Hi readers! I am very excited to welcome Paisley James, author of a recently released Pride and Prejudice variation titled, To Save and Protect (which sounds phenomenal btw!), to Austenesque Reviews today! To Save and Protect is Ms. James’s debut release and I’m very happy to have this opportunity to have her visit my blog and chat about writing, her new release, and Jane Austen!
Welcome, Paisely! Thank you so much for visiting my blog! Since you are a new author to me and some of my readers, how about we start off with you telling us a little bit about yourself. How long have you been writing? When did you first encounter Jane Austen?
Thank you so much for this interview, Meredith. Let me begin by saying that Paisley James is my pen name. Like many other writers, my love for writing goes hand-in-hand with an even greater love for reading. I started reading great works of literature when I was nine and was introduced to Pride and Prejudice when I was eleven. Needless to say that I fell in love with it and it has been my favourite novel ever since. I have been writing for some time now, but To Save and Protect is my first published work.
That’s so impressive that you read classics at such a young age and how lovely that you fell in love with and have been in love with Pride and Prejudice all these years! Now tell us a little about your debut novel, To Save and Protect. How did you come up with the idea for this story? What inspired the premise?
We all know that Darcy and Lizzy have great chemistry. They are the perfect match. But their misunderstandings get in the way of their happiness. The disastrous first proposal is always a painful scene for me to read and I always think what if they were thrown together soon after the proposal, in a situation where Darcy could behave like an honourable gentleman and Lizzy could see his real character?
Well, I am a huge fan of adventure and murder mysteries. So, I thought what if Darcy and Lizzy were involved in some sort of mystery or adventure? What if they were in danger? How would they behave? What would happen to their pride and prejudice?
To Save and Protect begins on the morning after the proposal, after Darcy has delivered his letter to Elizabeth. Darcy finds out Elizabeth may be in trouble and goes after her despite his broken spirit. So much happens in this story and although it is centered on our favourite couple’s love story, it also involves many other subplots that I hope readers will enjoy.
Oh! I absolutely love Darcy for doing that – it is so like him! And I love hearing that there is a bit of murder mystery in this variation! How fun! I understand you previously shared this story on a fan-fiction site, can you tell us a little about that? Do you think sharing this story in chapter installments shaped it in any way? How?
Yes. I was fortunate to share this story with thousands of wonderful readers on Fanfiction.net. To be honest, it was because of their continuous encouragement that I finished the novel and the next two that followed it. I had people messaging me from all over the world, telling me what they thought about the story and the chracters. Writing a story and sharing it in installments is an amazing experience. It is very organic. As a writer, you get immediate feedback after each chapter. The readers are very honest and of course quite protective of Elizabeth and Darcy, so they have no problem telling me what they think.
It sounds like such a rewarding and beneficial experience. Yes, I love how protective Jane Austen fans are towards all her characters, but especially Elizabeth and Darcy!! I always love it when authors add some new characters to the world of Jane Austen’s novels. I believe you have crafted some original characters in To Save and Protect. Can you tell us a little about them? What made you want to introduce these characters?
In To Save and Protect, I have introduced a few new characters, prominent among whom is Lord Julian Paisley. It is actually quite funny how he became part of this story. When I first introduced the character, I wanted to use him as a minor character to add some comic relief to the story. But Lord Paisley, it seems, had plans of his own. He really took me by surprise. Before I knew it, I was writing him in most of the scenes and he became one of the main characters. Lord Paisley is a complex character and is full of contradictions. He comes across as a dandy, but proves himself to be intelligent and resourceful. He is Darcy’s good friend, but he is his opposite in temperament. He is similar to Elizabeth in that he has a wicked sense of humor and enjoys laughing at what is ridiculous.
Ooh! I am definitely liking the sound of Lord Paisley! I can’t wait to see the dynamic between him and Darcy! You mentioned earlier that there are two other books that follow this one! I’m super excited to learn that there is the promise of more from you! Can you tell us a little about your future books?
Yes. I am happy to say that To Save and Protect is the first book in a trilogy. The next two books are To Love and Cherish, and To Desire and Deserve. To Love and Cherish, which will be published soon, is the story of Lord Paisley and his love interest. I cannot give away too much information now but I think readers who have enjoyed reading To Save and Protect will also enjoy reading the next two books.
Oh I love it!! And how wonderful that there isn’t too long a wait! How about we switch it up with some Quick-Fire Questions?
- Which Jane Austen character do you best identify with? Darcy
- Which Jane Austen character do you intensely dislike? Mr. Elton
- What is one of your favorite quotes from Pride and Prejudice? “There certainly was some great mismanagement in the education of those two young men. One has got all the goodness, and the other all the appearance of it.”
- What is one of your favorite quotes from your novel? “The houses indeed become grander and more impressive as one travels from one side of the town to the other,” Elizabeth said with a smile. “But alas, I cannot make the same claim for all of the people who live in them. One finds vulgar people everywhere, Miss Bingley.”
- What do you love most about Mr. Darcy? His integrity.
- What is one of your favorite scenes from Pride and Prejudice? My favourite scene is when Darcy comes to visit Elizabeth just as she has gotten news of Lydia’s elopement. So much happenes between them and so much is left unsaid. There is pain, love, protectiveness, understanding, regret, loss and so much more.
- What is one of your favorite scenes from your own novel? There is a scene in my novel, where Mr. Darcy stays in Elizabeth’s room to protect her from the unwanted advances of their host. They have to pretend they are lovers, which is embarrassing for both of them. But once they are alone together, they begin to talk and are able to overcome their prejudices. This is when Elizabeth returns Darcy’s letter to him. The letter is unopened. She tells him that she no longer needs to read the letter. That she now knows him and believes in his honour. Though she doesn’t realize it at the time, this is Elizabeth’s first gesture of love for him.
- If you were to meet Jane Austen, what would you like to hear her say? “Not bad!”
Lovely answers, Paisley! I’m so thrilled to learn more about you! I absolutely love all that I learned about To Save and Protect, I cannot wait to read it! And wonderful choice of a favorite scene from Pride and Prejudice – you are so right, there is so much going on in that scene.
Connect with Paisley
Paisley James so kindly brings with her today 3 ebooks of To Save and Protect for me to give away to 3 lucky winners!! Woot woot!
To enter this giveaway, leave a comment, question, or some love for Paisley!
- This giveaway is open worldwide. Thank you, Paisley!
- This giveaway ends July 13th!