A Terrible Secret… When she departs for her wedding tour, Elizabeth Darcy is the happiest woman alive—until she sees the look of torment on Mr. Darcy’s face…
A Test Of Love That Will Take Them To Hell And Back… A vampyre, cursed for eternity, Darcy thought he could marry Elizabeth and never tell her the truth… but as he carries her across the Alps to visit the one person he hopes can advise him, Elizabeth’s terror grows, until the Darcy family curse threatens to tear both of them apart… Starting where Pride and Prejudice ends, international bestselling author Amanda Grange delivers a brilliant vision of Austen’s brooding hero in a delightfully thrilling, spinechilling, breathtaking read.
Welcome Amanda! Amanda’s offering a signed copy of her book to one of our commenters today, so please join the discussion–and she’ll mail to the US or UK. We’ll announce the winner here tomorrow.
Hi! It’s great to be here on the Riskies blog so thanks for inviting me!
This book is something of a departure for you from your previous books. What prompted this new direction?
I wanted to write a sequel to Pride and Prejudice because I adore the characters and I wanted to read more about them, but there are so many sequels that I wanted to write something different. I’d had an idea of Darcy as a vampyre a long time ago when watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer but I couldn’t see what to do with it, so I just tucked the idea away at the back of my mind and got on with other things. Then, when I was reading a lot of Regency Gothics as research for Henry Tilney’s Diary – because his book, Northanger Abbey, is a Gothic – the idea just came to me: what if I started the sequel on Lizzy and Darcy’s very romantic wedding day, and what if I then sent them to Europe on their wedding tour, and what if Lizzy slowly discovered that Darcy was a vampyre? It immediately felt right and so I decided to go with it.
Did you find it intimidating channelling Jane Austen?
ALol, I’m not sure about chanelling Jane Austen! I just love her books and, as a reader, I want more. As no one else writes Austenesque books that satisfy me, I write my own. I try not to think about the fact that I’m reworking or extrapolating some of the best novels ever written, otherwise I would never dare put pen to paper – or finger to keyboard!
What sort of research did you do?
I’ve done a lot of research into the Regency period over the last ten years or so, reading letters and novels from the time, studying fashion plates, visiting stately homes and learning about the political and economic situation. Most of this doesn’t go into my books, but I find it helps me to know about these things so that I get the background right. For Mr Darcy, Vampyre I researched the histories of Paris and Venice as well as researching the landscapes of Regency Europe, complete with travel arrangements. I’m lucky because I’ve been to most of the locations used in Mr Darcy, Vampyre and as the cities like Venice are so old, large parts of them are still the same today as they were two hundred years ago, so I had all that experience to draw on.
What’s your favorite part of the book?
It’s difficult to say. Like all authors, I suspect, I love every bit of my books, and if you ask me on another day I would probably choose a different bit! But I’m very fond of this bit, where Lizzy and Darcy are in Paris, attending a salon. It’s a very romantic part of a novel which is full of romance but also full of fantasy and horror as well.
Darcy was at once welcomed by four women who walked up to him with lithe movements and lingering glances. Their dresses were rainbow hued, in the colours of gems, and flimsy, like all the Parisian dresses. Their hair was dark and their skin was pallid.
‘You will have to be careful,’ came a voice at Elizabeth’s shoulder.
She turned to see a man with fine features and tousled hair. He had an air of boredom about him, and although Elizabeth did not usually like those who were easily bored there was something strangely magnetic about him. His ennui gave his mouth a sulky turn which was undeniably attractive.
‘They will take him from you if they can,’ the man continued, watching them all the while.
Elizabeth turned to look at them and as she did so she was reminded of Caroline Bingley and her constant efforts to catch Darcy’s attention. He had been impervious to Caroline and he was impervious to the Parisian women as well, for all their efforts to enrapture him. As they talked and smiled and leant against him, flicking imaginary specks of dust from his coat and picking imaginary hairs from his sleeve, they looked at him surreptitiously. When they saw that he was oblivious of their attempts to captivate him they redoubled their efforts, one of them whispering in his ear, another leaning close to his face, and the other two walking, arm in arm, in front of him, in order to display their figures.
‘It is not right, what they do there, he being so newly married,’ said a woman, coming up and standing beside the two of them. ‘But forgive me, I was forgetting, we have not been introduced. I am Katrine du Bois, and that is my brother, Philippe.’
There was an air of warmth about the woman which was missing from many of the salon guests, and Elizabeth sensed in her a friend. And yet there was something melancholy about her, as though she had suffered a great disappointment from which she had never recovered.
‘It is not right, no,’ said Philippe. ‘But it is nature. What can one do?’
He turned to look at Elizabeth with sympathy but Elizabeth was only amused.
‘Poor things!’ she said.
Darcy wore the same expression he had worn when she had first seen him at the Meryton assembly; and despite the difference in the two events, the noisy vulgarity of the assembly and the refined elegance of the salon, he was still above his company. His dark hair was set off by his white linen and his well moulded face, even in such company, was handsome. His dark eyes wandered restlessly over his companions until they came to rest on Elizabeth. And then his face relaxed into softer lines, full of warmth and love.
‘I wish a man would look at me the way that Darcy looks at you,’ said Katrine.
‘I am very lucky,’ said Elizabeth, and she knew that she was.
She had not married for wealth or position, she had married for love. She wished that she was not in company, that she and Darcy had stayed at the inn where they could have been alone, but she knew they would not be in Paris for ever. The calls and engagements would come to an end and then they would have more time to spend, just the two of them, together.
‘You are,’ said Katrine. ‘I have many things, I have jewels and clothes, carriages and horses, a fine house and finer furnishings, but I would give them all for one such look.’
Darcy’s companions claimed his attention and he turned reluctantly away. As he did so his hand moved to his chest as though he were lifting something beneath his shirt, pulling it away from his chest and then letting it drop again.
‘What is it he does there?’ asked Katrine. ‘Does he wear something round his neck?’
‘Yes, I bought him a crucifix yesterday. The shops in Paris are very tempting,’ said Elizabeth. ‘He refused to take it at first, but he had given me so much and I had given him so little that I insisted and at last he allowed me to fasten it around his neck.’
Katrine’s voice was reverent. ‘He must love you very much,’ she said.
Great excerpt! What’s next for you?
I’m writing a Darcy and Elizabeth story for a Christmas anthology and I’m also starting work on a prequel to Mr Darcy, Vampyre, which explores Darcy’s early life as a vampyre and reveals a lot more about the other characters in the novel, as well as putting a new slant on his early relationship with Lizzy.
Thanks so much for crossing the Atlantic digitally to be with us today, Amanda. Chat away–and have your name entered into the pot to win a signed copy!
Welcome again, Amanda. What’s the reception of the book been with the Austen purists?
Amanda, I am amazed at the depth of your research into the period. And being a research junkie myself, I know how easy it is to get lost in the search, so how did you, or do you, keep from getting overwhelmed by the research? How do you know what is enough?
XD I have to admit the idea of Mr. Darcy as a vamp(y)ire is plain awesome (and i love the fact you watched Buffy and thought of it) and I look forward to reading it 🙂
Love the excerpt and can’t wait to read the book.
I think this would make a fabulous film.
Hello, Amanda! I do love your books and I can’t wait to read this one. Like Janet, I am curious as to how this book has been received by the Austen purists.
The excerpt is wonderful!
How do you decide what historical material to include in your novels and what to leave out? What sorts of things do you think evoke Regency atmosphere without overwhelming the reader?
And what sources or takes on the vampire legend did you use in writing this book?
Second try – hope this one comes through!
Great interview Mandy. Like you I’ve always loved Austen’s books and initially couldn’t see how this would work. Now I’ve read the interview and the excerpt I can see it’s going to be brilliant! Can’t wait to read the book.
This books sounds really interesting. I am not usually drawn to books that rift off on the Austen novels but I will give this one a try.
I wonder if he’ll have a burn mark where the cross touches his skin! Now that would indeed show his love for her. I think she’s gong to get very, very frightened – true Gothic horror!
Hi all, and thanks again for the welcome, Janet and Diane! If you want to know what the reception has been from the purists, hop over to http://www.austenblog.com and read the review there!
Hi Margay, Hm, how to stop getting overwhelmed by research, that’s a difficult one, because it just gets so involving, doesn’t it? I don’t think I ever really know what is enough, but I usually stop researching when I can’t wait to get on with writing. After that, I just research the things I really need to know. Or that’s the theory . . .
Hi Lexie, hope you like it. And yes, Debs, I think it would make a great film, too (but then I’m biased!)
Hi Louisa, I go mainly on instinct when deciding what to put in and what to leave out, it depends on the flow of a particular section. As for Regency atmosphere, I think mentioning the clothes, carriages and furnishings helps, but other than that I try and use things if they fit into a particular scene rather than putting them in anyway. As for the vampire sources, because this was a literary vampire, I used literary sources like Polidori’s The Vampyre and of course Dracula. As the book evolved I added new bits of lore which suited my vampyres as well.
As for the burn mark, Jen, I think it’s been done elsewhere 🙂 so no, no burn mark 🙂
I am so EXCITED about Mr. Darcy, Vampyre! I can’t wait to read it–I have read all of Amanda Grange’s Austen Hero diary series, and adored them. I would love to win a copy. I also wanted to ask Amanda, if you could make another one of Jane’s characters an otherwordly creature, who and what would he be?
Thanks for having Amanda here today.
I was leery about the Mr. Darcy, Vampire novel but after reading your interview and the excerpt I am intrigued and am putting it on my ToBeRead list.
Thanks for sharing!
Love and best wishes,
I’m in heaven! As a Regency and paranormal junkie. i love it when my two interests come together! What an absolutely brilliant idea! Here’s to it selling a zillion copies!
I loved your other books, but feel like you sold out with this book and regret to say I will not buy it and I probably will not read you again. Darcy should never be a vampire.
Love your work Amanda, but will not read this book. I do not want Darcy to be a vampire and no matter what research you did or how wonderful you write will change that. I’m beginning to think people should just let Jane Austen characters be. You can update the story, those I quite enjoy, but this, I do not enjoy this at all.
I have been hearing a lot about this book and I can’t wait to read it. Thanks for sharing with us today.
Oooh, Jen Black is referencing one of my favorite Buffy episodes EVER.
I loved Angel and Buffy as a couple. To the point that I can’t read Season 8 (the comic book) because I know they aren’t together. And the romance novelist in me just wants that…
I shall order it at the library this morning. What a brilliant idea- you are always ahead of the trends. i hope you sell shed loads.
You’ve captured and combined two huge loves in my life – Dracula played by Christopher Lee, and Mr. Darcy!
I can’t wait to read your novel.
Hi Katie, I can think of a few more Austen characters would would be vampyres, certainly. Her villains are always very charming and I think Wickham and Willoughby would be very good candidates for being vampyres.
Hi Anonymous and Jane (!) I know this sort of book isn’t to everyone’s taste and I respect that. But as to selling out, no. I wrote Mr Darcy, Vampyre because I was interested in exploring the core of P&P – Lizzy and Darcy’s love for one another – in a new setting. It’s a Gothic novel, certainly, but Jane herself liked to read Gothic novels and her characters defended them in Northanger Abbey (chapter 14). Henry says:
“I have read all Mrs. Radcliffe’s works, and most of them with great pleasure. The Mysteries of Udolpho, when I had once begun it, I could not lay down again; I remember finishing it in two days — my hair standing on end the whole time.”
Mr Darcy, Vampyre, is written in the same tradition.
I just want to thank the Riskies again for having me here, it’s been a lot of fun. Long live the Regency in all its forms!
That’s a very intriguing excerpt, Amanda, and something very different, with characters that we have all come to love. Can’t wait to read it!
I’m beginning to think people should just let Jane Austen characters be.
Tsk tsk, Miss Austen. You know the real Jane Austen is a big enough girl that she can withstand the slings and arrows of ambitious writers and remain intact and even stronger. Look at the indignities heaped upon Shakespeare.
Yes, but Northanger Abbey was satire and was mocking gothic novels. Not really the same thing at all.
I know that the real Jane Austen can handle herself, but the question is how about the public? There are many people who think Darcy actually dives into a lake and meets Elizabeth unsuitable clothed. There are people who think the fictitious work “The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen” are REALLY the lost memoirs of Jane Austen. Sometimes I think people watch the movie or read a sequel instead of the actual Austen and that is a great tragedy. But it is my hope that these books lead people to read the actual Austen.
I would like to say that even though I don’t think I will read this book, I do think you have a beautiful style. The excerpt is very captivating. I am looking forward to Henry Tilney’s diary and am curious if you would do a Edward Ferris diary? I am just interested in his to see when you think his affection for Elinor began and see the inner struggle knowing he was already engaged. Just a thought….And I hope I didn’t offend it’s just that vampires are not my style.
Hi Anonymous, Yes, Northanger Abbey was satire, but in it, the hero and heroine defended the Gothic novels of Jane Austen’s time – like the Mysteries of Udolpho – which were not satires.
Hi Jane, you didn’t offend at all, you expressed your opinion politely and I respect it. I would like to do Edward’s Diary, and I’m sure I will write it some time, in fact I have already started it – I have quite a few diaries started – but I will write Henry’s diary first.
In fact, it’s Henry’s diary which sowed the seed for Vampyre. I was reading a lot of the Gothic novels mentioned in Northanger Abbey, because I wanted to include Henry reading some extracts, and that’s when the idea of a Gothic sequel to P&P began to take shape for me.
I’m excited for Edward’s Diary. Henry’s as well. I have only recently discovered how wonderful Northanger Abbey is. I will admit that Wentworth’s Diary is my favorite. I LOVE Wentworth. Persuasion is my favorite Austen novel.
Do you know if any of your earlier works will be rereleased? I’ve got three of them, but they are hard to come by.
There are no plans at the moment to rerelease any of my earlier books, but if that changes I will let you know via my website at http://www.amandagrange.com
You don’t say which ones you have, but Harstairs House and Lord Deverill’s Secret are still available from Amazon in paperback and you might be able to find the others in your local library.
I’m glad you liked Wentworth’s Diary, I loved that one, too! Wentworth is such a brilliant hero.
Just plugged your book on my blog. Feel free to add a comment.