Monday, February 29, 2016

Rumour & Recklessness...Nicole Clarkston

Available at Audible and Amazon
Dear Readers, I am so excited about the guest visiting today. As several of you know, I recently posted a review of Nicole Clarkston's North & South variation, No Such Thing as Luck. (it won one of my MAE Awards for favorites of 2015) Then a few days later, Ms. Clarkston allowed me to post an excerpt from her work in progress which is another North & South variation! That excerpt has us 'all anticipation' for the release of this book!  As you can probably guess, my guest is Nicole Clarkston! Yay! She is here to visit with us about her Pride & Prejudice variation, Rumour & Recklessness. It is now out as an audio book and she has two of them up for grabs! Isn't that fantastic!

Ms. Clarkston agreed to answer a few of my questions and let us learn more about her . I think you will agree that she shared some informative and entertaining thoughts. She is also giving away two of her just released audio books, Rumours & Restlessness!  The paperback and eBook were already available for purchase and now the audio book is available. You know I am excited about that as I dearly love a good audio book! :) Be sure and check back tomorrow as there is a mystery post to go along with this one. Comments left at both posts will increase your chances of winning! You are going to love tomorrow's post too!

Yes, I am getting ahead of myself so back to the present and today's interview! Please join me in welcoming Nicole Clarkston to More Agreeably Engaged!

~~~~~~~~~~

How and when did your interest in Jane Austen take root?

I was a bookworm from age five, but I managed to survive until my early thirties without ever once picking up a Jane Austen book. I kept seeing Pride and Prejudice everywhere, so I finally decided I ought to read it at some point. My expectations were not very high, but I got a library copy of both Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice and took them on a camping trip. I spent most of that camping trip buried in those books- I’m afraid I was rather unsociable. I read them each twice in four days and I was hooked!

That sounds like an interesting camping trip even if you were not so sociable! I would bet it was great atmosphere for reading. What drove you to start writing your own books? Did you write other things before writing JAFF?

I stumbled upon some great JAFF selections in my library. I never knew this kind of thing existed! I quickly found myself scanning the shelves for more. They were such clever continuations of the story I already loved, and I couldn’t get enough. Soon after that, I discovered Kindle and read everything I could get my hands on.

I have always wanted to write. Even as a child I remember watching my favorite cartoon- at the time, it was Walt Disney’s Robin Hood- and then fantasizing about how I would have changed the story, or imagining the scenes they left out. In Jr high, I constantly had either a stack of books or my own writing journal at my side. I was always too bashful to let anyone read it but my very closest friend.
One summer, twenty years later, my husband went out of town for a week. While he was away, I committed to stripping and finishing my wood floors (because he told me I couldn’t do it). I rented a commercial floor sander, bought a bunch of varathane and set to work. It was a dusty, smelly project, and I did most of the work in the middle of the night with my kids sleeping in the yard in a tent to protect them from the fumes. To keep me company, I set up my laptop with a queue full of Netflix movies I had been meaning to get to. The very first was North and South. I was instantly in love with the story and had to get my hands on the original book, as well as the very meager selection of variations I was able to find.

My old desire to write my own versions had been growing again, and late one night when I couldn’t sleep, I slipped out to my computer and No Such Thing as Luck was born. I couldn’t get enough of it! About a month later, the same thing occurred and I started Rumours and Recklessness. In my mind, those are the “sister stories,” because I worked on them mostly concurrently for about a year.

I loved hearing about stripping and finishing your floors! Awesome! I bet the kids loved sleeping in the tent too! Sounds like you had good company while working too. I love North and South, as you know. On to the next question...how do you approach religion in your stories?

Both Pride and Prejudice and North and South have distinct cultural influences by religion. Jane Austen was a rector’s daughter, and Elizabeth Gaskell the wife of a Unitarian minister. It is only natural that their faith should flow through their work and be a topic of discussion by their characters. At the same time, both handle religion with subtlety, particularly Austen. Gaskell’s characters wrestle with their notions of religion and morality more openly, but never too bluntly. What I particularly love is how honor and sacrifice are portrayed through the characters of Darcy and Thornton. Both learn, in humility, to lay aside their own desires and seek the good of the woman they love at a time when it seems she will never belong to them. This is the very best kind of love, and it stems right out of the authoress’ experiences in their faith.

I love your thoughts on the last question, especially the last three sentences. Moving on, what is your writing routine?

I tend to squeeze in writing whenever I get a spare moment. I work in a portable file, so I can literally use any of my devices whenever I feel like it. This has, at times, included my waterproof cellphone in my shower! My favorite time to write is early in the morning before my kids are awake. I homeschool them, so our mornings are probably more leisurely than most, but my days are fairly packed. I treasure those hours when I can curl up by the fire alone in my own head with my story.
I begin my stories with a loose outline, as well as several key scenes very vividly played out in my imagination. As I get to know the story a little better, that outline tightens up. I am getting better and better as I go about plotting my course before I blunder ahead, but sometimes the most amazing things happen when I simply sit down and let the characters start talking. They often surprise me.

It is fascinating to read how often the characters lead an author and/or talk for themselves. I hope they are talking a lot for your next book. Tell us something about it that you love most. (if you can without giving anything away)

After No Such Thing as Luck, I wanted to return to this same couple in a more traditional setting. The first was a fantastical, whirlwind romance that was a true joy for me to write. While I tried to keep it believable, I wanted to see how a much more minor change to their story would play out. Also, this story will be completely clean. I loved writing the romantic scenes, and I think they are an invaluable part of real life and marriage, but there are a sizeable number of readers longing for a real relational story without any bedroom scenes.

Sounds wonderful and I cannot wait! I did enjoy your romantic scenes in No Such Thing as Luck. You wrote them in a touching and passionate way without them being explicit. I liked that very much.  Have any real people in your life influenced your stories?

I was a very spoiled daughter and am a rather pampered wife. I do not mean that in the material sense. My father is a quiet, strong, loving man. He has always portrayed to me a very clear sense of what it is to be a man of integrity. He works harder than anyone I know. He speaks gently, but firmly, and he does not compromise his values.

When I met my husband, he first impressed me with his intense desire to live according to what he believed was right. He earned my respect long before I fell in love with him, and his devotion to me and to our family is truly inspiring.

In a way, my portrayal of both Darcy and Thornton are an homage to the two men who have most shaped my life. People speak disparagingly of romantic tales because men such as these could never truly exist, and women are making themselves miserable fantasizing over something that is impossible to find. I beg to differ. Real men are out there, and they are a remarkable species. Find one if you can, and hold on to him.

Excellent advice! What a nice tribute you pay to the two men in your life. Is there anything special about yourself or your writing that you would be willing to share with us?

I’m a farm girl at heart, and a bit of a mechanic on the side. I live in a t-shirt and jeans, and I love my critters- both two and four legged. Most of my friends are stunned when they find out I’ve been writing classic fan fiction, which is a large part of why I keep it quiet. I love it though! I have a lot to learn and I am so grateful to each and every reviewer who offers encouragement or critique.

~~~~~~~~~~

Author Bio:

Nicole Clarkston is the pen name of a very bashful writer who will not allow any of her family or friends to read what she writes. She grew up in Idaho on horseback, and if she could have figured out how to read a book at the same time, she would have. She initially pursued a degree in foreign languages and education, and then lost patience with it, switched her major, and changed schools. She now resides in Oregon with her husband of 14 years, 3 homeschooled kids, and a very worthless degree in Poultry Science (don't ask). 

Nicole discovered Jane Austen rather by guilt in her early thirties- how does any book worm really live that long without a little P&P? She has never looked back. A year or so later, during a major house renovation project (undertaken when her husband unsuspectingly left town for a few days) she discovered Elizabeth Gaskell and fell completely in love. Nicole's first two published books are her pitiful homage to two authors who have so deeply inspired her.


~~~~~~~~~~

Available at Audible and Amazon
As I already mentioned, I have been so eager for this post ever since discussing it with Nicole Clarkston. It has been such a pleasure getting to know you, Nicole, and I love the picture of you on the beautiful horse! Looks like you were having a good time! By the way, I live in the country and I love my critters, too. There are an abundance of them as you might notice on the nature page of my website JT Originals. :)

Now to this marvelous giveaway...Ms. Clarkston is giving away two audio books of Rumours & Recklessness. To be entered, you must 'have your share in the conversation'... so leave a comment below. Be sure and include your contact info so I may reach you if you are randomly selected. The giveaway will end at 11:59 PM on the 7th of March, 2016. Good luck to all of you AND don't forget to stop back by tomorrow for the mystery post and more chances to win!!!

17 comments:

  1. Janet asked just the right questions. ;) I enjoyed getting to know Nicole's history of becoming a JA fan, becoming a writer, writing this story, and how her writer day goes.

    That is a beautiful picture with her horse.

    I was already curious after reading her N&S excerpt posts, but how cool that she also wrote JAFF and has a giveaway for us.
    sophiarose1816 at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Sophia. I loved reading Nicole's answers too. Isn't the horse beautiful?!

      Be sure and stop in tomorrow, Sophia. I think you will enjoy this mystery too! :)

      Good luck and I hope you get to read Nicole's books soon or listen to her audio book. I plan to start listening this week!

      Delete
  2. Lovely interview ladies and thanks somuch for the giveaway. As a huge JAFF and audiobook fan, it's great to see another JAFF audio launched. I think I may have almost exhausted Audible's catalogue in this particular genre!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Anji. Thanks for your comment and for stopping by. As you and I have discussed, I love the audiobooks too. Maybe there will be a N&S audiobook later! Wouldn't that be nice!

      Thanks, Anji, and good luck.

      Delete
    2. I've got the original North and South novel on audio, narrated by Juliet Stevenson. I may be listening to that next as I'm running short of JAFF audios. It's over 18 hours long so it'll take a while!

      Delete
  3. Thank you for the great interview. I am a walker and would love to listen to the audiobook (loved the ebook!) as I walk. No, I do not ramble about like Elizabeth but try to get moving. Thank you for the giveaway. evamedmonds(at)gmail(dotOcom

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That would be great...listening while you walk. That would greatly help.

      I do tend to ramble or I did. I need to get back at it! I have lots of woods around that make for good rambling. :)

      Good luck in the giveaway.

      Delete
  4. I don't have enough time to read all the jaff books, now there is North and South alternatives - I do like Thornton's character more so than Darcy.
    Thanks for the giveaway
    meikleblog at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't have enough time either, Vesper. I do love to listen while I draw. That is also inspiring. I love North & South too. Mr. Thornton is a great character too. Have you read Nicole Clarkston's No Such Thing as Luck? If not, I highly recommend it.

      Delete
  5. That was nice sharing about the men in your life! How wonderful to have both!

    Denise

    dholcomb1 (at) aol (dot) com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wasn't that a neat answer to the question? I liked it too! Thanks for commenting, Denise!

      Delete
  6. I discovered Nicole Clarkston on Amazon a few months ago and was so fascinated by an unkown author who wrote both P&P and N&S fan fiction that I put a post it on my PC to remind me to look for more information about her later. I had never seen an author write fan fiction about my 2 favorite books before, from my experience, authors either wrote about one or the other, but never both, so I was really amazed. When I tried to find more information about Nicole Clarkston, I couldn't find much, so this interview was one of the best things I've read in the last months! Thank you so much for sharing it with us Janet!!! I have yet to read Mrs. Clarskton's books, but No Such Thing as Luck is the next one on my list, I should start Reading it next week :) Thank you both for the interview and giveaway.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am so happy that you saw the post and took time to read and comment, Rita! I too, have been fascinated with Ms. Clarkston and that she writes books about my two favorite books and authors. Add to that the excellent job she does and it is all the better. I hope you will get the chance to read No Such Thing as Luck soon is it is one of my favorite all time books. If you have the time, read the next post which is about a lost interview of 1814 with Colonel Fitzwilliam. It is also Nicole Clarkston's post and is connected to her P&P book, Rumours & Recklessness. Leave a comment and it will double your chances of winning the audiobook. :) Thanks so much for stopping by and good luck!

      Delete
  7. I hope you enjoy No Such Thing as Luck, Rita! It's honestly my favorite of the two so far, but I think by the time it's done I may end up loving the N&S variation I'm currently working on even more. It has been an amazing adventure sharing these stories with other people who love the characters!

    ReplyDelete
  8. It's funny the things we have in common: being a bookworm, Disney's Robin Hood, a strong moral code, and the love of a good man. After Janet's posts introducing you, I had to purchase all your books. I'm excited this is available on audio. Now that I know, I'll head straight to Audible. Please do not enter me, Janet. By the time you read this it will be downloading on my iPad.

    Wonderful, wonderful interview ladies.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so glad that you stopped by Joy! It is neat that you both have so much in common. Thank you for commenting and sharing your thoughts. I hope you will enjoy the books and I bet you will. I've started listening the audio book and am anxious to get back to it. You know how I love audio books! :) I'll be eager to know what you think!

      Delete
    2. What an honor Joy, I have been a fan of yours for quite some time! I laughed out loud so many times at Compromised! I hope you're working on something new 😊

      Delete