Posts tagged with: Pride and Prejudice

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?

The Duke Hangs Ten!

letter 3Let’s play a game – and, yes, there are prizes!

But first, some background.

A week or so ago, I found what I thought was a hilarious typo in the manuscript I’m working on (WHAT A DUKE DARES – Cam’s story).

Jonas Merrick’s butler announced my very cool duke hero, Camden Rothermere, as the DUDE of Sedgemoor.

Well, that had me rolling around the floor laughing. Hard to picture Cam with a surfboard and his toes full of sand. I wondered whether the Dude of Sedgemoor would have the family crest embroidered on his boardshorts. And whether he put a wave machine in the lake on his estate. Yes, hours of fun resulted (please don’t judge me, life has been pretty quiet lately – I’m on deadline!).

So I suddenly started to think of other obscure literary characters who were ALMOST (just one letter away, actually!) like their more famous counterparts.

letter 2You all know the start of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. Well, there’s a little known sequel that starts like this:

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a HAT.

Yes, that’s right, this one stars that sparkling heroine Elizabeth BONNET! You’ll love meeting Mr. and Mrs. Bonnet and Jane, Lizzie, Mary, Kitty and Lydia Bonnet as they scandalize the milliners of Regency London! They don’t give a straw for scandal. Although they do rather like a velvet ribbon or two! And those silk roses are just darling!

Or perhaps you’ve read the sequel to LORD OF SCOUNDRELS by Loretta Chase with its sexy if a little smelly hero Lord Dank?

And J.D. Robb can’t keep up with the demand for stories about Eve and DOARKE. Yes, Roarke has a clumsy, socially inept cousin from Tipperary who will steal your heart.

letter 4And don’t forget that Victorian masterpiece that predated 50 SHADES OF GREY. Oh, the doings in Thornfield’s dungeons in CANE EYRE! Cane is a governess with a difference, oh, my! Mr. Rochester hasn’t been the same since he employed our heroine to bring some order to his household!

 So here’s the game (you’ve probably worked it out) – change one letter in the name of a fictional character to turn them into something different. I’m looking forward to a few laughs and the DUDE has laid on a few cold beers to keep us going.

BanditBootyTwo commenters have the chance to win a book (international) from my backlist. Not DAYS OF RAKES AND ROSES, sadly, because of geographical restrictions – but everything else is up for grabs! You can find a list of my publications here:

So make me laugh and you might win a book! Good luck!

Foanna at Gold Coast Libraries 31st Jan/1st Feb

Gold Coast LibrariesIf you live on the Gold Coast, don’t miss the Absolutely Austen! Celebrating the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice event from Tuesday, 29th January to Saturday, 2nd February.

I’m taking part in two FREE events:

Author Encounter with Anna Campbell

When: Thursday 31st January
Where: Southport Branch Library, Corner Garden and Lawson Streets, Southport 4215
Time: 6pm – 7.30pm
Bookings: Please phone (07) 5581 7220

Excessively diverted – why the Regency era is perfect for romance

Romance author Anna Campbell joins a panel of readers to discuss the appeal of the Regency era and the influence of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE on contemporary romance.

When: Friday 1st February
Where: Robina Branch Library, 196 Robina Town Centre Drive, Robina 4226
Time: 12.30pm – 2pm
Bookings: Please phone (07) 5581 1600

For more details, check out Gold Coast Libraries’ website here:

Relationships, 101?

By KJ Howe  (Jeanne had to post it for me!)

Relationship books are all the rage. Everyone wants the 411 on love before they have to call 911 for a do-not-resuscitate relationship that has flatlined. Everyone from Dr. Ruth to Dr. Laura Berman are putting pen to paper in an effort to help those lost in love. These relationship guides fly off the shelves like hotcakes in a world where no one bats an eye at a 50% divorce rate.

Romantic relationships are fascinating.

First, I’m often puzzled wondering why two people are attracted to each other when they seem completely mismatched. It all started with Sampson and Delilah—and the rest is history.

Who are your favorite characters who just couldn’t get it together?

The answer that pops into my mind immediately is Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler. Would Scarlett have been served well by reading HE’S JUST NOT THAT INTO YOU to overcome her obsession with Ashley?

Okay, another mismatched couple: Charlotte Lucas and Mr. Collins from Pride and Prejudice.

IN FOR A PENNY, IN FOR A POUND might be the right title for them to read.

Perhaps Ricky and Lucy should have leafed through the pages of HOW TO SET HIS THIGHS ON FIRE.

Or would Romeo and Juliet have benefited from TOXIC RELATIONSHIPS: WHEN TO WALK AWAY.

Of course, Spock and Nurse Chapel should have referred to MEN ARE FROM MARS, WOMEN ARE FROM VENUS!

Oh yes, Ralph and Alice surely could have benefited from the book WHEN THE HONEYMOON IS OVER.

What couples in fiction do you feel need a good relationship book, and which one would you recommend?

Feel free to make up a title that works best to describe your advice.

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!


“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 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.

The Book or the Film?

by Anna Sugden

There has been a lot of controversy lately with the new Bond film ‘Quantum of Solace’ (where do they get these titles?!). For those of you unaware of the issues troubling Bond fans, it’s all to do with the last two (Daniel Craig) movies.

You see, they go back to the beginning and tell the story of how Bond developed into the character we know today. The purists believe that this is the only way to see Bond and that this is as close to the James Bond of the Ian Fleming books as we’ve seen, since George Lazenby. Film fans, meanwhile, are horrified that some of the classic Bond-isms eg ‘Martini, shaken not stirred’ and Q, are missing from these films. It doesn’t matter (much *g*) who plays Bond, but the Bond-isms have to be there.

All of which got me thinking about the problems with turning books into films.

Think of the controversy about the Harry Potter films. Though it’s obvious to anyone with an ounce of common sense that turning an 800-plus page tome into a two hour film is just the teensiest bit tricky, die-hard fans get quite upset that chunks of the story have had to be left out. They don’t see why it’s a problem to capture all the depth of characterisation and complexity of plot, without seeing that the end result would be a major bum-numbing epic!

They had the same problem with Dan Brown’s ‘The Da Vinci Code’.

Similarly, the recent version of ‘Pride and Prejudice’ (once you’ve got over the horror of anyone other than Colin Firth playing Mr Darcy!) raised hackles by straying from the well-known and much-loved story.

That’s not to say that any of these films is bad – they’re just not ‘as good’ as the book. Personally, I think they’re very entertaining and enjoy them for what they are … but that’s just me (except for ‘Pride and Prejudice’ – which I didn’t like!)

You only need to speak with authors like Lisa Gardner about the adapatations of their books to know how they feel about what was done with their beloved stories.

On the other side of the coin, are the movies that are better (in the viewer’s mind) than the book. The one that stands out most for me, is ‘Practical Magic’ (starring Sandra Bullock, Nicole Kidman and the drool-worthy Goran Visnij and Aidan Quinn). While Alice Hoffman’s book is very good, the film has much more charm.

And then, there are the multitude of TV adaptations (Thank you, BBC) and movies that are really good translations of the printed word to the screen. The Colin Firth version of ‘Pride and Prejudice’, ‘A Town Like Alice’ (the Bryan Brown TV series) and Inspector Morse are just a few examples.

I’ve seen a number of debates about potential movies made from popular series. Who would play Eve Dallas and Roarke (pause to drool) if they made the JD Robb ‘… In Death’ series into movies? What about Ranger, Joe Morelli and Stephanie Plum from Janet Evanovich’s series? It’s a brave director and producer who take on such feats – because you know you going to irritate a bunch of people no matter what you do!

I know that the fabulous Robert Crais has sworn not to allow his books to be made into movies or TV series, because he wants the reader to have their own interpretation of Elvis Cole and Joe Pike – not one fashioned by Hollywood.

So, what do you think? Do you like books being converted to films? Which do you think have been done well and which badly? Have you read a book which inspired a film and been disappointed? Does it matter if book and film don’t match exactly? Are there books you would love to see turned into movies? We all dream of our books being optioned, but how would you feel if the only recognisable element was the title?!

And who would play the yummy scrummy Roarke? Or Ranger?