Monday, October 4, 2010

Abigail Reynolds (Author of Mr. Darcy's Obsession) Interview and Giveaway

I have very excited and happy today to have Abigail Reynolds as a guest at Laura's Reviews for an interview about her latest novel, Mr. Darcy's Obsession. I love Abigail's books and really enjoyed Mr. Darcy's Obsession (see my review here). Without further ado here is the interview!

1. LAG: I loved Mr. Darcy’s Obsession. I thought the premise of “what if” Mr. Bennet had died before Mr. Darcy’s first proposal to Elizabeth was very unique and intriguing to read about. How did you formulate this premise? Did you find it easy to run with the concept once you had it in mind?
AR: Thanks! I wanted to show modern readers just how brave Elizabeth was to refuse Mr. Darcy by showing what the possible consequences of that decision were. Mr. Bennet’s death provided the way to bring Mrs. Bennet’s fears of being thrown into the hedgerows to life. It was easy to go from there, apart from the challenge of finding an intriguing first scene that would be neither maudlin nor depressing.

2. LAG: I was happy to read that you are working on a sequel to Mr. Darcy’s Obsession. I loved the epilogue, but I felt like I would love to read more about characters in the novel when I finished the book. Can you give us any hints of what the sequel will involve?
AR: It takes place mostly at Pemberley follows the further adventures of Georgiana and Mary as they each fall in love with a man who is only suitable for the other. It plays out against the background of social unrest in Manchester with a climax at Peterloo. You won’t be surprised, I’m sure, to find Aunt Augusta playing a leading role.
3. LAG: You kept very true to the original characters from P&P while introducing some great new characters in Mr. Darcy’s family. I especially loved Aunt Augusta and Lord Derby. What was your inspiration for these characters? Who is your favorite character in the novel?
AR: Lord Derby had an unusual provenance. There’s a character in my modern novels, Joe Westing, who I find remarkably easy to write about – apparently my dark side channels Joe Westing! When I’m stuck in writer’s block, my critique partner often suggests that I write scene with Joe to get the juices running. In this case, I said that wouldn’t work because I was writing Regency and Joe is a very modern character. She challenged me to develop a Joe Westing character for Regency times, and that became Joseph, Lord Derby. Aunt Augusta was more straightforward. I needed a character who could stand up to Lord Derby and not take him seriously. She was supposed to be a rather prim character, but she didn’t listen to me. She’s quite a pushy lady!

4. LAG: I love how Mr. Darcy had an awakening throughout the novel on how people of other classes lived and how just because you were a member of the “ton” it didn’t necessarily make you a decent person. What led you to detail this journey? Do you think Mr. Darcy in the original P&P had such a journey, but it wasn’t detailed?
AR: I don’t think he journeyed quite as far in P&P – it was enough of a change for him to recognize the Gardiners as his social equals. In Mr. Darcy’s Obsession, he needs a reason to defy all reasonable society expectations and marry Elizabeth despite her situation, and I chose to do that by having his eyes opened to the amoral nature of Regency high society. I’d like to think that the original Mr. Darcy might have come to the same conclusions if he’d had enough of a push to consider it.

5. LAG: I also enjoyed the talk about sex during the regency period or in other words, that it existed, but was covered up by “stays in the country” for more affluent young ladies that found themselves in a certain condition, while ladies of a lower class were completely cast out for the same behavior. And of course gentlemen not being faithful to their wives were considered normal. What led you into this aspect of the novel and specifically how did you determine to make Georgiana and Lydia’s conduct a bit more risqué? I thought it seemed natural, what could have happened, but never would have been written of during the regency period.
AR: Very interesting question! I’m not actually sure it was that much more risque. I’ve always wondered what happened to Georgiana in Ramsgate. I can see how she might fall in love with him and decide to marry beneath her, but why would she agree to something as disgraceful as an elopement? It would not only damage her reputation but Darcy’s as well, and she doesn’t seem like that sort of risk-taker. So what made her agree to it? If Wickham had seduced her and she thought she might be preganant, she might see an elopement as her best option. But what if she was, in fact, pregnant? As I traced down what would have happened, I realized it made perfect sense – why Darcy had left her alone just after Ramsgate and gone to Netherfield in a rotten mood about social climbers. And then there is Austen’s physical description of Georgiana. She rarely describes characters physically, yet she makes a point that Georgiana has a womanly shape despite her years. Could that be the result of a recent pregnancy? Elizabeth would know perfectly well why young women disappear to the country for months, and might well have had that suspicion in her mind. The only accounting we have of Georgiana during those months is a statement in a letter from Miss Bingley that she is spending time with Mr. Bingley, and that could easily be a fabrication designed to discourage Jane Bennet. Who’s to say it didn’t happen that way?

6. LAG: I see that you are a Wisconsin resident like me! Do you make any appearances to discuss your work or for book signings?
AR: I’m just starting to make local appearances. On November 3, I’ll be signing books at the Wisconsin Library Association annual conference in Wisconsin Dells. Details are still being worked out, but December 11 will be a mass book signing with several other Austenesque authors in Milwaukee. There will be a couple of library appearances, too, but don’t have dates on those yet. I’m always glad to have another reader in Wisconsin! (Sad insert from Laura . . . I have a conference I was supposed to attend at the Dells around that time, but I'm due to have a baby on October 23rd so I'm going to miss it this year! Hopefully next time!)

7. LAG: How does being a physician part-time affect your writing? Do you have any difficulty being a woman of science and a woman of literature?
AR: Surprisingly, it seems to be a good balance. As a doctor, I’m trained to listen to people and observe while trying to put clues together. Writing is the creative version of the same thing. The only hard part is that it can be rather embarrassing when my patients find out about my books! It’s not exactly what you think of your doctor doing in her spare time. (Another insert from Laura - my doctor and I discuss books every time I go in for a baby check-up. She's always intrigued that I have a new one!)
AR: Thanks for inviting me!

LAG: Thank-you for answering my burning questions. It's always so fun to get to ask questions that you had while reading the novel to get an even deeper understanding of it!
The more he tries to stay away from her, the more his obsession grows...

“[Reynolds] has creatively blended a classic love story with a saucy romance novel.” —Austenprose

“Developed so well that it made the age-old storyline new and fresh…Her writing gripped my attention and did not let go.”—The Romance Studio

“The style and wit of Ms. Austen are compellingly replicated…spellbinding. Kudos to Ms. Reynolds!” —A Reader’s Respite

In this Pride and Prejudice variation, Elizabeth is called away before Darcy proposes for the first time and Darcy decides to find a more suitable wife. But when Darcy encounters Elizabeth living in London after the death of her father, he can’t fight his desire to see and speak with her again…and again and again. But now that her circumstances have made her even more unsuitable, will Darcy be able to let go of all his long held pride to marry a woman who, though she is beneath his station, is the only woman capable of winning his heart?

About the Author
Abigail Reynolds is a physician and a lifelong Jane Austen enthusiast. She began writing the Pride and Prejudice Variations series in 2001, and encouragement from fellow Austen fans convinced her to continue asking “What if…?” She lives with her husband and two teenage children in Madison, Wisconsin. For more information, please visit or

Giveaway Details
Danielle of Sourcebooks has been kind enough to offer two copies of the Mr. Darcy's Obsession by Abigail Reynolds for this giveaway.
If you would like to win a copy of Mr. Darcy's Obsession, please leave a comment about what intrigues you about Mr. Darcy's Obsession or what you liked about the interview with Ms. Reynolds.

As part of your comment, you must include an email address. If I can't find a way to contact you I will draw another winner.

I will be using to pick the winners from the comments.

This contest is only open to US and Canadian residents (Sorry!).

No P.O. Boxes.

Since Baby Gerold #3 is due on October 23rd, the deadline will be a bit short this time around. The deadline for entry is midnight, Monday October 11th.
Good luck!


  1. I would love to read this book! The unique circumstances Darcy and Elizabeth find themselves in is most intriguing. Thanks for the great interview! Being an aspiring author myself, it is great to know such a profession as bing a doctor can mix so well with writing!

    Thanks for the giveaway :)

  2. It sounds so interesting to be able to witness Darcy's journey through 'class' distinctions. Thanks for the giveaway.

  3. I love the fact that she writes in her spare time while being a physician. The fact that Elizabeth leaves intrigues me as well.

    Thanks for the giveaway.

  4. The opening chapter and premise of the book sounds rather enticing to me, a great way to showcase Elizabeth as a strong and courageous heroine.

    Terrific interview! I can see being a doctor and being a writer as related in the sense that both demand a close inspection and attention to people, on a physical and psychological level.

    I will post this in my blog's sidebar.

    Thanks for hosting this giveaway, Laura. I hope you are feeling well.

  5. I am intrigued that Darcy would still choose to marry Elizabeth, going against society and his personal views, even when she was virtually poor.

  6. Good to know that she is already working on the sequel.

    littleone AT shaw DOT ca

  7. I have a whole shelf just for Austen sequels & variations - most of them Pride & Prejudice, so just that intrigues me. I really like delving deeper into Darcy's character and having him face and challenge his beliefs about class distinctions in such a bold way.

    Thanks for the chance to win the book.

  8. A physician writer? Impressive. I would love to read this book. When am I ever not interested in reading more about Mr. Darcy?

  9. I love P&P sequels. Like the premise of this one.
    bkhabel at gmail dot com

  10. Brilliant interview. I love different perspectives or What if's of Jane Austen's stories. This one sounds lovely. ^^


  11. thanx for your review!!!! i'm excited to include MrDarcy'sObsession to my ToBeReadList!!! & a sequel???? AWESOME!!!!


  12. I read your original on this and a some of the rewrites, loved it then and can't wait for the book to read it again.

    My favorite character is Aunt Augusta. She is such a take charge kind of woman who knows what she wants and goes about getting it or getting it done.

    I'm so glad you are working on the sequel. I, too, wanted to read more about Mary, Georgiana and Aunt Augusta and of course D&E. Your work always keeps me interested right to the end. I love regency stories about Darcy and Elizabeth and I am amazed at the different paths they can take when under your pen. The stories are fantastic!

    Congrats on the new baby and wishing you all the best.

    tinkcook (at) yahoo (dot) com

  13. I love the book cover! That alone intrigues me enough to want to read the book. Thanks for the giveway! And here's to an easy delivery!! :-)


  14. Great interview! I can't wait to start this book! No need to enter me.

  15. This one sounds great!! (And that was a wonderful interview!!)

    I love all things Austen and I am really looking forward to this one!! (I like that you said there will be another one coming out that follows Mary and Georgiana...I always wanted to know more about their characters in the original P&P, so this sounds like a great set of books for me to look forward to reading!!

  16. I love the pretty cover! I'm looking forward to reading this book!

    aikychien at yahoo dot com

  17. The idea of Darcy & Elizabeth reuniting so very differently is fascinating ... as is the "twist" about Georgiana - she's such a mystery :o)

    Blessings to you and the new baby, may it be an easy delivery!!!


  18. Great interview love Mrs reynolds books have read them several times. Enjoyed hearing about her developing of Darcy's character and her creative process!!
    Weaselywheezes @

  19. Great interview. Being a doctor and a writer is nothing to be embarrassed about.

    - bookworm


  20. I'm a Janeite so anything to do with her works catches my attention! :) But what intrigues me is the speculation about Georgiana. I'd love to read the book to see how this is handled.

  21. I just recently read 'Pride & Prejudice' for the first time & fell in love with the characters. I now enjoy reading all the books that have resulted from that first one & 'Mr. Darcy's Obsession' looks like a great read.

    Thanks for the giveaway!
    megalon22 at yahoo dot com

  22. The premise sounds fascinating and the fact that she is a physician just adds to my interest because she's probably got a keen eye for detail. I just hope she typed the manuscript because we would never be able to read her handwriting! :-)


    jhsmail at comcast dot net

  23. This giveaway has now ended. Winners will be posted shortly.