Readers, I love our guest today and am so excited that she made time in her schedule to write a guest blog for me. I discovered Karen Doornebos this past year, and was delighted to discover that she’s seriously talented and incredibly witty. Today Karen’s going to talk about how wonderful Jane is, as well as Karen’s brilliant debut novel, Definitely Not Mr. Darcy, which I devoured. I really loved and I know you’ll love her, too. Without further ado, let me hand over the blog to Karen!
Happy Birthday to Jane…Austen!
(But you, the readers, are the ones who get the presents!)
Hello fellow Jane Porter fans and many thanks to you, Jane, for inviting me to join you on your fabulous blog. How nice to be here with my cup of tea. I’m raising my teacup to you and your readers!
Much as I adore you, Jane, there is of course, another Jane in my life. She’s been with me since I read Pride and Prejudice at sixteen and it’s none other than: Jane Austen. Tomorrow, Sunday December 16th marks Austen’s 237th birthday, and celebrations across the globe have been going on for weeks already. The celebrations include tea of course, and here in Chicago, The Jane Austen Society of North America raises a glass of champagne and toasts Austen before indulging in a full array of tea sandwiches, scones, and my personal favorite, figgy pudding.
The Jane Austen crowd will be especially giddy this year as January 2013 will be the 200th anniversary of the publication of Pride and Prejudice. It may call for two glasses of champagne!
Austen, an author born in 1775, has really become a pop culture figure—spurring an entire industry of not only books, but merchandise that rivals the Star Wars franchise. You can buy a Jane Austen Action figure, tea towels that read Keep Calm and Read Jane Austen and so much more. In fact, I Googled “Jane Austen gifts” and came up with 2,380,000 hits!
Austen appears in the news on a regular basis. Most recently, a gorgeous turquoise ring of hers that had been handed down through the generations went up for sale at Sotheby’s and none other than Kelly Clarkson bought it! Austen fans are everywhere it seems.
It’s this phenomenon that inspired my debut novel, Definitely Not Mr. Darcy and continues to inspire my work. (Along with of course, Austen’s dashing line-up of swoon-worthy male characters, including Mr. Darcy and the lesser-known Mr. Tilney.)
Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy only added fuel to that fire. If you’ve never seen the 1995 A&E version of Pride & Prejudice, treat yourself, ladies, I say!
Men dressed in sexy breeches and cravats, with elegant manners. Women in gossamer ball gowns and gloves. A civilized match of archery on the west lawn.
What’s not to love? What sparked my imagination for Definitely Not Mr. Darcy, though, was that it’s easy to romanticize Jane Austen’s era. But what was the reality?
That’s why I decided to explore the concept of a reality show where all the contestants had to live as if it were 1812 in England, and my romantically-inclined single mom heroine had to navigate the dating scene of the time. She did so without deodorant, without running water, and without under-eye concealer by the way!
I had so much fun researching and writing the book! I had just as much fun researching my new book, due to be released in the fall of 2013. You will be among the first to know my next novel will be (drumroll—by a man in breeches and boots, of course):
Undressing Mr. Darcy.
You heard it here first! In this next book, (not a sequel), my heroine isn’t an Austen fan and spends a week as PR agent for an Englishman, a “Mr. Darcy” who does a historical striptease down to his drawers to promote his new book. It isn’t long until my public relations agent realizes things have gotten…personal.
Does that intrigue? I hope so.
I raise my teacup to both Janes—Austen and Porter!
Seriously, Jane, thanks for hosting me and giving away Definitely Not Mr. Darcy for Jane Austen’s birthday! It’s a thrill to be here!
Thanks for visiting with us, Karen. I really enjoyed your post and can’t wait to get my hands on your next book. I’m so glad you were able to share the exciting news about Undressing Mr. Darcy here with us first!
And readers, in honor of Jane Austen’s birthday and Karen’s wonderful book, I’m giving away two fun prizes. The festive Jane Austen birthday box includes a copy of Definitely Not Mr. Darcy (which I have read and adored!!), a glass Christmas ornament celebrating England, a glazed mug, a box of English breakfast tea, a $5 Starbucks gift card, and lots of JP reader goodies. For a chance to win one of these wonderful, festive boxes, tell me if you’re an Austen fan, and if so, do you have a favorite book by Jane Austen, or a favorite film adaptation of one of Jane Austen’s novels?
The contest runs through midnight December 16th, and I’ll draw the two winners on Monday and announce the names in the comments below. This is a very short contest so be sure to check back Monday to see if you won! Best of luck, everyone.
Thank you Karen. And Happy Birthday Jane!