Nov 052018

Hello readers! I’m very excited to welcome back one of my favorite authors, Cat Gardiner, to Austenesque Reviews today! Fans of Cat Gardiner will know that this past summer she released the final installment of her exhilarating and phenomenal Conscience Series. For those who aren’t familiar, the Conscience series is a contemporary adaptation of Pride and Prejudice that takes readers on a romantic adventure in a world full of sexy assassins, motorcycles, intense romance, and thrilling danger! And if you haven’t checked it out yet, you should definitely consider doing so soon!!!

Cat is here today to celebrate releasing the box set version of this series, titled Conscience Rising, on KOBO and Nook! Now you can binge read this series to your heart’s content!! (By the way that is what I will be doing in a few weeks!!)

Hi Cat! It is such a pleasure to have you visit my blog today; I am so excited to talk more about two of my most favorite incarnations of Jane Austen’s Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet! For my first question, I would like to ask how it all began? How did you get the idea to write a James Bond/spy-thriller/modern-day Pride and Prejudice?

Hi Meredith! I’m tickled to be here again to chit chat with you. Thank you for inviting me to one of my favorite places! Ah … the beginning of Iceman. Well, its genesis began when I was reading and posting on a well-known JAFF site. I had just finished posting Lucky 13 over a 30-day Christmas blitz and thought—as I did with L13—“what hasn’t been written on the modern front yet? I need a summer posting blitz.” At the time, I think my husband and I were binge watching Bond movies. Voila!

I love that you look for the avenues that haven’t been explored yet, Cat. I think that is what makes your stories so interesting! One thing I love most about The Conscience Series is your unique portrayals of Elizabeth and Darcy. Both have darker moments in their past and carry some pain. And both are complex characters that transform and go through some life-changing experiences. Can you tell us a little bit about your development of these characters? What aspects of Jane Austen’s characters did you most want to bring out in your modern-day updates? What was some of your inspiration behind Iceman and Lakmé?

As you know, with all my Austenesque works, they are loosely based in JA; they are “inspired by” our dear lady. From the onset of writing JAFF, I chose to focus on various prides and prejudices, only borrowing traits from Jane’s beloved characters woven in my non-canon original contemporary stories. Aaaand, I like to turn things on their head! I began The Conscience Series considering the loss of Longbourn (without an entailment), its nuances in the modern-era. What lengths would Mr. Bennet go to save his ancestral home?

Lizzy’s character was the most important for me to develop, asking the question what would happen if in this modern age … her parents were divorced and Mr. B was a needy single parent. What if, there were no unruly sisters, just Jane but by no means did Lizzy live in her shadow? What if her close relationship with her manipulative, selfish father took most of her compassionate attention once Jane had moved out? Now add forced duty and guilt upon her? What if the responsibilities of saving Longbourn and caring for her father rested solely upon her shoulders? Taking all that into consideration, I asked myself … would Lizzy Bennet still be that spirited, strong-willed, and independently-minded character in essentials? Perhaps those circumstances combined with her strong sense of familial loyalty would cause her to act so very out of character that she hardly recognizes the person she was always meant to be: our canon Lizzy.

Enter the tattooed hero on a motorcycle, carrying with him a lifetime of scars and baggage. Could he bring out that Lizzy Bennet? He’s silent but deadly in more ways than one. Reticent and fighting his feelings for her, how can he prove himself worthy of her when his career is solitary and covert? He is, after all, a government-sanctioned assassin where lies and subterfuge are his business.

Ahhh! It is just a brilliant twist to Lizzy’s character to pit her personality traits against each other a little and see which is the most dominant. I really enjoyed seeing how different this Lizzy is, yet at the same time, find the transformationcompletely plausible. Speaking of your characters…let’s say all our dreams come true and this fabulous series is made into a film trilogy, who would your ideal cast be? 

Oooo! Hands down Richard Armitage from his MI-6/Spooks days and Gemma Arterton as Liz. Here are some images of the cast, which introduce new characters such as Knightley and Sarah in Book 2 Without a Conscience. I love working with Pinterest boards for each novel because they keep me organized and I thrive on visual inspiration for both me and my readers:



Oh wow, lot of smoldering beauties there!! Some are unfamiliar to me, but I can definitely see the likeness! Readers who are familiar with The Conscience Series know that you take Darcy and Lizzy all over the world – Monte Carlo, Marrakesh, Peru, Paris to name a few. What are some of your favorite world destinations? What are some places you dream about visiting one day?

Ha! Nowadays, I travel from my office to the coffee pot in the kitchen except when trekking throughout the world with Iceman and Lakmé. My favorite past destination, forever etched in my heart, was Wiltshire England about 20 years ago, and I dream of taking the Venice-Simplon Orient Express from London to Paris to Venice to Prague as I experienced in writing about on the final Conscience adventure: In Good Conscience.

Oh that sounds like a fabulous trip, so many great cities to explore!! Let’s talk music! Between the classical strains of opera that Lizzy is fond of to the driving rock music that fuels Darcy on his missions, music is an important part of this series. In fact, for all your stories come to think of it! 😉 I know you’ve made several Spotify playlists for your stories, what are some stand out favorite songs that you will now forever associate with your Darcy and Lizzy? If you had to choose just one, what is your ultimate Darcy song, ultimate Lizzy song, and one for them together?

Oh yes! Music has been an absolute inspiration in writing not just the series, but in all my books. It all began with Lucky 13 and the Firefighter Calendar Audition. Darcy’s steamy “audition” directed to Lizzy always comes to mind when I hear “A Little Less Conversation” by Elvis. Swoon. But the music in The Conscience Series is a driving force for me, conveying the mood or situation. Because Darcy and Liz grow and change over the 3.5 books, so do their songs but, in the end, the song conveying Darcy’s love for her is best conveyed in “Someone Like You” by Van Morrison. And Liz’s song for Darcy is “When You Say Nothing at All” by Alison Krauss. Together, given their tumultuous journey on the sea of life and each fantastical experience filled with romance and danger, the only piece appropriate for them is Rimsky-Korsakov’s symphonic suite “Scheherazade” based on One Thousand and One Nights.

Great choices, I absolutely love how music inspires you! And I love the diversity of your tastes – your playlists are amazing! Now before we close, us ardent admirers of your writing are dying to know what is next for you? Is there anything you can share?

You are so sweet!!! Well now that Iceman and Lakmé have had their HEA, I’ve jumped into my time machine to wrap up the last novelette in my vintage time travel WWII/P&P series, which is set to release in the New Year. With a rebrand of the series (now titled Time and Again Antique Shop Series with new, genre-appropriate stunning covers) it will ease me into my absolute focus of the completion of the WWII epic 2-book romance I’d set aside a year ago to write In Good Conscience. So, in a couple of months, I’ll be headed back to 1943 Lisbon, London, Germany then its epilogue in NYC 2018.

I love it!!! I know you have a great passion for the WWII era, and A Moment Forever is just an incredible story. I cannot wait to see what you write next!!! How about we switch it up with some Quick-Fire Questions: Good fun!!

  • What is one of your favorite quotes from The Conscience Series? From Denial of Conscience – “Don’t be afraid. Enjoy this, Liz. Let yourself feel the ride, not in fear but in excitement. Sure, danger is real, but if you allow the fear of it, then you’ll never enjoy the thrill of the experience.”
  • What is one of your favorite romantic scenes from The Conscience Series? There are so many! However, there is one in In Good Conscience that I adore. It takes place in a hunter’s cabin deep in the Black Mountains of Asheville. A dance in a moonlight meadow.
  • Which secondary character did you have the most fun writing about? Caroline! *ducks from tomatoes* What girl wouldn’t love being a bad ass Ninja master? LOL
  • What was one of your biggest challenges with this series? Definitely, writing the last book. It was the first series I had written. Although each book is stand alone, I had to bring about an HEA or some sort of completion/evolution for each character to tie up the final adventure. It was a challenge, which required revisiting even the smallest details beginning in the three-year old Denial of Conscience.
  • What was most fun about writing this series? The romantic travel. Le Sigh … Darcy & Liz in Monte Carlo … Darcy repelling into the Amazon … Darcy & Liz tangoing in Seville!
  • If you were a member of a black ops team, what type of role would suit you best? I’d be the researcher on the computer. That role of Penelope Garcia in Criminal Minds. Unless … I shed about forty pounds, lose 20 years, and grow a spine, then I’d go undercover as a femme fatale.
  • If you were to assemble your own black ops team, name four Austen characters that would be on your dream team. Although they’d eventually eat each other alive, I think Caroline Bingley and Mary Crawford could make a great team of lethal undercover femme fetales. I definitely need Colonel Fitzwilliam, military-focused, he would not only kick ass but keep the two women from clawing at each other. Darcy could not be part of this particular team because our femmes would compete for his affections and end up getting everyone killed. So, in his place, I would consider Colonel Brandon as the leader. Older and wiser, he’s measured and would get the job done without becoming prey to the two women.

Well done, Cat! Thank you so much for sharing these answers! I loved learning more about your experience writing this series! And wow…such a great black ops team!! That is one lethal and indestructible team!

This was so much fun, Meredith! Thank you for hosting me and Conscience Rising. I’m so proud of the series and am honored to share the e-book bundle with your readers! I think it’ll make for a wonderful–hot–gift this holiday season!


About the Author

Cat Gardiner loves romance, happy endings, history, comedy, and Jane Austen. A member of the esteemed National League of American Pen Women and a PAN member of Romance Writers of America, she enjoys writing across the spectrum of the romance genre from Contemporary to Chick-Lit Romantic Comedy, Pride and Prejudice-inspired, and 20th Century Historical Fiction.
Her greatest love is writing Historical Fiction, WWII-era Romance. Her debut novel in this sub genre, A Moment Forever, was a 2017 Next Generation Indie Book Award Romance Finalist. She is currently working on her second novel in the Liberty Victory Collection. Between writing and WWII home front re-enacting, Cat takes her readers on a swell 1940s journey at The 1940s Experience blog and gallery at

Connect with Cat

Blog    ❧   Facebook    ❧   Twitter   ❧   The 1940s Experience



Today Cat brings with her ONE signed paperback set of the COMPLETE Conscience Series – Denial of Conscience, Guilty Conscience,Without a Conscience, and In Good Conscience (open to residents in the US) AND TWO ebook bundles of Conscience Rising (all 3.5 books) 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 November 12th!
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  65 Responses to “Interview + Giveaway with Author Cat Gardiner!!!”


    I absolutely loved this interview as I ABSOLUTELY loved this series! I think Iceman is my dream Darcy.
    I’m only sorry that the series has ended although I’m truly happy that Iceman and his Lakme have their happy ever after ending. (Obviously this isn’t a spoiler because anyone who knows Cat would know that is a given!)
    I do have all the individual books but would still enjoy having this set – you can never have too much Iceman – right Cat? :). 🙂


      Hi Glynis! You are Iceman’s number one fan, hands down <3 One can never get enough of him because we know what's hidden beneath that stone cold demeanor of his. My mother likes to say … still waters run deep 😉 Good luck in the giveaway, hon!


    Love, love, love this Lady’s books and her…having met her in NYC along with several others when Claudine arranged a get together. Love the actors cast above. Charlie – with his shirt open…drool! But I do love Richard – especially in N&S but he also is yummy in any role. I did watch some of MI5 when it was available on Netflix but they took it off before I got to the end of the series. There were many actors/actresses on that show who had also appeared in JA movie adaptations. I highly recommend Cat’s books to all. I have saved her Spotify music and also a Tango link she sent me which is SO steamy! It is the dance which first brought ODC together. They didn’t know each other but she needed a partner and then he silently walks away and gets on his motorcycle. Hope you don’t mind me sharing that link here: Assassin’s Tango I pull it up every once in awhile for a tantalizing moment in dance. Good luck with the upcoming release: I will be reading it as I have the others in that time-travel series.


      You are so generous with your compliments, Sheila. Thank you very much. <3 Oh yes, that Charlie is quite a hottie but Richard puts them all to shame – even David Gandy who makes his appearance as Dave Wentworth.

      I don't mind you sharing the video or backstory at all! I love that scene in DoC and the music (and title) is soooo fitting! They also dance to that piece in Seville. Now that's a city that was memorable … something about a gazebo. tee hee. Thank you so much for sharing in the fun!


    I love anything Cat writes, but I have to say her WWII novel is my favorite. I have all the books so don’t add me to the giveaway! Can’t wait to see what you have for us in the future girl.


      Thank you, dear girl! And thank you for giving both DoC and A Moment Forever (then titled My Dearest Darling) a welcome place at Darcy and Lizzy. I am so flattered by your compliment given what a talented writer YOU are! Hugs and kisses, C


      Great choice, Brenda! Her stories are so terrific it is hard to choose a favorite, but A Moment Forever does hold an extra-special place with me.


    Cat’s novels are captivating, memorable, and unforgettable. What a wonderful author with great books I adore and enjoy. Thanks for this wonderful feature and giveaway. World War 11 novels and the era is my favorite of all.


      Wow! Thank you April. I’m floating now on cloud nine! WWII is such a special era and there are so many directions a romance novelist can go, so many opportunities for heroism and true love in the worst of times. Good luck in this giveaway and thank you for your lovely comment. <3


    I really enjoyed Denial of Conscience and am looking forward to reading the rest of the series. Any chance of these being made into Audio books? I love listening to books I had read while I drive (I can’t listen to new books while I drive, I am not that talented!)


      Hi Audrey! I’m tickled that you enjoyed DoC. It was quite a ride, but ODC were just getting their engines humming. I hope you enjoy the rest of the series as much. Thank you for asking about audio. I’m not sure about that platform yet, but maybe one day. It’s a huge Series of 343k words and 1260 pages! Do you have a Kindle? If you do, there is a way to listen. I know what you mean about new books and audio – I need to read and pay close attention to the details!
      Wishing you the best of luck in the giveaway.


      Great question, Audrey! I feel the same way, Cat, but I know that there are many readers who are like Audrey and enjoy listening to books while commuting or doing some other tasks.


    Whenever I think that I don’t care much for modern adaptations of P&P, all I have to do is read Cat Gardiner and my mind is changed immeasuraby. I read the first book in this series, and sure enough – I loved it despite my former thinking! It seems I read the second also, or at least a part of it… I’d love to have the full set! Thank you for this giveaway!


    An excellent interview which I loved and Cat writes the most fascinating books ever. So talented and books which resonate with me as the era is the most profound and important in our lives. The 1940’s have always been for me the most emotional and meaningful.


      Hi Elaina! Thank you for stopping by and commenting. I’m blushing from your generous compliment. Thank you!! I feel the same way about the 1940s – even more so since I began re-enacting and meeting so many WWII vets and interviewing many from The Greatest Generation, later posting about them on my blog. Their real 1940s experiences breathe life into my stories – the good and the bad, the beautiful and the ugly. <3
      Good Luck in the giveaway!!


    I’ve read the first half of the series but have been amiss on following through with the second half as I’ve been too busy with life 🙁 But I seriously LOVE Cat’s books and would so love to win a copy of the last two books of the series!!! Thank you so much for the giveaway and congratulations, Cat, for publishing an entire series!


    Wow! Sounds fabulous. 😀 Count me in to the giveaway! I love the sound of a Bond-type ‘Pride and Prejudice’. Never read anything like this or anything by Cat Gardiner before, but I’m more than willing to give it a go because it just sounds like so much fun.

    Congrats, Cat, on getting to the end of this series. You obviously really enjoyed writing it. Best of luck with it all.

    FYI I have a Kindle not a Nook or Kobo, so I hope that’s OK?


      Hi Elaine. It’s lovely to meet you. The series is quite a whirlwind of fun, suspense, heat x10, and international travel. I hope you enjoy it if you get to reading it. Thank you for the well wishes and good luck to you as well! If you’re one of the lucky e-book winners, Kindle is just fine. I’ll create a .mobi for you. 🙂 Thank you for commenting!


    Congratulations on the new book!

    I love stories set around WWII.



    Awesome idea, Cat! And perfect format for those of who want to binge read these books!


    Enjoyed the interview. This sounds like such a great series, thanks for the giveaway!


    Wonderful Blog post! Thanks for hosting Cat! Loved the cast pictures. That Cat, she always gives us such fun extras.


    Enjoyed the interview. Love your books and I would LOVE to win this set with Guilty Conscience in a paperback. Will you offer the paperback to buy?


      Hi Cheryl! Thank you for the sweet compliment. It is possible that GC will be on AZ but I do have a few exclusive paperbacks printed through Vanity & Pride Press. If you win the set, one will be included if not, contact me through VPP’s website!
      Good luck!


    Always a joy to get the scoop on a books/series’ background through a well-done interview. Love seeing it all in a snazzy boxed set.

    Please do not enter me in the giveaway, Meredith!


    Great interview, and congrats to Cat on finishing a series! I have been on a modern P&P kick lately (normally all about the Regency angst), but I have only read book one of this series. I definitely need to catch up.

    I love seeing the Pinterest board and the inspiration. It is definitely such an interesting way to allow readers to connect to books/authors in a way that wasn’t always possible in the past.

    Can’t wait for your future books, Cat!


      Hi Dara! Thank you so much for commenting. I hope you get to finish the series and that you have fun on the ride. Best of luck. So happy that you enjoyed the Pinterest! Like many, I’m a visual type of person, so I recognize that if my writing can’t do someone or something justice in description, it’s always good to have an image on hand – just in case! Hugs <3


    Love the interview and love the books. Still working my way through them but your take on Darcy and Liz is fabulous.


    I really really loved A Moment Forever! It has such an authentic picture of the 1940’s, I loved it! Of course the story was good too….lol It was just a book that the setting was so alive that it was like it’s own character. 🙂


      Hi Danielle!
      I’m doing a happy dance! Thank you so much for your compliments for AMF. Of all my work, it is the most meaningful to me. I loved *attempting* to bring the era to life and overjoyed that you felt transported. I hope you feel the same in my next WWII romance! <3

      Good luck in the giveaway!


    Sounds really thrilling this series! I love Bond movies, dad was a fan and so we watched them together sometimes. As you might have guessed, I have yet to have the pleasure of reading your books Cat. Winning a set of ebooks would be wonderful, so please count me in, Thank you!


      It’s lovely to meet you Silvia! Thank you for commenting. Oh yes, I, too, am a Bond junkie. It seems that’s all we watch in my household. 🙂 That’s a sweet memory of time with your dad. Wishing you luck in the giveaway – I hope you enjoy the wild ride of The Conscience Series.


    Don’t include me in the giveaway as I already own all the books. I just haven’t read the last one yet.

    This was a delightful post. Those pictures put a whole new spin on what I think our characters should look like. OMG!! They are amazing and I agree with every single choice. Whew!! Thanks to Meredith for hosting. Thanks to our author Cat for the generous giveaway and for this delightful series. [Special hello goes out to Mr. Bingley]. Best of luck to those in the drawing. If you haven’t read this series… you have missed out. Get it-read it-good!!


      Hi J.W!! I hope you enjoy the last book. It’s a wild, emotional ride. 🙂
      Sometimes, I’m hesitant in sharing my vision of “the cast” because, you know, everyone has “their own” Darcy and Lizzy, so I’m tickled that you concur with my inspiration! Thank you soooo much for the recommendation of the series to other readers, your support, and for commenting! <3


    I’m so excited! I can’t wait to read the ready of this series!!


    So fun! I’m excited to read this series!!


    Loved the entire series! I am so glad you gave each character his/her own stories. I have enjoyed each of the times I have read these stories.


    You certainly know how to ‘rev’ everyone’s engines with your writing! Absolutely loved the series (don’t enter me in the giveaway)! Yes, this series would make a great movie and would have to agree with the cast you picked! Congratulations and look forward to the next WWII book!!!


      Hi Carole <3 Girly kisses of thanks! Gosh wouldn't that be something to see it all on the big screen? LOL An author's dream.
      I'm super excited about picking up Book 2 in my new WWII. Book 1 is in the edit stage, so at least I'm at the halfway mark. It'll feel good to settle back into the 1940s , again. Hugs <3


    I am not familiar with all the characters yet, but I love your choices for the roles.


      Hi schilds! I hope you fall in love with them if you get the chance to read the series. They’re all damaged in some way, but rest assured HEAs come to them all. 🙂 They sure are a handsome bunch of covert operatives! LOL Thank you for the comment and good luck. 🙂


    I have only the first book of the series. I so love the way Lizzy was developed in the story and I so love modern P & P. It was awesome to blend these character some parts of the persona to a P & P variation (esp one that is in modern times than regency). Great pick for the cast…


      Thank you for commenting Buturot! I adore hearing that a reader ‘loves modern P&P’. There are so many great ones out there (published and non) in our small section of the JAFF sub-genre.Thank you for reading Denial of Conscience. I’m so glad you enjoyed it! Good luck in the giveaway. I hope you get to finish the series. 🙂 Hugs.


    Truly love this series! I look forward very much to reading the newest installment


    <3 Thank you, Meredith for once again opening your blog door with welcoming arms to me and my novels! You are such an incredible lady and so supportive to every author who visits. Your excitement for every work presented on your blog is palpable. Truly, you always present that there is something for everyone to enjoy – and that's what makes reading and writing so beautiful. Diversity of thought and opinion. 🙂

    Dear readers, thank you for commenting and lifting me up by your kind words. The Conscience Series has been a magical journey and while I am sad that Iceman and Lakme are moving on from my writing tablet, I am overjoyed that you all desire to spend time with them. See you for the next journey. I hope you'll join me in the 1940s where Timeless Romance happens at The 1940s Experience. THANK YOU! 🙂


    A fun and fantastic interview, Cat and Meredith. I had a great time learning more about The Conscience series. I do enjoy spy thriller but only in TV shows and films and haven’t ventured to reading stories about this genre. Perhaps this is a good opportunity to give this series a chance.

    Thank you for the giveaway, Cat. If you didn’t know, I am entering for the e-books, Meredith.


      Hi Luthien! Great to see you here! Gosh! I thought you’ve spent some time with Iceman on his trip to Malaysia. tee hee. I think you’ll enjoy the entire series since it is fashioned after a spy thriller romance. Thank you for commenting and good luck! <3


    Love your stories! I can’t wait to finish reading this series.


    I have to admit this “action genre” is not really my thing, but your words about it and your complete devotion makes me want to read the whole series!


      Hi Maria! I do tend to get overly excited about this Darcy and Liz! LOL I hope you give the series a shot and fall in love with odc during their adventures. Thank you for the consideration. <3 Good Luck!

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