Amanda Grange was kind enough to take time out of her busy schedule to answer a few of my questions about her latest novel and her writing. Don't forget the giveaway following the interview.
Please welcome Amanda to Savvy Verse & Wit:
1. How difficult was it to return to Mr. Darcy of Pride & Prejudice following your successful book, Mr. Darcy's Diary, and then transform him into an immortal vampire in Mr. Darcy, Vampyre? Could you explain part of the process?
I did it by taking a step back and seeing a larger picture, one in which Mr. Darcy had a terrible secret. Then I looked at Pride and Prejudice from this new vantage point and I saw that it fit in well. It gave Darcy a new reason for his aloofness, his reluctance to fall in love and his absences for long periods of time in Pride and Prejudice. I then imagined a future for Lizzy and Darcy where this great secret lay between them and I explored the effects that would have on their relationship as well as thinking about the extraordinary things that would happen to them. I wanted to create a story that would test their love to the limits, and the rest followed quite naturally from there.
2. Most authors dealing with classic characters fell in love with them early on, but wanted something more. Is this how you felt about Darcy, and what is it you sought to do that Jane Austen had not?
Yes, that’s exactly how it happened with me. I first read Pride and Prejudice when I was about 13 and fell in love with the whole Austen world, including Darcy, but I still wanted more. So I sought to provide more with Mr. Darcy, Vampyre, which of course is the one thing that Austen didn’t do.
3. If you were to create a playlist for Mr. Darcy, Vampyre, what five songs or scores would be on that list?
Interesting. I think one would be Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony, I think that would go very well with the first chapter of the book. Then I’d have Yesterday by the Beatles, when Lizzy starts to realize that something is wrong. I’d have Angels by Robbie Williams for a part of the book where Darcy watches Lizzy sleeping, and Something by the Beatles for when Darcy is explaining his love for Lizzy. And of course I’d have Bat out of Hell by Meatloaf!
4. Do you have any obsessions that you would like to share?
You mean apart from Jane Austen? The thing about one obsession is that it doesn’t really leave room for any others (apart from chocolate!)
5. In Mr. Darcy, Vampyre, you've created an exciting and exotic world in which Darcy and Lizzy go on their wedding tour. What inspired you to write these vivid settings? Was there any particular paintings or travels that inspired you?
The inspiration came originally from The Mysteries of Udolpho by Mrs Radcliffe. Udolpho is mentioned a lot in Jane Austen’s own Gothic novel, Northanger Abbey, because both the hero and the heroine have read it and thought it was wonderful. In Udolpho, the heroine travels through France, crosses the Alps and goes on into Italy.
I wanted Lizzy and Darcy to follow her journey as an homage to Udolpho and I thought Janeites would really enjoy it as they would get the references. Having made that decision, I then based the descriptions on my memories of my own holidays in Europe. I remember my first holiday to Italy vividly. I had never been out of England before and the light was incredible. Here in England it’s often dull, with low lying cloud, and the colours are muted, but in Italy everything was dazzling.
There’s a bit in Mr. Darcy, Vampyre, when Lizzy and Darcy arrive in Venice, which says: “Light was everywhere. It poured from the sky and it danced from the water. It leapt from the gilding and twirled from the stones.” That’s exactly how it seemed to me the first time I went there.
6. Many readers are eager to know which character or characters authors most identify with, so in your latest novel, which of the characters do you identify with and why?
Hm, that’s difficult. I think I identify with Lizzy and Darcy equally. I try to put myself inside the heads of my characters when I write, and I found myself equally at home with both Lizzy and Darcy.
7. Which books have you been reading lately, and are there any you would like to recommend?
I’ve been reading Five Little Pigs by Agatha Christie and I’d happily recommend it. I love Agatha Christie. Her plots are superb and I think her writing style is underrated. It’s actually very difficult to write in such a seemingly simple style and still hold a reader’s attention. I’ve now moved on to Mariana by Susanna Kearsley. I haven’t got very far with it yet but so far I’m really enjoying it.
My next project is a prequel to Mr. Darcy, Vampyre. Oddly enough, I don’t have any interest in writing books based on other classic stories. Somehow it’s just Pride and Prejudice that keeps inspiring new ideas in me because I can’t get enough of the characters or the perfect love story of Lizzy and Darcy.
If you want to check out the other stops for Amanda Grange, go to the Mr. Darcy Vampyre blog.
Sourcebooks has kindly offered 2 books of Mr. Darcy, Vampyre for 2 of my readers in the United States and Canada.
1. For one entry, leave a comment about one of your favorite parts of the interview.
2. For a second entry, Tweet, Facebook, or otherwise spread the word about the giveaway on your blog, etc.
3. For a third entry, let me know if you already follow or just started following.
Deadline is August 14, 2009 at 11:59 PM