Sophia Rose's Blog
October 14, 2018
I am thrilled to announce that our Rational Creatures has gone live in electronic version at Amazon with paperback edition to follow tomorrow.
Here's the Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07JFJ1HSZ/...
Hoping you have the chance to clear your schedule for the evening and prepare to enjoy several of Jane Austen's strong and intriguing women.
For those who get the chance to pick it up, reviews here at GoodReads and over at Amazon are lovely early Christmas pressies....
September 19, 2018
Starting yesterday with author, Christina Morland visiting at My Jane Austen Book Club blog, Rational Creatures began her grand tour here: https://thesecretunderstandingofthehe...
“But I hate to hear you talking so, like a fine gentleman, and as if women were all fine ladies, instead of rational creatures. We none of us expect to be in smooth water all our days.” —Persuasion
Jane Austen: True romantic or rational creature? Her novels transport us back to the Regency, a time when well-mannered gentlemen and finely-bred ladies fell in love as they danced at balls and rode in carriages. Yet her heroines, such as Elizabeth Bennet, Anne Elliot, and Elinor Dashwood, were no swooning, fainthearted damsels in distress. Austen’s novels have become timeless classics because of their biting wit, honest social commentary, and because she wrote of strong women who were ahead of their day. True to their principles and beliefs, they fought through hypocrisy and broke social boundaries to find their happily-ever-after.
In the third romance anthology of The Quill Collective series, sixteen celebrated Austenesque authors write the untold histories of Austen’s brave adventuresses, her shy maidens, her talkative spinsters, and her naughty matrons. Peek around the curtain and discover what made Lady Susan so wicked, Mary Crawford so capricious, and Hettie Bates so in need of Emma Woodhouse’s pity.
Rational Creatures is a collection of humorous, poignant, and engaging short stories set in Georgian England that complement and pay homage to Austen’s great works and great ladies who were, perhaps, the first feminists in an era that was not quite ready for feminism.
“Make women rational creatures, and free citizens, and they will become good wives; —that is, if men do not neglect the duties of husbands and fathers.” —Mary Wollstonecraft
Stories by Elizabeth Adams * Nicole Clarkston * Karen M Cox * J. Marie Croft * Amy D’Orazio * Jenetta James * Jessie Lewis * KaraLynne Mackrory * Lona Manning * Christina Morland * Beau North * Sophia Rose * Anngela Schroeder * Joana Starnes * Caitlin Williams * Edited by Christina Boyd * Foreword by Devoney Looser
You don't want to miss this:
Rational Creature SUPER Giveaway
The Random Name Picker winner review all blog comments and select one winner from these blog stop comments during the tour for all 21 prizes: Winner’s choice of one title from each authors’ backlist (that’s 16 books, ebooks, or audiobooks), our bespoke t-shirt/soap/candle; #20, a brick in winner’s name to benefit #BuyABrick for Chawton House; and #21, the Quill Collective anthologies in ebook or audiobook
Blog Tour Schedule
Rational Creatures Blog Tour Schedule
September 18 / My Jane Austen Book Club / Guest Post
September 20 / Long and Short Reviews / Guest Post
September 25 / Books & Wine are Lovely Playlist
September 27 / Fangs, Wands and Fairydust / Guest Post ***This is me and my Austen lady*** Do stop by and give us some comment loving if you have a minute: http://fangswandsandfairydust.com/
October 2 / Babblings of a Bookworm / Guest Post
October 4 / From Pemberley to Milton / Guest Post
October 9 / Austenesque Reviews / Guest Post
October 11 / Silver Petticoat / Guest Post
October 15 / Just Jane 1813 / Book Review
October 16 / My Love for Jane Austen / Guest Post
October 18 / Rosie’s Review Team / Book Review
October 23 / More Agreeably Engaged / Guest Post
October 25 / The Book Rat / Guest Post
October 30 / Margie’s Must Reads / Book Review
November 1 / My Vices and Weaknesses / Guest Post
November 6 / Diary of an Eccentric / Book Review
November 8 / Of Pens and Pages / Book Review
November 13 / Let Us Talk of Many Things / Guest Post
Rational Creatures will dip her curtsey at retailers starting Oct 15th. Meanwhile, feel free to mark her as a 'want to read' here on Good Reads for your wish list.
April 26, 2018
Today is the day I get to jump up and down with excitement because our big secret project is finally out in the open. I have been dying to tell a few hundred of my closest peeps for some time- and now I can.
Rational Creatures will be releasing Oct 15th and will have 16 short stories from some of the best writers in the genre as well as an intro from an amazing Jane Austen loving scholar. Our editor Christina Boyd came up with a timely and timeless theme as usual.
When I think about it all, I am humbled and awestruck to be part of this illustrious company. I have seen early hints at plots, historical details, themes, and oh, yes, delicious tantalizing excerpts. As that guy for the Men's Wearhouse commercial says, 'You're Gonna Love it!"
To kick off our celebratory mood, Rational Creatures is debuting at three different blogs. Christina brings giveaways from the fabulous lady artisans who have partnered up with us so stop by each of these blogs for your chance at the sensational giveaways.
Claudine's JustJane1813 blog: http://justjane1813.com/2018/04/26/an...
Rita's From Pemberley to Milton blog: https://frompemberleytomilton.wordpre...
Meredith's Austenesque Reviews blog: http://austenesquereviews.com/2018/04...
Oh, and if you want to peruse our book here on GoodReads...
Before I trot off, I have a second big announcement for the audiobook lovers!!!
Dangerous to Know is now released on Audible.com
Audible link: https://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/Da...
January 1, 2018
First of all! I do hope you are off to a good start having a happy, healthy, and joyful New Year.
My New Year's Eve was rather quiet just the way I like it. Movies and books, games, the fire, snacks, family, laughter, and oh yes, we mustn't forget my neighbor's enthusiastic shooting off of his gun at midnight.
I reflect back and feel very blessed regardless of the fact that 2017 wasn't entirely a carefree year. Because, when all is said and done, it was, indeed, good.
However, I'm also ready to face forward and meet this new year. I think of the old CBC Kevin Sullivan film, Anne of Green Gables and love Miss Stacey's quote to Anne about tomorrow being a new day with no mistakes in it yet. That's how I feel about New Year. A new year to start afresh.
Oh yes, I do fidget with eagerness to crack open my new calendar and journal and hit my new goals hard. In my case, I have no innovative goals this year. I'm merely going to do a reset on last year's. They were good goals.
Wanna know what they are??? LOL
Is my picture hint enough? Oh yes, I want to write. I began two stories during last November's NaNoWriMo (don't ask- apparently I couldn't keep my brain from distraction without both). One of which is what I consider my legit piece and my official Work In Progress. This- yes this one is my goal this year. Finish, beta read, edit, and find some one to accept it.
I also need to clean up a story that was rejected last year and I want to shop it around again.
And then there is our short story writing club. I slacked off on my stories last fall. I need to do better this year.
Along with writing, I of course plan to do a pile of reading.
I believe I'm signed up for 16 Reading Challenges. (No, I'm not seeing anyone about my addiction). Before you freak on me, let me share that all of these allow for a book to be used toward other challenges and that several of these challenges focus on reading the books on the TBR pile.
If you get curious throughout the year of how I'm doing on my challenges, I've set up virtual shelves here on GoodReads to track my challenge reads. And, if you are looking for a reading challenge to suit you feel free to consult me. LOL, I'm aware of ever so many challenges even ones I managed to not sign up for.
So these are my jumbled New Year's thoughts. What about you? Are you a New Year's Resolution type? Any reading or writing goals of your own?
November 17, 2017
We are having a post-release party!
And you are invited.
Games, trivia, meet and greet, giveaways...
On Monday, November 20.
Several of our authors and our editor are hosting time slots off and on throughout the day:
Lona Manning 2am EST
Christina Boyd: 9am EST
Christina Morland: 10am EST
Amy D'Orazio: 12pm EST
Beau North: 1pm EST
Joana Starnes: 6:30pm EST
Sophia Rose: 7pm EST
Karen M Cox: 8pm EST
Christina Boyd: 9pm EST
My own time is 7pm EST so if you're on Facebook, it would be great if you can stop by. But no worries if that time is not good because I'll leave my posts open until the next afternoon at 2pm.
In The Best Sellers & Best Stellars Party Room.
Pop in through out the day!
Pssst--pass it on!
To come to the party, you must join the Beststellars Party Room Group on Facebook (no worries, you can leave after the party if you like).
Here's the link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/bests...
Would love to see you there!
November 9, 2017
This was an exciting debut week for Dangerous to Know.
Our first stop on the blog tour happened at Margie's Must Reads blog with her delightful thoughts on our handsome, flawed gentlemen.
Hope you can drop by and don't forget there are a couple of fabulous prize packs to tempt you.
And our handsome DTK is now live at on-line merchant sites in electronic or paperback editions.
***pro tip, did you know that if you buy a papercopy then Amazon will offer you a matchbook $.99 price for the ebook? So... you could buy a friend the PB for their stocking and snag the ebook version for a little pressie for moi.
Or if you'd rather just have the ebook, it's on sale for $2.99 through the release season before it goes back up to regular price.
Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dang...
It has been euphoric to see the reviews starting to come in and know that our beloved bad boys are providing an engaging read for folks. Thank you, profoundly, to all those who have taken the time to leave us a review on Amazon and GoodReads. It is a true gift back to our editorial and author team. Muah!
October 31, 2017
Wow! This month promises some wonderful things that I just had to share with everyone.
First up, I've signed up for NaNoWriMo 2017. This is the National Novel Writing Month challenge to write a novel or 50,000 words in 30 days. I find this sort of pressure a great way to get busy on my writing. Its a big rush and I'm looking forward to working on a story I've had brewing for over five years. Here's the link if you think this might be something you're interested in doing: https://nanowrimo.org/
Secondly, I'm participating in a fun week-long reading challenge. The Ho Ho Ho Read-a-thon hosted by Kimberly @ Caffeinated Book Reviews blog. My goal is to read five holiday/winter-themed books. Here's the link if you're interested in checking it out for yourself (and you don't have to be a blogger to participate. I do it with just a GoodReads shelf set up to link to): https://caffeinatedbookreviewer.com/2...
And finally, drum roll please, we begin our blog tour for the stories of some devastatingly handsome rascals in Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen's Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues. The tour begins on November 6th.
We'd love to have you stop by along the tour and say hey. My own particular stop is for Nov 24th when my book pal Anna is going to
Between you, me and the lamppost... you are probably going to want to hit every stop for the opportunity to get snatchy-hands on those two fabulous prize packages.
Here's the schedule:
Dangerous to Know Blog Tour:
💗Monday, Nov6: REVIEW: Margie's Must Reads, https://margiesmustreads.com
💗Thursday, Nov9: REVIEW, Obsessed with Mr. Darcy, https://obsessedwithmrdarcy.wordpress...
💗Monday, Nov13: REVIEW, Austenesque Reviews, http://austenesquereviews.com
💗Tuesday, Nov14: REVIEW, Olga, ROSIE AMBER team, http://www.authortranslatorolga.com/
💗Wednesday, Nov15: (release day) REVIEW, Just Jane 1813, http://justjane1813.com
💗Thursday, Nov16: REVIEW, Diary of an Eccentric, https://diaryofaneccentric.wordpress.com
🎩Monday, Nov20: FEATURE w/Kathy Toigo (Wickham), From Pemberley to Milton, https://frompemberleytomilton.wordpre...
🎩Wednesday, Nov22: FEATURE w/Joana Starnes (Willoughby), Babblings of a Bookworm, http://babblingsofabookworm.blogspot.com
🎩Friday, Nov24: FEATURE w/Sophia Rose, (GenTilney), Herding Cats & Burning Soup, http://www.herdingcats-burningsoup.com
🎩Monday, Nov27: FEATURE w/Amy D'Orazio (CaptTilney), My Jane Austen Book Club, http://thesecretunderstandingofthehea...
🎩Wednesday, Nov29: FEATURE w/Brooke West (Crawford), VVB32 Reads, https://vvb32reads.blogspot.com
🎩Thursday, Nov30: FEATURE w/Lona Manning (Tom Bertram), Lit 4 Ladies, http://lit4ladies.com
💗Friday, Dec1: REVIEW, Lit 4 Ladies, http://lit4ladies.com
🎩Monday, Dec4: FEATURE w/Beau North (Fitzwilliam), Obssesed with Darcy, https://obsessedwithmrdarcy.wordpress...
🎩Thursday, Dec7: FEATURE w/ J Marie Croft (Thorpe), Harry Rodell blog/ROSIE AMBER team, https://harryrodell.wordpress.com/aut...
💗Friday, Dec8: REVIEW, From Pemberley to Milton, https://frompemberleytomilton.wordpre...
🎩Monday, Dec11: FEATURE w/Jenetta James (William Elliot), Austenesque Reviews, http://austenesquereviews.com
🎩Thursday, Dec14: FEATURE w/ Karen M Cox (Churchill), Darcyholic Diversions, http://darcyholic.blogspot.com
🎩Monday, Dec17: FEATURE w/ Christina Morland (Sir Walter Elliot), Of Pens & Pages, http://www.ofpensandpages.com
Oh, and we must not forget my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving. I love spending the day with family and friends, but also reflecting on the good that has come into my life and how I can do good in other's lives.
So, that's November. How's this month shaping up for you?
October 25, 2017
Today, instead of my usual 'chatting' with a guest, I have invited author, Victoria Kincaid to come do a takeover of my couch and share with you about her latest book release, President Darcy.
Victoria is no stranger and was a Sofa Chat guest about a year and a half ago.
Here's the link if you'd like to check our our previous chat: https://www.goodreads.com/author_blog...
Without further introduction, I'll let Victoria give you the low-down on her latest book...
Thank you for having me for a visit, Sophia!
President Darcy is my first modern Pride and Prejudice variation and I’ve been very nervous about whether readers will like it, although so far most of them have (whew!).
One of the things that was very striking to me between President Darcy and the original Regency era Mr. Darcy was the degree to which presidents’ lives are constrained. While Mr. Darcy in P & P is a model of rectitude and responsibility, he didn’t have to be. He could have lived the idle life of Willoughby in Sense and Sensibility or Mr. Crawford or Tom Bertram in Mansfield Park or even Walter Elliott in Persuasion. Since Mr. Darcy didn’t have to work for a living, he could have chosen to amuse himself all day every day.
But President Darcy has to behave. Presidents’ lives are under constant scrutiny from the press, the public, and everyone around them. Even the White House staff leaks uncomplimentary things sometimes. If the president says—or tweets—something inappropriate, it’s instantly headline news on newspaper websites and cable news stations. If a president cares about his reputation, he must be very careful about what he says and does. There’s probably nobody else in the country who is under the same degree of scrutiny; certainly Regency-era Mr. Darcy isn’t subject to that constant examination and judgment of his behavior.
This means that when President Darcy insults Elizabeth upon their first meeting, it’s big news (which Lydia tweets to the world). It means that he needs to hide his growing attraction to Elizabeth from everyone lest someone notice and leak to the press. And, ultimately, media scrutiny plays a big role in what happens to Darcy and Elizabeth as a couple.
Presidents also aren’t free to go where they want to. Not only does a president—unlike Mr. Darcy—have a very serious job with specific and unrelenting duties, but his movements are severely constrained by security concerns. The president can’t stop by a 7-Eleven for a cup of coffee or decide at the last minute to visit a friend for the weekend. Every movement must be planned in advance, and every step of the journey needs to be secured by the Secret Service. When the president goes anywhere, approximately one hundred staffers must travel with him.
These constraints made it much harder for my Darcy and Elizabeth to meet up more or less by chance as they do at Rosings Park, so I had to find a new and plausible way to have them encounter each other at the point in the story when Elizabeth is blaming Darcy for ruining Wickham’s life and breaking Jane and Bingley apart. It also meant that it was impossible for Elizabeth and the Gardiners to drop by Pemberley (now a house in the Hamptons) for a visit or to be unaware of when Darcy would be visiting the house.
I didn’t fully anticipate these difficulties when I started writing a modern P&P, and working around these constraints sometimes left me tearing my figurative authorial hair out. However, a strange truism about writing is that sometimes being boxed in forces the writer to be more creative. What I found was that when I resolved these dilemmas, the story was usually stronger because of it. In other words, President Darcy’s problems became my solutions.
Oh my, yes, I did enjoy this piece of insight into how an author works and particularly on this particular novel. I'm keen to read it now. Thank goodness its already released.
On Goodreads: President Darcy: A Modern Pride and Prejudice Variation
On Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/President-Darc...
On B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/pres...
On Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/pres...
Victoria's website: https://victoriakincaid.com/
Victoria's Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/kincaidvictoria
And before she goes, Victoria left us a treat, an excerpt from President Darcy to whet your appetite! Thanks for this and for the visit, Victoria!
As the woman—Elizabeth Bennet— stepped out of the closet, brooms and mops went crashing to the floor. She flinched, and Darcy tightened his grip on her hand, drawing her closer to him as if the cleaning implements represented a serious threat to her safety. It was ridiculous and inappropriate, and Darcy had no idea why he did it.
The woman seemed to provoke unexpected reactions from him. How else could he explain his unwarrantedly casual reaction the potential danger she might represent?
As he double-checked to ensure she was unharmed, Darcy was struck by her eyes—a deep, mossy green he had never seen before on another human being. With such a uniform color…they really were quite fine. He couldn’t look away. No, it would be more accurate to say he didn’t want to look away.
She was about average height for a woman, which meant that she peered up at Darcy, who came in at around six feet. A sweet, heart-shaped face accentuated those marvelous eyes. Lustrous, wavy dark hair tumbled over her shoulders and down her back. And that dress—a floor-length black silk sheath that skimmed all her curves without revealing too much. In fact, it revealed just the right amount of her creamy skin…
Rather pointedly, she cast her eyes down at her hand. Which he was still holding. He noticed her fingers, delicate and tapered and so small, nestled in his grasp.
The touch of her hand was the single most wonderful sensation he had ever felt.
His fingers caressed her fingers.
Her hand trembled in his.
He had no desire to release her.
The rest of his body also responded to her proximity. Leaning toward her, he scented a vaguely floral fragrance…perfume or shampoo perhaps. He flushed with a warmth that had nothing to do with the temperature in the hallway, moisture collecting on his forehead and the back of his neck. His mouth was suddenly parched, and his tongue licked dry lips. Her eyes followed the movement. She is staring at my mouth.
If only I could touch more than her hand. Darcy’s hand rose, needing to learn if her hair was as soft as it appeared. But then the (apparently very small) part of his brain that was still sane reminded him that the woman was a stranger, and he aborted the movement.
I should probably say something. His lips were parted, ready to speak, but all his thoughts appeared to have melted away at her touch.
Bing cleared his throat. “We should get to the dinner.”
The words worked their way through Darcy’s sluggish brain. He understood their import, but the thought of releasing Elizabeth Bennet’s hand horrified him. He desperately needed to touch more of her, not less.
“Just a second, Bing,” he snapped.
Elizabeth blinked, her eyelashes fluttering. Is she as affected by the touch as I am? “I-It’s a pleasure to meet you, Mr. President,” she said with a note of finality that suggested she preferred he return her hand. Damn. Could she guess he’d been thinking improper thoughts—when he knew literally nothing about her except her name? It seriously had been too long since he’d had a date.
Dropping her hand as if it had burned him, he stepped backward, putting more distance between them and trying to collect thoughts that seemed to have been scattered by a powerful wind.
Why was he reacting this way to this woman? She was pretty—well, more than pretty. Beautiful. And that dress displayed a body he would certainly describe as “hot.” But he saw beautiful, well-dressed women every day.
And she’d been hiding in a closet, he reminded himself. It wasn’t normal behavior. She also didn’t appear capable of assembling coherent sentences. It truly was a shame she wasn’t more …eloquent. Lack of intelligence was always a deal-breaker for Darcy.
Although it was probably a good thing. If she were smart, too, she’d be irresistible.
Bing cleared his throat loudly.
Finally, Darcy tore his eyes from her vivid, dark green ones, but he was still rubbed raw by her proximity. He didn’t know why she affected him like this, but Darcy couldn’t let her—or anyone else—notice the results.
Taking out his handkerchief, he blotted his brow and mopped the back of his neck before discreetly wiping his sweaty hands and returning the handkerchief to his pocket. Elizabeth stared, likely marveling at how profusely the President of the United States could sweat. Bing regarded Darcy warily; he knew how out-of-character this behavior was.
He had embarrassed himself sufficiently; remaining any longer would only produce more shame and more perspiration. It was past time to appear at the dinner and get away from the spacey woman with the lovely eyes.
Without another word, he turned on his heel and strode down the hallway. Behind him, he heard Bing ask, “Will you join us at the dinner, Ms. Bennet?”
Damn! I should have asked that. She had me too flustered.
“Um…sure,” she said uncertainly.
No regrets, he told himself sternly. The woman couldn’t string two sentences together. Her beauty was nothing but a momentary distraction.
Darcy tugged his cuffs into place and straightened his bow tie. Taking the service hallway was intended to help him make up time after his last meeting ran late, but the encounter with Ms. Bennet had further delayed his schedule. Time to focus on the dinner and his political priorities for the evening.
September 20, 2017
As I stand here prepping dinner with a new style of chicken and rice one-pan recipe I’ve been playing with involving my recently picked hot peppers and onions (more cumin and garlic, yep, too bland…. Ouchiwawa, juices from the pepper got into a cut on my finger…) and attempt to listen to Lady Susan on my phone with the volume turned up as loud as it will go (oh for sound cancelling headphones), the city guys are working on the sidewalk across the street by breaking up the old concrete first.
Man, there is a cacophony going on between jackhammer, earthmover, and trucks.
How will I ever conduct a chat with my latest guest? Is it polite to offer a visitor to your home earplugs and use semaphore flags to communicate? Haha! Good thing she has already visited once before and her first impression has already been made.
I’m tickled to death to welcome back author Karen Cox for a Sofa Chat in honor of her latest release, I Could Write a Book, an other-era modern Emma retelling.
See, guys, I Could Write a Book was an ongoing future release project when I last chatted with Karen and she got me all jazzed to read it with her hints and descriptions. Now, it’s here! I want to warble on like Miss Bates, but I guess I should finish up this food and welcome Karen to the chaos.
Hey, Karen! *shouts to the lovely lady at the front door* Come on in and let me close out the noise if I can. Sorry about all that. *quieter now with the door closed*
I work with preschoolers, a little noise won’t bother me! (Unless I’m writing, of course :) )
How have you been?
Great! Thrilled, excited, swamped, overwhelmed, nervous…you know, everything an author is when she has a new book coming out!
Four book releases this year, right? A short story for The Darcy Monologues antho (I, Darcy), a novella (The Journey Home), a novel (I Could Write a Book), and now another short story for the Dangerous to Know anthology. Whew, way to go, Karen!
Uh-huh…I think I went a little bit crazy this year- lol
How are you holding up through all that? Any great tips you can pass along now about keeping up with such a writing/release schedule?
I didn’t plan it this way. Both The Journey Home and I Could Write a Book were projects I started some years ago and hadn’t finished. I stopped working on them to put together Undeceived and the “Northanger Revisited short story” in the Sun-kissed anthology. Undeceived, a 1980s Cold War spy novel based on Pride and Prejudice, was pretty intense, research-wise. It took a lot of time, and there wasn’t a lot left over for the other half-finished stories, but I never forgot about them. It’s just been in the last year or so that I’ve had the time and energy to revisit those projects. The Journey Home novella was an experiment of sorts. I didn’t expect people to respond to it the way they have. It’s been a wonderful surprise. Thank you, readers!
If I had to give advice on schedule, I’d say keep the end goal in sight, and then think to the end of the week. Don’t get mired down in the tasks to do in between, or you’ll go crazy. Make lists but don’t obsess over them. Use Scrivener. Keep plugging away. In the end, though, remember to do what works for you. The end in sight... now that is a helpful hint. Lists! My favorite thing. No prob, there!
I was just telling the folks that I was all a twitter over your latest release of I Could Write a Book because we discussed it a tad during your last Sofa Chat visit. What made you decided on an Emma retelling? And why the ‘70’s?
Oh man, now I’m wondering what I said last time! Heh, heh, heh, okay you didn't say anything shocking- just messin' with you.
I’ve always loved Emma, both as a novel and as a character. A lot of readers don’t care for her, but I think she’s marvelous. And the whole novel is brilliant: the unreliable point of view, the dialog, the double-speak of characters like Frank Churchill—it’s just genius—the novel that reads like it’s about nothing, until all of a sudden the whole fabric of Emma’s life unravels.
The title of the 1995 Emma adaptation “Clueless” really sums up the whole novel in one word—it’s the story of how Emma gets a clue. What I love about Austen’s Emma is once she sees her mistakes, she faces them, accepts them, and deals with the fallout. I made it my writing mission for others to see in Emma what I saw in her: strength, independence, vulnerability, and empathy. She loves her friends and family; she just wants them to do what she wants. Who can’t relate to that? Okay, I've not always been an Emma fan, but yes, you are selling her well here....
As for the 70s, it was a time of change in the US culture, of shifting social mores, all against the backdrop of political turmoil from the Vietnam War, and from Watergate.
Austen’s Emma takes its story into an English village, and keeps the big, bad happenings of the outside world off stage, for the most part, but you can see how those changes are infiltrating little Highbury—the Coles aren’t respecting the class boundaries, yet Emma has befriended a girl who is “below” her, all while dissing the man who wants to marry poor Harriet because he is “as much above her notice as below it.” (21st Century reader says “Whaaat?”)
Small, Southern towns in the 70s were a lot like Austen’s Highbury, so they were made for this tale—made for it, I tell you! Preach it, sister!
Oh, before we get much further, may I offer you some bread bowl spinach dip or I have some queso cheese and tortilla chips?
I’m a spinach dip and bread bowl fan, especially if it’s warm. Yep, it was bubbling nicely before I turned off the warming pot so easy does it.
Got a favorite dip?
Smoked gouda dip from the Kroger deli, next county over. I can’t resist it! Oh yeah!
So, the 70’s eh? I remember being stuffed into polyester, scratchy knee-high socks, pretending to be one of Charlie’s Angels, and thinking the roller rink playing Queen and BeeGees was where it was at. What are your memories of the 70’s?
I was born in 1965, so I remember quite a lot: Watergate, avocado green and harvest gold appliances, the US bicentennial, Star Wars, Dorothy Hamill haircuts, gas shortages, Jimmy Carter, John Denver, Watergate hearings on TV, etc., etc. I lived in western New York State from 1970 -1977, and then we moved to Kentucky when I was in sixth grade—a horrific experience to move in middle school, let me tell you. So, take the 70s changes, and add in the culture shock of moving from North to South, and my social growth was stunted for a year trying to figure it all out!
Aside from Emma or Mr. Knightley, who ended up being your favorite character to write for the story?
Miss Bates—she is hilarious! And if you read Austen’s Emma closely, you’ll see how Miss Bates lets the cat out of the bag, or turns a plot point. True that! Mr. Woodhouse was another favorite to write, and surprisingly, Frank Churchill. o_0 Frank? Um alright.... In fact, Frank (his name is Weston in my story) was probably my favorite secondary character. I’ll bet he has an interesting back story.
What scene(s) from Jane Austen’s Emma did you know from the beginning just had to be included in your retelling?
The ball, where Knightley asks Emma, “whom are you going to dance with?” So much happens at that ball; there would be no way to leave it out. A close second would be the set-down at Box Hill. The ball, le sigh...
When translating Austen’s story into a modern era, what elements were difficult because of the nearly 200 years of historical change?
By far the most difficult task—as with resetting any of Austen’s novels—was writing the heroine’s life experiences so they would be relevant in a 20th Century adaptation.
Women’s roles in society have changed so much (thank goodness, for the most part), and an author must take a little artistic license in order to show how a “modern woman” might find herself in an analogous position to Emma’s.
Like I did in Find Wonder in All Things, I used Emma’s own personality and family dynamics to guide her into a place of sheltered privilege that, hopefully, mirrors Austen’s Emma.
To be honest, no matter how an author tries to bridge that 200 years, there will be readers who say “That’s not believable now. A woman wouldn’t be restricted like that now.” I’m just not sure I agree.
People always have constraints—well, let’s call them challenges—based on the time and place they were born, how they were raised, and their own personalities. What matters in life is what people do with those challenges. Austen’s heroines always learn something about themselves, see their mistakes, and THEN they get the happy ending. (Except for maybe Fanny, not sure about her. Or Lady Susan- ha) I think that “hero’s journey” is why Austen’s stories endure, and why we can still learn from them. ha ha, yeah that HEA for those gals is up for debate.
Another real difficulty was the Frank Churchill and Jane Fairfax scenario. A secret engagement isn’t going to be scandalous in the 1970s, so what would make sense? What would they have to hide? And why would the folks in Highbury care? I had to really wrap my head around that puzzle for a while, but I think I came up with a pretty nifty solution!
Which ones seemed to translate easily for you?
Emma is perhaps the easiest Austen novel to translate to modern-day stories, because Emma herself is so atypical for her time. She’s financially independent, an unmarried woman who runs her own life—we can relate to that quite readily. The gentlemanly charm of Mr. Knightley slips into any time frame. And the bond between Mrs. Weston and Miss Woodhouse translated easily too. *nods*
And, now that you’ve got I Could Write A Book into the wild, what is something fun and relaxing you have planned for the fall?
I’m taking a weekend trip with a girlfriend to see Frank Lloyd Wright’s Falling Waters house and go to the spa. I’m going to spend some time on my house (it REALLY needs some work!) And I’m going to catch up on my reading. I haven’t had nearly enough time for reading lately. Swell ideas, there!
Red or Yellow? Yellow (sunny, golden yellow is my favorite color ever!)
Ice-Cream or Frozen Custard? Ice Cream-something with caramel in it
Washing the car or washing windows? Washing the car – lots of opportunities to play with the water hose
Miss Bates or Mrs. Bennet? Miss Bates – hands down
Skiing or hiking? Hiking. Have never been on snow skis, and have never been able to get up on water skis. I’ll just walk, thanks…like Elizabeth Bennet.
Jungle or Desert? Hmm…there are snakes both places. I hate snakes! Desert, I think? No mosquitos?
Regency ball or Sixties Sock Hop? Regency Ball – for the attire, and the fun formality of it.
Well, I should let Karen head on back south where I’m sure she has a lot going on as usual. Thanks so much for stopping by and I do apologize once again for the racket out there. We’ll all love the smoother sidewalks, I’m sure.
Oh say… before you head out, would you take a taste and give your opinion on this chicken and rice dish?
Mmm-spicy! Pass the ice water! And hand me another helping.
When Karen’s not hanging around GoodReads, you can find her at:
Amazon Author Page: www.amazon.com/author/karenmcox
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If you would like bits of authorly goodness in your inbox once a month (updates, sales, book recommendations, etc.) go here to get Karen’s News & Muse Letter.
Thanks so much for the chat, Sophia! I always have a great time here! You betcha! Return guests are always a treat. So glad you could come today.
Drop by and visit the other stops on Karen's I Could Write a Book Blog Tour:
Laughing with Lizzie ~ September 6 ~ Launch Post & Giveaway
So little time… ~ September 7 ~ Book Excerpt & Giveaway
Book Lover in Florida ~ September 8 ~ Guest Post & Giveaway
~ Austenesque Reviews ~ September 15 ~ Book Review & Giveaway ~
My Love for Jane Austen ~ September 16 ~ Guest Post & Giveaway
Granny Loves to Read ~ September 17 ~ Book Review & Giveaway
My Jane Austen Book Club ~ September 18 ~ Guest Post & Giveaway
Just Jane 1813 ~ September 19 ~ Video Interview with Karen M Cox & Giveaway
Sophia’s Sofa Chat ~ September 21 ~ An Interview with Karen M Cox on Goodreads
Babblings of a Bookworm ~ September 22 ~ Book Review & Giveaway
Silver Petticoat Review ~ September 23 ~ Guest Post & Giveaway
From Pemberley to Milton ~ September 25 ~ Book Excerpt & Giveaway
Margie’s Must Reads ~ September 27 ~ Book Review & Giveaway
Obsessed with Mr Darcy ~ September 28 ~ Book Review
My Vices and Weaknesses ~ September 30 ~ Book Review & Giveaway
Diary of an Eccentric ~ October 2 ~ Book Review & Giveaway
More Agreeably Engaged ~ October 4 ~ Book Excerpt & Giveaway
September 7, 2017
A few years back, I was generously offered the opportunity to read a story- a variation on Pride and Prejudice called Dearest Friends that captivated me. The author behind the story was equally personable and I was glad to know her a little through the venue of social media.
It was a joy to discover that she is venturing into a style of historical romantic suspense that draws me in and leaves me wanting more. The first book of her The Granville Legacy, Surrendering the Past is released and I invited her to stop by for a chat.
So, who am I having by for a visit during our local back to school week? None other than the peerless Pamela Lynne.
Welcome, Pamela! Glad you could stop by.
Hi Sophia! I’m so happy to be here. My husband is giving me tons of grief over that peerless comment. There’s no chance of getting a big head with him around to tease me!
Yeah, they are good for that, aren't they? Haha!
This is the tail end of the frenzied rush of Back to School here in Michigan. How did Back to School go in your household?
Back to school for me was much simpler. All I ever needed was a pencil box, writing utensils, and paper. I have two in school right now and their supply lists are long and specific. Every year we have trouble finding at least one thing and this year was no exception. We moved this summer and as I packed, I organized all the left over school supplies and went through them before we started shopping.
The one thing we could not find this year was a yellow book cover. I had several left over from previous years but none of them yellow. We live in a large suburb of Nashville with four Walmarts, three office supply stores, and countless dollar and drug stores. None of them had a solid yellow book cover! We finally gave up and I ordered one online, paying extra in shipping so it would get here in time. The other day I finally started unpacking all my desk stuff and guess what I found! LOL. The extra yellow book cover is now stored in an easy to remember place to hopefully be used next year. But seriously, every year it’s something. No kidding! I just had a charger turn up after a fruitless frenzy to find it three months ago and after I replaced it, of course.
Thought it would be a good call to offer some sugary restoratives and some hot comfort, all things considered. Care for some fresh baked jam thumbprint cookies, lemon bars, or Rocky Road layer cookies made fresh yesterday? I have some fresh brewed tea with a variety of flavored creamers…
I’m off sugar for the time being but I would love some tea. Ok, maybe just one lemon bar.
Speaking of restoratives and comfort, you just released the first book in a series and are become a veteran at the whole process of seeing a book from an idea all the way to the reader’s hands. What did you first find challenging as a writer? Has that changed now?
What was most challenging was finding the time to write and that has not changed. With three kids and another on the way, it’s almost impossible to find big chunks of time (and energy) in which to write. What I have had to do is adapt my writing style a bit and write more intensely during those times I get to disappear from real life. I write the big scenes and conversations when I’m alone and leave the movement and descriptions (what I call the necessary filler) for when I’m home and surrounded by noise. I give authors who are rearing small children big props for managing it all through the writing process since I know I could not do that.
What do you find helpful to work your way through the challenges of writing and publishing?
Three things: My husband, my fellow authors, and the professionals who polish everything.
I could not do this if my husband did not take over much of the household responsibilities while I’m writing. It gets especially hard toward the end when I pushing hard to finish, but he does it because he knows how much this has come to mean to me.
I learn a lot from other authors both in and outside of my genre. It helps when you are struggling to know that others have, too, and it also helps to see how people have succeeded.
Two very successful authors I look to are Stephen King and Julie Garwood. I read King’s On Writing last year and learned some valuable lessons about writing and publishing, like this is a long haul kind of business. Even the master of terror had to pay his dues. Julie Garwood is one of those authors who has had much success writing across sub-genres—under the same name! I see her and I know it can be done. It might take years and a lot of hard work, but it is not impossible.
Early on I learned that if you want to be a professional you must work with professionals.
I don’t just mean people who have business credentials, but people who behave professionally. It’s not about gossip, in-fighting, or choosing this person or this group or whatever. It’s about the work. I am very fortunate to have people around me who believe that same thing.
Congrats on the recent release. I had the opportunity to read and love Surrendering the Past which introduced the Granvilles and the cast of characters and their story. What led you to write this series?
Oh Sophia! We might need more tea. You’ve probably heard me say before that this started out as JAFF. It was to be my Colonel Fitzwilliam book. I went back and forth several times wondering if it was actually JAFF. I had finally decided that it was only to be confronted by two characters who did not want to be Darcy and Elizabeth. I could make Richard anybody. I could make Jane anybody. But Darcy and Elizabeth are Darcy and Elizabeth and there are places I refuse to take them. And might I insert- wise writer move. Once I let go of them it all fell together. That was the first thing that told me I was going in the right direction. The other was finding out that I am pregnant. We talked earlier about how hard it is to find time to write and my work tends to be long. It is such a blessing that this series came to me when it did. It is one saga, but three separate stories are told within it. Three shorter books work much better with my current situation than one long one. Serendipity, true!
And, out of my own curious musings post-reading, did you deliberately infuse it with gothic tones or was that just me, old-style gothic romance lover that I am, sensing something that isn’t there?
You’re not off, but what you call gothic I call dark. I did not consider it gothic until I read your review but it fits! I think gothic might even be a better fit than suspense, at least with Surrendering the Past. Woohoo, so glad I could help!
Do you like gothic-style stories? If so, do you have a favorite?
I do! I grew up with the southern gothic works and that style has stayed with me, I think. The problem with those books is that there is no romance! So if I had to pick a favorite gothic novel it would have to be Jane Eyre. Bronte manages to get both in there.
But ahem, I got off track there. Back to your book and series. I love a good dastardly villain who has depth and is a worthy antagonist. Did you have a good time bringing Lord Litchfield to life?
I was pretty terrified of writing this guy. I had never written a proper villain before. All my previous antagonists, except for maybe Caroline in Family Portraits, had reasons for doing what they did and were not beyond redemption. Litchfield is just pure evil. I worried that he would come off as a caricature instead of the truly nasty man I needed him to be.
Do you have a favorite literary villain?
Until recently I would have said no. I prefer stories where the characters fight inner struggles and so they are both hero and villain. However, as I expand my scope of reading I have found that antagonists outside of one’s own character can be interesting, too. I really like James Dennis in the Captain Lacey series by Ashley Gardner. He reminds me a little of my own Mr. Gardiner from Dearest Friends—a Regency era gangster who is likely more than he seems.
So many characters in the story face challenges both internal and external. My own favorite was the brooding and conflicted older brother of the hero, Richard Granville. Did any of the characters surprise you and demand something different or more?
Ah Wesley. I just finished a scene with him and I’m feeling a little swoony over him at the moment. That doesn’t surprise me, though. The two who did are Julian and Amy. They were supposed to be my Darcy and Elizabeth but then Julian made a very un-Darcy like confession and that was the end of that. Also, Amy has a certain immaturity that I do not like to see in Elizabeth. I am glad they have developed the way they have, though. They are more charming as original characters I think, and I can explore all the aspects of their personalities rather than being confined to my vision of D&E.
With this being a series, do you know at this point how many books we can expect? Any future release dates yet?
As of now, this will be a three book series. I have an idea for a fourth but it would likely be a companion piece because it does not fit the “past” theme. Book two, Redeeming the Past, will be out early next year with the third book following in early fall.
And I have a cover for that which I filched off Pamela's Facebook page.
Stapler or Tape? Stapler because I can never find the tape!
Museum or Park? Both. 😊
Cake or Pie? Cake
Morning Person or Night Owl? Night Owl
Drama or Comedy? Dramedy
Stitches or Shots? Shots are over faster.
Catherine Morland or Anne Elliot? Catherine Morland, though Anne is quite capable.
Science or History? History
I appreciate you dropping by for a chat, Pamela. I know things must be pretty busy for you back home so I’ll let you get on the road with plenty of time to spare. More tea or cookies before you go?
I’m good, thanks. I had a lovely time chatting you, Sophia! Thanks so much for having me over.
You bet, Pamela! And I'll lead our readers with a link to your book trailer on YouTube to whet their appetites.
Aaannnd, just before she leaves, Pamela would like our guests to know that she has a giveaway running at her own blog. Drop by, enter, and get cozy. Follow her blog for more time with Pamela: https://pamelalynnewrites.com/blog/
If Pamela is not hanging out here on Goodreads you can find her at: