Our guest today is debut author Karen Doornebos whose book, Definitely Not Mr. Darcy, takes on a subject we talk about quite often here–seeing what modern characters would get up to in a Regency setting. Her publishers have kindly agreed to give away three copies of the book (isn’t that a great cover?)

Doornebos gives the historical romance novel a hilarious update in this delightful debut… The amusing secondary characters, sidesplitting faux pas, and fiery romance will make Doornebos an instant hit with readers. Starred Review from Publisher’s Weekly

Doornebos brings readers a fresh take on Jane Austen’s world. Mixing reality television with Regency-style romance, this tale combines a fun plot with witty dialogue, charming characters and a strong-willed heroine. It will leave you laughing in delight and reluctant to put it down until the last page is read. 4 1/2 out of 5 Stars from RT Book Reviews

Janet, how honored I am to step into your parlor here to talk to you about my debut novel, Definitely Not Mr. Darcy. How nice of you to pour me a cup of tea! Thank you for having me…

Most gracious of you to accept and wherever I am, tea is too! How did you come up with the idea?

Funny you should ask this! I was at a writer’s conference sharing the first draft of my book when another writer said, “Regency reality show? That’s been done! It’s called ‘Regency House Party’.”

After I freaked, I thought, well, I better check this thing out. And I did, and of course it was completely different from my book! Still, I did credit the “House” series in my Acknowledgment Page, as I credited “The Bachelor” TV show.

I loved the “House” series and I did use “Regency House Party” for some of my research.
I enjoyed the program, it informed some of my research, but it didn’t inspire the book.

Here’s what did inspire the book: After college graduation I lived and worked in London for six months as an employee communications writer, and I always knew I would write something about my beloved England.

But it wasn’t until my husband and I went to a Victorian (not Regency) health spa in California in the late 1990s (yes, that was in the previous century!) that the idea hit me—literally. The spa had these old, outdoor stone baths with water from the hot springs, and it sounded so romantic, so relaxing—but when we put our swim suits on to head to the baths, a waft of rotten egg smell hit us. My husband informed me the smell was sulphur from the springs.

Now, I’ve always been a Jane Austen fan, but on that vacation the idea hit me: what if a Jane Austen fan gets to “visit” the Regency era—but it stinks!! That was where the idea began.

You’ve managed to have three heroes! Congratulations. Tell us about them.

First we meet George Maxton, the show producer, and he’s hot. All three of the men are hot in their own way. George’s appeal is not only his cropped auburn hair, his snug-fitting jeans and the way he wears his sunglasses, but the fact that he is so NOW. He’s all plugged into his iPhone and his iPad, he talks really fast, and he’s just completely modern.

Soon enough we meet two other heroes, and I can’t divulge their names! But, one has blond hair that falls into his brown eyes. He wears glasses and he’s very attentive and witty. The other is dark-haired, dark-eyed, and buff. He always seems to know exactly what to say to make our heroine happy… Both of these gentlemen look very fetching in their breeches, boots, and cravats.

One of the memorable aspects of the Regency House Party TV show was how bored most of the women are (although I think that was one of the worst inaccuracies of the series). How did you handle this?

Nobody in this reality show is ever bored! There are tasks and challenges galore and I dreamed up every Regency fantasy I would want to enjoy myself, and that included:
• Archery
• A mock fox hunt
• A tea party
• Making her own ink
• Learning fanology
• And a ball, of course!
Chloe Parker, my main character, procrastinates her needlework much to her detriment and her piano playing isn’t up to snuff.

Tell us about your research.

I used so many sources for my research—I couldn’t even begin to count them, however, here are some of the coolest:

• Jane Austen’s letters (Deirdre Le Faye will be having a new edition coming out in November!)
• A Jane Austen Encyclopedia
• Jane Austen’s Regency World Magazine
• Tons of websites, including: The Jane Austen Centre in Bath

If you were in a Regency reality show, what would you miss the most?

Plumbing! I’ve lived my entire life without men in breeches, boots, and cravats (unfortunately) but I couldn’t survive without plumbing!

What would you enjoy the most?

Come on, I would enjoy the gentlemen! But, if I had to choose something else, it would be: the tranquility that must come from being unplugged.

Which is your favorite Austen?

Book: Pride and Prejudice, my first love, but Northanger Abbey, Persuasion, Sense and Sensisbility and Emma rank very close in that order.
Adaptation: 1995 A&E Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth. Need I say more? You know where I stand! I also happen to ADORE the 1995 BBC version of Persuasion. 1995 was a very good year for me and I relive it via DVD as much as possible.

I love that version of Persuasion too! What’s up next for you?

Great question! I’m promoting my first book right now, have a second one in the works, and I’m putting together proposals for a third…Jane Austen Action figure is on my desk, at the ready!

So ladies … share your favorite Regency fantasy/favorite Regency hero with Karen, and you could win a copy of Definitely Not Mr. Darcy!