Next week it’s all Austen all the time here at the Riskies as we celebrate Jane’s birthday (December 16) so we have a special guest to get you in the mood. We invited Karen Doornebos to talk about her release UNDRESSING MR. DARCY.
As an ice-breaker to each leg of my Blog Tour for UNDRESSING MR. DARCY, I’m taking you along for a ride to England, where I traveled during the summer of 2012 to do some research for the book.
Where am I on this stop? Today I’m providing you a smattering of some of my London shots that inspired, but didn’t make it directly into the book. Since I’m visiting Risky Regencies here, I thought you’d enjoy the pub sign for Ye Olde Cock Tavern, for obvious, middle-grade humorous reasons! I went into Fortnum & Mason, but my heroine’s friend Sherry, didn’t, and bemoaned the fact that my heroine wouldn’t let her! She certainly missed out.
You can read the first chapter here!
I’d like to thank you, Janet, for having me back at Risky Regencies!
I learned from your bio that you used to work in advertising, and I’m wondering whether that inspired your heroine Vanessa Roberts. Do you identify with her?
Vanessa works in PR, that infinitely more glamorous cousin of advertising. PR girls get to go to all the galas, fundraisers and schmooze the media with wining and dining. But yes, working in the ad world did in part inspire Vanessa’s character. In the worlds of both advertising and PR, everything is very fleeting, deadlines are looming multiple times per day, and you’re always busy. Too busy. Work doesn’t stay in nice tidy boundaries, but overflows into nights and weekends. Since Vanessa is an * older * heroine at thirty-five, it made sense that her busy-ness would have distracted her from falling in love and settling down. I identify with Vanessa career-wise, but I happened to have gotten married at age twenty-six and had two kids by the time I was her age of thirty-five!
One thing I loved about the book was watching Vanessa become a Jane Austen fan. What was your Jane Austen journey?
Thank you, Janet, I’m so glad you enjoyed her coming around to the Jane side! Here was my journey: read about Mr. Darcy at age sixteen; smitten for life. Seriously, though, my journey to appreciating Austen was much more typical than Vanessa’s. P&P was assigned in high school, and I have to say, I really did fall for Darcy within Austen’s first few lines about him, but of course, she deliberately hooked us all. I became an English major, read more of Austen, but I have to say I didn’t come out of the Austen closet until the 1995 version of P&P and then the Emma Thompson and Hugh Grant version of Sense & Sensibility. I discovered Republic of Pemberley online and had already, by 1997, had the beginnings of my first book, DEFINITELY NOT MR. DARCY, written. By 2008 I had joined the Jane Austen Society of North America…and felt like I had found my tribe!
You include real places and real people, including events and speakers at JASNA (Jane Austen Society of North America) conferences. What’s your best JASNA experience?
I have to say my best JASNA experience happened to be my first in 2008, but they have all been great, really. The first conference I attended was in Chicago, my hometown, and I presented a larger than life academic poster called How Not to Write a Jane-Austen Inspired Novel that you can see on my website here. But that wasn’t even the best part. The best part happened to be joining in on the Regency promenade and then, without any lessons, getting pulled onto the ballroom dance floor. Janeites are all very friendly!
On your research trip last year did you learn anything about London that surprised you?
I learned that London is still one of my top three places in the world. I didn’t really know that until I went back. What surprised me was that I promised myself another return trip very soon because I didn’t get to do everything I wanted—restored Globe Theatre, anybody?! I also wanted to try and find Benedict Cumberbatch.
(Hmmm. She’s not telling us whether she did or not!) Who is your dreamteam cast for the movie version of the book?
I’ll be dating my * old * self here, but I always saw Julia Roberts as Vanessa…hence the name Roberts. She’s a little too old to be playing a thirty-five year old, though. I could see Henry Cavill as Julian, although he needs to be a little older! Hugh Grant would be wonderful if he were a little younger. Johnny Depp could still play Chase!!!
What do you think is the enduring appeal of Mr. Darcy and P&P?
Janet, I wrote an entire essay on that subject for the January 2012 issue of Jane Austen’s Regency World Magazine. It boiled down to the vast size of Mr. Darcy’s…library! Seriously, though, Darcy is an avid reader, with a large and growing library. As I say in UNDRESSING MR. DARCY, he’s the smart girl’s pin-up boy. How clever of Austen to snare her female readers with a man who values reading! Nothing better than the image of a gorgeous specimen of a man reading a book on the settee!
What are you working on next?
Laundry. Frantically getting ready for Christmas! Really, I have to say that once again I have too many ideas for my next project. I need to get serious about which one is worthy. Not sure yet. They’re duking it out in my head.
Risky Regency readers, comment below for your chance to win one of TWO copies of UNDRESSING MR. DARCY. What do you think makes Darcy so enduring and…sexy?
To increase your chances of winning you can share this post on your Facebook page or Twitter via our nifty Rafflecopter widget and enhance your social media pleasure by following Risky Regencies, Karen, and Janet on Facebook or Twitter. Contest limited to US entrants only.
Mr. Darcy’s Stripping Off…
His other stocking. At each blog stop Mr. Darcy will strip off a piece of clothing. Keep track of each item in chronological order and at then end of the tour you can enter to win a GRAND PRIZE of the book, “DO NOT DISTURB I’m Undressing Mr. Darcy” door hangers for you and your friends, tea, and a bottle of wine (assuming I can legally ship it to your state). US entries only, please.
Karen Doornebos is the author of UNDRESSING MR. DARCY published by Berkley, Penguin and available here or at your favorite bookstore. Her first novel, DEFINITELY NOT MR. DARCY, has been published in three countries and was granted a starred review by Publisher’s Weekly. Karen lived and worked in London for a short time, but is now happy just being a lifelong member of the Jane Austen Society of North America and living in the Chicagoland area with her husband, two teenagers and various pets—including a bird. Speaking of birds, follow her on Twitter and Facebook! She hopes to see you there, on her website www.karendoornebos.com and her group blog Austen Authors. You can also check out the other stops on her Blog Tour.
Risky Regency readers, comment below for your chance to win one of TWO copies of UNDRESSING MR. DARCY…
What do you think makes Darcy so enduring and…sexy?
To increase your chances of winning you can share this post on your Facebook page or Twitter via our nifty Rafflecopter widget below! You can also increase your odds by following Karen and Janet on Twitter or Facebook, or, if you’re not already, following Risky Regencies on Facebook. Contest limited to US entrants only.