Rose Fairbanks, it’s a real treat to have you back at Just Jane 1813, where we’ve collaborated on a few posts together over the past few months, and where, once again, I’m excited that you’ll be sharing with my readers another “Pride and Prejudice” variation that demonstrates your ability to find fresh, new ways to write a novella that JAFF readers will find has a unique plot and is filled with a variety of challenges for our beloved characters. I read this new novella this past weekend and I look forward to reviewing it for my readers on Just Jane 1813 later this week.
Thanks for having me again! I love gabbing about P&P stories!
Here we are at the beginning of this story, and we find out that Elizabeth Bennet is already a mother of a young child, and married Mr. Collins, which is very different from your past few stories. How were you drawn to creating a story based on this storyline? From what I understand, I believe your Muse played a large role in selecting this direction for you. Please tell us more about this recent process.
I wrote a much shorter version of this story in May 2014. It was inspired in parts by Mother’s Day and the belief that a mother would find any trial worth having her children for, and for my daughter’s first birthday.
I planned on expanding it to a novelette later this year and releasing it with another very sad story. I tried working on a few other stories early this year and nothing stuck. Next, I began to work on the combined novelettes and focusing on the other story which was going to take more time to round out. After a week or two I realized that it should be novel length and stand on it’s own. Once I finally started working on this one, it took flight. I was at the computer every spare second I had just dying to get the words out.
My stories typically begin as one or two scenes that I’m not sure where they’re going but I have to get out of my system. Once I begin, I can usually see how they would work and create a loose outline. I love using outlines, it keeps my stories focused. But, there are times when it’s not the right time to work on *that* story or not the right thing to do with it and that’s where my writing muse plays a big part.
I don’t believe in failure. I keep everything and can usually use it later. I repeat Thomas Edison’s quote about 10,000 failed ideas for the lightbulb: I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.
As a blogger for the past few months, I have noticed that you have developed a strong base of fans and that you have become quite “a proficient” in regards to communicating through social media with your readers. Can you share with us any tips that new and seasoned authors can use to continue to grow their readership in the manner that you have in your writing career?
Well, I cut my teeth on Facebook. I think my college was added to the olden days of Facebook–when you had to actually be a college student–in my sophomore year. Twitter still befuddles me, but yakking on Facebook is like second nature to me 11 years later. Things have really picked up for me since I’ve got an automated posting service. It can send out memes and ads that I make and then I can still actually interact instead of using all my Facebook time doing promotion.
I also promote other authors more than myself. It’s a community and when one of us succeeds we all succeed.
There are many readers that will share an ad I make or find for another author and I think they like seeing that I’m not all about me.
I’ve done a lot with memes this year because I enjoyed making them, but others could find good quotes from Austen or other authors or about books in general. Don’t forget to make it personal. Today I shared about a dream I had involving a banana peel as a book cover and the other day I talked about my plans to go to Ikea with my husband and said it was sexy talk. I’m a real person, not just a travelling salesperson.
I love the clean and simple photographs that now grace your book covers, along with the placement of the text, which combine with each other to deliver a very beautiful and romantic feeling to your book covers. Please tell us about the more recent decisions that you have made regarding the revisions you’ve made to your book cover art.
My first few covers were historical artwork in the public domain but became increasingly hard to find and were not always in the best quality to alter. At first I was turned off by more modern looking covers and truly made the decision based on market research. I have had some invaluable friends there, namely Elizabeth Ann West. I don’t really think like a businesswoman but she’s helped me realize I am a small business owner and need to think about marketing and a cohesive brand, etc. A good tip was to just look at the best-sellers list on Amazon and record the covers that appealed to me and I started to notice certain similarities and themes.
It’s also ever evolving. I’m updating the cover to Letters from the Heart again. The image of a writing a letter is perfect for the title and the story, but if you look at my covers grouped together, all the others have some thing from nature in them and that one is the odd one out. I am going to have to update Sisters Bewitched again, as well, before the first sequel comes out hopefully later this month. I spend a lot of spare time in Photoshop just playing with things. Like any skill you must practice, practice, practice!
Have you seen the movie “Pride & Prejudice & Zombies?” If so, can you share your thoughts about the movie with us?
I absolutely adored the film! I wish I could have seen it again before it left my theater. I will buy it on DVD/Digital copy as soon as it’s available and I think I’ll be watching it a lot. I’m very happy a JAFF was made into a film. To me, it felt like a giant hug to the JAFF culture. There were so many nods to the Janeites. As with any adaptation, it’s altered from the book. I think Jane Austen would have thought it was excessively diverting and I think it maintained more of her humor and wit than we’ve seen in many an adaptation. I thought all the actors did a great job but like so many others I have to say that Mr. Collins stole the show. Matt Smith was born to be Mr. Collins. And if you think that he was amusing and therefore tolerable, then I think you will be able to stomach Elizabeth’s marriage to Mr. Collins in Mr. Darcy’s Kindness. I don’t write him as so very funny, but he’s not as terrible as the other Collinses out there. Lizzy is not attracted to his character and personality but she’s not repulsed by a flabby stomach or greasy hair and nasty breath.
What can readers look forward to from the writing desk of Rose Fairbanks?
I have a lot more JAFF plans for the next few years and a big list of story prompts I’ve not even touched yet. I am starting an original Regency Romance series as well this year but JAFF will always be a part of my repertoire.
In April, my next novel, Sufficient Encouragement, is coming out. The story begins when Elizabeth overhears Darcy and Caroline’s discussion at Netherfield of Elizabeth’s “fine eyes” and journeys all the way to Yorkshire and the Luddite revolts in the winter/early spring of 1812. I’m hoping to release The Secrets of Netherfield Abbey this month as well. It’s the first sequel to Sisters Bewitched and the second in The Witches of Austen Series which I started last October and had to delay due to moving.
How can readers discover more about you and your work?
Follow me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rose.fairbanks.5
Mailing list: http://eepurl.com/bmJHjn
Rose is also dropping by with a giveaway for my lovely readers. She has an ebook copy of “Mr. Darcy’s Kindness” to offer to one lucky winner. Please leave a comment below this post, and let us know what your thoughts are about Rose’s new storyline and/or tell us about some other books by Rose Fairbanks that you’ve enjoyed in the past. All comments must be left by midnight ET on March 15. The winner will be named on this blog on March 16, 2016.
I want to give a big thank you to Rose for such an insightful interview. It’s always fun to learn from someone whose passions for Jane Austen are so deep and strong! I also want to thank her for her generous giveaway and for writing a novella that takes JAFF readers on a journey of missed opportunities and sacrifices, as we learn how the love we have for a child can take us on an unexpected path to finding ourselves.
To add “Mr. Darcy’s Kindness” to your nightstand, visit Amazon.
To read what your friends are saying about this novella, go to Goodreads.