I read The Perfect Hero, liked it and reviewed it in June 2011, when it came out for HarperCollins in the UK. Now Victoria Connelly's second book in the Trilogy, The Austen Addicts, has been published in the US by Sourcebooks as Dreaming of Mr Darcy.
New author interview and new giveaway for the readers of My Jane Austen Book Club! Read through the interview, leave your comment and e-mail address to enter the giveaway of a copy of the just released US edition. This giveaway is open worldwide and ends on January 30th when the winner is announced.
This novel was previously published as The Perfect Hero in the UK (my review is here). Is there any particular reason for the change of the title, Dreaming of Mr Darcy , in order to fit the US market?
This novel has actually had three different titles! I originally called it “The Illustrated Darcy” which is the title of the book my heroine, Kay, is working on. Unfortunately, I was the only person who liked that title so it got changed to “Dreaming of Mr Darcy” but then my UK publisher decided that it didn’t want a second book with the name ‘Darcy’ in it so I came up with “The Perfect Hero”. I have to admit to still preferring my original title “The Illustrated Darcy”, though!
Your new book is set in Lyme Regis where a troupe is shooting a new adaptation of Austen’s Persuasion. What position is Jane’s last novel in in your personal “Austen Major Novels Chart”?
It’s definitely in my top three which are: “Pride and Prejudice”, “Sense and Sensibility” and “Persuasion”. I love the sparkling wit of “Pride and Prejudice” and the fascinating relationships of “Sense and Sensibility” but there’s a beautiful melancholy about “Persuasion” which really resonates.
Since the characters in the story are involved on a film adaptation of Austen, what is your opinion on the many series or films we’ve had so far? Do you like them? What are your favourites? Do you think they are more an invitation to read Austen’s work or more a distraction from doing it?
I came to Jane Austen through the 1940’s film adaptation of “Pride and Prejudice” staring Laurence Olivier. I watched it as a teenager and then read the book and I think the adaptations do encourage people to pick up the books if they haven’t discovered them already.
I adore the adaptations – can’t get enough! Favourites includes the BBC “Pride and Prejudice”, Emma Thomspson’s “Sense and Sensibility” and “Persuasion” staring Amanda Root as Anne Elliot. I also thought the recent Andrew Davies adaptation of “Northanger Abbey” was wonderful and have to admit to having a big crush on Henry Tilney!
Kay Ashton and Gemma Reilly are the two female protagonists of Dreaming of Mr Darcy . They are present-day heroines but are they anyhow modelled on Austen heroines?
I wanted to create my own characters but there are lots of little nods to Jane Austen in my trilogy. The most obvious one is Kay’s similarity to Emma Woodhouse because she loves to meddle and matchmake and, like Emma, seems to always get things wrong. I think Gemma is a little like Anne Elliot because she finally finds the courage to stand up to her family and makes an important decision that will change her life.
What about the heroes, dashing Oli Wade Owen and sensitive Adam Craig?
There are some wonderful ‘villanous heroes’ in Jane Austen like Willoughby and Wickham and I think Oli Wade Owen is in a similar mode although not quite as bad, I like to think! He finds it very easy to attract the ladies but he doesn’t always treat them well whereas Adam Craig is much more like Mr Darcy or Edward Ferrars – he doesn’t find it easy to speak his mind but he cares desperately about the heroine and has a good heart.
And, on a shallow note, who would you rather spend a romantic weekend with between Captain Wentworth and Mr Darcy?
Oh, don’t make me choose! Oh, all right then – it would have to be Mr Darcy because he is the ultimate hero, isn’t he?
|Victoria Connelly at Chawton Cottage|
What’s next in your Austen-inspired writing trail, after “A Weekend with Mr Darcy” and “Dreaming of Mr Darcy"?
The third book in the trilogy is Mr Darcy Forever which is available on Kindle in the UK now and comes out in the US in paperback in April. It’s about two estranged sisters who meet again during the famous Jane Austen festival in Bath. This is the novel which is most closely linked to an Austen one because I wanted to explore the relationship between two very different sisters. Oh, and there’s a love story between a young woman and a much older man. Can you guess which Austen novel I was inspired by? Some of the characters from the first two books also make an appearance!
I’m also writing a Christmas novella sequel to the trilogy in which all the main characters from the three books meet at a special festive Jane Austen conference at Purley Hall in Hampshire. It will be available on Kindle in time for Christmas 2012 so do watch out for that too!
We'll watch out for every new title from you, of course. Thanks a lot, Victoria, for visiting My Jane Austen Book Club once again. Good luck to you and your "Dreaming of Mr Darcy"!
P.S. to readers: Want more chances to win?Here are some other Dreaming of Mr. Darcy giveaways!