Thank you so much for hosting me!
Thank you for supporting the “Salute to our Veterans” event at Just Jane 1813. I love reading JAFF stories that have a focus on Colonel Fitzwilliam. What made you decide to focus your book on Colonel Fitzwilliam?
I love the Colonel! He has so much potential, in part because he’s a bit of a cipher in P&P, so authors can project a lot onto his character. In many of my stories he is most intriguing because of his friendship with Darcy. But he also has a number of qualities that make him interesting in his own right: he is part of Darcy’s family and of noble blood, but has far less money than Darcy. Also, he’s a soldier at a time when England was at war —which is something I explore in my upcoming novella. So Fitzwilliam provides JAFF authors with a lot of potential as a character.
In your book, you focus on Colonel Fitzwilliam’s relationship with Elizabeth and how it also affects Darcy’s life. Why did you make this decision? I have felt that many JAFF authors had avoided this angle until recently, so why did you decide to tackle it?
Colonel Fitzwilliam is actually in P&P for a very short time, but during that time one of the things that Austen makes clear is that there is a mutual attraction between him and Elizabeth, probably because they are somewhat similar in personality. The Colonel even tells Elizabeth he must marry an heiress, and she thinks it might be a warning to her that he can’t pursue his attraction to her. It seemed natural to me that the Colonel could be a plausible rival Elizabeth’s affections if the impediment of fortune was removed, but I hadn’t read any JAFF that explored that angle. So I thought I would write it!
What was the hardest thing about writing this book? How did you, as a writer, overcome these challenges?
In writing Pride and Proposals I was worried about the angst. There are some sad parts, and I worried that it would turn off some readers, but I felt strongly that the story needed to be told and in this particular way. Some readers don’t like the angst, and some like the book despite it. And some readers really like emotion and drama; I happen to be that kind of reader, so I wrote the kind of book I would love to read.
Pride and Proposals has gotten very good reviews and has sold well, so I don’t think the angst has turned off too many readers. But I certainly understand if it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. Then my next novel, Mr. Darcy to the Rescue, ended up being humorous and light-hearted, so maybe that was my unconscious reacting to the drama in Pride and Proposals.
I believe your latest writing work focuses on Colonel Fitzwilliam. Do you want to tell us more about this piece of writing?
I have just finished a novella about Fitzwilliam and Mary Bennet, and it should be published soon. So many JAFF stories about Mary focus on her falling for someone bookish and nerdy (not that there’s anything wrong with that). I wanted to explore what would happen if she were attracted to someone who wouldn’t ordinarily be considered her type – and Colonel Fitzwilliam fit the bill. It was fun figuring out how to make their relationship plausible and romantic. Hopefully the readers will agree!
What inspires you to write JAFF?
Well, my primary inspiration is, of course, Jane Austen’s writing, which is just so brilliant, witty, and multi-layered that I would run out of superlatives trying to describe it. I’m always discovering new things about her works. I am also inspired by the writing of other JAFF authors. When I first started reading Pride and Prejudice variations, I was struck by all the different ways the plot could be changed. It’s a testament to Austen’s work that it can serve as a vehicle for so many re-imaginings. It’s hard to envision multiple authors re-writing the plot of Moby Dick or David Copperfield in such intriguing and inventive ways. Yes, those are brilliant works of literature, but they don’t lend themselves to variations the same way. There’s just something about Austen….
How do you find JAFF books that you enjoy reading?
My problem these days isn’t finding JAFF books; it’s having enough time to read all the ones on my TBR pile! But when I first got interested in JAFF I spent a lot of time reading reviews on Goodreads and Amazon (and combing through the books the sites suggested for me) to find works that interested me. Goodreads also has some valuable Listopia lists for JAFF. Today there are also many wonderful blogs (like this one!) that can help a reader stay tuned in to what is going on in the JAFF world. That wasn’t as true when I first started reading JAFF.
Darcy’s relationship with Colonel Fitzwilliam has always been one that I have enjoyed reading about in JAFF books. What are your feelings about their relationship and why have you focused on it in your book?
Darcy seems so lonely in P&P. He’s been thrust into this position of great responsibility at a young age and doesn’t seem to have a lot of close friends who can serve as confidants. Bingley is great, but a bit too oblivious and puppyish to be really helpful to Darcy. Fitzwilliam is the obvious one to give Darcy advice on matters of the heart, which is a role he plays in many of my books and other JAFF. However, that friendship becomes an obstacle itself in Pride and Proposals.
Tell us a little bit about your cover art. Who designed it? Why did you go with that particular image?
Rebecca Young designed the Pride and Proposals cover and the one for Mr. Darcy to the Rescue. I love the design! She has done a lovely job of “branding” the covers so they are recognizable as “Victoria Kincaid” books. We spent a lot of time selecting the woman who would represent Elizabeth for the Pride and Proposals cover. I finally chose that particular image because of the way she is looking at the reader – it’s like an invitation to come into the world of the book.
What can we expect from you in the future?
More JAFF! I have so many ideas for novels I don’t know what to do with them. My problem is I don’t have enough time to write, but I do it every chance I get. It’s very rewarding. I’m working on a new novel, a more dramatic one, and then I have an idea for another humorous one that I’m looking forward to writing.
But I don’t like to predict too far into the future what I plan to write because sometimes a story idea will ambush me and demand to be written. That’s what happened with Mr. Darcy to the Rescue; it wasn’t supposed to be the next story written, but I couldn’t get it out of my head.
I’d also like to do another novella like the Mary/Fitzwilliam one that focuses on characters other than Darcy and Elizabeth. And I have ideas for some Regency romances that aren’t JAFF and at least one modern P&P adaptation. I’m very excited when I think about the books coming up!
What can readers who enjoy your book do to help make it successful?
The number one thing that readers can do to support me or any writer is to write reviews, especially on Amazon; but, any reviews are helpful. The number of readers who write reviews is a miniscule fraction of the people who buy the books, so if you like an author, writing a review is doing him or her a great service. It can make a huge difference in sales—and encourage the author to write more books.
How can the readers discover more about you and your work?
I’m flattered and delighted to think that readers might be interested in learning more. I am in the process of re-vamping my website, so when that is finished it will be a more useful source of information. I’m also thrilled to hear from readers. They can sign up for my blog, email me, or friend me on Facebook.
It’s really an amazing thing to find out you have touched someone that you have never met; it’s a very powerful experience that’s exciting and humbling all at the same time. In a very real sense, readers are what keep me writing—not just by purchasing books but by telling me through reviews or by contacting me how much they enjoyed my books. That means a lot and helps push me forward on days when the going is tough.
Twitter: victoria Kincaid @kincaidvic
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Victoria-Kincaid/e/B00JCJ1JPK/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1447053704&sr=8-2-ent
Thank you very much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to take part in this interview. I hope everything continues to go well with your move! Ever since I read this book, I’ve been on the lookout for other books by you to enjoy, so I will stay tuned to see all your other JAFF ideas come to life!