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.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Other Mr. Darcy / Review

Author: Monica Fairview
Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark (October 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 140222513X

My Review:

Caroline Bingley is overwhelmed and heartbroken over the marriage of Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett. But soon, at a very awkward moment, a mysterious gentleman enters her life--Mr. Darcy's cousin from America. Tension immediately follows between the two as Caroline shows contempt for her American acquaintance. Although, Robert Darcy falls in love with Caroline, their worlds are very different and far apart.

This book is so elegantly written, the reader would think they are reading Jane Austen. I knew from the very beginning this was going to be an excellent book and I wasn't disappointed.

Please Note: Tomorrow I will have an interview posted here with Ms. Fairview plus a giveaway! Be sure to drop by.

(Thanks to Sourcebooks for my review copy.)

Monday, September 28, 2009

Mr. Darcy Vampyre / Review

Author: Amanda Grange
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark (August 11, 2009)
ISBN-10: 1402236972

My Review:

Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett are married only a short time before Darcy begins to exhibit strange mood swings. The couple is on their way to a honeymoon in France and beyond, taking Elizabeth into a strange world that is completely foreign to her. Although, she likes Paris, she becomes aware of how different their lives are - how simple her former life had been, compared to his. Darcy is a gentleman of great wealth, recognition, and social standing, while she had been only the daughter of a country gentleman. Eventually, she is swallowed up in a cold, vulgar world of wealth, position, and dark personalities. Throughout the book, Elizabeth shares her misgivings and unhappiness in letters to her sister, Jane.

Although, the reader must suspend all previously conceived fantasies about the married life of Mr. and Mrs. Darcy, this book proves to be exciting for any fan of gothic romantic thrillers. From dark ancient castles to the elegant ballrooms of Paris, the author transports the reader into a place far from the delightful walls of Pemberley. Amanda Grange has created a new twist for Austen addicts, even though it may be too far flung for the purist, or the Jane Austen scholar.

I give the book 5 stars for having as its author a woman who writes beautifully, and can step outside the box with her imagination. It is well-told and unforgettable.

(Thank you to Sourcebooks for my review copy.)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

After The Ball

Author: Barb Greenberg
Publisher: Rose Path Press
107 Pages

My Review:

After the Ball is an inspirational book for single, married, widowed, or divorced women. In a short story, fairy tale format, Cinderella and Snow White tell their stories--the stories of two women who thought they had married their own Prince Charmings, but later are disappointed in their choice of men. The two friends decide to take their sadness to a woman of wisdom, Annetta, who lives in the woods. Before the two guests leave her enchanted house, Annetta gives them the gift of peace and wholeness.

After the Ball is a beautiful book about loss, difficult choices, support systems, and discovery of self. Can a princess find true happiness?

(Thank you to the author for my review copy.)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


The winner of 1 set of 2 books, The Pemberley Chronicles and My Cousin Caroline by Rebecca Ann Collins is Joanne. Congratulations!! Please email your address within 48 hours.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Rebecca Ann Collins, Author of My Cousin Caroline Interview and Book Giveaway

Today I have the honor of interviewing guest author Rebecca Ann Collins. Ms. Collins is the author of the new Pride and Prejudice sequel, My Cousin Caroline which came out in bookstores on September 1st. She has most graciously agreed to answer a few questions for my readers.

*GIVEAWAY--I will give away 1 set of 2 books: The Pemberley Chronicles and My Cousin Caroline, to one lucky winner on SEPTEMBER 22nd, compliments of Sourcebooks.

The rules are:
*Leave a comment with your email address for 1 entry
*Become a follower for 2 entries (let me know if you already are.)
*Blog about this giveaway for 3 entries (let me know if you do this).
*Drawing is open to Us and Canada residents only.

Author interview:
Q1- What drew you to portray the main character of the book?
Ever since I completed the first volume in this series- The Pemberley Chronicles, in which I developed the character of Caroline Gardiner from a rather pert young girl into a lovely, personable young woman, I was drawn to the idea of giving her a book of her own. Setting up her love affair and marriage to Colonel Fitzwilliam, a minor but attractive character in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, provided the opportunity to do this. She is intelligent and capable; yet she has a streak of romanticism; I have always been interested in the development of character and Caroline’s is a more modern and complex disposition than we encounter in most Regency novels. In writing My Cousin Caroline, which has a time span crossing over several of the volumes, I had the chance to do just that with Caroline and several other characters in the series.

Q2- What is your favourite line in the book?
There are several but the one that encapsulates the relationship between Caroline and Fitzwilliam is my favourite: He had been attracted by her beauty and sweetness of disposition and loved her for her passion, her loyalty and determination; she had frequently astonished and delighted him and sometimes, very rarely, exasperated him, but he loved her dearly and had never tried to change her. He would not do so now.

Q3- When did you know you wanted to be a writer and how long have you been developing your craft?
Since I was about nine years old when I had a story published in a children’s page of a Sunday paper. I have been working at my craft throughout my days at university and thereafter, writing both fiction and non-fiction. Apart from music, it is my most absorbing interest.

Q4- Is reading a large part of your life? Which book made the biggest impact on your writing?
Reading is a vital part of my life. I recall being read to by my parents when I was two or three years old and reading anything I could lay my hands on, as I grew up. As a teacher and then a librarian, as well as a writer, I have been intimately involved with the promotion of reading to both children and adults.

Several books, and their authors, have had an impact on my writing; I cannot really name one. I might say, generally, that good literature is the best source of inspiration and example for any writer.

Q5- What are your three favourite books?
I have many favourites, but Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen; Great Expectations by Charles Dickens and Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh would be the chief among them.

Q6- Does storytelling run in your family?
No, not in a formal sense, but as children, (in the era before Television) we used to tell stories to entertain our families and friends and “published” a monthly handwritten and illustrated “magazine” which we circulated by hand, among our circle of friends. It was a great vehicle for imaginative young writers!

Q7- When creating a story, which is more difficult, the beginning or the end?
The beginning is most important; it has to create interest, so the reader wants to go on reading, point forward to the progress of the story and provide a logical starting point for the narrative. Once you have the plot moving forward and the characters developing within a defined context, the ending evolves logically. While a surprise ending may sometimes be appropriate, I don’t like shock endings, which are designed to manipulate the reader.

Q8- What is the writing process like for you-?
Once I have designed the framework of the piece I am working on, the process is mainly one of doing the research, developing the characters and plot , writing, re-writing and refining the composition of the work. It is hard work, but very rewarding.
(b) Are you a morning or a night person?
Definitely and evening to night person.
(c) Do you have a special place you like to go for inspiration?
No, but I am inspired by certain special places- for example when working on Mr Darcy’s Daughter- a visit to a a genuine Regency residence built in the era of Jane Austen , set in beautiful grounds and and maintained in 19th century style, inspired the idea of Camden House , which Mr Darcy purchases for Cassy and her family.
(d) What energizes you?
Creative Imagination and energy - are the source of my inspiration and drive to write. The positive response of readers adds pleasure and encouragement too, but the main urge comes from within.

Q9- What advice would you have for emerging writers?
First- Don’t write for a “market,” write because you have something to say or a story to tell, which is new and interesting and the market for it will grow. Second, write as you think and feel- not what you think someone expects to read. Third, if you are writing a “sequel” to another writer’s work, remember to respect the original writer. When you borrow his or her characters, as you would expect to be respected for your work.

Q 10- What is the most rewarding thing about being a writer?
The absolute delight of sharing your characters and their stories with others is unarguable; but when one is published and read by readers all over the world- there is a very special thrill. The response that the Pemberley Chronicles Series has received from individual readers, who have written, emailed and blogged their warm appreciation and love of the characters and stories of the Pemberley Chronicles is my greatest reward.

Readers, be sure to enter the giveaway. Good luck to all and happy reading!