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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?

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Why did Jane Austen have a curious dislike for the name Richard?

An Announcement for Darcyholic Diversions Loyal Readers...

First of all, I would like to announce that Glynis is the winner of the notecards from last week’s exclusive post by Christina Boyd, editor of The Darcy Monologues.  If you haven’t yet read it, it follows this one.  

It is now my pleasure to welcome Jane Odiwe to Darcyholic Diversions today.  I seem to be on my own personal exploration of Northanger Abbey of late so I was very happy to get a copy of Jane’s recently published Searching for Mr TilneyA novel inspired by Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey.  The intrigue of her story and the inside look into Jane Austen’s sense of humor and business dealings are a rare treat.  Jane will be giving away a paperback copy of her novel to an international commenter here at Darcyholic Diversions so be sure to comment!  And extra entries will be given for liking either Jane or my own Facebook pages, reposting this post link, joining the email list here at Darcyholic Diversions, or tweeting a link to this point..... BTCole)  
Why did Jane Austen have a curious dislike for the name Richard?

Her father was a clergyman, without being neglected, or poor, and a very respectable man, though his name was Richard — and he had never been handsome.
Northanger Abbey

At the beginning of Northanger Abbey Jane Austen tells us that Catherine Morland’s father is a very respectable man, though his name was Richard. I’m sure I’m not the first person to wonder why she included this information that doesn’t seem to add anything to our knowledge or insight of his character, but strongly implies, nevertheless, that anyone with the name Richard could not be respectable.
Jane Austen started writing her third novel with the working title of Susan during 1798 and when she finished it about a year later her brother Henry offered it to Crosby, a London publisher who paid £10 for the copyright. Early publication was promised and even advertised but no book appeared.

In the prologue of Searching for Mr Tilney I describe what happened next through the experiences of my heroine Caroline.

Chelsea London
July 2017

I found it in an old bookshop in Cambridge a few weeks ago, on a tour of the city. It was a hot day, and to step inside the cool book-lined walls of the crooked Tudor building was like finding heaven on earth. I’d become ever more obsessed as the years went by in my quest to find even the smallest detail of tangible proof for all that had happened to me as a young girl, and I’d scoured every relevant book I could find for any clues to support the insight I’d gained. Though the overwhelming guilt that I’d done nothing about my discovery had softened over the years, I could never decide if I’d been right to keep its knowledge hidden, and even now I felt it might have been wrong to collude in guarding such secrets.
It was midsummer’s day when I found the rare copy of Northanger Abbey that contained a photo of the portrait, another precious book to add to my collection. I smiled when I saw the picture, and the familiar skipping of my heartbeat began, as the memories came flooding back. The girl with the green parasol gazed back at me with her enigmatic smile, seeming to acknowledge me as the keeper of her secrets, though perhaps I was being fanciful. The emotions of youthful longing with all its quivering expectation, came rushing to the surface like blood bruising pale skin, as I remembered every vivid picture, every haunted image. Yet, alongside the recollections of ghosts from the past and the excitement of being young with all its magical memories, it was impossible not to recall my uncertain fears and those other feelings that still surfaced from time to time, of guilt and shame.
I’ve never been one for reading the preface of a book, and I don’t quite know why I did on that day, though I knew I wanted to linger, soaking up the atmosphere of the bookshop with its damp odours of ancient paper, leather, and dust. I turned the pages of the book, wondering how many people had held it in their hands and read the words like a spellbinding charm, bringing pleasure in every line.
There was the usual biographical notice written after Jane Austen’s death by her brother Henry, followed by the history of the publication. And then there was a letter from Jane Austen written in 1809 that I hadn’t seen replicated before. Written to her publisher Richard Crosby who’d bought the manuscript in 1803 for ten pounds and not published it, Jane was accusing him of having lost what was later to become Northanger Abbey. The tone of the letter was curt, cross and coldly polite, but she was willing to supply him with another copy. There was a reply printed further down the page from Crosby who’d suggested, rather meanly, that if publication were sought elsewhere, he’d take proceedings to stop it, demanding she pay back the money he’d given her. This was all very interesting, but Jane’s letter was a mystery in more ways than one.
She’d signed it at the bottom: I am Gentlemen, &c. &c. M. A. D., with an address for the post office at Southampton for a Mrs Ashton Dennis. I laughed out loud at that, which made one or two people turn round to stare at me for disturbing the church-like sanctity of the place, but I could see what she’d done. The initials of her pseudonym had been written so she could express just how she was feeling about the man who’d failed to publish her book. As the successful author of Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice, she must have been feeling very “mad” that her dearest Catherine had been overlooked.
Quite unexpectedly, and with chills to send my spine tingling, another memory surfaced as I read the familiar sounding name again - Mrs Ashton Dennis. It was forty-two years since I’d heard it, almost the same number of years Jane Austen had been when she’d tragically died, but the name was as well known to me as the person who’d hidden behind it. And then I knew, even if I had more questions to be answered than ever before, I’d been gifted the chance to see just what had happened all those years ago, confirming my suspicions that I’d been meant to discover the story lost in time.
I’d never been back to the Bath townhouse where it all began. It felt wrong to be disturbing the past, stirring up the souls of those who’d once lived there, or resurrecting the dreams and visions that still held me, captivated and caught in the layers of time. When I got home it took me a while to find it, the diary I’d kept all those years ago, the memories tumbling from its pages along with the train tickets, theatre programmes, admission for the Assembly Rooms, and a pamphlet for the house on the Royal Crescent, not to mention the menu I’d taken as a souvenir from the Pump Rooms, where such a lot had happened. Going to Bath had been a turning point in my life, the most incredible journey I’d ever made, and able to glance back once more at my youthful self, I couldn’t wait to re-live it all over again.

It’s easy to see why Jane writing as ‘M.A.D./Mrs Ashton Dennis’ was cross with Richard Crosby for making her wait so long, and failing to publish her book. The final insult was threatening to sue her if she tried to publish it elsewhere, giving her no alternative but to buy back her manuscript. I wonder if this is why she couldn’t resist inserting the private joke about the name of Richard not being very respectable … or indeed, handsome!
But, Jane also had the very last laugh regarding this sorry tale. Henry, on Jane’s behalf, bought back the manuscript in 1816, and then had the delight of telling the publisher that the book was by the successful author of Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility. However, even after reclaiming it, Jane seemed to have some doubts about her book, writing to her niece Fanny in March, 1817: ‘Miss Catherine is put upon the shelves for the present, and I do not know that she will ever come out.’ Perhaps she was worried it wouldn’t appeal to the audience she’d written it for years earlier and in the advertisement she composed there seemed to be some reservations about how she thought it would be received: ‘The public are entreated to bear in mind that thirteen years have passed since it was finished, many more since it was begun, and that during that period, places, manners, books, and opinions have undergone considerable changes.’
Sadly, Jane Austen didn’t live to see Northanger Abbey published. Henry published it posthumously along with Persuasion in late December, 1817. I’m sure we all wish she knew just how much we love her book, 200 years after its publication, and especially how much we adore the irrepressible, witty and charming hero, Mr Tilney.

About the Book: 
Searching for Mr Tilney

What secrets lie at the heart of Jane Austen’s teenage journal?

When Caroline Heath is taken to Bath in 1975, she little expects to find the gothic adventure she craves, let alone discover Jane Austen’s secret teenage journal, or how it’s possible to live in someone else’s body. Yet, she’s soon caught up in a whirlwind of fantastic events - travels through time, a love story or three, and even the odd sinister murder - or so she thinks.
As the past and present entwine, Jane’s journal reveals a coming of age tale, set against the scandalous backdrop of Knole Park in Kent, and the story behind an enigmatic portrait. In Bath, a Georgian townhouse acts as a portal in time, and Caroline finds herself becoming Cassandra Austen, a young woman making her debut in society, torn between family duty and the love of her life. As the riddles unfold, and the lines blur between illusion and reality, will Caroline find the happiness she seeks or will she indulge her wild imagination, threatening her future and a fairytale ending?

Jane Odiwe

Jane Odiwe lives in North London with her husband, children and two cats, but escapes to “Fairyland”, Bath, whenever she can. When she’s not writing she enjoys painting, reading, and music, and loves spending time with her family.
Twitter: @JaneOdiwe

International Giveaway: One paperback copy of Searchng for Mr Tilney