Monday, 17 February 2020

PROMISED BLOG TOUR - LEAH GARRIOTT ON HOW MUCH JANE AUSTEN INFLUENCED HER WRITING



A new awesome blog tour starts at My Jane Austen Book Club! Let's welcome Leah Garriot and her newly released Promised to our online club and wish her all the best on the rest of the tour.   

Debut novelist Leah Garriott tours the blogosphere February 17 through March 15, 2020 to share her new historical romance, Promised. Forty popular book bloggers specializing in historical romance, inspirational fiction, and Austenesque fiction will feature guest blogs, interviews, exclusive excerpts, and book reviews of this acclaimed Regency romance novel. 

Hello everyone! Thanks to Maria Grazia for hosting my first stop on the blog tour for my novel Promised, a Proper Romance set in the Regency England world of 1812. Since the Georgian and Regency periods have become somewhat synonymous with romance thanks to the great romantic satirist Jane Austen, I thought I would take this opportunity to share a little about Jane Austen’s influence on my writing.


I was first introduced to Jane Austen as a sophomore in high school when my friend Lisa demanded I watch this movie called Pride and Prejudice. I agreed, but like any good book lover, I insisted on reading the book first. Thus, began my induction into all things Jane Austen. After Pride and Prejudice, I tore through all of Austen’s other published works and viewed what film adaptations I could find, from the 1940s Pride and Prejudice (which I lovingly refer to as Pride and Prejudice meets Gone with the Wind) to Bollywood’s Bride and Prejudice, and from the fabulous BBC production of Sense and Sensibility to the more modern Scents and Sensibility. No collection of viewing would be complete without Austen-inspired works such as Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (that first proposal scene in the movie—WOW, amiright?) and the supremely quotable Austenland.

Yet it wasn’t until a few years ago that I realized just how much of a true Austenesque romance fan I was. While suffering through an uncertain period in my life, both of my book clubs (yes, two, because, hello, book nerd, lol) read Regency romances, and I realized that I really, really, really enjoyed the stories. I began to search out more stories (thank goodness Georgette Heyer was so prolific) and returned to those Jane Austen works I’d adored in my youth, only to find that what I loved most about the romances were the two things Jane Austen really got right—characters and wit.

Miss Austen knew how to write characters and knew how to write them with intelligence and humor. In a world where not much was going on if no one new moved into the neighborhood, we find a bored Emma creating her own entertainment, Eleanor and Marianne struggling to make the most of their reduced circumstances, and Anne Elliot persevering under the weight of a heart that never healed. These women, the center of Austen’s stories, are all strong, all resolved to live their lives according to their own wills, and all flawed. It’s this combination of strength, resolve, and flaw that creates the heroines we can’t imagine our lives without. And the wit written into the characters (and displayed usually when these women were confronted by the most antagonistic of men) make the stories ones we visit over and over.

As I set about writing my own story, I wanted to capture a bit of what makes Austen romances so endearing. Persuasion, with Anne’s regret and burden of seeing the man she still loves move on through life without her, has always captured my heart, and I wanted my novel to share something of that burden of heartache that comes only from the vulnerability of loving. Yet I also wanted to ask the question, what happens when our hearts have been broken, both parties have moved on, and someone new comes along? Can we find love as meaningful as what we lost? And could such answers be found in a story that was light and fun?

To explore these questions, I decided to write about a woman determined to make the worst possible love choice she could. Such a woman had to be strong, independent, and driven by some past heartbreak in order to make such a choice, and thus was born Margaret with her broken engagement, her mistrust of love, and her blind determination to live life on her terms. The male character, who as in many Austen books is an antagonist through much of the story, needed to be just as strong, just as determined, and yet driven toward the “correct” goal so that he could guide his female counterpart to her happily ever after. But I also wanted him to be flawed, to make mistakes, and to have his own agenda, and so created the wealthy and somewhat arrogant Lord Williams.

Having these two characters come together and learn to love each other has been such a fun adventure. Reminiscent of Pride and Prejudice but with the passion of Marianne Dashwood and the heartache of Anne Elliot, I hope you find Promised an enjoyable nod to Jane Austen, Master of Romance Storytelling.

Leah Garriott

About the Book


Margaret Brinton keeps her promises, and the one she is most determined to keep is the promise to protect her heart.


Warwickshire, England, 1812

Fooled by love once before, Margaret vows never to be played the fool again. To keep her vow, she attends a notorious matchmaking party intent on securing the perfect marital match: a union of convenience to someone who could never affect her heart. She discovers a man who exceeds all her hopes in the handsome and obliging rake Mr. Northam.

There’s only one problem. His meddling cousin, Lord Williams, won’t leave Margaret alone. Condescending and high-handed, Lord Williams lectures and insults her. When she refuses to give heed to his counsel, he single-handedly ruins Margaret’s chances for making a good match—to his cousin or anyone else. With no reason to remain at the party, Margaret returns home to discover her father has promised her hand in marriage—to Lord Williams

Under no condition will Margaret consent to marrying such an odious man. Yet as Lord Williams inserts himself into her everyday life, interrupting her family games and following her on morning walks, winning the good opinion of her siblings and proving himself intelligent and even kind, Margaret is forced to realize that Lord Williams is exactly the type of man she’d hoped to marry before she’d learned how much love hurt. When paths diverge and her time with Lord Williams ends, Margaret is faced with her ultimate choice: keep the promises that protect her or break free of them for one more chance at love. Either way, she fears her heart will lose.


Early Praise

"Promising Regency-set debut. Vivid period details and the hero's grand romantic efforts will please fans of historical romance."—Publishers Weekly

"Debut -author Garriott's smooth prose and character-driven story will enthrall readers looking for sweet historicals with Austenesque plots."—Library Journal

"Garriott's impressive debut distinguishes itself with its expertly evoked Regency setting, a cast of realistically flawed yet eminently relatable characters, and a sweetly satisfying love story. Teen fans of Austen-era love stories will fall hard for this impeccably crafted romance."—Booklist

“Promised is a sweet regency romance and one that I recommend to all of you romance fans, especially those of you that enjoy stories inspired by Jane Austen.”—The Book Diva’s Reads

“…a fun, entertaining, and perfect addition to the Proper Romance collection.”—The Readathon

“With an Austen-like focus on minute emotional detail and some amusing secondary characters, Garriott’s gentle novel promises a treat for Regency fans who like their characters well-bred, their interiors comfortable, and the romance no racier than the hero turning up in a wet shirt.”—Historical Novel Society


About the Author



Though she earned degrees in math and statistics, Leah Garriott lives for a good love story. She's resided in Hawaii and Italy, walked the countryside of England, and owns every mainstream movie version of Pride and Prejudice. She's currently living her own happily ever after in Utah with her husband and three kids. Leah is represented by Sharon Pelletier at Dystel, Goderich, and Bourret.












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2 comments:

Leah Garriott said...

Thank you so much for hosting me on your site!

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