Aug 132011
 

Please join me in an alternate universe, where our heroes Fitzwilliam Darcy (Pride and Prejudice), Georg von Trapp (The Sound of Music) and Evan Danes (Must’ve Done Something Good)–having tired of their fruitless search for the perfect female match–have engaged the services of matchmaking robot Smittetron 2011 for help in locating the lady of their respective dreams.

Oh, no! Smittie, having narrowed down their matches to the following three choices, begins to shake uncontrollably, then crumples to the ground with a metallic clash. Whoops! Someone forgot the oil in Smittie’s breakfast. It looks like our gentlemen are on their own to narrow down their choices. Let’s hope they choose correctly!

Why don’t you give it a shot and see which lady’s answers match up most closely with what you would reply? Keep track of the letters you choose, then check at the end to see which of these three gentlemen would be perfect for you!

1) Tell me a little about yourself?

A) I would consider myself a kind and thoughtful person. I love music and singing. Sometimes I just can’t help myself–my heart wants to sing every song it hears! I’m quite handy with the sewing needle, as well, though I admit to sometimes wearing clothes in which even the poor would be ashamed to be seen.

B) I’m an agreeable person, though I do have the smallest wicked streak where pomposity and general ridiculousness are concerned. These things amuse me greatly. Once you get on my wrong side, my opinion of you may well be set, so you would best endeavor not to offend me.

C) I’m still in the process of figuring out what I want to do with my life, but I do want to do something good that will make a difference. Some things I love: my family, mocha lattes, Columbo and piles of snacks. You should also know, I don’t give up easily and when I’ve made a promise, I see things through to the end.

2) What’s your family like?

A) I am sorry to say, I have no family to speak of except, of course, my friends at the abbey whom I now consider my family. They would certainly all be invited to my wedding, if nuns were allowed to have such a thing.

B) I get on exceedingly well with my elder sister, Jane, but I often wonder if my three younger sisters have one complete brain among them.

C) My two sisters, Kate and Meg, are definitely my best friends. My Mum and Dad are pretty great too, even if Dad is a bit of a workaholic and Mum worries about us way too much.

3) What do you like to do for fun?

A) Some of my favorite things are singing, going on picnics, playing my guitar…did I mention singing? I love coming up with incredibly complex songs to play and sing, right on the spot! (Occasionally, I’ll climb a tree or two, but I usually end up scraping my knee and tearing my dress!).

B) I’m quite fond of reading and I also enjoy a variety of handicrafts. Oh, and I do love a good long walk, of course, even through half a foot of mud.

C) Mostly, I like hanging out with my sisters, doing goofy things like trying (as of yet, unsuccessfully) to fool people with our fake English accents. I also like watching Judge Carmen, eating junk food, doing a little sketching and watching a movie or two. Well, really, there’s this one particular movie that we love to watch…

4) So, how do you feel about children?

A) For some reason, I feel quite confident that I’d be able to manage even a large number of children…say, seven! Possibly even more, in time. Honestly, I feel ready to just jump right in where children are concerned!

B) I like children, especially if they are well behaved. I have some young cousins that I get on with quite well. If I were to marry a gentleman, I allow I would feel a certain duty to help carry on the family name.

C) Hmmm…I’m not quite sure about that. I’m a bit young to be worrying about that sort of thing anyway–I’ve got plenty of time to figure that out, practically decades! I’d like to enjoy life with my husband for a good while, at least–just the two of us.

5) Would you describe yourself as “high maintenance?”

A) I do have a, what I like to call, “barely there” wave which requires a curler or two underneath my wimple (which is quite utilitarian, to be perfectly honest). I’m also very fond of curtain play-rompers, which I believe should tell you all you need to know on the subject.

B) I do admit to having my hair arranged specially by our maid, even for balls held by the neighbors just up the road.

C) Ha! I shop at this awesome thrift store called Vintage Years and I’ve gone months without so much as a drop of conditioner (though that last one’s not really something I’d recommend).

6) What part does religion play in your life?

A) My beliefs are central to who I am and I find great comfort in them. I believe I will be led to the life I was born to live.

B) I attend Sunday morning services with my family, and I do admit to getting more than a little pleasure witnessing the absurd obsequiousness of certain members of the clergy, who shall remain nameless.

C) I haven’t gone regularly to mass in, umm, years. But I do have a very strong sense of what’s right and wrong and I try my best to follow it and encourage others to do the same.

7) What’s your biggest fault?

A) I have a tendency to run away from problems, rather than stay and face them, as I should.

B) Once you’re on the wrong side of my affections, I’m afraid there’s very little that can be done to remedy the situation.

C) People have told me I tend to be a little gullible. My little sister was the one who first convinced me that Santa Claus didn’t exist.

8) Do you consider yourself a punctual person with good time management?

A) It seems I’m always late for chapel and I’m told it does absolutely no good that my penitence is real. As a matter of fact, dinner is probably the only event I’m ever on time for.

B) I do not like being late and try my best to avoid being so. Because I walk many places, I am used to leaving early. For example, our party left with plenty of time to spare for the half-mile walk to Lady Catherine DeBourgh’s lavishly-fenestrated house.

C) I’m constantly running late, but if I save some time by cutting out a few things, like conditioner or classroom preparation, I’ll usually manage to get where I need to be on time.

9) How would you feel about, say, singing and playing an instrument in public?

A) Oh, what a lovely idea! There’s nothing I like better than singing and playing my guitar. And if a certain gentleman wanted to join me up on stage, all the better.

B) Well, I could be persuaded to play a song a two on the piano-forte, and I might even sing, if you ask nicely, but I would not like to feel forced into it. A gentleman needn’t join with me, but if he’d like to sit and gaze lovingly at me whilst I play, that would be more than acceptable.

C) Good Lord, singing in public!? You’re joking right? Apart from some nearly-lip-synched renditions of “Happy Birthday” at random parties, I’d have to politely decline the whole thing.

Bonus question:

10) Quick–favorite Beatle!

A) I don’t understand the question.

B) I beg your pardon?

C) Definitely Ringo

Answer Key

Mostly As (Maria): Captain von Trapp is the perfect gentleman for you! Your openness and fun-loving attitude are the perfect complement for Capt. Von Trapp’s typical reserve. We are confident you will succeed at drawing him out of his shell and bringing music back into his life–and the lives of his children.

Mostly Bs (Elizabeth): Mr. Darcy is the perfect gentleman for you! We admit that the two of you may experience a rocky beginning, but once you understand each other better–and let go of your own misconceptions–you will both admit that you are, indeed, a perfect match.

Mostly Cs (Sylvie): Evan Danes is the perfect gentleman for you! Your sense of justice, desire to do something good, and tenacity in the face of difficult circumstances appeal to Evan’s own altruistic sensibilities, and his more laid-back, conservative style is the perfect counterpoint to your–admit it–sometimes goofball behavior.

CHECK OUT:

 

Jul 052010
 

AuthorInterview

I am exceedingly delighted to welcome, Cheryl Cory, author of Must’ve Done Something Good, to Austenesque Reviews. Cheryl, it is such a pleasure and honor to be interviewing you, Must’ve Done Something Good is one of my favorite novels, I selected it as my favorite Modern Adaption of a Jane Austen Novel in 2009! Thank you so much for taking the time to answer some of my questions, Cheryl!

Thank you, Meredith! It’s always a pleasure to chat with you and truly and honor to be featured on Austenesque Reviews.

How long have you been writing? What inspired you to start writing?

My serious fiction writing began in elementary school, with a small first run (one copy) of my Choose Your Own Adventure rip-off, The Vontley Emerald. I’m pretty sure it consisted of way too many dead ends with a lot of blank pages stuffed in between them. From there, I moved swiftly to the Encyclopedia Brown rip-off, “The Mrs. Sugarpuff Mystery,” which I must say, at one page long, I found infinitely more suited to my budding literary talents. Skipping ahead a couple of decades, I started to gravitate more toward non-fiction writing, studying literature and working as a correspondent for a local newspaper. I’d never attempted to write a novel until I began Must’ve Done Something Good.

What genre of books do you enjoy reading? Who are some of your favorite authors? Do you have a favorite Jane Austen novel?

I love light romantic comedies along with books about why our country and our lives have gotten completely out of hand. I love reading a good jeremiad, but then I need to lift my mood with something much lighter and more optimistic. On the lighter side, I love Lani Diane Rich (her novel A Little Ray of Sunshine is excellent) and Sophie Kinsella. Right now, I’m reading a fun book called Sorta Like a Rock Star, by Matthew Quick. On the more serious side, I loved the books The Two-Income Trap, Freakonomics, Outliers, Perfectly Legal, Hostile Takeover, The Beauty Myth, and Affleunza. Oh, and Your Money or Your Life is probably the best personal-finance book ever written. OK, I am officially a book-title rambler. As for Jane Austen, although I love Pride and Prejudice with all my heart, I think I may love Persuasion even more…maybe throw in a kidney, or something.

Please share with us your relationship with Jane Austen. When did you first become an admirer of her novels?

It’s astonishing to think of it, but I made it through my entire formal education without once running into a Jane Austen novel. In late 2004, I happened to rent an interesting-sounding little mini-series called Pride and Prejudice, and from there I was hooked. I pretty much immediately read the book…then watched the series a few dozen more times. By the time I began writing Must’ve Done Something Good in March 2005, the Pride and Prejudice story line was all but super-glued to my brain. I’m not sure I had a choice but to include it somehow in my novel.

What prompted you to write Must’ve Done Something Good? When did you begin working on it and how long did take for your to complete it?

At the end of February, 2005, I happened to be browsing in the book store and came across a book called No Plot, No Problem! It was the written accompaniment for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), which I’d never heard of. The title, though, sounded promising—I had no clue what kind of plot would make a good novel, but apparently, this was no problem! I told my sister about the book and she insisted we not only go back to the store and buy it, but we actually take part in this seemingly doomed adventure in 30-day noveling. We both spent March 2005 writing the first drafts of our novels (50K words), drinking entire pots of coffee and swearing like sailors (this might just’ve been me). We both finished our drafts by the end of the month (though mine may have included an extended cut-and-paste dream sequence toward the end…I can’t quite recall). After putting my draft away for a few months while I came off my caffeine addiction, I continued to work on it off and on for another couple of years. The whole plane ride/doing good angle (and obviously the title) of Must’ve Done Something Good didn’t even emerge until well after the first draft was done.

A lot of your characters parallel characters from Pride and Prejudice some more obvious then others, can you explain which Pride and Prejudice characters were represented and why?

Well, given that Must’ve Done Something Good is a very loose take on P&P, many of the characters match up pretty loosely, as well (though I think Austen fans will be able to pick up on most of the connections!). The character match-ups I planned include Sylvie/Elizabeth, Evan/Mr. Darcy, and Ben/Mr. Wickham. Sylvie’s sisters, Kate and Meg, don’t match up exactly to Elizabeth’s sisters, and I think I may have had a bit of Sense & Sensibility on the brain here (I’m quite sure that Austen mash-ups are the next big thing…). Jared, though, definitely has a Mr. Bingley vibe about him and I think the somewhat pompous silliness of Mr. Collins comes through in Mr. Taft. Other than that, it’s a completely different story…haha!

Your novel has elements of and references to both Pride and Prejudice and The Sound of Music in it. What prompted you to combine the two? Did you find any similarities between Pride and Prejudice and The Sound of Music?

Well, I had Pride and Prejudice fresh on the brain as I started to write, but I’d loved The Sound of Music for ages and wanted to somehow include it in the story, as well. As far as I knew, no one had ever written anything about a family of TSOM addicts, and I loved the idea of reflecting this part of my own life in my book. To me, it seemed like the perfect obsession for Sylvie–fun, romantic and decidedly wholesome. And, yes, there are a lot of similarities between the two works, I think, beginning with the idea that sometimes love blossoms slowly after a decidedly rough start.

Clearly you are fan of The Sound of Music. When did you first see The Sound of Music? What about it inspired your novel?

You know, I don’t remember exactly when it was, but I had to have been in elementary school…probably working on The Vontley Emerald. I used to watch the movie with my family when they showed it on TV around Christmas time—and just like the O’Rourkes, we used to mock it ruthlessly and love it without question at the same time. Since that time, I’ve made my way through both the VHS and DVD editions, but I have to say there’s still something magical about watching it on TV, knowing that millions of other people are watching it and loving it too, some for the first time—it gives a nice sense of connectedness, something I think we could all use a bit more of. And, seriously, what is there not to love? The music will have you singing along, there’s romance, comedy, gorgeous scenery, and a great escape at the end. And a puppet show. TSOM truly has everything.

[Meredith: You are absolutely right, it does have everything! The Sound of Music is one of my all-time favorite movies!]

In Must’ve Done Something Good, Sylvie O’Rourke is about to experience her first year teaching tenth grade English. I understand you have spent some time as teacher as well. Can you share with us some of your experiences? Was it in any way similar to Sylvie’s?

I did teach tenth-grade English for one year, almost ten years ago now. I’m still recovering. My experience was possibly as much like Trudy’s as it was Sylvie’s, minus the grand exit (my version of after-the-fact wish fulfillment). What Trudy did was what I wished I could do every day, but I ended up slogging through the entire year. I’m glad I gave teaching a shot (especially given that there would be no Must’ve Done Something Good without it), but it was very clear to me from the first week on that I wouldn’t be going back, so I just tried to do the best I could and make it through the year, much like Sylvie.

Your characters are very likable, unique, and amusing; do you have particular favorite?

Sylvie is, of course, near to my heart as the viewpoint character of Must’ve Done Something Good, but I loved writing her sisters, Kate and Meg, as well. Meg, especially, I think, has this unabashed goofiness about her, and it was so much fun to create her dialogue. She’s upbeat and really not one to hold back with what she’s thinking. Kate is clearly more reserved and serious, but finds herself getting roped into the craziness when Sylvie and Meg are around, which I think she enjoys. I loved creating what I hope is a believable sisterly bond between the three of them.

What scene did you have the most fun writing? What scene was the most challenging?

I loved writing the scene at the museum in which Sylvie and Elise get into their word war, ostensibly about the merits of modern art. That was one that just flowed so easily from the keyboard, like it was happening in real time. Now, on the challenging side, I had a real problem deciding what would be a proper punishment for Ben. I’m still not sure he got his just deserts, but I guess that’s what happens in real life sometimes too.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing?

I love spending time with my husband Matt and our family and friends. One of my favorite things is going for a long walk with Matt to get coffee or breakfast. We have regular get-togethers with our family for trivia/games and snacks (just like the O’Rourkes!), which I love. I also like tutoring, reading, baking cookies, organizing, rooting for the Boston Celtics, biking on the rail trail, watching Monk reruns and Clean House, and–strangely enough–digging up weeds from the yard. Wow, I sound pretty boring. Hmmmm…I am considering taking either hang-gliding or crocodile-wrestling lessons, as well.

[Meredith: You do not sound boring! In fact, we share a lot of the same interest!]

Can you share with us a little about the next project you are working on?

I’m working on a sequel to Must’ve Done Something Good at the moment! In the new book (sorry to be vague, but it’s still a work in progress), Sylvie and Evan have a pretty major question she feels they need to get answered, she and Meg embark together on an entrepreneurial adventure, and Kate and Jared also have some big changes heaped on them. Everything rolled up together creates some pretty comic situations for the lot of them. I hope the sequel captures the fun spirit of the original while, at the same time, taking the characters in some new, possibly unexpected, directions.

[Merdith: Sounds wonderful! I can’t wait to read it!]

If you could ask Jane Austen any question today, what would it be?

If we’re talking about the ability to transport her to our time, I would love to know what examples of comedy in our culture she found amusing—which books, movies and TV shows. Though usually topical on the surface, good comedy, I think, can transcend time and have appeal across the ages (as her own work demonstrates!). I’d love to know what in our modern culture she believes achieves that standard. I expect we might be surprised! Oh, and I’d obviously invite her to join the Jane Austen Ladies Society!

Lastly, Mr. Darcy or Captain von Trapp?

Wow, no one has ever asked me this before, and you’re really making me think here! Hmmmmm….I guess it would be a cop out to say Captain von Darcy? Well, since I have to choose, and as much as I love Mr. Darcy, I’m going with the Captain. Well, today anyway…

Thank you so much for participating in this interview, Cheryl! It has been a real treat to have you answer my questions!!  

Must've Done Something Good

MUST’VE DONE SOMETHING GOOD

Sylvie O’Rourke, “The Sound of Music” devotee and born procrastinator, is about to die. Well, she thinks she is, anyway, and so attempts a last-ditch bargain with God for her life. “You guys are my witnesses,” she tells her sisters somewhere over Connecticut. “If we get out of this plane alive, I promise to do something good with my life.”

Back on firm ground, Kate and Meg won’t let their sister forget her promise, and with their years of practice hitting just the right chords of guilt (“What kind of person lies to God?” Meg wants to know), Sylvie finally caves.

A teaching position at the broken-down St. Matthew’s High School appears to be Sylvie’s perfect opportunity to do some good. That is, until she’s snubbed by a fellow teacher on the first day of school.

Whether she’s becoming a bit too invested in the students’ fall fundraiser or directing the school’s sure-fire musical disaster, Sylvie’s charmingly irreverent style gets her called down to the principal more often than her students. Can Sylvie keep her promise and make it through the year, dignity and sanity intact?

 

GIVEAWAY TIME!!!!  Today Cheryl brings with her one lovely copy of Must’ve Done Something Good to give away to one of my amazing followers! 

You can enter this international giveaway by leaving a comment/question for Cheryl on this post WITH your email address.

*To have your name entered twice, become a follower of my blog (if you are already a follower, please let me know)

**To have your name entered three times, post, sidebar, facebook, or tweet about this giveaway (please provide a link to let me know if you did this).

This giveaway will end July 17th. Thank you for entering and best of luck!!!

Sep 252009
 

Must've Done Something GoodA Wonderful Story about Teaching, First Impressions, and Finding Your Own Mr. Darcy or Captain von Trapp

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Source: Review Copy from Author

Cheryl Cory’s debut novel begins with our heroine, Sylvie O’ Rourke, fearing for her life as the plane she is on experiences extreme turbulence. Anxious and desperate, she makes a bargain with God to land the plane safely and she in turn will devote one year of her life to doing “something good.” During the turbulence, it dawns on Sylvie that she has yet to do something worthwhile or useful with her life, and that motivates her to make good on her end of the bargain and teach 10th grade English…

Sylvie O’ Rourke is a simple, romantic heroine that desires to be cherished and loved unconditionally. She admires the romance between Maria and Captain von Trapp from The Sound of Music, and the great love-story of Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy from Pride and Prejudice. Sylvie is delightful, inspiring, and easy to identify with. I enjoyed her experiences and observations as a first-year teacher, as they mirrored some of my own and were quite true. She learns, very quickly, the pleasures and the pains of what it is to be a teacher. In addition, I enjoyed her in-depth class discussions and compassion she has for her students. Sylvie is a heroine anyone can admire and relate to. Continue reading »