Happy Monday friends! I’m very excited to welcome back Victoria Kincaid to Austenesque Reviews today! We always love it when Victoria comes to visit, but we are especially eager to celebrate Victoria’s visit today as she has just released a new Pride and Prejudice modern-adaptation titled Darcy in Hollywood. We are such ardent fans of her first modern P&P – President Darcy!
Today, Victoria shares the progression/transformation of her cover design for Darcy in Hollywood, which we are excited to learn more about because we loved seeing the earlier cover designs for President Darcy last year.
Hi Meredith and thank you for having me back as a guest!
People often ask me how I get my covers made. I hire a cover designer who does a terrific job. Since she’s done my other covers, she knows the general “look” and keeps the covers consistent. I emailed her with the title and a little information about the book, suggesting images that might work for the cover. Although I make the final decision about the cover, I’m not a particularly visual person and I’m grateful I don’t have to design it myself.
It’s a collaborative process where we go back and forth by email to refine the image. For Darcy in Hollywood, this was the first version she sent me:
I loved the warm “old Hollywood” glow she gave the cover—and the touches of black, a color I would never have chosen myself. However, I didn’t like the model and I wasn’t crazy about the background. To me, skyscrapers don’t really suggest Hollywood. I asked the designer for a more informal look for Darcy and a background that evoked Hollywood.
This was the second version, which I may have liked even less than the first version. I get what the designer was doing with the lights—which do evoke Hollywood—but they don’t convey the romance I wanted. I suggested putting the famous “Hollywood” sign in the background—and requested a model in a darker tux.
For the third version I loved the background, showing the back of the Hollywood sign. I thought the colors were great, lending a real feeling of romance. I also liked the model’s pose. The tux conveys a sense of glamor, but the untied bowtie makes it informal and a little sexy. However, I didn’t like the model. I thought he was too young and too slick: more like a Wickham than a Darcy. So I asked the designer to find a guy who appeared a little more mature with darker hair.
So she sent me this guy – using the same pose but with a different head. One glance and I knew we were done! This guy came pretty close to my imagined version of Hollywood Darcy, and he makes a believable Hollywood heartthrob. We did make a few adjustments to the font of my name and the shadowing and stubble on his face, but this is basically the cover we settled on.
I hope you enjoy this excerpt from the very beginning of Darcy in Hollywood!
“A single man in possession of a lucrative film career must be in want of a wife.” The words were punctuated by a girlish giggle.
Darcy rolled his eyes. “Georgiana,” he said loudly enough so that the speaker on his cell phone could catch the words, “that may be Aunt Catherine’s philosophy, but I’ve never listened to her before. Why should I start now?”
His sister’s laugh echoed over the phone. “I think you should’ve said you’d get started on the search for a wife right away.”
“And I think my sister should be less sarcastic,” he said in a tone of mock exasperation. “I’ve got bigger things to worry about than my love life.”
“I know that.” Georgie’s voice was suddenly much more sober, and Darcy cursed himself for reminding her of her role in his predicament. “I’ll let you go. Good luck with the new film.”
Thank you. Georgie—”
But she had disconnected the call. Damn it! He shouldn’t have said anything. He didn’t blame her for the situation, and she shouldn’t blame herself either.
Okay, put it out of your mind, he reminded himself. Time to focus on work. And driving—although he wasn’t going that fast.
Darcy glanced down at the dashboard for only a second, he would swear, just long enough to restart the state-of-the-art sound system. But when he looked up, there was a woman in front of the car—a woman who hadn’t been there before.
And a lamppost.
It was her fault, actually. If she had been careful, she wouldn’t have been on the sidewalk near the lamppost that his Ferrari apparently regarded as a target.
So she bore at least some of the responsibility. She should have seen what was about to happen.
Privately, Darcy would admit that he was a bit distracted. He hadn’t driven in over a year, and the car was new. He had wanted a little music. But when he pushed the first button to start the radio, the windshield wipers whipped back and forth. His next attempt blasted the car with heat. Why did they put so many buttons so close together?
And then he saw the woman standing on the sidewalk in front of his Ferrari. Perhaps he should have paid more attention to the actual steering and less to the stereo, but it was a little late to worry about that now. He braked furiously, hoping he could at least locate the horn.
The horn did blare, but the warning came too late as the car crashed into the lamppost with a crunch of metal and a jolt that threw Darcy against the steering wheel. The air bag inflated instantly, softening the impact. He winced at the sound of metal against metal, but at least it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. If he hadn’t braked in time, the damage would have been far worse.
Dust from the airbag obscured the air. Coughing, Darcy wondered if there was a lifetime cap on how many cars one person was allowed to total in a lifetime.
He peered through the windshield.
Hell. Where had the woman gone?
Darcy couldn’t see her. Had the car struck her? Was she trapped under the axle? Should he call his lawyer? His PR guys?
Oh, right. Maybe he should check on the woman.
As he pushed the car door open, it protested with an awful shriek. The frame was bent, and the window was spiderwebbed with cracks. The door scraped along the sidewalk like sandpaper.
He clambered to his feet, surveying the damage. The front left of the Ferrari had crumpled inward, embedded in the ornate faux Victorian lamppost. The bumper dangled, and the hood appeared to be off-center. The very first day he drove the car… This had to be some kind of record.
The woman was lying on the sidewalk.
Darcy’s heart was already pounding, but now it went into overdrive. He could practically feel adrenaline pumping into his veins. Please, God. Not another scandal. Darcy raced to her side. He was just getting his life back on track; it was not a good day to be arrested for vehicular manslaughter.
She groaned, the most beautiful sound he had ever heard in his life.
From this perspective, Darcy could see that the woman was several feet from the front of his car. She must have been backing away from it in a panic and slipped. Yes, there was a jagged crack in the sidewalk. She had tripped and fallen; he hadn’t struck her. Relief slowed his breathing somewhat but did nothing for the spikes of adrenaline jittering through his body.
She was young, younger than Darcy. Her face was pleasant—a smooth oval surrounded by curly mahogany hair—but certainly not pretty enough to be an actress. At least not a lead. Maybe she’d have some luck as a character actor, but no actress would be caught on a studio lot in those worn jeans and overly large t-shirt. Even the hair and makeup people dressed better than that; ditto the office staff. Maybe she was a camera operator or props?
He knelt beside the woman, heedless of his $800 Hugo Boss pants. “Are you all right?”
She glared at him, and he noticed that she had the most amazing blue-green eyes, like dark ocean water. “Of course, I’m not all right. I almost got hit by a car.”
Doesn’t she understand how upsetting this is to me? “But you didn’t get hit by a car.”
Struggling into a sitting position, the woman fended off his clumsy attempts at assistance. “I was trying to avoid being hit by your car,” she explained patiently as if he were a particularly slow child. “That’s why I fell.”
“You would have been perfectly safe where you were.” He gestured toward the Ferrari. “The lamppost stopped the car.”
He couldn’t help noticing how her eyes flashed; under other circumstances, he would have found it intriguing. “I didn’t know it would do that, did I?” she said.
“I don’t know why not. You were standing right next to the lamppost.”
She stared at him for a moment. “Are you for real?”
Darcy wasn’t sure how to answer that question.
“Most people would rather not rely on a lamppost to save their life.” Gingerly she touched the back of her head and winced.
As she struggled unsteadily to her feet, Darcy helped with a hand under her elbow. She was concealing some nice curves under her oversized t-shirt—not overweight but nicely rounded. Okay, wow. This was an inappropriate time to be having such thoughts.
Once upright, she swayed, and Darcy didn’t dare to let go. “The studio probably has a clinic with a nurse.” Most studios did, but this was his first day on the grounds at Worldwide. “You could go get a band-aid.” Or whatever they did for bumps on the head.
She held out her hand. Shit, there was blood on her fingers from her head wound. “I’ll probably need to be checked for a concussion.”
Had she hit her head that badly? He held up two fingers. “How many fingers am I holding up?”
Eyerolls, he noticed in passing, were much more visible with vivid blue-green eyes. “203. Even if I did suffer from blurred vision, it would hard to miscount fingers a foot from my face.”
Jeez, he was only trying to help. Would it kill her to treat him with a little more respect? “Do you know who I am?”
“You’re the guy who almost hit me with his car.”
Darcy gaped. He could sometimes be anonymous outside California, but it had been a long time since someone didn’t recognize him in L.A.
“Or are you referring to the fact that you’re William Darcy?” she asked with faux innocence.
Darcy stomped on the momentary flare of irritation. “Is the sarcasm really necessary?”
She regarded him through narrowed eyes. “Yeah, I think it is. What’s the alternative? That I should be honored to be knocked over by your car? Because I don’t think your identity would have been much comfort to my parents. ‘We don’t have a daughter anymore, but at least she was killed by a celebrity. Maybe he can autograph her coffin.’”
Thanks for sharing both the process of your cover design and this wonderful excerpt from Darcy in Hollywood, Victoria! I loved seeing all the options you were considering for the cover! You definitely chose the perfect one – I love the Hollywood sign, sunset, and untied bowtie! And this Darcy definitely looks like a swoon-inducing actor! But oh my, what a terrible first encounter for these two! Such a run-in! Can’t wait to see what their second encounter goes like!
Connect with Victoria
Today, Victoria brings with her ONE ebook copy of her newly released novel, Darcy in Hollywood, for me to giveaway to ONE lucky winner!
To enter this giveaway, leave a comment, a question, or some love for Victoria!!
- This giveaway is open worldwide. Thank you, Victoria!
- This giveaway ends July 22nd!