Posts tagged with: Mr. Darcy

The Darcy Factor

Hi Bandits and Bandita Buddies! Today I thought I’d talk about one of my fave historical heroes. He might be over 200 years old, but we all still sigh over Mr. Darcy from Jane Austen’s immortal Pride and Prejudice.

Last year, I was fascinated (and amused) when a 12-foot statue of Darcy, including nipples under his wet shirt, in his Colin Firth incarnation was placed in the Serpentine in Hyde Park, bang in the middle of London:

p and pNot bad publicity for an old guy. They don’t even do that for the latest pop star! You wonder how many current romantic heroes will pack the same punch in 2215.

As someone who writes romance (and hopefully compelling heroes) for a living, I find the world’s crush on Darcy fascinating. I wonder what he’s got that places him so high in the feminine pantheon of wonderful blokes.

I think part of it is the eternal attraction of the cool boy. Darcy’s richer than anyone else in the story, except maybe the fearsome Lady Catherine de Bourgh. And it would be a brave person who had a crush on her!

Darcy’s handsome. He has a sophisticated sense of humour. He’s impressively clever. Among the many things I love about his exchanges with Elizabeth is that those two are clearly the smartest people in the room. Even while they’re fighting fate, it’s obvious that they’re made for each other.

p and p 4Another part of his attraction is that he’s so articulate. There’s something about that historical language when it’s used to persuade and seduce that turns me to mush. How about his first, disastrous proposal to Lizzie that starts out with, “In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you”? Wow!

Another heroic aspect of Darcy is that he’s willing to put himself on the line for the sake of the woman he loves. And without any expectation of reward. When he rescues Lydia from the disaster she’s got herself into with the vile Wickham, you know how it chafes at his pride to deal with his enemy. Yet, for Elizabeth’s sake, he does. Not only that, he succeeds – there’s a lot to be said for a competent hero!

We also admire that he sees beyond rank and fortune to Lizzie’s true value. We all love a Cinderella story, and Prince Charming in this particular one comes with the magnificent Pemberley as his palace.

Darcy’s generous enough to see the error of his ways by the end. We adore a self-aware hero who admits to the heroine where he went wrong. And there’s the delicious enjoyment of watching the journey as he struggles with painful change before he reaches his happy ending.

p and p 2So all round when people start talking literary heroes, I do a time slip and go back to the Regency when men wore coats, neck cloths, breeches and boots, and spoke in perfect sentences. Long Live Mr. Darcy! 201 and still going strong!

So what about you? Are you a Darcy girl? Who’s your favourite book hero, historical or contemporary? Do you think the old guys have something going for them that the current crop of whippersnappers don’t? Do you think any of today’s heroes have what it takes to last 200 years as worthy subjects of a literary crush?

Welcome Jason Starr!

by KJ Howe

It’s my pleasure to welcome thriller author Jason Starr to the lair. Jason is here to share details about his fascinating new novel, THE FOLLOWER, a story about dating gone wrong. Has he landed on the right blog or what? Okay, Jason, take it away!

HOW CHEESEY IS TOO CHEESEY?

“Every guy stalks his first girlfriend.”

A writer friend of mine had this comment after reading my novel Tough Luck, in which a young man has an obsessive relationship with this “first love.” My friend was exaggerating, of course, but I think there was some truth to the observation. I think when people are young and inexperienced with dating, they don’t really know how to behave yet. They can easily misjudge situations and miss signals, and they don’t know how to handle rejection. Most people don’t become actual stalkers, but they may get obsessive and go overboard to try to impress their dates.

For me, the most enjoyable part of writing a suspense fiction is exploring that “what if?” factor. I love taking normal situations that everyone can identify with, and then pushing them to the extreme. In THE FOLLOWER I tackled the darker side of romantic love head-on. Katie Porter has moved to New York after graduating from Wesleyan her life is consumed by work and dating. She has a job she hates and boyfriend she’s not sure she really likes. Then—apparently by chance—she runs into a guy from her past, Peter Wells. Initially she sees him as a friend and confidant, but he sees her as much more.

THE FOLLOWER is written in a very close third-person style. I wanted to get into the heads of each character to create suspense, but I also wanted to explore how men and women often have such widely divergent perceptions of the same events, and how easily they can misinterpret each other’s motives. Peter, for example, considers himself to be a great romantic. He’s obsessed with Jane Austen—he knows the film versions of Pride and Prejudice practically by heart and he practices “the Mr. Darcy look” in the mirror every day. He also likes to, well, pleasure himself while watching the BBC version of the film. In addition, he has seen just about every cheesy romantic comedy, and part of his delusion is that he envisions himself as a lead actor in these films. Katie, meanwhile, has a completely different impression of Peter. She sees him as a nice guy, but kind of awkward, and she doesn’t understand why he’s going so overboard to impress her.

One of the pivotal scenes is Peter and Katie’s first date. Well, at least it’s a date as far as Peter is concerned. Determined to sweep Katie away, he’s gotten the best flowers, the best wine, and the best gourmet food for their picnic in Central Park. But from Katie’s point of view the date is a total train wreck and for the first time she starts to suspect that something is seriously off about this guy.

While I’ve never gone as far as Peter does to impress a date, I’ve been guilty of the occasional excessive dinner or excessive gift (it never seemed to work). What’s the most overboard thing someone has ever done to try to impress you on a date, and was it successful? And what’s the most overboard thing that you’ve done to impress someone else?

KJ back…great questions, Jason. I once had a guy sing “You’ve Lost that Loving Feeling” to my voice mail because I didn’t want to go out with him after one date. Definitely creeped me out, so I’d say it was a losing proposition for him. I can’t wait to hear about everyone else’s experiences.

JASON STARR is the Barry and Anthony Award-winning nine crime novels which have been published in ten languages. His latest thriller from St. Martin’s Press, THE FOLLOWER, is on-sale this week in a new mass market paperback edition. Visit http://www.jasonstarr.com/ and sign up for Jason Starr’s newsletter for a chance to win a 50-dollar Amazon gift certificate, and other exciting prizes. Newsletter subscribers will also be eligible to win free advance copies of Jason Starr’s next thriller PANIC ATTACK, which will be on-sale in August, 2009.