Today is National Tartan Day in honor of the Declaration of Arbroath. On this date in 1320, Scottish lords declared their their independence from England in a letter to the Pope.
So grab your favorite kilt for today's post as we celebrate an English icon - Jane Austen. Victoria Connelly has penned three contemporary novels about Austen Addicts - her most recent release in the US is MR. DARCY FOREVER. Victoria joins me for a cozy chat. From her bio,
Victoria Connelly grew up in Norfolk before attending Worcester University where she studied English Literature. After graduating, she worked her way through a number of jobs before becoming a teacher in North Yorkshire. In 2000, she got married in a medieval castle in the Yorkshire Dales and moved to London.
Kim: Tell us your favorite sight, sound, and smell of Norfolk.
Victoria: I feel very lucky to have grown up in Norfolk. I’m particularly in love with the north Norfolk coast with its pretty flint cottages with gardens bursting with blooms and the long stretches of sandy beach. The sound of the sea is both invigorating and calming and the salty air is hard to beat too.
Kim: How romantic that you were married in a Medieval Castle! Can you share something you learned about the castle?
Victoria: Mary Queen of Scots was actually held prisoner at the castle we got married in (Bolton Castle in the Yorkshire Dales) and there’s a waxwork figure of her in one of the rooms. We also learned that the castle had no electricity in the main rooms. Unfortunately, we found out about this the day before our wedding and panicked a bit because the only lights we had were candles which made up the table decorations. Luckily, though, these – along with a roaring fire in the Great Hall – made for a magical scene. We also learned that the castle had bats because one flew over the dance floor in the evening!
Kim: I believe the Americans who are "Austen addicts" are Anglophiles - we love the gentility of a history that we don't have. Why do you think British readers are Austen Addicts?
Victoria: There is so much to enjoy in Jane Austen’s books. Her characters are just brilliant. There are those you can identify with and admire like Elizbeth Bennet and Elinor Dashwood, those you desperately want to find the right man like Emma Woodhouse and Marianne Dashwood, and those you can love to hate like Mr Collins and Lady Catherine. Austen also writes so beautifully about first love and her characters all make the sorts of mistakes we’re all still making today. I also think we’ll always be a bit in love with the manners and courtship of the time. The letter writing, the dances, the men on horseback … what’s not to love?
Kim: Tell us about your Austen Addicts series - are they connected?
Victoria: A Weekend with Mr Darcy, Dreaming of Mr Darcy and Mr Darcy Forever are all standalone novels so you don’t need to read them in order although some of the characters from the first two books make an appearance in the third (Mr Darcy Forever). They’re connected because they’re all about Austen addicts and each one is set in a different Austen location: Hampshire, Lyme Regis, Devon and Bath.
|Barton's Cottage from the film adaption of SENSE AND SENSIBILITY.|
The cottage sets the stage in MR DARCY FOREVER.
Kim: What's next for Victoria Connelly?
Victoria: I’ve got a new book out in the UK this month called The Runaway Actress. It’s a romantic comedy about a famous film star who swaps Hollywood for the Highlands. I’m also planning a novella sequel to the Austen Addicts Trilogy – Christmas with Mr Darcy – to be brought out on Kindle in the autumn so watch out for that!
Mahalo, Victoria, for joining us at SOS Aloha! I posted my review of MR. DARCY FOREVER on Amazon at this link. I am giving away a Regency prize to one randomly selected commenter. To enter the giveaway,
1. If you could pick a castle for a special event (anniversary, graduation, etc), which castle would it be?
If you need a hint, check out Wikipedia's list of world wide castles at this link. Let's assume my oldest son survives high school ... I'd love to host his graduation at the Limbricht Castle in the Netherlands. It is often used for banquets ... plus it has a "medieval" bowling alley!
2. This giveaway is open to all readers.
3. Comments are open through Saturday, April 7, 10 pm in Hawaii. I'll post the winner on Sunday, April 8.
Kim in Hawaii
To learn more about Victoria and her books, check out her website at victoriaconnelly.com.
To learn more about Limbricht Kasteel, check out its website at www.kasteellimbricht.eu. Use the translator as it is published in Dutch!
April's month long giveaway is CLEAN OUT MY CONVENTION STASH. I will select one US reader, one Canadian reader, and one International reader from all my blogs posts in April at SOS ALOHA, THE READING REVIEWER, and ALOHA ON MY MIND. The US winner can select up to 10 books (to fill up a small flat rate box) from my current convention stash to make room for new books coming from RT 2012. The Canadian and International readers can select one book, too!
CLEAN OUT MY CONVENTION STASH is open through Monday, April 30, 10 pm in Hawaii. I'll post the winner on Tuesday, May 1.