Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Interview with Monica Fairview + Giveaway

Today I have the privilege of interviewing guest author Monica Fairview. Ms. Fairview is the author of the new Pride and Prejudice sequel, The Other Mr. Darcy, which will be released in October. (Please see my review below this interview.) She has graciously agreed to answer a few questions for my readers.

*GIVEAWAY--I will give away 1 copy of The Other Mr. Darcy on October 5th, compliments of Sourcebooks. The rules are:

*Leave a comment with your email address for 1 entry.
*Become a follower for 3 entries (let me know if you already are.)
*Blog about this giveaway for 3 entries (let me know if you do this).
*Last day to enter is October 4th.
*Drawing is open to Us and Canada residents only.

Author interview:

1. What drew you to portray the main character of the book?
Caroline Bingley was wronged. I don’t know at what stage of re-reading Pride and Prejudice I reached that conclusion, but it was around the time I became aware of how cleverly Jane Austen conceals Lizzy Bennett’s point of view under the guise of a third person narrator. I admire Jane Austen’s brilliance in having us look at everyone in the novel from Lizzy’s perspective, even when Lizzy isn’t there. Anyone who wants to learn about subtlety in POV would do well to look at Pride and Prejudice.

But then you have to go on to the next step: as the title indicates, the novel is about pride and prejudice. Lizzy is the one’s who’s prejudiced. She’s quick to judge people, and she is often wrong. She has to change her mind about a number of people throughout the novel. She is more like Emma than one would think. She is wrong about her own friend Charlotte as well as about Darcy, Wickham, (and, briefly) Georgiana, so why couldn’t she have misjudged Caroline as well? When she goes to visit Pemberley and sees Caroline there, she acknowledges that the motivation for Caroline’s behaviour was jealousy, and has a rare moment of empathy for her, knowing that her intrusion would be unwelcome. But that thread isn’t developed any further, and by then the damage is already done, so Caroline comes out as the bad guy (or woman). I wanted to write something that would give Caroline a chance to win her Mr. Darcy. Hence The Other Mr. Darcy.

2.What is your favourite line from this book?
“One does not always want to bare one’s soul. And sometimes, if it is important enough, one doesn’t even know how.”
I’ll leave you to guess who said them.

3.When did you know you wanted to be a writer and how long have you been developing your craft?
I knew I wanted to be a writer when I was 8. I was in bed, and I invented this whole play in my mind. I don’t remember what it was about, but it was very sad, and made me cry, and the next day I tried to write it down, but it didn’t come out quite the way I wanted, so I was frustrated. But I remember answering whenever someone asked me the usual question about what I wanted to be when I grew up: “A famous author.” It’s taken me so many years, though, to realize that I really wanted to be a writer.

4. Is reading a large part of your life? Which book made the biggest impact on your writing?
Heavens, yes! It always was. I remember when I was 12 setting out on the ambitious project of reading all Charles Dickens’ novels. I read quite a few of them, but then, when I got to Bleak House, I decided I’d have enough, and went on to reading something a lot lighter. Then of course I studied literature and taught it at the university, so reading became my profession.

I don’t have a single book I can point to that influenced my writing. I’ve been reading so long my mind has turned into stacks that are overflowing with books. One very influential book for me when I was younger was Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, because I loved the stream of consciousness idea. Obviously right now Jane Austen is number one on the list!

5. What are your three favourite books?
My reading’s very eclectic, and my favourites change all the time, so I can only tell what I really like right now. The Time Traveller’s Wife, Georgette Heyer’s Cotillion, and Julia Quinn’s The Duke and I are three of many favourites right now. Ask me in a week and it will be different.

6. Does storytelling run in your family?
No, though my grandfather wrote poetry, so I suppose I have the gene from him. My mother couldn’t have told a story to save her life. We always laughed when she tried to remember a joke, not because of the joke, but because she hardly ever got it straight. My father loved telling us stories when we were little, but they were usually retellings of well-known fairytales. So I don’t know where this impulse comes from. Mind you, I don’t tell stories either. I need a pen and paper (or a computer) to get me started.

7. When creating a story, which is the most difficult, the beginning or the ending?
Neither. Funnily enough, when I have an idea for a novel, it usually starts as a prologue or first chapter. Then, as in the case of The Other Mr. Darcy, I think of an ending, and I write a big chunk of the last chapter. The hard part is filling the space in between.

8. What is the writing process like for you? Are you a morning person or a night person? Do you have a special place you like to go for inspiration? What energizes you?
I’m not a morning person, but I have a young child, and she goes to school, so I have to write when she’s away, and then after she’s gone to bed. I tend to stay up late because my ideas flow better at night. There’s something about the night – the hush in traffic, the darkness, the sound of people sleeping – that makes ideas flow.

I don’t have a special place to go for inspiration, but I almost always go to the library in search of a particular book before I start writing. I have a sudden urge to read something in particular, and it has to be now. Then I get the book, read a few pages of it, drop it, and start writing. Most of the time, the book I’m looking for has nothing to do with what I’m writing. It may be that I need to capture a certain mood or a certain point of few, and that’s what drove me to get the book. It not something conscious.

If you want to see me energized, you should see me when I have an idea about a book. I’m full of nervous energy, and I can’t wait to get it all down on paper. Then once I’ve settled into a routine, things quiet down.

9. What advice would you have for emerging writers?
Writing is hard work. Yes, there are those sudden moments when things click, or an idea is there, just waiting to be written, but the actual writing process is about gritting your teeth and getting on with it, with a great deal of teeth gnashing and moments of grim despair thrown in (alright, it’s not that bad). But, if you keep going and have faith in yourself, sooner or later, you’ll get there. But I think the single most important thing I learned as a writer was to take criticism and to learn from it. It’s a very tough lesson, but you have to be grateful if someone is willing to tell you what’s wrong. It’s the only way to improve your writing.

10. What is the most rewarding thing about being a writer?
Seeing the flat words on a page (they’re just letters of the alphabet, after all) magically conjure up worlds and people. I don’t think I’ll ever get over the sheer enchantment of this process.
The Other Mr. Darcy—in stores October 2009!
Did you know that Mr. Darcy had an American cousin?!

In this highly original Pride and Prejudice sequel by British author Monica Fairview, Caroline Bingley is our heroine. Caroline is sincerely broken-hearted when Mr. Darcy marries Lizzy Bennet— that is, until she meets his charming and sympathetic American cousin...

Mr. Robert Darcy is as charming as Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy is proud, and he is stunned to find the beautiful Caroline weeping at his cousin's wedding. Such depth of love, he thinks, is rare and precious. For him, it's nearly love at first sight. But these British can be so haughty and off-putting. How can he let the young lady, who was understandably mortified to be discovered in such a vulnerable moment, know how much he feels for and sympathizes with her?

About the Author:
As a literature professor, Monica Fairview enjoyed teaching students to love reading. But after years of postponing the urge, she finally realized what she really wanted was to write books herself. She lived in Illinois, Los Angeles, Seattle, Texas, Colorado, Oregon and Boston as a student and professor, and now lives in London. To find out more, please visit


You can find MY REVIEW below.


  1. Wonderful interview, Barbara.
    I would love a chance to win this book.
    I already follow and have provided a link to this giveaway on the sidebar of my blog.
    Thanks for the opportunity!

    - Lori (

  2. I enjoyed hearing how she felt about Jane in the original book.

    kdhaney (AT) gmail (DOT) com

  3. Sounds great!

  4. I'd love a chance to win a copy of this book, it looks like a great read! Please enter me in this giveaway, and thanks for hosting it.


  5. what a great interview! would love a chance to win this! pls enter me!

    sensitivemuse at gmail dot com

  6. Great review, great interview, great giveaway!

    Please enter me!

    APSkap (at) comcast (dot) net

  7. Great meeting Monica Fairview here! I wonder if Monica has seen the HBO film "Lost in Austen" and if yes, what she thought of it?

    I would like to be entered!

    Google reader subscriber and follower!


  8. Thank you all for coming to visit, and for your positive reactions. Also, a special thank you to Barbara for having this interview, and for her very kind review.
    etiry, I actually blogged about Lost in Austen on Historical Romance, UK, so if you'd like to read my thoughts on it, please hop over there (scroll down the page to find it). Let me know what you all think. Do you agree?

  9. Great interview! The book sounds intriguing! :)
    mamamirage (at) yahoo (dot) com

  10. Do we need to post a seprate comment per entry?
    I'm a follower!

  11. I always enjoy reading "what came next" after P&P. Every author has such a unique take on what they envision for the characters. That Monica chose to give Caroline a happy every after is delightful. I think most everyone would expect there to be a grain of hope for her, especially with the kind Mr. Bingley as her brother. Can't wait to read the book. My austenesque list is already long, but happy to add another!

    Kimm from Oregon


  12. Also, I am a new follower & subscriber.

    Finally, I did post this giveway on my side bar at

    Thank you!

  13. This sounds like fun!

    melacan at hotmail dot com

  14. Nice interview. Its impressinve that Monica started reading Dickens at such a young age. I don't think I even knew who Charles Dickens was when I was 12.


  15. Please enter me.
    ludeluh at yahoo dot com

  16. Posted your giveaway on my blog for +3:

  17. I'm excited about this book. Please do enter me. :D

    linna.hsu at gmail dot ocm

  18. What a lovely interview, and the book sounds like a great read. Please count me in.


  19. Count me in.

  20. I just became a follower

  21. I am a follower
    and blogged you at

    Thank you

  22. Thanks for the chance to win! I've also become a follower of your blog, and I've blogged about this contest on my blog:


  23. I know I'm too's just been one of those weeks...Just dropped by to say that I loved the interview. Thanks:)

  24. Thank you all for your lovely comments. I'm really happy to meet you here.

    As for Dickens, JennyN, my father was a literature prof, and he used to hand me books to read. No picture books for me! It only occurred to me much later that it was not the run-of-the-mill thing to do, and by then it was too late!

    My Eclectic Reads: you're right about Bingley being too nice to have sisters that were too awful. You must remember, it was Darcy who instigated the removal from Netherfield, not Caroline, although she, of course, would do anything to please Darcy.

    And again, thank you, Barbara, for hosting me here and reviewing The Other Mr Darcy.

  25. Hi,

    I'm new to this blog! Excellent interview, Barbara! What great questions you asked! I loved reading this book too!