Leigh Dreyer is a huge fan of Jane Austen variations and the JAFF community I had the pleasure to host with an interview about a year ago (HERE) when she released The Best Laid Flight Plans. But I had so many other questions I wanted to ask her about her love for JAFF and about 2nd Lieutenant Elizabeth Bennet and Captain William Darcy. That's why I've proposed her a few more questions to promote the sequel to her modernization of Pride and Prejudice: The Flight Path Less Traveled.
Are you ready to discover more about Leigh and her version of Elizabeth and Darcy? Go on reading. And, by the way, don't miss the chance to win your own copy of The Flight Path Less Traveled in our giveaway contest!
Thank you, Leigh for taking the time to answer a few questions and, above all, for being my guest again. Let's start from your heroing. Can you give us an insight into your main character, Elizabeth Bennet.
My Elizabeth Bennet has just gone through tremendous trauma at the end of The Best Laid Flight Plans and now she has to get back up, brush herself off, and push forward. In the original Pride and Prejudice Elizabeth faces a lot of invisible enemies (marriage or lack thereof, the entailment, etc.), but I wanted to see where she would take me when her enemies were very much physical. Would she be strong and fight?
This book is part of a series, tell us a little about it?
The Flight Path Less Traveled is book two in a series of three planned books: The Best Laid Flight Plans, The Flight Path Less Traveled, and Came a Flight Gently. The first book is a P&P variation whose story line closely follows the events of P&P. The next two are original continuations although you will definitely see other favorite Austen characters and events as the story continues. Each book is an altered line from a poem that I find meaningful and that I feel speaks to the tone of book I wanted to write.
Tell us about the cover/s and how it/they came about.
The photoshoot was done in Utah by Monica Cook, a military spouse, who runs Joyous Reflections Photography and Portraiture, at the Air Force museum at Hill Air Force Base. It was important to me to highlight Elizabeth as a female officer. Females are so rare in the pilot world that I wanted to be able to see Elizabeth as I see her, a strong woman who is willing to work harder than anyone else to achieve what she sees for herself. I made the choice to have the little ringlets and her hair up in a kind of braid Mohawk, because I thought it was a fun throwback to the Regency hairstyles. Of course, after the events at the end of The Best Laid Flight Plans, she is pictured out of a flight suit and in her blues, but I wanted to continue to present that strong image as she fights to recover.
Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?
When I answered this for The Best Laid Flight Plans, I said maybe David Gandy for Darcy and Katherine McNamara or Lily Collins for Elizabeth. Now, I’m kind of thinking brunette Chris Evans and Gal Gadot or a young Marissa Tomei. I picture a modern Elizabeth as a strong, independent female, but also fun and feisty and never cruel.
Which writers inspire you?
Jane Austen is the obvious answer, but I’m also inspired by so many JAFF authors. People like (in no particular order) Linda Wells, Joy King, Diana J Oaks, Maria Grace, Abigail Reynolds, Jenetta James, Karen Cox, Beau North, Jan Hahn, Elizabeth Ann West, Rose Fairbanks, who inspire me to fall more deeply in love with characters I already enjoy. I also love Diana Gabaldon, Neil Gaman, Aled Hossein, Tom Wolfe, William Makepeace Thackeray, Agatha Christie, and CS Forester.
For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books?
I prefer paper books, but I do the vast majority of my reading on kindle or on my phone because they are so easy to drag around with me. I work a lot and am frequently running around with my kids so carrying a paperback isn’t always practical. I do all my reading on my Kindle Paperwhite and have for about five years.
What are you working on at the minute?
Book three, Came a Flight Gently and a short story about how Mr. and Mrs. Bennet meet and get married. I’m also working on outlining a time-travel story.
What’s it about?
Came a Flight Gently will start where The Flight Path Less Traveled ends and will continue the story in New York and feature the Reno Air Races (National Championship Air Races), the last of the great pylon races.