Friday, September 3, 2010

Kara Louise (Author of Darcy's Voyage) Interview & Giveaway

I am excited that Kara Louise, author of Darcy's Voyage is here on Laura's Reviews today for an interview. I really enjoyed Darcy's Voyage and I am very happy that Kara Louise took the time out to answer my burning questions! And without further ado, I turn this blog over to Kara Louise . . .

Thanks for inviting me here today. These are great questions and I hope I can answer them to your satisfaction.

1. What was your inspiration for retelling the tale of Pride and Prejudice with a different meeting of Darcy and Elizabeth, first on a carriage ride, and then on a sea voyage to America?
I actually wrote the meeting between the two of them on a carriage for another story idea. I never got further than that meeting, and it remained in my file for a while. When I began writing Darcy’s Voyage (then titled Pemberley’s Promise), I decided to add it to that story and have Darcy and Elizabeth initially have only vague recollections of that first meeting when they encounter one another on the ship. I was inspired to write a story of them at sea after reading Richard Henry Dana’s Two Years Before the Mast. It was very interesting to me to read his account of his travels at sea in the 1840s, and although a little later than the time period of Pride and Prejudice, I decided I would love to write a story placing Darcy and Elizabeth on a ship bound for America.

2. One aspect of the novel that troubled me was that Elizabeth was not accompanied by a chaperone on either her carriage ride or her voyage to America. As it was common practice for young ladies at the time always to have a chaperone, what made you decide to not have one for these occasions?
I have little justification other than wanting to write it that way. Well, that is not altogether the truth. For Elizabeth’s being unchaperoned, I always felt she had a rebelliousness to her that defied convention, while not being “wild,” like we see with her sister, Lydia. She often walked about her hometown unchaperoned, including jumping over stiles and walking through the mud. She had no qualms about showing up at Netherfield with her ankles six inches in mud! I will concede that perhaps, at least in the carriage, I should have thought about a chaperone, but I love what that scene in particular added to the overall story!

As for her traveling unchaperoned on the ship, I felt that the Bennets would not have had anyone to accompany her, and that Elizabeth would have greatly desired take such an adventure. Likewise, I knew Mr. Bennet did not always consider what was prudent in ruling his household, particularly his daughters. He had nothing to worry about regarding Elizabeth’s behavior, but I did insist upon him putting Elizabeth under the captain’s protection when they boarded the ship.

3. On a similar note, what made you decide to have Elizabeth travel in steerage?
Part of my answer is what I envisioned for the ship, which I cover in the next question. But truthfully, I did think a great deal about the reasons why she might have traveled down there. First of all, we know her family did not have a great deal of money. The expense of securing a cabin for Elizabeth would have been much greater, and knowing the financial states her family was in, Elizabeth would not have wanted to spend any more than they had to. I reasoned that Elizabeth wanted to take this amazing journey and would sacrifice anything, even her comfort, to take the opportunity to sail to America.

4. Did you find out any interesting facts during your research on sea voyages in the early 19th century?
Pemberley’s Promise is the name of the ship in Darcy’s Voyage, and you can tell by that name that Mr. Darcy is the owner. I found an interesting website about a ship that took about a thousand Irish people to America during the great famine. The Jeanie Johnston sailed in the mid-nineteenth century and carried many across the sea looking for a better life or joining family. I was impressed by this story because they never lost one passenger and attributed that to the ship’s humane conditions and its compassionate captain. I envisioned this for Pemberley’s Promise, a ship that even down in steerage the conditions were not totally unbearable. This site is also where I discovered that two children would be considered one adult in the sleeping berths, which provided that part of the story. You can read more about the ship here:

5. Who is your favorite character in this novel . . . Darcy, Elizabeth, or one of the secondary characters? Personally I loved Darcy and Elizabeth, but I also loved seeing Georgiana blossom a bit in the novel as well.
Of course I love the characters of Darcy and Elizabeth, but I will also concur with you that Georgiana is one of the characters I love to write. I tend to write her as very instrumental in helping Elizabeth see the error of her ways as it pertains to her opinion of Darcy. Sometimes Georgiana catches on very quickly that there is something special between them, other times, not. I think in Darcy’s Voyage she tries to put two and two together but cannot quite come up with the right answer. And I love writing her as someone who truly loves and admires Elizabeth.

6. You have written other Pride and Prejudice inspired novels. Can you give us the details on a couple of your favorites?
Darcy’s Voyage is probably my favorite (for now!), but my next favorite is being published by Sourcebooks in Spring 2011. That book, originally titled Something Like Regret, has been re-titled Only Mr. Darcy Will Do. This is another variation in which begins almost immediately after returning from Kent after Darcy’s first proposal, Mr. Bennet dies, leaving the Bennet ladies having to face moving out of Longbourn. Elizabeth and Jane become governesses, Jane for the Gardiners’ children and Elizabeth to a young girl, whose family, it turns out, is acquainted with Mr. Darcy. She suddenly finds herself thrown into his presence, and even more so when the family is invited to Pemberley. There, she begins to see his goodness, but realizes even more the difference in their stations.

7. What is next for you? Are you at work on a new novel that you could share with us?
I wrote a series of short stories based on Elizabeth and Darcy as they celebrated the holidays their first year of marriage. I take them from Christmas to New Years, Valentines Day, and then end the book with a very special event. I wrote it several years ago and right now I am cleaning it up before I publish it. I have a couple other Austen related novels mulling about in my head as well. One is another Pride and Prejudice variation and the other is a back-story to a character in another novel of hers.

8. I always love to learn who authors love to read. Can you list a few of your favorite books and authors?
I have been reading Georgette Heyer’s book for about a year now, and love them. She has just a talent for giving us a variety of characters that end up in so much mischief. Some of them are truly laugh-out-loud books, and I an enjoying working my way through them. So far, of the 8 or so that I have read, my favorites have been Regency Buck and Arabella. I also have enjoyed the Carrie Bebris murder mystery series using Jane Austen’s characters. I also enjoy a couple Kansas authors, Deb Raney and Kim Vogel Sawyer.

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,

Thank-you for the great answers to my questions Kara Louise!! I loved your answers, and am looking forward to your next novels. Only Mr. Darcy Will Do has an interesting premise just as Darcy's Voyage did, and I love holiday stories so that sounds intriguing as well!
Giveaway Details
Danielle of Sourcebooks has been kind enough to offer two copies of the Darcy's Voyage by Kara Louise for this giveaway. I have decided to give a try at simplifying my giveaways so lets see how this experiment works . . .
If you would like to win a copy of Darcy's Voyage, please leave a comment about what intrigues you about Darcy's Voyage or what you liked about this interview. 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.

The deadline for entry is midnight, Friday September 17th.

Good luck!


  1. I love Pride and Prejudice and love reading anything about the characters.

    hewella1 at gmail dot com

  2. Oh wow. I absolutely LOVE Pride & Prejudice, and have read a lot of 'revisions' - some horrible, some good, and some just so-so. This one sounds amazing in that it changes the story so much, while still keeping the characters. I have got to get my hands on this, one way or another! :oD


  3. Definitely look forward to reading this book. I love that Elizabeth takes on such independence in this book and it really sounds like she is in so much more control of her life-- I always thought of her in that way.

    chitownchicas at gmail dot com

  4. I love the premise of Only Mr. Darcy Will Do! I want to read it right now! Lovely interview, ladies!

  5. I love to read anything about Mr. Darcy! Thanks for the great interview and giveaway.

    onebookshy at yahoo dot com

  6. You all are soooo encouraging! Thanks for the great review of my book, and I appreciate all your comments. It was fun to write and I hope you'll find it fun to read!
    Kara Louise

  7. I haven't yet read any of the Jane Austen "sequels" but this one sounds like one I would really like. I enjoyed the interview, intrigued by the author's research which included info about the Jeanie Johnston. I've read novels about the Irish voyages to America during the famine, the problems of traveling in steerage. Looking forward to this book. Thanks for the giveaway.

  8. I liked the information about the actual ship in the 19th century. Most of them were absolutely dreadful, and it's amazing anyone survived. I would love to read this book.

  9. Definitely would love to read this book. I find the book rather intriguing because i haven't read an Jane Austen adaptation where is actually takes place on a boat.


  10. I find this book intriguing because I've read Pride and Prejudice and would like to see an altered retelling of the story.

  11. Sounds wonderful! I have a whole shelf just for Austen sequels and variations. I love Pride and Prejudice the best and the whole idea of a sea voyage is just awesome. I'm adding this book to my dreamlist just in case I don't win. Thanks for such a great interview and the chance to win. :o)

  12. I love all the research that was done. Please include me in the drawing. Thanks!

  13. Pride and Prejudice is one of my favourite books, so I wouldn't want to miss this one!

    aikychien at yahoo dot com

  14. Opps forgot to provide an email, ladymluv @ yahoo .com. Thanks!

  15. Great interview and I would love to win a copy of Kara's retelling of P&P and what a gorgeous cover!

    My hearty congratulations to Kara for her success with Sourcebooks. Really great to see such a talented writer getting out there.

  16. Loved your review and interview. I love your question about the chaperone. That would have boothered me too. Throw my name into the hat please :)
    stacybooks at yahoo

  17. I love the idea that they meet in the carriage and the ship but still rely on their "first impressions" which are once again wrong about each other. Thanks for a very entertaining interview.

    mathers dot lynn at gmail dot com

  18. I generally am not as into the variation stories as the continuation stories, but this one is different enough that it sounds like something I would really enjoy. I love reading author interviews and getting that extra insight. My email addy:

  19. Pride and Prejudice Ive seen the movie but never read the book

  20. I love the idea of Elizabeth and Darcy on a ship together! This book sounds wonderful!!

  21. I've never read any of the sequels of P&P, but I would love to read a different setting/story line of P&P.
    nancysoffice at gmail dot com

  22. I've really enjoyed Ms Louise's interviews: I'm on a bit of an Austen spinoff naval kick (mostly Persuasion related) but I'm interested in Darcy's Voyage because of all the research Ms Louise has done. I think the trivia about the Jeanie Johnston is fascinating -- very eye-opening!

    Thank you for the interview and this giveaway!

    thesibylqueen at

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