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Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Mr. Collins Exclusive Interview With the Author of 'Mr. Knightley... In His Own Words

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

Purchase at Amazon

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.

Thursday, October 6, 2022

Regina Jeffers Celebrates her 75th Birthday with a New Book Release!

 In Honor of Her 75th Birthday

Regina Jeffers Celebrates!

With a New Release of a Delightful New Book!

By Barbara Tiller Cole

Recently, Regina Jeffers reached out to me for a brief chat.  In just the last month she turned 75!  And to celebrate that seminal milestone she has released a new book.  When she told me both of her latest birthday and of her book, I was happy to be able to be a part of her celebration.

Let's face it.  None of us are getting any younger.  And each milestone we reach is to be commemorated.  So when Regina and I chatted about her latest book release, in honor of it and her latest birthday I offered to have a little online Birthday Party to celebrate!  

My hope is that each of you that read this will celebrate with her too!  Maybe it will be a happy memory you will to share.  Perhaps it will be some virtual presents you would like to offer to her!  

I remembered today that I was able to share another birthday with Regina some years ago, and even found a picture of the cake!  It was on the occasion of the Decatur Book Festival which was celebrated that year with a large gathering of Jane Austen inspired authors.  I still remember it with fondly! 

Regina was one of the featured speakers on the City Hall Stage (on her birthday) and I was grateful to be chosen as the moderator for the session. (And yes, that is Abigail Reynolds in the picture as well).  

Birthdays are times for remembering good times as well as celebrating achievements.  And this birthday season, for Regina she is celebrating the release of a wonderful new book.  

As many of you know, I don't do formal reviews on Darcyholic Diversions.  As an author myself, I would rather share what I like about the books my friends write and assist them as much as I can in letting others know about their latest treasures.

I was so grateful to get a pre-release copy of Regina's latest release, Elizabeth Bennet's Gallant Suitor.  I have always enjoyed stories with prior connections. The story opens with an unconventional house party held at Stepton Abbey in which Sir Wesley Belwood, a tyrannical baronet, is attempting to match Jane with Colonel Fitzwilliam!  Just learning that I knew that it would be a unique story and it was!  

It isn't long before Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth join forces to assist their relatives in being able to make their own choice, instead of a choice of Sir Belwood's making.  And where the story goes from there I won't tell you you just have to read it!  

I have always found Regina's stories compelling, and this one was equally so, if not more so.  From horse racing, to matchmaking, you will thoroughly enjoy Regina's birthday present from HER to US!

The Elizabeth in this story is spunky and not afraid to say exactly what is on her mind.  And, as she did not meet Fitzwilliam Darcy in a ballroom, but one-on-one, they formed a friendship very early in the book.  It was delightful to me to see that relationship develop as the story proceeded.

I can highly recommend Regina's latest book. I am not going to reveal more as I hope that you will read it!  It will be a 75th birthday present to Regina and to you if you do.

Regina has been busy this week. Her blog tour took off quickly and you might want to look back and see some of her previous stops as well as the one on October 10th.  I am so grateful that I was able to be a part of it.  

The blog tour has prizes!  There are chances to win free eBooks at each stop along the way, plus those who show that they have purchased the book receive 5 extra chances to win a $75 Amazon Gift Card on N. N. Light's blog!  Now that could be a birthday present for YOU!  

So be sure and comment below or Regina nor I will know that you stopped by to read the birthday tribute AND for a chance to win!  

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

What Do Shannon Winslow, Colonel VBrandon and Mr. Collins Have In Common?


What Do Shannon Winslow, Colonel Brandon and Mr. Collins Have in Common?

It is such a treat to welcome back Shannon Winslow to Darcyholic Diversions!  I have had the pleasure of hosting so many of her 'Mr. Collins Interviews' I am so grateful that she reached out to me to post this one as well.  I just love these Interviews!  They are ALL here at Darcyholic Diversions if you want to search and go back and read all of them!  And be sure to give Shannon some love by leaving a comment below!

 There has been something about the last 2.5 years of pandemic, isolation and challenges that have caused Darcyholic Diversions to go into a semi state of hybernation, but I am glad to be back up and running for Shannon.  And for any other author that might wish to introduce a new work, or might wish to join the MANY people who have been interviewed here at Darcyholic Diversions.  If you are an author, or an artist, or anyone else with something creative you would like to share here--please just send me a text at 404-735-9271.  Or give me a call if you prefer.  Barbara Tiller Cole

 A Mr. Collins Interview

By Shannon Winslow

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. But 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: Good day, Ms. Winslow, and welcome once again to Meet the Author.
Winslow: Thank you, Sir William! I’m delighted to be here with my new novel!
[enormous picture of the smiling author and her new book appears on the screen behind, and audience applauds again on cue]
Collins: Colonel Brandon in His Own Words. Catchy title, but not the one I suggested when you were last here.
Winslow: That’s true. William Collins in His Own Words is a great title, but you see, this book is about Colonel Brandon – his thoughts, his experiences from childhood on through to his marriage to Marianne, all in his own words.
Collins: [sighs] So you’re saying that I am not in it… not even a mention… near the end, perhaps?
Winslow: I’m afraid not. I hope that won’t prejudice you against the book, though. Do you at least like the cover?
Collins: [looks again at the screen] Quite a large picture of the man. You think him good looking, then?
Winslow: Yes, although the artist didn’t really do him justice. In person, he is much more handsome. Tall too.
Collins: [sits up straighter] His being tall is a very superficial reason to admire a man. After all, no one can take credit – or blame – for his height.
Winslow: Oh, but that is not the only reason the ladies find Colonel Brandon admirable and attractive. There is his excellent character as well: honorable, kind, and chivalrous. Plus, he distinguished himself in the army, you know. Promoted twice! But, in truth, he could just as well have been court marshalled! [chuckles] Quite a close call, actually. You see, there was this incident while he was in India, where he risked everything to save a lady in distress. It was a life and death situation, you understand… But I suppose we don’t have time for the whole story now.
Collins: [feigning boredom] Sorry. No. People will just have to read the book. That is what you want them to do anyway, isn’t it, Ms. Winslow?
Winslow: [smiling] Yes, I suppose it is. I’m hoping they admire Colonel Brandon as much as I do. Then they will quite naturally wish to know more of his story – all that Jane Austen didn’t tell us in Sense and Sensibility. But as for this incident in India I mentioned, suffice to say that I find what he did quite heroic, and I am not the only one. He really is a dashing man of action, in my opinion. If you want more evidence, there is, of course, his duel with Willoughby. [pantomimes sword slashing] Oh, and the time he knocked his brother down. [punches fist through the air]
Collins: [leaning back to a safer distance with an expression of distaste] That is all very well, I suppose… if you like that sort of thing. But let me ask you this. If Colonel Brandon is so handsome and heroic, why doesn’t Marianne fall violently in love with him at first sight? I thought perhaps you might have changed that part from the original, but I discovered you had not…
Winslow: [gasps loudly]
Collins: Why, Ms. Winslow, are you unwell?
Winslow: Oh, no. Not at all!
What is it, then?
Winslow: Can… Can it be, Sir William? Well, I suppose it must, for there is no other explanation. Can it be that you actually read the book this time? How wonderful! Oh, I’m so pleased!
Collins: [squirms in chair] Well, only half of it… maybe three quarters. I did not intend to, but then I had a little free time last night and nothing else to do. And there it was, lying on the table within easy reach, like it is now. I picked it up [does so, and opens to bookmarked page] and then couldn’t seem to put it down again.
Winslow: [laughing melodiously] I can’t get over it! I always have my publicist send you the books, just as a matter of course, but you’ve never before… You’ve always said that… Well, never mind. I’m just terribly delighted!
Collins: Please, do make some attempt to contain your raptures, Ms. Winslow. No miracle has occurred.
Winslow: Forgive me, but it was so… so very unexpected.
Collins: Yes, yes, that will do.
Winslow: As you say. I hope you will do me the compliment of finishing the book, though. And perhaps even reading some of my others at last?
Collins: Let us not get carried away. I am a very busy man!
Winslow: As you have repeatedly told me.
Collins: [still holding book] I suppose I must finish this one, though, unless you can be persuaded to tell me how Colonel Brandon gets out of that ticklish situation in India. With Rashmi, I mean. Have I got her name right? And of course, what happens with Marianne. He doesn’t seem to be making much progress with her, so I don’t see how it can possible end well.
Winslow: I would not spoil the ending for you, not for the world! As you yourself said a moment ago, people will just have to read the book. That includes you, Sir William. But I will at least assure you that you can trust me to provide a happy ending for Marianne and Colonel Brandon. That’s one of my trademarks: happy endings.
Collins: [indignantly] Happy endings for some, perhaps, but not for all of your characters!
Winslow: Oh, dear. I had hoped we would make it through this one time without an allusion to that bit of ancient history. We were doing so well, too.
Collins: [still glowering, says nothing]
Winslow: [looks about for assistance] Heavens! Is it perhaps time for a commercial break? I think that really would be best…
So ends another of Ms. Winslow’s infamous visits to Meet the Author.

Colonel Brandon is the consummate gentleman: honorable, kind almost to a fault, ever loyal and chivalrous. He’s also silent and grave, though. So, what events in his troubled past left him downcast, and how does he finally find the path to a brighter future? In Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austen gives us glimpses, but not the complete picture.
Now Colonel Brandon tells us his full story in His Own Words. He relates the truth about his early family life and his dear Eliza – his devotion to her and the devastating way she was lost to him forever. He shares with us a poignant tale from his military days in India – about a woman named Rashmi and how she likewise left a permanent mark on his soul. And of course Marianne. What did Brandon think and feel when he first saw her? How did his hopes for her subsequently rise, plummet, and then eventually climb upwards again. After Willoughby’s desertion, what finally caused Marianne to see Colonel Brandon in a different light?
This is not a variation but a supplement to the original story, chronicled in Brandon’s point of view. It’s a behind-the-scenes look at the things Jane Austen didn’t tell us about a true hero – the very best of men.