Good morning! Today I have Suzan Lauder visiting Just Jane 1813 to share with us her inspiration for her latest story, A Most Handsome Gentleman, aka #HotCollins. This story just sounds so funny and I think you’ll enjoy learning more about Suzan’s process for selecting the men in her story. Please join me in welcoming Suzan Lauder to Just Jane 1813…
I would like to express my appreciation for the opportunity to share this background to A Most Handsome Gentleman (#HOTCollins) with the readers of JustJane1813 today. Thanks so much, Claudine!
The Many Men Who Inspired “Hot Collins”
Shortly after I first got the idea to write a book where Mr. Collins was hotter than any other man in Pride and Prejudice, actor Joe Manganiello was popular due to his appearance in a movie about male strippers, and the bawdy side of the Jane Austen Fan Fiction community A Happy Assembly (AHA) was obsessed with him and the other actors. Someone posted a late-night television interview where Mr. Manganiello appeared extremely self-absorbed yet, in terms of reasoning ability, several bricks short of a load. The Mr. Collins “attitude” was there, front and center, and with his good looks, he “felt” like #HOTCollins. But Mr. Manganiello’s beard threw me off as it’s not a Regency look. Then I found photos of him without the beard in a guest spot on a TV sitcom and his place was solidified as the mental image of the actor who could play Hot Collins in A Most Handsome Gentleman.
However, this is a Regency story, so I started collecting Pinterest photos of the most handsome portraits of gentlemen from in and around the Regency period (1811-1820). I quickly became enamoured of several men with incredible manly beauty or charisma in paint. Of note was my long-time first choice as #HOTCollins, painter John Constable, a stunningly beautiful man and exceptionally talented painter. One of his unfinished artworks is the background on the back cover of Letter from Ramsgate.
But niggling doubt was confirmed by the readership at AHA when the betad but unedited story was posted as a serial: readers helped me to concede that Constable was too pretty. This is a mirror of my real life admiration of actor Henry Cavill, who I touted as a wonderful Darcy back in the day with he was the same age (28) and not yet a big superstar. Like Cavill, Constable is a perfect hot man, but on the pretty side of handsome. Henry has mellowed with age, and I still hold out hope for my match with him and Emma Watson in a new classic P&P miniseries.
When the betad version of A Most Handsome Gentleman was posted at AHA, I shared a potential handsome Collins Regency gentleman painted portrait each chapter, starting with John Constable. With some chapter posts, I added other artwork to show Bingley, Wickham, and Darcy as well. Readers requested a vote for the best Collins, but alas, they chose the one that best suited him at the end of the story, not the beginning (Stephen Thorn). The readers’ number two man (Léon Reisener) has always been Darcy for me and in addition, I learned he would be on a friend’s back cover soon (as Colonel Fitzwilliam), so he was a no-go for Collins or Darcy on my cover.
I liked the confident, erudite, almost haughty facial expression on the readers’ number three man and was also interested to discover he had been a clergyman. It turned out he was cover artist Janet Taylor’s first choice for Mr. Collins: William Whewell, the largest portrait seen on the front cover of A Most Handsome Gentleman. While the real William Whewell was leaps and bounds more academic and intelligent than my #HOTCollins, the portrait of the young, confident, handsome man full of ideas fit my idea of A Most Handsome Gentleman.
But a cover man is not necessarily a muse man when writing scenes for a comedy. An expression that’s key to a scene in the book is the handsome man pout. An additional inspiration comes from the movie Zoolander and the facial “poses” that Ben Stiller uses, such as “Blue Steel.” The video shows what was in my mind when Mr. Collins tried to get his way with a handsome pout.
As you can tell, my mind was full of handsome portraits, yet I needed to write a self-absorbed, kowtowing, verbose, stupid man to match Mr. Collins’s canon personality. This juxtaposition is what made A Most Handsome Gentleman diverting to write and ensures it’s a most amusing book to read.
What a great post, Suzan! I am sure my readers will have lots to say about your most handsome gentlemen in the comments below.
A Most Handsome Gentleman Book Description:
Elizabeth Bennet’s life is uncomplicated until she meets a quartet of new men: the haughty but handsome Mr. Darcy, the pert-with-a-pout Mr. Bingley, the confident and captivating Mr. Wickham—and then there is her father’s cousin, the happy man towards whom almost every female eye has turned.
Mr. Collins is HOT—well, incredibly handsome in Regency-speak—beautiful of face, fine of figure, elegant of air, his perfect clothing and hair matching his Greek god-like form. Unfortunately, when he opens his mouth, Elizabeth wishes he were mute. With affected servility and prideful self-conceit, he capitalizes upon his exquisite appearance and fixes on Jane Bennet as his bride.
Can Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy form an alliance to stop Jane’s suitors from issuing challenges—and will Elizabeth coax a smile from Mr. Darcy?
Bestselling Regency romance author Suzan Lauder delivers a hilarious Austenesque romance suitable for all readers of Pride and Prejudice.
Her first effort at a comedy, A Most Handsome Gentleman is the fourth time Lauder has been published by Meryton Press. Her earlier works include a mature Regency romance with a mystery twist, Alias Thomas Bennet, a modern short romance Delivery Boy in the holiday anthology Then Comes Winter, and the dramatic tension filled Regency romance Letter from Ramsgate.
She and Mr. Suze split their time between a loft condo overlooking the Salish Sea and a 50-year-old Spanish colonial home near the sea in Mexico.
Suzan’s lively prose is also available to her readers on her blog, road trips with the redhead www.suzan.lauder.merytonpress.com, on her Facebook author page https://www.facebook.com/SuzanLauder, and on Twitter @suzanlauder.
You can connect with Suzan Lauder at the following places:
It’s Giveaway Time!
Meryton Press is giving away 8 eBooks of A Most Handsome Gentleman. What a fabulous giveaway!
Terms and Conditions:
Readers may enter the drawing by tweeting once a day and daily commenting on a blog post or review that has a giveaway attached for the tour. Entrants must provide the name of the blog where they commented. Remember: Tweet and comment once daily to earn extra entries.
A winner may win ONLY 1 (ONE) eBook of A Most Handsome Gentleman by Suzan Lauder. Each winner will be randomly selected by Rafflecopter and the giveaway is international.
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10/21 My Love for Jane Austen; Guest Post, Giveaway
10/22 Obsessed with Mr. Darcy; Review
10/23 Austenesque Reviews; Vignette, Giveaway
10/24 Tomorrow is Another Day; Review
10/25 Babblings of a Bookworm; Guest Post, Giveaway
10/26 From Pemberley to Milton; Review, Giveaway
10/27 Just Jane 1813; Guest Post, Giveaway
10/28 Darcyholic Diversions; Author Interview, Giveaway
10/29 My Vices and Weaknesses; Character Interview, Giveaway
10/30 Half Agony, Half Hope; Review, Excerpt
10/31 Laughing With Lizzie; Vignette, Giveaway
11/01 Diary of an Eccentric; Review, Giveaway
11/02 So little time…; Guest Post, Excerpt, Giveaway
11/03 Margie’s Must Reads; Review, GA
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