Debut author Heather Lynn Rigaud is fascinated by the comparisons between life in earlier times and modern times. She spends much of her time thinking about how Regency-era characters would exist now. She is a professional writer with degrees in Music Therapy and Teaching who lives with her husband and two sons in Kingston, NY.
Find Heather online at her blog Austen Nights, on facebook, and twitter.
Heather wrote a guest post for us... How lucky are we? *grin* Actually she wrote two. I had a couple suggestions for topics, and she's sooooooooooo cool she did both. So enjoy!
The first is on re-imagining the classics: the good, the bad, and the ugly. How do you decide what to do with which characters? How much do you stay true to the original character and story?
Well, I'm a plotter and I view the plot as the landmarks on where my story should go. My thought process goes something like: I know Elizabeth and Darcy fight here--how will that work? Here's where they meet at Pemberley--what can I do with that? In working those points out early, I can stay close to Austen's work, and I get a feel for what would be 'right' for each character. Would Elizabeth say this, would Charles do that?
Once I have that framework plotted, I'm able to focus on the characters and really develop them. I spend an insane amount of time thinking about how each one will feel, and then act in each situation--what is Elizabeth like when she gets mad? What is Darcy like when he's uneasy? And then, when everything is in place and I know my characters, I just write. (And sometimes they hijack my story anyway--Richard and Charlotte were terrorists when it came to that.)
Sir Laurence Olivier 1940
I was committed to keeping Darcy and Elizabeth as true to Austen as possible. The other characters I tried to keep their roles in place--Charles is Darcy's friend and he feels protective of him, Jane is Elizabeth's closest sister and confidant. The roles remained the same, but I was somewhat free in playing with their personalities. For example, Charles got a bit of a spine (but not too much). And then there are clear places where I just went my own way, like Caroline Bingley and Richard Fitzwilliam. In those cases, I developed the characters to fit what I needed in the story--Caroline shows how Darcy acts with most women, and so by contrast the reader can see how differently he treats Elizabeth. Richard is everything Darcy won't allow himself to be--he drinks, he sleeps around, he's somewhat lazy. In contrast, we can see how driven Darcy is.
David Rintoul 1980
The second guest post thrills the geek in me. I asked her to compare video game heroes (*cough* Alistair) to paperback heroes. Which format works better (& when)? If you play video games, you'd know exactly who Alistair is. *grin*
This is a cool question. It all comes down to what makes a fictional man attractive. Darcy is very sexy in Austen--even at Hunsford where he's insulting Elizabeth to her face (worst marriage proposal ever!) he is still able to make it swoon-worthy. How does that work? Taking this sexy character, and then amp'ing that up by making him a Rock Star? Well, there you go. It's no surprise that this is a very sexual book.
I'm a big fan of a video game, Dragon Age, in that your character works very closely with this Knight-type character who is amazingly good at pulling at your heart while also turning you on. And while I was enjoying that, my writer side was wondering how does this work?
Colin Firth 1995
So, what makes a guy loveable and hot? And what make him not hot? Universally, Charles Bingley is seen as not hot. (Except to me-because I'm a freak.) Another example is Dr. John Watson from the Sherlock Holmes series. Now, Charles is nice, he's friendly, he's somewhat funny (well, you can laugh at him). He's wealthy and generous--so what doesn't work for him? Watson is brave (war veteran who's the one always carrying the gun, handsome, tough, smart (but not as smart as Holmes, of course) and yet, he's never the hot one.
So what is it? The only thing Darcy and Alistair share is a reluctance to admit their feelings at first, and a great intensity when they finally do. So, is that it? Is it the 'still waters run deep' thing? Or is it the way we as a reader/player travel on an emotional journey with them? We start with them in a bad place, and watch them/help them move to a stronger, better place. Darcy goes through, well, a lot--first he falls for Elizabeth and gets flat out rejected (and you know that hurt) then he mends his ways and reconnects with her at Pemberley, only to have that bastard Wickham pull the rug out from under him. Again. (I hate Wickham with the heat of a thousand suns.) So Darcy's a hurtin' boy.
Matthew Macfadyen 2005
Alistair is in a terrible war against the demon-types who are mounting an attack, and in the middle of that, he loses his mentor/father figure through a terrible betrayal, that incites a civil war among the people. On top of that, he's the bastard child of the former King and next in line for the throne, so he's got some issues there that he's in denial about. He's emotionally a wreck, and the player takes charge of the war effort, and slowly draws Alistair out of his grief. (Plus, he was raised by monks, so he's a virgin.)
Both these men are very passionate, but they've had to keep a tight reign on that passion, because it's dangerous when it breaks out. Now, if I can pull on an anthropologist hat for a moment--the idea of 'passion that is dangerous if let run free' is exactly the way many, many cultures view women's sexuality--that it has to be kept bound by strict social mores, otherwise, its as destructive as a wildfire. Now, I'm not saying that either of these characters are women, but it's possible that as women we recognize something familiar about them. They remind us of our sexual side, and we can relate to them in a very deep way. And that's important, because how many times have you looked at a man who's just done something typically male and just "Wha????"
So, we have characters who've suffered, (and boy, we loves us some suffering) and who trust us with something very private and important to them. (Letting Elizabeth stand in for us, of course...) They are familiar in that they don't have those annoying man-traits that we don't understand, but at the same time, they're hyper-manly physically and in their actions. And they're leaders of men.
Elliott Cowan 2008
Clearly, I don't have a good answer here and I'm not sure I could explain it if I did. But, it's really interesting. I'd love to hear what makes a man really 'Work' for them. What makes him hot, sexy and loveable? Thanks for having me here today and for those interesting questions.
Darcy's as hot as he is talented...
Fast music, powerful beats, and wild reputations-on and off stage-have made virtuoso guitarist Fitzwilliam Darcy's band into rock's newest bad boys. But they've lost their latest opening act, and their red-hot summer tour is on the fast track to disaster. Now Darcy and bandmates Charles Bingley and Richard Fitzwilliam are about to meet their match...
But she's about to rock his world...
Enter Elizabeth Bennet, fiercely independent star of girl-band Long Borne Suffering. Elizabeth, her sister Jane, and friend Charlotte Lucas have talent to spare and jump at the opening band slot. Elizabeth is sure she's seen the worst the music industry has to offer. But as the days and nights heat up, it becomes clear that everyone is in for a summer to remember.
ARC: 566 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks, Inc., 2011
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon, The Book Depository
Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice is one of my favorite classics, and I jumped at the chance to read a re-imagining of it that doesn't have zombies, vampires, or other other-worldly creatures.
Anyway. Darcy as a rock star. Yum. (Yes, even if I can't really imagine Colin Firth as a rock star... Can you?) He's still arrogant and aloof. He still doesn't know how to talk to Elizabeth without pushing all the wrong buttons. Some things shouldn't ever change...
I enjoyed Fitzwilliam Darcy, Rock Star. It's a bit long at almost 600 pages, and I got a bit annoyed at Richard and Charlotte--way too much angst. Darcy and Elizabeth had the sparks going like crazy, and Jane and Charles were totally mushy. The boy-band meets girl-band plot is almost too convenient, and the creepy Mr. Collins was almost creepier than George Wickham. Ugh.
All in all, this is a pretty fun read for Darcy fans, not least because it's fun imagining the Darcy-rock-star strut... *wink*
drey's rating: Pick it up!
Have you read Fitzwilliam Darcy, Rock Star? What did you think? And if you haven't, here's your opportunity to win a copy...
Thanks to the publisher, I have one copy of Fitzwilliam Darcy, Rock Star for you! This one's open to US/Canada residents only. To enter, fill out the form before September 30th. Good luck!