January 27, 2010

Guest Post by Author Abigail Reynolds

Today I am pleased to welcome Abigail Reynolds, author of the newly released Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy: The Last Man in the World, to Psychotic State.  Welcome, Abigail!

Why Austen sequels are so popular, or Regency NCIS
by Abigail Reynolds

You can’t walk into a bookstore these days without tripping over half a dozen sequels to Jane Austen’s novels. There’s a seemingly endless supply of them, and the readers seem to love following Darcy and Elizabeth through the future, even though all the futures are different. The books I write take these parallel universes a step farther. I start in the middle of Pride & Prejudice, change a key event, and write what unfolds. In my latest, Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy: The Last Man in the World, Elizabeth is forced to accept Darcy’s first insulting proposal, and learns to love him after rather than before their wedding. Now, sequels are one thing, but why would anybody want to read a variation on the original? Jane Austen writes ten times better than I ever will, and certainly knew the historical period much better. So what gives me the nerve to mess with perfection, and why do so many people love to read it when I do? And what in heaven’s name does this have to do with NCIS?

I don’t watch much TV, but every Tuesday night, my teenage daughter and I have a date to watch NCIS, the police procedural show about a team of investigators working to solve murders of naval personnel. The mystery isn’t why we watch it. We enjoy the interactions between the individual, often quirky, team members. The characters are like familiar friends, yet it’s always entertaining to watch how they react to things. It’s like a Jane Austen sequel or variation. Familiar loveable characters in different situations. It’s even a parallel universe in some ways, in that it has to be fictional because I certainly hope there aren’t navy members murdered every week!

Jane Austen sequels are popular for the same reasons NCIS is, and for the same reason lots of book series are. It’s relaxing to slip into the skin of characters we already know well and love. It’s less work than learning completely new characters and situations, so we can focus more on the interactions. Because we love the characters, it’s fun to see how they interact in a new scenario.

But why Jane Austen? Why aren’t the bookstores stuffed with sequels to Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre? It’s a combination of things. First of all, Jane Austen’s books are happy. The characters are happy most of the time, and the endings are happy. Terrible things don’t tend to happen in Jane Austen novels. Because of Victorian propaganda, modern readers tend to perceive the Regency as a very proper time, and that lends an air of simplicity to society as Jane Austen portrays it. In truth, the Regency was a decadent time of lax morals, but what we don’t know won’t hurt us. That’s a whole subject in itself, and I won’t try to touch on it now.

But escapism, familiarity, happiness and simplicity aren’t enough by themselves. Why do I think we have so many Pride & Prejudice sequels and variations? Because we love Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy, and Jane Austen didn’t write anywhere near enough to saturate our longing for one of the greatest love stories ever written. Modern writers can’t hope to write them as Jane Austen did, but we can’t resist them anyway.

Thanks for inviting me!

Abigail, many thanks for stopping by my blog today and helping to keep Jane Austen alive and well.   Best of luck with your blog tour!



In this sexy Jane Austen sequel, Elizabeth Bennet accepts Mr. Darcy's first marriage proposal, answering the "What if...?" question fans everywhere have pondered

" I had not known you a month before I felt that you were the last man in the world whom I could ever be prevailed on to marry."

Famous last words indeed! Elizabeth Bennet's furious response to Mr. Darcy's marriage proposal has resonated for generations of readers. But what if she had never said it? Would she have learned to recognize Mr. Darcy's admirable qualities on her own? Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy follows Elizabeth and Darcy as they struggle to find their way through the maze of their prejudices after Elizabeth, against her better judgment, agrees to marry Darcy instead of refusing his proposal.

Two of the most beloved characters in English literature explore the meaning of true love in a tumultuous and passionate attempt to make a success of their marriage.

About Author Abigail Reynolds

Abigail Reynolds is a physician and a lifelong Jane Austen enthusiast. She began writing The Pemberley Variations series in 2001, and encouragement from fellow Austen fans convinced her to continue asking “What if…?” She lives with her husband and two teenage children in Madison, Wisconsin. For more information, please visit Abigail's blog


Thanks to the lovely Danielle at Sourcebooks, I have 2 brand new copies of Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy: The Last Man in the World to give away to lucky readers. To enter, simply leave me a comment about Abigail's guest post with your email address.  The contest will end on February 14 and I will draw the two lucky winners' names on February 15.  U.S. and Canada only please. 


Lovena W. said...

Looks very interesting. (I hope I win one of the free copies!)

Tales of Whimsy said...

I love what she said about Jane Austen novels being happy. So true!

Great post!

(This is not an entry)

vvb32 reads said...

a-ha, interesting comparison with NCIS. and so true.

would love to enter the giveaway
vvb32 at yahoo.com

Lois said...

I definitely love Austen and Austen related books, but really like the sound of this one, so add me to the hat too! :)


Mary Simonsen said...

Enjoyed the guest post. P&P is timeless b/c every woman wants a Mr. Darcy to come into their life, and P&P does leave you with a smile.

Margaret Metz said...

Pride & Prejudice is my all time favorite novel and as much as I love it (and I have Austen's other books as well), I love that one so much that I eat up everything related to Lizzy & Darcy. Some have been much better than others.

The idea that she may have been forced to accept his first proposal and then fallen in love with him is a new one for me - but not unusual for the times. I'd be very interested in reading this take.

Thanks for the interview. I'm also an NCIS fan and I don't think I've ever seen them compared that way ~ although both do have wonderful characters. I think that alone shows the author has a unique perspective.

Thanks for the chance to win.


Christine Jensen said...

OOh, I am always interested in P&P sequels and this one truly intrigues me!

kissyjensen at gmail dot com

Marie Devers said...

I love what Abigail has to say about slipping back into a story with characters we love.

Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett are two of the very best characters out there. I watch their movies and am drawn to every variation of their story. I can't wait to read this book.

marie (at) mariedevers (dot) com

Christina / Book Addict said...

I've had my eye on this book. It sounds great. Thank you for the giveaway.


Deb said...

This sounds like a very lovely story!

deborah150 at hotmail dot com

SaundraM300 said...

Sounds like a great read. I love her "What if" concept... that could take redaers so many places. Enter me please.
sandym204 @ gmail dot com

Beth said...

This looks great! Please enter me!

I love the photo of the author with her cat. So cute!

BethsBookReviewBlog AT gmail DOT com

Adele said...

Sounds like a great book!

Marjorie/cenya2 said...

I found her interview very interesting and I really would like to know how long in the
making does it take from thinking
of writing one to the end.

cenya2 at hotmail dot com

(The) Ladybug Lounge said...

I would love to read this book. Thanks for hosting the author and this giveaway !

Msslaydbug (at) aol (dot) com