Good morning everyone. I’m pleased to welcome Nina Benneton, author of Compulsively Mr. Darcy, here to Peeking Between the Pages today. I put up my review of her debut novel yesterday (my review) and it was a really good read for me. It was funny and entertaining and just perfect for a light read! Nina is going to chat with us today on her inspiration for writing Austen sequels…
“The ugly fact is books are made out of books. The novel depends for its life on the novels that have been written.”
The iconic writer Cormac McCarthy said the above once in an interview (April 19th, 1992, The New York Times).
I admire McCarthy’s sparse yet precise, descriptive writing. I read him for ‘the extensive improvement of my mind’, and to give my irreverent bent some needed gravity, but I’m not a fan of McCarthy’s apocalyptic viewpoint. His novels often leave me quite depressed. He’s my husband’s favorite novelist.
“Let other pens dwell on misery and guilt. I quit such odious subjects as soon as I can…” (Chapter 17, Mansfield Park, Jane Austen).
My debut novel would depend for its life on the novels of Jane Austen, I decided when I picked up a pen. She’s my favorite novelist. Jane Austen’s witty, panoptic illustration of human foibles and follies appealed to me as a writer to emulate.
But, I did more than emulate. I was shameless. I borrowed her iconic characters from Pride and Prejudice. I borrowed elements of her plot. I even borrowed her happily ever after ending.
Because of readers like myself. Jane Austen devotees, addicts, fanatics—Janeites or Austenites—whatever you call us, we’re voracious readers of all things Jane.
We cannot have enough. There are Jane Austen forums. There are blogs. There are social media sites. There are shelves full of Jane Austen genre books in libraries and bookstores. (Perhaps in another two hundred years, McCarthy will have his own genre and rabid Cormac forums, I tell my husband.)
Fellow Janeites from all over the world discourse and debate every minutia involving Jane Austen and her works. The mind boggles. We can give Star Trek fans a run for their phasers.
I’ll leave it to more astute and witty social commentators to explain and pontificate why the unabated cult of Jane.
For me, I was inspired to write my first novel to feed my fellow Janeites’ appetite. With great generosity, they read my mistakes-laden drafts, provided insightful comments, laughed when I needed them to, critiqued and held me accountable when I needed them to, and, most graciously, corrected and taught me the intricacies of the English grammar, which I desperately needed. All this effort to educate a fellow Janeite for the love of Jane.
Jane Austen would have been proud.
Yet, I did not want to write a pastiche of Jane’s most popular novel, Pride and Prejudice.
I wanted to give my fellow Janeites something same, but different. I changed the time period to contemporary. I changed the settings: Vietnam replaced Hertfordshire because I wanted to a dose of cultural flavor, Berkeley was Pemberley because that’s where my heart always is. And I changed the tone to an irreverent romantic comedy because that’s my novice writer’s voice.
I afflicted my Mr. Darcy with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Then I treated him with my quixotic Elizabeth Bennet, an infectious disease doctor.
My inspiration was Jane Austen’s beloved novel, but, above all, I wanted readers to laugh. My fellow Janeites laughed so much they harassed me to pursue publication, show the world that we Jane Austen fanatics are funnier than the Star Trek fanatics.
My novel depended for its life on Jane Austen’s novel, but I’ve managed to birth something that’s my own.
Thanks so much Nina! I always love to hear what inspires the stories that make the books that I enjoy so much. I look forward to reading more from you in the future.
About Compulsively Mr. Darcy by Nina Benneton
For anyone obsessed with Pride & Prejudice, it’s Darcy and Elizabeth like you’ve never see them before!
This modern take introduces us to the wealthy philanthropist Fitzwilliam Darcy, a handsome and brooding bachelor who yearns for love but doubts any woman could handle his obsessive tendencies. Meanwhile, Dr. Elizabeth Bennet has her own intimacy issues that ensure her terrible luck with men.
When the two meet up in the emergency room after Darcy’s best friend, Charles Bingley, gets into an accident, Elizabeth thinks the two men are a couple. As Darcy and Elizabeth unravel their misconceptions about each other, they have to decide just how far they’re willing to go to accept each other’s quirky ways…
Find Compulsively Mr. Darcy on Goodreads
About Nina Benneton
Author Bio: As a child, Nina Benneton promised the French Catholic nuns who taught her in Asia that she would grow up and find the cure for cancer, effect world peace, and win a Nobel Prize for something, anything. Alas, her own Mr. Darcy and the requisite number of beautiful children interrupted her plans. Tired of alphabetizing her spices and searching for stray Barbie shoes, she turned to writing.
Her debut novel, Compulsively Mr. Darcy, earned a Best Book review from Long and Short Review, ‘Hands down…a must read for lovers and fans of classic romance.’ Fresh Fiction Review called it a ‘tenderly written novel.’ Publishers Weekly wrote, ‘Die-hard fans of everything Austen will enjoy this update of her classic tale.’
Find her on her website/blog: www.NinaBenneton.com
Find her on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Nina-Benneton/273543669356518
Find her on her groupblog: www.AustenAuthors.com
I have one copy of Compulsively Mr. Darcy by Nina Benneton to share with my readers. To enter…
- For 1 entry simply leave me a comment entering the giveaway.
- For 2 entries, follow my blog. If you already do, thank you, and please let me know so I can pass the extra entry on to you as well.
- For 3 entries, blog or tweet this giveaway and spread the word.
This giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents only (no PO boxes) and I will draw for the winner on Saturday, February 25/12. Good luck everyone!