September 23, 2010

Interview with Author Kara Louise

I am delighted to welcome Kara Louise, author of the newly published Darcy's Voyage, to Psychotic State. She has graciously agreed to answer some questions for me and my readers.

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!


A Tale of Uncharted Love on the Open Seas

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?


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.


Contest to end on Thursday, October 7, 2010 at 11:59 P.M. PST and the lucky winners drawn by on Friday, October 8, 2010.

Good luck!


Blodeuedd said...

Can't enter.

But came for the interview, and, let me think...Colonel Fitzwilliam, yes he should get a book, and Kitty!

Alexa Adams said...

Great interview! Loved Kara's response to the Wizard of Oz question, just like I loved Darcy's Voyage! I also adored Assumed Engagement, though Assumed Obligation nearly broke my heart. I hope to see more of her books released by Sourcebooks soon!

Lori Johnston said...

Thanks for the post, Alexa!

Yes, Kara was a fantastic interviewee and the Wizard of Oz answer was brilliant.

I too just loved Darcy's Voyage. Didn't think I would enjoy it so much but it was so sweet and inventive, while remaining true to the original.

I haven't read any other KL books but she is on my "must read" list now - - especially since you said Assumed Obligation nearly broke your heart. Let's hope Sourcebooks releases more!

Mary Simonsen said...

Hi Kara and Lori, Great interview. My brother-in-law is from Kansas, and he has warned us about no "you are not in Kansas anymore" jokes. I just love your cover. Best of luck with the book.

Edna said...

This is a new book to me and I would love to read it, please enter me


Kathy Habel said...

My favorite is of course Mr. Darcy so I'd love to see more of him.
bkhabel at gmail dot com

PoCoKat said...

Please enter me. idea which character to use....

littleone AT shaw DOT ca

Meredith said...

Beautiful interview ladies! I think enchanting is a most appropriate word for Kara's novel! I enjoyed learning more about her! For which character I would like to have a novel written for I'd vote for either Kitty Bennet or Anne de Bourgh.

Kara Louise said...

Thanks for all your kind comments - the ones who have read Darcy's Voyage and the ones who plan to read it. I am not a native Kansan, I grew up in LA, so it is somewhat of a novelty now to have that association. Thanks again, Lori, for great interview questions!

vvb32 reads said...

i love the sea theme for this book. yessss, i'd love to know more about the other Darcy, Col Fitz! and of course we'll need a love interest for him too. an older woman. maybe a divorcee?
vvb32 at

Tales of Whimsy said...

Great interview.
VVs comments cracked me up :)
(not an entry)

Lori Johnston said...

Blodeuedd, I am sorry you can't enter. Being outside of the US and Canada is tough!

Mary, I love the cover too. I think it's gorgeous.

Meredith (and Blodeuedd), I think Kitty would be a marvelous choice for a character. She seems fairly underwritten in P&P, as well as Col. Fitzwilliam. And yes, even Anne deBourgh.

vvb, maybe you're right. Maybe Col. Fitzwilliam needs a divorcee. That would be interesting, wouldn't' it? Likely to tie Lady Catherine up in fits.

Thanks for stopping by, Juju. And yes, vvb is pretty darn funny!

Ruthie said...

I'd also go with Kitty & totally agree that the cover is awesome! Please enter me, thanks.

Pain SUX said...

How bout Fitzwilliam for a book..sequal :) Great interview, btw.


Sheila said...

I would also like to see the P&P character of Kitty (Catherine) in a sequel, of how her life might have turned out.

showcasesisters at gmail dot com

Jodi Webb said...

Can we have a prequel? How in the world did the Bennetts meet and fall in love?

Grace said...

I think Jane and Kitty should have their own books.

Anonymous said...

I love Kara's books also. thanks so much for doing the interview. You had some questions not asked before I believe. I also think Col. Fitzwilliam should get a book. There are so many angles you could use. So much character definition to fill in. Wow, it could be endless. Life with Darcy, Growing up a Lord's son, Being a Second Son, How I got my sense of humor charisma etc, Time About Town, The Military, Women Who Chase after Military Men, Finding a Rich Wife, Who do I really end up With as a Wife?
schafsue at msn dot com

RJ said...

This book sounds right up my alley! I'm a huge Pride & Prejudice fan in all its variations.

I'd love to see a book about the youngest Bennett sister blossoming into a beautiful young woman.

Moridin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Historical Writer/Editor said...

How about a variation of Emma? :) -laura
L_Hogg at comcast dot net

Sheila Deeth said...

Sounds a fun book and I love the interview. Catherine Moreland(?) would be fun.

sdeeth at msn dot com

Katrina said...

I think I would like to see more of Kitty :)

ykatrina at hotmail dot com

Anonymous said...

Lately I haven't been able to read enough books on variations of Mr Darcy, for some reason. I don't think enough variations on his character have been written yet.
I would love to win this book!

Jane said...

Yes, Mr. Darcy is quite interesting. Even more books about him would be fun!
jcottey at aol dot com

Reyna Meinhardt said...

I would like to see an adaption of Emma!

Thanks for the chance!