Celebrating Jane with Guest Author Karen Doornebos!

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!


  1. I wish they would make a reality show contest just like you spoke of in your book. I would watch it.
    My favorite is Pride and Prejudice the A&E version. There is only one Mr. Darcy and Colin Firth nailed it (I watch it with subtitles on so I don’t miss anything). Another favorite is Sense and Sensibility with Hugh Grant and Emma Thompson. Both those movies make for a lovely weekend.

    1. Thank you, Gigi & Marlene for your comments! Gigi, you may want to check out “Regency House Party,” a reality show I credited in my book–it came out as I was in the middle of writing the second draft of my book!

  2. I have to admit I’m not a fan of the books but I do enjoy the movies. It takes to much effort to decifier the language… That makes me sound stupid. 🙂

  3. I haven’t read any of the Austen books. I don’t think my school had us read any of her books. I really need to read them though. I haven’t watched the movie either.

  4. Thank you for introducing us to Karen. Definitely Not Mr. Darcy, and Undressing Mr. Darcy both sound like fun stories. I have not read a Jane Austen book in a long time, but I have read them. I think my favorite is Sense and Sensibility.

  5. Sounds like an interesting book! I’m not a huge J Austin fan but I do like the Colin Firth and Keira Knightly versions of P&P.

  6. I am not a fan but I am a fan of yours.
    I do love the cover on Karens book. It is so cute.

    I hope you have a great holiday season. Stay safe and healthy and keep writting.

  7. These two books are definately my steaming hot mug of tea. Just picturing Colin Firth serving me a mug of tea is enough to make me happy

  8. I have never met a Jane Austen book that I do not like, but I slightly prefer Pride and Prejudice over Sense and Sensibility as my favorite. I think the film version with Colin Firth was the best adaptation so far.

  9. As for my favourite adaptation, I would have to Persuasion. The letter that Captain wentworth writes just makes me sigh. So lovely to read a book with a man who isnt afraid to show his feelings so eloquently!

  10. My favorite Jane Austen novel is Pride and Prejudice. I read it first when I was 12 and many times since. Thanks for having this contest. Happy Holidays.

  11. I can’t imagine any woman not being a fan of Jane Austen. My favorite of course, is Pride and Prejudice. And as for my favorite film adaptation it would be P & P with Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy. uuummmmmmm mmmmmmm!

  12. Pride and Prejudice is my favorite. My Mom goes on the internet and checks out all the fan fiction and authors who write anything Austen related. We will add Karen’s book to our collection!

  13. I have Pride and Prejudice on my Nook ready to be read. I am looking forward to reading this new book by Karen Doornebos!

  14. Colin Firth jumping in that pond and then coming out almost rivals the scenes of him bathing. He is sooooo Mr Darcy! (loved him in Bridget Jones as well.) The book is truly delightful…but the BBC series and the movie are just as good.

  15. Thank you for this lovely introduction and great post. My favorite Jane Austen book is Pride and Prejudice. Karen’s book looks wonderful.

  16. I adore all things Jane Austen! I have since I first read Pride & Prejudice at 12 years old … My all-time favorite. Can’t even recall the number of times I have read it in the last 30 years, but I never tire of it. As for movie adaptations, Colin Firth will forever be Mr. Darcy to me, sigh …

    Karen’s books sound delightful … Looking forward to reading them. Many thanks for this opportunity to win Definitely Not Mr. Darcy and some very cool JP swag! 🙂

  17. I’m a huge Jane Austen fan. I think my favorite of her novels is Pride and Prejudice, and I love both the Keira Knightley film adaptation and the BBC version with Colin Firth. Which I watch depends on how much time I have at the moment. My favorite film adaptation of all time is the Sense and Sensibility that starred Emma Thompson, Hugh Grant and Kate Winslet. I’ve watched it dozens of times. That said, the most recent BBC rendition is quite lovely. Oh, I hope I win a copy of this book. It sounds delicious! 🙂

  18. I’m a huge Austen fan; Colin Firth would lead me to put his P&P version at the top of my film list; however, I am quite fond of “Sense and Sensibility” also – I have a soft spot for Col. Brandon.

  19. Sense and Sensibility is my favorite but each book, like people, have their own characteristics that make them unique. Just finished “A Year With Jane Austen” so this would be a great way to celebrate her writing a bit more.

  20. I love Jane Austen on film, but in print less so, mainly because I don’t have the patience for the excruciating details she shares. I remember trying to slog through Emma and giving up, but I find it a charming story as a movie. I like some of the fan fiction as well, but I’m rather choosy. My favorite movie adaptation is P&P with Matthew Macfayden as Darcy (swoon) and I also liked the most recent BBC Emma adaptation.

  21. I’d have to say Pride and Prejudice, its the first I read by Jane Austen and it got me started on her books which have stuck with me for life!

  22. Your book sounds amazing. I’m a BBC version P & P fan–own the DVD–and will forever cherish the rainy weekend I shared it with teen daughter.

  23. Emma and the move Emma was good. That probably is my favorite. Then again it is hard to pick just one!

    Thanks for the chance to win the festive Jane Austen birthday box with a copy of Definitely Not Mr. Darcy. This book sounds like a great read!


  24. I’ve actually *ducking* never read any Ms Austen. But I have read and loved Gwyn Cready’s time travel books and one of hers is Seducing Mr Darcy and I loved it!!

    I’m not very into reality tv but I would HAVE to watch people navigating the dating scene in Austen’s Era! That would be great!

  25. The book sounds great! I love Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice is definitely a favorite book of mine. For the movies, I loved Sense and Sensibility, though the Keira Knightly version of P&P is also wonderfully romantic.

  26. I struggled with Jane Austen in high school, but got hooked on the regency period books later on. So when Pride & Prejudice with Colin Firth was on A&E I had to watch and it was a great stress reducer. I had just lost everything when my apartment building burned down… and the move relaxed me. Then when rebuilding my book collection. Jane Austen was at the top of my list. But I’m also a big history fan, so digging more in the time period was part and parcel of what I did.

    I will definitely have to pick up this book as it seems to hit all my loves. Thank you!

    1. Rita, my gosh, how amazing to hear that the production helped you through such a tough time. Thank you for sharing your story with us…

  27. I can’t say I am a big fan of Jane Austen fan but then again I have never set down and really read her books to many others to read. I am a huge fan of Jane Porters books though.

    Karen I have not read your work before but will have to check it out.

  28. Oh.my.gosh…YES, I’m a huge (HUGE, I tell you!) Jane Austen fan. For my birthday a few years back, my hubby graciously bought me the entire – and completely scrumptious – Jane Austen collection in paperback. (Can you say…thick as a brick? Or a Catholic Bible?! Ha!) It about kills my wrists to lift it but I love it so! I’ve only seen the “Hollywood” versions of Pride & Prejudice, Sense & Sensibility and Emma (own PP and SS) and love them all as well. I’ve tried to get my daughters interested in all things Austen, but sadly they have yet to succumb to her timeless charms. Oh well. More for me! 😉

  29. I LOVE Jane Austen! I have read all her books. I have seen all the adaptations, I have to say my fave is Pride and Prejudice with Kiera Knightly and Matthew McFadden… •swoon• Mr. Darcy is my all time fave male character! .. I can’t wait to read this new book and I would LOVE to win a prize pack! Thank you for the opportunity 🙂

  30. Pride and Prejudice is definitely my favorite Austen book! And I have 2 favorite film adaptations: Sense and Sensibility with Emma Thompson, and Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth (I LOVE him!).

  31. I like Jane Austen books: and i liked Emma best. It was something i had to read in honors English class in my senior year. This book by Karen Doornebos sounds like one i will enjoy! thanks…

  32. Everyones favorite is Pride and Prejudice, that was the first book I read from Jane Austen. She has alot of good books, Emma, Persuasioin, Northanger Abbey, She was a great writer. I love the movies but the books are so much better.

  33. I was introduced to jane Austen’s book in my literature class in my University. My professor asked me to read Pride and Prejudice. Since then, I fall in love with her writting. I have complete books of hers.
    I even analyzed the maturity process of Marianne Dashwood in my thesis. I have to say I like Sense and Sensibility. I even copy the movie from my University’s library.

  34. Of course, I’m an Jane Austen fan! My favorite novel is Sense and Sensibility. I’ve seen some movie adaptations, however, I don’t feel as though they quite capture the essence of her novels.

    Connie Fischer

  35. Karen, I love the two Janes, too! I will certainly check on getting your books. They sound like great reading.

    Thanks Jane Porter for another great new writer, to me, introduction!

    1. It’s no secret I that love libraries, Library Lady! There is a favorite scene in my book that takes place in a library, too…

  36. I love staying in the world of Pride and Prejudice and have enjoyed others like “Death Comes to Pemberly” by PD James. I’ve read all the Berdoll books (i.e., “Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife”) and the Pamela Aidan books written from Mr. Darcy’s point of view. I’ll certainly pick this one up as well. Thanks for sharing!

  37. Pride and Prejudice is my favorite book and a shout out to the lovely Greer Garson, who made Elizabeth Bennett sparkle in the 1940 black and white movie. How much do I love the story: my daughters are Elizabeth and Mary. I like Mary because she’s plain and like to read.

  38. Thank-you for this post! I’ve been needing a new book to read while waiting for Jane’s new book to be released : ) I love Jane Austen books as well. Pride and Prejudice has to be my favorite movie- Keira Knightly and Matthew Macfadyen edition.

  39. Um….Colin Firth….yum!
    Pride and Prejudice is my fave….and I am definitely getting Karen’s book! Lisa McManus Lange

  40. I love that Austen’s works are still playing such a vibrant role in today’s culture. My all time favourite programme is “Lost in Austen” in which an ardent Austen fan finds herself propelled into the novel “Pride & Prejudice” – with disastrous results.
    “Definitely Not Mr Darcy” sounds a great read, and wish you every success with your new title.

  41. I don’t really have a favorite, but my 15 year old daughter loves Jane Austen. And I was raising my cup of tea as I was reading the start of the blog about raising her cup of tea! Made me smile! And I do love the cover of her book! Made me think of your red shoes from your wedding!

    Take care, Amy

    1. Amy, that made me smile to hear about the tea, ha ha! And you did something right, that’s for sure: raising a 15 year old who enjoys Jane Austen!

  42. Hello, I adore Jane Austen ! I have read many Jane Austin books, Searching for Darcy and movies. I loved Lost in Austen the book and movie and Bride and Predudice, the Bollywood version!
    Looking forward to 11 days off to relax and read with some tea and a fire going !

  43. You always come up with the best prizes!! Welcome – er – Jane to – um – Jane’s blog!! I’m definitely intrigued enough by the description to look forward to reading *both* your books. P&P never gets old – it looks particularly smashing for its age – and this trend of “reimaging” Austen in various ways (zombies anyone?) keeps producing wonderful, lively new works…including yours. Huzzah to the Janes of the world – but most of all to you two!

  44. I love all of Jane Austen’s books. Pride and Prejudice is my favorite. I fell in love with Colin Firth when he played Darcy and became a fan of his. Second best would have to be Sense and Sensibility. Nice interview. What a great way to celebrate her birthday~

  45. I have not read any Jane Austen books,and I think I saw Preide and Prejudice a long time ago. I will have to watch it again.

  46. For film i liked sense and sensibility with emma thompson…for jane austen books i would say i liked emma best..really love the change to win a prize..thanks for what you did on this…happy holidays…

  47. I am a fan of Jane Austen. My first and favorite is “Persuasion.” I actually saw the movie first before picking up the book.

  48. I haven’t read any of the books since HS,and we won’t discuss how many years ago that was; but I did love “Pride and Prejudice,” the movie.

    Karen’s books sound fun, I must put on my TBR list.

    Christmas Blessings to everyone.


  49. I love Jane Austen and even went to the Jane Austen festival in Bath a couple of years ago. I have all of her books and many of the movie adaptations. My favourite without a doubt is Persuasion. The poignant story of love lost and rediscovered is so full of hope and redemption I can’t help but love it. Definitely Not Mr. Darcy sounds like a fun read.

  50. I have a BA in English and studies all the Jane Austin books and of course wrote papers on them and had many discussions of the times and the characters. Now that I am not in school, I can read them just for the joy of it – delightful! (Love the movies, too, but the books are better).

  51. Oooo, P&P is my favorite Jane Austen book (Persuasion is a close second)…and the BBC/Colin Firth version of the movie is my favorite film adaptation, although for what it’s worth Matthew Macfadyen did present a darned good Mr. Darcy as well. This new book of Karen’s sounds delightful and will be a treat to read!

  52. I first loved Austen after seeing the Laurence Olivier and Greer Garson Pride and Prejudice as a teenager. B&W made in 1940. I read all her books except Mansfield Park which I just couldn’t get into. They translate beautifully into film and I can watch Sense and Sensibility any time and still cry. I watch the Keira Knightly version of P&P for a quick fix as the Colin Firth version takes too long. I loved the last scene in Persuasion where he takes her hand. So much unexpressed passion yet no kiss.

    1. Fiona, I think you hit on something very attractive about Jane Austen: the unexpressed passion. the simmering underneath the surface. It makes great reading!

  53. i have to admit i have not read the books or watched the movies. I guess it’s one of those things i have missed out on. Now i have to go and check it out don’t i? lol

    Lisa B

  54. I like most of the books that have been adapted to film and others about Jane Austen as well. I actually really enjoyed the version with Keira knightingly but the Colin Firth version is probably still on top though!

  55. I don’t believe I’ve read any of her books, but I’m thinking I might have to see P&P with Colin Firth!

  56. Emma is my favorite Jane Austen novel, and I have a copy of Pride and Prejudice in my TBR pile…and I’m also adding Karen’s book to my shopping list, sounds great! Thanks for the guest blogging!

  57. I just Googled Jane Austen’s list of books and, amazingly enough, I haven’t read any of her books! I thought I had!

  58. I adore all of Jane Austen’s works.

    My favorite Jane Austen movie is actually SENSE AND SENSIBILITY with Kate Winslett. Alan Rickman is superb as Col. Brandon.

    My favorite book is PRIDE AND PREJUDICE and the TV series with Colin Firth – the only Mr Darcy that counts.

  59. Pride and Prejudice is definitely my favourite, so many fun adaptions. If you haven’t seen Bride and Prejudice, the Bollywood style adaptation starring Ashwariya Rai (India’s Julia Roberts!), it’s super fun and worth seeing.

  60. My favorite is Pride and Prejudice. I collect different editions and have about twenty of them. My cherished favorite is the Oxford Illustrated. In regards to the different actors playing Mr. Darcy, give me Colin Firth every time! (Is it hot in here?!)

  61. Strangely, I have not read any of her books. However, I have a friend who can make up for my lacking. She is an avid, crazy fan! She has read al of her books many more times than once, owns the movies and has Jane Austin nights with the girls. I will have to live vicariously through her on this one! LOL

  62. A huge thanks to everyone who commented here… you are all so insightful and have so much to offer! Many thanks to Jane for having me here to be a part of the conversation! Looking forward to Jane Porter’s next book, aren’t we???!

  63. I’ve recently watched the BBC series film of Serendipity. I enjoy all her books and books about Mr. Darcy whom other authors have created stories around.

  64. I adore the movie Emma starring Gwyneth Paltrow. But please know that Colin Firth will forever be my Mr. Darcy. Simply breathtaking in Pride and Prejudice. Dreamy!

  65. I have loved Pride and Prejudice since I was 15 and read it many times. I loved the movie adaptation with Keira Knightly. I haven’t seen the one with Colin Firth, but I will have to rectify that.
    I have also read all the other books from Jane Austen, but P&P is really the best.
    Your book , Karen, sounds wonderful. Can’t wait to read it.

  66. Our wonderful guest, Karen Doornebos had the honor of drawing the winners this time and here they are –

    #41 Library Lady
    #90 Sabrina D.

    and I’ve picked a bonus winner –

    #8 Mary Branham

    Congrats, ladies! Drop me an email asap with your mailing info and we’ll get the prizes in the mail.

    Have a wonderful week.


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