Monday, December 12, 2011

Nancy Kelley, author of his His Good Opinion, and a Competition!

My lovely guest today is Nancy Kelley whose book, His Good Opinion has just been released! Congratulations Nancy!!!
I had the pleasure of meeting Nancy recently when we met up at the British Museum to gaze at Jane Austen's desk together. We'd 'met' on Twitter, and when I heard Nancy was coming to London I suggested a day out-we had a lovely time discussing all things Jane and our writing dreams. Nancy's first dream has just been realised, now that her book is out. I wish you huge success, Nancy, and hope that many more of your dreams are fulfilled!
Nancy kindly agreed to be a guest on my blog, and she is offering a copy of His Good Opinion as a prize. Her question is this:

What behind-the-scenes Darcy moment would you most like to read?

Leave a comment below to have a chance to win!

I had a few questions I wanted to ask her, and she's also treated us to chapter one of her book!

1. Have you always wanted to be a writer?  What inspired you to start writing?

Earlier this week, I found a folder filled with stories I started writing in about third grade. I loved books, and the next step after reading was to write. I kept writing stories, and in middle school (age 12 or 13), my English teacher encouraged me to actively pursue it. I’ve wanted to write professionally ever since.

2. This might sound like a daft question, but why write Darcy’s story?

Not daft at all! There are several excellent Darcy stories out there—why add another one into the mix?

The answer is simple, but it might make me seem daft: Darcy told me to. I was listening to Pride and Prejudice, and he started giving his commentary on various scenes. Once I understood his point of view, I knew I had to tell his story.

3. Which is your favorite scene from His Good Opinion? Can you tell us why?

I think my favorite scene is the first proposal. He walks into the parsonage absolutely certain of her answer, and when you read the previous chapters from his point of view, you can understand why. Her rejection is not just a blow to his pride, as it seems in the novel. He is actually heartbroken.

4. Apart from Pride and Prejudice which novels of Jane Austen’s do you enjoy most?

I started to ramble about how much I love all of her works, with the exception of Sense and Sensibility and Mansfield Park. However, the short answer is probably Persuasion. It is short and poignant, and has the perfect happy ending.

5. Which writers inspire your own writing apart from Jane Austen? Do you read contemporary writer’s work or are you only a fan of historical novels?

My other favorite genre is fantasy. The Lord of the Rings is perhaps my favorite book ever. As an author who struggles with setting description, I am in awe of some of the passages Tolkien wrote.

I also like romance, young adult fiction, and mysteries. Currently on my TBR stack: Supernaturally by Kiersten White, The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson, and The Masque of the Black Tulip by Lauren Willig.

6. Which characters apart from Mr. Darcy did you enjoy writing?

Colonel Fitzwilliam. In fact, I enjoyed writing him so much, I decided to devote an entire novel to him. I just finished the rough draft of that story during NaNoWriMo, and hope to release it by the end of the summer.

7. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I tend to cycle through activities—I’ll spend three or four months doing/collecting/watching one thing, and then move on to another love. My current obsession is Doctor Who. A friend started me on series 5, and then I had to go back to series 1 and watch from there.

8. If your house was on fire and you could only take three possessions, what would they be?

My laptop, my cat, and the box with letters from my dad.

9. Can you describe your perfect day?

I have a vague idea that it would involve lots of good tea and chocolate and uninterrupted time to write—with no wrist pain resulting.

10.What is next for you? Will you write another sequel?  

I have a few sequels up my sleeves. There’s the aforementioned Colonel Fitzwilliam story, and then I’ve got an idea for Frank Churchill. I’d also like to write about Captain Wentworth’s missing years, but I don’t have any solid plot ideas for that one yet.

In addition to the Jane Austen stories, I have a series I started last year. It’s a new take on the Robin Hood legend, set in the Spanish Main ca 1720. Yes, Robin Hood: Pirate. My hope is to begin working on the first novel in that trilogy this year and release it sometime in spring of 2013, but that’s really a guess at the moment.

The first chapter of His Good Opinion follows:

Chapter One

"I will never understand, Darcy, why you insist on going out in Society only to be displeased with everyone you meet."

Fitzwilliam Darcy poured two glasses of brandy and handed one to his friend before he took the chair opposite him. "I go out because it is expected of me, Bingley. You know that."

Charles Bingley pointed at him. "Ah, but that does not answer the question, does it?"

Darcy conceded the point with the barest shrug of his shoulders. Here, in the comfort of his own study, there was no need to pretend. "I admit that I find little in Society of which to approve."

"Only because you are determined to disapprove." Bingley protested. "What of the young lady you sat out with tonight? Let me hear your opinion of her."

Darcy ran his fingers down the side of his glass. "Her aunt approached me and said her niece had sprained her ankle, and would I be willing to keep her company? Good manners forbade I refuse, though you know how little I enjoy making conversation with someone I am not intimately acquainted with. I have not your ease of speaking on subjects in which I have little or no interest." His lips curled in disdain, and he took a sip of brandy to wash the sour taste from his mouth.

"That is a commentary on your own character, not the lady's."

He ignored the familiar needling. "After two minutes of idle chatter, I inquired after her injury."

Satisfaction gleamed in Bingley's eyes. "Ah, you are capable courtesy after all."

Darcy leaned forward, his forehead creased in a frown. "Perhaps you will not be so victorious, Bingley, when you hear the rest of the story. She did not understand what I spoke of. When she returned to her aunt shortly thereafter, she did not have a limp. The entire incident was manufactured so she could gain my attention. No doubt they have heard that I do not dance often —"

"Or ever."

The leather chair creaked in protest when Darcy stood. He took Bingley's glass and strode to the table, glad to have something to do, even if it was only refilling their drinks. This topic never failed to rile him, but he found a measure of calm in pouring the liquor into their glasses.

"They sought a way to get time with me, and they found it. You wish to know why I so seldom give my good opinion to those I meet; it is this dishonesty, this deception of which I cannot approve. I cannot—I will not—marry a woman I do not trust."

Bingley took his refilled glass, and Darcy noted his frown with some vexation. "You are being a bit presumptuous, Darcy. How can you be so certain she wished to marry you? It was simply a dance."

Darcy set the decanter down on the tray with a hard clang. "Surely even you will acknowledge that a single woman in possession of no brothers must be in want of a husband."

Bingley shook his head and laughed. "You can hardly claim that to be a universal truth."

Darcy ran his hands through his close-cropped dark curls. Has it truly escaped his notice that he too has received such attentions? Though it was this very ability to see nothing but the good in people that recommended Bingley to him, at times his amiable nature bordered on naiveté.

"Perhaps not universal, but a truth nonetheless." He paced the confines of the study. The paneled walls, usually calming, pressed in on him tonight. London always wore on his nerves, but this Season had been worse than most. "I need to get out of town, Bingley."

Bingley eyed Darcy over the edge of his glass. "You sound as if you had a plan in mind."

Darcy stood in front of the empty fireplace and tapped his fingers on the mantle. "I believe it is time I visited Georgiana in Ramsgate."

"Is that what has made you so tense of late? I know you take great care of her."

Bingley's insight startled Darcy. "Yes, I imagine so. I trust Mrs. Younge of course or I would not have consented to the plan. Still, I will feel better once I see for myself how she is getting on." He turned back to his friend, at ease for the first time in weeks.

"When will you leave?"

"Tomorrow morning."

Bingley raised his eyebrows. "That is rather spontaneous, Darcy—indeed, it is the kind of precipitous decision you often tease me for."

Darcy tossed back the rest of his brandy before he answered. "In truth, I have been thinking about it some weeks," he replied. "I just did not realize it until tonight."

"Well, if you are decided, then I wish you safe travels."

Bingley rose and shook his hand in farewell, and Darcy retired for the night soon after. He slept well, content with the knowledge he would soon be free of the artifice of town.


Nancy Kelley is a Janeite, an Austenesque author, and a blogger. During the writing of His Good Opinion, a version of Mr. Darcy took up residence in her brain; she fondly refers to him as the Darcy in my Head, or DIMH.

If Nancy could possess any fictional device, it would be a Time-Turner. Then perhaps she could juggle a full-time library job, writing, and blogging; and still find time for sleep and a life. Until then, she lives on large quantities of tea, of which DIMH approves.

You can find Nancy on Twitter @Nancy_Kelley, on her blog, and on IndieJane.org.

His Good Opinion is available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, Amazon.uk, Amazon.de, and Amazon.fr.

Thank you so much, Nancy, for being my guest today. Don't forget to leave a comment below if you'd like to be in with a chance to read Nancy's book. The competition will be open until Sunday 18th December 2011, the winner's name to be drawn at random and announced on Monday, 19th!

14 comments:

Adalgisa SD said...

Great interview! Nancy congrats & best of wishes on your writing career.
I would love to hear Darcy & Bingleys convo about their beautiful brides & the fact that they are sisters.

Felicia said...

Mine would be Darcy going back to Netherfield with Binley after Darcy's successful proposal. I'd love to hear their conversation and descriptions of Darcy's face and manner.
Felicia

felicialso @gmail .com

Nancy Kelley said...

Interesting that both of you chose the same scene, essentially. I did enjoy writing both Darcy's apology to Bingley, and then scene when he tells him that he has proposed--successfully--to Elizabeth.

Lieder Madchen said...

Great interview! I never get tired of reading stories from Darcy's point of view. Everyone has their own unique perspective when it comes to him. I would love to read what Darcy did after his unsuccessful proposal. Did any of his friends and family notice his distress? Is there anyone he would have confided in?

Thank you for the giveaway, I can't wait to read His Good Opinion!

liedermadchen(at)hotmail(dot)com

Jane Odiwe said...

Adalgisa, Felicia and LIeder, thank you so much for stopping by and leaving comments-I shall add your names to the hat!

Jane Odiwe said...

Nancy, it's good to see you here!

Kelli H. said...

I have heard so many wonderful things about this book and I am so eager to read it! Thanks for the giveaway! A behind the scene moment I would like to read would be the conversation between Darcy and Lady Catherine, when they discussed the rumors of him being engaged to Elizabeth. I would love to know what he was thinking and feeling when Lady C told him what Elizabeth had said, that taught him to hope!:)

Laura Hartness said...

Thanks for the giveaway! Some behind the scenes moments I'd love to read would be scenes of Darcy growing up with Wickham, Georgiana and his cousins.


Laura Hartness
CalicoCritic at gmail dot com

Jane Odiwe said...

Kelli and Laura, thank you so much for stopping by-I shall add your names to the hat!

Lúthien84 said...

Lovely interview, Jane and Nancy. And thanks for the giveaway.

I would like to know what goes on when Darcy rescues his sister Georgiana from Wickham's clutches.


evangelineace2020(at)yahoo(dot)com

Nancy Kelley said...

Lieder, the time directly after his unsuccessful proposal was one of the trickiest to write, because I needed to get his transformation right. It does include some interesting conversations--I think you'll like it.

Kelli, the scene between Darcy and Lady Catherine was one of my favorites to write. I loved that moment of revelation when he first began to hope...

Laura, I didn't delve very far into Darcy's past in this book, at least not in actual scenes. Those moments were in my head however, and they helped develop those characters.

Luthien, Rescue!Darcy was tremendously fun to write. One thing I realized as I wrote was that he was pretty much in rescue/ultra-protective mode for that entire year. It shaped his actions possibly more than even he realized.

Thank you all for entering--good luck!

Danielle said...

At first glance I didn't think this book would be all that interesting but after reading the excerpt I can't wait to read more! I enjoy the way your write, it has a very natural flow to it.

I hope I win but if not I am DEFINETLEY buying this one!

Deb said...

Great interview! There was something very different;a strong sense of involvement by the author in your interview that made it so interesting. Thanks for the excerpt.
I've always wondered what really happened with Wickham and Georgiana. How was she seduced? Where did they go and how did Darcy find her? It's been a mystery that's nagged at me for years!

Deborah/TheBookishDame

Nancy Kelley said...

Thank you, Danielle! Good luck in the drawing, and I hope you enjoy all of His Good Opinion when you read it.

Ah, Deb, that was a tricky one. I wrote so many versions of the confrontation between Wickham and Darcy which detailed exactly what Wickham had done. In the end... well, you'll see when you read chapter two.