September 23, 2010
Interview with Author Kara Louise
Hi Kara, welcome to Psychotic State and thank you for taking the time to chat with me and my readers.
Thanks! It’s great to be here. Thank you for inviting me!
First things first, I recently read Darcy’s Voyage and absolutely fell in love with it! What gave you the idea to move Pride and Prejudice to the open sea?
My biggest inspiration was after reading Richard Henry Dana’s book, Two Years Before the Mast. It chronicles his adventures on board a ship in the 1840s. After reading that book, I was very much inspired to put Elizabeth and Darcy on a ship – all I had to do was figure out how.
When you began writing your first Pride and Prejudice “what if” book, did you originally conceive it as a series or did it evolve as you wrote that first book?
As I wrote Assumed Engagement, my first ‘what if’ story, I knew there were elements that I could carry on into a sequel, but I also knew I would be stretched in writing a book that was beyond the years of Pride and Prejudice. I actually delayed writing the sequel, Assumed Obligation, for close to a year as I gathered my thoughts and did some research on different aspects of that book.
Why Pride and Prejudice and not another Jane Austen work?
I have never been affected by a story as much as I was by Pride and Prejudice. I had seen the Emma and Sense and Sensibility movies, and while I enjoyed them, they didn’t prompt me to sit down, read the novel, and write stories about them. Since then, however, I have read all of Jane Austen’s novels, and probably would consider doing a Persuasion story because that is my second favorite novel. I do have a story I am contemplating writing that is a back story to a character in another of her novels.
If you could go back to the Regency era for one day, what would you imagine would be the best part of that, and the worst part?
First of all, I would hope to end up in a nice country manor, not in a squalid area of London. But even at a nice country manor, I would obviously miss the conveniences that we take for granted now: running water, bathrooms, electricity, phones, etc. But in the same way, it would be wonderful to experience life in that time with all the simplicities they had. Life was lived at a much slower pace and I think I would enjoy that. But my greatest fear would be that my ignorance of social etiquette of the time would most likely cause a lot of embarrassment to me!
Did you always want to be a writer?
I never, ever imagined I would be a writer. I had little stories that swam about in my head, but I never thought I would have the patience to draw them out in words. I remember trying years ago to type out a story but I didn’t get past the third page. While I never had thought about it seriously before, the desire to write must have been in my genes, because from the time our son was 4 years old, he would make up stories and recite them to us and have us write them down. In college he had a split major and creative writing was one of those majors. But he has never done anything with it. I think it’s odd (and he must, too), that now I am the one writing.
Your first book was originally self-published. What advice would you give a struggling, unpublished writer?
I truly feel that you must write out of a love for writing, but you must also write with the thought that it might get published. In other words, write because you love to write and write what you love to write, but always strive for excellence in your writing so that your finished manuscript will be something a publisher might look at and accept.
Besides Jane Austen, are there any particular authors that inspire you or that you enjoy reading?
I have been going through Georgette Heyer’s books this past year and find them so much fun to read. She has such wonderful characters and takes them on these amazing journeys. I’ve read about ten of her books and have greatly enjoyed them. The very first author, however, that I remember truly enjoying was Irving Stone. He wrote the biographical novels, Lust for Life about Vincent Van Gogh and Agony and the Ecstasy about Michelangelo. He was truly able to make these historical figures come to life.
Can you take us through a normal day in the life of Kara Louise?
A normal day has me wake up at about 6:00 a.m. (I am a morning person, but it’s much easier when it’s light outside!) We have an outdoor shop that is almost like a little guest house. My husband’s office is in there along with some furniture, an unfinished bathroom, and an exercise bike. Each morning (well, almost each morning) I go out and ride the bike for a half an hour. Then I get ready for work. I work 3 ½ days at my church doing publications, website updating, buying office supplies, and a variety of other jobs. I usually leave between 2 and 3 o’clock in the afternoon and come home and relax. I usually end up at the computer checking email, blogs, and a variety of other things. Then I make dinner, feed our goats and horses, and hopefully when my husband gets home dinner is ready. If I do any writing, it is usually in the evening. I don’t watch too many TV shows (although I must confess I love Castle), so that’s when I either read or write.
Can you give us any hints on projects you are working on now?
I have been cleaning up a few of my self-published novels while formulating two other Jane Austen related stories. One is the one I mentioned above, a back story to a character in another novel. There is also another variation of Pride and Prejudice I have been mulling over.
What can you tell us about the new Austen Authors blog?
The Austen Authors blog is something that Abigail Reynolds and Sharon Lathan dreamed up. I know when I was asked to join, they were hoping they’d have enough authors that we would only have to post a blog about twice a month. If you have visited the site, you know we have about 25 authors (it’s constantly changing!), which makes it barely possible for all of us to post once a month (that’s if we don’t do Saturdays or Sundays). The response has been amazing, and it came at a most convenient time for me with the release of my book. To be associated with such well-established authors is an honor and a privilege. (Lori's note: Check out the Austen Authors blog here)
Back to Darcy’s Voyage . . . how long did it take you to write it, start to finish?
I can’t recall for sure. I actually wrote it about 8 years ago. I think it probably took me between 6 and 8 months from the time I began thinking about it, researching it, and then actually writing it.
Which character (main or supporting) did you most enjoy writing?
I love writing Colonel Fitzwilliam. I see him as one who is so opposite from Darcy, and loves to tease him. It’s a fun character to write, and I love to use him to bring about a reluctant smile on Darcy’s face. Unfortunately, he’s always just had a minor scene or two in my stories. Someone else asked me this and it got me to thinking that I should write a book with him as a central character.
Other than Elizabeth and Darcy, which character from Darcy’s Voyage would you most like to devote a book to?
Just answered that above – Colonel Fitzwilliam.
If you could use one word to describe Darcy’s Voyage, what would it be?
My husband had to help me with this one – enchanting. (Lori's note: Enchanting is perfect. Read the book and you'll see)
And lastly, being from the home of The Wizard of Oz . . . Tin Man, Scarecrow or Cowardly Lion?
You realize that you’re asking me to tell you whether I lack a heart, a brain, or courage! At least you didn’t include the wicked witch of the east in my choices! I do love the Scarecrow; he is a lot of fun and I love to decorate with scarecrows in the fall. But I think the one I have an affinity for is the Tin Man. It’s certainly not that I don’t have a heart – in fact, I was born on Valentine’s Day, so I love hearts! (I collect them, wear them, put them in my tag line…) But since it turns out in the end that he really had a heart all along, I’ll go with him. (This has to be the most unique question I’ve been asked!)
Thank you so much, Kara, for taking the time to answer my questions and best of luck with Darcy’s Voyage!
DARCY’S VOYAGE BY KARA LOUISE – IN STORES SEPTEMBER 2010
In this enchanting and highly original retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth Bennet sets out for the new world aboard the grand ship Pemberley’s Promise. She’s prepared for an uneventful voyage until a chance encounter with the handsome, taciturn Mr. Darcy turns her world upside down.
When Elizabeth falls ill, Darcy throws convention overboard in a plan that will bind them to each other more deeply than he ever could have imagined. But the perils of their ocean voyage pale in comparison to the harsh reality of society’s rules that threaten their chance at happiness. When they return to the lavish halls of England, will their love survive?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ever since Kara Louise discovered and fell in love with the writings of Jane Austen she has spent her time answering the "what happened next" and the "what ifs" in Elizabeth's and Darcy's story. She has written 6 novels based on Pride and Prejudice. She lives with her husband in Wichita, Kansas. For more information, please visit her website, Jane Austen’s Land of Ahhhs.
To read my review of Darcy's Voyage, please click here.
And now for a GIVEAWAY! The lovely Danielle Jackson at Sourcebooks has offered a copy of Darcy's Voyage to TWO lucky readers! I loved this book - - trust me, this is a terrific giveaway, so don't miss out! (And what a beautiful cover!)
To enter, simply leave me a comment and let me know what character from any of Jane Austen's books you would like to see a variation or sequel devoted to. That's all! Leave me a comment with your name and email address and you're entered to win your own copy of Darcy's Voyage!
U.S. and Canada only (my apologies to our overseas friends) and no P.O. boxes.
NO EMAIL ADDRESS WITH YOUR ENTRY = NO ENTRY!
Contest to end on Thursday, October 7, 2010 at 11:59 P.M. PST and the lucky winners drawn by randomizer.org on Friday, October 8, 2010.