Monday, 18 May 2015

SPOTLIGHT ON ... "NO CAUSE TO REPINE" BY ROSE FAIRBANKS - READ AN EXCERPT & WIN AN EBOOK COPY


When a simple accident is misinterpreted and threatens Elizabeth Bennet's reputation, her fate seems sealed as Fitzwilliam Darcy's wife. While the bride is resigned, the gentleman could hardly be happier until betrayals and schemes threaten to entirely take the matter out of their hands. Overcoming the plots before them will take all the patience, perseverance and collaboration they can muster, but a partnership requires truth. Self-discovery and trust await Jane Austen's most beloved and willfully blind couple as they attempt to master their own destiny in life and love.
Read an excerpt
 George Wickham exited the back of the Meryton butcher shop, after sampling the feminine wares of Mary King once more. Making his way around the alley to the storefront, a sweating and heaving Mr. Collins approached him.
With a deep bow, Mr. Collins began, “Good day, Mr. Wickham. I must humbly request to have a word with you of the utmost urgency. I was sent on a mission by one of the most illustrious personages of the land, my esteemed benefactress, and I am sure you would rather do anything than risk her displeasure. But of course, you would not, being such an honourable man yourself, defending our country and wearing the King’s uniform.”
At first, Wickham eyed the parson with annoyance. When Collins mentioned his benefactress, Wickham realised Lady Catherine must have some new communication for him. Knowing it to be the time of Darcy’s annual visit to Rosings and that Elizabeth Bennet visited this ridiculous vicar’s wife, Wickham’s mind began to race with possibilities he had first supposed several weeks ago. Clever and opportunistic, Wickham excelled at anticipating the need for his services.

Saturday, 25 April 2015

DEBBIE COWENS, MOTHERS IN AUSTEN'S NOVELS - GUEST POST + EBOOK GIVEAWAY (INT.)

Mrs Bennet is my favourite of all the mother characters in Jane Austen’s novels. I do not think she is the sort of person that I, or anyone else for that matter, would ever wish to have for a mother, but there is something delightful in her complete lack of self-awareness and her inexhaustible capacity to embarrass her daughters. Most of us had moments growing up when we cringed in mortification at something said or done by parents unintentionally or perhaps, as in the case of my mother showing my boyfriend a family photo album including a picture of my eight-year-old self dressed up as Madonna, intentionally. However, few of us would have suffered much in comparison to Lizzie Bennet.

I wonder how any of the other Jane Austen heroines would have coped with a mother like Mrs Bennet. Many of Austen’s novels do not feature the heroines’ mothers. Emma Woodhouse and Anne Elliot have lost theirs. Fanny Price and Catherine Norwood travel away from their mothers for the duration of Mansfield Park and Northanger Abbey. Mrs Dashwood in Sense and Sensibility is a loving and attentive mother to her daughters. Only Mrs Bennet manages to make Elizabeth’s life more difficult and complicated through her interference.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

SUDDENLY MRS DARCY BLOG TOUR - JENETTA JAMES, THE BIRTHING OF A JAFF FAN GIRL. WIN AN EBOOK COPY (INTERNATIONAL)


2 years ago I hadn’t even heard of fan fiction, let alone Jane Austen fan fiction. If I had seen the acronym JAFF written down, I might have thought it was one of those error messages I don’t understand that pop up on my computer screen from time to time. I had always been a voracious reader, but somehow this was a landscape that had passed me by, a path that I didn’t even know was there.

Then I found myself pregnant with our second child when our first was only 7 months old and somehow, as well as making me feel pretty sick, it stirred up the old romantic in me. Up went the feet and out came the self-pity chocolates. On a whim, I dusted off my DVD of the old 1995 Pride & Prejudice mini-series. It wasn’t long before I was as hooked as I had been when it was first broadcast, aged 14. It occurred to me that it wouldn’t hurt to re-read the novel, and so I did that as well.
Before I knew where I was, I was living with Lizzy and Darcy. I just couldn’t get them out of my head. What happened next? What became of them? The possibilities danced around my mind. Jane Austen is famous for having written perfectly of “two inches of ivory”, so what about the rest of the fabric? What about the character’s lives behind closed doors? What about the world below stairs? What about the male friendships which go unexamined in the original? The permutations seemed endless.

Saturday, 18 April 2015

LISA PLISCOU, WHAT JANE AUSTEN CAN TELL US ABOUT CREATIVITY, INSPIRATION AND SUCCESS - GUEST POST & GIVEAWAY


I came to real admiration of Jane Austen later, rather than sooner, in life. In high school I found her books boring, irrelevant, and impenetrable, and in college I was a Chaucer-and-Shakespeare kind of English major along with getting into modernists like Mary Robison and Raymond Carver, so I really skimmed over the Georgian and Regency periods of English literature.

As was true for many women in the 1990s, it was the seminal A&E version of Pride and Prejudice, along with the lovely film version of Persuasion that came out the same year, which encouraged me to start reading Austen again.





I was a lot more comfortable with the slightly archaic language by then, and I was pleasantly surprised by Austen’s wit and cleverness. Her six novels are, on one level, what we might think of as fairly conventional love stories, but as Austen fans know well, they’re also deeply concerned with an understanding of the self, the realities of money and class, and the vagaries (both funny and troubling) of social interaction.

After rediscovering Austen’s works, I got really curious about her, and launched into a binge-read of Austen biographies. This was even more eye-opening. And my enjoyment of her work deepened into a powerful sense of admiration.

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

A PECULIAR CONNECTION BLOG TOUR - AUTHOR'S GUEST POST AND GIVEAWAY: JAN HAHN, APRIL FOOL!


April Fool!


Thank you, Maria Grazia, for allowing me to be a guest today on your lovely blog.  In honor of April Fool’s or All Fool’s Day, I’ve been looking at Jane Austen’s inclusion of foolish people in her works.   I’m sure we can agree that our esteemed author has a penchant for creating some delightfully silly characters.

I love Emma’s father, Mr. Woodhouse!  His eccentricities define him.  I thought I was a worry-wart of a mother, but Mr. Woodhouse puts me in the shade.   Emma has been confined to Highbury since childhood because of her father’s fear of traveling. He refuses to serve cake because of its ill effects.  And let’s not get started on the danger of drafts!  We laugh at him, but we find him loveable anyway.

Friday, 27 March 2015

SO FAR AWAY BY P.O. DIXON - READ AN EXCERPT AND WIN A COPY!

From the Author

I am happy for the chance to visit My Jane Austen Book Club once again to share an excerpt from my newest release, So Far Away. Thank you so much, Maria Grazia!

In Lady Elizabeth: Everything Will Change Book One, Darcy made an astonishing discovery that set him on a course destined to change Elizabeth’s life forever. So Far Away: Everything Will Change Book Two centers upon the aftermath of Darcy’s discovery.


The Book



So Far Away: Everything Will Change Book Two

Now that Elizabeth knows the truth about her past, she has returned to Longbourn. Wanting to reclaim her rightful place in the lives of her Bennet relations, she needs time before considering a life far away in Derbyshire with Mr. Darcy.

He promised he would wait for her for as long as it takes. With so much distance between the two of them the question soon became how long is too long.

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

AERENDGAST BLOG TOUR - THE LOST HISTORY OF JANE AUSTEN: READ AN EXCERPT & WIN A PAPERBACK COPY

About the Book

Violet Desmond has just learned from her dying grandmother that the life she’s been living is a lie.
Left with only a locket, a newspaper clipping, and a name–Atherton–Violet sets off to discover her hidden personal history.  Simultaneously, the London academic begins to have vivid dreams in which a woman from the past narrates her life story involving the same locket, a secret marriage, and a child. A story intimately connected to Jane Austen.
Violet reluctantly agrees to receive help from cavalier treasure hunter, Peter Knighton. Blacklisted from his profession, Knighton can almost taste the money and accolades he’d receive for digging up something good on Austen; the locket alone is unique enough to be worth plenty to the right collector. It would be enough to get his foot back in the door.
The unlikely pair begin a quest for answers that leads them to Aerendgast Hallows. Knee-deep in hidden crypts, perilous pursuits, and centuries-old riddles, Violet must put her literary expertise to the test as she battles to uncover the secret that her loved ones died trying to reveal, before an unknown enemy silences her as well.

About the author

Rachel was born and raised in Los Angeles, which naturally resulted in a deep love of the UK from an early age. Reading and writing have been favorite pastimes for as long as she can remember. 

Rachel has a BA in English Literature from Scripps College and an MA in London Studies from Queen Mary, University of London. Her focus is 19th century British Literature. She enjoys hiking, musical theatre, fancy water, pilates, vegan baking, good tv and movies, and researching new book ideas!
Jane Austen has always been an author near and dear to Rachel's heart for her ability to tell a story so compelling, it remains relevant hundreds of years later. And for creating Henry Tilney.


Read an excerpt 

Violet walked over the threshold into Winchester Cathedral and instantly recognised it from her many dreams. She could see everything from her visions coming to vivid life around her. The
quiet joy of the secret wedding that happened so long ago still hung in the air, along with the sorrow that Violet knew had almost immediately followed. The building’s beauty and age were awe-inspiring. Violet moved through an arch and into a narrow section off the centre aisle. She put her hand on the ancient walls and let herself feel the cold stone. The room illuminated with images from her visions. She saw Jane and Edward in all stages of their lives floating around her: the wedding,

Monday, 23 February 2015

NOW MR DARCY HAS A HANDSOME YOUNGER BROTHER ... THE DARCY BROTHERS - BLOG TOUR & GIVEAWAY


Are you as curious as I am to discover more about Theo Darcy, Fitzwilliam's brother?  Theo Darcy is everything his disapproving elder brother, Fitzwilliam, is not – easy-going, charming, and full of fun. A tragic event as children severed their bond of friendship, but now they are together again. They are still at odds, though, this time over the love of Miss Elizabeth Bennet and the truth about George Wickham. Will Wickham manage to divide the brothers again? And more importantly, which Mr. Darcy will Elizabeth choose? 

Find out as the two brothers lock horns in this unique Pride & Prejudice variation collectively written by five respected authors: Maria Grace, Abigail Reynolds, Cassandra Grafton, Susan Mason-Milks and Monica Fairview.

Saturday, 21 February 2015

INTERVIEW WITH SAMANTHA ADKINS, AUTHOR OF BANFF SPRINGS ABBEY: JANE AUSTEN'S NORTHANGER ABBEY REIMAGINED + DOUBLE GIVEAWAY


Hello and welcome, Samantha. It's great to have you here at My Jane Austen Book Club. First of all I'll invite you to tell us something about your writing background 

 I’ve always enjoyed reading and writing, especially fiction.  I come from a family of writers. Both of my grand-fathers wrote nonfiction and my Dad writes both fiction and nonfiction.  In grade six, my teacher gave us a novel-writing project.  I wrote a fantasy story called The Amazing Dollhouse and I’ve been hooked ever since.  English was my favourite subject in junior and senior high and I went on to study journalism and professional writing in college.  I have since self-published seven books and one picture book.

Why do your write Jane Austen-related fiction?

My sister loved the 1995 BBC version of Pride and Prejudice as well as the Bridge Jones books and movies.  For her birthday, one year, I thought I would write her a short sequel to Pride and Prejudice.  The planned 20 page story turned into a novel called Expectations and I fell in love with all things Jane Austen.  I loved her books, researching the time period and watching all of the movie and television adaptations.  I was then asked to write a murder mystery tea for our church and chose to do a Jane Austen murder mystery involving six characters from different books.  This led to an interest in Jane Fairfax from Emma which turned into Suspiciously Reserved: A Twist on Jane Austen’s Emma.

Monday, 16 February 2015

THE SECRET OF PEMBROOKE PARK BLOG TOUR - JULIE KLASSEN: "WHAT INSPIRED MY NEW WORK" + GRAND GIVEAWAY!


Hello dear Austenite friends! I'm really glad and honored to give the start to this great blog tour. 
Award winning historical romance author Julie Klassen tours the blogosphere February 16 through March 2 to share her latest release, The Secret of Pembrooke Park. Twenty five popular book bloggers specializing in historical and Austenesque fiction will feature guest blogs, interviews, book reviews and excerpts of this acclaimed gothic Regency romance novel. A fabulous giveaway contest, including copies of all of Ms. Klassen’s eight books and other Jane Austen-themed items, is open to those who join the festivities. 

Inspiration for The Secret of Pembrooke Park

Guest post by Julie Klassen

People often ask me where I find the ideas for my books. And the answer varies. Most ideas have come from research—historical practices, professions, or events that spark the idea for a situation or premise. Some ideas have been inspired by movies I’ve seen, or books I’ve loved, especially those by Jane Austen or Charlotte Bronte. Others have come from historic places I’ve visited in England—if only I could travel there more often!

My latest book, The Secret of Pembrooke Park, is about a young woman who moves with her family into a mysterious manor abandoned for eighteen years. With help from a handsome neighbor, she searches the house, hoping to find its secret room and rumored hidden treasure—but finds danger instead. The idea for this setting came from closer to home.

I grew up in rural Central Illinois. We could only see one house from ours, and that was across a field. (I spent a lot of time playing alone as a girl, which likely helped develop my imagination.) About a half mile behind our house was a wood. I liked to walk there, all the while making up stories in my head. In these woods, I stumbled upon an abandoned house. The roof and most of the upper story was gone, but three walls still stood. Through the gaped opening, you could see the entire ground floor, still furnished. A moldering piano listed in one corner, a tattered blue dress hung on the wall, a set of stairs lead upwards to nowhere… Behind the house I discovered a root cellar—a hollowed out mound of earth with stairs leading down into it. Inside there were still shelves filled with mason jars of home-canned peaches and vegetables.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

THE MATCHMAKER BLOG TOUR - GUEST POST BY SARAH PRICE & GIVEAWAY


Hi Maria Grazia and thank you so much for inviting me to share a little bit about myself on your blog. I’ve been writing for almost forty years, starting when I was just a little girl when I would write stories about gnomes in little notebooks (which I still have!). I gravitated to writing about the Amish genre because my heritage is Anabaptist and I find the Plain culture fascinating. 
Unfortunately, there is often a misconception that Amish fiction books are poorly written and formula romance. And then there is often a problem concerning many authors’ accuracy of the portrayal of Amish. Many authors do not have first-hand experience with the Amish or readers are basing what they know on “reality” shows. 

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

SUMMER LOVIN' - MERYTON PRESS SHORT STORY CONTEST

BEGINS9:00 a.m. Feb 1, 2015 (US Pacific time)
ENDS11:59 p.m. March 15, 2015 (US Pacific Time)
Meryton Press is conducting a contest to find the best short stories.
The theme of the contest, “Summer Lovin’,” represents the summer season. The interpretation of the theme is left to the writer’s imagination; the story may have summer as a backdrop or may convey a sense of happiness and light. It might be a romantic comedy set in the South Pacific, a thriller in the everglades of Florida, a romance in Queen Victoria’s summer court, an ode to the ocean and Elizabeth Bennet, or a mail -order bride in the Old West—anything your summer muse suggests.
Any genre is acceptable as long as there is ROMANCE. Austenesque is a plus, but is not required. In other words, so long as there is a commonly accepted or acceptable interpretation of the theme embedded in the plot, it works for us. However, this contest is not for children’s stories. Our target audience is readers over 18 years old.
The contest will be judged by a panel of independent judges, and the results will be announced by mid-April 2015.
A long list of entries will be selected for final judging by a panel of expert editors and reviewers. The long list will consist of at least eight quality entries. All entries on the long list will receive a letter with constructive criticism on how the story could have been improved. Four winners will be selected from the long list and will be awarded prizes as detailed in the guidelines below (see “Contest Prizes”).

Saturday, 24 January 2015

FREEBIE! GRAB YOUR EBOOK COPY OF JANE AUSTEN & THE ARCHANGEL BY PAMELA AARES

About the book 

What's to be done with an angel who breaks the rules? Until then passion had lived only on the page- Jane Austen hasn't written a creative word in months. She secretly fears she may not have it in her to write a single word more about love. Yet when the mysterious Michael Grace appears on her doorstep, she's cast into a world of emotion beyond even her wildest imaginings. Though she fears he might be a spy, she enlists his help to find her friend's fiancee, missing in the Peninsular War. But Michael isn't what he seems, and the passion and doubts he ignites turn everything Jane trusts upside down. What Jane doesn't know is that her mystery man is an angel. One who's never failed to get what he goes after. Some rules just beg to be broken- It's not easy being a bad-boy angel and Michael is paying the penalty. Demoted to working undercover in a sleepy English village, he's chafing to launch the dangerous mission he's been sent to command. But when he meets Jane, he's irresistibly drawn to her, even though involvement with her could jeopardize her life and his status as an angel. When Lucifer tries to use Jane as a pawn in his vile schemes, Michael discovers that fighting the forces of darkness is nothing compared to the challenge of telling Jane the truth. Can the angel who's never lost a battle win the heart of a woman who's afraid of love?

Grab your copy at amazon.com or amazon.co.uk in the next 48 hours!

Read my interview with Pamela Aares

Thursday, 22 January 2015

SPOTLIGHT ON ... LADY ELIZABETH: EVERYTHING WILL CHANGE BY P. O. DIXON + GIVEAWAY

I’m honored to be here at My Jane Austen Book Club to discuss my latest book. Thank you so much, Maria Grazia! I’ve been looking forward to sharing this story with Jane Austen fan fiction readers for quite a while. It’s very different from anything I have written thus far and that’s what makes it so near and dear to my heart.


Lady Elizabeth is a story full of twists and turns, the greatest being Elizabeth’s true identity. Heartrending at times, this Pride and Prejudice ‘what-if’ story has its fair share of heart-warming sentiments as well.


The first of two books in the Everything Will Change Series, Lady Elizabeth promises a happy for now ending. The second book in the series is titled So Far Away. It will be available in late winter 2015.

P. O. Dixon 

The Book



Lady Elizabeth: Everything Will Change (Book One)


Elizabeth lives a charmed life ... or so it seems. Despite her noble relations and all the wealth and privileges entailed, there's something missing.

Sunday, 11 January 2015

SPOTLIGHT ON ... TO REFINE LIKE SILVER BY JEANNA ELLSWORTH: READ AN EXCERPT AND ENTER THE GIVEAWAY CONTEST

Thank you Maria Grazia for hosting me on your blog! It is always a pleasure. I thought I would share a part of my new book, To Refine Like Silver,  that I adore and always makes me giggle. In this scene, Darcy and Elizabeth both end up in the same bookshop in Lambton. Mr. Darcy and Georgiana had been loaned a book of thoughts by Elizabeth and he began to see the benefit of writing his confusing thoughts down. This is the afternoon after the ball at Pemberley where Darcy realized that he loved Elizabeth and also where he made the decision to pursue her. Up to that point, he kept trying to talk himself out of it. Here it is.

*****

“Good afternoon, Miss Elizabeth. What brings you to the Lambton bookshop today?”
            “My aunt has come to Lambton to do some shopping, and I asked her to drop me off here. I could not think of a better way to pass the time than to peruse a bookshop. What brings you here?”
            He lifted the journal. “I suppose my purpose is the same as yours.”
            She reached for the book he had in his hand and asked, “But what have you found that you do not already own?” She flipped through the blank, lined pages and looked with surprised eyes at him. “It is blank. What do you need a blank book for?”
            “I have been doing a lot of thinking lately. Some of my thoughts are circulating through my mind, confusing and elusive, while others are well-formed ideas. Either way, I find I am in need of writing them down.”
            “Well, it is about time.”
            “I do not take your meaning.”

Sunday, 4 January 2015

"PRIDE, PREJUDICE AND SECRETS" BLOG TOUR - GUEST POST BY AUTHOR C.P. ODOM


I want to thank Maria Grazia for hosting me on her blog for my new book, “Pride, Prejudice, and Secrets,” as she did last year for “Consequences.”  To begin with, this novel is a variation on “Pride and Prejudice,” as were my previous two efforts, in that I try to portray what might have happened if a particular decision or even happened differently.  After that point, I try to keep the characters as true to those Austen portrayed as possible.  For example, I would have difficulty writing a variation in which Elizabeth Bennet married George Wickham; it just wouldn’t work for me, for my inner characterization of her would make such an event impossible.  If she would refuse both Mr. Collins and Darcy, then I can conceive of no way she would ever marry Wickham.  I know other authors have taken that path, and, if they made it work, they’re better writers than I am.

Friday, 26 December 2014

LIZZY & JANE, A NOVEL – INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR KATHERINE REAY


Sometimes the courage to face your greatest fears comes only when you've run out of ways to escape.

Hello Katherine and welcome back to My Jane Austen Book Club. Your Lizzy & Jane is a revisitation of two Austen heroines  in a present-day urban context. Can you tell us more about the Bennet sisters protagonists of your new novel?

Lizzy and Jane Hughes are a bit more antagonistic than the Bennet sisters. You always get the feeling in P&P that Lizzy and Jane Bennet have “each others backs” and always put the other first. These two have lost some of that, if they ever had it, and need to learn to see and love each other again. So the Lizzy & Jane reference is more how their mother saw them or the dream of what they can become rather than a reflection of who they are.

How much of their original personalities can we still recognize?

Ah… Probably not much at the beginning. Lizzy Hughes may have Lizzy Bennet’s “fine eyes” and sharp wit, but I’d hate to go up against Austen in those categories. At the end, you’ll see more. My sisters begin to understand each other and develop a more playful, loving relationship.

Why did you decide to have Lizzy be a talented chef?
 Food is so relational. I think food first entered the story as a reflection of my family life – and Lizzy working as a chef became an extension of that. We cook every Sunday – almost every day of the week, really. The kitchen is where my family connects, cooks, eats and shares best. It started when we lived in Ireland. We and another family got together every Sunday and cooked multi-course meals that took the whole day, post church, to prepare and enjoy. When we moved back to the States, we continued that tradition ourselves.

Monday, 22 December 2014

SPOTLIGHT ON ... LETTERS FROM THE HEART, A PRIDE AND PREJUDICE NOVELLA VARIATION + EBOOK GIVEAWAY

Resolved to forget Elizabeth Bennet during a winter in London, Fitzwilliam Darcy writes a letter in bitterness of spirit. Frustrated by her growing obsession with the arrogant man, Elizabeth commits her thoughts to paper. But angry people are not always wise, and secret thoughts do not always remain secret. Compelled to face their selfishness and fears, their actions encourage those dearest to them to change as well.
Excerpt  
December 10, 1811
Darcy House, London
8:30 am
Fitzwilliam Darcy tore through the contents of his desk drawer again. I must find it! He lifted every single piece of correspondence from his letter tray. His usual fastidious standards did not help today, as there seemed no hope of finding the object of his search. 
The letter was not on or in his desk, or among his personal files. He considered he may have burned it after all, but soon rejected the notion. His earlier drafts were crumpled and in the waste bin. Surely if he would have burned the final product, he would have burnt all the evidence. He could only face the truth and the likely consequences of his actions. The letter he had written to Miss Elizabeth Bennet the night before had vanished!

Monday, 8 December 2014

SYRIE JAMES: EIGHT REASONS WHY I LOVE NOVELS SET IN THE GEORGIAN AND REGENCY ERAS - JANE AUSTEN'S FIRST LOVE HOLIDAY BLOG TOUR & FABULOUS GIVEAWAY





I have a soft spot in my heart for historical fiction novels set in England during the Georgian and Regency eras. Why? There are so many reasons, but I’ll condense them down to eight:


1. I love stepping back in time.

Reading a novel set in the past is like discovering your own personal time machine. I love being immersed in all the sights, sounds, and smells of a time gone by, and experiencing, through the characters’ eyes, thoughts, and feelings, what it was like to live in another era. The Georgian and Regency eras are particularly appealing to me because it’s the time in which Jane Austen lived and wrote. Jane grew up during the Georgian era, which began in 1714 and spanned the reigns of the first four Hanoverian kings of Great Britain who were all named George. The Regency (which we more readily associate with Austen) was a brief sub-period of the Georgian era between 1811 and 1820, when King George III was deemed unfit to rule and his son, the Prince of Wales, ruled as his proxy as Prince Regent

It’s such fun to read about the way people lived then, and to spend time with them in their country houses, where even the poorest of the gentry class had servants to wait on them. Nobody in Austen’s novels is ever seen doing anything we’d recognize today as work. They ride horses, drive in carriages, play cards, play music, sing, read, sew, embroider, draw, paint, hunt, take long walks in the shrubbery, and dance at balls. Of course, it took servants to make all that leisure time possible—but what fun it is to lose ourselves in what seems like a lovely, fairy tale existence.

Thursday, 4 December 2014

THE VAGABOND VICAR BY CHARLOTTE BRENTWOOD: AUTHOR GUEST POST & GIVEAWAY

“Three or four families in a country village is the very thing to work on…”
-- Jane Austen’s advice to her niece Anna on writing novels

Ever since I penned my first multi-page story at the age of six, I knew I wanted to be an author. Always drawn to stories set in the past, I loved authors such as Louisa May Alcott and L.M. Montgomery as a girl, before I discovered Jane Austen as a teenager. I felt destined to pen similar stories of love and self-discovery, set in fascinating eras of history.

Despite writing throughout my younger years, I was in my twenties before I knuckled down to finish a book. After I completed my first full-length historical, I began to write a sequel. Featuring a jilted female minor character from the first book, I planned to have a vicar help her through her process of recovery, and have the two characters fall in love through her healing. The book never went anywhere – the heroine was weak and insipid and I soon lost steam. But the hero, the vicar, remained in the back of my mind.

The next book I wrote was a contemporary, and even through that process the vicar would not leave me alone. His character developed almost against my will. He kept telling me tales of his mercy missions in the seedy parts of London. He told me about how he was given a living in a small village, but that he would much rather be sailing the seas to adventures in exotic lands. I was moved by his compassion, his earnestness, and his heart. I wrote the opening pages of what would become “The Vagabond Vicar” as a shiny new idea while I was supposed to be focussing on editing and finishing the contemporary. I knew I had to find him a heroine worthy of his affections; one he would not be able to keep away from despite his ambitions.