Friday, April 16, 2010

Author Interview and Giveaway with Monica Fairview (The Darcy Cousins)

Please welcome Monica Fairview, Author of The Darcy Cousins (April 2010 - Sourcebooks) to My Reading Room - she is joining us today for an interview.

  1. How did you celebrate when you received the first call that you would be published?
I called and e-mailed practically every person I knew – and some I didn’t, guzzled down champagne, and went off on a holiday weekend.

  1. Was it just as exciting to see your newest book, The Darcy Cousins published?
Yes, but it isn’t the same kind of excitement. I loved writing The Darcy Cousins, and I couldn’t wait for people to start reading it. As the covers materialize, it becomes more and more real, and you realize – it’s a book, I’ve written a book! It’s not just a bunch of words on the computer any more. Then there’s a strong sense of anticipation as you wait to see how people react.

  1. Without giving anything away - what is The Darcy Cousins about?
Without being facetious – it’s about the Darcy cousins and the impact they have on each other’s lives. Clarissa Darcy, one of the American Darcys, is a trouble maker, and she certainly stirs things up when she arrives at Lady Catherine’s home because she deliberately defies the rules of lady-like conduct. Georgiana Darcy, who’s quite shy and quiet in Pride and Prejudice, blossoms under her cousin’s influence, and even Anne de Bourgh seems more willing to open up and interact with her. Beyond that, it’s a romance, with Georgiana gradually realizing the value of a certain very honorable gentleman.

Crystal:  This sounds very interesting since I love the ones that defy the rules, especially around Lady Catherine.

  1. I see that The Darcy Cousins is the second book in the series, do you feel the reader needs to read the first book or will this book stand alone fine?
You don’t need to read the The Other Mr. Darcy to read The Darcy Cousins. The characters I focus on here are completely different. It’s meant to be a stand-alone book.

  1. Where did the idea for The Darcy Cousins series come from?
The whole thing started when I realized that Caroline Bingley got the short end of the stick when Elizabeth stole Darcy from right under her nose. I wanted to know what happened to her afterwards. I had an image of another Darcy figure – someone who was immune to her snobbery, and who thought life a bit of a joke -- who was almost the opposite of Caroline. This Mr. Darcy would be able to melt away that famous haughtiness and make her more human. The story went on from there.

  1. When did you first read Jane Austen and what was the first book you read by her?
I first encountered Pride and Prejudice when I was fourteen at school in England. I had a wonderful English teacher who loved to read it aloud. She assigned us certain characters to read out to the class. Of course, there were several girls who rolled their eyes or turned sullen when it was their turn to read, but that worked very well with Lydia and Kitty. Perhaps it was the way my teacher read it, but I thought it was hilarious. The romance at the time was only a small part of what I liked about the novel.

  1. Have you seen both movie versions of Pride and Prejudice?  If so which one is your favorite?
Yes, several times. Colin Firth in the 1995 version is closer to my concept of an arrogant, aristocratic Mr. Darcy than MacFadyen, and I think Jennifer Ehle captures the mischief of Elizabeth Bennet much better than Keira Knightly. But I like the 2005 version because it captures the reality of the time more accurately – the crowded dance scenes (what they called “the crush” in Regency times), the sweat, the class difference between Netherfield and Longbourne. I also like the fact that the teenagers act like teenagers. Ehle in a way seems much older than Elizabeth really was. Macfadyen is a very appealing Darcy, wearing his heart on his sleeve, and Keira Knightly is a teen Elizabeth, which is really more accurate. The 2005 version is meant to appeal to a contemporary audience, and I think it does that job very well. After all, every film is an interpretation, and it’s great to see Pride and Prejudice through new eyes.

Crystal:  I keep hearing how good the 2005 version is and it's different take on it, I am going to have to see this one soon.

  1. Do you think you have found your niche in writing Regency Romance or is there some other genre you would like to explore some day?
I’d love to continue writing Regencies/Austenesques because that’s what I’ve loved to read for years and years. But I’m writing a novel set in a different time period now, and I’m enjoying the research and the setting very much. I’d like to see where that goes as well.

  1. Do you plan your books out or do you just write and see where it takes you?
I’m a planner. I like to outline pretty much every chapter before I start writing. Having said that, once my characters come alive, they like to surprise me, and things don’t usually turn out quite the way I planned.

  1. Do you get time to read? What are your favorite types of books to read?
One of the disadvantages of writing consistently, I’ve found, is that it’s harder to settle down with a book and read. It’s quite frustrating, because my subconscious is working all the time. I’ve just curled up on a sofa, ready to spend an evening reading, when an idea pops into my head and I have to rush to the computer. I love futuristic fiction and fantasy, but I like to read books on the bestsellers list as well. I read across a range of subjects, but what I’m writing controls what I can and can’t read. I don’t read Austenesque novels because I don’t want to be influenced by them in any way. Before I start an Austenesque novel, though, I go into Austen overload with her books and films.

  1. What is your favorite room in your house?
The spare room where I write.

  1. What is your favorite spot to read in?
 I mostly end up on the floor.

  1. What is your favorite snack food?
Nuts, especially hazelnuts and almonds.

  1. What is your favorite season?
Summer. Give me the lazy heaviness of the long summer day anytime, minus the mosquitoes.

  1. Do you have a schedule for writing each day or do you just do it when you can?
My schedule is defined by my child’s school-day really. You have to write every day to produce books, so I can’t just choose my time. Having said that, I’m not as disciplined as I should be.

  1. Did you find writing The Darcy Cousins to be difficult or did the book just take off with no problems?
Writing a novel is always difficult, full of hard work and hard choices, especially when you have to chuck away all the pages that don’t work (that part’s heart- wrenching). I tend to write in a bit of a frenzy, wanting to get the whole thing done as soon as possible, but then I have to go back and rewrite almost all of it, and that’s when you need slow and steady discipline. Having said that, writing The Darcy Cousins was very enjoyable. It was far easier to write than The Other Mr. Darcy.  I chuckled my way through it, and I really loved the characters.

17. Any book signings/conferences/public/blog appearances in the near future?
Living in England makes it difficult to do book signings and appearances in the US, but I do have a series of blog scheduled for the month of April. You can find my blog schedule on my website:   

  1. Do you have a new book in the works?
As I mentioned earlier, yes, I’m writing a historical romance from a different era, but it’s still too early to announce it.

  1. Anything else you would like to say?
I’d like to say that writing Austenesque novels is very rewarding, because it feels like a link between the past and the present. Jane Austen had a tragically short life, and never knew how much people appreciated her writing. Writing The Darcy Cousins and The Other Mr. Darcy is my tribute to a very original and unique writer, and a way of keeping her memory alive among us.

Meanwhile, thank you for this excellent opportunity to meet some of your readers here on My Reading Room. If you don’t mind, I’d like to ask them: what do you find
most appealing about Pride and Prejudice?

A young lady in disgrace should at least strive to behave with decorum…

Dispatched from America to England under a cloud of scandal, Mr. Darcy’s incorrigible American cousin, Clarissa Darcy, manages to provoke Lady Catherine de Bourgh, Mr. Collins, and the parishioners of Hunsford all in one morning!

And there are more surprises in store for that bastion of tradition, Rosings Park, when the family gathers for their annual Easter visit. Georgiana Darcy, generally a shy model of propriety, decides to take a few lessons from her unconventional cousin, to the delight of a neighboring gentleman. Anne de Bourgh, encouraged to escape her “keeper” Mrs. Jenkinson, simply…vanishes. But the trouble really starts when Clarissa and Georgiana both set out to win the heart of the same young man…

Literature professor Monica Fairview loves teaching students the joys of reading. But after years of postponing the urge, she finally realized that what she really wanted to do was write.  The author of The Other Mr. Darcy and An Improper Suitor, Ms. Fairview lived a big chunk of her life in America, and currently resides in London. For more information, please visit

Thank you again to Monica Fairview for allowing me to interview her today and thanks to Danielle Jackson at Sourcebooks for my ARC of The Darcy Cousins and coordinating this interview.


So, as Monica asked - what do you find most appealing about Pride and Prejudice?  Simply comment and answer the question to enter.  I think this is a great question and one I am going to think on myself. 
Additional entries for tweeting about this giveaway, and being a follower.

Giveaway open to US/Canada only.  Open through 4/23. 

 Review of The Darcy Cousins will be coming in the next few days.