Wow! Everyone really outdid themselves this month. Well, here are my answers! I hope everyone gets the response they asked for! I don’t mind answering questions in the comments, so ask away if you want!
Don’t forget to comment for the giveaway too! The big prize is a lot of fun, and I had so much fun putting it together!
There is also an e-book up for grabs of An Unwavering Trust!
Usual rules will be reviewed after the post! For now, on to the questions and answers!
Have you ever been to the UK before? If you have, have you ever been to any of the places associated with Jane Austen before?
The last time I was in the UK, I was 3 years old, so other than photos of myself in an umbrella stroller or in the bathtub (apparently the hotel had a huge tub and my parents thought it was fun to take a pic.) I don’t know what I did when I was here last.
Well Leslie, now that you are no longer living in the USA, I often wonder how the transition has been for your family.
Hi Jen! It was a quick study on a lot of information, but I think we managed to get our bearings rather swiftly. One of my neighbors asked about two months after we moved here if we’d been here before since we knew how some things worked so quickly. I was pretty proud of myself for that.
Since you are now living across the pond is there anything that you miss about the states?
I miss family and friends. I am on social media quite a bit keeping up with people, but it isn’t the same as being face to face.
Have the kids or you begun to pick up the British accent?
They are all pretty old to gain an accent, but I wouldn’t be surprised if my 10 year old can speak with an English accent in a few years. We’ve noticed her using certain voice inflections and phrasing without realizing it.
Have you experienced any subtle prejudices towards your family or kids being American?
I think it would be odd not to have any issues with this, and we have had some subtle and some not so subtle instances—some due to cultural stereotyping or due to Americans who have come before us and not made the best of impressions. We moved here expecting to conform to a different lifestyle and culture and had no problems with it. There are some who move here, but expect the local populace to conform to them. It doesn’t work that way.
That said, we’ve met some amazing people who we enjoy knowing and on the whole, most are very welcoming. I won’t let the actions of a select few ruin my enjoyment of my time here.
Then I also wonder how the lifestyle is different, aside from having tea and all. Of course being able to visit all of the historical sites and the land itself must be a godsend for a JAFF author.
I think for an American who is moving here, the most noticeable differences are how narrow the roads are and that the homes are typically smaller. We loved that we could bring our dog in some restaurants when we first moved here. She was being boarded until we found a house and we liked the ability to take her somewhere for the day without having to pack or find a place for a picnic.
Parking isn’t as ubiquitous as it is in the United States as well. If you are going to town or into a village for errands, usually people park at the local car park (which often costs money) and walk wherever they have to go. Public transportation is much more common here. Some people do not drive and solely walk everywhere and take a bus or train depending upon whether they need to travel long or short distances. One great thing is that most villages and towns have sidewalks not only along the roads, but also throughout the villages, which makes it shorter and easier to walk wherever you wish to go.
I have to ask if living in England has given you more inspiration for your regency stories. I cannot imagine living in the same country as our fictional characters and Jane Austen herself.
It has definitely given me plenty of inspiration. I think it’s more in description and lifestyle when I write over actual locations so far, but it has definitely impacted my writing. A JAFF friend and I took an “under the stairs” tour of Wimpole Hall, and the piping for the ale and the guide’s explanations of how people did not drink water unless it was mixed with wine really impacted me too. I never realized that the cause of most child mortality back then was water-borne illnesses. It’s been interesting what works its way into what I write.
I know you’ll be in Hampshire soon, what are you most looking forward to seeing/experiencing? (Wish I could be there too, but I have to work all week up here in Yorkshire).
That’s difficult! I don’t know if I have any one thing that is standing out over everything else. I am usually content to walk and take photos of everything! I am definitely looking forward to Regency Day when I meet everyone and sign books!
I am rubbing my hands together and flexing my fingers. Are you ready, Leslie?
(Joy Dawn King)
Oh boy! I guess so! Fire away!
(Joy Dawn King)
I do have a published modern and I have quite a few modern plot bunnies. Part of what I have written so far is mostly the whim of the muse, and a small part that readers seem to prefer Regency. It might also be that for some reason, I find Regency conversations easier so far. Perhaps it’s just too many choices in a modern fic? I remember spending a lot of time considering what D&E would discuss when I was writing A Matter of Chance.
You’ve written both regency & modern day versions of P&P. Is one easier than the other and do you have a favorite?
I enjoy both for different reasons and there are difficulties that arise with both eras. I have a difficult time with topics of conversation for modern stories, yet I spend quite a bit of time researching my Regency stories. I can’t say that I prefer one over the other, but sometimes it’s just easier to go with my brain and write whatever is stirring around up there.
Why Jane Austen?
(Joy Dawn King)
I fell in love with Jane Austen’s works and Pride and Prejudice a long time ago for what was on the surface. I read her books and watched adaptations but never considered much more than what was obvious. As I have re-read and learned more about her writing, I appreciate all of her subtle and not so subtle references and social commentary. I adore Mr. Bennet’s sarcasm too. He is such a well-written character!
Have you ever thought of a story other than a Pride & Prejudice variation?
(Joy Dawn King)
I wrote a Persuasion based short story once, and I wrote two scenes for Persuasion 200. Other than that, most of my writing is P&P based. I do have one plot bunny that isn’t Jane Austen based at all, but the muse hasn’t been interested in writing it since it came to mind. I’ve considered making it JAFF rather than an original story. We’ll just have to see when/if I ever get to it! So many plot bunnies, so little time!
Do you feel more Jane Austen-ish now that you live in the UK?
(Joy Dawn King)
I wish! I’d love to feel Austen-ish! I was so excited to go to Ramsgate, and I have gotten a thrill out of driving through Kent when we travelled down there. I think the biggest thrill was on the day we arrived. I noticed a sign for Hatfield on the motorway. Hatfield was where Elizabeth was headed in Rain and Retribution when Darcy found her! I tried to take a photo on my phone, but it didn’t come out well.
Have you seen Colin Firth, Judi Dench, Matthew Macfadyen, Hugh Grant, Alan Rickman, or David Gandy in any of your shopping or tourist expeditions?
(Joy Dawn King)
Nope, I haven’t seen or met anyone famous other than while watching Graham Norton. 😉
Who would you most wish to see? Who would you be the biggest fan-girl over?
(Joy Dawn King)
Difficult question. I noticed an actor from a few movies at the Whole Foods in Omaha once. I actually walked the opposite direction and avoided him because I found myself staring trying to place him.
I would love to meet or talk to Emma Thompson. She seems like she would be a lot of fun when you watch her in interviews. For drool factor, I wouldn’t mind Rupert Penry Jones or Henry Cavill. I would probably look and not go up to them, though. I’m certain it must get frustrating having people ask for selfies all of the time. I might have to approach Henry Cavill though for my son. He’d love to meet Superman!
Which of Jane Austen’s characters would your schoolmates think you were most like?
(Joy Dawn King)
I had no idea how to answer this, so I asked one of my best friends from high school who would be very familiar with Jane Austen. Her response was, “Hmmmmm….Elinor Dashwood immediately popped into my head. I always thought that you were (are) very sensible, reliable, etc.”
If you could change anything about yourself and your writing career, what would it be?
(Joy Dawn King)
I honestly never thought I would be here as far as my writing career. I assumed I would write something, get a few comments, and that would be it. I didn’t expect to love it, and I didn’t expect the response I had and that I still get. I can’t imagine changing anything about my career.
As for myself, sometimes things sound funny or fine in my head, but come out all wrong. I suppose I wish I had a better filter in my head! I try to warn my friends that if I say something offensive, I probably didn’t mean it the way it came out. Fortunately, a few of them are the same way. We giggle about our crazy comments sometimes.
It takes guts and courage to put your work out there. Is that your typical persona?
(Joy Dawn King)
I would have to say it depends. If I want to do something bad enough, I usually will push any fears aside to do it. I had a great support system of friends who were my cheerleaders when I first posted, and I decided to publish due to a few people messaging me and suggesting it. I will admit that it is much easier for me to post and publish for people I don’t know. I am weird about my friends and family reading my work. I know some do, but it’s more because my husband outed me than because I brought it up!
Which Jane Austen character would you most like to have to your home for tea?
(Joy Dawn King)
I like good conversation, so I think Elizabeth Bennet might be fun. That is if I can’t have Darcy to stare at while he had his tea. 😉
Which Jane Austen character do you wish she would have written with harsher outcomes?
(Joy Dawn King)
That’s difficult! There are a few, really. I think Wickham had a pretty easy outcome. I know I’m judging him by today’s standards, but he preyed upon girls for profit. A pretty sick endeavor if you look at it in that light.
Quite a few characters got off pretty easy in Mansfield Park. The Bertrams were terrible to Fanny Price in my opinion, and while I understood that Fanny forgave them, I wanted her to at the very least tell them off.
What does your family think about your JA obsession? Are you obsessed?
(Joy Dawn King)
They would definitely say that I am obsessed. My husband doesn’t seem to mind as long as I don’t go off on a long tangent. My 13 year old rolls her eyes because she gets tired of all lessons being able to be explained by Jane Austen 🙂 They loved Stourhead’s gardens, so they haven’t minded me indulging in my obsession while I am here. Yes, I would call it an obsession.
Is Pride and Prejudice your favourite Austen novel? Which comes second?
Pride and Prejudice is my favorite Austen novel with Persuasion a close second.
Which is your favourite Austen/Austenesque dramatisation and why?
That’s really difficult. I think quite a few bring something wonderful, even if it is just the scenery or music. Overall, I think the 1995 P&P and the Ang Lee/Emma Thompson Sense and Sensibility are my favorites.
Why the story of Darcy and Elizabeth?
Why not? I suppose that I love that Darcy deep down was a good person despite how he behaved. He took Elizabeth’s reproofs to heart and endeavored to amend his conceit with no expectations of meeting her again or winning her heart. He also finds Lydia and pays out a small fortune, expecting nothing in return. I think he portrays a love we all dream of as teenagers. A man who would treat us well and ensure we are always happy.
What do you enjoy about writing of Darcy and Lizzy?
A big part is my answer above. Their characters and Darcy’s devotion inspires plot bunnies. I just enjoy finding something to change in the story and how it would effect how their love story would change or turn out.
I have read many Jane Austen variations. Pride and Prejudice seems to be the favorite to explore. Do you think that Darcy and Elizabeth would really be as happy as everyone writes them?
I believe they have that possibility. I think if we don’t have some belief that they would be incredibly happy, then we would not have as much inspiration for all of the variations. I do believe they would have some spectacular arguments, but often those who love deeply, do argue with passion.
What was your inspiration to write your first book?
I had friends pushing me to write and post a story, but I had resisted because grammar was never my strong suit. I just couldn’t imagine writing something anyone wanted to read.
Then, I had the idea of Elizabeth fleeing Longbourn and meeting Darcy on the road on the way to London. It didn’t take too much to have the rest worked out, but the bunny wouldn’t stop nibbling at my brain. In the end, I wrote it and I really expected that I might have one or two people read and comment when I posted. What occurred was not what I thought would happen at all!
When we met, one of your first plot bunnies was a lot like one I had, except mine was a role reversal. In fact, that was supposed to be your first story until R&R got bossy and took over. Are you still interested in that story?
Yup, you were there that night in chat when I attempted to give away that plot bunny. It still comes into my head. I think I have it mapped out with everything but a final scene or two. I still go back and daydream it from time to time, but I have had other stories that seem to push it out of the way when it comes to putting it to paper. I may still write it one day. I just might change up the setting in which I initially imagined it since I don’t know much about New York. I will have to figure that out. New Orleans could be fun, but the city has changed a great deal since Katrina and I haven’t been there in so long!
What inspires you to come up with the plots to your stories?
Also what gives you the inspiration to come up with the plot of the novel and do you use any life experiences in your novels.
I’ve been rearranging movies and stories in my head since I was a little girl. As a freshman in high school, I had to read Romeo and Juliet and detested the ending. I daydreamed an entire new ending.
I also rearrange stories when I love them as well though. Usually, it is just an idea for a scene that pops into my head. For A Matter of Chance, I was mowing my yard and I was mad at my husband for something, and I just had an idea for Lizzy mowing because she was pissed off for some reason. I then began winding an entire plot around that one scene. It wasn’t long after that I wrote the prologue. The rest flowed from there.
There are some life experiences and personal bits in some of my novels. I used my children’s first names in Rain and Retribution as well as my favorite history teacher. Bear and his backstory were real and from a dog I had when I was young. Page was my horse when I was in high school. He was my big baby!
A Matter of Chance has a lot more of me than R&R. My favorite medium as an artist is watercolor and I used a description of my work from my instructor as Darcy’s description of Lizzy’s work. My mother took me to Natchez when I was 14, and I used it as the inspiration for Meryton. I also had a few personal experiences in the book. I had friends when I was at University who called me “Betty.”
In An Unwavering Trust, I used more sayings that my mother and grandparents used to say. Among them was that the first baby can come at any time, after that it takes nine months. I believe my grandfather used to say that. My mother used to say that I could blame her for things—that she had broad shoulders. The dowager used that phrase at one point.
Tidbits make their way in. I enjoy that they do, too.
I know you’ve used aspects of your real life in your novels, such as Elizabeth’s art career in AMoC, Bear and Page, anecdotes about your family that became Playground stories at AHA, and places you’ve lived. I remember when you used an older photo of yourself with long hair for something on the web, I commented that you looked a lot like I’d envision Elizabeth Bennet. Mr. Leslie is more than handsome enough to be Mr. Darcy. (Although his mini-me is handsomer!) You know where I’m going with this, right? How much alike are you and Elizabeth Bennet? Do you see yourself as her, or is she just lucky enough to get to act out your life?
I don’t remember that photo! LOL! I definitely don’t mind being thought to look like someone’s imagining of Elizabeth Bennet though!
The mini-me blushed when I read out loud that he was handsomer than his dad. At least he didn’t yell that he wasn’t handsome. Teehee!
I believe I have a sense of humor and I’ve always been rather independent; however, I think Elizabeth Bennet has more tact than I do! Though, I can be a bit fearsome when I’m seriously angry. I suppose I have aspects of Elizabeth’s character, but I wouldn’t say I’m too like her.
When I imagine stories, it is usually with me in Elizabeth’s point of view. I suppose at times she acts out something from my life, but that part is rare. It’s more in a modern setting since I’m not good at translating it back to Regency.
Mr. Leslie has been a sounding board for your fiction and your writing career all along. Does he inspire your Mr. Darcy characters at all?
*SNORT!* His head would swell to substantial proportions if he thought that I based my Darcys on him! My husband is protective, a loyal and steadfast companion, and very much an idealist. I think those are qualities Darcy and he share. My husband has a sense of humor that is beyond what I usually give Darcy, since he enjoys jokes and pushing people’s buttons from time to time—although never in a mean spirited fashion. I think some might compare him to Colonel Fitzwilliam in JAFF in that regard.
For the most part, I keep my husband and Darcy separate in my writing. I might one day consider writing an LSU obsessed, Saints obsessed, Cajun Darcy. For now, I’ll let him play his Madden while I answer these questions!
Have you thought about writing about other novels of Jane Austen?(anadarcy)
I’ve written short stories from Persuasion, but I don’t really have any plot bunnies that include full length stories from any of her other works. Not so far anyways!
What do you think of Captain Wentworth?
I adore Captain Wentworth! I think his letter at the end of Persuasion is the most romantic thing I have ever read!
What was your inspiration for An Unwavering Trust?
The original plot bunny for An Unwavering Trust was a bit different, but the basic idea was the same. Mainly, without giving anything away, the idea popped into my head of her basic situation. That she is on her own, and both uncles were conspiring to do what they were in the novel; however, Darcy purchased her and they flee to Scotland where they married. Then have to solve how to deal with the uncles.
Obviously, it took a few turns in the time between I had the initial bunny and when I wrote it.
Who has the unwavering trust in this book? Is it as I imagine, Darcy and Elizabeth?
If you read the book, “unwavering trust” is attributed near the end to a certain character; however, I think once Darcy takes the turn to accepting that Elizabeth is really his future, he places his trust in her. He is still wary of not having his feelings reciprocated, but he trusts her. Because of her position, Elizabeth has to trust Darcy from the beginning, so you could say that they both have the unwavering trust.
What do you think the best piece of advice has been about your writing career?
(Joy Dawn King)
I think the best advice has been to write what I want. My betas, my friends, and even my husband will fuss and fume if I let a review or someone’s negative words impact my writing.
Do you have a favourite time of day, writing place, etc. or do you just fit it in as you go along?
I had my own writing place when we were in Omaha. I had a sitting room off my kitchen that had a gas fireplace with built-in bookshelves. We had a recliner in there for my husband and I had what’s called a chair and a half and an ottoman. I wrote pretty much the entirety of Rain and Retribution and A Matter of Chance in that chair and in that room.
Unfortunately, my chair was in terrible shape by the time we moved. I had added new foam and re-covered the seat cushion in the last year and it was really too big for UK homes, so we sold it.
I wrote a lot of An Unwavering Trust moving wherever I happen to find quiet or be comfortable. I wrote a lot sitting on my bed, but I had to get myself out of that habit. I sleep better since I began writing in the living room or at the dining room table.
As for time of day, I typically write better between 11am and when I have to pick up my children from school. That does sometimes change depending upon my mood. 11 just happens to be the magic time after I take my kids to school, eat breakfast, get my social media fix, and get comfortable and set in for the day.
Are you working on any new projects?
I’m playing around with a prequel that tells the love story of Darcy’s grandmother and the Earl. I need to go back and do a re-write of sorts, but I was really enjoying writing it until things became crazy. I’ve had a lot come up since publishing An Unwavering Trust that’s required my time (Two children’s birthday parties, a 13 year old with a hyperextended knee, a sick 1o year old, and an 8 year old with a broken ankle). I’m hoping that I can finally get back to work after Hampshire!
Don’t forget to comment for the 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!
Time to comment!
Final date for comments to be entered into the drawing Wednesday, 17 June.
Winner will be announced Friday, 19 June!
Leave me your questions in the comments below!
GOOD LUCK EVERYONE!!