This week I am celebrating the release of Longbourn's Unexpected Matchmaker by Emma Hox. For a complete description of the book, along with a chance to win your own copy, please visit my giveaway post. I also have a post with some interesting facts about Jane Austen. Now that you know a bit about the book and the author of the book that inspired it, I'd like to introduce you to the author, Emma Hox. Thank you to Marissa from JKS Communications for providing this Q & A.
When did you realize you wanted to be an author?
For close to 5 years I had heard about this book called “Confessions of Fitzwilliam Darcy” by Mary Street. It was out of print and IMPOSSIBLE to find. I searched high and low for the book absolutely everywhere in the world. I even found it in Scotland and Switzerland; however they said that they could not ship the book to the USA no matter how much I begged and pleaded.
One day I came across a little shop in the basement of a Chicago building that had the book. I could never be happier than the day the package arrived. I opened it up and instantly sat down to read (that was before I had kids). I devoured that book in one sitting and have since read it multiple times. Then the reprint came out and I was one of the first in line to purchase it.
Reading that book gave me the idea that I would enjoy writing my own “Pride and Prejudice” story. It took me a few years to get the confidence to begin, but once I did, I could not stop.
What do you love most about Jane Austen and her style of writing?
The wholesome love story that is believable. The things that happen in her novels can truly happen, therefore they give readers confidence that good triumphs over evil and true love conquers all.
You can still feel the love and passion of the characters, yet it is readable without making a grown, married woman blush.
Most of all, there is a character everyone can relate to. If you are lively and witty Elizabeth Bennet is your girl. If you always want your friends around you, want all of the gossip and occasionally offend, Emma is your girl. If you are shy, steadfast, stalwart, but rely too much on the opinions of others, you might be an Anne Elliot. I could take any woman and show them the strengths and weakness of each and every Jane Austen Character and help them see how they themselves can be as lovely as any character.
Each and every one of us have faults, and Jane Austen gives her characters faults, just like real people, making them someone we can emulate and strive to be worth of our own prideful Mr. Darcy even if we are prejudice at first.
What is it about Mr. Bennet that inspired you to write Longbourn's Unexpected Matchmaker?
The first time I read “Pride and Prejudice” in 8th grade, I wondered how the witty and lovely Elizabeth Bennet could have such an indolent mother and father.
The second time I read the book, I just stopped reading Mr. Bennet as he was and made him who I always thought he should be.
After talking with other women who had the same view I had about Mr. Bennet, I decided to create him. I always figured he would be more engaging and take an active interest in the suitors for his daughters. He would want to question them and know that they would provide for his daughters. He would want them to be safe, protected and not demeaned in any way.
I also considered that he would have known from the beginning that the estate was entailed. As all the daughters came in succession, what father would ignore that and not try to provide for them. Certainly not one who was thought to be witty and educated. Why not make the estate prosper under his management and after 20 plus years have a little nest egg set aside. Even the poorest person can save something if they truly want to, and I have always imagined that he would want to.
You have captured the voice of the period. How did you do that?
Because I love it. If I could get away with it, I would speak as they speak in my everyday conversations. But to be honest, most people think I am weird when I slip into the speech of the era.
As they say with everything, “practice makes perfect.” I am by no means perfect, but I sure try to make it authentic, because that is what I like to read.
What advice could you give to other authors wanting to start out?
Make the decision that you want to do it and then no matter what, just do it. Nothing can stop you except your own self-doubt.
What is your life like outside the literary world? Hobbies and other passions?
I am an extremely happy working mother of two very energetic sons, ages 2 and 5. My passion, and that of my husband and sons, is sailing. We spend every available weekend in the summer at the lake on one of our two sailboats. We have a goal of living on a boat, instead of a traditional house. My favorite place to write is sitting on the bow of the boat in the shade of the jib while my kids nap and husband swims. There is nothing more relaxing than that.
I enjoy learning new things, and once I get it in my head to learn something, I do not stop until I am a master. I recently learned how to can, dehydrate and freeze food for year-round use. This past summer I spent tons of time storing fruits and vegetables, and in the cold months our family ate great.
Lastly, I love to read. I read everything I can get my hands on, although I prefer regency and Victorian era books. Especially those by Jane Austen, Jane Eyre and Georgette Hyer. I really enjoy a few of the authors that write Jane Austen adaptations, especially Mary Street and Pamela Aiden.
Are you working on a sequel or any other books?
Yes. I prefer to focus on not only the hero and heroine of Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth, but also on the minor characters, specifically the parents. I am currently writing a story called “The Truth About Mrs. Bennet.”
This story will center on the eccentric, but loving Bennet mother. Why is it that her nerves bother her as they do? What is it about the entail that Mrs. Bennet will not allow herself to understand? Why is it such a passion for her to marry off her daughters? Does she truly believe her daughters should only marry for wealth and consequence or does she have a sensitivity for love, perhaps a love that has been missing in her own insensitive marriage?
Mrs. Bennet has a unique talent, although only mentioned and not dwelled upon extensively.
I am also writing a novel entitled “Third Life’s A Charm.” It is a coming-of-age-and-into-love novel based in Washington State, where I live, using an entirely fictional storyline and characters.
Note: All opinions provided on this blog are my own. If a product was given to me for review, the source of that product is noted in the post. Links to Amazon.com are affiliate links and I do earn a small percentage for each item purchased through those links. Any other referral or associate links will be noted within the post.