Hi, I'm Gwyn Cready. Thanks so much for letting me blog. I'm relatively new to guest blogging, so be gentle.
I'm grateful to Terry for offering me this opportunity. She may have already given you a run-down on what my new book, Seducing Mr. Darcy (Pocket Books, $6.99), is about, but just in case, I'll repeat it. Seducing Mr. Darcy is the sexy, funny story of Flip Allison, an ornithologist at the Pittsburgh Aviary who, by way of a massage in which one can imagine oneself in one's favorite book, finds herself launched not just into Pride and Prejudice, but right into the arms of Darcy himself. She awakes from her massage restored and refreshed only to discover her fling with Darcy was not just a dream and, in fact, has changed everything about the book. She's forced to enlist the help of Magnus Knightley, an imperious, Darcy-like British scholar, to undo the damage before legions of Jane Austen fans revolt.
Do you have to be a Jane Austen fan to love this story? Well, it certainly doesn't hurt, but as long as you think having a quick fling with your favorite literary hero would be a hot prospect for an unscheduled afternoon (Oh, Jamie Fraser, why don't you ever call?), I think you'll be pretty happy.
My books tend to be funny, sexy and romantic, and this one is no different. I'll admit it did feel a little odd borrowing someone else's characters--and, believe me, there are pluses and minuses to dipping into an author as beloved as Jane Austen--but based on the squeals of delight I hear when I tell women the plot, I think I've hit on one of the mother lodes of female fantasy.
Here's a sexy excerpt to whet your appetite. Trust me, you'll never think of Scrabble the same way again. I'd also like to invite you to visit the picture section of my website. I like to offer photos related to each story so that readers can see what was in my mind as I was writing.
People ask who I'd cast as the hero, and for me the answer is Colin Firth. Probably no surprise. He is who I had in my mind as I wrote both the Mr. Darcy and Magnus Knightley characters. What might surprise you, though, is that Firth was also who I had in mind when I was writing the two heroes from my first book, Tumbling Through Time, as well the hero in the book I'm writing now (working title, Stripped Bare.) One man, three books, five heroes. I really need to drop the guy a thank-you note.
Enough about me. Time for a hero!
Gwyn Cready: I'm lucky to have been able to arrange an interview with Magnus Knightley, one of the male leads of Seducing Mr. Darcy-- What is it, Magnus?
Magnus Knightley: I'm a little put off by the title.
GC: Any particular reason? Seems like a great title to me.
MK: It's… You know they didn't last.
GC: They? You mean Flip and Darcy?
GC: I think we'd better clue our readers in to the fact that our heroine, Flip Allison, has a brief relationship with Fitzwilliam Darcy before she meets you.
[MK growls again.]
MK: Is it really necessary to dreg up the past?
GC: It's going to be hard to sell any books if we don't. Why don't I start with an introduction? Magnus is the Isabella W. Reed Visiting Professor of English Literature at the University of Pittsburgh, on leave from Cambridge University. He is the author of five books on early 19th century novelists, including three on Austen. His latest, Jane Austen: The Pleasantness of an Employment, has been shortlisted for a National Book Critics Circle Award. It is a truth universally acknowledged that he is the world's foremost expert on Jane Austen and her times.
Is that about right?
MK: That's it.
GC: And I, of course, am the author. We can't give away too much, of course, but what do you think Jane Austen would have to say about someone upending her story the way Flip does in Seducing Mr. Darcy.
MK: I feel certain she'd been none too happy about it. I myself was horrified.
GC: Yet it brought Flip into your life.
MK: [smiling] There were upsides.
GC: You had trouble believing her story at first, that the book had changed.
MK: Wouldn't you? Besides, she conveniently forget to mention that she'd joined the action of the story herself--although, if she had I'm sure my strong suspicion she was barking mad would have moved to full-fledged certainty.
GC: Flip Allison is an ornithologist, a tree-climbing, bird-poop-wearing field ornithologist. You're a scholar writing in a proverbial ivory tower with not so much as a particle of lint on your freshly-pressed trousers. Did the sparks fly when you met?
MK: Fourth of July on steroids.
GC: Flip berates you for your infuriating British reserve. Why makes British reserve so infuriating, do you think?
MK: By infuriating, do you mean provocative? Flip might say she doesn't care for someone else getting the upper hand but I think one would have to agree that Scrabble scene suggests a somewhat different interpretation.
GC: You do have very large hands.
GC: How would you describe Flip Allison to our audience?
MK: Gorgeous, apocalyptically maddening, stubborn, intoxicating, pliant-thighed, smart as a whip and achingly kissable.
MK: Oh, and worth fighting for.
GC: I guess so. There's a whole part of the story where you and Flip are trying to mend the relationship of the other couple whose love story is played out in the book, Lizzy Bennet and Mr. Darcy. Was that part fun?
MK: Fun? You Americans clearly have a different definition of the word than we do.
GC: Still, seeing the characters come to life you have studied for so long must have been fu--
[MK gives GC a sharp look.]
MK: I will admit it was a once in a lifetime opportunity. [templing fingers] Please God, let it have been a once in a lifetime opportunity.
GC: Any last words for our readers?
MK: Yes. If you're going to be borrowing a character for your own amusement, please return him in the same shape you found him.
GC: Thank you, Magnus. A treat, as always.
All righty, thanks for letting me share. If you have comments or questions for me or any of the characters, just let 'er rip.