Thursday, May 28, 2015

An interview with L.L. Diamond, author of An Unwavering Trust

L. L. Diamond is visiting us today and I am happy to have her here. She graciously agreed to an interview and answered my questions with candor. She has allowed us some insight into her love of Austen and her methods of writing. Ms. Diamond's newest release is An Unwavering Trust. Although I have not had a chance to read the book yet, I have been hooked ever since I read the book blurb.  One lucky reader will get their own chance to read this novel as there is a giveaway, too.  Please join me in welcoming Leslie L. Diamond.


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

I was a student in college when Sense and Sensibility with Emma Thompson was released. When it came out on video (I’m trying not to date myself here!), my mother and I rented it. I can still hear her giggle behind me at the beginning as Fanny Dashwood wheedles her husband into giving his sisters nothing. I adored the movie, and she bought me the book, which ended up on a shelf for some time.
It was several years later that I found the 1995 Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth and was hooked. I read Pride and Prejudice quickly, and found myself dreaming up the future of Darcy and Elizabeth in my head. For some reason, that story pulled me into Jane Austen further. Since then, I have read Sense and Sensibility, Emma, and Persuasion. I do hope to finish her writings one day, but while Persuasion runs a close second to Pride and Prejudice, none of them has captured my interest in the same way as Darcy and Elizabeth.

Persuasion runs a close second to Pride and Prejudice for me too. Darcy and Elizabeth captured my heart and I have to have my 'fix' every so often. I am so thrilled there are authors like you that help me with that 'fix'. What drove you to start writing your own books? Did you write other things before writing PnP variations?

I did not write prior to writing JAFF. My road to JAFF is similar to many stories I have heard. I devoured just about any story put before me, and eventually found myself in one of the forum chat rooms. I found a sisterhood of sorts and enjoyed spending my free time with these ladies and the occasional gent. Several authors were a part of the group and kept on me to try writing. I would laugh them off and tell them I was a reader, not a writer. I even tried to give away a plot idea, but one author wouldn’t have it. She told me to write it myself. Instead of writing that bunny, I wrote Rain and Retribution. Everything just sort of cascaded from there.

Since you did not write that bunny and wrote another book instead, 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?

I rarely have a full outline that I use religiously. I usually start with a partial outline, but fill things in as they come to me. For some reason, I can never envision past a certain point. I have to begin writing and get a feel for the characters and where they’re going to continue the story. I do have one plot bunny that is very outlined, but even then, the outline is static and can always change. I’m playing with a story now that I have been writing by the seat of my pants. It all depends on what the muse latches on to honestly.

I am always fascinated when an author has a muse. Is there any setting that is more inspirational to you or your muse when writing?

I think it depends upon the story. I become enamored of something and I research and write it. Then, I become enamored of something else. With A Matter of Chance, I think a part of me missed home, so setting it in the south and revisiting antebellum homes and familiar themes was inspirational. With An Unwavering Trust, I became fascinated with Jane Austen and Bath. I am currently living in England and eager to go to Bath. I researched Jane Austen’s time there to include some of her opinions or activities into the story. I also ran across an article on an old estate in Oxfordshire called Aberlash house, and fell in love with it. I never knew that months later it would be bought by George Clooney. I suppose I was not the only one who became inspired by the setting!

Sounds like you and George Clooney have like tastes. That is neat. After researching Jane Austen's time, what about the Regency era became appealing to you?

My rational side knows that people probably smelled to high heaven and candle wax dripped on people during balls, but I don’t care. There’s something about the manners and propriety and falling in love that intrigues me. They wore gloves and so it was unusual for two people to touch skin to skin, so a touch that was skin to skin probably meant a lot more to someone from that time than now. I know I’m rambling, but there’s something that stirs my imagination in it.
Tell us something about your newest book that you love most. (if you can without giving anything away)
That is hard without giving anything away! I will say that I altered the story a lot from the beginning since it pre-dates canon, but I love that part of the catalyst for the ending was something from canon. That’s the best I can do without ruining it. Sorry!

No apology needed. We do not want you to ruin the story! What have you learned from writing that has helped you in your daily life?

Wow, that’s a tricky question. My children would probably say that now I equate any life lesson to Jane Austen or Pride and Prejudice. ;)  But, I would have to say patience. Writing and editing takes patience that I have not always possessed. Now, I am more willing to wait to see how something turns out rather than to rush.

Patience would be a good life lesson. I have found the same with my drawings. I cannot rush them. If I do, I ruin them. Is there anything special about yourself or your writing that you would be willing to share with us?

I had to think about this one for a while! One thing that has become a thing with my writing is to use a pet of mine somehow in the story. It began with A Matter of Chance and the dog Bear. My parents were divorced and I had a real Australian Shepherd named Bear at my father’s house. He had the same backstory as Lizzy’s Bear, but I will say that he lived a long and happy life until he died of old age.
In An Unwavering Trust, I used my horse Page. He was a huge sweetheart, and I miss riding him!

Animals are a special part of my life and I like that you put one of yours in your stories. That adds a personal touch. Now to other authors, do you have a modern day author that has inspired you? If yes, what was it about their writing that was an inspiration?

I love J.K. Rowling. She has a way of setting a scene and weaving a complex story that awes me. I cannot tell you how many times I have read the Harry Potter series and I don’t tire of it. I could read it again and still enjoy it as much as the first time I read it.

She is an amazing author. Her books and the movies made about them how captured the world. Now for a different but very important question, we all have our special reasons for loving Mr. Darcy, what are your reasons?

There are so many! I adore that he fell in love with Elizabeth Bennet despite the fact that she was not necessarily socially acceptable for him. I love that he abandoned society’s expectations by proposing to her at Hunsford (Even though the proposal was dreadful. Is it bad that I laugh when I read it?). I love that he took her censure of his behavior to heart—that he made a point to be a better person for her. He demonstrated how much he loved her with that simple action. I love that he saved her sister and wanted none of the credit. He intended to be a silent hero, not wanting recognition but wanting to be loved for himself. Mr. Darcy isn’t perfect, he definitely has flaws, but he is human and a good person who attempts to be better for love. Who wouldn’t want that?!

I cannot imagine any woman that wouldn't want that kind of man! :) You have given us a thoughtful and thorough answer...a good response with depth. Thank you for your reflections. 


An Unwavering Trust may be found 
on Amazon in both eBook and paperback.

blog: L.L. Diamond Writes
twitter: @lldiamond2

facebook: L.L. Diamond Author


Thank you, L.L. Diamond, for visiting today and for cordially answering my questions. It is nice to get to know you a bit and learn of your writing process. The process for each author is something that always intrigues me...the muse, the setting and what makes the story come alive on the page. 

I hope you have much success with An Unwavering Trust and appreciate you offering one for my readers. Ms. Diamond is giving away one eBook internationally to one lucky person. Please leave a comment below and include your email address to be entered in the giveaway. The giveaway ends at 11:59 P.M. on Wednesday, June 3, 2015. Good luck to all.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

My share in the conversation...Young Jane Austen

I hope everyone had a good Memorial Day. Mine was rather eventful. I spent part of it in my 'safe place' since a tornado or cloud with rotation was spotted overhead. The emergency alarm went off on my phone and the weather person on tv warned us to take cover immediately. My 'safe place' is a coat closet. Believe me, it is not made for me, a Yorkie and a Border Collie to sit in for any length of time, but we did just the same. My babies went into the closet with no problem and behaved remarkably well, staying still throughout. (I was surprised, to say the least) We remained in this lovely space in the dark, except for my phone's light, for over thirty minutes. After I managed to unfold and crawl out, my body did not behave remarkably well! It complained about those cramped quarters! :) The rest of the afternoon was filled with more phone emergency alerts, winds, torrential rains and numerous weather warnings. Much of the area is still under a flood warning with the possibility of more storms to come in the next few days. The good news is that my family is safe and we are thankful. It was definitely a Memorial Day to remember.

I had planned on posting my review Monday but due to the weather, I kept a vigil on the storm in progress. I am a day late but my thoughts are below! Anyone that leaves a comment on this review will be included in the giveaway of a trade paperback that was mentioned in the post, 'Creating the Dressing Room Illustration', by Lisa Pliscou. Since I am a day later posting my review, I will extend the giveaway by one day, ending it at 11:59 P.M., Tuesday, May 27, 2015. Again, please leave your email address so that you may be entered in the giveaway. Leaving a comment here and at Lisa's post will double your chances of winning this lovely book. Thank you for visiting and taking the time to read my 'share in the conversation'. Good luck to all.

Young Jane Austen: Becoming a Writer by Lisa Pliscou

This narrative gives the reader a glimpse into the first twelve years of the life of Jane Austen.  As the author, Lisa Pliscou states, it is a ‘speculative biography’. Ms. Pliscou reconstructs Jane Austen’s youth in an attempt to show how her world, the time and place, influenced her to become a writer that has stood the test of time.

Young Jane Austen is in full color from beginning to end and is a virtual feast for the eyes. The narrative is divided into three sections and each section has its own color/style and background. It is absolutely lovely and a delight to read.

Section one is entitled ‘Young Jane Austen’ and has twenty entries with twenty illustrations, by Massimo Mongiardo, commissioned especially for this book. Each short chapter is written as if a young Jane is thinking about the events that are taking place with her family and gives insights into her thoughts. Some even appear as if they are journal entries from young Jane. I enjoyed this approach as it brought feeling and truth to the narrative. The choice of printing and color adds its own nuance. Each entry or chapter is printed on paper that looks like an old manuscript or journal with a lovely blue print behind the journal.

The second part is the annotated version of Young Jane Austen. This section gives some interesting information and facts related to things mentioned in the narrative. This was one of my favorite parts as it elaborated on certain events and happenings. (This section is printed on light blue and is easy on the eyes.)

The third and last section is ‘About Jane Austen’. It answers the question, “What was she like?” There is a chapter about Jane Austen, the author. It gives a little more history and insight into her specific writings. A timeline for those first twelve years is included. The sources used to gather the thoughts and facts stated throughout the book are listed here as well as a complete index.  

Young Jane Austen is an easy and enchanting read. It is obvious that much research went into the writing of this biography. The book is unique in both approach and appearance. Anyone that is devoted to Jane Austen would be delighted to own this book. It is truly a treasure.

And the winners are...

Yay! I have the winners for Days of Future Past 

by Sally Smith O'Rourke!

You are going to love this book! If you get a chance, let me now your thoughts after reading it. I would love to hear your share.

Now for the winners...drum roll please...

Ginna - eBook
Sophia Rose - Paperback

Ladies, I have sent you an email so as soon as I hear back from you, your books will be on their way!

Congratulations and thank you for supporting 
More Agreeably Engaged.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Creating the Dressing Room Illustration in 'Young Jane Austen', Lisa Pliscou

I have been looking forward to today's guest for several months now. When she originally contacted me in February about visiting More Agreeably Engaged, I was so excited. Then when I received a copy of her book, I was even more so. It is undoubtedly one of the prettiest books I have ever seen. It is in full color, inside and out. Yes, I did say the inside too. The blue print is so appropriate for the time and looks like fabric that might have been used then. Add to that the look of very old pages and you will see a delightful book that anyone would love to have in their library. (and one of you will)  :)

Please welcome Lisa Pliscou!

After deciding I wanted to write a book about the childhood of Jane Austen, the big challenge then became how to lucidly present the few – the very few! – facts that are generally agreed to be true about her formative years from birth to around age twelve.

It seemed most interesting to me to begin by creating a narrative based on these limited facts, and frame it through the emerging consciousness of a child. And once this narrative was written, I had twenty short chapters that together, I hoped, offered a fresh illumination of Austen’s early years and her development into a writer.

This narrative, a kind of hybrid between fiction and fact, forms the first section of the book. The second section is an annotated version of the narrative, which features brief quotations from various sources (including Austen’s books and correspondence), background details, ruminations on creativity, and connections to Austen’s work as a mature writer which I found intriguing — the underpinnings, so to speak, of the construction process.

The third section includes an overview of Austen’s life, legacy, and the era in which she lived, as well as a timeline of the key events on the which the narrative is based.

 Finally, I knew I wanted illustrations to accompany the narrative. This was rather a leap creatively, as currently there exist only two identifiable images of Jane Austen; both of them show her as an adult, and in one her face is entirely shielded by her bonnet. Over the years, various Austen family members, friends, and acquaintances offered descriptions that today combine to create an idea of a tall, thin woman who had hazel eyes, a round face and a rosy complexion, high cheekbones, and curly brown hair.

The hotly debated wax figure in the Jane Austen Centre
in Bath, England
It wasn’t much to go on when trying to conjure images of Jane as a little girl. But I wanted to provide a sense of, a feeling for, Austen and her era, and as long as I was completely transparent about this decision and process — and indeed, it’s all explained in Young Jane Austen — I felt very comfortable.

I had the great good fortune to partner with Massimo Mongiardo on the illustrations. Based in New York City, Massi’s done everything from book and product illustration to concept and character design for theater and film productions; it was great having him bring this diverse experience into the process. Too, he was very comfortable with the lack of definitive source material, which was a critical mindset in approaching this project!

In this post I want to focus on one illustration in particular, starting with the concept and showing how we began with the proverbial blank page and ended up with what I see as a wonderful representation of Jane in a very specific time and place.

This illustration is for the chapter called “The Dressing Room,” which occurs toward the end of the narrative section. It’s one of the most important illustrations in the book, as it needed to show how having a ‘room of her one’s own’ in a large and busy household may well have been a key development for a young writer-in-the-making.

Eleven-year-old Jane and her older sister Cassandra, fourteen, were given the use of the room next to theirs, which they called the “Dressing Room.” Biographers believe that Jane’s first literary efforts were written in the Dressing Room: the hilarious and astonishingly sophisticated work that’s now known as her Juvenilia.

Here is Massi’s initial sketch:

He noted in his email:

Cassy and Jane playing dress-up, maybe with flowers they've made of paper, books lying about, a mirror on the wall, pillows, a cozy, creative environment.

My initial reaction was really positive, but something tugged at me. And a few days later I emailed him back:

As much as I like your composition, I feel like we need instead to see Jane, alone, almost like she's gathering herself for what comes next — the transformation into A CREATOR. The solitude of the artist-to-be, etc. So that the illustration aligns with this text from the chapter: “Alone, but not lonely, for here you could think. Feel. Read. Figure things out. Dream.” Could we rethink this one? 

Here’s Massi’s next sketch:

We agreed that we were heading in the right direction. Here’s what he sent next: 

And his comment:

For this one I studied up on what Jane's portraits look like. This is the first chapter where her face is blatantly shown . . . as she's approaching an age where she might to start look like her adult self. Looking at it again I need to thin her eyebrows a bit to make her look less boyish. I wanted her expression to be one of foresight and deep thought. She's not happy but she's not upset. She's pondering . . . in the only place she can, the dressing room.

It was a huge shift from that initial sketch. We were getting so close to the feeling of this chapter!

I wrote back:

Love this!

One small concern: I showed the image to my husband who said, "Why is she wearing headphones?" I guess he doesn't know about the hairband thing . . . LOL. But you'll keep an eye on that as you proceed to final? 

And here is Massi’s corrected image:

Notice the little hint of feminine eyelashes, as well as the subtle upward quirk of her lips so that she doesn’t look lonely or unhappy but rather, dreamy and determined instead.

A beautiful portrait of the artist, emerging.


To see more of Massimo Mongiardo’s work:

Available at Amazon
and B&N.

It has been such a pleasure to have Lisa Pliscou visit my blog and share the progress of the drawings for her book, Young Jane Austen: Becoming A Writer. Since I love to draw, it was of special interest to me. I also appreciated the emails from Lisa and her artist, as I have had similar ones with some of the authors whose covers I have done, especially the one when she had shown the image to her husband and received his thoughts. :) I hope all you readers have enjoyed this post as much as I have. Thank you, Lisa, for sharing it with us.

Lisa Pliscou is very generously giving away one signed paperback copy of her book to a lucky person. The giveaway is international. All of you will have a chance. Please leave me your email address in the comment so I will be able to reach you should you be the winner. If you do not leave an email, you will not be entered. You do not want to miss out on a chance of winning this gorgeous book. Thank you Lisa, for this giveaway opportunity for all my readers. The giveaway will end at midnight May 26, 2015. Good luck to all.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

My share in the conversation...Days of Future Past

Strange happenings, past lives, intrigue, romance and forgiveness…these are only a few ingredients in the recipe for the extraordinary novel, Days of Future Past by Sally Smith O’Rourke. An earthquake in Southern California during a warm March night sets the stage for this delicious book. The result is a fast paced story that kept me involved from beginning to end.

There are so many things that I loved about this book but will only mention a few here. The rest I leave for each reader to discover and savor for themselves.

The main characters, Ann Hart, family therapist, and Ted McConaughy, trauma therapist, have a past and are about to collide again in the present. After twenty years their paths cross in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake leaving them bewildered and excited. This encounter sets off a series of events that take the hero and heroine on a voyage of adventure, recurring dreams and mistrust.

All characters are well developed and believable. The minors are as engaging as the majors.
Gigi, Ann’s Great Pyrenees, is a big ‘cuddle bear’ of a dog and is a charming furry addition. She has a few significant parts to play in the narrative, as well. I wanted to hug her too.
Jamie, Ann’s uncle, is Ted’s mentor and boss. This connection brings Ann and Ted together in some most unusual ways.
Sara Jane, Ted’s sixteen year old daughter, is delightful. The role that she plays is endearing and I loved her first meeting of Ann.
Ellie, Ann’s friend and sister-in-law is supportive to Ann during difficult times. I also like that she encourages Ann to move on with her life.

This book by Sally Smith O’Rourke is well written and entertaining. It bravely explores the territory of reincarnation and invites with descriptions so complete the reader is imported into the scene itself. I enjoyed every word. Although I have little knowledge about the subject of past lives I found the narrative fascinating and credible. Add in a touching love story that endures the expanse of time and the result is a novel of remarkable and astonishing events. You cannot go wrong with this latest by Ms. O’Rourke. I was not ready for the tale to end but still felt the pleasure of a satisfactory conclusion. I highly recommend Days of Future Past.

Thank you for taking the time to read my review. I hope you will have the opportunity to read this book. Sally Smith O'Rourke is having a fabulous giveaway in conjunction with her guest post!  She is giving away one eBook edition of Days of Future Past, internationally, and one paperback edition, US mailing address required. Please leave a comment below to be entered in the giveaway. Also please let me know if you will be entering for the eBook or the paperback. If you leave a comment here and at the guest post by Ms. O'Rouke, you will double your chances of winning. Thank you for commenting and don't forget to include your email address for contact purposes should you be the winner. Without it you will not be entered. I have extended the giveaway since I was later posting my review. Therefore the giveaway will end at midnight May 19, 2015. Good luck to all of you.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

And the winners are...

It's time to announce the randomly selected winners from some past posts. Sorry for the delay on these but I have been a bit under the weather and not getting much done. All winners have been notified and I believe the winners of P.O. Dixon's book and Jan Hahn's book have received their books. Posting the winners has been my failure but I am slowly playing catch-up. :)

A special thanks to all the authors for being my guests. I enjoyed having you stop by. Thank you also for the giveaways. 

So-o-o, winners, here we go!

So Far Away by P.O. Dixon

       Ceri   eBook 
J Dawn King   Paperback 

A Peculiar Connection by Jan Hahn

Michelle F   Paperback 

The Bennet and Darcy Arrangement by Melanie Schertz

DungVu   eBook

Suddenly Mrs. Darcy by Jenetta James

PdxIrishGirl   Paperback

Next up will be the winners for Days of Future Past 
by Sally Smith O'Rourke.
That giveaway ends on May 16 at midnight. If you haven't stopped by yet, you need to do so. There are two books in the offering, one paperback, US, and one eBook, international. Sally shares a very interesting post so you do not want to miss it. I will be posting a review in a day or two so commenting will give you double chances at winning.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Days of Future Past with Sally Smith O'Rourke

It has been quite some time since author, Sally Smith O'Rourke visited More Agreeably Engaged. I am so happy to have her visit again and share with us some things about her writing and her inspiration. Sally's latest release, Days of Future Past, has a different 'flavor' in that it is not an Austenesque novel. Ms. O'Rourke still admits to influence by Jane Austen as part of her motivation of certain inclusions in the book. I hope you will all have a chance to read this lovely and intriguing book. It bravely explores the territory of reincarnation and invites with descriptions so complete the reader is imported into the scene itself. 

Please join me in welcoming back, Sally Smith O'Rourke.


Recently I sat on a panel with Shannon Winslow, Syrie James and Diana Birchal, all of us authors of Jane Austen related fiction. We began with each explaining what had inspired us to write Austenesque fiction. The journeys we took were diverse and intriguing. Jane and her characters were, of course the inspiration for all of us, we just reached her in different ways. The same is true for my general fiction, each story was motivated by different things.

Where do I get ideas is one of the most asked questions I get and has no easy answer. Often a documentary will trigger something that ultimately becomes a book, as examples, The Maidenstone Lighthouse and Christmas at Sea Pines Cottage both came about because of a television documentary on lighthouses. Since all lighthouses are very old, it only seemed logical that some would be haunted, so the ghostly lighthouse in Maidenstone was created. The documentary talked about people who rent or lease some of the lighthouses, and it made me wonder what kind of a person wants the solitude of life in a lighthouse and so Robert, a war hero and his beloved Golden Retriever, Meteor, became the stars of Christmas at Sea Pines Cottage (Meteor tells the story).

As for the Jane Austen books, The Man Who Loved Jane Austen and Yours Affectionately, Jane Austen came about after I read several Austen biographies. It was clear that no one had any idea who might have been the inspiration for Mr. Darcy of Pride and Prejudice. My late husband, Michael and I, created our own Mr. Darcy. A 21st century Virginia horseman who stumbles through a rip in the fabric of time and becomes Jane Austen’s inspiration for her Mr. Darcy.

I’m not sure anything inspired me to write Days of Future Past, my latest effort. I was taking a walk one day, out of the blue I wondered what could happen if one’s past lives invade the present. I have no idea from whence the thought came, but eventually the story began to evolve. It has turned into a story of love and loss, realization and forgiveness.

We all love the romantic relationships in Jane Austen’s books, but it’s the other relationships that she does so well that motivated me to include, in Days of Future Past, some relationships that enrich the story as well as help move it forward. As Austen did in Pride and Prejudice with Elizabeth and Charlotte Lucas, my protagonist, Ann has a best friend, Ellie Hart, someone in whom she can confide and find solace. Ted, my hero is a single father to Sara Jane, his sixteen year old, not entirely normal teenager. Inspired by Austen, I attempted to create a realistic atmosphere by including relationships that are not quite as critical but no less significant to the story. Ann has a particularly strong relationship with her Aunt and Uncle (her mother’s brother), Ted has a best friend and boss in the same person. Non-human relationships sometimes add humanity to a story, so I gave Ann a big white dog, Gigi, her friend and protector.

Another question that is fairly common is ‘how much of your writing is autobiographical?’ A lot! Not so much the big things, as I’ve never time traveled like Darcy in The Man Who Loved Jane Austen, nor have I ever lived in or near a lighthouse as in The Maidenstone Lighthouse and Christmas at Sea Pines Cottage and I have no idea if I’ve ever lived a previous life as Ted in Days of Future Past, but many of the small personal things are from my life or the lives of people I know. In Days of Future Past for example, Alex is a private pilot as was my late husband, Mike and we had a Gruman Tiger single engine plane just like Alex. Sewing is one of my hobbies, and Ann is considering turning Alex’s old office into a sewing room. I love to bake, as any of you who’ve visited my website know, as does Ann. In Days of Future Past Ann and Ted had planned their wedding in the carousel on the Santa Monica Pier, which is where Mike and I were married. I live near Pasadena, California and have experienced many earthquakes, which may be the reason I was able to describe the earthquake in Days of Future Past so vividly. Everything I write is part of me.

From time to time my writing has been described as ‘cinematic’ because, I’m told, readers often feel as though they have entered the scene. I suppose it’s how I describe things and I’ve often been asked how I do it. Unfortunately it isn’t a question I can answer with any clarity. I visualize a scene in my mind, the way I want it to play out and I write it. I try to make the descriptions clear enough that readers can see what I see. Does that make sense? I suppose it is simply my writing style, and I suspect there is no explanation for someone’s writing style.

For those of you who don’t know, Janet designed and executed the cover of the book. Beautiful, isn’t it?

This book and all others by Sally Smith O'Rourke available at Amazon

Author Bio: "Where shall I begin? Which of all my important nothings shall I tell you first?" (J.A. June 15, 1808)

That I reside in the Victorian village of Monrovia, California; a mere two miles from my place of employment, a local hospital where I spend most daylight hours in the operating room as a scrub nurse.

That I am a native Californian having been born in Glendale, and spent most of my life here with a relatively short span of years in Reno, Nevada where I attended school. Returning after graduation I have remained in sunny SoCal.

That I was widowed some time ago. That I have very domestic hobbies like sewing, cooking, baking, candy making and cake decorating. Oh, yeah I write, too. Mike, my late husband and teacher, taught me that writing has to be treated like a job so every day no matter how tired I am I edit, research one or more projects and write.

That presently I am finishing up the continuation of The Man Who Loves Jane Austen with Yours Affectionately, Jane Austen. That I have started a story of reincarnation that takes place in Pasadena, CA and am making notes for a ghost story set in San Francisco. That all Three stories are running around in my head and often colliding but I untangle the debris and continue on.

There you have a few of my nothings.


Personal Information for Sally Smith O'Rourke:
Austenticity  (the everything Austen site)
Twitter    (@Chawton1810)


Thank you, Sally, for being my guest and sharing these insights into your writing style. I found them of much interest. I always love hearing how individual authors are inspired to write and to learn more of their process. I hope you are having much success with this new book. It is one that I enjoyed reading very much. 

Thank you also for the mention of my designing your book cover. It was such a pleasure working with you on it. The colors you selected are some of my very favorites plus the painting you chose for the front cover is soothing and inviting. If any of you are interested in the many photos used to create the back cover, take a look on my Cover Art page.

Sally Smith O'Rourke is having a fabulous giveaway! Doesn't that sound great! She is giving away one eBook edition of Days of Future Past, internationally, and one paperback edition, US mailing address required. Please leave a comment below to be entered in the giveaway. Also please let me know if you will be entering for the eBook or the paperback. Thank you for commenting and don't forget to include your email address for contact purposes should you be the winner. Without it you will not be entered. Giveaway ends at midnight May 19, 2015. Good luck to all and again, thank you, Sally, for being my guest. It is always such a pleasure to have you visit. Thank you also, for the generous giveaway. It is much appreciated. 

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Jenetta James...Reimagining the Places of Pride & Prejudice

As part of the Blog Tour for Suddenly Mrs. Darcy, author Jenetta James is visiting More 
Agreeably Engaged and I couldn't be happier. Thank you for being my guest today. I enjoyed following your path along Elizabeth's footsteps. I'm also thrilled that the eBook and paperback are now available on Amazon AND getting good reviews! Congratulations! 

Exciting news for you, dear readers, there is a trade paperback giveaway!


In Elizabeth’s footsteps: reimagining the places of Pride & Prejudice

Pride & prejudice is one of those novels with a set of iconic locations, completely redolent of the heart of its story.  Pemberley, Longbourn, Netherfield, Hunsford; all have such powerful identities within the narrative and most of us readers have fixed ideas of what these places look and feel like. Who amongst us has not imagined our arrival at the Netherfield ball amongst the hubbub of the neighbourhood and the flickering of Mr Bingley’s candles? Have we not all thought of the rambles we would go on around Rosings park and the corners of the Longbourn garden we would chose to read our book in? They are all places of great character.

But, the writer of JAFF is effectively forced to play around with them. In Suddenly Mrs Darcy for example, Elizabeth sees Pemberley as a wife and its mistress rather than as an awe struck guest and that inevitably influences how the place is presented. More broadly there are two approaches to place within fan fiction. There are those stories which take our beloved characters to places wildly beyond the world of their creator – such as other countries far and wide. This is a really fun thing to do but I am not sure that I am quite brave enough for it! The other take, which I have adopted in Suddenly Mrs Darcy is to take them to places which were within the contemplation of Jane Austen, but which are not really explored in canon.

The most obvious of these is the fabled Darcy House – Mr Darcy’s London town house. I live in London and love it so imagining this is very close to my heart. The reality is that I am a bit of a city girl and maybe that is reflected in my book. The plot of Suddenly Mrs Darcy sees our lovely couple spending an unscheduled summer at Darcy House and for reasons which it would spoil the novel to reveal, Mr Darcy also has another London property which sees some dramatic action.  I mean them to be luxurious and well-appointed (…what else where Mr Darcy is concerned?!) but also to have a sense of the city itself. I hope that readers enjoy visiting them both….


Book Blurb:
Elizabeth Bennet never imagined her own parents would force her to marry a virtual stranger. But when Mrs. Bennet accuses Fitzwilliam Darcy of compromising her daughter, that is exactly the outcome. Trapped in a seemingly loveless marriage and far from home, she grows suspicious of her new husband’s heart and further, suspects he is hiding a great secret. Is there even a chance at love given the happenstance of their hasty marriage?

Author Bio:
Jenetta James is a lawyer, writer, mother and taker-on of too much. She grew up in Cambridge and read history at Oxford University where she was a scholar and president of the Oxford University History Society. After graduating, she took to the law and now practises full time as a barrister. Over the years she has lived in France, Hungary and Trinidad as well as her native England. Jenetta currently lives in London with her husband and children where she enjoys reading, laughing and playing with Lego. Suddenly Mrs Darcy is her first novel.


Available at Amazon

4/20:Excerpt & Giveaway at The Calico Critic
4/21: Review at Songs and Stories
4/22:  Guest Post & Giveaway at My Jane Austen Book Club
4/23: Guest Post & Giveaway at So Little Time…
4/24: Review at Diary of an Eccentric
4/25: Excerpt & Giveaway at My Love for Jane Austen
4/26: Review at Babblings of a Bookworm
4/27: Guest Post & Giveaway at Austenesque Reviews
4/28: Guest Post at Songs and Stories
4/29: Excerpt & Giveaway at Best Sellers and Best Stellars
4/30: Review at My Kids Led Me Back to Pride and Prejudice
5/1: Review at Margie's Must Reads
5/2: Guest Post & Giveaway at More Agreeably Engaged
5/3: Excerpt & Giveaway at Laughing with Lizzie


Thank you again for being my guest today, Ms. James. It has been a pleasure having you visit my blog. I know you have been busy with your tour and I am happy you could stop by here. I wish you much success with your new book and I hope to see many more from you in the future. For you readers that have not had a chance to visit some of the other stops on the tour, the schedule is above. I hope you can find a few minutes to go back and catch up on these interesting posts and excerpts.

Meryton Press and Michele Reed are giving away one trade paperback to a lucky reader and the giveaway is international. Be sure to leave a comment and your email address or other contact info to be entered in the giveaway. Good luck to all. Giveaway ends May 8, 2015 at midnight.