Monday, August 31, 2009

Rebecca Ann Collins from Pemberley Chronicles

I am so excited - this is my first guest blogger, and I absolutely love her books! The sixth book, My Cousin Caroline comes out in stores tomorrow, I can't wait to post my review on it tomorrow as well as tell you how you can win the first book in the series sent to you! I hope you all enjoy reading!

Welcome Rebecca:

Q: Out of the entire series, who is your favourite character?
A: When I first started writing, and creating my own characters, as opposed to Jane Austen’s – it used to be Cassy Darcy. However, as the series progressed and certainly after completing My Cousin Caroline, I find myself drawn to Caroline. I still love Cassy, as I do many of the others, including Jonathan Bingley, who is my favourite male character- bar none, but Caroline has the edge over the rest.

Q: When I first read about the accident of Willaim Darcy and Edward in The Pemberley Chronicles, I was devastated. I knew it was coming in My Cousin Caroline, but it was still hard. Was this accident just as hard for you to revisit and write about in My Cousin Caroline?
A: You are quite right, it was hard, especially because the accident that takes the life of William and Edward is based on a very similar event that devastated our family some years ago and it was very painful to revisit it , but it also helped me both personally and in writing the books.
Personally, to share the deep sorrow of such an experience by expressing it and in the books, it helps to ground the characters in reality. Pemberley is not some Camelot like place where everyone lived happily ever after- it is real and the characters must endure the same sorts of things that afflicted many other families in that era– children died through disease and accidents, as did many adults. Elizabeth and Darcy and the other characters, could not lead some kind of charmed life filled only with love and romance.- it would not have been credible.

Q. After reading My Cousin Caroline, I think it could be read as part of the series, but also stand alone. Was it fun to go back and revisit some of the characters from the beginning of the series?
A: Yes it was great fun, particularly to bring back Mr Bennet and Mr Collins. There was also a practical side to it. We had completed five volumes- with Mr. Darcy’s Daughter, we had reached a particular mid- point in the series and it was a convenient and appropriate point at which to pull the threads together and look at the picture before going on again. Caroline’s story afforded me the opportunity to reprise some of the characters and events from the earlier volumes, but to do it while developing more fully two of the minor players from the original novel—Colonel Fitzwilliam and Caroline Gardiner.
I enjoyed very much the chance to track the development of Caroline from almost childhood to maturity, to contrast her character as a romantic young girl, with the shallow silliness of Lydia or the meanness of Caroline Bingley. To watch her become a personable and intelligent woman with a good eye for business and a warm, compassionate heart was a very special pleasure.
Also, I had long felt that Colonel Fitzwilliam deserved better than his fate in Pride and Prejudice—a very promising young gentleman, with excellent qualities, but very little means. It was clear that he would never be able to marry for love.
With a little manipulation of his circumstances—he could be given that chance. I thought Caroline and the Colonel would make a very good couple—and if you will pardon my saying so- I think they do.

Q: Besides Jane Austen, who is your favourite author?
A: In the same period, Charles Dickens and George Elliot. Both know how to tell a good story and Dickens creates so many wonderful characters. They also deal with several of the “difficult issues” that troubled 19th century England.

Q: If you could meet Jane Austen and ask her anything, what would you ask her?
A: I’ve always wondered at her capacity for creating such interesting characters and situations, while sitting in the front room of her father’s country parsonage. I’d love to ask her what set off that creative imagination and energy?

Q: P&P is obviously your favourite Jane Austen novel; besides P&P, which is your next favourite? Would you consider writing a sequel to any other of Jane Austen’s books?
A: Persuasion is the my next favourite. I think it is one of her best; it’s a really deep love story. in which Jane questions the very nature of love and what it involves for us.
I have considered writing a sequel to Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austen’s first novel. There are three sisters- all completely different in character and the way story ends suggests some fascinating possibilities.

Q. The next book in the series is Postscript from Pemberley, to be released in the United States in December. Can you tell us a little bit about it?
A: Postscript from Pemberley is mainly the story of four young, attractive characters: Darcy Gardiner, Julian Darcy, Jessica Courtney and a fascinating new comer to the district, Kate O’Hare. Darcy, Julian and Jessica are all of the next generation of characters, each quite different in their attitudes to live, love and family loyalty. Yet they live within the circle of families that have strong links with Pemberley and its great traditions. As such they have certain responsibilities and when they face challenges in life, they are expected to deal with them with strength and courage, as their forebears have done… Whether they are all capable of fulfilling these expectations is explored in the novel. They are interesting and passionate young men and women and have their own secrets; they must come to terms with them as they make their way in the world, fall in and out of love and play their parts in the community in which they live.

Q. Last but not least- do you snack while writing? If so what is your favourite snack?
A: I don’t “snack” as such—not while writing (I am forbidden to have food and drink anywhere near my computer!) but, I usually work for a couple of hours straight and then break for half an hour when I like to have a coffee and ginger biscuits or tea and a slice of cheese toast—away from my desk—preferably sitting out in the garden. It re-energises one and helps to re-focus on the task at hand, although sometimes, it is difficult to return to the computer.
There are times, when I am really absorbed in developing a chapter or a character, when I don’t break at all; then I find when it over, that I am very hungry indeed. And have to put everything aside and cook a special meal.

Thank you so much for hosting me on your blog, Debbi!
Rebecca Ann Collins


Teresa said...

Thanks very much Debbi for hosting the comments from Ms Collins. I have read four of her books so far and I am keen to read the rest- mainly because they are so different to the usual so-called "Austen sequels"- which seem to concentrate only on the marital activities of Mr and Mrs Darcy! ( I mean how many times can one get excited about the same pair jumping into bed?)
Ms Collins has extended the Pemberley family into the next generation and given us an insight into a whole group of exciting new chracters - Jonathan and Emma Bingley, Cassy Darcy, and now Caroline Gardiner and Colonel Fitzwilliam. I cannot wait to read this episode.

Gina said...

I agree with Teresa; these books are so credible and great to read, because they don't just concentrate of the same couple ( usually Darcy and Elizabeth) having sex in multiple places - but with very little real development of either charcater or plot.
On the other hand, Miss Collins draws out so many interesting characters and situations, we feel involved in the lives of the Pemberley characters at every level.
Best of all, we see real romance as it happened in that by gone era- with flirtation, courtship and the development of love under often difficult conditions, leading finally to marriage.
It's much more rewarding than the superficial stuff we get all the time.

Jessica said...

Dear Debbi,
Thanks for the opportunity to post a comment on this lovely book, indeed I loved the entire series by Rebecca Collins.
I generally don't like to "rave" about authors but I have been so disillusioned by many writers who have tried to imitate Jane Austin and produce all kinds of weird sequels to her books, that I had given up reading sequels. All of them seemed to be writing about Darcy and Elizabeth doing sex over and over again! I just wasn't interested, until six months ago, when I saw the Pemberley Series on amazon and read some reviews of this author's work. I bought a couple of books and since then I have become completely hooked- and have read them all. They are just terrific - authentic, interesting, faithful to Jane Austin and best of all- they tell a good story with lots of fascinating characters! What more can you ask?
Thank you Rebecca Ann- please keep them coming.


Suzanne said...

Dear Debbi,
thanks a million for your great reviews, which guided me to this fascinating series of books.
I began by reading Netherfield Park and the Ladies of Longbourn and became so engrossed with the characters and their continuing stories of the families, that I had to go and purchase all the available volumes- including the latest- My Cousin Caroline, which is absolutely my favourite! Caroline is a remarkable woman- I just love her!

Debbi, these lovely novels have so much- terific characters, intriguing plots, amazing historical and social background and all this while maintaining a close link with the original Jane Austen novel, unlike a few others I could mention!

I think what I love most is the way Rebecca Collins develops the relationships between her charcaters- whether they are mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, siblings,friends and lovers or married couples- young and old- happily wed or not; they are all so believable it is quite impossible not to be drawn into their lives and to want to know more about them.
To me that is the essence of a good sequel.
Great work Ms Collins.

jennifer said...

Dear Debbi,
What a revelation this has been- reading the books of the Pemberley Series. I absolutely love the interesting plots, the truly believable characters and the lovely way the author draws us into the context of Pemberley and the Victorian period of English history.

I love also the way the courtship, dalliance and marriages take place- subtly and sweetly- not crudely and "all out there"!
These lovers woo, wed and make love like anyone else, but it's very sensitively described, leaving the obvious physical details to the imagination of the readers.
Most of us- Jane Austen fans, are accustomed to this style- it's typical 19th century stuff- lots of loving but no crudity and that is how most of us readers like it.

Best of all, the beloved characters from Pride and Prejudice are all there- playing their roles- while allowing a younger generation to take center stage.
Debbi, thanks a million for your blog news on this series. I just love it and look forward to more of your excellent reviews on the rest of the Pemberley books.


penny roussel said...

I am returning to read these lovely novels after a break of about two years- and after re-reading the first five, I have recently found "My Cousin Caroline" and to say that I loved it would be an understatement.

Not only is the character and story of Caroline Gardiner- Fitzwilliam so well conceived and related, but the way in which the author draws in the other charcters, from Pride and Prejudice into the narrative is just remarkable. They are all so true to the original novel- it's perfect.

I absolutely loved the central love story of Caroline and her Colonel- and the romantic story of their daughter- Isabella; but there was so much more to enjoy, including the hilarious return of Mr Collins and Mr Bennet at a dinner party at Pemberley- almost perfect Austen.
Congratulations Miss Collins and thanks Debbi, for bringing us these beautiful books through your superb blog. I look forward to seeing your review of the next volume soon.