Friday, 9 December 2011


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!


~Brandy~ said...

My undergraduate thesis was entitled, "Jane Austen and Social Convention of Marriage". Basically, I analysed each of the major heroes in Austen's novels. The only one I would consider a true 19th-century hero, is Captain Wentworth in "Persuasion". He is kind, takes a sincere interest in Anne's opinion, and he reads (what could be better?). If I had to change one thing about Wentworth in terms of making him a better hero, I'd make him a bit more bold!
Cheers fellow Austenites!

BeckyC said...

This looks like a fun read, very intriguing!

Thank you for the giveaway!

Ruby Chun said...

I think your book sound interesting and I can't wait to read it. I think the perfect hero in my mind would be Mr Darcy. He is strong, loving, honest and takes his responsibilities seriously. He loves his family and friends.

Linda said...

When I think about 19th century heroes, in addition to Mr. Darcy and Captain Wentworth, I also think about Rhett Butler, and Mr. Thornton from Eliz. Gaskell's North and South. The ideal hero is a combination of these gentlemen. Thanks for giveaway. The book sounds great.

Karen Doornebos said...

Thank you, everyone for commenting! Captain Wentworth is a fabulous hero, and boy can he write a letter!! I like the Darcy-Wentworth-Butler-Thornton combo. I would just add a dash of Henry Tilney from Northanger Abbey--for his sense of humor. Love a guy who can make us laugh!

marilyn said...

What an intriguing question! My perfect 19th century hero would love to read novels, like to dance, be certain that I am his soul mate, have the ability to laugh at himself, have the means to live comfortably and love animals.
Thank you for the giveaway! The book sounds fantastic.

Rebecca (RivkaBelle) said...

Hmm...Ideal/favorite 19th century hero...I have a major weakness for Edward Ferrars, but I also LOVE the smart-assery of Henry Tilney...So how about a blending of those two. And he'd have to be tall, with a winningly-just-slightly-crooked grin. And really wear his breeches, coat and cravat well, hehe...The 19th century equivalent of a QB, I'm thinking :oD hahaha...


Debra Brown said...

I'm all about Mr. Knightley. Let us not forget that Darcy was quite the snob at one time. I guess I just feel that I would not have passed his checklist and would have needed a Mr. Knightley for acceptance. Nevertheless, I'd love to read about a Not Mr. Darcy. (If it is a print copy. I couldn't find that info.) Thanks!

Sophia Rose said...

Thank you for the interview and the giveaway opportunity. I have this book on my wish list because the reality show/P&P intrigues me. I really like the description of the heroine.

My ideal is one of Jane Austen's heroes too. I've always adored Captain Frederick Wentworth. He has all the stronger qualities of honor and duty since he serves his country during war time, he's loving as evidenced by his letter and regard for Anne, he's sensible as he fell in love/stayed in love with Anne, but he is human with flaws- angry and resentful. I also like his status of not being to high nor too low in society.

Karen Doornebos said...

I just got back from a 40th birthday party, where, the husband, a hero in his own right, organized the entire thing--wonderful with appetizers, open bar, he had rented the entire restaurant and even put framed childhood pictures of his wife on the mantel!

@Debra, print is available in bookstores and via Penguin or Amazon.

Love hearing about everyone's ideal 19th century hero!

MamaMunky said...

My hero would wear breeches and have a deep manly voice and travel the world (bringing me with him of course).

Felicia said...

That's a hard question to answer. I think a mixture of Jane Austen's Mr. Darcy, Capt. Wentworth, Mr. Knightley, Mr. Tilney and add in some Mr. Thornton from Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South. (especially if he looks like Richard Armitage)


felicialso @gmail .com

Cinta García de la Rosa said...

This sounds like the kind of Austen-based fiction I like to read!! For me the perfect 19th-century hero would be Captain Wentworth or Mr Knightley. The ideal would be a mixture of both of them: the romantic and faithful side of Captain Wentworth and the honest and gentleman-like manners of Mr Knightley. That would make a gorgeous hero, don't you think so? :D
Thanks for such a lovely giveaway. I am very happy since it is open internationally.

Cinta García (@Austenite78 in Twitter)

Blodeuedd said...

I can see that others have thought the same thing as I have, but yes Mr Thornton cos he was self-made and a gentleman, Captain Wentworth who was the same (and who wrote awesome letters) and ok I would like to say Mr Darcy but he is so reserved even though i love him. I will just trow in a little Mr Bingley ;)

booksforlife01 gmail dot com

Lori said...

What a terrific interview! I very much enjoyed reading it and am intrigued by Definitely Not Mr. Darcy.

My 19th century hero would definitely be someone who has strength with his convictions, loyalty to family and friends, an enjoyment of reading and writing and an unabashed romantic. I will always love Mr. Darcy first and foremost but I also have a special place for Colonel Brandon as well as Mr. Knightly and Captain Wentworth. Sigh.

Thank you for the giveaway and opportunity!


Lúthien84 said...

Wow, I hope I'm one of the winners. Wish me luck too.

To answer the question, a hero must be loyal to his family and friends, has good principles and integrity, honest in his dealings with others (not just those that he knows), treat others with respect (even his subordinates) and willing to admit his mistakes if he is in the wrong. In short, Mr Darcy mix with Captain Wentworth would be my ideal hero.


Heatherly said...

my perfect 19th century hero would be a man who is confident in who he is, love children and not just want an heir, well read, seats a horse well (those riding boots...), romantic, appreciates music, chivalrous...
sounds a bit like hearing Darcy discuss a truly accomplished woman :)

yarnyenta at yahoo

Mystica said...

A man who does not blindly follow everyone else, would help if he is rich and handsome as well!

Thanks for the giveaway.


Patricia Pérez Miguel said...

My perfect 19th century hero would be Captain Wentworth. He is a good-looking gentleman. He is a brave, well-respected Naval officer and an independent man who has made his own fortune. Above all, he knows how to write a love letter.

Thanks for the giveaway opportunity!


Karen Doornebos said...

What interesting combinations of heroes here! Sounds fabulous, everyone!

Thanks for commenting!

Kelli H. said...

My perfect 19th century hero would have to be Mr. Knightley. He has such wonderful qualities and I just adore him! I love that he loves Emma just the was she is, "faultless in spite of all her faults". I need a hero like that! He is loyal, generous, and kind. What more can you want?!;) Thanks for the giveaway!

Margay said...

Two words: Mr. Darcy. He is just the quintessential hero.


Carmen said...

mmhmm... it's hard... I think my perfect hero would be kind, honest, patient... and he would be able to persuade me to dance!!

Thanks for the giveaway, the interview and the review.