The Perfect Hero is Victoria Connelly's latest publication. I posted the review of this delightful novel just last week, do you remember? After reading it, I had so many curiosities about the characters and the inspiration for this Austenesque present - day romance! And, guess what? Victoria Connelly has kindly accepted to answer all my questions. Moreover, Harper Collins has granted you readers other two copies of this lovely romance if you leave your comments and e-mail address at the end of this interview. Below you'll find the name of the winner of the first giveaway connected to my review (HERE) , and the launch of the new DOUBLE GIVEAWAY open worldwide! The winners will be announced next Tuesday June 21st.
Welcome back on My Jane Austen Book Club, Victoria! The Perfect Hero is the second book in your Austen Addicts Trilogy. After Katherine Roberts and Robyn Love, the Janeite heroines of A Weekend With Mr Darcy, another lovely protagonist, Kay Ashton. Can you tell us how you came to picture her out of your imagination? Is she inspired by any Austen heroine?
Kay Ashton is, perhaps, the closest my heroines have ever come to being like me! She’s a romantic. She’s a daydreamer. She’s a Jane Austen fan! She isn’t directly inspired by any Austen heroine although I think she has elements of Catherine Morland and Marianne Dashwood with her wild imagination, and a little of Emma Woodhouse with her naughty match-making tendencies.
Gemma Reilly is another cute character in all her fragility. Is she your Anne Eliot?
Like Anne Eliot, Gemma has spent most of her life being told what to do and it takes her a while to find out who she really is but, when she does, she’s a force to be reckoned with!
Persuasion is often quoted in the story and Lyme Regis is the set of most of the action in it. Austen’s last novel happens to be my favourite – the one I find most romantic and touching - and I dream of going to Lyme Regis and visit Dorset sooner or later. What about you instead? What’s your opinion on Persuasion?
I adore Persuasion. It’s a deeply moving novel about the mistakes we make when we’re young. Anne is such a sympathetic heroine and I so feel for her so much. Jane Austen wrote this novel when she was dying and I think it’s very special.
The idea of getting Kay involved with the cast and crew shooting an adaptation of Persuasion in Lyme Regis, as she hosts them in her newly opened B&B, makes the plot spicier. I love period drama and I’d love to work behind the scenes of a costume piece, even as the host of a B&B. Are the characters inspired by any real actor/actress you know or admire? If you can reveal that .
Well, my hero, Oli Wade Owen, is tall with blond hair and is playing Captain Wentworth so some readers may think he’s based on the gorgeous Rupert Penry Jones. They might be right! But I tend to make up most of my characters but little traits from people I know may creep in from time to time. Adam’s love of writing and his need for a quiet life is very like me!
What Persuasion adaptation do you prefer?
I love the 1995 so much – Amanda Root is so perfect as the put-upon Anne and it’s beautifully filmed. I love the scene where all the characters are telling Anne their troubles and are expecting her to sort them all out! But the recent adaptation is gorgeous too – the music was so moving and I loved Anne’s little looks towards the camera. Oh, and I did rather adore Rupert Penry Jones as Captain Wentworth!
Your hero, the film star Oli Wade Owen, is incredibly attractive with his good looks, his blond hair and his charming ways. Not The Perfect Hero, though. What is the perfect hero like in your opinion?
I like a man who is sweet and gentle and doesn’t need to be the centre of attention. I like a man who cares about animals and the countryside. And I love a man who has a great passion. My husband is a wonderful artist and is passionate about the subjects he paints.
They only exist in the movies and in books, don’t they ?
Well, I’m a romantic so believe that they exist in real-life too! And I’m very lucky to have a lovely husband. We’ve been married for 10 years and I’m very happy!
In the final pages of The Perfect Hero, there is your “Top Ten Romantic Heroes”, led by Captain Wentworth . My question is about the second romantic hero in your list, Michael Maloney as Mark in Truly Madly Deeply. Curiously enough, I’ve seen this 1990 film only last week for the first time (as I wrote in this blogpost of mine) so I’ve got very vivid images in my mind. Is your Adam Craig, the sweet sensitive scriptwriter, inspired by that character?
I adore Michael Maloney in Truly Madly Deeply – he’s sweet and sensitive and gives the heroine plenty of time. I think I prefer this kind of hero to the macho-type and my own heroes are probably more like Mark than Captain Wentworth!
I love your Adam Craig’s relationship with his Nana Craig very much. Bizarre, noisy, prejudiced Nana Craig is definitely my favourite character in your novel. Being an ex-child brought up by a sweet nanny this musing too is influenced by very personal memories. Now, there’s only one thing I don’t understand. If we are not giving away too much of the finale, may I ask you why she said what she said to Kay who was looking for Adam? Because I found that quite a sudden, unexpected change in her attitude which left me rather disappointed.
Nana Craig is very protective of her grandson, Adam, and doesn’t want to see him get hurt. She’s aware that Kay was in some sort of relationship with Oli and doesn’t believe that she truly loves Adam so she speaks her mind. I was anxious when I wrote this scene but felt that it was that right for Nana Craig to do.
I’d love to ask you so many other things but I think I would spoil too much for the future readers of The Perfect Hero. So I only ask you to write a 50 word presentation of this delightful novel.
The Perfect Hero is a romantic comedy set in the pretty seaside resort of Lyme Regis in Dorset. It’s about Kay who falls in love with the actor playing Captain Wentworth in a new film version of Jane Austen’s Persuasion. But is he the perfect hero for her?
I’ve read on the last pages in my copy of The Perfect Hero that the third book in the Austen Addicts Trilogy is “The Runaway Actress”. Can you anticipate anything about it?
The Runaway Actress isn’t the third Austen Addicts book, I’m afraid. The UK want to publish some standalone rom coms so I’m not sure when the third will be published in the UK. But it will be out in the US in 2012. It’s called Mr Darcy Forever and is set in the beautiful Georgian city of Bath during the Jane Austen festival where two estranged sisters meet once again.
But I’m very excited about The Runaway Actress too which is about a famous film star who swaps Hollywood for the Highlands of Scotland in an attempt to find out who she really is.
Thanks a lot for taking the time of answering my questions, Victoria, and for being my guest again on My Jane Austen Book Club!
Always a pleasure and thank you so much for your interest in my books!
GIVEAWAY WINNER & NEW DOUBLE GIVEAWAY!
The winner of the first copy of The Perfect Hero chosen by random.org among the commenters of my review is...
But for all the others there is still a double chance to win this book. Try again! Leave a comment and your e-mail address. This is the perfect summer read! The winners will be announced next Tuesday June 21st.