Sunday, 4 January 2015

"PRIDE, PREJUDICE AND SECRETS" BLOG TOUR - GUEST POST BY AUTHOR C.P. ODOM


I want to thank Maria Grazia for hosting me on her blog for my new book, “Pride, Prejudice, and Secrets,” as she did last year for “Consequences.”  To begin with, this novel is a variation on “Pride and Prejudice,” as were my previous two efforts, in that I try to portray what might have happened if a particular decision or even happened differently.  After that point, I try to keep the characters as true to those Austen portrayed as possible.  For example, I would have difficulty writing a variation in which Elizabeth Bennet married George Wickham; it just wouldn’t work for me, for my inner characterization of her would make such an event impossible.  If she would refuse both Mr. Collins and Darcy, then I can conceive of no way she would ever marry Wickham.  I know other authors have taken that path, and, if they made it work, they’re better writers than I am.


Another point is that this is a completely new novel, never published as fan fiction.  In fact, I started writing it last winter (in 2014) and finished in late spring.  The original genesis was a plot bunny that I had stored away in which E.B. winds up engaged to Darcy without in any way intending to do so.  I was back in the bedroom with my wife, watching TV and idly looking over some story ideas to see if any of them could strike a chord of inspiration, when my eldest daughter came back to talk to me.  She’s one of two orphan girls we adopted from China back in 2001 and 2005, and, while she’s scary smart in an academic way, she didn’t grow up in the same U.S.A. culture that I did, so there are still lots of things where she just has a different take on things than your average eighteen-year-old.  Anyway, there was a story on the news about some outbreak of illness (this was WAY before all the Ebola stuff, remember), and Mikaelie commented, “At least I don’t have to worry about that, Dad, since I don’t get sick.”

Voila!  There was a believable rationale for that old plot bunny where Elizabeth winds up engaged to Darcy. Since Elizabeth Bennet does not get sick either (she tends other people but she doesn’t fall ill), she might well, in a feverish haze, give Darcy a nod meaning, “Okay, I hear what you said . . . kind of, I think.”  She doesn’t realize what she’s done as Darcy is filled with joy and Charlotte has been listening at the keyhole and sees a way to cement her friend’s good fortune.  I loaded the plot bunny, started writing, and I was off to the races. Thanks to an idle comment from my left-brained daughter who is in college to become a Computer Engineer (and getting excellent grades, by the way) and is just a real joy in my life.

Of course, when I started writing, I wasn’t sure where all this was going to go as far as the plot goes.  Unlike most of previous writing, I was writing chapters, starting at the beginning, faster than I could get the plot outlined.  I did jump around some, such as writing the chapter where she tries to explain things to her insightful Aunt and Uncle Gardiner, and the explanation was made more difficult since Darcy had already gotten her father’s permission and informed his family while Elizabeth was still regaining her health.  Breaking engagements was difficult, and she didn’t know what to do, so she started playing her cards close to her chest. There is a lot of confrontation and frank, painful disclosures and confessions in “Pride and Prejudice,” but the characters in my novel are virtually forced to be circumspect rather than forthright.  That was what led to the working title of “Secrets,” which metamorphosed into “Pride, Prejudice, and Secrets” after my editor pointed out how many books on Amazon had the title of “Secrets,” with the only difference being the author’s name.

In addition to the trials and tribulations of Darcy and Elizabeth (but nothing like in “Consequences”!  Honest! There’s some stress and worry, but no undue angst.) there are several subplots that somehow crept in, involving some matches between some unlikely characters.  There’s also a character rehabilitation I thought never to do involving George Wickham.  I won’t give away the plot too much, I think, if I simply say that it would take something traumatic to reform that scoundrel, and I did my best to provide the trauma—and had a lot of fun doing it (though it did take a considerable amount of research into areas of the Regency which don’t have a lot of detail preserved).  And just to give fair warning, tying up all those loose ends took some time and some pages of text, so “Pride, Prejudice, and Secrets” comes in at a rather hefty 345 pages, including an Author’s Q&A section at the back.  My editor suggested such a section for “Consequences,” and there were a number of topics to explain in PP&S (such as waltzing in the Regency, the author says, with a knowing smirk!).  I read a number of websites that opined that a book that long in the Romance field was the kiss of death, but I hope they’re wrong.  I’m rather proud of my work on this one, and I hope I can bring some enjoyment to those who read it.  Thanks again to Maria, and I wish everyone a Happy New Year.

C. P.  Odom


About the book

Seldom, very seldom, does complete truth belong to any human disclosure; seldom can it happen that something is not a little disguised, or a little mistaken.”
Jane Austen

It is always the completely unforeseen events that lead to the most unexpected consequences, and such is the case in this variation on Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. One of the crucial points in Austen’s novel is Miss Elizabeth Bennet’s fiery and passionate refusal and denunciation of the equally passionate but infinitely more repressed Fitzwilliam Darcy. What might eventuate if the robustly healthy Elizabeth falls prey to illness for almost the first time in her life just when Darcy comes to call? Bemused by her illness, she hardly comprehends what Darcy is asking, and her simple nod of acknowledgment is misinterpreted as acceptance of his suit by a joyous Darcy. By the time Elizabeth regains her health, it seems that every one of her acquaintance and many outside of it accept that she has become engaged to the last man in the world she would ever have considered marrying. Can she openly demand her engagement to the amorous but prideful Darcy be broken, a course fraught with hazards in the social milieu of Regency England? In a maelstrom of confusion, choices have to be made and disclosures closely considered. Elizabeth knows that nothing in her life will ever be the same, and the consequences will likely spread further than she can imagine.

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36 comments:

Elizabeth Graves said...

Sounds like an excellent book with an interesting twist. I can't wait to read it.

Anonymous said...

It sonds very intesting and I'm impatient to read it !! Thank you for the qiveaway & good luck everyone :)


Miette

MonicaP said...

Poor Lizzy, to be so out-of-it with illness to agree to something so monumental! And poor Darcy when he finds out she didn't mean it. Oh dear. And a reformed Wickham! Looking forward to this one, and 345 pages doesn't frighten me at all ;)

J Dawn King said...

345 pages? I'm good with that. What an interesting premise and how special that it came from your daughter. Do you have a release date yet? I'm really looking forward to reading your latest Colin. - Joy

Christina Boyd said...

And I just love the cover!

junewilliams7 said...

There’s also a character rehabilitation I thought never to do involving George Wickham.

Wait a minnit.... the only good Wickhead is a dead Wickhead. Are you a changeling??

If you are the real Sergeant Rake, then this will be a good rollicking adventure, with manly men. Looking forward to it!

tresha boone said...

I loved Consequences! Thanks for the giveaway can not wait to read the new one!

Linnea Eileen said...

I think you told you were working on this the last time we had dinner together...

arjanne said...

This sounds really intriguing! I'll put this on my wishlist!

kookblogs (at) gmail (dot) com

Chiara Lanzi said...

It seems really interesting. Poor Elizabeth, she wakes up and finds out what happened.

Deborah Ann said...

I love the premise of this book, I am eagerly anticipating reading it. It's intriguing how your daughter gave you the idea for the story. I always have wondered where authors get their concepts from.

Vesper Meikle said...

Loved the other books by Colin so I can't wait to read this - just need to know when the paperback is going to be available in Canada

Mariam said...

The plot is amazing, I want to jump on the novel and see how things go.Elizabeth's nod as a 'yes' that's a very genuine idea, yet it looks so natural, it fits so well.
I also liked to say, Happy New Year and I wsih you to a healthy year (

Angie W said...

This sounds like another wonderful what if! I can't wait to read it! I love all of C.P. Odom's books so far and I am sure I will love this one as well!! Thank you for the peek into how it came about and the contest! It's amazing how Left brain people think differently! My son is one as well and it brings on so many great discussions!

Colin Odom said...

Elizabeth Graves said: Sounds like an excellent book with an interesting twist. I can't wait to read it.

Anonymous said: It sonds very intesting and I'm impatient to read it !! Thank you for the qiveaway & good luck everyone :) Miette

Colin responded: Hope both of you enjoy it.

MonicaP said: Poor Lizzy, to be so out-of-it with illness to agree to something so monumental!

Colin responded: Well, she doesn't actually agree to it. Darcy assumes she does, and Charlotte jumps in to make Elizabeth's decision for her. But the effect is much the same.

MoniceP continued: And poor Darcy when he finds out she didn't mean it. Oh dear.

Colin continued: But remember the title is "Pride, Prejudice, and Secrets," so does Darcy ever find out? Or does Elizabeth keep her secrets? That's for the reader to find out!

Cheers, C.P. (Colin) Odom

Colin Odom said...

J Dawn King said: 345 pages? I'm good with that. What an interesting premise and how special that it came from your daughter. Do you have a release date yet?

Colin responded: Yup, Mikaelie is a hoot. As for a release date, it should be any time now. Everything on this end is finished, and Meryton Press just has to send it to Amazon.

Christina Boyd said: And I just love the cover!

Colin responded: Me too! Simple but both appropriate as well as attractive.

junewilliams7 said: Wait a minnit.... the only good Wickhead is a dead Wickhead. Are you a changeling??

Colin responded: Hi June! Good to hear from you! To answer your question, I'm not a changeling, and I did kill off the Wickster in two of my stories, including "Consequences," and jail him in two others, so I have the credentials to rehabilitate him.

junewilliams7 continued: If you are the real Sergeant Rake, then this will be a good rollicking adventure, with manly men. Looking forward to it!

Colin responded: It's me, all right. Who would dare impersonate Sgt. Rake?

Colin Odom said...

tresha boone said: I loved Consequences! Thanks for the giveaway can not wait to read the new one!

Colin responded: Loved it? You are indeed an angst warrior (warrioress?), tresha!

Linnea Eileen said: I think you told me were working on this the last time we had dinner together...

Colin responded: This is the one. I was just finishing up the editing process, then I had to wait for my turn in the publishing queue. Go Sun Devils!

arjanne said: This sounds really intriguing! I'll put this on my wishlist!

Chiara Lanzi said: It seems really interesting. Poor Elizabeth, she wakes up and finds out what happened.

Colin responded: Hope you both enjoy it. And yes, it would be interesting for a heroine who doesn't get sick to come to her senses and find herself getting letters from Darcy informing her of her father's consent. I have to admit I had some fun writing that.

Cheers, C.P. (Colin) Odom

Colin Odom said...

Deborah Ann said: I love the premise of this book, I am eagerly anticipating reading it. It's intriguing how your daughter gave you the idea for the story. I always have wondered where authors get their concepts from.

Colin responded: Odd places, Deborah Ann, odd places...

Vesper Meikle said: Loved the other books by Colin so I can't wait to read this - just need to know when the paperback is going to be available in Canada.

Colin responded: It'll be on Amazon as soon as it goes up, though there may be a week or two delay for the printer to actually generate some hard copy. My publisher tells me that we sell 10 Kindle/Nook copies for every hardcopy these days, which is a turnaround from five or six years ago.

Mariam said: The plot is amazing, I want to jump on the novel and see how things go.Elizabeth's nod as a 'yes' that's a very genuine idea, yet it looks so natural, it fits so well.

Colin responded: And Charlotte was shamelessly eavesdropping to give her friend a helping hand!

Angie W said: This sounds like another wonderful what if! I can't wait to read it! I love all of C.P. Odom's books so far and I am sure I will love this one as well!! Thank you for the peek into how it came about and the contest! It's amazing how Left brain people think differently! My son is one as well and it brings on so many great discussions!

Colin responded: Yes, the care and feeding of us left-brained engineer types is a trifle challenging at times...

Cheers, C.P. (Colin) Odom

charlene said...

Love consequences wasa great read though I had to have my Kleenex box with me for the first part. Your new book sounds wonderful and can't wait to read it!

dstoutholcomb said...

I hope her illness and unintended proposal eventually lead to true love. :)

Denise

Lynn Bischoff said...

Looking forward to reading Colin's new book. I loved Consequences, though I sure did cry a lot.

Dung Vu said...

Sounds like an interesting topic. Looking forward to reading the novel.

Ceri T said...

I can't see Elizabeth ever marrying Wickham either, and not just because I don't like him!

As much as I enjoyed 'Consequences' since I am a self-confessed angst-weenie, I am glad that the new book doesn't get quite so stressful! All the best with it.

Anji said...

Consequences was such a great book, I'm really looking forward to reading this one. Hope won't need quite so many tissues this time!

Rehabilitated Wickham, eh? Sounds intriguing indeed.

345 pages? Not a problem. Something to really get one's teeth into.

Well done to your daughter, Colin, for setting this one off!

Jo's Daughter said...

Gosh this book sounds interesting and fun :) I like books that have a lot of pages so fine with me.

Colin Odom said...

charlene said: Love consequences, was a great read though I had to have my Kleenex box with me for the first part. Your new book sounds wonderful and can't wait to read it!
Colin responded: Perhaps I should try to get a subsidy from the Kleenex company! :-) Hope you enjoy your read.

dstoutholcomb said: I hope her illness and unintended proposal eventually lead to true love. :) Denise
Colin responded: Only the Shadow knows, Denise (though that reference comes from an old radio show that was well before your time, I'm sure).

Lynn Bischoff said: Looking forward to reading Colin's new book. I loved Consequences, though I sure did cry a lot.
Colin responded: I hear that a lot, Lynn. I wonder why... :-)

Dung Vu said: Sounds like an interesting topic. Looking forward to reading the novel.
Colin responded: I hope you enjoy it. If so, and if you left a comment at Amazon, I wouldn't mind. :-)

Ceri T said: I can't see Elizabeth ever marrying Wickham either, and not just because I don't like him!
Colin responded: I simply don't think I could make it work.

Ceri continued: As much as I enjoyed 'Consequences' since I am a self-confessed angst-weenie, I am glad that the new book doesn't get quite so stressful! All the best with it.
Colin responded: When I originally posted the story as fan fiction, I warned angst-weenies (I even used the same word!) that they might want to skip to book 2.

Anji said: Consequences was such a great book, I'm really looking forward to reading this one. Hope won't need quite so many tissues this time! Rehabilitated Wickham, eh? Sounds intriguing indeed. 345 pages? Not a problem. Something to really get one's teeth into.
Colin responded:Many fewer tissues, and rehabilitating the Wickster is not my only subplot stretch...

Anji continued: Well done to your daughter, Colin, for setting this one off!
Colin responded: She's a hoot, and scary smart. Graduated high school a year early and has great grades in a Computer Engineering major at college. I told her she has to start reading my next book while I'm writing so she can make comments, and she just wrinkled her nose and said, "Dad!" in that special tone only daughters can speak.

Jo's Daughter said: Gosh this book sounds interesting and fun :) I like books that have a lot of pages so fine with me.
Colin responded: A reader after my own heart! One of my favorite authors, J.R.R. Tolkien, said the most common criticism he received on "Lord of the Rings" is that it was too short. I agree.

Warmisunqu Austen said...

I have much curiosity for your new book, Mr. Odom. The plot and its premises are interesting. I will be so glad to read it. Thank you for the opportunity the giveaway.

kneyda said...

I can't wait to read this book. I love your others. Thanks for writing for all of us. :)

Eleanna said...

Sounds like an intresting book. I really can't wait to read it!

BeckyC said...

Romance in general, maybe, but a lengthy book with our favorite characters, no problem! I look forward to seeing how you get D&E to happily ever after with this one. And some odd pairings? Can't wait! Thank you for the giveaway!

Mariam said...

reply to M.Odom, Indeed, this is what I expect from her, Charlotte ship this couple even before Darcy's proposed.

Carmen said...

What a beautiful presentation (love the way you speak about your daughter)! I appreciate the fact you want your characters be as true to those Austen portrayed as possible.

Lúthien84 said...

I like knowing the origin of a book so I'm glad you shared it here, Colin. Your daughter is an inspiration to you and I hope she or one of your friends or family members comes up with another remark that will inspire you to write another story.

Christina Boyd said...

A book is born! Pride, Prejudice & Secrets by C.P. Odom is now LIVE on #amazon http://t.co/y9Ap6pgqdQ

melody said...

Okay, a whole new world is opening up to me as I did not realize there are authors out there putting new twists to this classic tale.

Melody said...

This is a whole new world for me, authors giving "Pride and Prejudice" new outcomes...thanks for enlightening me!