Friday, November 25, 2011

Guest Blogger - Juliet Archer

Hi everyone – and thank you very much, Nell, for inviting me! I describe myself as a 19th-century mind in a 21st-century body (actually, some days it’s the other way round) because I’m on a mission to modernise Jane Austen’s six completed novels. So far, I’ve updated Emma and Persuasion as The Importance of Being Emma and Persuade Me, published by Choc Lit.

When did you start writing?

I’ve been writing ever since I was a child, just in different genres and with varying degrees of success! When I was small, it was for my own amusement: I made up stories, or created my own versions of Lorna Hill’s Marjorie books – a precedent for my current exploits with Jane Austen, perhaps? Studying languages and literature at school and university meant lots of reading, and writing about reading! Then I went into the business world and learnt how to produce effective reports and presentations. And shadowing my husband’s MBA for a year at Ashridge Business School has certainly provided material for my novels!

Although I dabbled in poetry ten years ago, I only started writing novels in the mid-2000s with the arrival of internet communities such as C19 and the resulting opportunities for online fanfiction. After a brief flirtation with Gaskells’ North & South (think Richard Armitage!), I turned to Jane Austen for inspiration.

What's your favourite book to read?

Not surprisingly, any of Jane Austen’s novels. They have all the magic ingredients of timeless romantic comedy – brilliant plotting, characters we care passionately about, wit and laugh-out-loud humour. And, for me, her attention to language means that I can read her books over and over again, even though I know them so well.

If I could take only one to a desert island it would have to be Pride & Prejudice, because I think both its hero and the heroine are particularly appealing.

If you could invite some book characters or authors to dinner, who would you choose and why?

What a wonderful idea – a sort of Fantasy Come Dine With Me! I’d invite Jane Austen and Andrew Davies and find out what she thinks of his screenplays of her novels – too raunchy, or forgivable in the context of a modern audience? They’ve both inspired my modernisations and it would be fascinating to understand where they got their ideas from. Since book characters are allowed, I’d like to have Mr Darcy and Captain Wentworth joining in too!

Are you working on anything new?

I’ve just done the last of my launch events for Persuade Me, so I can now settle down to number three in the Darcy & Friends series. Which of Austen’s heroes will I tamper with next? Two down – Mr Knightley and Captain Wentworth – and four left to go. I’m still making up my mind – perhaps I’ll do some in-depth TV and film research!

Persuade Me is available in e book and print for all the Austenesque fans from all the usual places where good books are sold! And here's Juliet's blurb to tempt you some more:
When do you let your heart rule your head?
When it comes to love, Anna Elliot is stuck in the past. No one can compare to Rick Wentworth, the man she gave up ten years ago at the insistence of her disapproving family. What if she’s missed her only chance for real happiness?
Since Anna broke his heart, Rick has moved on – or so he thinks. Out in Australia, he’s worked hard to build a successful career – and a solid wall around his feelings.
The words ‘forgive and forget’ aren’t in Rick's vocabulary. The word ‘regret’ is definitely in Anna’s. So, when they meet again on his book tour of England, it’s an opportunity for closure.
But memories intrude – the pure sensuality of what they once shared, the pain of parting … And she has to deal with another man from her past, while his celebrity status makes him the focus of unwanted attention.
With Anna’s image-obsessed family still ready to interfere and Rick poised to return to Australia, can she persuade him to risk his heart again?
This contemporary re-telling of Jane Austen’s last completed novel is the second book in Juliet Archer’s Darcy & Friends series, offering fresh insights into the hearts and minds of Austen’s irresistible heroes.

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