Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Meet Linda Beutler, author of The Red Chrysanthemum

It is with great pleasure that I introduce debut author, Linda Beutler, today. Although Linda Beutler has authored two books on horticulture, The Red Chrysanthemum, is her first book of fiction. Ms. Beutler uses her expertise of flowers to tell a lovely story of Darcy, Lizzy and the language of flowers. Thank you, Linda, and welcome!

(Meryton Press is also offering a great giveaway so be sure and check it out at the bottom of the post.)

It must be confessed, I do not remember the first time I read Pride 
and Prejudice, but it might have been after the 1980 BBC production was broadcast in the USA. I do remember my first Austen, Sanditon, of all things, which seems to get the least attention. I read it as an English Literature major in college, not because I had to, but because I enjoyed coming at major authors through their minor works. But at the time, my passion for words and their clever arrangement was set alight by those Irish wiseacres, Oscar Wilde and George Bernard Shaw. 

   Throughout my twenties I worked at the Multnomah County Library in Portland, OR, wallowing in the employees’ book-buying policy, which allowed us to acquire titles at the library discount. One of my first purchases was The Penguin Complete Novels of Jane Austen.

   Like so many JAFF authors, I fell fast and hard for the 1995 BBC version, but not necessarily for Colin’s damp antics. It was the Andrew Davies screenplay that bewitched me, with its light tone and sparkling blend of his dialogue with Austen’s. What he chose to highlight and omit was nothing short of sublime. That Jennifer Ehle looked more as I imagined Elizabeth Bennet to look than 1980’s Elizabeth Garvey didn’t hurt either. And then there was Colin Firth’s simmering Darcy.

   Thanks to that same library system, I can track to the day, September 17, 2011, when I first read Abigail Reynold’s What Would Mr. Darcy Do?, picking it up as a light end-of-term read (I am an adjunct instructor of horticulture at Clackamas Community College). Little did I know this simple gesture would lead me through the looking-glass into a wonderland of authors, titles, and new friends. I read voraciously for months, reaching a first name basis with the Fed-Ex driver who brought my Amazon purchases.

   It was while reading Mary Street’s Confessions of Fitzwilliam Darcy when my perspective began to change. I was no longer content to merely read. Elizabeth and Darcy were trying to answer the questions Jane Austen left blank. Before I could control my compulsions, I had a nearly completed novel-length story, and was distracted by a diverging plotline, which became The Red Chrysanthemum (TRC). 
When TRC was nearly complete, I decided it might be good enough to publish.

   Having already written two books on topics horticultural, I was accustomed to working with a publisher and being edited. Learning editors are our friends is a very important lesson for author’s to learn, and sometimes a difficult one for those scribes who think every word they produce is a pearl of living genius and should never be altered. However, I felt certain if I couldn’t find a publisher, it clearly meant TRC was unworthy, and on my computer, and mine alone, it would have remained.  (I do not mean to paint all of those choosing to self-publish with the same tar brush. I have read both brilliant and horrid self-published fan-fiction. I only know what works for me, to get the best out of what I write.)

   After looking carefully at the imprints of some of my favorite authors, I was struck by the welcoming Meryton Press submissions page. I already knew how to frame a submission, and went “old-school”, printing TRC’s first three chapters, including the outline, and a cover letter. When the response came via email, the heart-in-throat sensation I have attributed to Jane Austen’s characters became all too real. If you look up the definition of “giddy”, you will see my face when I read their response. Giddy, and relieved and surprised and scared to death.


   In TRC there is a vague resemblance to all JAFF. Most authors give Elizabeth the scent of lavender, and since I love the scent myself, that was easy. Colonel Fitzwilliam had no known first name. He became Richard because it sounded right when others used it. The use of flower imagery and the language of flowers may not be unique to TRC, but it helped weave a thread of light-heartedness I found in Jane Austen and wanted to recreate.


   I’ll just close by mentioning The Red Chrysanthemum is written for a mature audience. The love scenes after marriage are, I hope, erotic without being too explicit.

Linda's book may be purchased at the following:
Amazon
Barnes & Noble

Connect with Linda:
Linda Beutler Website

Thank you again, Linda, for being my guest and letting my readers and myself get to know a little about you and your path to writing novels.  I always enjoy reading how authors and readers start on this obsession that is Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice and the world of JAFF. It is a fascinating and entertaining path. By the way, I, too, love the scent of lavender. It has long been one of my favorites and your pictures are beautiful!

I want to thank Michele Reed and Meryton Press for the giveaway. Ms. Reed is kindly giving away a trade paperback AND  eBook for your eReader, winners choice. There will be two lucky winners and the giveaway is international . To be entered leave a comment below. I always love reading your 'say in the conversation'Good luck to all. Be sure to include your email address in the comment. To prevent unwanted spam, put your email address with an (at) instead of @.  Winner will be chosen in a random drawing. Giveaway ends at midnight, September 23.

37 comments:

  1. This book was listed on my recommendations and I was intrigued by it, now I'm more so! I love the premis and use of flower language.

    And really, I think my love of lavender comes from Elizabeth as well. I read other stories and they change her sent to rose or gardenia, but I've always perferred lavender.

    Anyhow, congrats on the new book. Can't wait to add it to my collection!

    Thanks,
    Liz
    Csuexc(at)aol(dot)com

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    1. I hope you enjoy it! It was a great adventure to write it!

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  2. It was fun meeting another new Austenesque author and learning her story. I've always been a flower grower and enjoyed lavender bushes about my yard long before I read how popular it was as a soap scent in Regency times. I look forward to seeing how flowers are used to convey thought in the story. I read a Victorian story that had the lovers communicating with nosegays and it was cute.

    Thanks for the giveaway opportunity.
    sophiarose1816 at gmail dot com

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    1. Hoping you'll find Lizzy and Darcy even cuter!

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  3. This is my first time to your blog (found it thru Austen Admirers). Now I am " giddy" finding a new place to feed my JA addiction:). Sounds like TRC is for me, I appreciate the chance to win it. Best to you and your future endeavors. Bevmayo at gmail dot com

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    1. Thanks, Beverly! Hope you'll enjoy TRC. Other than Lizzy and Darcy's emotions, driven by events in the original, it is fairly angst free. No abductions, to carriage crashes...!

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  4. Hi Beverly. I'm so glad you found my blog! Austen Admirers is a wonderful app isn't it! I have your same addiction! :)

    Good luck in the giveaway. Hope you will visit often.

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  5. Glad to have played a role in corrupting you! Good luck with your new book.

    Abigail

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  6. Congratulations on your release. I had recently come across it on Amazon and put it on my TBR list. Thank you for the giveaway!
    cherringtonmb at sbcglobal dot net

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    1. Thank you, Becky!
      I sincerely hope you'll enjoy it.

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  7. This sounds like a nice book! Congrats and thanks for the giveaway!
    arjanne.boneschanscher (at) gmail (dot) com

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    1. Thanks so much for your interested, and best of luck with the giveaway!

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  8. Congrats on new release and for the opportunity to win a copy, this is the second new author I have come across today

    meikleblog at gmail dot com

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  9. Yes, this is my first published JAFF novel, but I also have a completed long story posted at A Happy Assembly, titled Longbourn to London. It is on page two of their stories forum. Hope you enjoy TRC!

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    1. Thanks for this info, Linda! I will be reading this one!

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  10. This is my first time viewing this blog as well, and I came to see what my friend Linda had to say. It was great to be able to read what inspires the book, and I cannot wait to get my own copy of this one to add to my growing collection. Linda, you truly are an inspired writer with a wonder flow to your stories. It has been an exciting journey to see your fb posts about this new venture.

    Now I am off to find the other blog posts here to see what they have to say as well. Thanks!

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    1. So glad that you stopped by, Sarah! 'Your friend' has a lovely post, doesn't she! :)

      Hope you will come back for another visit! I will be having lots of giveaways for the next few months!

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    2. Thanks, Sarah, for your support of what is a very new venture/adventure for me. Hope you enjoy TRC, and by the way, its cover, anterior and posterior, so to speak, is by our hostess, Janet! We FORCED her to watch hours of 1995 P & P for views of Darcy's boots. Aren't I a mean author?

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    3. Thank you, Linda! (and it was such a trial to watch PnP and CF over and over...lol)

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    4. LOL - I thought I recognized those boots! Lovely picture!

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  11. Congrats on publishing your first novel, Linda. I hope they may be many more to come.

    I like it when different authors offer their take on my beloved couple but they should stay true to Jane Austen's intentions. If however they radically diverged from the path, the writer must have a very good explanation and justification or otherwise I don't buy the idea. Saying that I hope you are not put off by my thoughts, Linda.

    evangelineace2020(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. I agree with you completely. You will find my Darcy and Elizabeth to be a confection made from the original and the 1995 screenplay. As much as I admire some of the darker incarnations of Our Dear Couple, it is not in my nature to write them that way. The light tone and humor of both Jane Austen and screenwriter Andrew Davies are what delight me, and I hope you will find those influences in my writing. Thanks for commenting.

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    2. I am so looking forward to reading this book. I have lavender growing throughout my garden. I love to dry it and bring it in to scent my drawers. No matter who the authors of P&P fan fiction model their Darcy after I always envision Colin Firth!

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    3. If CF is your Darcy, you are going to love TRC (I hope!). That Lizzy and Jane in the 1995 version spent so much time amongst flowers and in the Longbourn stillroom had a great effect on the atmosphere of my story, and ultimately the inclusion of the language of flowers. And those are CF's legs on the cover!

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  12. Congrats on your first novel, Linda! I really enjoyed your post and learning how you became an Austen enthusiast and writer. Congrats to Janet, also, on her first book cover! It's lovely, and I'm sure she didn't mind "suffering" through watching Colin over and over again.

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    1. Thanks Jan! The back cover is pretty snazzy, too. As an admirer of your work, I'm honored to have you take notice of a newbie. Hope you get a chance to read TRC soon! It's a simple story, really, just with flowers!

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    2. Ahhh, Jan, you know me too well! lol Thank you for your support and for your encouragement in this new venture! It is such fun and I'm loving it!

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  13. I recently noticed this book on Amazon and it's on my wishlist, but reading this makes me want to read it even more, it sounds like something a bit different. Congratulations on your new book, and thank you for the giveaway opportunity. Frawli1978(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Ceri,
      Best of luck in the contest, then, and I do hope you enjoy TRC whenever you get a chance to read it!

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  14. Sounds like a great read. Please include me in the drawing:

    leezastetson (at) aol (dot) com

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    1. You are included! Thanks for stopping by.

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  15. I truly enjoyed this book and was surprised that it was you first book of fiction. I hope you will continue with the Pride and Prejudice saga. I love flowers and have a nice garden but I was not aware the each flower had a meaning. Even in fiction we learn something new everyday. I have read over 300 P & P books and I will give you 5 stars.

    Thank you Linda
    jannie dogwalker6atlive.com

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    1. Jannie,
      Thank you so very much. In my days as a floral designer, I was often asked the meaning of flowers, and for TRC was able to find a venerable old text, now a pdf, that proved invaluable. The meanings of flowers have changed over the years, and it was important to get back as best I could to the Regency vernacular. Like with most things as ephemeral as flowers, their meanings have changed, and the taxonomy has changed as well. It was like putting a puzzle together, and I'm glad you think I got it right.

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  16. This sounds very interesting so I bought the Kindle version. Can't wait to get started on it!
    -Sandy
    tinkcook(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. Thanks for your support, Sandy! I hope you will find TRC an interesting new blossom on the JAFF family tree!

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    2. Good to see you here, Sandy. I missed you around the blogosphere.

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