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Interview + Giveaway with Author Cat Gardiner!!! – Austenesque Reviews
Jun 152016


Hello readers! I’m very excited to welcome back one of my favorite authors, Cat Gardiner, to Austenesque Reviews today! If you are unfamiliar with the captivating novels by Cat Gardiner, her specialty is Modern-day retellings and she is phenomenal at recreating our beloved couple and their story in new and inventive ways! (You really should pick one up if you haven’t already!)

Cat is here to celebrate not one but two new releases! That’s right, this talented Cat Gardinerauthor has kept herself super busy and has had two new releases come out in the last 8 weeks!!! The first is a 1950’s Austen noir/crime drama titled Undercover, the second is a World War II inspired romance, titled A Moment Forever.

I am so happy to be here, Meredith! Thank you for the invite and the generous compliments. I’m truly delighted that you enjoy my contemporary offerings in the JAFF community. But I gotta tell you … you’re one tough interviewer. I think I’m ready *puts shoulders back*.

Cat, I’m so excited to have you visit my blog and to have this opportunity to talk with you about your novels! For my first question, I would like to learn a bit about your approach to writing contemporary retellings of Pride and Prejudice. What I love most about your stories – besides the admirable, strong, and über sexy recreations of Lizzy and Darcy – is your creativity. You don’t deliver a scene-by-scene update of Pride and Prejudice in a different setting. You do so much more with the story and these characters, and it always feels fresh and new in your hands. Here’s the big question, Cat – how do you do it? Do you construct an outline ahead of time? Do your characters lead the way? 

Denial of ConscienceAn outline you ask? I wish I could be so together as to have an outline. Whenever I have tried to do so, it falls to the wayside. The paper or napkin gets lost in my mess or hidden in some obscure file on any one of three computers. Nope. I’m a pantser not a plotter. My characters—and muse—seem to tell me that they know best, and I’ve learned to trust them, chill, and just go with the flow. So basically, I sit down with a vague idea of where I want to go and how I want to end up. I know the themes and the very general plot in which to deliver them. The rest just comes together with the help of the constant flow of coffee. I start writing at about six in the morning and usually have no idea what will come out. When I get stuck, I turn to my BFF to help me fill in a plot hole or navigate me in a direction after I’ve written myself into a corner.

I think you made a good call to trust your characters and muse, they have not steered you wrong yet! Another element I love about your stories is how it is such an immersive experience – the flavors of your stories are always so rich and vibrant. You create and share Pinterest boards, Spotify lists, recipes, and blog posts – you create a virtual world for each book. I absolutely love it! What is it like for you as an author to immerse yourself in each story? What are some of your favorite ways to research each setting you write about?

Thank you! I like that: flavors! This aspect is the most fun I have in creating a story world,
which is the very first thing that I do. I’m a visual person, so I need to see where my characters are headed, using videos and images. Denial of Conscience is a great example of that. Gosh, I would LOVE to visit Seville and Marrakech. Maybe my readers do, too, and I try to take them there—with Darcy or another swoon-worthy hero. Other readers, like yourself, are music lovers. Music inspires my muse in creating the plot and setting the tone. Big Band and ballads transported me to 1942 in A Moment Forever. Dean Martin took me to the Bronx’s Little Italy in Villa Fortuna. As for research, particularly during WWII era, I drink up personal narratives that give me glimpses of the human condition through the experiences of that generation.

Absolutely! I love the visuals you put in readers’ heads with your descriptionsUndercover and I too am definitely one of those readers who wants to visit Seville and Marrakech!  In Undercover readers meet lady dick, Eli Bennet – career girl and one of your strongest heroines yet. I think one of the main themes you were trying to get across to the reader is that women are strong and can do anything men can do. Is that correct? Who are some strong women you admire (in fiction or in real life)?

We are strong! And we can set out to achieve whatever our goals are—in 2016, but not in 1952. That really was the larger point. Society attempted to return to pre-war with a focus on the family, return all things to “normalcy”: safety, nurturing, and protection in our pursuit of the American Dream. The woman was the heart of the family—the man the bread winner. Spinster “career girls” like Eli were expected to only do “women’s work” as nurses, teachers, and girl Fridays. Married women did not work outside of the home, as dictated by societal norms.

Hands down, my mother is the strongest woman I admire. She worked hard as a professional artist for 30 years while nurturing her marriage, caring for her family, and raising three children—one of whom suffered with cancer for five of those years during the 70s. To offset medical expenses, she sold her paintings in art shows at shopping malls from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m, two weeks out of every month, yet still caring for us all. I don’t know where she got the strength, but I imagine it comes down to four big letters. L.O.V.E. She’s my hero.

A Moment ForeverThat’s lovely, Cat!  I don’t wonder why your mom is your hero, she sounds amazing!  I understand that your newer release, A Moment Forever, is not inspired by Jane Austen. From the book blurb it looks like there is plenty of romance, secrets, and history though, which sounds fantastic! What motivated you to write this story? It looks like it is the beginning of a series, are there more to come?

Well, I love the 1940s. I’m probably more of a WWII-era junkie than I am a Jane Austen addict *gasp*. My husband and I are living historians, dressing in period clothing and teaching the public at a local armed forces museum. We attend USO dances and reenactments and I even have a blog: The 1940s Experience! I launched the book from a Memorial Day museum event.

AMF was born from a couple of things. First, it was a JAFF titled My Dearest Darling and written as a sort of “what if Darcy and Elizabeth didn’t find their absolute HEA until much later in life?” That was important to me because ODC shouldn’t always have to be 20 something. In order to do that, both time periods needed to be Historical 20th Century. The second story within the story occurs in 1992, which in itself became a wonderful research opportunity. We didn’t even have e-mail yet!

I have, however, removed AMF from the JAFF genre to attract a wider audience, but within are several nods to my Jane Austen friends. The second novel to follow also began as a JAFF in 2012. Many know of it as The Very Thought of You, and that book is going through editing right now. There is a third, a plot bunny mulling around in my head, but I won’t be attempting an outline. LOL. But, rest assured, we’ll have another strong heroine and swoony hero. The last book in the Liberty Victory Series is a novella – a prequel to AMF, the story of our hero’s mother and her arrival from Holland to New York City just prior to the outbreak of WWI.

I think it sounds awesome,  Cat!  How wonderful that your husband and you share this interest!  And I love the title The Very Thought of You, makes me think of the ballad, which – as a lover of jazz standards – I also love!  Definitely looking forward to all your future projects!  How about we switch it up with some Quickfire Questions:

  • If you could live in one of your novels, which one would you choose? Definitely Denial of Conscience. I’d love to live by the seat of my pants, travel the world, and be a hell on two wheels!Villa Fortuna Cover LARGE EBOOK
  • Of all your Elizabeths and Darcys, which ones are your favorite? (I know! Impossibly hard!) I love them all, but as a couple, they would have to be the WWII couple from, The Very Thought of You. Separately: Villa Fortuna’s dreamy Mike (Darcy) and Undercover’s ballsy Elizabeth. Now wouldn’t they make quite a pair together?
  • What time period or setting do you one day-dream of writing a story in? Happily, I have just attained my dream of writing and publishing WWII-era. So, one dream at a time ’cause I might overload. LOL I’ll remain in the 1940s for a while. Maybe one day I’ll finish that Ancient Greece/Greek Mythology JAFF on my hard drive. Immortal
  • What time period or setting do you definitely not see yourself writing a story in? Regency. I’ll leave that to the pros and continue to follow my muse far away from that era. I don’t think I have it in me to learn the many layers of clothing.
  • What is one of your favorite scenes from Pride and Prejudice?  Oh! Hands down my favorite was the one when Darcy approaches Lizzy after the Meryton Assembly, takes her in his arms and says, “Please forgive me for my unkind—absolutely untrue—insult. I am completely besotted with you.” Don’t you remember that one? No? LOL. Well, then my second choice is Elizabeth’s visit to Pemberley with the Gardiners. I adore how her prejudice dissipates when in the gallery and then later her embarrassment at being discovered by him – in his world.
  • What is one of your favorite scenes from one of your own novels? (Also impossibly hard!) Um … that is hard but I must confess that it’s the image of David Gandy (Darcy) hanging from the back of Ladder 13 getting oiled down by Lizzy (me) during the Lucky 13 calendar shoot. I can still hear “Burning Up” by Madonna in my mind.
  • What do you love most about Mr. Darcy? Well, under all that haughty arrogance and ridiculous pride, deep down there is a man who could love deeply. Moved by the violence of that love, he wanted to give her the world. It took a huge, humbling swallowing of crow and self-awareness to prove to her and himself that change was possible.

Ah, that is perfectly put, Cat!  I can’t tell you how much your answers have delighted me!  Your stories are incredible and it was such a treat to talk with you about them!  Thank you so much for agreeing to this interview!  

Whew! I survived! Thank you very much Meredith and thank you friends for your interest and sitting through my ramblings. I had fun! I’m happy to answer any other friendly questions you want to throw my way.


Connect with Cat

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 Undercover A Moment Forever

Today Cat brings with her ONE paperback of Undercover (open to residents in the US), ONE ebook of Undercoverand ONE ebook A Moment Forever  for me to give away to THREE lucky readers!!

To enter this giveaway leave a comment, question, or some love for Cat below!

  • This giveaway is open worldwide (ebooks only).  Thank you, Cat!
  • This giveaway ends June 21st!
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  71 Responses to “Interview + Giveaway with Author Cat Gardiner!!!”


    like the idea of Undercover, as I like mystery novels especially if they are not set in modern times


      Hi Vesper! i hope you will give that and A Moment Forever a try. They are both mystery novels 🙂 Thanks for the comment and good luck in the giveaway!


    I have a friendly question. Is Cat short for Catherine, Cathleen, Kitty-Cat or something else?

    Now I have a friendly comment. I adore you, Cat Gardiner. You wield your amazing skill with words to not only craft stories rich in character—you employ them to comfort the weary, lift the depressed, soothe hearts filled with pain, and turn a frown to a smile. I love being your friend. You are the real deal.


      And I have a friendly answer. Cat was short for “catgirl” the name I use on JAFF forums. I figured it would be an easy way for readers to identify me. And catgirl is because, well, I’ve been a cat lover for as long as I can remember.

      And you know I adore you back. You’re making me blush and, truly, the only reason I write is in the hope that I can touch a reader, so your sweet words touch my heart. Thank you for that extra vote of confidence to continue to do what I enjoy! You, darling, are the real deal x2 ((hugs))


      Joy, I love what you said! So beautiful! You both are amazing people and this genre and readers who adore JAFF are so lucky to have you both delivering wonderful stories year after year!


    I haven’t read any of your books yet, Cat! They are still on my TBR shelf…Can’t wait to read them though!


    Lovely interview ladies. I have this new book on my summer TBR list. Good luck with the new book Cat, it’s getting wonderful reviews!


    Undercover sounds amazing. Can’t wait to read both of these!


    Wonderful interview! I absolutely love Cat’s pinterest boards and sideblogs for her stories as well. I have read both books and love them both very very much. I already own a copy of Undercover, so it’d be lovely if I could be entered into the giveaway for a ebook copy of AMF! Thanks for your generosity, Cat!


      The Pinterest boards are so much fun to make, Pricilla. They help the world come alive for me during the writing process. I’m so happy you enjoy them. Thank you so much and good luck with the giveaway! Hugs


    Love your P&P scene! Great interview and even in the interview your great sense of humour shines through! I have read all but these two so far! Villa Fortuna was so much fun but then again so was Lucky 13…and the oil and ladder scene and DoC! Thank you!


      Hi Carole! If only that P&P scene happened then it would have been lovey dovey all the way. 🙂 Thanks for the wonderful compliments! You know, as much as I love L13 and particular scenes. Villa Fortuna made me the most happy and I’m delighted it made you happy, too! Good Luck!


      So glad you enjoyed the interview, Carole! Didn’t Cat do marvelous? It’s no wonder we love her books so much, she is an awesome person!


    I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE all of Cat’s books, her Spotify lists, her Pinterest Boards and the extra blogs and then short stories. Meredith’s words could have been taken out of my mouth about the flavors of the stories and how your descriptions are so detailed and absorbing one feels totally immersed in the scenes, the actions, the music, the food, etc. And as I have shared with other readers…we feel like personal friends in how you reach out to each of us in a real, down-home way. Thank you for being you.


      You’re making me cry. Aw shucks, Sheila! You are a personal friend!! Thank you. Honestly, I love each and every reader. Like so many other authors, I receive such thoughtful pm’s, comments on FB, blogs, and emails from new and old friends who enjoy the stories that my muse wants to tell. It touches my heart deeply, overwhelms me sometimes, humbles me – and inspires me to continue. If I ever quit writing, I would truly miss the interaction I have with the community and the friends I have made. Thank you for being YOU! As always, you know how happy it makes me that you love my work! Hugs


    I would love to win Undercover on kindle. I already have and have read A Moment Forever. Any of you contemplating reading it procrastinate no longer and go for it!!!! It’s a wonderful book. I couldn’t put it down. It will put you through every emotional wringer you can imagine. An unforgettable read.


      You are a sweetheart! Thank you Teresa for that wonderful shout out for AMF! It still puts even me through the emotions whenever I reflect on the heroes and heroines. Good luck in the giveaway!!


    I read Denial of Conscience a few weeks ago & really enjoyed it – loved this interview, thank you:-)


    Undercover sounds compelling. What an interesting interview.


    Cat, you’re even funny in interviews! I just finished Undercover and LOVED it! My question is…do you hate Jane, or do you just love pairing her with Wicky? Haha! Love to one of my favorite authors!!! 😉


      What a lovely comment, darcyluvr! Thank you so much!! I love your question about Jane. I certainly painted an evil one in AMF and quite a mercenary one in Undercover. Honestly, I never really liked the girl. No one is THAT good and I actually love that Lizzy gets the man with the larger fortune, estate, etc. LOL Best of luck in the giveaway!!


    Love the interview! Don’t put me in the drawings for I have all her books. 🙂 Cat has an amazing way of writing. Love her.


      Aw!!!! Thank you, Brenda! I’ll be stopping by D&L with a little *surprise* post for the Denial of Conscience First Anniversary (can you believe a year?!) See you then! ((hugs))


    Wonderful interview! I can’t believe I haven’t read Undercover yet. I have read all Cat’s other JAFF and she is a must read and favorite modern JAFF author! Now, AMF….I have read! I cannot say enough good things about it! A timeless love story, intense wonderful read. Ducky and Pistol stay with you! I couldn’t put it down. Thank you for a chance to win Undercover.


      Thank you, Becky! Cat was so super to answer all my questions! I can’t wait to read AMF, it sounds wonderful!!


      Hi Becky!! Thank you for all your kind words and you already know how overjoyed I am at how much you loved AMF. It is a project that is so dear to my heart for the meanings within, the joys, the journey to forgiveness. All of it. Thank you for your lovely comment!! Good luck in the giveaway!


    I’ve always had a bit of fascination for the 40s era, too. All those old B&W movies I watched as a kid hooked me: noir, comedy, wartime romance, Blondie film series, etc…



      I’m so glad to hear that Denise! I love wartime romances, myself. And all those screwball comedies, too. One of my absolute favorites is Ball of Fire with Barbara Stanwyck and Gary Cooper (swoon.) A definite one for the watch list. 🙂 Thanks for the comment and good luck!


    Thanks Meredith and Cat for the interview. I have not yet read any of your books but they are all on my TBR list. I love reading about my favorite couple in different time settings and the WWII era is one of my favorites. I love that many authors are writing such intriguing P&P stories. Keep writing! Thanks for the giveaway. –Leslie


      Oh you should definitely read one of Cat’s amazing stories soon, Leslie! You will love them! I couldn’t agree with you more, I think it is really interesting how Cat takes Darcy and Lizzy to new times and situations!


      Hi Leslie! Thank you for your comment. I’m so happy that I’m on your TBR. Woot! I’m delighted to hear that you are another reader to enjoy WWII romance. Apart from AMF, there are currently some fabulous reads out there in the genre. Undercover-An Austen Noir will take you to a very different world for Darcy and Lizzy in 1952. Sounds like that might be right up your alley, too! Enjoy and Best of luck in the giveaway.


    I see Meredith’s words ‘immerse’ and ‘flavor’ when it comes to Cat’s books and I smile b/c that is what I most enjoy about them. It’s not just reading; it’s an experience. Amazing lady to release both these books nearly at the same time and I get excited to see the WWII one after reading the 1940’s experiences and research journeys.

    Great questions, Meredith and fun answers, Cat.

    Please do not enter me in the giveaway.


      I feel like I use those words in every review I write for one Cat’s books, but they just so perfectly describe the experience she gives her readers! Not all stories do this! Thank you for stopping by and reading our interview, Sophia!


      Hi Sophia! You’ve been such a dear to follow me along on the 1940s Experience. I love that you love the genre and the era. You’re my little cheering section with each blog post I put out about life in the 40s and my experiences. You know, there was a reason for these two books to come out so close together … I suppose a little marketing strategy on my part that I’ll share. I hoped that JAFF readers would see that I could do Historical Fiction, through Undercover. And maybe … consider giving A Moment Forever a try after proving that I’m not just a modern girl. Honestly, I’ve been overwhelmed by the support and acceptance of both! Thank you so much!!


    A moment forever sounds fun!


      There are definitely fun chapters, Kirsten. Grinning and sighing moments between the 1942 hero and heroine, but I do warn you … bring Kleenex to the table. I think a reviewer had said “it’s not for the faint of heart.” Thank you so much for your comment and good luck!


    Thank you for the informative interview. I love the cover for Undercover. It reminds me of the black and white movies but that bold red tells you that Eli Bennet will be a strong woman. So, is Darcy as strong as she? Thank you for the giveaway.


      Thank you for commenting evamedmonds! I LOVE that you totally got the cover. Those lips tell so much. LOL Darcy is strong.. He’s commanding. And he has a backstory that formed him. But after he falls for her, he’s putty when it comes to her. He respects her and that is key in their relationship. Great question and good luck in the giveaway!


    I am actually just starting Undercover. I love all of Cat’s previous books! I am typically not a fan of the modern JAFF but Cat’s books have converted me 🙂

    I also have A Moment Forever on my TBR list. I have a question for Cat. Now that you have published non JAFF do you plan on continuing writing for both genres or will you focus more on one over the other?


      Hi Shannon! I’m so happy that you’re hooked on mods. There are so many great ones out there, published and non-published. I began reading with Regency but one or two mods on a forum opened a whole new world for me. 🙂 Glad I gave them a try.

      What a great question about future works. Thank you! I intend on doing both. I would like keep one foot in one world and one foot in another. Writing JAFF is fun and keeps me connected to so many beautiful people in the community, readers and authors. I have made tremendous friendships. I love Darcy and Lizzy and P&P. I see them in so many future scenarios and plot bunnies.

      However, I do have this serious side to me and a great love, filled with gratitude, for the Greatest Generation. I hope my novels in the WWII-era Romance genre can honor them in some way. I’m committed to my experiences as a living historian, and as such books like AMF and the 1940s Experience are arms of that.

      Thank you for the lovely comment! Best of luck in the giveaway!


    Great interview and best wishes with your new releases. I agree, Cat’s writing is awesome!


    And I just started to drool! LOL


    I never know how to do these thing. 🙂 So I hope I’m in the right spot time bat station etc. 🙂 I have a little love to give to Cat. WOW I love your story telling ability I am able to visualize the story by reading your words. You also blow me away with how quickly you are able to turn out a new book do to all the facts that can be found through out your stories. You are either an encyclopedia of all genera’s of information or a genius which is it my dear Caroline.


      Hi Geri!! You did it right! Thank you so much for commenting and sending me your love. You were with me on the ground floor of Villa Fortuna. *snort* I thought that book took me forever to write! LOL You’re a sweetie. I am absolutely neither an encyclopedia or a genius, (but I’ll take the compliment LOL) but I love that the internet can take me wherever I need to be in a flash. I can understand why – pre-internet- it took authors years to write a book. The research must have been quite a challenge. Today, video tours of destinations, Lonely Planet and the like fill in those tiny details I need. Thank you and best of luck in the giveaway, darling.


    I had no idea how many books you have out there so far! I’m so looking forward to Undercover. Keep up the hard work!


      Hi Amanda! Sometimes I’m even shocked. LOL. To think that Lucky 13 only came out for Christmas 2014, and here I’ve just earned my Book Five milestone pin with Romance Writers Association. Cray-cray! I have other things in the works, so keep your eyes peeled. Hugs for Luck in the giveaway. Thank you for the comment!


    Love the interview! I admit, I haven’t read any of Cat’s books yet. They’re all on my wish list at amazon, along with a few hundred others. So many books, so little money!

    Thanks for the giveaway!


      Hi Pam! I’m so happy to be on your TBR! Thank you! Good Luck in the giveaway and thank you for the comment!


    Both books sound great! Thanks so much for the giveaway!!


    I am totally intrigued by the idea of noir/crime drama titled Undercover retelling of an Austen book. I would love to read this. I’m a huge reader and Jane Austen fan, and I love adaptations taking bits and pieces of her stories in modern times.
    Sherri J


      Thank you for your comment, Sherri! I was intrigued with the idea of writing a Noir after I told my publishing partner, Pamela Lynne that I couldn’t do it! LOL It took me a couple of months to rise to her challenge and then I just drank up the era, the genre, and this sexy Darcy. Happy reading and best of luck in the giveaway!


    Lovely interview, Cat and Meredith!

    As you know, Cat, I adore your writing. Denial of Conscience gave me my very first book boyfriend, Lucky 13 was one of the very first modern stories I ever read, and I was totally hooked into the 50’s with Undercover. I have yet to begin A Moment Forever as I am huge weenie, but I promise it’s on the TBR list and I WILL read it.

    Like Joy said, you are a huge blessing to readers and to your friends, and I am happy to be counted among them, Keep the hits rolling, girlfriend! <3


      Iceman will always be your man, Zoe. Even Liz knows that. I just hope you’re still in love with him in the sequel (rubs hands together with an evil laugh.) I think you should bite the bullet and read AMF. You just may find another book boyfriend hidden within. You are such a dear blessing in my life. Thank you, my friend for all your encouragement, love and kind words. You’re one in a million! Vroom vroom!


    I am pretty sure this book is as great as all of Cat’s books and I need days of 48 hours!! I have not even read Villa Fortuna yet!
    I am quite intrigued by the setting, I have never read any similar and what I have read on different reviews shouts “read me now”. Moreover, I love the title “A moment forever”, it is a beautiful title.
    Thanks for the giveaway,


      What a lovely comment, Ana! Thank you! There hardly seems enough hours in the day to write all the plot bunnies, let alone read all the fabulous books out there. Villa Fortuna is a fun, happy place with good food and a few recipes inside. I hope you enjoy VF, UCover and AMF. Good luck in the giveaway!


    What great books! I would be excited to read any of these, but I think I’m most looking forward to reading Undercover. Thank you for sharing and for the awesome giveaway! 🙂


      Hi Laura! Thank you so much for your comment. Undercover was a ton of fun to research and write. I hope you enjoy it. Best of luck in the giveaway. 🙂


    This woyld be great to win. My oldest daughter loves to read books like these. Well pretty much she loves to read all books. Thank you.


      Thank you for your comment, Farrah! How thoughtful of you to think of your daughter’s preferences in books. I wish you good luck in the giveaway!


    I like the cover of A Moment Forever with the swan.

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