Monday, 17 September 2018


Thank you, Maria Grazia, for inviting me to launch the tour for my debut book, Obstacles, on your blog. For this launch post, I thought your readers would like to learn about the inspiration for this book.
The inspiration for Obstacles came soon after I finished posting my second story, Paper Jam, when I was thinking about what to write next. My sister and I were having dinner at a friend’s house, who happens to be a horse breeder and trainer, when she told us about the foal she wanted to import from Germany and all of the issues she was having with the stable that was currently housing her horses. Like us, she was a middle class woman who was struggling to pursue a dream with only a few resources, while the rich and powerful gloated about their insanely expensive Grand Prix horses and achievements that can usually only been obtained with tons of money. As I listened to her, I thought, “Wow! This would make an excellent setting for a Pride & Prejudice story.” I mean, what a better backdrop for a battle of the classes than the equestrian world? While more and more people around the globe practice equestrian sports, it still remains the one most associated with wealth and royalty.

My own history with horses started when I was really small, about five years old. We lived in the suburbs of Buenos Aires and, believe it or not, my father bought us—my sister, brother and me—a mare. ‘Tintera’ was her name, which could be translated into English as ‘Inky’ because she was black. The mare didn’t stay much longer at home—you can’t just keep a big horse in the backyard—but that’s when my love story with horses began. After that, I took riding lessons and spent most of my time atop of my horse whenever we went to the farm that my family owned in the country.  A long time has passed since I last rode a horse, but my heart still flutters whenever I watch a horse jumping championship.
From the very beginning, I wanted Obstacles to follow the Pride and Prejudice storyline closely so that it felt familiar to readers. I wanted this so much that I chose a title that would repeat the first letter of each word, and named the story ‘Obstacles to Overcome’. The originality of the story came from changing certain characters, such as making Lydia a horse, and adding circumstances that would make the Bennet family less ”respectable” in modern times. I also wanted to emphasize the age gap between Elizabeth and Darcy and explore not only their social differences but their maturity levels in how they face certain situations. Elizabeth is young and naïve, and Darcy is…well, Darcy. For someone so worldly, he really has no clue what makes the world spin.
As a native Spanish speaker, one of my fears when I first posted this story was not being true to British idiosyncrasy. Unlike my previous stories, one Regency and the other happening in an imaginary country in South America, Obstacles takes place in modern England; a country I didn’t visit until almost twenty years after writing this story. It was the year 2002, and all I knew about England came from movies and TV shows, which happened to be translated into Spanish. There was no YouTube, and with dial-up Internet, so there wasn’t much information I could obtain online, so I bought books and searched everywhere to learn more about the modern Brits and the international show jumping world. As information became more accessible, and my English improved with constant practice—and the help of my very kind and patient betas—Obstacles has evolved to what it is now, and I have finally fulfilled my dream of becoming a published author.
I hope this little back story about my novel and about me inspires you to get into the pages of Obstacles’.

Belen Paccagnella

Book Description

Not all obstacles are restricted to the show-jumping arena… Though Elizabeth Bennet lives an uneventful life instructing young equestrians at Longbourn, the family farm, she dreams of winning a show-jumping competition on Liddy, her spirited mare. But her life is upended when a team of world-renowned riders arrives at Netherfield, the neighbouring estate, and uses it as their training headquarters. As she assists the newcomers and their prize-winning mounts, she meets William Darcy, a wealthy and arrogant—albeit talented—rider with Olympic aspirations. He first insults and then ignores Elizabeth, and her feelings teeter between disgust at his hauteur and admiration for his equestrian prowess. As she discovers first-hand the rigors of a world for the elite, will Elizabeth change her perspective about love, trust, and the foibles of her own family?
Originally known as “Obstacles to Overcome,” Obstacles pays homage to Pride and Prejudice in the highly competitive world of equestrian show jumping.

Belen Paccagnella’s Biography

Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Belén Paccagnella discovered the world of Jane Austen fan fiction after watching the 1995 BBC miniseries of Pride and Prejudice. In her  teens, she lived in Brazil when her family moved to the city of Curitiba due to her father’s work. She moved back to Buenos Aires a few years later, where she studied agronomy but finally pursued a different career and started working in the development administration of shopping centres.

In 2001, she started writing both Regency and modern stories adapted from the Pride and Prejudice storyline, merging drama, humour, and adventure while creating  characters with unique traits.

Belén still lives in the suburbs of Buenos Aires, where she shares her home with her  daughter and her pets while spending her time working, reading, and writing.


Meryton Press is offering eight eBooks copies of Obstacles. The giveaway runs until midnight, September 30, 2018.

Terms and Conditions

Readers may enter the drawing by tweeting once a day and daily commenting on a blog post or a review that has a giveaway attached for the tour. Entrants must provide the name of the blog where they commented. If an entrant does not do so, that entry will be disqualified. One winner per contest. Each winner will be randomly selected by Rafflecopter and the giveaway is international.


Amy DOrazio said...

Belen, truly enjoyed your debut novel! Best of wishes on your blog tour!

Sonja said...

Looks like an interesting book! I would love to read it.

Unknown said...

Thank you Amy and Sonja!

Suzan Lauder said...

I enjoyed hearing the inspiration for the book and your personal story behind it. Congratulations on releasing your book baby! I look forward to the rest of your blog tour.

Lúthien84 said...

Thank you for sharing a bit of your background and your inspiration for penning your first novel, Belén. Btw, congratulations! From the premise, I think your book is enjoyable and I look forward to read it.

Christina Boyd said...

I loved this story years ago when I first read it online. I am looking forward to reading it again. It was such a favorite. Is it still set in 2002, or have you “updated” the novel to reflect today, like with texting and social media, etc? Congratulations! This is a great read.

darcybennett said...

Love the unique premise as I've never read any P&P book set in the equestrian world. Congrats on release!

Janet T said...

Enjoyed your post, Belén, and the book is great! I hope everyone will enjoy it as much as I did! Thanks, Maria, for hosting!

Eva said...

Thank you for your background. Congratulations on your book!

Just Jane 1813 said...

Thanks for hosting Belen and for welcoming her to the JAFF community as now a published author. I think lovers of Pride and Prejudice will find a lot to love in this story!!

Patty said...

Congratulations on this release.

Belén said...

Thank you all! Cristina, the story has been updated to 2018. It's interesting how much things changed with technology!

Anji said...

Congratulations on publishing your debut novel, Belén. Thanks for sharing some of your background and inspiration for it.

It's going to be an interesting take on the story we all know and love. Our future daughter-in-law has her own horse and her circumstances would certainly be a parallel to your Elizabeth's, but our son is in no way a counterpart of Darcy, either in wealth, background or character! However, she does actually work with horses in a stable that sounds very similar, though it's not quite up at the Grand Prix level, though it seems that money is no object, from what she's told us!

Belén said...

That's Great Anji! It's nice when the readers can relate to the story and find it realistic.

Belén said...

Thank you all for your lovely comments and warm welcome. It's a pleasure to be part of this blog.

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