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Apr 19, 2010

Giveaway and Interview: Monica Fairview, author of The Darcy Cousins series

The Darcy Cousins

One might reasonably expect that a young lady dispatched in disgrace across the Atlantic to England would strive to behave with decorum, but Mr. Darcy's incorrigible American cousin, Clarissa Darcy, manages to provoke Lady Catherine de Bourgh, Mr Collins, and the parishioners of Hunsford all in one morning! And there are more surprises in store for that bastion of tradition, Rosings Park, when the family gathers for their annual Easter visit. Georgiana Darcy, generally a shy model of propriety, decides to take a few lessons from her unconventional cousin. And Anne de Bourgh, encouraged to escape her "keeper," Mrs. Jenkinson, simply… vanishes.

In this tale of friendship, rebellion, and love, two young women entering Society forge a strong connection. A connection that is sorely tested when they both set out to win the heart of a most dashing—and dangerous— gentleman.

Book One: The Other Mr Darcy (2009)

Did you know that Mr. Darcy had an American cousin?!

"In this highly original Pride and Prejudice sequel by British author Monica Fairview, Caroline Bingley is our heroine. Caroline is sincerely broken-hearted when Mr. Darcy marries Lizzy Bennet— that is, until she meets his charming and sympathetic American cousin…

Mr. Robert Darcy is as charming as Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy is proud, and he is stunned to find the beautiful Caroline weeping at his cousin's wedding. Such depth of love, he thinks, is rare and precious. For him, it's nearly love at first sight. But these British can be so haughty and off-putting. How can he let the young lady, who was understandably mortified to be discovered in such a vulnerable moment, know how much he feels for and sympathizes with her?"

Please welcome Monica Fairview to The Burton Review, again!
See a guest post written by Monica for her previous release of The Other Mr. Darcy

Monica Fairview is Regency romance writer. As a literature professor, she enjoyed teaching students to love reading. But after years of postponing the urge, she finally realized that what she really, really wanted to do was to write books herself. She lived in Illinois, Los Angeles, Seattle, Texas, Colorado, Oregon and Boston as a student and professor, and now lives in London. For more information, please visit

 Monica Fairview Interview, author of The Darcy Cousins:

1.Welcome back to The Burton Review, Monica! Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. I truly enjoyed your second book that follows the Darcy cousins (my review is here). Tell us about what the reaction seems to be from classic Austen fans who are new to adaptations and sequels?

The reviews of The Other Mr. Darcy have generally been very positive, and The Jane Austen Centre in Bath will be taking up the paperback edition (which just came out in the UK) of The Other Mr. Darcy to sell in their gift shop, which is quite delightful. Beyond that, there isn’t any way to know if Jane Austen purists are interested in Austenesque sequels in general. I do hope they’re out there reading The Other Mr. Darcy and The Darcy Cousins.

2. Rest assured that I am one of those who are reading and enjoying your sequels! What have been your favorite Austen movie adaptations and why; fave actors and actresses. If your books were made into movies, who would you choose to star?

I’m a Colin Firth fan through and through, because I think he captures the hauteur of Mr Darcy very well. Macfadyen does a great job as a tormented soul, and he’s more expressive, but he doesn’t convey repressed-passion- simmering-under-the-surface as Firth does. Jennifer Ehle is a playful Elizabeth with a twinkle in her eyes, and I love that aspect of the film. Keira Knightly’s pouting is a bit overdone, I find. However, the 2005 film has the advantage of being more realistic, and more accurate historically. There are wonderful subtle touches like the fact that at Netherfield we see only male servants, which of course conveys wealth, since male servants were more expensive to keep. Lydia is more of a typical teen, which I think goes a long way to explain her behavior, and absent-minded Mr. Bennet is very appealing.

If The Darcy Cousins were made into a movie, I would love to see Jonny Lee Miller as Gatley (he was brilliant in the new production of Emma). Emma Watson fits in with my image of Georgiana, and Carey Mulligan (with darker hair) would be very effective as Clarissa.

3.I adored Miller in the new Emma as well. I quickly became a new fan of his and would love to see Miller play Mr Gatley, he would be delightful! Back to books, tell us some reliable resources as research for your books.

Because of the way I write my books, I tend to go for primary rather than secondary sources. For example, because I wanted to get a sense of how an American would be perceived in England, and how she would perceive England for The Darcy Cousins, I was fortunate enough to find a memoir by Joseph Ballard called England in 1815 as seen by a Young Boston Merchant. This was a wonderful resource as it outlined some of the important events of the year, and really gave me an insight into what things would stand out to someone coming from Boston to England. It was perfect for its purpose. I also went through a diary written by a young school-girl in Boston, Anna Green Winslow, written in 1771. It’s set quite a few years before Clarissa was a schoolgirl, but it gave me a very good sense of how differently the young ladies in Boston were raised from their counterparts in England, since the Puritan ethic was very clearly visible, despite Anna Green’s interest in fashionable pursuits. I don’t emphasize this in The Darcy Cousins, but it’s there, as a background to Clarissa, a reminder that young ladies of Boston were not actually any freer than those in London.

I’m giving these sources as examples because I wanted to illustrate why the references I read wouldn’t necessarily be of general interest. I wouldn’t recommend them for casual reading, though they’re of great value for a historical writer. I’m a big fan of primary sources. Ultimately, if you want to know Jane Austen, it’s good to read books about her. It would certainly reveal aspects of her life or writing that you wouldn’t get to know otherwise, but nothing beats going over her novels with a fine tooth comb.

4.What are the ultimate goals for you if the sky were the limit?

Well, my goal is to be a very successful writer. I wouldn’t mind being on a few bestseller lists :-) But really, I’m very pleased with the way things have been working so far.

5. You are on a great roll with your recent sequels! Besides Austen, who do you like to read for fun?

I’m an avid but eclectic reader. For Regency, I love Georgette Heyer, Julia Quinn, Jo Beverley and a host of others. Other “popular classics” I enjoy are Daphne du Maurier, Mary Stewart, and Anya Seton. I enjoy science fiction and fantasy, especially classic authors such as Ursula Le Guin and CJ Cherryh. I pick up current bestsellers arbitrarily – I’m drawn as much by their style as the content. I just read Paullina Simon’s The Bronze Horseman and loved it, The Time Traveller’s Wife, Outlander, Winter in Madrid. If I could read all day I would, but alas, the day is too short.

6.You touched on the Book Blogger Mantra there! So many books, etc... Please share with us, who is your muse?

It depends on what I’m writing, really. Style and rhythm are important to me, and often a particular writer will strike a cord so I’ll keep one of the books next to my bedside to dip into arbitrarily. When I’m writing Austenesque, I immerse myself in Austen, books, films, audios – anything to make sure that voice stays in my head.

7.What has been your greatest obstacle in your writing endeavors?

Wanting to do too many things and ending up doing a bit of each. I’d like to write in a variety of genres, though Regency is my favorite. I also would like to write children’s books, futuristic romance, and humorous contemporary. Impossible to do everything.

8.What has been one your accomplishments that you are proud of?

I graduated from college when I was 19, and I got my PhD when I was 24. I’m pretty proud of that.

9. A wonderful accomplishment! That definitely is something to be very proud of! And finally… please tell us what you are working on next for us readers!

At the moment I’m taking a break from Regency and Austenesque and working on a novel from a different time period. Once that’s done, I have plans to continue the story of Clarissa Darcy, and maybe of Frederick as well. My mind is full of plans. It’s a matter of finding the time to write!

So little time.. again I thank Monica for sparing us some time in her busy life! I would love to read what is in store for Clarissa! 

And now for the bonus: Sourcebooks is sponsoring a giveaway of Monica Fairview's newest release, The Darcy Cousins : 2 winners, US and Canada only! (no po boxes please).

Please enter for the giveaway by leaving me an answer to the following question with your Email Address:
What has been your favorite Austen-inspired Sequel or Adaptation (movie or book)?

+2 for leaving a graphic link to this post on your sidebar.

Ends April 30th. Good luck!