I’d like to say a big thank you to Robin Helm for being April’s Ask the Author!
For those who have somehow missed Robin’s impressive library of books,
she is the author of
Guardian, Soul Fire, Legacy, Accidentally Yours, Sincerely Yours,
soon to be NOW released
Before I post Robin’s answers, don’t forget to leave her a comment at the end of the post for a chance to win an e-book copy of Forever Yours!! Those of you who have asked questions already have their names in the pot, leave a comment for a chance to win, or if you asked a question, a second chance to win!
Anyway, on to the questions and answers!
I was just reading the blurbs on your two series… they sound so fascinating and different! What inspired your ideas for each series and what made you consider creating each as a trilogy?
Hello, Dung. Many years ago, I read This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness by Frank Peretti. Those books forever changed the way I viewed the supernatural, and they influenced the way I wrote The Guardian Trilogy. I did not use Mr. Peretti’s characters or plot lines, but I did show the spiritual dimension in a somewhat similar way to the way he presented it. However, my angels and demons have much more direct intervention into people’s lives than did Mr. Peretti’s.
I think Austen’s Darcy displays the characteristics of a guardian – a protector, if you will. He went to great lengths to protect his sister and rescue Lydia, thus guarding both his family and the Bennet family. He fit the guardian angel role in my mind.
The Yours by Design series grew from my belief that nothing is really accidental in our lives. Most of the circumstances I have experienced that I viewed as terrible when they happened turned out to be wonderful. That’s how we grow and change, as long as we have the right attitude and accept those changes. It isn’t always pleasant, but it is always an adventure. I’m a “Never Say Never” kind of person.
I didn’t think Fitzwilliam Darcy would have changed so radically without a truly major, catastrophic event happening in his life. When he switched places in time with Will Darcy, he thought it was horrible. It turned out to be the best thing for both of them.
I loved your Guardian series. Do you think you will write any more beside the trilogy?
Hi, Janet. My younger daughter will marry in June, so I’m quite busy at the moment, but I am going to start a rewrite of The Guardian Trilogy this week. It will be a non-Austen, YA, strong first person variation of The Guardian Trilogy. Look for The Xander Chronicles fairly soon if you enjoy YA paranormal, fantasy romance. I plan to add multiple scenes and delete others. My approach to the story will be very different. I’m writing it in a strong, first person point of view (Xander’s). Only the skeleton of the original story will remain, and there will be huge plot changes. If it is successful, watch for spin-off books featuring other characters and their backstories. The titles will be Prodigy, Nemesis, and Victor.
I have thoroughly enjoyed the first 2 books in the series and am eagerly anticipating the release of this book. How did you come up with the idea of having 2 Darcys switching eras?
I’ve always thought that Mr. Darcy changed very drastically and abruptly in the original. I have a “why” sort of mind. I asked myself why Darcy would be so completely different in such a short amount of time. My answer was that he was not the same man. He was, in fact, a different man – his descendant (now ancestor) from the future. I love science fiction and fantasy, so this series was not a stretch for me at all. I’m a real geek.
Is this the final book in this series? I have been waiting for this book for awhile now love this series so excited for the 3rd one to be out :). Going to have to read them again. Thanks so much.
Thanks for asking, Tresha. Yes, Forever Yours is the final book in the Yours by Design series. I have no plans to extend the story. I think you’ll like Forever Yours the most of the three. The first book, Accidentally Yours, will likely be the least favorite of my readers. When Fitzwilliam Darcy still lived in the Regency era, he was very unpleasant. You also hear his thoughts, which makes him even worse. I felt it was important for readers to thoroughly dislike him and see him change as the series progressed. He’s swoon worthy in the third book.
What are your future plans for writing Austenesque novels now that you have completed two trilogies? Most authors I know stick to writing only stories based on Pride and Prejudice. Have you thought about doing a Emma, Persuasion or Northanger Abbey-inspired storyline? Will you branch out and write something original that does not borrow from Jane Austen’s plots, themes or characterisation?
I’m very open to doing Austen-inspired variations or sequels of any of those stories. I’m not at all timid about branching out; my first series mixed angels and demons with Austen, and my second featured a time switch between 1795 Darcy and 2013 Darcy. I do think the Austen characters should not do anything her original characters would not have done, and I never change the pairings of her main characters (though I have some fun with secondary and minor characters).
I could envision myself doing variations of the books you mentioned more than Mansfield Park. However, Sense and Sensibility would make my list. I like for my male heroes to be very strong and my heroines to be witty, intelligent, and somewhat independent. The characters of Mansfield Park don’t lend themselves to my writing. Frankly, I don’t like them very much.
Northanger Abbey is a favorite of mine. It’s campy and fun. Would you read a variation of that book if I wrote one?
Oh, boy! I’m so excited about this month’s interview candidate.
(J “Joy” Dawn King)
You’re making me laugh, Joy!
1) Have you always been a football fan?
I was a high school cheerleader and cheered for football and basketball for four years, but I never really understood football, or cared about understanding it, until my daughter started dating the quarterback of the University of South Carolina in 2012. Then, I began to watch, study, and read in earnest. Now, I really like it. Good thing, since she’s marrying him in June, and he may end up in the NFL. My husband had never been to a football game of any sort until we went to Dylan’s 2012 spring game. That was quite an experience.
2) What does your family think of your global fan base?
My family is so far off this radar it isn’t funny. It doesn’t register with them that what I type on my laptop in my little office/music room is read by people in many countries. I don’t talk about it very much with them. I just keep writing.
My husband and two daughters have traveled extensively in Europe and Asia on mission trips and in the military; I stayed home because of health issues. I guess my books travel since I don’t, but the world is smaller than it used to be. I did go to Japan last summer to meet my first grandchild, and that was a great adventure.
3) Do you have a favorite actor for your Mr. Darcy?
Colin Firth will always be my Mr. Darcy, but I wouldn’t object to seeing Henry Cavill or Chris Evans play the role. In fact, Chris Evans is my physical model for my modern Mr. Darcy in the Yours by Design series. I’m all about bone structure. I love a good, strong jawline. Superman and Captain America fit that bill nicely. I told you I’m a geek.
4) If you could travel through time, which three periods would you visit first and why?
Oh, my. I’ve researched so much that I know I wouldn’t enjoy being without air conditioning, cars, and phones. Leaving that aside, I would want to visit Austen’s time period (as long as I had money and was of a good family), because I would have enjoyed the balls and formal manners. Meeting Jane Austen is a dream of mine. That’s why I wrote it into the story.
I would love to visit the time period when Christ was on Earth physically and actually hear Him teach. Third, I would like to visit with Beethoven, Debussy, or Bach – any of those time periods would be interesting if I could watch the masters write and hear them play their own works.
I agree with Anne Elliot: “My idea of good company…is the company of clever, well-informed people, who have a great deal of conversation; that is what I call good company.’
5) Which is your secret favorite to read – Regency or modern?
I love them both – I grew up on Victoria Holt and Jane Austen. However, I can best visualize modern. I read everything – Regency, modern, fantasy, paranormal, science fiction. I don’t particularly like biographies or histories. Give me an escape into imagination.
6) If a world famous movie producer were to cast you in one of Jane Austen’s movie adaptations, which movie and character would you want to be?
My family kids me about being Mrs. Bennet, but they do that only to vex me. Actually, I like her. I think she’d be great fun to play in the 1995 BBC mini-series.
I was a thespian in high school. I played the part of Mrs. Gibbs in “Our Town,” and I was first runner up in state competition for a dramatic interpretation of Ethan Frome. I have coached choric speaking, duet acting, declamation, and dramatic interpretation on both state and national levels.
Yep. I’m a nerdy geek. I suppose that’s why I really love “The Big Bang Theory.” Star Wars, Star Trek, Blade Runner, X-Men, The Avengers, etc. – bring it on.
7) Do you have a plot bunny that just won’t go away? If so, would you share?
Gayle Mills is my sister. She and I have talked about the plot of a book to be called Darcy, Ink. I really like the idea of interactive tattoos.
Would you consider selling your trilogies as a boxed set?
That’s funny, because I’ve been trying to figure out how to do it. So, absolutely, yes! As soon as I can have Wendi Sotis explain it to me. She’s my go-to gal for anything technical. (She and her husband love Star Wars. I think he’s built a replica of the Death Star. Good people.)
Well in addition to Joy’s questions, I would like to know a little more about your background in music. I love it that your Darcys play piano. Also, any hints for the next book??? Best of luck with your new release.
Thanks, Jen! I began taking piano lessons when I was eight years old, and I’ve been fascinated by music ever since that time (fifty-three years). There is no musical genre which I hate in its entirety. I even like hip-hop. (Pure rap is not music. It’s rhythmic poetry. I don’t care much for it.)
When I was in fourth grade, the high school band teacher came to my elementary school and taught some of us to play recorders. From that, I began taking flute lessons and joined the band. I was marching in the high school band when I was still in elementary school.
I went to college not really knowing what I wanted to do, but the admissions people saw that I could play piano, so they referred me to the head of the music department. He asked me to play for him and, after listening to me, he hired me to play for voice lessons and the college Chorale. He also advised me to major in music, which I did. My degree is in piano performance with a minor in organ performance.
I played for my husband’s voice lessons. I just love a man who can sing. He just loves a woman who can play piano. All of my Darcys will play or sing – preferably both. Music is very sensual. It’s a way I connect with people and emotions.
Now, I am director of a Music Academy in which I teach piano, flute, and organ. We also offer drums, trumpet, and voice. I teach music two days a week in an elementary charter school, and I am the Associate in Music for my church.
If you’d like to keep track of Robin and her writing, you can follow her through any of these popular social media sites:
Blog, Jane Started It: https://crownhillwriters.wordpress.com/
Administrator of Beyond Austen (forum): http://www.beyondausten.com/
Amazon Author Central: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B005MLFMTG
Thanks so much, Robin! Now, don’t forget to comment!
Robin is offering one e-book of Forever Yours as a giveaway! Usual rules apply – Every person who submits a question gets one chance entered into the pot. If you submit a question and a comment on the final interview you get two chances!
Final date for comments to be entered into the drawing Wednesday, 15 April.
Winner will be announced Friday, 17 April!