Mr. Collins Exclusive Interview
With the Author of 'Mr. Knightley... In His Own Words'
(It is my pleasure to yet again be a part of the release of Shannon Winslow's Newest Novel. It has become a tradition, and maybe even a good luck charm for Shannon to stop by Darcyholic Diversions to present Mr. Collins latest interview when she releases a new book. We at Darcyholic Diversions are grateful to, again, be host for one of these special interviews!
As soon as I saw the cover, with Jeremy Northam's image as Mr. Knightley, I knew that I was going to enjoy this book. If you have always wondered how Mr. Knightley came to be in a large estate all by himself, as I have, don't miss Shannon Winslow's latest! ~~Barbara Tiller Cole)
It has become a tradition that, with the publication of each new book, I sit down for an interview with Mr. Collins (now Sir William Collins). Did you know that, after his run as a legendary literary figure, he turned his talents to a new career as a talk-show host? It’s true.
He and I have not always been on the best of terms, I’m sorry to say. The awkwardness stems from the fact that I made his character’s early demise my top priority as a writer. In fact, Mr. Collins expired in the very first chapter of my very first novel (The Darcys of Pemberley). I’m afraid he has never quite forgiven me for that. Here’s our most recent interview:
[House lights dim. Applause sign flashes. Stage lights come up to reveal a platform with twin retro club chairs occupied by host Sir William Collins and today’s guest, the modestly successful author Shannon Winslow. Collins lifts a hand in the style of a royal wave to acknowledge the audience before turning his attention to his guest.]
Collins: Welcome back to Meet the Author, Ms. Winslow.
Winslow: Thank you, Sir William. It’s a pleasure, as always.
Collins: I had begun to wonder if we would see you again.
Winslow: Oh? Why is that?
Collins: Well, you have to admit it has been quite some time – over a year – since your last visit.
Winslow: True. This book did take a little longer to write. Mr. Knightley didn’t give up his secrets easily. [laughs] It took some patience and persuasion on my part.
Collins: Mr. Knightley in His Own Words. [holds up the book] It’s your third in this series of stories about Austen’s heroes, if I’m not mistaken.
Winslow: You are not mistaken, Sir William; it is my third. First, there was Fitzwilliam Darcy in His Own Words, then Colonel Brandon, and now Mr. Knightley.
Collins: And yet, you have so far failed to take up my suggestion, Ms. Winslow. Why is that?
Winslow: Your suggestion? Oh! I suppose you mean Mr. Collins in His Own Words. No, you’re quite right; I haven’t. How observant you are to have noticed. As to why… Well, I don’t think we really have time to go into that right now. I’m sure your audience would be more interested in hearing about this new book. After all, that’s why I was invited here, isn’t it?
Collins: [rolls eyes slightly and sighs] Very well. If you insist, tell us a little something about Mr. Knightley in His Own Words.
Winslow: Thank you. The first thing to know is that, as with the other two, this is not simply a retelling of the original story from the hero’s point of view. The last third of the book does cover that ground, but the first 2/3 is entirely new material. You could call it a very extensive prequel to Emma, since it divulges what happened in two key, earlier periods of Knightley’s life – as a teenager and a twenty-something. He really had quite a tragic past, you know, and I admire him so much for how he came through it and bravely carried on.
Collins: Tragic, you say. Could you give readers a little hint as to what you mean?
Winslow: Sure. I can say a few words without spoiling anything. Since I always begin with what Austen told us, we already know Knightley has little family – at least little remaining. He apparently lost his parents early, and yet we aren’t told when or how. If he had any siblings besides John, they must be gone as well. [drops voice to a stage whisper] And I will candidly tell you that he did have another brother – an older brother, in fact, named Miles. [resumes normal volume] My other big clue that I took for a starting point was Mr. Knightley’s incredible patience and devotion to Mr. Woodhouse. I went looking for what could possibly explain that, as well as all the other things.
Collins: May I take it that you found the answers you sought, Ms. Winslow?
Winslow: Oh, yes. It took some patience and persistence, as I said before. But it all came out in the end and made perfect sense. Knowing Mr. Knightley’s full story, has given me so much more admiration and appreciation for the man! I think readers will enjoy discovering the same.
Collins: Much too soon to tell, though, I presume.
Winslow: [looking nonplussed] Well, early reviews are quite promising, but...
Collins: [interrupting] I’m afraid that’s all we have time for, Ms. Winslow. Do stop by again… sometime or other.
Winslow: Thank you, Sir William. I’ll do that.
[Applause sign rouses studio audience to a loud ovation. Stage manager shouts, “Cut! That’s a wrap, folks.” Assistants scurry to remove Ms. Winslow’s microphone and touchup Collins’s makeup for the next segment to be filmed.]
Collins: So the next book, Ms. Winslow? Another “…in His Own Words”?
Winslow: Quite possibly. Readers seem to enjoy them, and so do I, actually.
Collins: Any chance of your finally taking my suggestion as to your subject? I think I can promise to be more cooperative than Mr. Knightley, more forthcoming about my past and all my heroic adventures.
Winslow: You must understand, Sir William… What I mean is… You see, readers are interested in… well, a slightly different style of hero – the leading man type. They want to know what makes him tick, and to experience vicariously through him the magic of falling in love all over again. They want to picture him and his lady living happily ever after. And, well, we all know that was never going to happen for you and Charlotte.
Collins: [abruptly stands and raises his voice, accusingly] And whose fault is that? It might have turned into the greatest love story of all time, had you not chosen to cut me off before my prime! In the very flower of my youth. A man of the cloth, too! [continues to rant]
Winslow: [to assistant] Oh, dear. I was afraid this would happen if he forced me to answer that question. Perhaps I had better go now.
[Assistant nods vigorously and hurriedly escorts Ms. Winslow away. Others rush to attend to the agitated Sir William]
Thus ends another volatile Winslow/Collins interview at Meet the Author.
Mr. Knightley... In His Own Words
Mr. George Knightley. According to Emma Woodhouse, you won’t see one in a hundred who is so clearly the gentleman. Respected by all, he’s kind, unpretentious, and scrupulously honest, with an air so remarkably good that it’s unfair to compare other men to him. We also know he’s been his “own master” from a young age. But Jane Austen tells us little more.
What were his early years like, and how did he lose his parents? A man in his mid-thirties, he must have had at least one romance along the way. Did it end badly? Is that why he’s never married? When and how did his relationship with Emma shift from friendship to love? And what can explain his incredible forbearance towards the eccentric Mr. Woodhouse? Now, Mr. Knightleyreveals these answers and more in His Own Words.
This is not a variation from but a supplement to the original story of Emma, chronicled in the hero’s point of view. Two-thirds completely new material, it features key events in Mr. Knightley’s past – events that still haunt him and yet have shaped who he’s become, the superior man Emma can’t help falling in love with.