Wednesday, 2 November 2016

DARCY'S HOPE ~ BEAUTY FROM ASHES, A GREAT WAR ROMANCE - AUTHOR INTERVIEW + GIVEAWAY



 Darcy’s Hope ~ Beauty from Ashes
A WW1 Pride & Prejudice Variation
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Escape to the era of Downton Abbey and experience all the drama of World War 1 alongside literature’s iconic Elizabeth Bennet & Fitzwilliam Darcy. You'll watch their tender love unfold as they learn to work together and reconcile their differences amidst the carnage of war.
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1916. World War I has turned French chateaux into bloody field hospitals, British gentlemen into lice-infested soldiers, and left Elizabeth Bennet's life in tatters.

Her father is dead and her home destroyed. Never again will Elizabeth depend on a man to secure her future!

But when an opportunity arises to advance her dreams of becoming a doctor, she is elated—until he arrives....

Heartbroken. Devastated. Captain Fitzwilliam Darcy is left rejected by the woman he loved and reeling from the slaughter of his men on the battlefield. “Enough!” Darcy vows. “No more sentimental attachments!”

But arriving at a field hospital to pursue a covert investigation, Darcy discovers his beloved Elizabeth training with a dashing American doctor and embroiled in an espionage conspiracy.

With only a few months to expose the plot, Darcy is forced to grapple with his feelings for Elizabeth while uncovering the truth. Is she indeed innocent? Darcy can only hope….

•Cameo appearance by John Thornton (of Gaskell’s North & South).
•Rated PG. Clean romance, mild language, some war scenes.
Darcy's Hope has a happy ending but will continue in Darcy's Hope at Donwell Abbey, coming in February 2017. In the sequel, readers will experience the full resolution of the mystery, and our beloved couple's love will face a new, tragic test.



 Interview with author Ginger Monette


What inspired you to catapult Darcy and Lizzy’s story from the early 1800’s to the early 1900’s?

Downton Abbey! Julian Fellowes’ creations have numerous similarities with Jane Austen’s characters: a house full of girls with no heir, an entailed estate, a landowner living in a grand house, a crotchety female matriarch, and high society characters falling in love with, well, those not so high society. It was remarkable to me how little British culture had changed in 100 years. I could see Darcy dining with Lord Grantham with little change in decorum. Besides, the turbulence of the Western Front seemed a fitting and colorful setting for a romance between two characters known for clashing. And so a plot was born.

Most Americans know nothing more about World War I than trench warfare and trench foot. How did you research such a broad topic?

With the only sources I could trust as historically accurate—diaries. What made research difficult was that diaries aren’t written to instruct a future audience (complete with topic headings and index). Consequently, their vantage point assumes an acquaintance with their present culture—social mores, current news, general ways of doing things, gender roles, etc. Since I am not from that era, all those little details had to be gleaned from hints here and there—and that required hours and hours of reading. I read six hours a day for nine months and compiled over 200 pages of typed notes.

That’s a lot of reading! Didn’t you tire of such tedious research?

No. Actually I became obsessed. Those folks back then were a lot smarter than I’d given them credit for. In addition, I found the history fascinating and the people inspiring!

How were they inspiring?

Machine guns, poison gas, airplanes, and tanks made their debut in WWI inflicting destruction and horrific wounds on an unprecedented scale. Men lived in squalid trenches and saw their comrades dismembered and slaughtered on a daily basis, yet they remained cheerful and self-sacrificing.

And everyone did something to aid in the war effort. Hundreds of women volunteered as nurse’s aides, others wrote letters, sent care packages, and knitted socks. Men too old to serve as soldiers became stretcher-bearers and ambulance drivers. They fashioned splints from scrap metal, turned church halls into hospitals, and emptied bedpans. These small acts of kindness repeated over and over made an enormous difference. As a result, I am challenged to be cheerful amidst trying circumstances and to offer my own small acts of kindness even when they seem insignificant.

Did you face any particular challenges in writing Darcy’s Hope?

Yes! Weaving a romance into a complex setting unfamiliar to most readers, with both the hero and heroine experiencing significant character evolution, all in the context of a mystery was a HUGE challenge. I’ll never try to combine that many elements again.

I hear you've put together a special photo album to accompany Darcy's Hope. Can you tell us about it and why you compiled it?

Most Americans know almost nothing about WW1. I was no exception. But after researching, it dawned on me that my own understanding of the Great War had been greatly enhanced by photographs. What if I shared some photos with my readers?

After combing through a thousand or more WW1 photos, I selected nearly a hundred that not only represented the culture and technologies of the war and era, but also of the people and places depicted in the story. I dressed them up like an old fashioned album, and I’m really pleased with how Lizzy's Scrapbook turned out.

I'm offering free access to Lizzy's Scrapbook as a special blog tour bonus to anyone who orders the book during the tour, Nov. 1-22. All they have to do is purchase Darcy's Hope, then visit my website (GingerMonette.com) and follow the prompts for Lizzy's Scrapbook.

Your last book, Tree of Life, Charlotte and the Colonel, had a Christian theme. Can we expect that again?

Not this time. But the story does have themes. The primary theme is deception—people, circumstances, and situations are not always what they initially appear to be. Even the subtitle, Beauty from Ashes is a paradox, a form of deception. Another theme, the barriers one erects to protect him or herself from pain, are also a kind of deception. They end up delivering more pain than protection.

Now that you’ve done so much research on World War I, can we expect more novels set in this era?

Yes. Darcy’s Hope ~ Beauty from Ashes has a happy ending but will continue in Darcy’s Hope at Donwell Abbey (yes, that’s the home of George and Emma Knightley’s descendants), now available for pre-order. In the sequel, readers will experience the full resolution of the mystery, and our beloved couple’s love will face a tragic test.

In addition, I’m planning a Great War Romance series. Several of the characters that readers encounter in Darcy’s Hope will have stories all their own including Colonel Fitzwilliam, John Thornton (yes, John Thornton from North & South), Robert Knightley and a few more. Stay tuned!

Is there a way readers can get updates on future releases?

Yes. They can sign up at my website GingerMonette.com to receive email updates and “like” my Facebook page, Ginger Monette Author.

Anything else you would like readers to know about Darcy’s Hope?

As you can guess, historical accuracy was important to me. And although I tried to keep the romance between Darcy and Lizzy the story’s primary focus, I hope readers will finish Darcy’s Hope with a taste of what it would have been like at a field hospital near the Front.

Readers may also be interested to know that the chateau-turned-field-hospital in my story is based on one that actually existed, even down to the swans in the water feature! The Messines Ridge blast and Darcy’s “going over the top” at the Battle of the Somme were actual events. Also, chaplains really did occasionally assist in the operating room, and the two outlandish stories told by the colorful Scotsman are true as well.

But most of all I hope readers will love the story! Thanks so much for hosting me on your blog : )

About the author - Ginger Monette

The teacher always learns the most. And in homeschooling her children, Ginger Monette learned all the history she missed in school. Now she's hooked—on writing and World War I.

When not writing, Ginger enjoys dancing on the treadmill, watching period dramas, public speaking, and reading—a full-length novel every Sunday afternoon.

Her WW1 flash fiction piece, Flanders Field of Grey, won Charlotte Mecklenburg Library's 2015 Picture This grand prize.

Ginger lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, where she happily resides with her husband, three teenagers, and two loyal dogs.


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Giveaway 





13 comments:

lynn char said...

I just finished a serious of books about WW II and i can't believe how much I learned! I look forward to reading this

Ginger Monette said...

Lynn, I hope you learn as much about WW1 from Darcy's Hope! It's sad how here in the US, WW1 is just glossed over. Now that I've researched it so much, I found it to be a fascinating period in history that shaped much of the culture and technology of the 20th century.

Thank you, Maria, for hosting Darcy's Hope today!

Renee Beyea said...

Great interview! I really enjoy gleaning historical detail through reading fiction, so long as I know the author has done her research and it doesn't overwhelm the story. Ginger's book strikes that balance beautifully--loved reading it and highly recommend!

dstoutholcomb said...

love the setting of WW I for the variation, the plot sounds wonderful

denise

Anji said...

Thanks for such an interesting interview, ladies. Being a Brit myself, I already know quite a bit about WWI from school and other sources, but I love reading historical fiction where the author has taken the trouble to do some proper research. I often end up going and doing more myself after reading a book or watching a historical drama on the TV.

It sometimes seems to me that, here in the UK at least, WWI marked the beginning of the end of the traditional class system. So many male members of all levels of society ended up on the battlefield together and the women ended up as nurses or factory workers. Then afterwards, a considerable number of the men came home with lungs damaged by mustard gas, or "shell shock", which we would now probably call PTSD.

I'm looking forward to seeing how this all mixes in with the familiar story of Darcy and Elizabeth.

Anji said...

Hi again! I don't know if this is significant ot not. I've just logged into the Rafflecopter form to add today's blog comment in but it won't let me add anything else. It still looks as it did yesterday after I'd filled in all three elements then. Is this right?

Ginger Monette said...

Hey Anji,
Between Maria and me, we'll try to find out about Rafflecopter.

Regarding research: I'll give you guys here a little historical sneak peek--the chateau turned field hospital is based on a real one. You can read a bit about it on my website here http://www.gingermonette.com/chateau-history

Regarding the beginning of the end of the class system: Keep following the blog tour! On Nov 14, Darcy's Hope visits More Than Thornton blog for a Q&A about John Thornton and his role in the story and this very issue comes up. Here's a hint: Darcy was a gentleman and Thornton was a man in trade....

Thanks for your great comments!

~Ginger

Maria Grazia said...

Thanks, Ginger, for a great post, a great P&P variation and, last but not least, an awesome giveaway.

Sonja said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sonja said...

WWII is a very moving time period with family stories that are often very emotional. So I can imagine that WWI would have many of those same historical feelings. I would really love to read this.

Teresa Donaldson said...

Love the looks of this one. And oh that cover. Those eyes could could look right into your soul!

KateB said...

Hi Ginger, I've really enjoyed your interview. It's a fascinating idea to move P&P events to this time in history, when the remains of the old society were still in existence, but were about to crumble, to open a path to the modern world.
Just one question. I already know, that you're writing a continuation story. I hope we are going to have HEA in this one. Are we? Pretty please.

Mary said...

This story sounds great!
I believe that John T as well as our beloved P&P characters makes an appearance! Can't wait to read it.
Very interesting post!
Thanks to all concerned!