeth, and that she yielded to her feelings in the end.

Darcy and Elizabeth are central characters in the book, but there are several cameo appearances of other known characters such as Col. Brandon and Marianne Dashwood. The ones I loved the most were John Thornton and Margaret Hale from Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South. If you don’t love John Thornton yet, you will once you see how crucial he will be on Darcy’s life. I hope the author writes a Great War Romance based on John and Margaret’s POV very, very shortly 🙂 The stories intertwine in perfections and I would dearly love to see this romance through their eyes and experiences having Darcy and Elizabeth as mere secondary characters.

Summing up, Darcy’s Hope at Donwell Abbey is full of depth, intensity and historical romance. It is incredibly well written and the development of the characters fears and war trauma is beautifully accomplished. I highly recommend it not only to JAFF readers but anyone who wants a good historical romance.

9-2-donwell-teaser-2-jpg

The Darcy’s Hope Saga is available for purchase on Amazon:

Amazon.com – Darcy’s Hope – Beauty from Ashes & Darcy’s Hope at Donwell Abbey  

Amazon.co.uk –Darcy’s Hope – Beauty from Ashes & Darcy’s Hope at Donwell Abbey 

To have a better idea of what this book is all about I would like to invite you read the blurb and the excerpt we brought you today 🙂

 

***Book Blurb***

  1. Amidst the chaos of WW1, Captain Fitzwilliam Darcy has won the heart of Elizabeth Bennet. Finally.

Then she disappears.

Still reeling from the loss, Darcy is struck by a battlefield tragedy that leaves him in a dark and silent world.

Sent to Donwell Abbey to recover, he’s coaxed back to life by an extraordinary nurse. A woman whose uncanny similarities to Elizabeth invite his admiration and entice his affections.

His heart tells him to hold on to Elizabeth. His head tells him to take a chance with his nurse.

But Donwell Abbey holds a secret that just might change everything.

Escape to the era of Downton Abbey in this enthralling stand-alone sequel* to Darcy’s Hope ~ Beauty from Ashes that includes appearances by John Thornton, Margaret Hale, Colonel Brandon, Marianne Dashwood, and descendants of George Knightley.

  • May be enjoyed as a stand-alone novel, but readers may experience some minor confusions without the context of the mystery of Darcy’s Hope ~ Beauty from Ashes.
  • Has a happy ending for Lizzy and Darcy.
  • Romance is clean. Minor language and some recollections of graphic war scenes.

 

***Excerpt***

Elizabeth bolted from the chair. “Fitzwilliam, wake up!” She nudged his arm in the darkened room, but he continued writhing with great heaving breaths. “Captain!” She squeezed his hand, but he jerked it away, whimpering.

On impulse, she slid her arms under his shoulders and held him close. Instantly his thrashing ceased.

Gently rocking him, she massaged the unbandaged hair at his temple and whispered against his cheek, “It’s all right. Just a dream.”

He breathing slowed, but his body remained tense. “My ribs…hurt.”

She lowered him back to the pillow, then tapped on his hand, Try to relax. All right now?

“Mmm…. Water. And morphine.”

She squeezed his hand and poured water into the hospital cup. She touched the pill to his lips then offered the porcelain straw.

He swallowed. “Who are you?”

Elizabeth froze and closed her eyes. How she longed to tell him the truth, then brush a kiss on his lips, assure him of her love, and promise to stay by his side.

She took his hand and spelled, Miss Thomas.

“Thank you…Miss Thomas.”

Elizabeth sank into the wing chair and released a heavy breath. Could she bear to be so close and yet so far away from Fitzwilliam?

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*** Author Bio***

3-1-headshotWinner of Charlotte Mecklenburg Library’s 2015 “Picture This” grand prize, Ginger lives with her family in Charlotte, North Carolina, where she enjoys dancing on the treadmill, watching period dramas, public speaking, and reading—a full-length novel every Sunday afternoon.

Author Contacts:

Website: GingerMonette.com

Author’s Facebook: is here

Goodreads: here

Amazon: here

***It’s Giveaway time***

Ginger Monette would like to offer to three lucky winners ( open to US residents only) a tin of Downton Abbey Tea! All you have to do is click on the  Rafflecopter link below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

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***Blog Tour***

Excited about this book? Follow the blog tour for more reviews, excerpts and information on Darcy’s Hope at Donwell Abbey.

Feb 1  The Ardent Reader

Feb 2 From Pemberley to Milton

Feb 3 My Jane Austen Book Club

Feb 4  My Love for Jane Austen

Feb 5  vvb32reads

Feb 6  Just Jane 1813

Feb 7  Savvy Verse & Wit

Feb 8  Austenesque Reviews

Feb 9  My Kids Led Me Back to Pride & Prejudice

Feb 10 Babblings of a Bookworm

Feb 11  Obsessed with Mr. Darcy

Feb 12  Musings from the Yellow Kitchen

Feb 13  Half Agony, Half Hope

Feb 14  My Vices and Weaknesses

Feb 15  Diary of an Eccentric

Feb 16  Every Savage Can Dance

Feb 17  More Agreeably Engaged

Feb 18  The Calico Critic

Feb 20  Austenesque Reviews

Feb 21  More than Thornton

Feb 22  Margie’s Must Reads

Feb 23  Delighted Reader

Feb 24  Becky’s Book Reviews

Feb 26  Linda Andrews

Feb 27  Every Woman Dreams

Feb 28  Tomorrow is Another Day

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27 Comments

Filed under Pride and Prejudice, North and South, 5 stars, JAFF

Audiobooks Giveaway Winners Announcement

giveaway-winners-announcement_final

Hello everyone,

I started this year with the pleasure of interviewing Stevie Zimmerman and learning a little more about the audiobook business and the narration process. I was also very lucky to receive as my guests Jennifer Joy, Nicole Clarkston and J.Dawn King who shared with us their working experience with Stevie and also some news regarding their recently released audiobooks! J. Dawn King announced the release of The Abominable Mr. Darcy audiobook on the same day the post was released and Nicole Clarkston announced that The Courtship of Edward Gardiner would also be narrated by Stevie Zimmerman and released this month! In fact, the audiobook is already out, and to celebrate it, Nicole Clarkston would like to offer one copy of it to an additional winner !!! So today we’re announcing 9 lucky winners who will hopefully spend several hours listening to Stevie narrate the stories of our favorite characters 🙂

But before announcing the winners, I would just like to thank these wonderful authors once more for their kindness and support on this post and for the generosity to my readers. Ladies, you are some of the nicest people I have met in the JAFF community and I am blessed to have had an opportunity to get to know you 🙂 Thank you so much for all your support and friendship!

Now, without further ado, the winners are:

 

Love Never Fails – The Pemberley Library

Accusing Elizabeth – Anji


Rumours and Recklessness – Elizabeth Ehinger

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Northern Rain – Kneyda


Compromised – Daniela Quadros & Darcybennett

 

The Abominable Mr. Darcy – Maureen C & Jessica Washer

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The Courtship of Edward Gardiner – Eliza

Congratulations everyone! Can you please send me your e-mail addresses to ritaluzdeodato at gmail dot com so we can send you your audiobooks?

12 Comments

Filed under Pride and Prejudice, North and South, JAFF, Audiobooks

The Best Part of Love Review & Giveaway

best-part-of-love-front-cover5 stars

Hello everyone,

The Best Part of Love is everything but canon and it contains several aspects I usually dislike on a JAFF story: Elizabeth marries someone else, has a child from that marriage and worse than that, she actually loves her first husband! These 3 facts alone would lead me away from this book and I confess I would not have read it if I had not heard so many good comments about it. But I did read it and ended up considering it one of my favourite reads from 2016! And why is that, you may wonder? The Best Part of Love portrays one of the deepest and strongest love stories I have ever seen developed in JAFF, plus, it has an enormous amount of angst which is always a favourite of mine 🙂

When I started reading it I could not stop thinking that the author would have to be incredibly good to make me love this story, but the book is quite long and before I knew it Darcy and Elizabeth were spending time together and gradually falling in love with each other, well…at least for Elizabeth it was gradual, so I had not finished reading it and I already wanted to re-read it to go back to the small details from the beginning that were no longer in my memory.

With several new characters, plots, conspiracies and historical aspects we soon forget that Elizabeth deeply loved her previous husband and has a child, instead, we start focusing on the love she is growing for Darcy and all the beautiful moments they spend together.

I don’t want to say too much because knowing what may happen and especially when it happens may spoil the book for you, but let me just tell you that Elizabeth’s love for her previous husband will pale in comparison to the love she has for Darcy and that is just what I needed to overcome my initial worries. Elizabeth realises that what she felt was not exactly love, not quite…at least not an epic love, not the love she could only have for Darcy! Seeing her come to this conclusion was one of the best rewards I could have in this book.

The book is long but not slow paced and the story and character development kept me interested from the beginning until the end. In fact, the book truly needed to have this length or it would not be as good. We needed to see the characters go through a certain path to understand how strong and deep Darcy and Elizabeth’s love is.

The angst was expected and on several pages I kept thinking, “don’t say it, don’t say it, please just don’t say it”, of course they all said what I didn’t want to hear, so I just started thinking “this is not happening, this is not happening, this is not happening”. But it was happening and getting worse, with more moments than I can count when I felt like tearing my poor heart out! I don’t know how Darcy survived this, or Elizabeth! So when it comes to angst this book hits the charts and I just love that 🙂 If like me you love angst, this book is for you, but be prepared, some moments are just heartbreaking and you will probably cry a river.

Summing up, The Best Part of Love is a roller coaster of emotions that will keep you reading from the first page until the end. It has romance, adventure, mystery, angst but also several rewarding moments throughout the book that culminate in a happy ending that will give the readers an enormous satisfaction. It’s a different, interesting and hard journey, but in the end it will all be worth it 🙂

You can find this book at :

Amazon.com – The Best Part of Love

Amazon.co.uk – The Best Part of Love

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***Book Blurb***

Avoiding the truth does not change the truth

When Fitzwilliam Darcy meets Miss Elizabeth Bennet he has no idea that she — that indeed, the entire town of Meryton — harbors a secret. Miss Elizabeth, a simply country girl from a humble estate, manages to capture first his fascination and then his heart without him ever knowing the truth of her past.

When she meets Darcy, Elizabeth had spent the two years prior hiding from the men who killed her beloved first husband. Feeling herself destroyed by love, Elizabeth has no intention of loving again, certainly not with the haughty man who could do nothing but offend her in Hertfordshire.

In London, Elizabeth surprises herself by finding in Darcy a friend; even greater is her surprise to find herself gradually coming to love him and even accepting an offer of marriage from him. Newly married, they are just beginning to settle into their happily ever after when a condemned man on his way to the gallows divulges a shattering truth, a secret that contradicts everything Elizabeth thought she knew about the tragic circumstances of her first marriage. Against the advice of everyone who loves her, including Darcy, Elizabeth begins to ask questions. But will what they learn destroy them both?

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***Author Bio***

Amy D’Orazio is a former breast cancer researcher and current stay at home mom who is addicted to Austen and Starbucks in about equal measures. While she adores Mr. Darcy, she is married to Mr. Bingley and their Pemberley is in Pittsburgh PA.

She has two daughters who are devoted to sports which require long practices and began writing her own stories as a way to pass the time she spent sitting in the lobbies of various gyms and studios. She is a firm believer that all stories should have long looks, stolen kisses and happily ever afters. Like her favorite heroine, she dearly loves a laugh and considers herself an excellent walker.

aidorazio-11-2016Contact Info:

Website

Goodreads Author Page

Facebook: Amy D’Orazio

Twitter

Instagram: amydorazio

Pinterest

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***Blog Tour***
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  6 Jan My Jane Austen Book Club; Guest Post, Excerpt, Giveaway

  7 Jan Just Jane 1813; Review

  8 Jan Babblings of a Bookworm; Vignette, Giveaway

  9 Jan Every Savage Can Dance; Guest Post, Excerpt, Giveaway

10 Jan Tomorrow is Another Day; Review

11 Jan Savvy Verse & Wit; Character Interview, Giveaway

12 Jan Half Agony, Half Hope; Review

13 Jan Austenesque Reviews; Vignette, Giveaway

14 Jan Darcyholic Diversions; Author Interview, Giveaway

15 Jan Delighted Reader; Review

16 Jan From Pemberley to Milton; Review  

17 Jan A Covent Garden Gilflurt’s Guide to Life; Guest Post   

18 Jan Obsessed with Mr. Darcy; Review

19 Jan My Kids Led Me Back to Pride & Prejudice; Vignette, Giveaway  

20 Jan Diary of an Eccentric; Review

21 Jan More Agreeably Engaged; Vignette, Giveaway

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***It’s Giveaway Time***

To enter the giveaway, click here!

38 Comments

Filed under 5 stars, Pride and Prejudice

Interview with Stevie Zimmerman & Audiobook Giveaways

Hello Dear Readers,

Lately I’ve been spending a lot of time in traffic and as I’m not a particular fan of the radios we have nowadays I started buying audiobooks to have some distraction, and of that, I did become a fan. It started as a way to get distracted, but it proved to be a wonderful way to get to know more stories and to relive some of them in a different way. I started enjoying audiobooks so much that I no longer listen to them only in my car, now I listen to audiobooks every time I’m cooking, cleaning and even running (I couldn’t do it without audiobooks to distract me).

When my husband started to notice I was listening to books he found it strange as he had no idea this was such a common entertainment. Our discussions led me to investigate a little about audiobooks and I was surprised to discover that they are not as recent as I though going back for several decades.

I also found some interesting articles which told me that the audiobook releases are now almost always simultaneous with the publication of the printed book, and that we see around 36 000 new titles released per year. If you are curious about the growth of this industry, you can find our more in this Publishing Perspectives article about the FutureBook conference that took place in London a couple of months ago. I found it very enlightning and interesting.

As you may imagine most of the audiobook I listen to are JAFF and one of my favourite narrators is Stevie Zimmerman. When I heard she would be narrating The Courtship of Edward Gardiner this year I though it would be the perfect opportunity to interview her and get to know a little about the other side.

I’m sure some of my readers will be as curious as I am regarding audiobooks and Stevie, so today I’m sharing the interview with you. You can read it along with some author testimonials below:

 

***Interview with Stevie Zimmerman***

 

headshotCan you tell us a little about you? Who are you, what are your interests, your professional background etc?

I come from England and moved to the US when I married – my husband is an orchestral conductor and is half English half American. I have two children, both in college now. I am a theatre director and had wanted to be an actor when I was in school and college. I quickly discovered I didn’t have “it” to be a successful stage actor and when I started directing I felt really at home. For a few years I didn’t work while I had to make ‘real’ money, and then to bring up my two children. Over the last ten years I have been able to take on more work in both the theatre and the voiceover world and now it is a great balance.

 

And how and why did you start narrating audiobooks?

I stumbled into a night class on voiceovers several years ago and really enjoyed it. The teacher of the class said I could get work because of my English accent – and offered to help me for a rich fee! I decided to try it on my own. At first I was just doing short commercials and then got into some longer narrations for e-learning. Then a few years ago I found out about a website where authors and narrators could meet and produce audiobooks without going through traditional publishers who usually want to use famous names for their audiobooks – which I am not. Yet!  ; ) My very first book remains one of my best sellers and it was a regency romance so that became my main niche.  I’ve done other genres but the period romance is by far my most popular.

 

How do you prepare the narration of an audiobook?

I must be honest – I do not read the book ahead of time. The main reason for this is that I like to go on the same journey as the reader. Obviously there are certain things I need to know ahead of time so I ask authors if they have specific requirements in terms of accent and class and so on. There have been a couple of times when an author doesn’t reveal “James’ wonderful Scottish burr”  until Chapter 4 – and that is a pain! But otherwise I like to uncover the characters and story along with the reader. I don’t want to know at the outset that this person turns out to be evil, because if the characters and the readers don’t know I don’t want to put it into my characterization.

 

It’s interesting to know you don’t read the books before narrating them, I thought you did to choose which ones you would accept and which you would not.

When it comes to choosing which books to do, rather than read them ahead of time, which would probably be impractical as the audition process implies interest in a project before you get to see the full manuscript, I do some research on Amazon. I look at reviews, and sales, and I can judge the quality of the writing from the audition sample usually. There have been a couple of occasions when I’ve wished I’d been more cautious in auditioning for a title  – when I end up being a sub-editor for a book that has been badly written and lacked an editor. And sometimes reviews can be good even when the story is ridiculous. But I think I’m getting better at choosing! Certainly, Nicole, Jennifer, and Joy have well written and carefully edited books thank goodness!

 

What’s the hardest thing about narrating an audiobook?

It’s kind of a lonely occupation. I get caught up in the books and keep narrating for as long as my voice holds up – or until my dog Charlie grumbles about being ignored. But that can mean I spend several hours, as I put it – ‘in the basement talking to myself’.

 

When did you first heard of JAFF? And when and how did you start narrating JAFF?

I’m not sure but I think I first realized there was this whole genre when I was offered my first JAFF audiobook. I had been aware that there were spinoffs of other classic books like the really well known prequel to Jane Eyre – Wide Sargasso Sea – although I’ve not read it. But I had no idea there was such a huge interest in retellings and expansions of Austen’s books.  It’s a funny thing in a way, to look at a story that is so well known and retell it even though the outcome is inevitable. But I always think about Romeo and Juliet. Even if you were in the audience at the very first performance the ending is revealed in the prologue of that play, so the fact that we know what is going to happen doesn’t have to mean the story isn’t compelling and rich and enjoyable.

 

Who’s the most challenging JAFF character you’ve ever had to interpret while narrating a book? And why?

With most of Jane Austen you’re dealing with a large number of female characters, many of whom are of similar age and class. Look at  P&P – you’ve got five Bennett daughters, two Bingley sisters, Charlotte, and then the other female characters, Mrs B, Lady Katherine, Anne, and the other townsfolk. So that’s really hard, to come up with distinguishing vocal features without making caricatures.  That’s true of the men as well, but there aren’t quite so many of them. But the most challenging one I think is Mr. Collins. Finding a way of communicating his obsequiousness and social ineptitude without making him entirely ridiculous is tough. Some JAFF authors do write him to be ridiculous and that’s fun, but after all, we love Charlotte don’t we and we don’t want her married to a complete idiot. I must admit I like the P&P variations where she ends up with someone else.

I’m intrigued more authors haven’t expanded or retold other of the novels . It’s really more P&P fan fiction than Jane Austen. It’s the most popular of course. But I love the others too. Persuasion has always been my favourite.

 

Persuasion is a favourite of mine too, my second favourite Austen novel, but I’ve got another one in my heart and that is North & South. You’ve recently narrated Northern Rain by Nicole Clarkston which is a N&S variation. Did you find it too different from P&P in terms of narration? I’m assuming the working class is a little harder to narrate, but I might be mistaken 🙂

I loved reading Nicole’s Northern Rain. I had actually listened to Juliet Stevenson reading North and South so I had her in my head a lot. It was a very different book from P&P variations as there was almost no comedy and, although it is at heart a romance, there is a lot of social history and political observation that marked the original too. The challenge with this book was to have a range of accent levels to reflect class and education, some accents very broad and others slight. And of course a large number of men to do! I hope I managed to distinguish between the various men of industry in the north, as well as the working class men and women.

 
Stevie thank you so much for your time! I really enjoyed talking to you and have only one more question: why should people listen to audiobooks?

I think the right narrator can bring a book to life like nothing else. If you’ve got multiple characters and you listen to a narrator with great acting chops you’ve got a movie in your head. I love listening to books on long drives, on walks with Charlie in the woods, when I’m tidying the house, times when I couldn’t read a book. It’s not a replacement – it’s a different experience. I hear from listeners who both read and listen to the same book and they say it gives them a new take on the book either way. Unfortunately the wrong narrator can kill a book. I’ve started several that I just couldn’t go on with because of the performance not the writing. But the right one! Wow! I listened to Dan Stevens (who was the romantic lead at the beginning of Downton Abbey) read a really long, complex historical novel that I might have struggled with on the page and he gave every single character the most wonderful, defined quality. I’d listen to almost anything he narrates.

 

Do you want to know more about Stevie? Check out her website: http://steviezim.wixsite.com/stevie-zim-voice

 

author-testimonials

Stevie is so well liked in the JAFF community that some of my favourite authors agreed to talk to us about their experience with her.

Jennifer Joy, Nicole Clarkston and J. Dawn King are my very specials guests today as they share their experience with Stevie, the narration process and the auditions.  They also bring several gifts for many of my readers as an incentive to started listening to books and share with all of us some very hot news!!!

 

authorwebJennifer Joy

There’s a reason why Stevie is so busy. It’s because she’s one of the best JAFF narrators out there! On the two occasions I’ve had the privilege of working with her, she’s always made the process easy with her timeliness and professionalism. Not to mention her narrative talents! The range of voices give each character a distinct sound— which is so important for audio listeners. We can’t have readers confusing Mr. Collins with Mr. Darcy, now, can we? With Stevie, that’s never an issue. (And she does an amazing Lady Catherine!) As an author and reader, I’m a fan!

 

 

Nicole ClarkstonNicole Clarkston

I first “met” Stevie through an audition she submitted to produce Rumours and Recklessness. For some reason, I was not getting notifications from ACX (Audible’s publishing platform) and I had forgotten to log in to check new auditions. Therefore, by the time I heard her sample, it was already a few days old.

I had no idea at the time what an honor it was. All I knew was that her voice was exactly what I had been hearing in my head as I wrote. She was so “light and pleasing,” to paraphrase Austen. You could hear the restrained laughter as she voiced Elizabeth, and the coiled agony in “Darcy’s” tones. No further auditions were necessary!

Stevie is a busy lady, so by the time I heard her audio sample she had already accepted some other projects. I was content to wait for her, it was well worth it. I still giggle when I hear her voicing Lydia, and Lady Catherine absolutely sent me into hysterics! No character was too small for special attention, and I was impressed that one person could so beautifully bring to life so many different people.

It was truly her take on Darcy which took my breath away. I was so impressed that her natural tones could take on a deep richness without sounding like “a woman trying to play a male part.” She is just fabulously talented in that regard. She has played Darcy in so many other JAFF books that she has a real handle on him.

When I published Northern Rain, I knew right away I wanted to see if Stevie was interested. Ana Clements had produced No Such Thing As Luck (with the same characters from North and South) for me and has done a spectacular job, but her career was taking a path away from audiobooks. I was thrilled beyond words when Stevie accepted the project, and giddy  every time she sent me a new file to preview. These characters were new to her, but she captured them beautifully. John Thornton’s voice was key, and she crafted him perfectly.

Stevie is a joy to work with. I enjoy chatting with her as she is working on a project, and she pays close attention to detail. When an author hands their baby over to a publisher or audio producer, there is a hope and a trust that the original vision will not be lost, but brought to life. I have learned I can depend on Stevie to catch the heart of the characters and create a wonderful listening experience for the “reader”.

Rita, can I make a little announcement? Stevie will be producing The Courtship of Edward Gardiner early this year!

 

a1i6hm0desl__ux250_Joy King

I have used three different narrators for my audiobooks and all three were excellent to work with. When I first place a book up for auditions, my nerves take over. (Yes, I become Mrs. Bennet.) I think to myself, “what if nobody wants to produce my story” and “what if nobody wants to listen to it.”

Catherine O’Brien produced ‘A Father’s Sins’, ‘One Love, Two Hearts, Three Stories’, and ‘Yes, Mr. Darcy’. Her ability to differentiate between characters by changing her voice is incredible. When our schedules didn’t work for the next project, I listened to many samples of other narrators and contacted Stevie directly. Within a few weeks, she had produced ‘Compromised’. As she posted each chapter and I listened closely to her reading, I was again reminded of how much theatrical skill a good narrator needs. Like Catherine, her characters are a pleasure to listen to. She has also produced ‘The Abominable Mr. Darcy’  which was released in Audible today!!

My latest project, ‘Love Letters from Mr. Darcy’ was narrated and produced by Jannie Meisberger. Like the others, she was an absolute delight to work with and was equally as quick.

Rita, these women are true professionals. They edit their own work carefully before returning the files to me. The challenge for an author is to wiggle our projects into their already tight schedules. All three of them are in high demand so it is a privilege and honor to be accepted by them.

My next audiobook I will be posting for auditions is ‘Mr. Darcy’s Mail-Order Bride’. This will be my first audiobook where the narrator needs an American accent. I’m considering a male voice and have two in particular I’d like to pursue to produce the project.

I’m always excited to hear my stories come to life at the hands of a capable narrator. The first time I listen, I follow along with the manuscript to check for errors. I find few. Then I listen to it again with my eyes closed to see how closely the character voices fit. The last time, my eyes still closed, I listen solely for enjoyment.

The demands for audiobooks has grown so I cannot imagine not having my Jane Austen fan fiction stories produced in this format. With the help of Catherine, Stevie, and Jannie, I truly believe these become the best they can possibly be.

 

giveaway-time

These authors are so generous they decided to start the year by bringing lots of goodies to my readers!

Jennifer Joy would like to offer a copy of Love Never Fails (one of my favourites from 2016) and Accusing Elizabeth.

Nicole Clarkston would like to offer a copy of Rumours & Recklessness and Northern Rain (yes, another favourite).

And J. Dawn King would like to offer two copies of Compromised and two copies of the just released The Abominable Mr. Darcy’

Let us know if like me you are a fan of audiobooks, and when/where do you listen to them, or if you are not yet convinced with audiobooks, and why not?

Every opinion is accepted and we would love to hear your yours 🙂

Let us know in your comments which audiobooks you would like to receive. If you are uncertain as to which you would like, you can always visit the authors Amazon Page and check the description of each book:

Jennifer Joy

Nicole Clarkston

J. Dawn King

The giveaway is international and is open until the 22nd of January, to be eligible all you have to do is participate in the audiobook discussion by commenting this post.

Good luck everyone!

70 Comments

Filed under Pride and Prejudice, North and South, JAFF, Audible