Today, I have the pleasure of having Marsha Altman, author of The Darcys and the Bingleys as a guest on my blog.

Two days ago, I approached Marsha and asked if she is interested in making a guest appearance on my blog after receiving a reviewer copy of The Darcys and the Bingleys from her. I was thrilled when she said yes.

Now please join me in welcoming Marsha Altman!

Instead of going on and on, I’ve decided to invite Alternate Reality Me to interview myself, as she has not published a novel in her alternate reality.

Alternate Reality Marsha: Also we’re ruled by crab people. First question: What’s the book about, in comparison to the other Austen sequels out there?

The Darcys and the Bingleys” is one of those immediate sequels, that picks up at the end of Pride and Prejudice and continues on for a few years. Actually part of it takes place during Pride and Prejudice, as Jane Austen summarized the wedding and the following Christmas for Mr. and Mrs. Darcy and I start three days before the wedding and follow through that.

As to the other sequels, there are some rewrites (in which the story takes a different course or is set in another time period) and some versions of Austen’s novel from other character’s point-of-view, mainly Darcy’s. This is not that. This is a sequel to the events in a blatant attempt to cash in on the popularity of the first book. You know, like the movies.

Alternate Reality Marsha: You’re not coming off very altruistic here.

Let me make this clear: I love Pride and Prejudice. I love it so much I wished the story went on. I love it so much I even bothered to imagine what would happen afterwards and then write it down, post it on a public forum, be laughed at for all my mistakes, then stake my entire career as a novelist on said story.

Alternate Reality Marsha: Do you think Austen would appreciate your efforts?

Hard to tell, but I did make the customary pilgrimage to Chawton (where she wrote Pride and Prejudice) and Winchester Cathedral (where she’s buried) to pay my respects. The exchange rate was a killer. Did you know no buses go to Chawton? You have to take a cab. You look at the meter and say, “Wow! Thirty bucks. Well we have been driving for a long ... wait, no that’s thirty pounds! That’s sixty bucks!”

Alternate Reality Marsha: Your novel has been on shelves for almost three months now. How do you think it has been received?

I knew the Austen purists were never going to completely like it, because nobody wants their interpretation of the characters from Pride and Prejudice contradicted, so you either play it safe and the characters come off kind of flat and the purists like it, or you give the characters your own spin and people have to choose whether to accept it or not. Most people seem to have accepted it. Honestly, you can stray pretty far in an Austen sequel, and if the fact that I made Darcy a lush in his University days is the biggest complaint someone has, then I’m happy with that. I want people to enjoy the book. If they think it’s a great classic of literature, great, but that unlikely anyway. I just want them to laugh at the jokes and care about the characters, and I’m wiling to settle with only the former.

Alternate Reality Marsha: It says on the Sourcebook website that a series is in development. What can readers expect in the future?

I’m very excited about book 2, which I think is a solid storyline. The first book, which is split into two parts, was getting my feet wet in the world of Austen, and introducing the reader to my interpretation of the characters. I didn’t go out to wildly contradict anyone’s worldview. In the second book there’s a bit more intrigue, and I start introducing some ancient Darcy family history that becomes relevant to the current cast. The third book goes deeper into that, and since it takes place during 1812 and Napoleon’s Russian campaign and some of the characters are stuck on the Continent, there’s a bit more foray into historical fiction. In my opinion, just marrying off the cast to one another can only be so interesting. Jane Austen could make it really interesting. Jane Austen could make a story that was essentially about dating into a classic of Western literature. I’m not Jane Austen.

Alternate Reality Marsha: What else do you write?

Before I got involved in Austen fanfic (and I will not hesitate to call it fanfic, because it’s fiction written by a fan), I mainly wrote urban fantasy and cyberpunk, which is a much harder market to break into than historical romance or general fiction - however you want to categorize The Darcys and the Bingleys. Eventually I hope to be published in some other genres, but having a series of historical fiction based on Austen is pretty all-consuming at the moment.

Alternate Reality Marsha: If Jane Austen was alive today, how do you think she would feel?

Much better, because her disease is now treatable with cortisone.

More about Marsha Altman
More about the book The Darcys and the Bingleys

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13 Responses
  1. Alice Says:

    Hi Melody! Hi Marsha!

    Coincidentally I watched PRIDE & PREJUDICE yesterday night on DVD and boy, do I love that story! I read P&P some time ago. So this is a really timely post and you know what, I'm going to run out and get meself a copy of the book. Can never get enough of Darcy and yes, Bingley too. This is going to be interesting... :D

  2. Julia Says:

    Hey Melody, that was a great interview! Now I have to wait for your review *grin*....

    I was too, excited when I was asked to read and review Marsha book! I can't wait to get my copy! (Hi Marsha! *waving*)


  3. Melody Says:

    Alice - Oh, I love the book and the movie! :) I've heard a lot of great things about the BBC adaptation but just haven't got the chance of watching it, yet. I hope you'd read this book soon! :)

    Julia - Great! I can't wait to read your review too. :)

  4. Anonymous Says:

    I have been really wanting to read this book since I have seen it around the net.
    And I think it is really courageous to write a sequel about such a great book.

    All the best with the book Marsha :)

  5. The Bookworm Says:

    I love P&P. I liked the BBC version as well as the Kiera Knightly film.
    This sounds like a great book! And wonderful author interview as well :)

  6. Melody Says:

    Violet - I'd love to hear your thoughts if you've read it. :) I love reading sequels to P&P.

    Naida - Thanks! :) I haven't watched the BBC version yet. I'm hoping they'll have it in DVD.

  7. Anonymous Says:

    Oh, man, how did I miss out on the review copy for this one? :(

    I just finished reading P&P and this book seems right up my alley! Thanks for the interview!

  8. Melody Says:

    Stephanie - Great! I'm hoping you'll read this book soon. :)

  9. What a great guest post! I enjoyed reading the Alternate Reality Marsha's interview with herself. :-)

  10. Melody Says:

    Wendy - I enjoyed reading the interview too! I was really glad that Marsha agreed to do this guest post. :)

  11. Iliana Says:

    Hi Marsha - This was really cute. That's great that you are working on series. I think series books aside from of course giving the reader more time to spend with favorite characters, can really show off how much a character grows and develops. Will definitely be looking out for these!

  12. I loved this! I recently received this book from Marsha and now I am really excited to read it (not that I wasn't before...but you know). I love that a new spin is being put onto the characters that we all know and love so much. And Darcy as a lush! Gotta see that.

  13. Melody Says:

    Trish - I can't wait to read your review after you've read it! :)

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