Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Secrets of Darcy and Elizabeth...Victoria Kincaid

Victoria Kincaid, author of The Secrets of Darcy and Elizabeth, is my guest today. It is always such a pleasure to have a new author talk to us about how she started writing. Victoria's book has a very unique premise and is one that I found especially fascinating. By the looks of the sheer number of reviews it has garnered on Amazon, it must be a popular novel to many! 

Congratulations, Victoria, and thank you for stopping by today. Thank you also for your generous giveaway. Now, please welcome Victoria Kincaid.

Purchase at Amazon
I didn’t set out to write a Pride & Prejudice variation!  A couple of years ago, I stumbled upon some of the sequels and alternative versions and got addicted to reading them.  But I am writer, so as I was reading different variations I would start to think, “wouldn’t it be neat if…and then….”  Before I knew it, I had the workings of a plot in my head. 

Another inspiration was an interesting moment during the war between France and Britain.  Following the signing of the Treaty of Amiens, there was a brief moment of peace. In 1803, hundreds of English citizens (who were huge fans of French fashion and French wine despite the war) flocked to Paris.  When the war broke out again, these travelers were desperate to escape the country. 

I thought it would be fascinating to put Elizabeth and Darcy among these English citizens. Austen doesn’t deal much with the war or politics, but I liked the idea of complicating their romance with these outside events.  I tried to remain true to Austen’s characters—since I appreciate that kind of fidelity in other variations—while putting them in new situations outside their comfort zones.   

Traditionally, P&P variations have been set in 1813, the year the book was published, but Austen actually wrote the first draft long before 1800, so I didn’t think that changing the setting to 1803 was that big a stretch.


In this Pride and Prejudice variation, a despondent Darcy travels to Paris in the hopes of forgetting the disastrous proposal at Hunsford. Paris is teeming with English visitors during a brief moment of peace in the Napoleonic Wars, but Darcy’s spirits don’t lift until he attends a ball and unexpectedly encounters…Elizabeth Bennet!  Darcy seizes the opportunity to correct misunderstandings and initiate a courtship.

Their moment of peace is interrupted by the news that England has again declared war on France, and hundreds of English travelers must flee Paris immediately. Circumstances force Darcy and Elizabeth to escape on their own, despite the risk to her reputation. Even as they face dangers from street gangs and French soldiers, romantic feelings blossom during their flight to the coast. But then Elizabeth falls ill, and the French are arresting all the English men they can find….

When Elizabeth and Darcy finally return to England, their relationship has changed, and they face new crises.  However, they have secrets they must conceal—even from their own families.

~ ~ ~

To read more about Victoria Kincaid and her book, please visit her blog;

Book may be purchased at Amazon

Victoria Kincaid is allowing me to host a lovely giveaway of three electronic books of  The Secrets of Darcy and Elizabeth, and the giveaway is international. Thank you, Victoria.  To be entered leave a comment below as I always love reading your 'share 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 (at) instead of @. Winners will be chosen in a random drawing. Giveaway will end at midnight, July 1, 2014.   

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

And the winners are...'Leaving Bennet Behind: Chosen'

Congratulations to the winners 
of Leaving Bennet Behind: Chosen
by Sarah Johnson

Signed Paperback  BeckyC
eBook  J Dawn King
eBook Luthien84

Congratulations, ladies. Thanks for your support of More Agreeably Engaged.

Thank you, Sarah Johnson, for being my guest and for having this fantastic giveaway.

What a Piece of Work is a Man...or Woman with Gail McEwen

Today I am so excited to be a part of the blog tour for Gail McEwen's new book Stronger Even Than Pride. Gail is here to tell us something about her book, about reading and writing JAFF and a little about the characters we love and those we love to hate! Thanks so much for being my guest, Gail. Best wishes with your new release, and readers...there is a giveaway! YAY!

Thank you so much Janet, for the opportunity to share a little bit about my new book.

What a Piece of Work is a Man… or Woman

I’m sure most of us are familiar with Jane Austen’s famous line: “Pictures of perfection, as you know, make me sick and wicked.” It is my favorite Austen quote and the moment I heard it, it made me love her even more. She said this in response to a reader’s opinion that the young ladies in her books ought to be better behaved. And to me, that brings up a surprising paradox in regards to the modern reader and JAFF fan.

Jane hated perfection. Her novels were peopled with decidedly flawed and imperfect beings. Yet, she wrote them so well, we sometimes forget that they are not, nor were they meant to be, without fault. Elizabeth Bennet is impulsive, quick to judge and a little too pleased with her own opinions. Fitzwilliam Darcy does not hesitate to look down upon, ridicule and think meanly of those he feels are beneath him. I think because we are so in love with Jane Austen’s world, her wit, the stories she weaves, and her very real and identifiable characters, we tend to idealize them. In the process, I’m afraid we simplify them and, in doing so, maybe do the author an injustice.

But He / She / They Would Never Do That…

I think that’s the statement I have heard most often from those who have taken exception to the premise of Stronger Even Than Pride and it has always taken me by surprise because when writing it, I was sure that Elizabeth/Darcy/Wickham/Mr Bennet/Jane and Bingley would do exactly that… whatever that was.

The JAFF world has built up its own lore: Colonel Fitzwilliam as the devilishly handsome rake; Carolyn Bingley as the orange wearing harpy; and Darcy, the painfully shy 28-year old who has consciously been saving himself for Elizabeth, the only woman he could ever love, though he has not met her yet. And I knew this… but it didn’t really hit home until I started posting (then subsequently published) Stronger Even Than Pride – a book that denies the main characters their “Hunsford Awakening” and therefore leaves them to continue in their folly and imperfection.

I wanted to explore what could happen if I removed the original impetus for change for both Elizabeth and Darcy. How would these two, who are destined to be together, find their way to each other through circumstances vastly more difficult than mistaken first impressions? What would that journey look like?

Some readers take delight in the angst, loving the trials I have taken these ‘un-Hunsfordised’ characters through. Other readers are appalled, viewing my unconventional ‘what if’ as something bordering on sacrilege.

And that’s okay because it’s all rooted in love for Jane Austen. It’s the reason we are here on these blogs, websites and Facebook pages. The reason why we read and write these books. I hope you love my book, but it’s okay if you don’t. I hope if you’re on the fence about trying it, you’ll give it a chance. But wherever you fall, I invite you to ask any question that might be on your mind about why I had one of the characters do “this” or “that.” Like you, I love to dig in, dig around, dissect and discuss everything to do with Miss Austen’s very real creations!

So true, Gail. It is all rooted in love for Jane Austen and why we are all here doing what we do, whether reading, writing, drawing, creating or reviewing. We cannot seem to get enough of Jane Austen and her characters. Dear Readers, please take Gail up on her invitation and feel free to ask any questions on your mind about her book and/or why she had her characters do what they did. What a wonderful opportunity for a great discussion! Thank you, Gail McEwen.

Michele Reed at Meryton Press is generously offering two books for the giveaway. One trade paperback and an eBook for your eReader. Both are international. Good luck to all. Be sure and leave a comment to be entered. We want to hear your say in the conversation. Be sure to include your email address in the comment. To prevent unwanted spam, put your email address with an (at) instead of @. Winners will be chosen in a random drawing. Giveaway ends at midnight of Midsummer's Day, June 24, 2014. 

Stronger Even Than Pride may be purchased at Amazon and B&N.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Brenda Webb and A Most Unlikely Couple

Brenda Webb is my guest today and I am so happy to finally have her visit. Brenda, I apologize again for having to postpone your post until today and I appreciate so much your patience and understanding! I truly enjoyed all your thoughts. Thank you for sharing with us how you came to love Jane Austen and began your own writing career. Now, dear readers, please welcome Brenda Webb. She is also having a very generous giveaway!

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

I have always been a voracious reader and had plenty of books to read thanks to my father’s love of reading. He belonged to a book club and went to the library often, taking me with him. I read Pride and Prejudice when I was a teenager because it was required for an English class, but I didn’t take a great interest in Jane Austen’s books until I was a lot older (and wiser).

As an adult, raising a family, caring for elderly parents and working full time filled my days, and it was not until I saw a rerun of the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice and watched the 2005 movie version that I realized what I had missed in my reading as a teenager and reread the novel. After that, there was no turning back. I realized what a gifted writer Jane Austen was, and I wanted more P&P!

Aren't you glad you saw that rerun? After rereading 'Pride & Prejudice' and wanting more, what drove you to start writing your own books? Did you write other things before writing PnP variations?

I had begun a story earlier and still have it, though I haven’t finished it. It is a modern tale about a rock band made up of three brothers and the girl who falls in love with one of them.

After I rediscovered Jane Austen and then JAFF, I read everything I could find. I only decided to write when I ran out of stories that interested me. By then, Austen’s characters were so firmly rooted in my imagination that I thought it would be fun for me to start developing my own stories.

Reading everything JAFF you could find, sounds very familiar! Once you started writing your own stories, did/do you have a muse that cause your story to lead you at times or did/do you use an outline and follow it religiously? What is your writing routine?

Though I do have a basic story idea in mind before I begin, I’ve found that I cannot follow an outline. I tried several times, but the story always developed in other directions as I went along. An outline was useless to me.

I guess you could say my muse points out where I’ll begin, giving me the important plot elements initially and then helps me add characters and circumstances as I go along.

Is there any setting that is more inspirational to you or your muse when writing?

The only time I can write is when I’m completely alone and it’s quiet. For me, that’s my office, which happens to be in the corner of my bedroom. I would dearly love to have an entire room for an office, and I think my husband would like that too, since I am quickly taking over the bedroom. But I don’t see that happening anytime soon, so I’m content in my little corner.

Little corners can be very good! When you are there in the quiet and writing, or anywhere for that matter, what about the Regency era is appealing to you?

Other than the great looking clothes—tight breeches, tall boots, cravats, waist coats and lovely ball gowns—I love the magnificent homes of that era and the beautifully landscaped estates in the country. I would have loved to have lived back then, but only as a woman of means with a rich husband who adored me! I love the idea that most gentlemen then were honorable and chivalrous, with some notable exceptions.

As a child, I had more responsibility than most because I was in charge while my parents worked. I was expected to be strong and accountable. Growing up with that kind of real life, I doubt I would have chafed very much at Mr. Darcy’s take-charge attitude.  Who wouldn’t dream of a handsome, intelligent man saying the Regency equivalent of, “Relax, darlin’, I’ve got this.”

And, of course, if he looked at me devotedly whilst saying it, that would be the perfect Regency daydream.

Oh, I do like your dreams...tight breeches, tall boots cravats...oh my! Tell us something about your newest book that you love most. (if you can without giving anything away)

My new book, Darcy and Elizabeth, A Most Unlikely Couple, is primarily a love story between Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth. Their love story comes first in all my books, but one element I love involves a secondary character, Colonel Fitzwilliam. I love how Richard deals with Elizabeth’s misguided attitude towards Darcy in my book. He’s really a mover and shaker in this story, and I always love to write about Richard in all my novels. He is my go-to guy for humor and good sense when Darcy is spouting complete nonsense and Elizabeth fails to see what’s right before her eyes.

Colonel Fitzwilliam is one of my favorites, indeed. I look forward to reading your take on him in this new book. What have you learned from writing that has helped you in your daily life?

I’ve learned that you just can’t win over some people, so I write what interests me. I write the stories I want to tell. I write to entertain my devoted readers and those who like the type of “what if” stories I do. I prefer non-canon, detailed stories with familiar characters acting in unfamiliar ways, and publishing my writing has taught me there are many who feel the same way. That lesson led me to start my own website

Your lessons learned are wise ones. I'm happy you chose to start your own website in the process too. Is there anything special about yourself or your writing that you would be willing to share with us?

As I said, I try to write the type of books I have always enjoyed. By that I mean I don’t write short, simple happy tales. My stories have angst and lots of side stories that are complex and take time to tell in full. That is why they are usually longer than the average JAFF book.

Thank you for sharing those thoughts. Do you have a modern day author that has inspired you? If yes, what was it about their writing that was an inspiration?

I would say Linda Berdoll is a favorite Austen-based author. She, of course, wrote one of the first JAFF variations. I think the fact that she wrote the story she wanted to write, despite being criticized, helped me to be bold enough to do the same.  Two other writers whose stories I admire are Sharon Lathan and Abigail Reynolds. I bought all their stories when I first started reading JAFF and found that their books were well written and anything but boring.  

These authors inspired me and other writers to publish our work. We owe a lot to them.

I have heard others say the same for the authors you mentioned. Now for a very important question, we all have our special reasons for loving Mr. Darcy, what are your reasons?

I love that he is abhors dishonesty, loves completely when he falls in love and recognizes when he has made a mistake and tries to correct it. I love his character.  

Of course, it doesn’t hurt that Mr. Darcy is tall, dark and handsome!  

Blurb for Fitzwilliam Darcy, An Honourable Man:

Fitzwilliam Darcy, An Honourable Man is a Pride and Prejudice variation. Not a simple retelling, it is an intriguing new story.

Leaving England after his disastrous proposal was refused at Hunsford, Darcy spent two lonely years in Scotland and Ireland before returning home to face Elizabeth Bennet, certain that he could regard her as an indifferent acquaintance.

Events that transpired in his absence have left Elizabeth a changed woman.  The victim of a marriage by deception to Count Stefano, she has suffered greatly at his hands.

Will Mr. Darcy rescue the woman he vowed to forget? 

Blurb for Mr. Darcy's Forbidden Love:

When Fitzwilliam Darcy meets Elizabeth Bennet for the first time, he is already married to another woman. Forced into a loveless marriage to the widowed Lady Gisela Grantham because of his father’s sins, Darcy is obliged by honour to remain in the marriage to hide a dark secret.

That unhappy part of his life, however, is quickly coming to an end as he meets the love of his life in a little-known village in Hertfordshire. Mr. Darcy’s Forbidden Love is a Pride and Prejudice variation, not a simple retelling. It is the story of a love that was meant to be—a passion too strong to be denied. 

Blurb for Darcy and Elizabeth, A Most Unlikely Couple:

 With his persuasive tongue, Andrew Darcy is a very charismatic scoundrel. Having dealt for years with the scandals created by this wayward cousin, Fitzwilliam Darcy has grown weary. Thus, when yet another gentleman confronts Darcy about Andrew’s blatant betrayal of his daughter, Darcy decides he has had enough.

He sets out for Meryton to find Andrew, but no sooner has Andrew left for Manchester to offer for the unfortunate lady, than Meryton is abuzz with a new scandal involving Andrew and a local woman.

Feeling obligated to offer his assistance to the father, Darcy has no idea that accompanying Bingley to Longbourn will change his life forever. For the lady whose reputation is now at stake, Elizabeth Bennet, is the very reason he fled Meryton only weeks before.

Brenda, the blurbs have my interest piqued and I look forward to reading the books. Your post was most definitely worth the wait! Thank you again, for being my guest and sharing with me and my readers your path to becoming an author! Thank you too, for your very generous giveaway.

Brenda is allowing me to host a lovely giveaway, one paperback, US only, and one eBook, internationally, of  her published books. That makes four books paperback and one eBook of Fitzwilliam Darcy, An Honourable Man, and one paperback and one eBook of Mr. Darcy's Forbidden Love! YAY! Thank you, Brenda. To be entered leave a comment below as I always love reading your 'share 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 (at) instead of @. Winners will be chosen in a random drawing. Giveaway will end at midnight, June 17, 2014.   

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Leaving Bennet Behind with Sarah Johnson

Hello, Dear Readers. Today, I have a special treat for you. New author, Sarah Johnson, is my guest and she agreed to an interview. I hope you will enjoy her road to writing as much as I did. Thank you Sarah, for consenting to be my guest and for answering all my questions. Your responses were delightful! 

There is also a giveaway so be sure to look for more info. Now, please welcome, Sarah Johnson, author of Leaving Bennet Behind, Volume I, Chosen. (The cover is lovely!)

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

My love of reading began early, and by ten my favorite author was actually Louisa May Alcott. She remains one of my favorites still. As a teenager I began to expand into a much broader spectrum and Jane Austen began to overtake first place on my list. In the midst of the turmoil of the 90’s I loved the simplicity of the Regency era. The Victorian times were much more strict, and that did not appeal to me, but who can argue with those beautiful, flattering Regency style dresses?

I remember well when the ’95 miniseries came out, and though I still hold fast to my love of the ’80 miniseries above it, I did love that I saw a newfound appreciation in others for Jane Austen’s work when it was released.

I continued to love my favorite era, and read it whenever I found cheap (or free!!) books from that time period, but when my husband ran across fan fiction (dot) net it opened my universe to a vast array of wonderful stories based on my favorite author. I was in heaven! I began reading with the archived DWG stories and eventually expanded. Later, when my hubby was deployed to Korea for a year, insomnia became my nighttime companion, so I decided to work my way through all the stories listed on the JAFF index. WOW – what a task! It was a long year, but I did complete my goal. Now that so many more have been added in the years since, I need to go through it again and read the newest completed stories.

Louisa May Alcott was my favorite author as a young girl too. I agree with your thoughts on those lovely Regency dresses. My, what a task you completed in a year! I bet you had fun doing it though. Is that part of what drove you to start writing your own books? Did you write other things before writing PnP variations?

I had my last baby and, due to a difficult delivery, I was unable to do much physically. So I was online one day poking around on DarcyandLizzy(dot)com’s forum and found a new writer’s challenge. I used to write poetry and short stories when I was in high school, but I have not written much since, and the contest piqued my interest. I went back to the original story and read P&P again just to see what I wanted to do differently, and a picture emerged in my head. It grew into a scene, which grew into the required number of words for the challenge, and then it kept on growing. By then I could not stop it and I knew I had to keep going with that story. (It eventually became the online version of ‘Leaving Bennet Behind’).

Did you have any idea that writer's challenge would lead to so much more! Do you have a muse that causes your story to lead you at times or do you use an outline and follow it religiously? What is your writing routine?

Outline? What is that? My betas would laugh at this concept from me. I don’t know what I am going to write until I am in the middle of it, but it always seems to work out well in the end. My mom and I did lay out a detailed story plot for one story, but so far I have not been able to work much on it. Perhaps one day I will do that – but if it is left up to me, the muse definitely leads more than an outline.

Love your response. I would probably be the same way about an outline! Is there any setting that is more inspirational to you when writing?

Quiet – I have 6 kids and we homeschool, so I enjoy those times when the kids are working on their own school work and the house is still and I can focus on what I type. Some days are easier than others, but generally I just need quiet – and maybe some classical music playing!

I can understand the quiet. I know you have already mentioned a little about the Regency era but I would like to know more of your thoughts. What else about the Regency era is appealing to you?

The only unappealing part to me would be the things that typically don’t show up in fiction books – like the lack of bathrooms, no air conditioning, the death rates due to lack of medical advancement, the smells I am sure would be horrendous at times, and of course my complete and total fear of horses. If you ignore all those, then everything else is appealing to me. I love the dresses, the simplistic lifestyle, the music, and on and on the list goes.

Those are most certainly some unappealing parts. The simplistic lifestyle and the propriety of the time is very appealing. Tell us something about your newest book that you love most. (if you can without giving anything away) 

What I love most about this story is how real the characters have become to me, each in their own unique way. It is not just about Elizabeth and Darcy, but instead it is about the two families and how they merge their lives together in so many ways. (Though this first book in the series does focus on the time span when E/D’s love blossoms, so they are a large part of this part of the story).

I like the sounds of what you love most. I look forward to reading the book. What have you learned from writing that has helped you in your daily life?

Writing has taught me to focus on the big picture more. The details sometimes get to me, but when I step back and realize there is a bigger picture, it helps. Writing has made it easier for me to see that in my own daily life.

It would do well for me to focus more on the big picture too. Those pesky details do cause trouble sometimes, don't they? Is there anything special about yourself or your writing that you would be willing to share with us?

I am new to writing, but I have found my passion. The muse is constantly at work, so I doubt I will ever run out of ideas. Right now I have about 4 or 5 books rolling around that I have not even put thought on paper about. My husband supports me in this endeavor, and I love that he has been my #1 fan since day one of this new journey.

I hope you have much success with all these ideas. It sounds wonderful that your husband is so supportive. What about modern day authors, do you have a one that has inspired you? If yes, what was it about his/her writing that was an inspiration?

There are four modern authors that I love to read, though most write historical fiction, so does that count as a modern author?

I have loved Janette Oke and Lori Wick since I was a teenager. Both write basic historical romance stories, usually with an underlying Christian theme, and I have loved all the books I read from both authors. Another is Jack Cavanaugh. My dad began purchasing his books when I was younger, and I loved his style and the fact that it was historical fiction. I especially loved his ‘American Family Portrait’ series that follows each successive generation of a family from the Puritans all the way through to modern times. (I believe there are 9 books in the series, so 9 generations). I would say all three of these authors inspired me to write in a historical time period, being true to the era and yet intriguing to the modern sensibilities we have today.

Another of my favorite authors, amazingly enough not a writer of historical fiction, is Frank Peretti. I love the mystery in his stories, and I hope to one day make my own stories as intriguing as he does his – though I doubt I will ever write a modern era story as he does.

You have given me some authors to  explore. Thanks for that information. Now for a very important question, we all have our special reasons for loving Mr. Darcy, what are your reasons?

I actually don’t so much love him as much as I understand and appreciate him. I actually am more drawn to those like Mr Bingley (which is definitely my husband). I understand Mr Darcy though, because I see a lot of myself in him. Perhaps it is just me projecting what I best understand onto the character as I read. 

Purchase at Amazon
and B&N.
Thank you again for being my guest this week, Sarah. It has been such a pleasure to get to know a little about you. I wish you much success with your book and future books. I'm happy you found your passion as that will benefit all of us!

Sarah Johnson is allowing me to host a lovely giveaway of three books, one signed paperback, US only, and two eBooks, internationally, of Volume I, Leaving Bennet Behind; Chosen.  Thank you, Sarah. To be entered leave a comment below as I always love reading your 'share 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 (at) instead of @. Winners will be chosen in a random drawing. Giveaway will end at midnight, June10, 2014.   

And the winner is...'Mr. Darcy's Pledge'

Hold that thought...!

Before announcing the winner of the eBook,
Mr. Darcy's Pledge,
by Monica Fairview,

I want to apologize for my lack of presence recently. I have been a bit 'under the weather' and my blog is only one of the many things that has suffered my neglect. Please forgive me, dear readers and Monica Fairview, (Brenda Webb, too) for this lapse of attention. I am finally getting 'back on track' and hopefully, will get things moving again. 
Thank you for your indulgence!

Now back to the important event,
the announcement of the winner...

Cassandra Grafton

Congratulations! Please contact me with your info as soon as possible. I feel confident you will enjoy this book as much as I did. It is a lovely book and well-written. 
Thank you, Monica, for being my guest and for having the giveaway. It has been a pleasure.