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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Veronica of Dark Jane Austen: Into the Darkness for Redemption

Into the Darkness for Redemption
 (Today is Blog Swap Day between Dark Jane Austen and Darcyholic Diversions.  I am honored that they chose Fitzwilliam Ebenezer Darcy as their group read book of the month.  In addition to reading this post, I hope you will read mine on their site as well!)
Of all Austen’s men none venture into their own hearts to face their demons the way Darcy does. He looks at himself through Elizabeth’s eyes and takes action to make amends for his behavior even though he holds no real hope of winning her after her rejection.
I often wonder why so many swoony women quote his retched first proposal. If he had stopped after the whole ardent admiration and love, maybe, but he goes on to enumerate all the detractions of such a match, namely her inferiority and family status, his pride against such a match, and that done with an arrogance that she would accept him as “she could not be insensible to the compliment of such a man’s affection.”
Once Elizabeth makes it clear that not only does she not want to marry him, but she never even entertained the idea enumerating his detractions with the interference in the happiness of others and his ungentlemanly behavior overall. Darcy is offended, but then he does something quite remarkable. Darcy takes her censure point by point to examine himself. First, to acquit himself in a letter regarding his involvement in Bingley’s separation from Jane. Secondly, of the true nature of his relationship with Wickham and all the turmoil involved. Finally, Darcy goes on to allow her words to influence his behavior, both with the Gardiners and with his intervention in the elopement of Lydia with Wickham.
Truly, was any other Austen man tested so? Many of the others had only to realize that their ideal match was with a woman directly in front of them that they need only ask. No great character change or adjustment was needed beyond that. And even with Wentworth, it wasn’t a character reform so much as it was a showing that he had never been unworthy of the woman he loved in spite of meddlesome interference.
Darcy is set apart, for while other Austen men might apologize for being blind to the woman in front of them; he had to atone for his being blind to his own behavior. It is one thing for a woman to be truly seen by the man she loves, it is quite another to be the woman that effects such change in a man. That is the fuel of the Darcy fantasy.
Sometimes, I want to hate him for the hype. I want to scream at the quotes used from the height of his arrogance. It isn’t the Darcy that is first presented that anyone celebrates, but the Darcy he proves himself to be. The transition from gentleman of social standing to the gentleman of moral standing that is the Darcy we love. And that this transition came about without the hope of winning the woman, but just hoping to be the kind of man she could esteem, how can that not be attractive?
The more I think about it the more I love Fitzwilliam Ebenezer Darcy by Barbara Tiller Cole because she takes the exploration of this inner darkness with a creatively familiar twist. Over at Dark Jane Austen Book Club we chose to feature this novel because of its Christmas redemption theme, but as I’ve been reading and pondering my thoughts on the whole Darcy craze I find myself thinking that maybe it isn’t so irrational. 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Kara Louise: Christmas in Her Old English Village

Kara Louise: 
Christmas in Her Old English Village
(Today Kara Louise Continues the Darcyholic Diversions Christmas Celebration with her guest post and Give Away!  Many books available for give away before the holiday!  Comment on all December posts today!)
Every Christmas I step into an old English Village. Carriages convey people to their destination; carolers gather and sing; children are sledding and building snowmen; and couples snuggle together. This village has several charming shops, a church, a school, an inn, homes, and even an old farm house.

I set up my Christmas village every year the day after Thanksgiving, buying a new piece or two to add to it. In the evening we turn on the lights and sit back and enjoy.

I began to collect these over twelve years ago, before I stepped into the English villages and towns of Jane Austen. My husband had actually begun buying me the small (unlightable) David Winter villages, which I keep in a curio cabinet. A few years later I began buying the larger (not David Winter) pieces that light up. I currently have about 14 different pieces, plus all the people and other extras.

Even though these are more Victorian than Regency, I can’t help but think of Jane Austen when I look at the different scenes. Then, of course, my thoughts go to Darcy and Elizabeth. Unfortunately, I don’t have a ‘Pemberley’ amongst my pieces, but I think I have spotted the Darcys riding in one of the carriages! I wonder how the Darcys would have celebrated Christmas after they were married. Did they decorate Pemberley with garlands and mistletoe? Did they begin some traditions on that first Christmas? What presents did they give each other? Did they celebrate with any other family?

Last year I published a book, "Pemberley Celebrations - The First Year” that addresses some of those musings. The book is actually a collection of short stories that follows the newly married Darcys as they celebrate the different holidays and special events that first year. I begin, of course, with Christmas (there are three Christmas stories), and go on to New Years, Valentines Day, Easter, May Day, Midsummer Day, Michaelmas, All Hallows Eve, and the birth of their baby.

Now, back to my village. My husband loves it, too, and this year he moved a nice set of bookshelves into the living from his outdoor office so I would have more space for my growing collection. But he said there was one stipulation to moving the bookcase there: that I leave the village up until at least March! (I might just decide to leave it up all year!)

But this new piece of furniture in the house presented a problem. Our cats love the shelves and they immediately began to jump in and hunker down behind a carriage or next to one of the buildings. I am so afraid they will get caught in the cords and bring some of my village pieces crashing to the ground! And, of course, one of our cats has decided he likes to jump from the top of the chair onto the top of the bookcase! At least they are sturdy, and I hope the cats will soon become distracted by something else!

As part of Barbara’s celebration of Christmas I am giving away a copy of “Pemberley Celebrations” to those in US and Canada. All you have to do is comment here.

I want to thank Barbara for inviting me here today as part of her Christmas celebration. And I’d like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas! 

My current work in progress is a pirate adventure. Darcy as a pirate? Well, you'll just have to wait and see! I hope to have it available this spring or early summer!   

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Regina Jeffers: A Lover of Irony

 Regina Jeffers:  A Lover of Irony
(I am happy to have Regina Jeffers back to visit with us at Darcyholic Diversions.  Her Christmas at Pemberley is a delightful holiday offering, but her post including some information about a future project!)
 I admit it. I love IRONY.
a Noun ~ the expression of one’s meaning by using language that normally signifies the opposite, typically for humorous or emphatic effect.
When I read Shakespeare, I delight in the Bard’s mastery of the ironic device. Take for example Mark Anthony’s speech from Julius Caesar. “Yet Brutus says he was ambitious; And Brutus is an honorable man.” As readers, we know Anthony thinks Brutus is everything but honorable. In “The Gift of the Magi,” the couple’s convoluted gift exchange is a prime example of Situational Irony. In The Scarlet Letter, irony rules when Hester Prynne seeks the support of Reverend Dimmesdale to fight the charges of adultery; after all, the reader knows what the characters do not: Hester and Dimmesdale have shared an illicit relationship. Hester’s story is what is known as Dramatic Irony.
I am that woman in the movie theatre who laughs at the irony the average patron misses. For example, I cackled in Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Eraser, when Arnold hides Robert Pastorelli’s character in a gay bar and in the background the song is “It’s Raining Men.” And even when I am alone, I laugh in Notting Hill when Max’s character says, “James Bond never has to put up with this sort of …” I think it is wonderfully ironic that Brad Pitt hurt his Achilles’ tendon while portraying Achilles, and that Betty Noyes reportedly dubbed the singing voice of Debbie Reynolds on two of the movie’s songs from Singing in the Rain. After all, Reynolds’ character was supposed to be dubbing songs for another actress as part of the plot line.
I suppose my obsession with irony is what has led me to love everything Austen, especially the character of Elizabeth Bennet. Let us look at how often Austen used irony in Pride and Prejudice.
When Miss Bingley says that Darcy is beyond being laughed at, Elizabeth says, “Certainly, there are such people, but I hope I am not one of them. I hope I never ridicule what is wise or good. Follies and nonsense, whims and inconsistencies do divert me, I own, and I laugh at them when I can. But these, I suppose, are precisely what you are without.”
Mr. Bennet says, “From all that I can collect by your manner of talking, you must be two of the silliest girls in the country. I have suspected it some time, but I am now convinced.”
And when Charlotte accepts Mr. Collins, Mr. Bennet is described as follows: “…it gratified him, he said, to discover that Charlotte Lucas, whom he had been used to think tolerably sensible, was as foolish as his wife, and more foolish than his daughter!”
Darcy says of Bingley, “Bingley is most unaffectedly modest. His diffidence had prevented his depending on his own judgment in so anxious a case, but his reliance on mine, made every thing easy.”
Elizabeth’s assessment of Bingley includes, “Elizabeth longed to observe that Mr. Bingley had been a most delightful friend; so easily guided that his worth was invaluable.”
Of Lady Catherine, we are told, “Her air was not conciliating, nor was her manner of receiving them, such as to make her visitors forget their inferior rank.”
Of Jane, Elizabeth says, “You are a great deal too apt to like people in general. You never see a fault in any body. All the world are good and agreeable in your eyes. I never heard you speak ill of a human being in my life.” Elizabeth continues, “I would wish not to be hasty in censuring any one; but I always speak what I think.”
Mrs. Bennet says of Bingley’s desertion of Jane, “ Well, my comfort is, I am sure Jane will die of a broken heart, and then he will be sorry for what he has done.”
When Mrs. Reynolds praises Darcy and Georgiana with “…Miss Darcy is always down for the summer months,” Elizabeth thinks, “Except when she goes to Ramsgate.”
Of Mrs. Bennet we learn “She was a woman of mean understanding, little information, and uncertain temper. When she was discontented, she fancied herself nervous. The business of her life was to get her daughters married; its solace was visiting and news.”

And, of course, there is that line that many interpret as Elizabeth’s materialism. Jane asks, “Will you tell me how long you have loved him?” To which Elizabeth replies, “It has been coming on so gradually, that I hardly know when it began. But I believe it must date from my first seeing his beautiful grounds at Pemberley.”
In Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen permits Elizabeth Bennet to share in an ironic view of the world. Elizabeth divides those who enter her sphere. She says, “It does not necessarily follow that a deep, intricate character is more or less estimable than such a one as yours.” Later, she says, “Yes, but intricate characters are the most amusing. They have at least that advantage.”
Elizabeth prides herself on categorizing those with whom she interacts as intricate or simple. In Elizabeth Bennet, we observe Austen’s comic irony and are permitted a look into Austen’s stylistic stroke. The simple characters are predictable, and Elizabeth displays a perceiving mind. Through Elizabeth, we, the readers, are introduced to false and true moral values.
Recall that Austen said of Elizabeth Bennet, “I must confess that I think her as delightful a creature as ever appeared in print, and how I shall be able to tolerate those who do not like her at least I do not know.”
Upcoming Releases for Regina Jeffers
For Valentine’s Day, I will release His, an anthology holding two novellas: “His American Heartsong” and “His Irish Eve.” The first novella brings the reader the story of Lawrence Lowery, the older brother of Sir Carter Lowery from my Realm series. Lowery makes two brief appearances in the series; first in A Touch of Velvet and most recently in A Touch of Grace. In “Grace” we learn that Lawrence Lowery has proposed to Arabella Tilney at a public ball. “His American Heartsong” explains how their love affair came about.
“His Irish Eve” is the story of Adam Lawrence, Viscount Stafford. If one has read any of my books, he finds Stafford is a regular. He is my “walk through” character, the one who ties the stories in my Realm series together. In A Touch of Velvet, Stafford meets Brantley Fowler and Velvet Aldridge at Vauxhall. In A Touch of Grace, he takes up with Lady Anthony when Gabriel Crowden releases her as his mistress. Stafford even makes an appearance in “His American Heartsong,” but more importantly, Adam Lawrence was one of the main characters in my Austenesque novel, The Phantom of Pemberley. During a blizzard, he and Cathleen Donnel take refuge at Pemberley. At the end of Phantom, many readers wanted to know more of the viscount. “His Irish Eve” is set some six years after Phantom ends when Adam, quite literally, meets his Eve, Aoife Kennice. (For those who do not know, “Aoife” is commonly thought to translate to “Eve.”)
BTW, in February 2014, I plan to release two more novellas in one volume entitled Hers. It will be the end of the Realm series. For those of you who love these books, I have started writing the next installment in the Realm series, A Touch of Mercy, which will be followed by A Touch of Love. Both will be released in 2013

My next Austen-related title is The Mysterious Death of Mr. Darcy, which I anticipate will be released in late February. I certainly wish I could elaborate on the title, but I have been sworn to secrecy. The most I can say is that the bodies accumulate quite quickly in this one. It is another cozy mystery, similar to Phantom and The Disappearance of Georgiana Darcy.
Author Bio:
Regina Jeffers claims she has spent a lifetime in the classroom, as a student earning multiple advanced degrees, and as a teacher of forty years. She says, “I do not remember ever having Jane Austen as part of the curriculum… lots of Shakespeare, but little of Jane Austen in my schooling. But, I read Pride and Prejudice when I was twelve, and the world opened. Like many of you, I was Elizabeth Bennet–a girl with an above average IQ and a relatively pleasing face, but I had no other spectacular talents, at least, none I could recognize at that tender age. However, reading Austen, I became convinced that there would be someone who would not be intimidated by my intelligence, my quick wit, my sometimes-caustic tongue, and my love of twisting the King’s English. There would be a Mr. Darcy in my future. Naïveté: That is the only word for it. Yet, I still believe there is a Mr. Darcy. Maybe he is not Colin or Matthew or Elliot, but Mr. Darcy exists for each of us if we open our eyes and our hearts to the possibilities.”
In the late spring of 2007, one of my Advanced Placement students challenged me to “Just Do It.” So, I wrote Darcy’s Passions, self-publishing the book as a gift to my AP class and to me. Ulysses Press followed the sales on Amazon, and the rest is history.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Sharon Lathan: Spend Christmas With the Darcys

Spend Christmas With the Darcys
by Sharon Lathan
(I am very grateful to have Sharon Lathan here to share with us in this continuing Holiday Austen Inspired Novel Feature!  Enjoy! Sharon is Giving away 2 eBook's of her novella, so comment to win!)

I consider myself extremely fortunate in that I spend all year with the Darcys of Pemberley. Nearly every day I write of their life together, living with them in my imagination as I create their future. It is wonderful to share their joys and sorrows, ride along on their travels, and listen in on their conversations. Together we have pleasantly passed uncounted hours recounting the events both big and small that compose life for Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth Darcy. Listing my ultimate top ten would be tough, but I know without a doubt their Christmas celebrations would top the list.

When I was assigned the task of writing a Darcy Christmas-themed novella, I immediately recognized that limiting myself to just one Christmas wouldn’t suffice. Instead I grasped onto the assignment as a fabulous opportunity to envision the Darcy family as they traverse the corridors of time, using my favorite holiday as the perfect backdrop to catch glimpses.

With that basic concept in mind, I then had to ask myself several pertinent questions. How did I imagine their marriage and family beyond the first two years I had already written? How many children would they have and what would be their personalities? Just in case I wrote the Darcy Saga for years and years, how specific should I be in this novella? Which Christmases should I write and what would they be doing? What was the common thread between them? Would one character be the focal point?

There were many other questions, and I changed my mind a few times, but in the end I was very pleased with the results. Through nine vignettes, A Darcy Christmas spans twenty-plus years and centers mainly on Mr. Darcy as he evolves from lonely bachelor to contented husband and father of a thriving family.

Perhaps you have wondered about Christmas traditions during the early decades of the 1800s and how the Darcys would honor the special season. Or maybe you just want more of the Darcys! I can relate to that sentiment. Whatever the case, A Darcy Christmas is for you! Here is a small snippet to spark your Christmas spirit --

            Michael snorted, muttering disdainfully, “Everyone knows what a clog is.”
            Noella flared, piercing her brother with a withering glare. “I bet you did not know it! You are more stupid than me!”
            “Am not!”
            “Are too!”
            “Children,” Darcy interrupted the familiar exchange with his patented tone: calm and quiet but with a firm edge that clearly conveyed the penalty for disobeying. “You will refrain and hold your tongues. It is Christmas Eve and we will have a lovely family time. Understood?”
            “Yes, Papa,” they intoned meekly, ducking their heads. Darcy, however, knew his children well and did not miss the smirk on Michael’s lips or the elbow nudge Noella gave her brother.
            Neither did Alexander. “Bets on how long peace reigns?”
            He spoke in French, his father responding in the same language, “Five minutes? Ten?”
            “Ten what?” Michael asked.
            “If you attended to your French lessons then you would know more than merely counting to ten,” Darcy answered in English, reaching to pinch his second son’s nose.
            “I can count to more than that,” he countered churlishly. And then he brightened, turning his crooked grin upon Alexander. “You win in languages, brother, but I can still wrestle you to the ground in seconds.”
            Alexander shrugged, unconcerned. Nor did he deny it since it was the truth.
            The family held a tradition started upon Michael’s first Christmas Eve. Alexander joined them in their bedchamber while Lizzy nursed Michael, Darcy cuddling his two-year-old son against his chest and opening a book to read a story. Both boys fell asleep to the comforting sound of Lizzy humming carols and Darcy reading poetry, neither parent having the heart to return them to the nursery. The special interlude of holiday celebrating was unplanned but thoroughly enjoyed, the perfect memory of Christmas Eve play and storytelling thus becoming a tradition.
            The addition of more children only enhanced the delight, so the once-a-year event continued. Following a lavish dinner and entertainment with carols in the parlor with whatever guests were dwelling at Pemberley, they dressed in sleeping attire and reclined upon their parents’ enormous bed in the fire-heated chamber while Darcy read a collection of Christmas themed stories. Songs were sung, prayers were recited, and upon occasion, everyone slept in the room rather than returning to their own chambers.
            The story choices varied year to year, but always concluded with a Bible reading of Christ’s birth. This year Darcy chose the writings of Washington Irving from The Sketchbook of Geoffrey Crayon. After disappointing Michael and Noella by refusing to read the tale of Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow, he began with “Christmas Eve” and had not gotten far when the first of what would probably be several sparring interruptions had occurred to discuss the origins of clog.
            Lizzy laughed from her comfortable location leaning against Darcy, propped on a large goose-down pillow and holding the youngest Darcy asleep on her chest. She met her husband’s eyes and smiled, and then she winked at her eldest son. It certainly was annoying at times, but the antics of Michael and Noella were amusing. Alexander smiled, bending his head to nuzzle a kiss to the head of the fourth Darcy offspring who sat curled on his lap.
            “Papa, finish the story, please.” The four-year-old’s tiny voice, sweet and velvet, brought instant tranquility to the room. Everyone smiled, even Noella and Michael, tender eyes alighting upon the fragile child encased in her protective brother’s embrace.
            “As you wish, angel.” Darcy resumed his reading, the tendrils of peace touching all of them as if a spell had been cast.
            Such was the natural power of Audrey Faine Bethann Darcy.

I absolutely LOVE Christmas! And I ADORE the Darcys! Thus it is a double pleasure to be on Darcyholic Diversions today talking about my two favorite subjects! My novella can be purchased as a separate eBook download from Amazon and B&N for a mere 99 cents, or read along with the excellent novellas by Amanda Grange and Carolyn Eberhart that comprise the anthology A Darcy Christmas, available as an eBook or paperback.

For joining me today and sharing your favorite Christmas tradition, I will be giving away the eBook version of my novella - A Darcy Christmas - to TWO lucky winners. Comment to enter before the deadline next Wednesday, December 12.

Merry Christmas! 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Elizabeth Darcy and Barbara Tiller Cole Discuss More About Jane Austen

‘Elizabeth Darcy and Barbara Tiller Cole Discuss More About Jane Austen’

I was thrilled that I have yet another interview between Elizabeth Darcy and myself to share with you.  How she continues to be able to visit me, we have yet to determine, but we are enjoying our growing friendship nonetheless. (And Don't Forget to Comment for a chance to Win!  Two Ebooks (International) and Two Softcover (US) are to be given away.  Four Interviews will be posted in All!  Comment on Each More event more chances to Win!)

Elizabeth Darcy:  Barbara, I am quite blessed that you are able to receive me yet again.  Today I have some questions related to the moving picture discs you sent back with me.  Fitzwilliam and I were quite enthralled by watching these visual picture book presentations.  I will not pretend to understand the engineering feat that must be required to present such a moving visual play before us, but I hope you will not mine my impertinence in asking you a few questions.

Barbara Tiller Cole:  Not at all, Mrs. Darcy—I mean Elizabeth.  What can I help you understand?

Elizabeth Darcy:  These were all visual references of the written works of Jane Austen.  Am I correct in that?

Barbara Tiller Cole:  Yes, I thought you would like to know that modern audiences still learn from Jane Austen and the characters that lived during the Regency period.

Elizabeth Darcy:  How did you come to be so fascinated with Miss Austen’s works? 

Barbara Tiller Cole:  I read them all when I was in high school, Elizabeth, and truly enjoyed them at that time. However, I confess that it was not until I had surgery in 2000, and watched the BBC A&E version of Pride and Prejudice while recovering that I became quite fascinated and a bit obsessed I must say.

Elizabeth Darcy:  How long ago was that, Barbara?

Barbara Tiller Cole:  Twelve years now.

Elizabeth Darcy:  What drew you to that particular moving play, Barbara?  Was it the words of the author?

Barbara Tiller Cole:  To be honest with you, Elizabeth, it was the idea that your husband would change in such a way to be able to win your love and affection.  That, and the vision of Colin Firth diving into the pond.

Elizabeth Darcy:  Yes, about that, this Colin Firth—he portrayed my husband.  And did a good job of it, actually.  Fitzwilliam does have an amazing physic and looks amazing when wet—I am going to blush now.  But how in the world did Jane Austen and the makers of this visual interpretation of our lives know that Fitzwilliam had gone swimming the day I met him again at Pemberley?  I read Miss Austen’s works and this was not in her book.  I do not understand how anyone would know to put that into the script?

Barbara Tiller Cole:  So, Mr. Darcy actually did dive into the pond you say?  I am quite grateful to know that. 

Elizabeth Darcy:  And why is that Ms. Cole?

Barbara Tiller Cole:  It was my favorite scene in the entire movie, and has occupied my fantasies from time to time.

Elizabeth Darcy:  You have fantasized about my husband.  I am not sure how I feel about that.  It seems highly improper, and makes me question our growing friendship.

Barbara Tiller Cole:  If it helps you, honestly, I have fantasized about Colin Firth as he plays Mr. Darcy.  Truly, not about your husband himself. 

Elizabeth Darcy:  I suppose that makes it some better.  So is Pride and Prejudice your favorite of Miss Austen’s novels?

Barbara Tiller Cole:  Yes, it is.  Second would be a tie between Emma and Sense and Sensibility.

Elizabeth Darcy:  I first read Pride and Prejudice when it was originally called First Impressions.  I did not initially believe that it was about my husband and myself.  That anyone could know such details about my life.  I managed to find a way to meet the author, Jane Austen, herself.  She was a fascinating individual; almost as impertinent as myself, I dare say.  And her philosophy was the same as mine—“Think only of the past as its remembrance gives you pleasure.''  I am not sure whether she was able to transport herself to view and write about my life, and that was what made it so realistic; or if she brought me into existence in the first place. 

But you, Ms. Tiller Cole, you advanced the idea of my existence into a closer approximation of what actually transpired. My Fitzwilliam had fallen into a sad drunken state of wretchedness, and your story challenged him to try again to win my love—which he already had by the time he returned to Hertfordshire.  Thank you for writing your story and allowing him to return to me.  I had all but given up hope.  It is apparent that Miss Austen’s works have provided great inspiration to you.

Barbara Tiller Cole:  You are quite correct about that, Mrs. Darcy.  I have long admired Miss Austen’s talents; her ability to use her wit to point out the inaccuracies and foibles of the intricate characters she met in her daily life.  I also appreciate her ability to transform the human tendencies towards pride and conceit, as well as anger and resentment.  Her characters are willing to transform their very natures in order to find true happiness. 

Elizabeth Darcy:  So this transformation process is what you admire most about Ms. Austen.

Barbara Tiller Cole:  Yes, I would say so.  Did you have any particular questions that I can answer for you?

Elizabeth Darcy:  Yes.  In the longer of the Pride and Prejudice films, why did the picture maker determine that Caroline Bingley had a penchant for wearing orange?  She had red hair, you see, and when she did wear clothes of orange hue it clashed with her hair and skin tone.

Barbara Tiller Cole:  I believe the filmmakers did it for comedic sake.

Elizabeth Darcy:  In the shorter film, the one with the man named Matthew, why would they consider having Fitzwilliam come to see me at night, when I am in my bed clothes at the Parsonage, with my hair down?  And later, for me to have met him at dawn in my nightclothes, well it just goes against all the rules of propriety.  Neither happened you understand.  It was marvelously romantic, and my Fitzwilliam is indeed quite the romantic now, but he would not so flagrantly ignore all decency to come into a house uninvited in the middle of the night!  Please do not think that I would have allowed it.  It would cause a great scandal in my family were it true.

Barbara Tiller Cole:  I think that the makers of the 2005 film wished to shorten the tale and thought that giving a little literary license to the story would assist them in that purpose.  Some also believe that it made the story more romantic and sensual. In fact, when someone uses the original story, and changes it in a way to make it new to the reader or viewer, today we call that Fan Fiction.  It has been abbreviated now to simply call it JAFF for Jane Austen Fan Fiction. 

Elizabeth Darcy:  That does help me.  Thank you, Barbara.  That is what you will do when you work on the sequel to your recent story?  I understand that you are considering writing the story of my grandmother’s visitations to Lady Catherine.  I hope that everyone will enjoy that next holiday season.

Barbara Tiller Cole:  I do as well, Elizabeth.  I hope that we get to speak again soon.  I look forward to talking more about the differences between a modern Christmas and a Regency Christmas celebration.  Hope to see you soon. 

Elizabeth Darcy:  If I were allowed to continue to visit, it would be quite lovely.  I am enjoying getting to know you. 

Pride and Prejudice meets A Christmas Carol

A Jane Austen/Charles Dickens crossover story, Fitzwilliam Ebenezer Darcy takes the best of both classics and spins them into a delightful Holiday yarn! F.E. Darcy has fallen into pitiful self-loathing and sorrowful angst-ridden despair; all of this due to his belief that he has lost forever the chance to marry the only woman he has ever loved—Elizabeth Bennet. Seeing her son in such a state, the Ghost of Anne Darcy reaches out to him; informing him that three ghosts would visit him and give him hope. Will these Spirits provide him with the courage to try again to win the esteem of his one true soul mate? Barbara Tiller Cole, an Atlanta native and the writer of the popular book White Lies and Other Half Truths, presents this family friendly classic—a delightful combination of the best of her two favorite authors, Jane Austen and Charles Dickens. Barbara credits her parents with fostering a love for both of these authors. Each Christmas, Barbara’s father would sit and read Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol to the family. Her mother consistently challenged her to improve her mind by extensive reading, Jane Austen style. This book is dedicated to the memory of Cliff and Jeanne and the season they loved the best.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Victoria Connelly: A True Austen Addict

Victoria Connelly: A True Austen Addict 
 (I am very happy to have Victoria Connelly visiting with us here at Darcyholic Diversions today.  Hers is the first of a number of posts that will be featuring Holiday themed Jane Austen Inspired Books.  Enjoy getting to know Victoria and her Christmas with Mr. Darcy.)

I first fell in love with Mr Darcy when I discovered the old black and white film starring Laurence Olivier and Greer Garson as Mr Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet. I was about thirteen and I remember the wonderful archery scene when Mr Darcy stands behind Elizabeth, his arms guiding hers. I thought that was so romantic! I loved the sizzling scenes between him and Elizabeth. Greer Garson was sparky and intelligent and Laurence Olivier was so reserved and dashing. But it wasn’t until a few years later that I read the book and my lifelong love of Jane Austen began in earnest.

What I love about Mr Darcy is that he makes mistakes – great big stonking ones.  He gives appalling advice to Bingley having completely misread Jane Bennet’s character, he snubs Elizabeth at the ball and then insults her and her family.  He also manages to alienate just about the whole of Meryton but, from the first time we see him, he fascinates us and he is willing to change for the woman he loves and that is totally irresistible!  

I amazes me how Austen’s work has stood the test of time and how readers are still so in love with her characters and stories, and I really wanted to explore that.  Why are these books still so important to us today?  Why are we still obsessed with Mr Darcy and Austen’s other wonderful heroes?  And can there ever be enough TV and film adaptations?  These were just some of the questions I hoped to answer in my Austen Addicts’ Trilogy.
I’d been visiting some of the locations connected with Jane Austen’s novels and I knew they’d make great locations for stories and so I got down to writing the first – A Weekend with Mr Darcy – where two couples meet and fall in love at a Jane Austen conference.
Whilst researching my trilogy, I had the joy of reading Jane Austen’s letters to her sister and some of the biographies about her life.  I visited the places associated with her - spending many a happy hour at the Jane Austen House Museum in Chawton, Hampshire, staying in the seaside town of Lyme Regis and walking the streets of the Georgian city of Bath.  I even got to stay in ‘Barton Cottage’ - the house that was used in the 1995 film version of Sense and Sensibility and I wrote part of Mr Darcy Forever whilst there, using the setting in my book.
Another highlight was taking part in the Jane Austen Festival in Bath.  Although I didn't wear a costume, I met dozens of people who had travelled from all over the world to be there because of their love of Jane Austen.  It was a real insight into the fan base that this author has.
So, I’ve now written three full-length novels about Austen addicts and have just released a novella on Kindle – Christmas with Mr Darcy – where my main characters from the trilogy get snowed in at Purley Hall in Hampshire and have to turn detective when a first edition of Pride and Prejudice goes missing.
Jane Austen has been such a huge part of my life and I am eternally grateful to her for her magical stories and her fabulous heroes and heroines!
Twitter: @VictoriaDarcy