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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Laura Hile: Austen Inspired Literature--A Bit Like a Kaleidoscope

Welcome Laura Hile (Another of the 27 Authors Participating in the Upcoming Decatur Book Festival) to Darcyholic Diversions...
24 Days to Go till DBF!)

Hi, Darcyholics!  Today, I would like to introduce you to Laura Hile.  While perhaps not a 'Darcyholic' I think that Laura qualifies for an 'Austenholic' so I am very happy to have her with me today.  I look forward to geting to know her a bit better here, and am very happy that she is participating with us at the Decatur Book Festival as a remote author.  (She will have a proxy for a book reading and for book signings with book-plates that she has pre-signed herself.)

The information on Decatur Book Festival was updated last Wednesday evening this week, so visit the link again and find out all the details as well as where YOU can stay as we are so excited to have 27--yes TWENTY-SEVEN Austen Inspired Authors participating with us!  Here is the link! It included information about a large hotel room block you can take advantage of if you would like to be with us!

I am Announcing initial plans for a Darcyholic Holiday eBook Festival.  More Information to come, but send me an email at barbaratillercole@gmail.com if you are an author and would like to participate!!

If you have not read all of the posts for the month of June, there are still seven authors with open drawings.  Check out the archives on the right and read posts from Amy Cecil, William Deresiewicz and Maria Grace and leave a comment.  (On the other June posts, I will be announcing winners on Thursday).

Upcoming Guest Posts Are As Follows:
August 10--Abigail Reynolds
August 12--Cynthia Hensley
August 14--Colette Saucier
August 17--Regina Jeffers
August 19--KaraLynne Mackrory
August 21--Sally Smith O'Rourke
August 24--Pamela Aidan
August 26--Lory Lilian
August 28--Jack Caldwell
August 31--Decatur Book Festival Eve!
September 2--Live from the Decatur Book Festival
September 4--Fun Stories from the DBF
September 7--Jack Caldwell's Experiences at the DBF
September 11--Karen Cox's Experiences at the DBF
September 14--Mary Simonsen
September 18--Amber G.
September 21--Moira B.
November 2--Amy Patterson
November 13--Karen Doornebos
And Many more to come!
Laura Hil is giving away one print copy of the first book, Mercy's Embrace: So Rough a Course (USA only).   It's easy to enter, simply post a comment. Additional entries will be based on comments on blog posts; but additional chances will be given for joining this site, tweeting this post, Joining this site as a member via Google Friend Connect (GFC) (See the left hand column on the blog to join!), sharing this on Facebook or your blog, Friend Barbara Tiller Cole on Facebook, clicking 'like’ on Barbara Tiller Cole, Author's Facebook page, Join Darcyholic Diversions Facebook Page or following BarbTCole on Twitter.

Austen Inspired Literature--
A Bit Like a Kaleidoscope
Ah, the fascination of the kaleidoscope.  The tube is sealed, and yet a simple twist tumbles the colored pieces into new and startling patterns.  So lovely!  So captivating!  Even as an adult I struggle to set one of those aside.  Just one more look, one more unexpected combination...

In a way, my Austenesque fiction is like that.  One twist, one tiny plot device altered---and as with the kaleidoscope, everything changes.  Can we bear to see what happens next?  Can we bear not to?
My plunge into writing began with my good friend, author Susan Kaye.  How surprised I was to find that she loved Jane Austen as much as I!  We launched a massive what-if tale into the laps of unsuspecting Austen fan fiction readers (Love Suffers Long and is Kind).  One small change,  and the world of Persuasion went spinning on its ear.  She wrote Captain Wentworth's half and I wrote Anne's.  What a ride!

During that project, I discovered several things. First, I love Jane Austen's secondary characters.  What fun to give them them elevated roles with new challenges, and then send them on a joyride!   Second, I enjoy entertaining readers with twists they don't expect.  In those days, as far as non-Pride and Prejudice fiction was concerned,  I had to earn readers one by one---and keep them coming back for more.   Third, Jane Austen's  "other" Elizabeth---you know, the so-opinionated one in Persuasion, the one you love to hate?---and I have much in common. Way too much.

Eh, except for pedigree and stunning good looks.  (Dang.)

And so the three Mercy's Embrace books were born, with Persuasion as a launching platform.  What's not to love? At twenty-nine, top-lofty Miss Elliot is desperate and isolated.  Ha, she's not as rich, or as socially secure, or a smart as she thinks.  And romance?  That is definitely not on her bucket list!  But finding a wealthy husband is.

What would happen, I wondered, if  I threw a dashing and intelligent man Elizabeth's way?  Who had none of the qualities she was looking for in a husband, but who dared to converse with her as an equal?   Would her cold heart thaw? Would she tumble hopelessly in love?   And that's only the beginning.

Want to find out more?  Read on, because  ...

We're giving away one print copy of the first book, Mercy's Embrace: So Rough a Course  this week (USA only).   It's easy to enter, simply post a comment.  

And while I dearly wish I could come to Decatur, I cannot. But my books will be there.  Oh, the places my little books go ...

Kaleidoscope Photo Credit: I {heart} Rhody
(Creative Commons)

Jane Austen’s Persuasion provides the backdrop for So Rough A Course, (Click link for book on Amazon) a delightful romp set in Regency England. Miss Elliot is as beautiful as ever, and yet no suitable gentleman has requested her hand. But when the proud Elizabeth encounters a pair of smiling Irish eyes, she is tempted to change her opinion. Almost. 

In So Lively A Chase, (Click link for book on Amazon) Elizabeth can only despise herself for falling in love with the common Mr Gill. He certainly holds the keys to her heart, but he also holds his own deep secrets that have the power to change their lives forever.

Can Elizabeth risk trusting the man she loves…or, indeed, anyone?  Wouldn’t she be better off accepting William Elliot’s offer of security and privilege? As the storm of social disapproval descends, The Lady Must Decide (Click link for book on Amazon)

Bio:  Laura lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, all three of her college/post-college-age sons---who are preparing to launch, honest! ---and a collection of antique clocks.  During the school year she teaches teens (which accounts for her snarky sense of humor) and spends summers writing as fast as possible.  She is currently working on a fourth--and fifth! --- Mercy's Embrace book.


  1. Lovely write-up. It was great learning a bit more about your history Laura!

    1. Ah, yes. The shameful history of someone who wishes she were beautiful enough to get away with saying exactly what she thinks! :)

      Hi Diana! What can I say? Writing is therapy?

      You know those mean girls in high school? Tell you what, I had some serious fun when Caroline Bingley shows up. Wants to be BFFs with this Elizabeth. Miss Elliot, daughter of a baronet, whose illustrious ancestors adorn the history books, is completely underwhelmed ...

      Even Miss Elizabeth Bennet would smile to see them go at it.

      Thanks for coming by to enter, Diana!

  2. You gave yourself very tough challenges, reforming Miss Elliot in your books. Would Miss Bingley be on your list of future challenges?

    1. Hi June!

      Miss Bingley comes into the series, but does she reform? I fear not. But she's fun to watch, especially since the shoe is on the other foot with this Elizabeth. And that's before she sets her eyes on the newly-widowed William Elliot ...

      *scary music playing in the background*

  3. definitely the 'what ifs' open entirely new perspectives and you've certainly taken them to advantage, Laura!
    i've always loved kaleidoscopes ;)...

    1. Hi Faith! Yes, Jane's secondary characters are intriguing to me. Such fun to watch them take center stage!

      Thanks for the kind words.

  4. " ... and the world of Persuasion went spinning on its ear."

    And someday, when we're raising cats and still writing, we'll bring that spinning top to it's natural conclusion.

    Great little post you got here, Ms Hile. ;-)

    take care--Susan Kaye

    1. Ah yes, my writing partner-in-crime, we comfort ourselves with this thought. Thanks for the props!

  5. Ha! "Mean girls from high school..." After you mentioned that I thought about taking the film "Mean Girls" and replacing the lead characters with Austen's female "villains:" Miss Bingley, Miss Elliot, Mary Croft, and Isabella Thorpe, perhaps?

    I am certainly intrigued by your taking a crack as the Other Elizabeth. Considering I loved the evolution of Caroline Bingley in "The Other Mr. Darcy," I definitely want to read your story.

    1. Hi Jamie!

      High school, the wellspring of angst for all stories? Could be.

      How sad is that? :)

      "Most of the basic material a writer works with is acquired before the age of fifteen." (Willa Cather)

      Elizabeth Elliot is a kick to write---I think of her as the Regency Lucy Ricardo. Always plotting, but unable to foresee how her plans will spin out of control.

      Thanks for coming by and entering the giveaway. Good luck!

  6. I heard about your books on another Austen website but didn't win one, so I'm trying again. I don't think the library has them, even through an interlibrary loan, so I'd love to win one.

    You said writing is your therapy, but for others reading is therapy. Well, someone told me that years ago, so that's my mantra. The guy who told me that sold me some books at a flea market and said that reading was his therapy and he tried to read for at least half an hour a day.

    1. Hi Michelle! Thanks so much for stopping by to enter.

      Reading is therapy, I absolutely agree. A workout for the imagination, expanding our view of what it means to be human. All the excitement of an adventure, with none of the deprivation.

      Because I have enough real-world drama as a teacher, I enjoy escapist reading most (cozy mysteries in particular). That's what the Mercy's books are---a fun, entertaining read. Maybe one day I will try my hand at a mystery. :)

    2. Cozy mysteries are my favorite type of books. I also like historical mysteries, especially the Mrs. Jeffries series by Emily Brightwell.

      GFC - Michelle Fidler

  7. Yes, we can all relate to the "mean girls" scenario.

    I adore your books, and here I am again, like a bad penny, entering to win an autographed copy.

    I enjoy your stories so much that I may reread the series in a couple of months.

  8. Robin, Robin ...

    What would a giveaway be without your entry?

    You are ever-vigilant, my friend. "May the odds be ever in your favor."

    Thanks for the kind words. There's no higher compliment to an author than to reread her books.

  9. Let's see...
    I read the original Love Suffers Long -- and laughed and cried my way through it. So many memorable moments!

    As part of that, I read the Mercy's Embrace series online.

    I've read the books.

    And I've downloaded the Kindle version because I loaned the books to a friend (who never returned the last two).

    Sign me up for the give-away, girlie.

    Did you mention that you're posting the 4th book of the series as a WIP at BeyondAusten.com? You didn't? Well, I did.

    You and Susan brought Persuasion to life for me. Such good stories. Such good writing. And you're such a good friend.

  10. Gayle, if you win I will send whichever volume you would like.

    (I guess I can do that for whoever wins! I assume that most have never read these books.)

    But if you win I'm afraid you're going to have to fight Robin for it. Which is why I'll write your name in big letters. :)

    Thanks, my friend, for the kind words of encouragement.

  11. I haven't had the pleasure of reading any of your books yet but I've heard nothing but good things about you. I've read several entries of yours on Beyond Austin and love them all. I look forward to reading your books in the future! =D

  12. Thanks, Annette, for dropping by to enter. The odds of winning look pretty good right now!

  13. I really, really, really want to win. ;)

  14. Alittle late to the party...
    your books have been on my TBR list for awhile..
    but life gets in the way (and paying two tutions...)
    so I would love to win a copy...

  15. I would really love to win a copy of Mercy's Embrace. I am so glad to learn that Elizabeth Elliot seems to have grown up and that she is at last (hopefully) to be happy. I have wanted this book since I saw about it, but for now, have had to put it on the wish list, what with a job falling through through and having to buy books for a class, it is not for this month- maybe another. Maybe I'll win, maybe not- but I am sure I will love this book whenever I get it.