DEB: Kara can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
KARA: I am married, and my husband and I live outside Wichita, KS on ten acres. We share it with a dog, 6 cats, 2 goats and 3 horses. Having grown up in Los Angeles, this has been an enjoyable change! We are empty-nesters with a married son who lives in St. Louis. I work outside the home doing publications at my church, website updating, and a variety of other jobs. I love the work and I love the people I work with!
DEB: Tell us a little bit about your book, Darcy's Voyage?
KARA: This is a of Pride and Prejudice in which the initial meeting between Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy is changed. After a brief meeting on a carriage they meet on board a ship 2 years later, bound for America. Because of the events that take place on the ship and their separation when they reach shore, once they return to England, and particularly Hertfordshire, the storyline of Jane Austen's P & P is significantly altered.
DEB: What was your inspiration for these books? Have you always been a fan of Jane Austen?
KARA: My inspiration came in the form of 3 different things. I had written the initial meeting of them in the carriage for another story. I ended up using it in this one. I had read the book, Two Years Before, by Richard Henry Dana, a sailor in the 1840s. He gave a fascinating account of life on a ship. After reading that book I knew I wanted to write a story placing Elizabeth and Darcy on a ship. The third inspiration, which then affected how I wrote the story on the ship, was brought about by my asking, "What mischief could Mr. Wickham get into if he had seen Darcy that day in Meryton, but Darcy had not seen him?" I decided to have him snoop around and find something that belonged to Darcy. What that turned out to be, of course, was something of great worth to Darcy (and Elizabeth).
DEB: What kind of research did you do for your book?
KARA: I got some information on ships from the book, Two Years Before the Mast, but found a lot of information online. I was fascinated by the website on the "Jeanie Johnson," a ship used in the 1840s to carry Irish emigrants to Canada. I also found a site that had diaries from earlier in the 1800s, more along the time frame of Pride and Prejudice, and I found those fascinating.
DEB: What is your normal writing day like? Do you have things that have to be in place for you to write comfortably?
KARA: My 'writing day' has not been normal in over a year. With the publication of this book, the publication in the spring of the next, and just some changes in my life, I haven't had much time to sit down and write a whole lot that is new. When I do write, though, I get a lot more accomplished if I have a large block of time to myself. In those times, the house is quiet (the TV is not on), I have my favorite music playing, and I'm not worried about the housework I should be doing instead.
DEB: What was it like when you got the word that your first novel would be published?
KARA: In a word, surreal. This was something I never envisioned for myself. I began writing as a way to reconnect with those characters I had come to love, and did it more out of love for them and Jane Austen's story than anything else. Several people who read my stories online suggested I try to publish them. Because there were no publishers picking up variations, I decided to self-publish my books and was perfectly content with that. But Sourcebooks must have recognized that there was a market for not only Jane Austen prequels and sequels, but also variations, and I was thrilled when they agreed to publish 2 of my books with the option to pick up others.
DEB: Do you have advice for new writers?
KARA: Write out of love, but also with the expectation that your book might get published. In other words, while you're putting your heart and soul into it, put the hard work that makes a book marketable.
DEB: When you're not writing what kinds of books do you like to read? Do you have a favorite author?
KARA: Both my husband and I have been reading through Georgette Heyer's books, and we both love them. I also enjoyed the Carrie Bebris mystery series that places Darcy and Elizabeth at the scene of the murders that take place in the 'other' novels that Jane Austen (wrote) and they interact with those characters. I also just finished reading the very first Jane Austen sequel, Old Friends and New Fancies, by Sybil Brinton. It was originally published in 1914 and includes characters from all of Jane Austen's novels. It was simply delightful!
DEB: What are you working on right now?
KARA: Several different stories are swirling about in my head trying to take shape. One is another Pride and Prejudice variation, while the other is a back story to a character in another Jane Austen novel. Sourcebooks is publishing my second novel, Only Mr. Darcy Will Do in the spring. It was originally published under the title, Something Like Regret.
DEB:Tell us one thing that people may not know about you?
KARA: My birthday is on Valentine's Day (that's why I am the hopeless romantic, I suppose), and when I was younger, when people found that out, they always commented that my face was shaped like a heart.
Two winners will win a copy of, Darcy's Voyage courtesy of Sourcebooks. The rules are simple:
1.) Two winners will win a copy of Darcy's Voyage. These books will be sent directly from the publisher, U.S and Canadian entries only.
2.) You must be a Google Friend Connect follower to participate.
3.) You must leave a comment on this post, with a valid e-mail address, so I can contact you if you win.
4.) The deadline for this giveaway is Midnight EST, September 29th.
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