JAFF Anonymous

Jane Austen Fan Fiction Anonymous Meetings Here! 24 hours a Day; 7 Days a Week! We Don't Suffer, We Celebrate!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Take a Dash of Pride & Prejudice, Sprinkle with Dr. Who & Fold in a Touch of C. S. Lewis

Take a Dash of Pride & Prejudice, Sprinkle with Dr. Who & Fold in a Touch of C. S. Lewis 

An Interview with Don Jacobson

by Barbara Tiller Cole
BTCole: I am very happy to have Don Jacobsen visiting us today at Darcyholic Diversions.  I have really enjoyed getting a chance to meet Don, and have a chance to read the first two in his series highly creative Austenesque series!  I look forward to reading more down the road!  I don't know if I would have read them if I hadn't been asked to be a part of this blog tour and what a waste that would have been!  His love of history and reading shines through in this very creative Jane Austen inspired series!  Be sure to read to the end to find out about give aways!  
And with that I would like to turn to Don and get this interview started...
BTCole:  Don, tell us a little bit about how and when you first discovered any of Jane Austen's works.

Don:  Can I plead that the mists of time obscure my hindsight? Actually, I have followed Austen since at least the early 90s and am a huge fan of the video adaptations!  I think it was ‘The Jane Austen Book Club’ that really caught my attention. It was at this pint that I realized that the books had layers of meaning. Then I went out and purchased a copy of ‘Mansfield Park.’ It was and still remains my favorite…particularly because of the social commentary that floats just beneath the surface.



BTCole:  I am always so excited when I discover another male writer of Jane Austen inspired literature.  Was it Austen love at first site?  Or did you read one of the novels and come back to it at some point?


Don:  This is sort of an interesting question. It does seem that male writers of JAFF are a rare breed…just as there are not female writers of Napoleonic sea sagas.


I do not think I had ever read romance novels. I may have picked up on of my mom’s Jacqueline Susan paperbacks when I had nothing else to read (one of her favorite stories was about the time she discovered an eight-year-old me reading the dictionary because ‘I read all the books I brought home from the library.’).


However, as I have been teaching history and research writing for over 15 years, I came across one of the most important pieces of writing of the 20th Century (after watching ‘The Hours”). That was Virginia Woolf’s ‘Mrs. Dalloway’…probably the best novel of the 20th Century. That led me to a work I now assign to both my writing classes as well as my Western Civ II classes—‘A Room of One’s Own’—likewise by Woolf.


I step past the discussion of women writing fiction. I focus on another point of hers—Colridge’s ‘androgynous mind’—which she uses to explore how writing man-womanly or woman-manly allows the author to express human emotion in a non-gendered manner. A brilliant and powerful assertion.

Consider my opening point in this response…why should there not be a hundred women writing Napoleonic sea sagas…or spy novels? Why should there not be a hundred men writing Jane Austen Fan Fiction? Oddly enough, while novels were seen as not ‘serious’ writing in the Regency, we need to recall that one of Ms Austen’s biggest fans was the most important man in the kingdom!


If the writing is honest and does not reflect either the male ego or the female ego in its structure, can it not transcend biases and reach an even broader audience? I found Austen’s original stories to resonate as truthful examinations of human behavior. It was her truthfulness that spurred me forward to try to offer my own variations on her efforts.


BTCole: Was it one of Jane Austen's novels or one of the Austen movie adaptations that really began your love affair?  (If your answer is just for instance 'Pride and Prejudice' you can skip this question.  This question is primarily for those authors who have an interesting story about how they found this genre.)


Don: It was my daughter gifting me a Kindle in 2010 that got me going. I have always been a bookhound. Learning that Kindle Unlimited (the modern model of the Regency subscription library) could keep me reading for $10 a month, I was lost! I had always been a classic science fiction reader, but the modern writers offered little fulfillment. But, Kindle offered me the entire Canon for 99 cents. I figured…why not?


And that led me to ‘The Watsons.’ Somehow I found Ann Mychal’s ‘Emma and Elizabeth,’ and the rest is history. Suddenly my popular search term was “pride and prejudice variations.” I had honestly never realized that anyone would write a story about another author’s characters. 

BTCole:  I can tell by reading your latest novel that you are a lover of history. How did your love for history begin?

Don: I had fallen into science fiction in about fifth grade. There I was exposed to two large arc authors/collections…Isaac Asimov’s Foundation trilogy which told a future/past history analog to the Roman Empire…but with the inclusion of psychohistory…and Robert A. Heinlein’s stories which examined a 6,000 year arc of history centered around the Wilson family (folks who were genetically predisposed to very long life).


The fact that there was an entire mythology and backstory running in the background of these stories hooked me. Then, of course, my next stop was J.R.R. Tolkein, an inventive writer who was a full-blown academic and turned that ability into the creation of an utterly logical world (Middle Earth) with a complete history (Silmarillion).


I found that human history was really nothing more than (or less than) the record of the greatest saga. So, I went to university and earned a degree in History…and followed it up with a Master’s in Modern European history. Using the tools I learned in the discipline have, I believe, made me a stronger writer.


BTCole:  I was intrigued by the influence of C. S. Lewis and Dr. Who on your writing.  Can you tell us about their influence in your life?


Don:  A lot of folks have keyed upon the Bennet Wardrobe and have said “Ah-hah. He is using a Wardrobe…” True. And it is true that C.S. Lewis used a Wardrobe. However, these two pieces of furniture differ utterly in function.


Lewis’ Wardrobe sent the children to another world…with no reference to time. It is clear that the deep need for these youngsters to escape from the horrors of their time, to find a solution to relieve their powerlessness in the face of the Blitz, led them to Narnia. The Narnia Wardrobe seems to have little power beyond its role as a portal between worlds.


The Bennet Wardrobe, built by the natural philosopher and renowned Restoration cabinet-maker Grinling Gibbons, is a very active force in the transport of those of the Bennet bloodline. The Wardrobe is deeply connected with the currents of the universe reaching beyond the traditional three dimensions and delving into not only the realms of time, but also of Original Intent. The Bennet Wardrobe sends Bennets to the where/when that will offer them the best opportunity to learn that which they need to realize their destinies.


Same holds for the TARDIS. Dr. Who (in whichever incarnation you prefer) controls exactly where and when the trip goes—past, present or future.


The Bennet Wardrobe can only transport those of the Bennet genome to a future iteration of the Wardrobe. No travel to the past—except for that Bennet to return to the immediate present.


BTCole: How did the inspiration come to you to do this mash-up all three?


Don:  Not necessarily a mash-up…but, I did seek to place the Bennet Wardrobe within the context of many forms of British magical transport. And, I decided to treat them as real.


You see, I subscribe to the idea that the act of imagining characters  brings them into reality. I follow Robert A. Heinlein who believed in…”World as Myth" — the idea that universes are created by the act of imagining them, so that all fictional worlds are in fact real and all real worlds are figments of fictional figures' fancy…”[i] For instance, in Chapter XXIII of ‘The Exile,’ Holmes (himself being treated as real within the Bennet Wardrobe universe) refers to Pride & Prejudice as if it is a nonfiction book.


Thus, The Bennet Wardrobe, the Narnia wardrobe, The King’s Roads, the TARDIS, and the flue network do exist because their universes have been created through their authors’ imaginations.


BTCole:  Is there a particular reason that you chose to send Kitty to the particular time frame that you use in this particular story?


Don:  I imagined Kitty being told by Mr. Bennet that her future life was going to revolve around a particularly austere seminary in Cornwall. Then, she would react as a teenager might…by throwing a tantrum. In the process, she was thinking/feeling ‘Anywhere but Cornwall. Anywhere but here. I wish that everybody plaguing me would just leave me alone!’ A fist slam against the front of the Wardrobe and “a thousand bees buzzed...and the pressure built.”


Now, the question you did not ask was ‘why Kitty?’ The answer rests in my attraction to the side characters.  The Bennet Wardrobe Series is an alternative history in the Pride & Prejudice Universe. While the lead characters are familiar to all but only as secondary personalities, I have endeavored to provide each of them (Mary, Kitty, Lydia, and Thomas) with an opportunity to grow into three-dimensional persons, although not necessarily in the Regency.  If they were shaped or stifled by the conventions of the period, the time-traveling powers of The Wardrobe helped solve their problems, make penance, and learn lessons by giving them a chance to escape that time frame, if only for a brief, life-changing interlude.


BTCole:  I know that this is your second in a series of 'time traveling tales'.  How many do you plan for your series?  What is the next one going to be?


Don:  Here is the entire series along with potential publication dates:


The Keeper: Mary Bennet’s Extraordinary Journey (2016)

The Exile: Kitty Bennet and the Belle Époque (2017)

The Exile (pt. 2): The Countess Visits Longbourn (2017 proj.)

The Avenger: Thomas Bennet and A Father’s Lament (2018)

The Pilgrim: Lydia Bennet and A Soldier’s Portion (2018-19)

The Grail: The Saving of Elizabeth Darcy (2019)


BTCole: Are you currently writing anything new you wish to tell us about?


Don: I have been busy finalizing publication on ‘The Exile’ and working on the blog tour.  However, by the end of June, I plan to go back into writing a novella that is within the Bennet Wardrobe universe which will offer a couple of twists: “The Darcys Meet Frankenstein.” Then there is a Christmas story which fits between the end of a work I am considering (“The Education of Caroline Bingley”) and Book Five in The Keeper. I hope to have “A Thornhill Christmas” released by the holidays. And, then I will also be writing Part 2 of ‘The Exile.’


BTCole:Anything else you would like to share with the readers here at Darcyholic Diversions?  
Don:  Yes, I thought I might share an exerpt of the book with your readers...

Chapter VII

Darcy House, August 21, 1886


The idea that she was to greet guests by Maddie’s side unnerved Kitty. Who was she—silly Kitty Bennet of Longbourn—to stand next to the grande dame of the Bennet/Darcy clan? She craved the support and cover of her missing sisters now more than at any other time in the past four months.

Tears welled up in her large eyes as she stared at Lizzy’s doppelganger. While she had wept over Mama and Papa’s grave, she had never really felt the dams holding back lifelong fears and sadness crack in the slightest. Now, however, this loving silver-haired woman with deep chocolate brown eyes had put paid to years of invisibility and criticism as well as her reserve with a simple statement of regard; for was not the request to stand to the left of the hostess at a society ball nothing less than a supreme recognition of worthiness? The frightened little girl inside the teenaged Catherine Marie Bennet…the wee child who had cowered behind nervous coughing and slavish following of Lydia…now clawed her way to the surface. Her need to be loved had been unleashed by a simple act of caring.

Her head drooped. Great shuddering sobs shook her shoulders. Fat tears dripped from her eyes.  Her wails, moans really, started low in her belly and were only broken in their ascent to her throat by powerful gasps as her lungs fought for the air she needed to avoid falling to the floor in a dead faint.

The sudden transition from seeming calm to quivering distraction momentarily stunned Madelyn, freezing her in her seat. Then, in an instant, she flew across the narrow gap separating them, nearly upsetting the table in between. Kneeling next to the girl and ignoring the seven decades in her joints, Maddie pulled Kitty’s head to her breast and began stroking her corn silk hair.

“There…there, my darling girl,” crooned the matriarch, recalling when she soothed her own daughters suffering from what at the time seemed to be terminal heartbreak, “All will be well. You are not alone. I am here. We are all here.”

Kitty calmed somewhat, but continued to weep. Then there was a minutes-long silence throughout which her body periodically shook with paroxysms of emotion bolstered by renewed sobs.  After a while, even these subsided.  

Maddie sensed that she could release the girl and did so, allowing Kitty to compose herself on her own terms. After pressing her handkerchief on Kitty, she pushed herself from her knees and stepped back to her seat.

Her nose and eyes reddened from her crying fit, Kitty sat slightly slumped in her own chair. She stared at her niece over the cloth square she held tightly in her fist that was planted firmly against clamped lips. She audibly inhaled and then sighed out her exhaled breaths as she sought to further calm herself. Another minute passed during which Maddie, brows knit together, calmly regarded her. Then Kitty took one last deep breath, straightened in her seat and began to exorcise her demons.

Meeting Maddie’s gaze, she began in a little voice, “I do not know if I am sad because of what I have left behind or worried about what is in store for me.

“Oh, Aunt Maddie, if I could be certain that I would have a future in that world, I would leap into the Wardrobe and fly back there right now. But nothing would change. I still would be ignored by Papa for my silliness, hectored by Mama for coughing, and reminded of Lydia’s darling Wickham.

“So, that there/then offers nothing better than this here/now…and it may be worse.”

She paused and began nervously to twist the handkerchief in her hands.

She ventured forward, “I do not know what Lizzy may have told you of our family’s history…of how Mama became more and more upset and worried after each girl child she bore.

“Lizzy always had Jane and Papa to protect her from the worst of Mama’s fits of nerves.  Sad Mary sought comfort in the musty leaves of Fordyce or in pounding the pianoforte so poorly that nobody would come near her. Papa disappeared into the bookroom at Longbourn or went shooting or visited tenants: anything to avoid Mama’s exclamations.

“Lydia was always Mama’s favorite. She could do no wrong bad enough to earn Mama’s disapprobation.

“I can hear Mama even now. ‘Kitty, do let Lydia have that ribbon. How is she to attract an officer without looking her best?’ or ‘Now Kitty, you know that Lydia is far prettier than you. She must have the new gown…or bonnet…or gloves.’ Oh, if I could erase that voice!”

Anger made Kitty’s china blue eyes darken and flash. Her voice became stronger.

“Lydia always came first. One pout or whine and she got whatever she wanted.

 “Then there was Jane. She sat in the middle of the storm…calm and serene. And why not? There was never, never, a harsh word directed at her. She could sit there and be the perfect lady: placid with never an eyelash out of place. Jane never had to put herself forward because she so clearly stood out from the rest of the babbling, bickering Bennets.

“Mary…poor Mary…Mama could not keep from picking at her about her looks…her voice…her hair…her choice of reading material…her lack of accomplishments. Is it any wonder that she excluded herself from our family in so many ways?

“As for me, being much closer in age to Lydia than Jane, I was more often exiled in the nursery with Lydia while the older girls got to play with the Lucases. But outside of being tasked by Mama to watch Lydie, I was usually ignored.

“Lizzy, at least, was noticed enough to be frequently scolded. I am convinced she took perverse pleasure in acting hoydenish just to aggravate Mama, although I doubt if she refused Mr…well, you know who…just to upset Mama’s applecart. Lizzy always said she would marry only for love, but I am sure that she would have had to drink much of Mama’s special restorative to accept that odious man.”

Kitty threw a watery smile Maddie’s way.

“Of course, she had to refuse Hunsford or she would never have been in a position to accept Pemberley.”

Madelyn chuckled as Kitty’s black mood seemed to lift a bit.

“I can assure you that my children and grandchildren are thankful for my Mama’s high standards.

“I cannot imagine your life inside that tempest that was the Longbourn sitting room. What I can tell you is that every one of your sisters became remarkable women as they grew up.

“Mary and Lydia probably became the most famous of the Bennet sisters.

“You cannot look out your window today without seeing the impact Aunt Mary and her husband Edward Benton had on Great Britain.  Abolition, the Factory Acts, the Reform Acts and countless other causes are the handiwork of that incredible duo.

“And, if you chose to go University, you will now be able to attend Somerville Hall at Oxford.[ii] That was a project close to Aunt Mary’s heart, but it was Lydia’s dear friend, Lady Martha Campbell, a teacher herself, who was the true driving force behind advanced education for women.

“Of course Aunt Lydia, as the Countess of Matlock, stood astride Victorian society. However, she is also beloved by all the unfortunate women who gave their husbands to the expansion of Empire.  Her unflagging advocacy for war widows and their children began shortly after Waterloo and continued to her dying day.

“Aunt Jane was happiest when she was in the precincts of Thornhill with her husband, Mr. Bingley, and their children. She was supremely content to be known as mother and wife. Note that I did not say ‘only a mother and wife.’

“My Aunt Jane was the one every Bennet, Darcy, Fitzwilliam and Benton child would run to for solace. In fact, my Mama and Aunt Lydia would chide Aunt Jane that she would have been happier to claim as her those extra ten children who chased after her seven throughout Thornhill’s halls during the summer months,” Madelyn said before a somber look crossed her face and she fell silent.

Only one generation separated Kitty from Maddie.  Unlike with Lady Elaine Fitzwilliam, Henry’s mother, she could speak of things Bennet with this elderly lady, her niece.

“I noticed how your story did not reach Lizzy and Mr. Darcy before you became sad.

“The last time I saw Lizzy was just after her wedding breakfast. All I know of her life after marrying Mr. Darcy is what I have seen in the family history at the Trust and a letter from my sisters dated in 1836,” Kitty commented.

Madelyn started. Her eyes took on a faraway look as she replied, “Yes, 1836. That was the year Mama left us. Papa was never the same man after that.”

Now it was Kitty’s turn to be the healer. She reached across the table and grasped the wrinkled hand that rested upon Mrs. Johnson’s knee.

She prompted Maddie saying, “Tell me about Lizzy and Mr. Darcy. What were they like?”

Madelyn looked away from those intense blue eyes as they bored deeply into her soul.

What of Papa and Mama’s love? It was the stuff of legend, so strong that after Mama was gone, Papa never really smiled again.

Oh, he could be happy as when his grandchildren would circle his long legs begging to be lifted ever so high. But he was neither deeply joyful nor contented. He came the closest when he would sit with Aunt Jane and Uncle Charles. Then Mama was only a shade away. Of all of those of his generation, maybe Mrs. Johnson offered him the greatest comfort because she gave nothing but quiet companionship having lost such as he had.

“What I can say,” she replied sadly, “is that theirs was the truest love…the Greeks call it agape. A stone of the highest clarity could not have been more beautiful as when Mama and Papa shared a quiet moment watching the sun set over the Peaks. They found their pleasure in stolen moments.

“They were two halves of the same whole, thoroughly attuned to one another’s thoughts. Such a universal love could not be extinguished.

“Many were amazed that my father survived for nearly twenty years without her—just five fewer than their marriage—before he, too, left us.”

With that she rose from her seat and smoothed her gown with both hands.  Shaking herself as if to dust off the memories, she closed with a pronouncement that left Kitty puzzled.

“My faith tells me I will see my Thomas again. But I will have no certainty of that until the last moment when I let go and pass through the final veil. As for my parents, I have no doubt that they will be together again in this world and the next.”





[ii] In 1879, Somerville Hall was the first women’s college founded at Oxford University. The school was named after Scottish mathematician Mary Somerville.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Somerville_College,_Oxford accessed 2/22/17.


Blurb:


Beware of What You Wish For


The Bennet Wardrobe may grant it!

Longbourn, December 1811. The day after Jane and Lizzy marry dawns especially cold for young Kitty Bennet. Called to Papa’s bookroom, she is faced with a resolute Mr. Bennet who intends to punish her complicity in her sister’s elopement. She will be sent packing to a seminary in far-off Cornwall.

She reacts like any teenager chafing under the “burden” of parental rules—she throws a tantrum. In her fury, she slams her hands against the doors of The Bennet Wardrobe.

Her heart’s desire?

I wish they were dead! Anywhere but Cornwall!  Anywhere but here!

As Lydia later said, “The Wardrobe has a unique sense of humor.”

London, May 1886.  Seventeen-year-old Catherine Marie Bennet tumbles out of The Wardrobe at Matlock House to come face-to-face with the austere Viscount Henry Fitzwilliam, a scion of the Five Families and one of the wealthiest men in the world. However, while their paths may have crossed that May morning, Henry still fights his feelings for another woman, lost to him nearly thirty years in his future.  And Miss Bennet must decide between exile to the remote wastelands of Cornwall or making a new life for herself in Victorian Britain and Belle Époque France.
ArkansasAustenFan reviews “The Keeper: Mary Bennet’s Extraordinary Journey”:

What an amazing historical novel that has a paranormal Wardrobe, which transports members of the Bennet-blood-family into the future and back… Don Jacobson is a master storyteller weaving English history into the lives of the P&P characters in a unique way. This book is not light, fluffy reading. It is an intriguing novel that would make a wonderful mini series on BBC much like Downton Abby.
Author Bio:


Don Jacobson has written professionally for forty years.  His output has ranged from news and features to advertising, television and radio.  His work has been nominated for Emmys and other awards.  He has previously published five books, all non-fiction.  In 2016, he published the first volume of The Bennet Wardrobe SeriesThe Keeper: Mary Bennet’s Extraordinary Journey, novel that grew from two earlier novellas. The Exile is the second volume of The Bennet Wardrobe Series.  Other JAFF P&P Variations include the paired books “Of Fortune’s Reversal” and “The Maid and The Footman.”

 Jacobson holds an advanced degree in History with a specialty in American Foreign Relations.  As a college instructor, Don teaches United States History, World History, the History of Western Civilization and Research Writing.

He is a member of JASNA-Puget Sound.  Likewise, Don is a member of the Austen Authors collective (see the internet, Facebook and Twitter).
            He lives in the Seattle, WA area with his wife and co-author, Pam, a woman Ms. Austen would have been hard-pressed to categorize, and their rather assertive four-and-twenty pound cat, Bear.  Besides thoroughly immersing himself in the JAFF world, Don also enjoys cooking; dining out, fine wine and well-aged scotch whiskey.  
His other passion is cycling.  Most days from April through October will find him “putting in the miles” around the Seattle area (yes there are hills).  He has ridden several “centuries” (100 mile days).  Don is especially proud that he successfully completed the AIDS Ride—Midwest (500 miles from Minneapolis to Chicago) and the Make-A-Wish Miracle Ride (300 miles from Traverse City, MI to Brooklyn, MI).
Contact Info: (Link is embedded in the name)
Website     



Twitter  

Buy Links:
Blog Tour Schedule:
06/15   From Pemberley to Milton; Guest Post, GA
06/16   My Jane Austen Book Club; Guest Post, Excerpt, GA
06/17   Just Jane 1813; Review, Excerpt, GA
06/18   Free Date
06/19   Diary of an Eccentric; Excerpt, GA
06/20   Savvy Verse and Wit; Guest Post, GA
06/21   Darcyholic Diversions; Author Interview, GA
06/22   My Vices and Weaknesses; Review, Excerpt, GA
06/23   Babblings of a Bookworm; Character Interview, GA
06/25   Free Date
06/26   Interests of a Jane Austen Girl; Review, Excerpt, GA
06/27   So little time…; Guest Post, GA
06/28   Laughing With Lizzie; Guest Post or Vignette, Excerpt, GA
 
Giveaway:


Terms and Conditions For Blog Tour Give Aways:
Readers may enter the drawing by tweeting once a day and daily commenting on a blog post or review that has a giveaway attached for the tour. Entrants must provide the name of the blog where they commented (which will be verified). If an entrant does not do so, that entry will be disqualified. Remember: Tweet and comment once daily to earn extra entries.
A winner may win ONLY 1 (ONE) eBook of The Exile: Kitty Bennet and the Belle Époque by Don Jacobson. Each winner will be randomly selected by Rafflecopter and the giveaway is international.


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

A Conversation Over Tea with Lory L.


A Conversation Over Tea with Lory L.

by Barbara Tiller Cole

I am very grateful to have Lory Lilian with me today here at Darcyholic Diversions.  Back in the early days of JAFF, I discovered Lory L’s Rainy Days.  Since that time, when someone wants an introduction to Jane Austen inspired literature, that story is one of a handful that I have recommended to a novice Austenesque reader.  So I was thrilled when Lory agreed to stop by for an interview.  

There are TWO ecopies of one of Lory’s novels of your choice as a give away with this post!  Thank you Lory!  In the comment section share what you have enjoyed in Lory’s previous works or what you are looking forward to in this one.  Extra entries for liking this blog, joining the email list, liking my author page on Facebook, reposting this link on Facebook or Twitter, or anything other idea you might have.  Please included any extra things you have done in comments below your own post in the comment section.  

And now, I’ve poured tea, lets chat with Lory...


Lory, tell us a little bit about how and when you first discovered any of Jane Austen's novels.

The first Jane Austen book I read and instantly fell in love with was Pride and Prejudice. I was 13 years old back then and I can say it changed my life completely. Of course, I first read it translated in Romanian, but as soon as I found it in English, my enjoyment increased.

Was it Austen love at first site? Or did you read it in school and return to Austen later?

Pride and Prejudice was love at first sight without a doubt. Then came Sense and Sensibility, and Emma. Mansfield Park, Persuasion and Northanger Abbey.

Was it one of Jane Austen's books, or one of the Austen movie adaptations that really began your love affair with Austen? 

My love affair with Austen started with Pride and Prejudice the book, long before I saw any adaptation. Then with the BBC 1995 miniseries it begun my fanfiction obsession – and I was lost forever.
I know that I discovered your early writings long before you had anything published online.  How did you first discover JAFF (Or Austen-inspired literature--depending on how you refer to it)?

Well, it was 2004 and I kept searching the Internet for anything related to Pride and Prejudice 95. And I happened to click on a link toward the Derbyshire Writers Guild, then to Hyacinth Gardens and Firthness. So for the next 4 months I read EVERYTHING I could find online, which means I slept no more than 4 hours every night LOL. It was such a blissful time. Then, in January 2005 I started to write and post on line my first novel, Rainy Days. Its success is still hard to believe for me.

How has your career or your hobbies influenced your writing? (I don't know anything about your history, so you can separate this into two questions if you have an answer to both.)

Until three years ago I had a long carrier in Human Resources and sales, in different multinational companies. So my time for writing was very limited. That was the main reason why I only wrote 4 books since 2005 to 2015, although I had lots of inspiration and ideas. Then at long last, I decided to split my time equally between business and my hobby- which is my writing. As a consequence, I published three new books in two years.

When a non Austen inspired reader is curious about JAFF I have often recommended that they read your first novel, Rainy Days.  What inspired you to write your it? 

Oh – thank you so much; you are very kind! I am thrilled and humbled to see how many people still love Rainy Days. What inspired me to write it? Hmmmm – just my endless passion/devotion for Elizabeth and Darcy and their story. The idea came into my head and would never leave. Can you believe that I wrote the 390 pages in about 3 months ? J

What was the inspiration for your new release, A Man Without Faults?

A man with Faults was a challenge – for me and my readers. Some people whose opinion is very important to me suggested that my books are a little bit … too perfect. That a little more angst might be nice. Oh well – here it is! Lots of angst, I might say. But of course, it has its well-deserved part of mush and a hot happy ending! And people seemed to enjoy it, as the sales and the reviews are excellent. The book was number 275 in the total Amazon sales rank; I am pretty sure it is the highest rank ever reached by a JAFF book and I cannot thank my readers enough for that.

Without giving too much away, one of your book's thematic elements appears to be about the consequence Darcy's long held resentment and anger?  It is much stronger than in canon.  What did you like and not like about your Darcy in this book?

Ha ha – I pretty much hated this Darcy in the beginning (just keep in mind that the first draft had much more angst and Darcy was much darker!). Seriously speaking, it was hard to write him, his anger, his resentment… But I hope I succeeded in keeping his major traits: he is honorable, fair, caring, generous – and very much in love with Elizabeth.

I understand you had the misfortune to have someone fraudulently plagarize your name on a book you did not write. I know many were shocked and concerned when we heard that that had happened to you.  Would you like the opportunity to clear the air about what happened?

I was shocked too – although I know that many nasty things happened in JAFF community in the last years: books stolen from the online sites, plagiarism and others which I would never believe possible among people who love Jane Austen. So basically, searching for the latest reviews of AMWF, Amazon just recommended me a book of 36 pages, which had the author name written with very large fonts, while the title was barely visible. The author’s name was Lory Lilian LOL. My first concern was that my readers would be deceived to believe it was my book, would buy it and be disappointed with it – and with me. That was very painful and worrisome! So I emailed Amazon, but they basically told me there was nothing they could do, since it was allowed to have more authors with the same name. However, as soon as I posted the announcement, the reaction from JAFF community was immediate and so powerful that Amazon took that book down within a couple of hours.

Are you currently writing thing new you would like to discuss? 
Yes, I am working on a new project. It is light, romantic, hot and low angst. Ha ha – I really love writing it.

Anything else you would like to share with the readers here at Darcyholic Diversions?
Just to say how excited I am to be here for the first time and hope to repeat the experience in the future.  Thanks so much for having me.

And I have really enjoyed visiting with you!  Please come back and visit when your next book is ready for release!

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Victoria Kincaid and Redemption found for Elizabeth in Darcy’s Honor: An Interview


Victoria Kincaid and Redemption found for Elizabeth in Darcy’s Honor:  An Interview

by Barbara Tiller Cole

I am happy to welcome Victoria Kincaid to Darcyholic Diversions today.  I enjoyed getting to know her during this interview and through her recently published novel, Darcy’s Honor.  Victoria is giving away to an international winner either a paperback or ecopy of her book, winner’s choice.  So be sure to leave a comment below.  Extra entries will be given for sharing this post link on Facebook, twitter, liking this blog, my author page, and friend requests on Facebook for either me of Victoria.  Will be drawing the winner next Thursday.  


Victoria, tell us a little bit about how and when you first discovered any of Jane Austen's novels.
I read Pride and Prejudice in college, but I don’t think the novels really spoke to me until I was a little older—when I could appreciate the subtlety of what Austen was doing.

Was it one of Jane Austen's books, or one of the Austen movie adaptations that really began your love affair with Austen?
I do think the 1995 adaptation of P&P helped to inspire my love of Austen and made me turn back to the books.  It helped me remember how brilliant Austen is. 

What is your favorite of Jane Austen's novels? 
P&P is my favorite and I think it’s the most accessible in terms of writing JAFF.  I love Persuasion and Sense & Sensibility as well – and have a soft spot for Mansfield Park.  I have trouble really loving Emma, although I understand intellectually why people think it’s a brilliant book. 

How did you first discover JAFF/Austen-inspired literature?
I wanted more Austen!  I started with the P&P variations that were available at my library.  When I had read all of those, I went to Amazon.  It eventually got to be expensive to buy so many print-on-demand books, so JAFF was responsible for the purchase of my first Kindle. 😊

How has your career or your hobbies influenced your writing? 
It’s funny.  I have a Ph.D. in English literature, but my specialty was 20th century drama, so I didn’t actually study much about Austen’s time period in graduate school.  Of course, it did give me some tools to analyze literature and become a good writer (and editor).  I’ve also been a playwright since my undergraduate years—and I teach playwriting in Washington DC.  That gave me a lot of experience in writing, but it was also a little strange switching gears to writing novels.  When you’re writing plays, all the information must come out in the dialogue, so I had to get used to writing narrative and description.  Writing novels has been a lot more rewarding than writing plays; however,  and I’m very glad I made the switch. 

What inspired you to write your first novel?
My story is probably similar that of a lot of JAFF writers:  I was reading all this JAFF, and I was inspired with an idea to write my own.  I wasn’t necessarily planning to write a second one, but my first novel was well received, and I had ideas for more P&P variations running around in my head.

What was the inspiration for your new release, Darcy's Honor?
It’s hard to remember now because the idea has been simmering on the back burner for so long.  I think it was partially inspired by P&P itself and Lydia’s story—the idea of what happens if a woman does lose her reputation.  I wanted to write a plot in which a woman’s reputation was regained. 

What helped you determine the characteristics of your non-canon character added to your story, Lord Henry?  What did you like and not like about him?
I needed a villain who was out to compromise Elizabeth’s reputation.  He had to be high-born and powerful—so Lord Henry was the result.  I would have liked him to be a more sympathetic character—more human—but I have trouble seeing the “good” side of someone like him. So he ended up being pretty villainous, but I don’t think that hurt the story.  

Without giving away anything from your story, there is an interesting twist in the story involving Lady Catherine.  Care to tell your readers anything about the inspiration for this?  
Some of it was driven by plot.  I needed someone to deliver a particular piece of information about Lord Henry.  But I also liked the idea of Lady Catherine doing something unexpected.  At the same time, her attituded toward Elizabeth isn’t radically different from her usual contempt. 

Are you currently writing thing new you would like to discuss?
I am writing the first draft of my next P&P variation, which will be my first modern variation.  It’s both exciting and nerve-wracking. 😊

Anything else you would like to share with the readers here at Darcyholic Diversions?
Thank you for having me as a guest!

 Thanks Victoria for visiting us here at Darcyholic Diversions!  Come back when your next novel is complete if you would like!

Book Exerpt
As they rounded a bend in the road near Longbourn, Elizabeth disengaged her hand from Mr. Darcy’s arm, rather more reluctantly than she would have expected. It felt unaccountably natural there. She turned to Mr. Darcy with words about a headache on her lips; however, before she could open her mouth, a shriek emanated from the direction of Longbourn.
“Lizzy! Lizzy!” Elizabeth turned to see her mother, hands bunched in her skirts, rushing toward them. A coach and driver waited outside Longbourn’s entrance. Presumably her mother had been about to embark on an outing when she spied them. What horrid luck!
Her mother stumbled to a stop in front of her, puffing and out of breath. “Lizzy! What on earth is the matter with you?” She gestured wildly at her daughter, apparently oblivious to Mr. Darcy’s presence. “Your hair! Your clothes! You look as if you have been tramping through the woods. What have you been getting into now? What if someone should see you?”
Elizabeth felt her face heat, no doubt turning all shades of red. She did not even know whether she was more embarrassed by the rebuke or her mother’s lack of decorum.
“Indeed, madam,” Mr. Darcy intoned. “It is almost as if she had been rushing about the countryside shrieking loudly.”
Mrs. Bennet turned to Mr. Darcy and blinked at him, not comprehending his sarcasm.
The situation likely was unsalvageable, but Elizabeth fell back on her manners anyway. She gestured to Mr. Darcy. “Mama, you may remember Mr. Darcy?”
Her mother’s mouth formed a perfectly round “o” of surprise. “Mr. Darcy! Oh! Oh!” She fluttered her hands and then executed an excessively deep and clumsy curtsey which threatened to pitch her into the dirt. “What has Lizzy been about this time, sir? Has she been causing you trouble? She is such a sly, headstrong creature!”
Elizabeth had not believed it was possible for her face to get hotter. I must be as red as a tomato now!
Mr. Darcy returned the curtsey with a stiff bow; his blank face betrayed neither disgust nor amusement at her mother’s behavior. “Indeed, madam, Miss Elizabeth has done nothing wrong.” Elizabeth felt a rush of gratitude that he did not mention the horse theft.
Mrs. Bennet took another look at Elizabeth’s disheveled state and sniffed loudly in disbelief. “Such a troublesome girl!” she exclaimed. “She is quite a trial to me!” Then her face lit up as it occurred to her that Mr. Darcy’s presence was an opportunity. “Why don’t you come into the house for a cup of tea, and you can converse with some of my other daughters?”
Elizabeth suppressed a desire to roll her eyes. Her mother was not nearly as subtle as she believed.
Mr. Darcy stiffened. “Not today, I thank you. But I will take the opportunity to call another day.”
As he mounted his horse, Mrs. Bennet took the opportunity to voice effusive offers of welcome and exclamations over the virtues of Cook’s poppy-seed cakes. Before he turned his horse toward Netherfield, Mr. Darcy’s gaze caught and held Elizabeth’s as if he intended to communicate some important message to her. But it was lost on Elizabeth. Seconds later, he had bidden them farewell and rode away.


Darcy’s Honor Book Blurb

Elizabeth Bennet is relieved when the difficult Mr. Darcy leaves the area after the Netherfield Ball. But she soon runs afoul of Lord Henry, a Viscount who thinks to force her into marrying him by slandering her name and ruining her reputation.  An outcast in Meryton, and even within her own family, Elizabeth has nobody to turn to and nowhere to go.
Darcy successfully resisted Elizabeth’s charms during his visit to Hertfordshire, but when he learns of her imminent ruin, he decides he must propose to save her from disaster.  However, Elizabeth is reluctant to tarnish Darcy’s name by association…and the viscount still wants her…
Can Darcy save his honor while also marrying the woman he loves?