Monday, December 30, 2013

Welcome to Author Maria Grace!

It's a treat to have as my guest today Maria Grace -- a friend and fellow Austen Author (we had the chance to meet for the first time in person at the JASNA conference in September :), and she has out her latest novel, Twelfth Night at Longbourn!! I'm delighted she's visiting -- what a lovely way to end the year! -- and she's sharing with us a bit about her inspiration and writing process for this new story. Welcome to Brant Flakes, Maria Grace!!

I have to confess, Twelfth Night at Longbourn is a book I didn’t actually intend to write. I had finished a three part series, Given Good Principles and thought the story was finished. Very happy with that decision, I picked up my pen to address other heroines and other plots. Little did I realize there was a disgruntled heroine waiting in the pile of edited material from Volume 3, All the Appearance of Goodness, who was not at all happy about my decision to cut her subplot out of the story.

I tried to reason with her. She was not the main character and the book was long enough. Adding her subplot back in would make it heavy and ponderous. She should have been happy to have a part in it at all. That did not go over well, not even remotely.

She informed me that I had no right to dangle a ‘Happily Ever After’ in front of her and yank it away by not actually telling her story.  It was unfair and just plain thoughtless and if I didn’t do something about it quickly, she was going to hijack my muse and torment my rather type-A personality with the reality that I had left a story unfinished.

Those were fighting words. What else was I to do? I picked up my pen and started, or rather finished, her story. But, oh, she did not make it easy on me.  I started by outlining the story and that was a bad choice. Neither she, nor my very stubborn muse appreciated that.  Four false starts came out of three different outlines. It was not until I finally threw out the outline and just wrote that Kitty Bennet decided to come out and play.  Then when she did, she kept insisting on teasing me with a plot leading on direction, then veering off somewhere completely unexpected.  She did that until the very end, surprising me with a final conclusion that I did not see coming until I started writing it.

Twelfth Night at Longbourn ended up being a very unusual ride for me, but I am glad I took it.  Now I can finally call Given Good Principles finished—I didn’t say that out loud did I?  Oops, I’d better run, I have a feeling there may be a few characters I will need to be hiding from! 

LOL!! Thanks so much for sharing this ;). For those of you interested in reading a delightful excerpt of Maria Grace's novel, there's a long snippet here on Austen Authors. (Don't miss the book giveaway there, too, if you leave a comment before tomorrow night, and there's also a link to a free PDF of extras!) Below is the intriguing blurb for the book:

Twelfth Night at Longbourn

Twelfth Night—a night for wondrous things to happen.

At least for other people.

In the months after her sisters' weddings, nothing has gone well for Kitty Bennet. Since Lydia’s infamous elopement, her friends have abandoned her, and Longbourn is more prison than home. Not even Elizabeth's new status as Mrs. Darcy of Pemberley can repair the damage to Kitty’s reputation. More than anything else, she wishes to leave the plain ordinary Kitty behind and become Catherine Bennet, a proper young lady.

Her only ray of hope is an invitation to Pemberley for the holidays. Perhaps there she might escape the effects of her sister’s shame.

Getting to Pemberley is not as simple as it sounds. First she must navigate the perils of London society, the moods of Georgiana Darcy, and the chance encounter with the man who once broke her heart. Perhaps though, as Catherine, she might prove herself worthy of that gentleman’s regard.

But, in an instant all her hopes are dashed, and her dreams of becoming Catherine evaporate. Will Kitty Bennet's inner strength be enough to bring her heart's desire?  

On an ordinary night perhaps not, but on Twelfth Night, it just might be enough.


Though Maria Grace has been writing fiction since she was ten years old, those early efforts happily reside in a file drawer and are unlikely to see the light of day again, for which many are grateful.

She has one husband, two graduate degrees and two black belts, three sons, four undergraduate majors, five nieces, six cats, seven Regency-era fiction projects and notes for eight more writing projects in progress. To round out the list, she cooks for nine in order to accommodate the growing boys and usually makes ten meals at a time so she only cooks twice a month.

She can be contacted at:
Facebook: facebook.com/AuthorMariaGrace
On Amazon.com: amazon.com/author/mariagrace
Visit her website Random Bits of Fascination (RandomBitsofFascination.com)
On Twitter @WriteMariaGrace

Twelfth Night at Longbourn can be found at:
Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/books/Twelfth-Night-at-Longbourn/yoolLDy_TU2RcfbmWP2OQQ

Thanks again, Maria Grace! And to all who are reading this, I wish each of you a joyful, peaceful and healthy 2014. Looking forward to a wonderful year ahead!!


MonicaP said...

You go, Kitty Bennet! Get your story told, girl. lol Im glad you expanded on the GGP series and look forward to reading Kitty's - I mean *your* - hard work. ;)

Marilyn Brant said...

LOL, Monica!
Thanks for stopping by to celebrate Kitty's -- I mean -- Grace's new release ;).
Hope you have a wonderful New Year!!

Liz Castillo said...

I always felt sorry for Kitty & I am thrilled she made Maria tell her story. I have enjoyed this series and look forward to this latest installment!

Thanks Marilyn for this lovely post and hope you have a very Happy New Year!! I also cannot wait to see what you have in store for us in the new year!

Marilyn Brant said...

Thanks so much for taking the time to visit and join in the release fun for Maria Grace's new book ;).
And thank you for the lovely New Year's wishes, too! I'm hoping the sequel to Perfect Match will be ready to share with you all this year... Sending you big hugs and all the best for 2014!

Edie Ramer said...

Maria, I'm definitely checking out your book. Love that you had to throw your outlines out. They don't work for me, either.

Pamala Knight said...

I love it when characters won't let authors rest until they tell their stories! I'm very excited to add Kitty's tale to my collection because it sounds like a wonderful story. Thanks for hosting Maria, Marilyn. Happy New Year to you both!!

Marilyn Brant said...

Edie, it was so sweet of you to stop by -- thank you!

Pamala, I agree! This sounds like such a fun story ;). And a very Happy New Year to you, too!!