Friday, November 16, 2012

Interview - Victoria Connelly
of Christmas with Mr. Darcy

The holidays are almost upon us, and with our schedules heating up while the weather cools down, many of us may have less time for casual reading during this busy season.

If you'd like to take a little time at the end of your day to relax and unwind with some fun, relatively short Austenesque books, I highly recommend the Austen Addicts series by Victoria Connelly.  These sweet novels are perfect for the fans of all things Jane Austen.  You can check out my individual reviews of the series here:

If you've already enjoyed these titles, I'm pleased to report that Victoria has given us all an early Christmas present! She's written a lovely novella, Christmas with Mr. Darcy,for the fans of this series and the characters within the three novels.  This compact story takes the reader back to the characters of this series, many of whom are all now gathered together for a Jane Austen conference at the stately Purley Hall in Hampshire. There's a bit of romance, a bit of mystery, and much fun to be had in this holiday confection.  For those who have read the previous novels, I encourage you to pick this one up.  And if you haven't read the Austen Addicts trilogy yet, put it on your To Be Read list soon!

I recently had an opportunity to ask Victoria a few questions that popped into my mind after reading Christmas with Mr. Darcy, and I thought I'd share them with you.  Here's the interesting feedback I received from Victoria:

Ardington House
Have you spent much time at the real Purley Hall?
Purley Hall is based on a beautiful Georgian manor called Ardington House in rural Oxfordshire. It's a private home which is open to the public but they host weddings and conferences there and I wrote to ask if I could visit and was allowed to walk around the house and the grounds, making notes for my novel and taking lots of photographs. It is just as I describe it in A Weekend with Mr Darcy and Christmas with Mr Darcy. It is set back from the road down the sweep of driveway, there is a huge cedar tree at the front of the house, a swimming pool, beautiful gardens and the temple on an island in a lake.

Do they have Jane Austen conferences there?
I'm afraid they don't hold Jane Austen conferences at Ardington House but perhaps somebody should suggest one!

"Barton Cottage"
When and where was your first Austen conference?
As far as I am aware, there aren't any Austen conferences in the UK but there is the wonderful Jane Austen Festival held in Bath each September and I attended that the year I was writing the third book in my Austen Addicts Trilogy, Mr. Darcy Forever. People come from all over the world to attend and there are fantastic events such as the costumed promenade through the Georgian streets, dancing, readings, guided tours and talks about all things Austen.

There is also the wonderful 'Pride and Prejudice Tours’ which conducts holidays to the locations used in Jane Austen adaptations and I was lucky enough to stay in the house used in the 1995 adaptation of Sense and Sensibility and I wrote about this in Mr. Darcy Forever. The house is in one of the most romantic settings I've ever seen.

If you were incredibly wealthy, what is the largest amount you would pay at auction for a first edition Pride & Prejudice?
I don't think I'd actually get that excited about a first edition of Pride and Prejudice but what would really excite me would be a signed copy and, if money were no object, I could see myself paying a handsome sum for such a book although not silly money because I’d rather spend it on rescuing more animals!

What would be worse:  Losing something incredibly valuable, or someone stealing something incredibly valuable from you?
When I was a teenager, our house was burgled and we lost some jewellery which had belonged to my grandmother. It's still breaks my heart to this day because it would probably have been sold on for next to nothing and, of course, not meant as much to the new owners as it had to my family. So, I think it would be worse to have something stolen because, if you lost something yourself, you have only yourself to blame and there's always the chance that you might find it again.

What is your favorite Pride &Prejudice adaptation (film or television)?
It has to be the 1995 BBC adaptation starring Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy and Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth Bennet. There are so many magical moments and Colin Firth really is the perfect Mr. Darcy although I do love the recent Joe Wright film version too - the soundtrack is exquisite and the locations were just wonderful and one doesn't always have the time to sit down to the six-hour BBC version.

What is your favorite way to spend Christmas Day?
Quietly at home with my husband with lots of good food, a real fire and a wonderful old film to watch after a good walk in the crisp cold winter countryside.

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Thanks to Victoria for taking the time to answer my questions!  I hope all of you get a chance to read her new offering-- as for me, it was a nice early Christmas treat!

Connect with Victoria



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