by Vera Nazarian
|Photo by Rüdiger Wölk|
|Photo by Lotus Head|
Deborah Moggach was the primary screenwriter of the masterful Golden Globe and BAFTA nominated Joe Wright directed 2005 version of Pride & Prejudice. Adam Spunberg, famed co-conspirator of the Austen Twitter Project with our own Lynn Shepherd – Murder at Mansfield Park – scored a major coup in sitting down with Deborah for an extensive interview.
That interview aired in two parts on the online magazine Picktainment. I love Adam’s introduction:
Pride & Prejudice might very well be the most beloved novel in the history of the English language, so imagine how challenging it must be to apply a modern fingerprint to Jane Austen’s revered, two-century-old text without tainting the parchment. And by the way, not only is the task to metamorphose her work into a screenplay, but to condense it all into two hours, potentially earning the ire of Austen devotees worldwide and the lady herself, from the grave.
That was what Deborah Moggach set out to do when writing the script for Keira Knightley and company in the 2005 Pride & Prejudice, directed by Joe Wright. There were some who thought it impossible, but Ms. Moggach proceeded to dazzle audiences with a brilliant script, vaulting herself into the pantheon of all-time great adapters of classic novels.
I was fortunate enough to interview her this week for Picktainment, a delightful encounter in which I found her to be every bit the Austen heroine, minus any traces of pride – or prejudice.
It is a wonderful article. Here are the links to each part. Thanks, Adam, for continuing to share your enthusiasm for Jane Austen with us. And for the record, I don’t agree with her about the American ending either!
Once upon a time a clueless woman sat down at her computer and decided to type the lines of a story that were racing unrelentingly through her brain. Upon completion of that short story deemed adequate enough to be read by others she posted it on a fan fiction website. Feedback was positive so she continued on with transcribing her crazy ideas onto indelible computer paper and one thing lead to another as they say until lo and behold she eventually ended up with a publisher, an editor, and five novels to her name!
The moral of the story?
I have no idea! Obviously I am that woman and am still largely clueless! Whatever the case, I’ll accept it and happily celebrate the launch of The Trouble With Mr. Darcy – Volume Five of The Darcy Saga series.
Even charmed lives will encounter troubles along the way….
After a time of happiness and strife, Darcy and Elizabeth gather with family and friends in Hertfordshire to celebrate the wedding of Kitty Bennet. Georgiana Darcy returns from a lengthy tour of the Continent with happy secrets to share, accompanied by the newlywed Colonel Fitzwilliam and Lady Simone, who may have secrets of their own. The stage is set for joy until the party is upset by the arrival of the long absent Mr. and Mrs. Wickham.
Wickham’s jealousy and resentment of Darcy has grown steadily throughout the years and Darcy rightly suspects that Wickham is up to no good. Darcy enlists the aid of Colonel Fitzwilliam to keep an eye on Wickham’s activity, but neither anticipate the extreme measures taken to exact his revenge. Nor do they fathom the layers of deception and persons involved in the scheme.
George Wickham returns to Hertfordshire bent on creating trouble, and Elizabeth and her son are thrown into danger. Knowing that Wickham has nothing left to lose, Darcy and Fitzwilliam rush to the rescue in a race against time. This lushly romantic story takes a turn for the swashbuckling when Mr. Darcy has to confront the villainous Wickham and his own demons at the same time… devoted as he is, what battles within will Mr. Darcy have to face?
Intrigued? I do hope so! But how did the story evolve to this place? What came first?
Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy ~
Beginning on their wedding day, Darcy and Elizabeth are two people who are deeply in love with one another and are excited to begin their marriage. Their courtship was tempestuous; misunderstandings and misgivings nearly tore them apart. But now that they’ve seen each other without prejudice, their trust, attraction, and delight in each other grows with every passing day. Both are inexperienced and innocent, sharing moments of shyness and boldness as they discover the kinds of intimacies that a newlywed couple shares. As their love story unfolds, they reveal their innermost secrets and feelings, embracing each other in a marriage filled with romance, passion, humor, and drama that will keep you spellbound.
Loving Mr. Darcy ~
Darcy and Lizzy venture away from Pemberley to journey through England, finding friends, relatives, fun, love, and an even deeper and more sacred bond along the way. Having embarked on the greatest adventure of all, marriage and the start of a new life together, now the Darcys take the reader on a journey through a time of prosperity, enjoyment, and security. They experience all the adventures of travel, with friends and relatives providing both companionship and complications, and with fun as their focus.
The sights and sounds, tastes and flavors of Regency England come alive. Through it all, Darcy and Lizzy continue to build a marriage filled with romance, sensuality, and the beauty of a deep, abiding love.
My Dearest Mr. Darcy ~
Darcy is more deeply in love with his wife than ever. As the golden summer draws to a close and the Darcys look ahead to the end of their first year of marriage, Mr. Darcy could never have imagined his love could grow even deeper with the passage of time. Lizzy is full of surprises. She is unpredictable and lively, pulling Darcy out of his stern and serious demeanor with her teasing and temptation. Looking ahead and planning for celebrations and life events large and small, Lizzy can still catch Darcy unawares when he least expects it. But surprising events force the Darcys to weather absence and illness, and to discover whether they can find a way to build a bond of everlasting love and desire. The romance and bewitchment is never-ending…
In The Arms of Mr. Darcy ~
Darcy and Elizabeth are as much in love as ever—even more so as their relationship matures. Their passion inspires everyone around them, and as winter turns to spring, romance finds nearly everyone. Confirmed bachelor Richard Fitzwilliam sets his sights on a seemingly unattainable, beautiful widow, Georgiana Darcy learns to flirt outrageously, the flighty Kitty Bennet develops her first crush, and Caroline Bingley meets her match. But the path of true love never does run smooth, and Elizabeth and Darcy are kept busy navigating their friends and loved ones through the inevitable separations, misunderstandings, misgivings and lovers’ quarrels…
So now I am up to #5 and thrilled to be here on Austen Authors amongst this fine group of writers and amazing readers sharing my accomplishment and happiness. Is there anywhere else on the web better than Austen Authors to express love of Jane-related literature? I think not! In honor of my release and joy in being a part of this amazing collective, I will be giving away 2 signed copies of The Trouble With Mr. Darcy! Simply leave a comment to be entered into the drawing, which I will conclude at midnight on Friday, April 8. Check back over the weekend to see if you won!
At the same time I am hosting an extravaganza with fun and games over on my website – Sharon Lathan, Novelist. I am giving away even MORE copies of my novel – also signed – so come on over. Plus, the virtual book tour has begun with giveaways galore at those websites. WOW!
Let the confetti fly and balloons soar! Talk to me about the Darcys and happily-ever-after since apparently that is a subject I never tire of.
by Abigail Reynolds
By now you’ve heard many Austen Authors say that launching a book is like having a baby. In that case, I’m giving birth to twins! This was scheduled long ago as the launch for What Would Mr. Darcy Do?, now in bookstores everywhere (I love saying that!), but with my typical lack of planning, it turns out that my new self-pubbed book, A Pemberley Medley, is being rolled out this week as well. It wasn’t quite what I had planned, but then again, don’t most mothers of twins say that?
It’s much like having newborn twins, too. I’m dazed and happy and confused and I don’t know which way is up. No sooner do I get one book fed and cleaned up (or writer three guest blogs, or whatever), then the other starts screaming for attention. I had lots of plans for what I would do on April 1, the official release date for What Would Mr. Darcy Do?, and I got none of it done because the ebook of A Pemberley Medley ended up being released early – and discovered immediately by very diligent readers! – and I had to spend the day trouble-shooting it. It’s fortunate that I thrive on this kind of chaos.
So, enough about me and onto the books! A Pemberley Medley is a book of short Pride & Prejudice variations, including new material as well as some stories that have appeared in different places on line. One of the most exciting bits about it for me is that I included a favorite excerpt from my never-to-be-published book, The Rule of Reason, which has some overlap with one of my published books, Impulse & Initiative/To Conquer Mr. Darcy. Most of it, though, is different, and includes a couple of my very favorite scenes of all time. I’ve always regretted being unable to add those to my published work, so I’m delighted to have turned one into an excerpt for A Pemberley Medley! This new book will eventually be available at all online booksellers in both print and ebook format, but it’s still being rolled out. The ebook is available now for Kindle at Amazon and for all other e-readers, including Nook, at Smashwords. The print version is on available on Amazon now, but other retailers may take a few weeks to catalog it, so please be patient!
What Would Mr. Darcy Do? is a reissue of my early work From Lambton to Longbourn with a new opening scene and some minor editing. Many people call it their favorite of my books. It’s a variation beginning at the Lambton Inn after Elizabeth receives Jane’s letters. Have you ever read that scene and wanted to scream when Darcy leaves without telling Elizabeth how he feels? That’s how I started in this whole business of writing variations. One day I was re-reading that scene in P&P and began yelling at Darcy to stop, but no matter what I said to him, he kept leaving the room with a long, serious look, and finally I had to take matters into my own hands. The Lambton Inn scene in What Would Mr. Darcy Do? has a very different and more satisfying ending. It’s a fun, happy book with lots of longing and romantic feelings, but no angst. It’s ultimate comfort food.
One problem with having newborn twins is that the older children start to feel neglected and act up. In this case, the problem child is The Rule of Reason. As people have read the excerpt, they’ve wanted to read the entire novel, which is available at Lulu.com. Since they’d already bought A Pemberley Medley, I decided it was only fair to slash the price on the ebook of The Rule of Reason to $1.99. For those of you who are scratching your heads because I just said it was unpublished and now I’m saying that you can buy it, it’s one of those odd definition things. It’ll never be available in bookstores, even by special order, or online booksellers except Lulu, and it doesn’t have an ISBN. Essentially, it’s the child that I hid in the attic, so it’s no surprise it’s feeling neglected!
Now the good stuff: the giveaways. I’ll be giving away a signed copy of What Would Mr. Darcy Do? plus two e-book copies of A Pemberley Medley to randomly selected commenters on this post. So please celebrate with me by posting a comment for a chance to win a book!
The second of our March fortnight quizzes was a hotly contested match, but our eventual winner managed a perfect score on questions based on our November 2010 posts. Below is a review of the questions, along with the correct responses.
- Who drew “Mr. Darcy” in the Carolyn Eberhart post? Robert Bell Who drew “Scrooge”? John Leech
- What is the date of Mr. Gardiner’s express in Pride and Prejudice? August 2
- Who created the images which graced Mary Simonsen’s Thanksgiving Day post? Jane C. Nylander
- Which Austen-related actor has a birthday on November 7? Lindsay Duncan On November 10? Hugh Bonneville
- Who was the leader of the Picts? Angus McFergus
- What does the term “post Captain” mean? The officer had held the rank of captain for a full two years.
- What was Ambrose Bierce’s definition of a “turkey” according to “The Devil’s Dictionary”? a large bird whose flesh, when eaten on certain religious anniversaries, has the peculiar property of attesting piety and gratitude
- Which character did the 1987 Northanger Abbey adaptation add as a confidant to General Tilney? Marchioness de Thierry
- According to Kara Louise what should be the bumper sticker for Edward Ferras? Beware of promises made in our youth.
- Which Jane Austen literary fiction is generally acknowledged to have started the “adaptation” craze? Sybil Brinton’s 1913 Old Friends and New Fancies: An Imaginary Sequel to the Novels of Jane Austen
- “Plucking the Turkey” was created by whom? Henry Walton
- When was the University of St. Andrews founded? 1413
- Who is the author of Tom Jones? Henry Fielding
- What was the tattoo for the morose, heart-broken Benwick? Fanny Forever (crossed out and followed by) Louisa Forever
- What is the title of the Persuasion inspired book by Abigail Reynolds? Morning Light
- What was the original meaning of the French word “fiance” and when did it come into use in England? “trust” (later “to promise,” especially “to marry”) – circa 1835
- Which Austen Author is a fencing pro? Carolyn Eberhart
- Who is the author of The Rebels of Ireland? Edward Rutherford
by Susan Kaye
“I can listen no longer in silence … I must speak to you … you pierce my soul …I am half agony, half hope … tell me not I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone forever … I offer myself to you … I have loved none but you … ” These are some of the declarations of love offered to Anne Elliot by Frederick Wentworth in Jane Austen’s last published novel, Persuasion.
Most of the letters in Jane Austen’s novels were utilitarian in nature. I suppose, depending on how you view romance, the next most romantic note in the Austen world is to Mrs Forrester from Lydia Bennett, telling of her madcap run for the boarder with George Wickham. Nah, that doesn’t even get in the ballpark.
Anyway, The Letter is quite popular. You can join over 1100 others on a Facebook page dedicated to Captain Frederick Wentworth’s letter to Anne Elliot (Persuasion). You can go HERE and read about a successful, very public marriage proposal composed almost entirely of Wentworth’s letter, and other love letters between real people. There is also an enterprising soul from Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, who, on Etsy, was selling 4 X 5 inch mini pillows/sachets with the letter printed on the face. (They are sold out as far as I can tell.) I myself did a give away and as a bonus hand-stitched a bookmark with “half agony, half hope” cross-stitched with on it. (I’ll be doing something similar for the winner of one of this month’s Fortnight Quizzes here on Austen Authors.) There is something about The Letter that draws us in.
Certainly the passion is obvious. Even without reading Persuasion, you feel the urgency and know the man writing this letter fears greatly losing this woman, and that pulling out all the stops is his only hope. As Admiral Lord Nelson was heard to say, “Never mind the manoeuvres, go straight at them.” Most people love passion and that is why we read romance, I believe. Most of us have our own stories of passion and we like to relive them through the characters in books.
Last week, my husband and I celebrated 33 years of marriage. Our custom has been to celebrate at the Oregon coast in January. It’s nearly deserted at that time of year and the rates are dirt-cheap. The economy got in the way of custom this year, and work got in the way of Hubby even taking the day off, so it was not the anniversary I had hoped for. After three decades I’ve learned to be a little bit flexible because there will be other days to celebrate. As I had time on my hands, I got to thinking about the letter. I still love the passion, but I have come to appreciate some other things about it.
“I have loved none but you … weak and resentful I have been, but never inconstant. You alone have brought me to Bath. For you alone I think and plan.” In these few lines Frederick admits his foolishness, both in the distant and near past. He is also telling Anne that his desire to be near her is the reason he’s come—on the off chance that she thinks he showed up merely wanting to take a hot soak. And the best of all, in my opinion, he tells her that she has never really been out of his thoughts.
As the captain of a ship, Wentworth understood the thrill of the chase, but he also understood that without careful planning, the chase was likely to fail. His rank made him responsible for the success of any mission he was given, he was responsible for the ship and every man on it. All the assets on the ship were under his authority. He was responsible for returning to the Admiralty the ship in the same condition, or improved, and above that, bringing to the Crown’s coffers as many other ships as he could capture, their crews, and their assets. This was no small feat. By the look of his bankbook, he was very good at his job, and very good at planning.
Passion, on the other hand, is very simple. Passion drove Lydia and Wickham. Passion doesn’t always end so badly, but it doesn’t end wonderfully, magically, whimsically, and sensuously in real life nearly as often as it does in fiction. In reality, I see the initial spark fizzling out and the couple drifting apart. What I think Frederick tells Anne is that the initial passion he felt for her didn’t fade, but deepened into something more vital, and more enduring. He’s saying that he thinks about her, he watches her, and he looks eagerly to their future together.
There are times I watch romantic movies and think, “I wish … “ But I live in the real world. Both our adult children live with us, plus our granddaughter, and the whimsy of romance is crowded out by toys, other people’s schedules, and trying to keep up with the laundry. Oh, and writing. Passion looks different after 30 years. Bill comes home at midnight—he works second shift—and he gets something to eat. We sit together in a finally quiet house and watch old reruns of Everybody Loves Raymond. He tells me about his workday and I tell him about mine. We go to bed and take comfort in knowing the other is nearby.
I think Frederick and Anne would understand this sort of life and give it a nod of approval.
Take care–Susan Kaye
Austen Authors is proud to announce our April Giveaways. Fortnight Quiz #1 was posted yesterday. Visitors have until midnight Eastern Daylight Savings Time on April 15 to send responses to email@example.com.
The winner of Fortnight Quiz #1, who will be announced on April 16, will receive a copy of Jane and the Unpleasantness of Scargrave Manor, a book written by Stephanie Barron and donated by Mary Simonsen.