Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Mistress...Sophie Turner

I am happy to have Sophie Turner visit More Agreeably Engaged again. Today, she pops in during her busy blog tour for Mistress: A Pride and Prejudice Variation with Parts Not Suitable for Those Who Have Not Reached Their MajoritySophie discusses this release and shares her answers to some interview questions, giving us a chance to know her better. Sophie is also the author of the A Constant Love series, as well as Less Proud and More Persuasive: A Pride and Prejudice Variation Novella. Please join me in welcoming Sophie Turner.

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Sophie, can you share with us some of your background and tell us about the person behind the writer?

Sure! I began my working life intending to be in journalism, and worked as an online editor for a while before I decided to jump completely into the tech world, where I work in web design. Since then I’ve been off-and-on working on writing in a more fictional style, and then I found the JAFF world and decided to give that a try.


I love reading and writing, of course, and also really enjoy hiking and travel. I try to go to Britain once every year and really immerse and enjoy myself there. I’m very interested in history, and I find Britain has some of the most interesting history and some of the best storytellers, so it’s a wonderful place to travel, for me. Lately, of course, it’s also been very inspiring!


I know you’ve been writing JAFF for a few years now, but can you tell us why this new book, Mistress: A Pride and Prejudice Variation with Parts Not Suitable for Those Who Have Not Reached Their Majority, is such a departure from your other JAFF stories?


Aside from my little novella, Less Proud and More Persuasive, everything I’ve done has been continuations. That’s what I really wanted to read more of when I found JAFF, so that’s what I found myself writing. So it’s different in that it’s the first novel-length variation that I’ve done. It also features Elizabeth as a widow, which is something that’s a departure for me, and not something featured as often in JAFF generally.


The more striking difference, of course, are those “parts not suitable for those who have not reached their majority.” I have kept the Constant Love series as close to canon as I could, and so while that series does veer into the bedchamber more than the original, by virtue of having so many married couples, it’s very much been fade to black. That is definitely not the case with Mistress! It was a really interesting challenge to try to write sensual scenes but still keep them in a more Austenesque tone. I wanted to try to do something that was steamy, but still classy.


What led you to write a JAFF story that's so different from anything else you’ve published so far?

This was another case where I felt like there was a gap in the genre that I could help fill: a story with sensual elements that were relevant to the greater story being told, and the characters act appropriately for themselves and people of their standing during that time. That meant if there was pre-marital sex, Elizabeth had to be a widow, which ended up creating all sorts of interesting possibilities for the greater story.

I was also really interested in trying to depart from what’s such a common scenario, in JAFF and in romance in general when it comes to sex, where you have this experienced guy and an inexperienced lady. I wanted to try telling a story where it’s a lot more complicated than that. Darcy is a guy whom Elizabeth thought had “selfish disdain of the feelings of others” in the original book (they don’t get that far in canon, in Mistress), and I thought it would be very interesting for him to have to disprove that in every possible way, including in the bedchamber. What he didn’t have in experience, he could make up for in, errrm, research, and in empathy.

And, just generally, I like a challenge and an opportunity to grow myself as a writer. With the Constant Love series generally planned out through all seven books, and needing to retain some degree of consistency through the remaining books, this was a chance for me to do something different.

I understand this story was posted on FanFiction.net as a work-in-progress. Can you tell us about this process and how it helped you shape the published version of this story?

Yes, it was posted both on FanFiction.net and Archive of our Own, and the whole process was tremendously helpful! I knew this story was going to be a departure from the JAFF norm, and I was really interested in getting a lot of upfront feedback on it, just to see how readers were going to react to a story like this. Was there really a niche that needed filled? Or did people want nothing to do with a widowed Elizabeth and all those steamy bits?

The online postings helped me validate that yes, there were readers out there interested in a story like this. But what they did even more was help me shape the final story. I let readers know when I first posted that I really wanted constructive criticism, and those who provided the most helpful feedback would receive a free copy of the final story, and I got such a range of useful feedback.

When I first wrote this story, it basically ate my brain in November of 2015, when all of these various things I’d been wanting to do sort of coalesced in my head, and then I just had to write it. This isn’t my usual way of doing things – usually I have an outline planned out before I begin writing, and while I may deviate from it as needed, it generally holds me to writing all of the scenes I think will be necessary.

The most critical feedback that I got during the online posting were that there were areas where I had been rushing, which I think was due to the lack of my usual discipline. What are now chapters 9 and 10 were originally one chapter, and after I posted it, I think about half of the readers liked it, and half felt that it was too rushed, and pointed out all sorts of issues that I hadn’t realized. I actually halted posting for a while, rewrote it into two chapters, and really saw how much better it was because of the feedback I’d incorporated. That’s not the only instance of this – there are two other chapters that have been added to the final published story to help with pacing issues that the online readers helped me understand.

There was more micro-level feedback, too – in order for this story to work, there are certain things that streeetch pretty far from canon. One example is that Charles Bingley is the one to give Darcy his Hunsford moment. As a result of the feedback I received, I saw where I needed to refine these things to make them more believable. In the original draft, it’s merely learning of Darcy’s (and Caroline’s) attempts to separate Bingley from Jane that cause him to react in the way that he does. After the feedback, it was both that and remarks Darcy makes that Bingley takes as an insult related to his fortune from trade. You can read more about this particular edit in my post on Austen Authors. That’s just one example, but there were so many comments that encouraged me to make refinements that made the story more believable, or improved the flow.

What did the research process look like for you when you were writing this story?

Let’s just say that I often had a blush upon my countenance! I actually think there is a Google engineer in some basement somewhere doing analysis and wondering why on earth the same person was alternating between googling sex positions and Regency dress.

I’m pretty staunch on doing research about anything that I’m writing about, particularly since I’m writing about a period of time in which I haven’t actually lived. Well, except that one day when I attempted it. So that meant I had to read about sex and pornography in the Georgian era. That research Darcy does is key, and I wanted to have some sense of what would actually have been available to him.

I also read a biography of Beau Brummell – there’s a thread that runs through this story related to men’s fashion and hygiene during that time, and Brummell was undoubtedly the arbiter of both.  

Some JAFF readers struggle with a story where Elizabeth has been married to someone else other than Mr. Darcy. What would you like these readers to know to encourage them to give your story a try?

I think the first and most critical is that what choice Elizabeth did have, in accepting her first marriage, was whether she would leave what remained of her family homeless, and in genteel destitution. Which is not really much of a choice. It’s certainly not a marriage for love, and so she’s still free to fall in love for the first time with Darcy, albeit in a different manner than the unmarried Elizabeth did.

Then I think the second thing I would say is that the story doesn’t delve deep into her first marriage. The prologue establishes how everything came about, and when we begin with the first chapter, she’s already a widow, about to meet Darcy again at a dinner party.

That’s not to say that her first marriage doesn’t haunt her – it does, and causes most of the obstacles in the story. But the relevance of her first marriage is in how it affects her relationship with Darcy. And I think that’s the most important thing that I’d say for readers hesitant to read a story where Elizabeth has been married before: the scenario opens up a lot of new possibilities for the Elizabeth/Darcy relationship, particularly in how he helps her heal.

Sophie, here’s the short-answer portion of this interview. Can you answer the following questions for my readers?

Favorite book of all-time? Persuasion

Favorite Austen badboy? Willoughby

What’s your favorite piece of inspiration when you sit down to write a JAFF story? Argh, I was doing so good with keeping to short answers, but here I have to say my biggest inspiration is hiking, which is not at all sitting down! Something about walking in beautiful places and letting my mind wander truly inspires me and helps me decide where I want to go with my stories. More’s the better if the hiking is in Britain!

Is there a song that resonates with this story for you?
Yes, “Hello,” by Adele.

Ereader or reader of paper-based books?
Ereader. I have limited shelf space!

Anything to share about your work on your A Constant Love series?
Yes, that I’m still working on it! Book three will be titled A Season Lost.

What can readers do to support your work?
Give it a try, of course! Beyond that, leave their reviews, and follow me on my social media channels to see when my next online posting on Fanfiction.net and Archive of our Own will be, to give feedback on work in progress:

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Purchase Links: Amazon UK, Amazon US, Amazon CA

Book Description

One night, to decide his entire life's happiness.

Chastened by Charles Bingley following Mr. Bennet’s untimely death, Fitzwilliam Darcy determines he will offer marriage to Elizabeth Bennet, but she marries another.

Years later, a widowed Elizabeth is mistress of Longbourn, and has vowed she will never marry again. A house party at Netherfield brings them back together, but Darcy will have to win more than her heart if he is to have any chance at making her mistress of Pemberley.

Readers of Sophie Turner's more chaste Constant Love series should be aware that this novel contains decidedly adult content at certain parts of the story.


Author Links







Author Biography

Sophie Turner worked as an online editor before delving even more fully into the tech world. Writing, researching the Regency era, and occasionally dreaming about living in Britain are her escapes from her day job.

She was afraid of long series until she ventured upon Patrick O’Brian’s 20-book Aubrey-Maturin masterpiece, something she might have repeated five times through.

Alas, her Constant Love series is only planned to be seven books right now, and consists of A Constant Love, A Change of Legacies, and the in-progress A Season Lost.

She blogs about her writing endeavours at sophie-turner-acl.blogspot.com, where readers can find direction for the various social drawing-rooms across the Internet where she may be called upon.


Blog Tour Schedule

March 18 / My Jane Austen Book Club/Launch Post & Giveaway
March 19 / Of Pens & Pages/Book Review, Excerpt & Giveaway
March 20 / Margie’s Must Reads /Book Review & Giveaway
March 21 / More Agreeably Engaged/Author Spotlight & Giveaway
March 22 / A Lady’s Imagination / Guest Post & Giveaway
March 23 / Just Jane 1813/Guest Post & Giveaway
March 24 / Diary of an Eccentric/Book Review & Giveaway
March 25 / My Love for Jane Austen/Excerpt Post & Giveaway
March 26 / My Vices and Weaknesses/Book Review & Giveaway
March 27 / So Little Time…/Excerpt Post & Giveaway
March 28 / Babblings of a Bookworm/ Guest Post & Giveaway
March 29 / From Pemberley to Milton / Vignette Post & Giveaway



Giveaway

Sophie Turner is giving away two ebooks of Mistress at each blog tour stop. That is quite a giveaway. Be sure and leave a comment to be entered. Unless I notify you otherwise, the giveaway will end at 11:59 P.M. on the 27th of March. Good luck to all. If you haven't visited the other stops in the tour, I hope you will take a few minutes to do that and see what all is happening at each of them, as well as enter their giveaways.

Thanks, Sophie, for stopping by and allowing us to get to know you and learn more about your latest book. It has been a pleasure having you. I hope you do well and have a fun blog tour. Please come back anytime!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Caroline...with Sue Barr

Today my guest, Sue Barr, is a new author to the JAFF community and has recently published her very first JAFF story, which is titled "Caroline: Pride and Prejudice continued… Book One" Her story allows us to explore Caroline Bingley’s own journey to love after she learns about the engagement between Mr. Darcy and Miss Elizabeth Bennet. Below is a recent interview with Sue. She shares some of her background and allows us the privilege of getting to know her a little better. Thank you, Sue, for your time and for your visit during you busy blog tour.

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Sue, I know you’re new to the JAFF community, but you’ve been a published writer for a while now. Can you share with us some of your background and tell us about the person behind the writer?

I started writing in 2009 under a pen name - Madison J Edwards. My genre was erotic romance, my publisher Turquoise Morning Press (TMP) and I had a total of nine works published. In 2014, when I gave my heart to the Lord, I changed my genre focus to inspirational sweet romance. My publisher graciously reverted my rights back to me and Madison died a natural death.

I almost stopped writing at that time and didn’t do anything for almost a year, but the voices inside my head would not be quiet. Really - totally rude. So, in 2015 I revised my first print book with TMP and republished the title under my own name, then followed up with two small town contemporary romances which were super fun to write. Later that year, I reconnected with a high school friend. You may know her as Suzan Lauder and she indirectly steered me toward the world of JAFF.

Please share with us the premise of your new book, “Caroline,” along with your plans for this series.

Caroline Bingley has been dealt a devastating blow to not only her ego, but to her life plans. She dreads the upcoming nuptials for Charles and Darcy but has to attend. During this trying time she meets Lord Nathan, unaware that he is Darcy’s vicar, Mr. Kerr. He both intrigues and vexes her greatly.

Lord Nathan, a reformed Rake, gave up his worldly life to become a minister. He meets Caroline Bingley and immediately recognizes her for the woman she is - a beautiful social climber. But he is drawn to her and struggles to reconcile his interest in her with what type of woman he should marry.

My next story WAS going to be about Georgiana, but when I started plotting the time line, I realized Katherine (Kitty’s story) had to come first. Right now, that’s all I have planned, but Mary has been whispering to me. She’s not happy that in the original canon she was relegated to stay at Longbourn...


What inspired you to write a JAFF series and how did you gain the courage to begin with the haughty and scheming Caroline Bingley?

Suzan introduced me to A Happy Assembly website and I started reading some of the fan fiction. Almost everybody vilified Caroline Bingley, the villain we all love to hate.

CAROLINE came about from one simple question. Whatever happened to her at the end of Pride & Prejudice? All her hopes and dreams were ripped away. She wanted to marry Darcy. She wanted her brother to marry Georgiana. And she detested Elizabeth Bennet and all Hertfordshire society. Anything that could go wrong in her life, did.

The minute I started thinking of how her life must have changed, I knew immediately I wanted to write a story where not only her physical life took a different course, but also the person she was inside. She had nowhere to go. She couldn’t live with Charles, as Jane would be mistress, running the house, and I threw in a wrinkle with Louisa so she couldn’t stay with them.


Why do think after 200 years, so many people are still reading Jane Austen’s books?

Time honored plots and premises. With Jane Austen we see a slice of society that isn’t glossed over. Her dialogue and scenes give us a glimpse of how a gentleman’s daughter lived, how woman were at the mercy of men and societal laws.

It also doesn’t hurt we can watch adaptations through television and film. All this helps keep the dream alive.

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Sue, here’s the short-answer portion of this interview. Can you answer the following questions for my readers?

Favorite book of all-time?
Immortal Highlander by Karen Marie Moning *le sigh*

Favorite Austen heroine or anti-heroine?
Willoughby. He totally lived at the mercy of Society’s expectations, turning his back on true love.

What’s your go-to place or item when sit down to enjoy a book?
My couch.

Ereader or reader of paper-based books?
All of them. I have an e-reader for ease and convenience, but sometimes… you have to hold those pages in your hand.

Love at first sight or slow-burning love?
I’ve had both. Met hubby in 1981 and it was instantaneous for both of us. We’ve been married for over 34 years and I still get all bubbly over him.

What can readers do to support your work?
Other than purchase my books, the best thing a reader can do is give a review. Also, tell your friends. The most effective advertisement is by word of mouth. I can blab until I’m blue in the face about my stories, but when two or three BFF’s get together and talk about a book, any recommendations are believed.

I have a newsletter, which I use only for announcements - so no Spam. Pinky swear. You can find the link on my website or on my blog.

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“Caroline” General Info

Book Title: Caroline
Author: Sue Barr
Tour Dates: March 12 – March 26, 2017

Genre: Historical Christian Romance, Historical Christian Romance Fiction, & Christian 
Historical Fiction
This book is also available through Amazon’s KindleUnlimited



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Book Description:

Whatever happened to Caroline Bingley after her brother and unrequited love interest married a Bennet sister? Join me in this story of redemptive love and the healing of broken dreams.

Caroline Bingley, beyond frustrated with her brother, Charles and Mr. Darcy both proposing to the Bennet sisters, dreads their upcoming nuptials. For three years, her sole focus has been on attaining a marriage proposal from one Fitzwilliam Darcy of Pemberley, only to be foiled by a country miss with ‘fine eyes’.  Adrift and not sure of her place in life, she meets the mysterious and devastatingly handsome Lord Nathan, who equally vexes and intrigues her.

Lord Nathan Kerr, third in line to a Dukedom, had a well-earned reputation as a Rake. He cast all that and his noble title aside to become Mr. Darcy’s vicar in Kympton, finding contentment in leading his small flock and doing the Lord’s work. His plan for a quiet, country life is thrown into upheaval when he meets the fiery Miss Bingley. Can he reconcile his rising desire for the spoiled miss with how a vicar’s wife ‘should’ behave?

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Author Links:

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Author Biography:

Sue Barr resides in beautiful Southwestern Ontario with her retired Air Force hubby, two sons and their families. She’s also an indentured servant to three cats and has been known to rescue a kitten or two, or three…in an attempt to keep her ‘cat-lady-in-training’ status current. Although, she has deviated from appointed path and rescued a few dogs as well.
Sue is a member of Romance Writers of America and their affiliate chapter, Love, Hope and Faith as well as American Christian Fiction Writers.

For more information about her other books, visit her website: http://www.suebarrauthor.com/

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Blog Tour Schedule
March 12 / My Jane Austen Book Club/Launch Post & Giveaway
March 13/ From Pemberley to Milton/ Book Review & Excerpt & Giveaway
March 14/ More Agreeably Engaged/Author Spotlight & Giveaway
March 15/ Every Savage Can Dance/ Excerpt Post & Giveaway
March 16/ Just Jane 1813/ Guest Post & Giveaway
March 17/ Babblings of a Bookworm/ Vignette Post & Giveaway
March 18/ My Love for Jane Austen/ Excerpt Post & Giveaway
March 19/ Every Savage Can Dance/ Book Review & Giveaway
March 20/ Austenesque Reviews/ Guest Post & Giveaway
March 21/ My Vices and Weaknesses/ Book Review & Giveaway
March 22 / Savvy Verse & Wit/ Guest Post & Giveaway
March 23 /Diary of an Eccentric/Book Review & Giveaway
March 24/ So Little Time…/ Excerpt Post & Giveaway
March 25/ Obsessed with Mr. Darcy/ Book Review & Giveaway
March 26/ Of Pens & Pages/ Book Review & Giveaway



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Giveaways

Three winners will receive a paperback copy of “Caroline” and a Jane Austen Journal and three separate winners will receive an ebook copy of this book. (All giveaways are open to international winners.)

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Thank you for visiting More Agreeably Engaged, today, Ms. Barr. It is such a pleasure to have you stop by. I enjoyed your interview answers and learning more about you. Welcome to the publishing world of JAFF. Your book sounds very interesting and I look forward to reading it. I have to tell you, I love your cover! It is lovely and the background is my favorite color! :) I wish you much success and I hope you will visit again when you have another book released. 

Dear Readers, be sure to make the stops at the other blogs. There are some lovely prizes and posts to enjoy.