It’s time for a new Ask the Author!
victim guest is Rose Fairbanks
Rose is the author of The Gentleman’s Impertinent Daughter,
and the just recently published Letters from the Heart.
Blurb from Amazon.com – “Resolved to forget Elizabeth Bennet during a winter in London, Fitzwilliam Darcy writes a letter in bitterness of spirit. Frustrated by her growing obsession with the arrogant man, Elizabeth commits her thoughts to paper. But angry people are not always wise, and secret thoughts do not always remain secret. Compelled to face their selfishness and fears, their actions encourage those dearest to them to change as well.”
Hi Rose and welcome to your first Ask the Author! Thanks for offering to be one of our victims and for offering the giveaway of your new book, Letters from the Heart!
We received some great questions so without further ado, let’s get to it!
How many times have you read Pride and Prejudice?!
Oh, dear. Well, it was a few times in high school and then at least once a year in college. Then after college I just continually went in a little circuit of Austen books but didn’t do it fairly and read P&P more than the others, especially once I had a nook. Austen’s Complete Works was the only book I had on there for well over a year. Then once I found JAFF I would reread it between every book or two for the first few months. Now as a writer I’m constantly rereading scenes. My guess would be between 50 and 75 reads.
What author of Jane Austen´s fan fiction do you prefer and why? (Apart from your own work ☺)
It’s impossible to pick just one! I found Sharon Lathan’s books first. Then Abigail Reynolds’. Looking at my Kindle and Nook books I’ve got nearly everything by Linda Wells, Kara Louise and Wendi Sotis and reread them often. I also love both published stories by our lovely host, Leslie. I also love being a beta reader for Sarah Johnson and Zoe Burton. I get to read their stuff before anyone else! 😛
What draws your inspiration to write?
Most of my story ideas come from wondering how the story would be different if something else happened in a particular scene. Somewhere along the way I usually consider a personality trait to highlight as well.
Are there specific scenarios that you have not seen written that you felt compelled to share to readers?
Hmm…I don’t think any of my overall scenarios are entirely unique. I’m not sure that’s possible anymore. JAFF has been around for a number of years, there’s loads of it published, even more for free online and the writing isn’t slowing down anytime soon it looks like. But I think everyone brings something different to the table. My first two stories were from a shared prompt. Anyone could have began a story with a similar idea. The next two long ones both stem from the idea of a forced marriage but I specifically wanted them to not be full of despair and I think they turned out very different from each other.
How do you manage to keep the essence of the characters as you write your book?(sophieandmomma)
I do compulsively read Canon scenes while writing. I’m constantly trying to get more in their head. I look at Elizabeth’s statement to Darcy when he asks her to dance a reel at Netherfield and she says she delights in overthrowing the schemes of people who would mock her taste and wonder if this is something she’s come in contact with a lot. How does that affect how she meets with others? And is that so different than Darcy considering others only want to use him?
I also have excellent betas who are very protective of the characters. I’m writing a story right now where Bingley leaves Netherfield on his own volition. So I asked two friends who are Bingley fans to read it for me, to be sure I’m not too crazy with him. If I tried to write alone I’d never finish anything!
How do you keep your books fresh? By that I mean not incorporating ideas from other authors ?
As I said above, I’m not so sure anything is entirely unique. If I know my idea comes close to a certain topic in a book I’ve read then I avoid rereading that one so it doesn’t consciously spill over. And I freak out and ask my betas a lot. In the last story I wrote, I reread two different old favorites and their premises weren’t close to mine at all but there were events that were and I had to talk to my betas and have them compare the scenes and how they worked for the story. There are times when it is really difficult to be intentionally different, though. Wickham typically presents a problem. There seems to only be a few variations of what he does and how he’s dealt with. I have certain favorite things to do with him but then I worry about repeating myself too much!
What motivates you to keep writing? Sales? Reviews? Stories that are just begging to be written? A pushy family member?
(Joy Dawn King)
I was writing long before I ever thought about publishing. I started writing fan fiction after only a month or two of reading but never thought I’d share those stories. I never finished them and looking at them now they’re terrible. But I had ideas that needed to get out. I really like asking the question “what if…” As for publishing them, I think they’re good. When I was only a reader I was so obsessed I read a lot of bad things and would have been happy to see another book out that didn’t have horrible errors or terrible story telling. And I didn’t know about the forums, but even now I reread purchased books more- even when they’re also online- because the formatting is more convenient. I feel like those readers should get a chance to read something good too.
What has been your biggest surprise since publishing?
(Joy Dawn King)
Publishing is a roller coaster of emotions. I started with my novellas before my novel (coming this Spring) because I didn’t know if I could really handle the reviews or even the hard work of having it all come together. I had posted stories online so I thought I was prepared for reviews. It’s a little different, for example you don’t reply back to reviews and they’re total strangers. It’s not a community. The other unexpected thing was all the steps of the book cover. I had thought it was as simple as picking a picture or two I liked! But they both are beautiful and worth the extra time and all my graphic designer’s effort.
Out of 100% – how much is writing? how much is reading? how much is watching? How much is research? Did I forget anything?
(Joy Dawn King)
Actual writing is probably only 30% of my time, especially as I have gotten better about plotting ahead of time. By the time I sit down at the computer a lot can come out at once. I do reread scenes from the original with nearly every writing or plotting session. Research also takes up a good bit of time. More so because I intensely enjoy it than the fact that my stories are that detail oriented. I don’t actually watch the media too often and it’s nearly entirely for pleasure. I did use the train station kiss from the North and South TV series for inspiration in Letters from the Heart so I watched that scene several times.
You forgot the bane of my existence: editing! I have awesome editors. The easy part is clicking “accept all” to their suggestions for sentence structure or corrections in grammar and punctuation (I will never understand commas). The harder part is when they need more or less information or find something I’ve grown attached to as superfluous. But pruning is necessary and the story is always better for it.
In your dream JK Rowling moment, what is the one thing that you would love to have happen because of your writing?
I need to stop before I become as ridiculous as Mr. Collins. Ok – maybe too late.
(Joy Dawn King)
I’m actually uncomfortable with praise, but seek validation. I don’t necessarily need it from the world at large, but if I think well of the person then I would love it if I was deemed insightful and told that my story made someone smile.
I need to know. NEED to know. Where the heck do you find the time and energy, woman!? Wife, mother, blogger, reviewer, and self-published author (which is a full time job in and of itself.) I’m amazed … and frankly jealous. LOL ☺ You must have the blood of a four-year old coursing through your veins. You go girl!
I don’t sleep very much! I have an awesome husband who lets me spend the majority of his days off doing JAFF things and I work on it nearly every evening too. During the day, if the inspiration is striking and I have a few minutes I’m writing something down. But honestly? I’m not so sure I do any of these things particularly well. I don’t review near as much as I’d like to (despite the fact that I am still reading when many authors have to choose between the two), nor do I have routine blog posts. My goal in 2015 is to do better with both. I like to do lists and break them down into small tasks with goal dates.
Are there any specific challenges being an author or publishing your books that you wanted to share?
Self-publishing doesn’t have to be a lonely endeavor. I’ve got good editors and resources for things like covers and formatting or any other concern. It can be really intimidating opening your book up to the world at large and there are a lot of different factors in people’s tastes. What gets me through those moments is knowing that I and many others really liked the book and put a lot of effort into making it a good and worthwhile read. You can’t suit everybody. And if one person loves it, another person will hate it. In the end, make yourself happy with it. And with self-publishing I don’t have a “well, I wanted to do *this* but the editor said no” moment.
What specifically was your inspiration for Letters from the Heart? Were you looking to write a sort of forced marriage scenario or was it something else?
The very first draft was a writing prompt from an online forum. There were several “wacky holidays” and one was “letter writing day.” It also had a word count limit. So the premise of Darcy and Elizabeth writing letters to each other came from there. Logic followed that if they’d ever become known it could be a forced marriage scenario but that was a very small concern in the first drafts. In the online drafts, Elizabeth does not refuse Darcy and it all wrapped up very quickly. When I edited it for publication I spent a lot more time with the characters and felt like if I wasn’t just telling myself it had to be a short story with only a certain amount of words, then the characters would work things out differently.
As a book reviewer, you’ve been critiquing books for quite a while now. How does that affect your writing? Does reading a well-written book give you inspiration? For example, if you read an author who excels at humor or descriptions, do you find yourself attempting to improve your skills in those areas?
There are some things that don’t come naturally to me very well, humor is one of them. I struggle with showing a witty Elizabeth and fear what appears witty to me doesn’t for others. But I try to consider other things, like narration style. My favorite JAFF is first person narration, Elizabeth’s point of view. I’d really like to do that one day. Another favorite is third person, but we only get Darcy’s point of view. I’ve tried that a few times and have failed at it. One of these days I’ll get it right. I’m also more critical of storytelling in general. I’ve recently read a book with several “go no-where” tangents and it annoyed me to no end. They made me ask more questions and they were never answered by the author. I actually struggle to make my stories long enough because I prefer to write without adding unnecessary things. That’s something I worried about in Letters from the Heart. Thankfully, I was able to link the other characters to Darcy and Elizabeth rather well, I think.
Do you have any current projects in the works? If so, what can you tell us about them.
I’m in the middle of editing a full length novel for publication this spring. No Cause to Repine begins when Darcy calls on the Parsonage alone. He trips over the rug and lands on Elizabeth just when several people are shown into the room. Between Mr. Collins and Lady Catherine the situation is made into a more compromising event than it was. Forced into an engagement with unequal affections and soon met with an unexpected obstacle, Darcy and Elizabeth must together find a path that leads to no regrets.
I am also part of a boxed set of novellas which will release April 1. I haven’t settled on a title yet! Elizabeth overhears part of Darcy’s conversation with Caroline as the two were walking outside of Netherfield. Left with the realization that Darcy admires her, Elizabeth determines to quit antagonizing him, or so she tries. Believing if she spurns his attentions the proud man will leave Netherfield—and likely take his friend too—she bears with his presence for Jane’s sake.
I have a number of other pieces that will eventually be published and several others that I am currently writing and will one day finish up on my blog: http://rosefairbanks.com
So, now the giveaway!
Rose has graciously offered an ebook of Letters from the Heart!
Everyone who submitted a question has their name submitted one time in the draw. Now, everyone who comments on the finished interview gets their name entered–for those who have already submitted a question, that means your name goes in twice if you comment! Those who only comment get their name entered once, so COMMENT! Any chance is better than none!
Final comments to be entered into the drawing Wednesday, 21 January.
Winner will be announced Friday, 23 January.
Thanks so much to Rose for being our guest and please leave her a comment
to let her know you enjoyed learning more about her!