Are you ready to read Kara Louise’s answers!
I know I am!
So let’s get to it!
What was the first Jane Austen book you ever read?
It was Pride and Prejudice after I had seen the 6 hour film. I had never read Jane Austen in school; I had read Jane Eyre and other classics, but none by her. I was so taken by the film, I immediately purchased a small Penguin Classics book with some annotations, which really helped me understand a few things from the Regency era. After that, I bought the complete set of her books and read them one by one, also viewing a film if I could find it.
What is your very favorite part of writing JAFF literature?
I love writing the JAFF literature because it makes me examine things from the original, like motives, thoughts, and feelings. I will be writing a scene, and all of a sudden something will hit me and I’ll think, “That’s why he said this or she did that!” I love it when those things happen. And I love her characters and the basic elements of her stories.
Which Bennet sister would most people say you are most like?
I would probably be most like Jane. I can usually dismiss the faults in others and not let them affect my opinion of them. I think I try to see the good in people more than their faults. And like Jane, I don’t display a great deal of emotion, even more so when I was younger.
What is it about Darcy and Elizabeth that inspires you?
I love that both are people of high integrity, even though Elizabeth doesn’t see that in Darcy right away. And then I love the process of each of them finding out the truth of the other person. For Darcy, it is discovering what Elizabeth’s opinion of him is and then what he is going to do about it. For Elizabeth, it’s finding out the good man Darcy really is, and coming to terms with her misjudgment and what it cost her. Even though they both have faults, the journey they take to each other is a delight to behold.
Hi Leslie And Kara. I’ve almost finished listening to the audiobook of Pirates and Prejudice that I won in an Austen Variations giveaway recently, and even though I know what’s going to happen, I’m enjoying it as much as when I read it as an e-book last year. I have a vision of David Gandy dressed as Captain Jack Sparrow (possibly minus the eyeliner!) in my mind as I listen. I blame Joy King and Cat Gardiner for this!! How do you draft your books? On paper and/or computer?
I’m so glad you’ve been enjoying it, Anji! And I think your idea of David Gandy is a great one! I am definitely a computer author, although I sat in an airport one day (before we had all our hand-held devices) and wrote a portion of Drive and Determination when Elyssa was sitting in the airport. I make too many changes as I write, so a computer makes that a little easier.
Do you write to an outline?
I don’t use an outline, but I sometimes save a word doc of future scenes and I might even write a scene in advance when I want to get it down. I pretty much know where I want to go with the story, but then it sometimes changes directions on me! And sometimes I don’t even know the direction the story is going to go when I begin. As I wrote Mr. Darcy’s Rival I did not know who the rival, Mr. Rickland, really was. It wasn’t until I was several chapters into the book that I knew the direction I was going to take with him.
Do you have a place and time for writing?
I do my best writing in the morning when I have a good block of time alone. But since I now watch my granddaughter while her parents work, I write when I get the chance (when I have a good block of time alone). I used to have a computer room when we lived in Wichita, but now I either sit in the living room in my chair with my feet propped up on the ottoman or in our sun room at the table looking out to the woods behind our house. Usually, as is the case right now, one of my (5) cats is on the back of the chair or on the armrest next to me.
Do you have a set routine when it comes to writing? Set times or certain number of words per day?
Because of watching my granddaughter, that has taken a back seat. Last fall, while I was writing Mr. Darcy’s Rival I actually went about two months not writing a thing, as I was enjoying being a ‘Nana’ so much and as she was then becoming more mobile, I found it impossible to do much of anything else but watch her. And I didn’t mind at all! One day I might get back on a schedule. Maybe.
I’ve often read authors saying that their characters can take over a story. Has it ever happened to you?
Yes. For example, it did happen in Mr. Darcy’s Rival in two areas. One was in the background to Mr. Rickland, who is Darcy’s rival. (I won’t give out any spoilers!) And the other was in the fact that Anne de Bourgh ended up secretly being an author. No one else knew but Mrs. Jenkinson. When she confided that to Elizabeth, it was as much a surprise to me as to Elizabeth. That fact, and the novel she had written, A Peculiar Engagement became an important part of the book.
With the local events of last week causing my mind to be in a muddle, I don’t have my usual barrage of questions for you. For this I am sorry. I love your work, Kara Louise. Master Under Good Regulation made me cry. Darcy’s Voyage made me sigh. Pirates made me swoon, and your latest made me laugh. I guess the only question that begs an answer is: Do you currently have another work in progress. I desperately want to know.
(J. Dawn King)
Do you have another book in the works?
I actually have three stories that I have begun, but unfortunately, right now I don’t have as much time to write. (The easiest part of writing for me is the beginning of the book!) On the days I don’t watch our granddaughter I tend to run errands and get things done around the house. I used to be able to write a book in 3-6 months, recently it’s been averaging about 2 years! But I have had several people ask if I’m going to publish A Peculiar Engagement and I think I might do that. For those who do not know, A Peculiar Engagement was the book I wrote that Anne de Bourgh had written and published about being engaged to Mr. Darcy her whole life. I had ‘written’ it for Mr. Darcy’s Rival so that I knew what Elizabeth might discover about him as she read it. I’m now working to improve it, and I’d like to publish it with an added chapter of having the ‘behind the scenes’ take on what happens in Mr. Darcy’s Rival when Darcy returns to Rosings to see Anne. That might not make sense to some if you haven’t read, “MDR”, but basically, there are two different endings to Anne’s story.
Kara, I see all your stories dwell in the world of P&P set in the past. Do you plan to bring Darcy, Elizabeth and their stories to modern times? How about venture forth into the realm of other Austen novels, say Emma or Persuasion?
I actually have one novel that is modern, Drive and Determination. In that novel, Denton (Darcy) is CEO of a small coffee company and Elyssa (Elizabeth’s character) is an interior designer. The story takes place in Chicago, California, and Guatemala. The events in that story that take place in Guatemala were all based on a trip I took, doing much of the things Elyssa ends up doing. As for venturing out into other novels, I mentioned earlier that I have begun 3 other novels. One is actually an Emma based story about Harriet Smith. Another is the modern sequel to Drive and Determination, focusing on Denton’s sister, Gina, which has a Persuasion angle. Persuasion is my second favorite Austen novel.
What inspired the plot bunny for Mr. Darcy’s Rival?
I had seen several stories where Elizabeth takes an interest in Colonel Fitzwilliam, but I began to think about possibly other cousins – and those from the other side of the family, the de Bourghs. I wanted to make this gentleman more of a rival for Darcy and not be someone with whom he is particularly acquainted with.
What was the most difficult part of writing Mr. Darcy’s Rival?
Probably the most difficult part of writing any of my novels has been deciding what to do with some of the basic elements of P&P and whether or not to use them. For example, there is Darcy’s proposal, letter, Wickham and Lydia, and Lady Catherine confronting Elizabeth. I decided to really change up the first three in MDR, and then because of what happens in the book with Anne, didn’t need a Lady C confrontation. But it is hard to know what people expect or what I need to address.
When your muse leaves you in a tight spot, what do you do to get it going again (ie. walking, sewing, gardening)?
I love crafts, and I basically gave up my crafting when I began writing. I still have boxes of unfinished crafts and materials down in our basement, and have just recently begun doing some things again. I love paper crafting, have begun working with polymer clay, and I hope to pick up cross-stitching again. Haven’t touched it in 20 years but have tons of books and floss. The only thing I don’t like about crafting is that it means getting a lot of stuff out and then putting it all back! To get me into a romantic-writing mood, I love old songs (I mean, from my parents’ generation – Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Andy Williams, as well as instrumentals by Mantovani and Mancini), and will put Pandora on to see what comes up. Some of those old lyrics are so wonderfully romantic!
Do you cry when you write the sad parts of your stories?
The only story of mine that readily brings tears to my eyes is at the end of Master Under Good Regulation. That is the story of P&P told from Darcy’s dog’s point of view and it’s hard for me to read and not get choked up. I haven’t read a few of my stories in years, so if I went back to read them, I might just surprise myself and get teary eyed. I do want to read, Drive and Determination again soon.
What made you decide to make Darcy a pirate?
I love pirate stories! I was so excited when Disney finally made Pirates of the Caribbean because I loved that ride at Disneyland. The idea of making Darcy a pirate swam around in my head for quite some time. I wasn’t certain how I was going to make it work, and had actually begun with a completely different premise; one which I was not completely satisfied with. But one day I was looking at a map of England and noticed a small set of islands down off the south-western coast. I zoomed in and discovered they were the Isles of Scilly. In doing some research on those islands to find out whether or not they were even inhabited, I was thrilled to discover that with all the rocky outcroppings and caves surrounding them, it was a haven for pirates. I also discovered that people have lived on the larger islands for hundreds of years. It opened the door to some great adventure in that story.
Kara, I love all of your books. For curiosity, where did you get your idea for the dog in Master Under good regulation? I have seen dogs act so much like your dog hero. I loved that old pooch. I recently read Mr. Darcy’s rival and had such a good laugh at Darcy’s expense. Thanks for all you do for the JAFF community.
I got the idea for a dog to tell the story as I was reading Pamela Aiden’s trilogy. In that series, Darcy’s dog makes several appearances, and I wondered just how much a smart dog could influence the story. I actually chose an English Springer Spaniel because they are retrievers and would be a great hunting dog. When I wrote it, I did not realize that in the ’95 P&P, when Jane is sick at Netherfield and the men go out hunting, there are 2 ESS dogs with them, one of which, of course, is Reggie (I am sure!). Reggie turns out to be more aware of what his master wants and needs, and often gets quite impatient with Darcy’s actions. But Reggie knows how to save the day! We now have our own Reggie, rescuing her 5 years ago. Unfortunately, she is nothing like the original Reginald. In fact, SHE is Regina, but is scared to death of gunshots, fireworks, and thunderstorms. We think she probably ran away from her owner when he took her out hunting and he decided it wasn’t worth it to go after her. (That’s just my conjecture.) You may wonder how often we hear gunshots. Well, we live in the country, and so it’s not that rare. (In fact, right now there is a meat shoot going on less than a mile away. In the fall, every Saturday from noon until dusk, our dog sequesters herself down in the basement under the stairs and does not come up until she is certain the shooting has stopped.)
If you could have tea with Jane Austen, what would you ask her?
I would want to meet with her in modern times to ask her what she thought of her popularity and whether she ever considered the fact that 200 years after she wrote her novels, they would be so warmly embraced, received, loved, and what she thought of all the novels being written based on her stories and characters.
Thanks so much Kara for taking the time
to answer our questions!
I’m so excited you were willing
to be our guest this month!
But don’t disappear yet!!! Kara Louise is offering one e-book of Mr. Darcy’s Rival for 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!
I hope everyone has a query for Kara Louise!
Final date for comments to be entered into the drawing Wednesday, 14 October.
Winner will be announced Friday, 16 October!
Leave your comment below!
Good luck everyone!!
Blurb for Mr. Darcy’s Rival – Mr.Darcy has learned he must prepare himself when he and his cousin, Colonel Fitzwilliam, make their yearly visit to his aunt, particularly when it comes to Lady Catherine’s expectation that he marry her daughter, Anne.
This year, however, will throw in a few additional obstacles to Darcy’s peace of mind with the presence of a nephew on the de Bourgh side of the family, and quite unexpectedly, Miss Elizabeth Bennet.
An interrupted proposal, a letter written and unknowingly lost, a harsh accusation, and a rival all conspire to thwart Mr. Darcy in securing Miss Elizabeth Bennet’s affections when he visits his aunt at Rosings.
Will Elizabeth find the handsome and engaging Mr. Rickland more suited to her than Mr. Darcy? And will a novel she reads that was written secretly by Miss Anne de Bourgh help smooth the path to the couple finding true love?