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Tag Archives: Karen Doornebos

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.
WP_000070As 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.

cocktavernWhere 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! WP_000044I 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.

9780425261392_UndressingMr_CV.inddHe’s an old-fashioned, hardcover book reader who writes in quill pen and hails from England. She’s an American social media addict. Can he find his way to her heart without so much as a GPS?

You can read the first chapter here!

Buy now at Berkley PenguinIndiebound – AmazonB&NKobo BAMiTunes

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…

grandprizeHis 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 BathminiKaren 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 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.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Last weekend I was in Brooklyn for the JASNA-AGM which is also a conference at which several hundred people get together and talk about Jane Austen. Weird? Absolutely. Some of us dress up for the ball on Saturday night. Some of us dress up all the time in different outfits and some of us cross-dress. There were also a few real men there too. The New York Times took some terrific pics which are much better than mine, so take a look here. As you can see we had a grand parade outside at night led by a fife and drum duo and there weren’t many people around but we enjoyed ourselves anyway.

Our plenary speaker was the amazing Cornell West who said (something like) philosophers seek the flame but Jane Austen is the fire. There were lots of great speakers including Anna Quindlen and William Deresiewicz, whose book A Jane Austen Education I’ve been longing to read and now own (signed!).

I was there as one of a subpanel of writers for a panel on publishing where we admired Penguin’s beautiful new Austen editions collaborating with graphic artists. There were shopping opportunities for books thanks to the very cool Jane Austen Books and here’s some of my loot–a fab pair of earrings and a tin of tea that was the official invite to next year’s JASNA in Minneapolis, based on Pride & Prejudice.

More pics–the view from my hotel window and a view from the Brooklyn Bridge–I played hooky to take a walk on Saturday afternoon in glorious weather. I liked Brooklyn a lot–some lovely buildings and lots of energy and nice friendly people.

I also got the chance to catch up with some of the Austen authors I know–here are Ann Herendeen, Karen Doornebos, and Cindy Jones, and here’s a great one of Ann in her gorgeous Regency finery. Sadly I didn’t get a pic of Karen in her pirate outfit. (Yes, there is an Austen connection, or so she said.)

Tomorrow I’m off again, this time to the New Jersey Put Your Heart in a Book Conference in Iselin, NJ, and if you’re in the neighborhood please stop by and meet me at the booksigning on Sat. afternoon. And please also stop by online and make me buy a waterbuffalo–my blog tour is ending soon and there is absolutely nothing to stop you signing at every single stop; in fact, please do. For every comment made I’m donating $1 to Heifer International up to $250, the price of a waterbuffalo. The whole schedule is here and today I’m visiting Carrie Ann Ryan and Kacey’s Connections.

So what have you been up to recently? Dressed up as a Regency lady or a pirate? Drunk much tea? Visited a wonderful neighborhood that was new to you?

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!

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