Thursday, 30 September 2010

TALKING JANE AUSTEN WITH ABIGAIL REYNOLDS & GIVEAWAY


Mr Darcy's Obsession is her latest book just coming out in October for Sourcebooks. Abigail Reynolds  is a lifelong Jane Austen enthusiast and a physician.  In addition to writing, she has a part-time private practice and  enjoys spending time with her family.  Originally from upstate New York, she studied Russian, theater, and marine biology before deciding to attend medical school.   She began writing From Lambton to Longbourn in 2001 to spend more time with her favorite characters from Pride & Prejudice.  Encouragement from fellow Austen fans convinced her to continue asking ‘What if…?’, which led to five other Pemberley Variations and her modern novel, The Man Who Loved Pride & Prejudice.  She is currently at work on another Pemberley Variation and sequels to The Man Who Loved Pride & Prejudice.  She is a lifetime member of JASNA and lives in Wisconsin with her husband, two teenaged children, and a menagerie of pets.  
 

Read my interview with Abigail and you'll have the chance to receive a copy of Mr Darcy's Obsession directly from Sourcebooks. The giveaway is open to US and Canada readers only. The winner will be announced next Wednesday October 6th. Don't forget to add your e-mail address!

First of all, Abigail, thanks for accepting to Talk Jane Austen with me and ... soon to the first question. Mr Darcy. What’s his unique charm? What makes him so fascinating and attracting after centuries?
Many things! For me, it is the depth of his devotion, his loyalty and honor, and above all else, that he falls in love with Elizabeth because of her intelligence and wit in a world where those were not valued in women.

In your The Man Who Loved Pride and Prejudice, you make two distant worlds like science and Jane Austen’s novels meet. The same happens in your real life: you are a doctor, studied marine biology and you write brilliant Jane Austen- inspired fiction. How do such different worlds coexist in your life?
Medicine and writing aren’t actually all that different. As a doctor, I listen to patients and try to understand their stories, what they’re telling me and what they may be leaving out that could be important, what their situation is like at home and how it may affect their health, and so on. Trying to put myself in their heads, if you will, just as I do with my characters. Meantime, writing provides a wonderful escape from the pain and suffering I see at work. Sometimes the worlds overlap. In Mr. Darcy’s Obsession, there ‘s a medical scene which is an in-joke for fellow medical professionals – the doctor is prescribing various barbaric-sounding things, but they’re in fact all treatments we still use today.


Which Austen female character might have been a good doctor if women had been granted the chance to have a profession, according to you?
Elinor Dashwood would have made a good doctor – thoughtful, calm, and willing to sacrifice. I can see her working in an ER .

What’s the appeal of such a distant world as the Regency to you? And how do you explain the great, incredible success the “brand" Jane Austen has achieved in our contemporary high-tech world?
There are two levels to the question about the appeal of the Regency. A lot of it is based on the impression that life was simpler and more moral then, but this is a fallacy perpetrated by the Victorians who were romanticizing the time before the Industrial Revolution. That imaginary Regency period is like a fairy tale. Given the realities of life, especially for women, I’d never want to live in the real Regency. As for Jane Austen, I think it’s the brilliance of her characterizations and again that idea of a simpler, purer life. Also, there are people who are embarrassed to be caught reading romances, but if it’s based on Jane Austen, it must be literature, right? Jane Austen also has a wonderful voice – witty, sometimes cutting, but always with an edge of affection for even the most dislikeable characters.

If you could live inside one of Jane Austen’s novels which one would you choose? What would you miss the most?
Pride & Prejudice or perhaps Persuasion, I think. I’d miss millions of things, but most of all I’d miss the ability to control my own destiny, to have rights of my own.


Is Jane Austen's work just escapism or is it more social analysis and reflection?
We certainly use it as escapism today, but I don’t think that was its appeal at the time. It was in many ways radical in having female characters who thought for themselves and were valued for more than beauty and breeding.

This a difficult question I’ve asked to several of your colleagues. But maybe, you can help me to find a way to introduce Jane Austen to my male students (the majority in my classes) .To be honest they usually despise everything linked to Jane Austen considering it girlish. Is it really so difficult to meet men who love Pride and Prejudice?
I think men could love Jane Austen if they were willing to give it a try. It’s their, ahem, pride and prejudice that gets in the way. You could always suggest that women love men who know Jane Austen!

When did you meet Jane Austen? What did you read first?
I first read Pride & Prejudice when I was in my early teens, and I loved it.

How did you come to write and , especially, why Austen-sequels?
It started with reading Austen fanfiction on line for an escape to a happy and familiar world. Then I ran out of stories to read, so I decided to write one. It had a good response on line, and I was hooked.

I imagine your life to be franticly busy! Have you got any special writing routine?
I write whenever and wherever I can. When I can escape, I go to my favorite coffee shop to write, away from all the distractions at home.

What’s your opinion on the many Jane Austen adaptations? Have you got a favourite one? A least favourite one?
This is where a lot of readers and writers would explain that there’s something wrong with all those sexy/paranormal/mystery/sweet stories. I think it’s all good. The more people who are inspired to write Jane Austen adaptations, the happier I am. As for favorites and least favorites… well, I could get into a lot of trouble answering that one!

If you could write a spin-off story and change the destiny of one of Austen minor characters, making him/her the hero/ine of the day, who would you choose?
As a matter of fact, I’m working on a sequel to Mr. Darcy’s Obsession which will follow the love stories of Georgiana Darcy and her ‘cousin’ Mary, an original character.

Which one of your novels would you like to see adapted for the screen? Any special wish for the casting?
The Man Who Loved Pride & Prejudice. It has beautiful settings and lots of visuals. As for casting, I have no idea!

Try to present your latest novel, Mr Darcy’s Obsession, coming out in October, to our readers in less than 50 words.
After Mr. Bennet’s unexpected death, Elizabeth and her family are impoverished. When Darcy encounters Elizabeth living in London, he can't fight his desire to see and speak with her again...and again and again. Now that she is even more unsuitable, will Darcy conquer his pride to marry her?

Great, Abigail. Thank you! This is all for this nice chat of ours. Good luck with the release of Mr Darcy’s Obsessions !
Thanks for inviting me!

And good luck to our readers who will enter the giveaway! Leave your comments and don’t forget to leave your e-mail address, please. This giveaway is open to US and Canada only.

Follow Abigail Reynolds at her site  

24 comments:

Margay said...

I love Pride and Prejudice variations and Mr. Darcy's Obsession sounds like a fun read.

Margay1122(at)aol(dot)com

~ Babs ~ said...

Great interview and you can't ever go wrong with P & P. I look forward to this new book.
Bhitwr( at ) gmail (dot) com

Elegant Female said...

This sounds like a fun novel. I'd love a chance to win.

I agree, I think The Man Who Loved Pride and Prejudice would be nice on film.

Felicia

felicialso@gmail.com

Audra said...

Lovely interview -- I was particularly struck by Ms Reynolds' thoughts on doctors and writers -- very insightful!

I'd love to be entered in the giveaway for this book -- thank you!

thesibylqueen at gmail.com

Jennifer Becton said...

Congratulations, Abigail! Best wishes for a successful book launch. With Maria Grazia on your side, you are well on your way.

suzan said...

I really enjoyed the questions you asked. As mentioned above the contrasts with the medical profession and the writing profession was very interesting. I think one of the main reasons I became interested in Austen was her witty women. There again not what the typical woman of the time was supposed to represent. I think it would be hard to live back then. We do think of it as a simpler time tho' not really so. I'm sure since I have no gentile blood in my family tree I would have been a servant of something. Not a promising situation indeed. I'd love to win this new book. It sounds sad yet rewarding and hopefully a very happy conclusion. schafsue at msn dot com

Sandy said...

Abigail, I have been following your stories for quite a while and love them all. Best of luck with Mr. Darcy's Obsession.

Enjoyed the interview very much. Not being a writer, I'm always interested in what pulls the authors to begin...but I'm oh so glad you do.

Sandy,
tinkcook (at) yahoo (dot) com

Svea ~Muse in the Fog said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Svea ~Muse in the Fog said...

I am really excited about this book! Really enjoyed the interview; thank you!

muse_in_the_fog@hotmail.com

LadyDoc said...

Thanks for a great interview! I'd love to win and if I do you can contact me at ladydoctw at hotmail dot com.

Karen said...

I love how you compared what you do as a physician to writing the Jane Austen variations!
klcheart at hotmail dot com

chatty said...

Great interview Maria and Abigail, I'm a big fan of Abigail, I've read all your books. Some I have on both paperback and kindle. Can't wait to start this new one. Congrats Abi and hope you have great success. I'm sure you will.
charlene chatty1082@aol.com

Abigail Reynolds said...

Thanks for the comments! Apparently the physician/JA variations connection works the other way around as well, since I've had several docs contact me after reading my books. They're thrilled that a doc is writing them. Sometimes I think we could have our own mini-chapter of Austen-loving physicians!

Suzan, it has some sad moments, but it also has great joy!

Shanna Sandmoen said...

This sounds wonderful and unique! ssandmoen@yahoo.com

Inspired Kathy said...

I would love to read this book! Please enter me in your giveaway.
bkhabel at gmail dot com

stilettostorytime said...

I would love to read and possibly review "Mr Darcy’s Obsession". Thanks for a great giveaway!

Courtney
stilettostorytime at gmail dot com

sheppdog said...

I have read most of Abigails' variations and have thoroughly enjoyed them and will continue to read any that she has published. I look forward to many more enjoyable reads.

Lynn
sheppdog@telus.net

Claudia said...

I definitely think that "obsession" is the most proper word for everything related to Fitzwilliam Darcy ;)

Claudia

claudiagaggioli@virgilio.it

D4sunrise said...

Excellent interview. As a new reader of Ms. Reynolds, I am eager to get my hands on "The Man Who Loved Pride and Prejudice" as well as her new book.
Dawn
d4sunrise@aol.com

Teagan said...

As an Austen fanatic, I am thrilled to find this site and Abigail Reynolds. I look forward to many happy hours of reading.
Teagan
teagan@bookwenches.com
www.bookwenches.com

KNema said...

Very nice interview -- Would have loved to hear more about her book, but I am looking forward to reading it.
knema(at)hotmail.com

Amy{thosefunnylittlegirls} said...

Sounds like a good read!

ames318 (at) gmail (dot) com

Kaitlyn Devin and Grace said...

This book sounds like it has a great premise, I would love to read it! THanks for the awesome giveaway :)

k8thebookbuff(at)yahoo(dot)com

Wanda said...

Mr Darcy is a most fascinating man and I would dearly love to win this book to read even more about him, from another author's perspective (other than Jane Austen).
wandanamgreb(at)gmail(dot)com