Friday, 26 June 2009

The Other Mr Darcy: Four Days to release day!!

Only four days left until the official launch! Hurray! I've already prepared the champaign bottles, and I'm ready to go!

They're predicting balmy, stormy weather for Sunday 30th. I suppose that fits in with a certain part of the novel when our heroine and hero realise to their dismay that "the rain was hurtling down in heavy torrents, and the ground was a treacherous mire of pools and flowing waters."

There is another part in the novel when it is raining. Lydia complains that the rain will never end.

"I have to agree with you, Lydia," said Mr Bennet, looking up. "I think it very likely that it will continue to rain until the whole world is flooded and we will be forced to ride in an ark. But I wonder if you will be allowed on it?"

How would you feel about being the only person on the ark with the Bennet family?

If you haven't ordered your copy yet, you still have four days to make the best of the pre-release discounts. The Other Mr Darcy is available in the UK with free postage at Waterstones, Robert Hale, and, and for those of you across the world, The Book Depository has a discount and free shipping as well.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Mr Darcy, Vampyre: Interview with Amanda Grange

In a joint blogcast with my fellow Regency Romance author Elizabeth Hanbury, it’s our great pleasure to welcome historical romance writer Amanda Grange to my blog.

Amanda is the author of adventurous historical romances set mainly in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. She also writes Jane Austen-inspired novels from the heroes' points of view, including the best-selling Mr. Darcy’s Diary and Captain Wentworth’s Diary.

Amanda’s new book – Mr. Darcy, Vampyre - is due out from Sourcebooks in August 09. Now without further ado, let’s find out more….

Welcome Amanda! Mr. Darcy, Vampyre sounds very intriguing! Can you tell us a bit about the story?

Hi! Thanks for inviting me. Mr Darcy, Vampyre is a Pride and Prejudice sequel with a difference. It starts on Lizzy and Darcy's idyllic wedding day and follows them on their wedding tour where strange and unsettling things start to happen.

What inspired you to write Mr. Darcy, Vampyre and how long did you spend researching/planning before you began?

The inspiration was really three fold. I used to watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer when it was on TV here in the UK and I always hoped they would do a Pride and Prejudice episode, where the characters got sent into the world of the book, with Buffy being Lizzy and Angel being Darcy. I think that was where the idea of Darcy as a vampyre first came from. Then, last year, the title, Mr Darcy, Vampyre popped into my head and I loved it. Around the same time I was reading a lot of Regency Gothics as research for Henry Tilney's Diary (which I was writing at the time, but which is still not finished!) and the plot of Mr Darcy, Vampyre just came to me. Because it had been simmering inside me for so long I didn't spend any further time researching or planning, I just started to write.

It looks like this was something you've been wanting to do for some time. Clearly, you are very well versed in the vampire tradition, since the Gothics you were reading were the beginning of the genre. Some people might be wary of reading a Jane Austen story with a vampire. What would you say to them to persuade them to try it?

As long as they aren't positively set against the idea of a "what if?" story with Darcy as a vampyre then I don't think there's anything in the book that will upset Austen fans. Jane Austen herself liked the Gothic novels of her day, and in Northanger Abbey Henry Tilney says to Catherine, “The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid. I have read all Mrs. Radcliffe’s works, and most of them with great pleasure."

Lizzy and Darcy are still Lizzy and Darcy in Mr Darcy, Vampyre, but their marriage has more problems, and stranger problems, than most marriages face in the honeymoon period! There's a lot of beauty and romance in the book as well as a lot of secrets and horror and unease, culminating in an epic finale. As the back cover says, this is a test of love that will take them to hell and back.

You seem to be emphasizing the more romantic aspects of vampires. What do you think is the appeal of vampires? Why are they so seductive a concept?

That's a difficult question to answer in a nusthell. Whole books have been written on the subject! I think it's partly the sex / death correlation, partly the thrill of the unknown, partly the attraction of super powers - great strength, speed etc - but mostly the appeal of immortality.

What is your favourite vampire/gothic novel and why?

I think it would have to be Dracula because it's the first full-blown vampyre novel and it gave us all the things we now associate with a vampyre story.

Speaking of going back in time, it’s almost 200 years since Pride and Prejudice was first published and Jane Austen’s novels continue to be enjoyed by each generation. Why do you think Jane Austen’s characters, particularly Mr. Darcy, have such enduring appeal?

It's because her characters are real. We can recognise them because every generation has its cads, flirts, pompous people, lively people, impossibly good people and people who are above their company! Mr Darcy, of course, is the ideal man, not because he's rich and owns a vast estate (although that helps!) but because he genuinely loves Elizabeth. He's a flawed individual but he learns and grows throughout the book, until he's at last worthy of her, and she, too, has to learn and grow before she can be worthy of him.

Many people read Pride and Prejudice because of the romance between Darcy and Elizabeth. How much does Elizabeth feature in your new novel, and how does she like having Darcy as a vampire?

Like Pride and Prejudice, Mr Darcy, Vampyre is told from Elizabeth's point of view. She is blissfully happy on her wedding day - anyone who wants to read about a very romantic wedding day for Lizzy and Darcy should pick up Mr Darcy, Vampyre! - until she catches a glimpse of a look of torment on his face.

From that moment on she becomes increasingly unsettled as her life begins to spin out of control. It begins when Darcy changes their destination, saying that instead of going to the Lake District he's going to take her to Europe (during the Peace of Amiens), and then her familiar world begins to vanish. Only Darcy remains constant, but he is not the man she thought she married . . .

As to how she likes having Mr Darcy as a vampyre, you'll have to read the book to find out!

To return to the twentieth century: out of all the actors who have played Darcy, who is your favourite (or who do you envisage as Darcy when you are writing about him)?Is there someone who hasn't played Darcy who you think would be perfect in the role?

I don't envisage any actors when I write about Darcy, I see the Darcy of my imagination. I like all the actors who have played him in different ways, but none of them are perfect for me. I would very much like to see Jonathan Rhys-Meyer as Darcy, playing him with the sense of entitlement he gave Henry VIII in The Tudors. I think that unconscious arrogance would suit Darcy very well.

Do you think a modern, post-feminist woman would tolerate a Darcy-like alpha male, vampire or not?

I think any woman with a heartbeat would tolerate Darcy!

Well, certainly the success of Mr Dary's Diary testifies to his continued popularity, as do the various sequels that have been published. You've written a number of very successful novels in diary form. Is this one going to be first person as well?

No, this is written in the third person. There's an extract on the Mr Darcy, Vampyre blog

What you think Jane Austen would say in a letter if she read Mr Darcy, Vampyre?

I think she would say, "This is the most brilliant book I have ever read!" Oh, sorry, I went into a dream world there. I don't know. I like to think she would approve. If not, I'm going to have a lot of answering to do when I take tea with her in the after life (accompanied by Mary Crawford playing the harp).

What's next after Mr. Darcy, Vampyre?

Good question. I don't know. Well, I do, but I'm not saying!

Thank you very much for talking to us, Amanda! Elizabeth and I can't wait to read Mr. Darcy, Vampyre.

This joint interview was brought to you by Monica Fairview, author of The Other Mr Darcy , and from Elizabeth Hanbury, author of Ice Angel. Both books will be coming out from Robert Hale (UK) on the 30th of June 2009.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Mr. Darcy, Vampyre: Pride and Prejudice with a difference!

As part of the celebrations for the joint June 30th release of our new books -- THE OTHER MR DARCY and ICE ANGEL -- authors Monica Fairview (that's me, of course) and Elizabeth Hanbury have teamed up to bring you a special announcement and exclusive interview.

Best selling author Amanda Grange has a new novel coming out in August. Mr. Darcy, Vampyre is a Pride & Prejudice sequel with a difference!

Monica and Elizabeth have conducted an exclusive joint web interview with Amanda. You can read the full interview here or on Elizabeth's blog from 9pm Sunday 21st June. Amanda gives us some fascinating insights into Mr. Darcy, Vampyre and the enduring appeal of Jane Austen’s characters so don’t miss it!

To whet your appetite, here’s the Sourcebooks press release for Mr. Darcy, Vampyre



NAPERVILLE, IL (June 10, 2009) — Sourcebooks Landmark, the leading publisher of Jane Austen-related fiction, is excited to announce a major release in the category: Mr. Darcy, Vampyre by international bestselling author Amanda Grange.

Amanda Grange’s style and wit bring readers back to Jane Austen’s timeless storytelling, but always from a very unique and unusual perspective, and now Grange is back with an exciting and completely new take on Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet in Mr. Darcy, Vampyre.

“Amanda Grange is our internationally bestselling author of Mr. Darcy's Diary,” says Sourcebooks acquisitions editor Deb Werksman, “and we were so excited when she came to us last year with this brilliant vision for an altered Darcy. Amanda starts where Pride and Prejudice ends and introduces a dark family curse so perfectly that the result is a delightfully thrilling, spine-chilling, breathtaking read. A dark, poignant and visionary continuation of Austen’s beloved story, this tale is full of danger, darkness and immortal love.”

Sourcebooks has announced an on-sale date of August 11, and a 75,000 copy first print run.

The Other Mr Darcy is here!

Just received my copies of the UK edition of The Other Mr Darcy from Robert Hale. Hurray! The book looks very good. I especially like the image on the back cover.

Pity I can't just sit down and read it. Too many spoilers, I suspect...

The official release date of The Other Mr Darcy is June 30th.

For those of you who aren't in the UK, don't forget The Book Depository offers free international shipping, and is still offering a discount.

And in the UK, is still offering the pre-publication discount as well as free shipping.

Monday, 8 June 2009

Writing a Novel: Trials and Tribulations -- it's a job hunt!

Someone was asking me the other day how long it takes to write a novel. People seem to think a novel is something that just comes to you on the spur of the momet. You sit down, start writing frantically for a few days or weeks, and bingo! There it is.

There are some writers who can produce a novel very quickly, within a few weeks. But those are not the majority by any means. I would say they are a very small select group -- and if they can write that way, I certainly envy them.

Now it's not that I consider myself a slow writer. I can write quite quickly, once I've started to know the characters, and once the general feel of the novel is clear. But the writing part is only a small segment of what goes into producing a novel.

Here's what it's like for me. It's exactly like the process of applying for a new job -- twice. Knowing that if you can't get this job, you can't pay the rent.

1. Sending out applications: You start with several "concepts". You work on each one for a while, and try to see if you can come up with a plot idea. This stage takes some time because it's a process of elimination. You try things, they don't quite work for you, then you move on to the next idea. Then finally something gets through.

Result: Someone likes your application letter.

2. Going for an initial interview: Then you start brainstorming, trying out your concept. You're asked (as they always do in interviews) where you see yourself in X amount of time.
Which is what you need to do with your novel at this point. You have to have a clear vision of where it's going -- a plot or at least some sense of the shape of the novel. The vague plot usually has to be rethought over the process of days and even weeks before it finally takes on the shape. Since my plots depend completely on the characters themselves, at this stage I'm working hard to work out who the characters are, what they want out of life, and in what direction they are planning to take me. Even at this stage, there is the danger of elimination. I have several dead-end novels that ended in the trash and never went beyond this stage. If that is the case, then I'm back to square one.

Result: You don't get the job, or you are invited for a second interview.

3. Going for the second interview: This time, you get a clearer idea of the people you're going to work with. Now is the time to serious. You need to know your characters: to hear them talking to each other, see how they move, know exactly how they will react in certain situations. You work out whether you will fit with them or not. More importantly, they'll figure out whether they want to work with you or not. (Funny things, characters. They can be very uncooperative).

Result: You've been offered the job, on probation. Unpaid. If you prove yourself, you might be offered a postion.

4. You start the new job: This is the part where you give it everything you can. This is the part where you actually write. But remember -- you're still on probation. Things at this stage can still get so messy, you may have to start all over again.

Result: You struggle to prove you can do it.

5. End of probation period: You have a rough draft. You clean it up. Then clean it up again. Then again. Until it's ready. Now you present it. Your boss calls you in, and tells you...
"We like what you're doing..."

Result A: "...but you're not quite what we're looking for, so..."

It's time to apply for a new job: This is when you start sending letters to editors, and hoping someone out there will like the book you've just spend hours and days and weeks and months of your life writing without receiving a single penny for it.

Result B: "... and we love your creative spirit, you're just what we want, so..."

You've been offered a position: You get a three book contract, and you're all set. Until your next book, of course. Because it all starts all over again, and your next book still has to be approved.

Trials and tribulations. You have to really love writing. But more than anything, you really have to love working very hard...


Sunday, 7 June 2009

News of Darcy: The next novel in the Darcy series is finished!

Phew! It's been a marathon, but I'm on the last stages of editing my next novel in the Darcy series. Hurray!

It will be coming out from Robert Hale in February 2010, and from Sourcebooks in the Spring of 2010.

I can't wait to see the book covers. I only feel a novel is really finished when I see the covers, because then I know it's all real, and not a figment of my imagination... (?).

For my blog Jane Austen: The Queen Teen? please head out to Historical Romance UK.