After reading and reviewing her "Definitely not Mr Darcy" (HERE) , I couldn't resist asking Karen Doornebos to be my guest and answering some questions about her brilliant, successful novel. Read all through our chat, answer Karen's final questions, add your e-mail address and enter the giveaway of 3 copies of Definitely not Mr Darcy as well as "Coffee? Tea? Or Mr Darcy"? drink coasters to each winner offered by the author herself! This super giveaway contest is open worldwide and ends on December 17th when the winner is announced.
First of all welcome on My Jane Austen Book Club and congratulations on your brilliant Austen-based novel, I loved reading it. Though, I must be honest, I hate reality shows . But yours show in the book is unique. So charming that I would love to see it! A Jane Austen – inspired show on TV. But tell me, did the idea for your book come from liking or disliking reality TV?
Thank you, Maria, for having me here. I’m a big fan of your sites and your newspaper! I don’t like reality TV, either, in fact, just like Chloe, I don’t have cable—and I have a teenager and a tween. The idea for the book came simply because I didn’t want my main character to travel back in time, and a reality show was a great way to have the past conflict with the present!
Has anybody asked you to write a show like the one in your book or collaborate at writing one after you published” Definitely not Mr Darcy”?
Actually, a film company considered optioning the rights for the book, but they ultimately passed. The thing is, I had my manuscript at a writer’s conference and someone said, “Regency reality show? It’s been done!” Of course, I was shocked, but the woman gave me the name of the show, “The Regency House Party.” It was produced by England’s Channel 4 in 2004. You can imagine how devastated I was, with a finished draft in hand, but I decided to watch the show—I had to! It was entertaining, but nothing like my book. I did incorporate some historical detail from the show into my book, looking at it as research. So, in short, the show has been done!
And would you ever take part in a show like the one you describe as a contestant?
Yes, I would—I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. I’m not sure how well I would deal without a shower and plumbing, though. That would be worth filming, I’m sure.
Who inspired your Chloe, the sparkling funny heroine in your story?
Chloe is a pastiche of myself, people I know, and a dash of naivite tossed in.
Does she resemble any Austen heroine?
She might be a cross between Elizabeth Bennet and Catherine Morland!
As for your Mr Darcy, Mr Wrightman, he is the hero in your book and the “prize” in the reality you telll about. You actually have two heroes in your story, the two Wrightman brothers. Without giving away much, can you describe briefly the two gorgeous men Chloe meets at Bridesbridge?
Both men are attractive in very distintive ways. One is tall, dark and handsome. The other is lankier, blonde, and witty. Oh, and George, the producer is handsome as well, in his blue jeans, auburn hair and sunglasses. Can’t have too many good looking men around, can we?
What is your ideal Mr Darcy like? What must a “Definitely Mr Darcy” be like?
He must have integrity. He must be honest. Most of all, what makes Austen’s Mr. Darcy so appealing is that he changes for Elizabeth Bennet. I’m not sure how many men would do that in real life. That is Mr. Darcy’s ultimate appeal, and why he has endured for centuries.
In your book there are many references to the clothing, the food, the habits, the pastimes, the code of behaviour of the Regency. What are the sources you used in your research ?
Wow—I did so much research! I started by reading Jane Austen’s letters, and then spent waaaay too much time in libraries and doing research on the internet. There is a three-volume Jane Austen Encyclopedia out there and now we have the annotated Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility. But I would Google things like “Regency era breakfast” and then cross-check facts with other sources.
You and Jane Austen . What is your history as an Austenite?
Pride and Prejudice was required reading in my sophomore year of high school. The rest is history! I fell in love with Mr. Darcy right then and there, setting me up for years of dating issues!
Now, are you working on any new project?
Yes, I’m working on another Austen-inspired and a book that has nothing to do with Jane Austen (imagine!).
Before ending our pleasant chat, have you got a question to ask our readers? They are going to enter a giveaway contest to win your book answering it.
Yes, I’m wondering: How would you describe your perfect 19th century hero?
That’s all for now, Karen. I wish you and “Definitely not Mr Darcy” great success. Thanks for being my guest and answering my questions.
Much obliged to you for having me, Maria!
Now it's your turn dear readers! Answer Karen's question, leave your e-mail address and good luck! 3 books and 3 "Coffee? Tea? Or Mr Darcy"? drink coasters for 3 different winners!