I often wonder where all my romantic comedies come from. Just what inspires me to write them? It’s a question I’m often asked by readers too but, instead of listing a long line of books as writers often do, I tell them that it was films which got me on the road to writing my rom coms. In particular the films of Doris Day.
Many a happy afternoon was spent as a teenager – sitting in the floor of my bedroom with the door firmly shut against the real world as I indulged in those wonderful movies.
There is something so wonderfully charismatic about Doris Day. She has a warmth and a sparkle which makes her absolutely captivating to watch and she’s a truly fabulous comedienne whether playing a tomboy in By the Light of the Silvery Moon or the hesitant lover of Cary Grant in That Touch of Mink.
As a teen, I was particularly addicted to the films she did with Rock Hudson like Pillow Talk and, just last week, I watched it again and found that it had lost none of its magic – over fifty years since it was released. Sure, there are some aspects which are now dated but the essence of humour doesn’t really change, does it? And the characters, situations and Doris Day’s double-takes still had me erupting with laughter as did the wonderful split screen scenes employed decades before Woody Allen fell upon this cinematic device.
The plot of Pillow Talk is very simple and strikingly similar to another of their films, Lover Come Back. I don’t want to give too much away if you haven’t seen them but the theme of mistaken identity plays a major role and causes many a misunderstanding.
This is something I explored in the first of my Austen Addicts Trilogy – A Weekend with Mr Darcy – where my hero – Warwick Lawton – isn’t quite telling the truth about who he is. I can see now that I wanted to have a go at creating my own little bit of Doris Day magic and I had enormous fun in doing it.
So, where does my inspiration come from? Love. Life. Books. And Doris Day!
Today is a very special day – it’s the 200th anniversary of the publication of Pride and Prejudice and I was delighted to see my own dear book A Weekend with Mr Darcy feature on BBC Breakfast news as part of the celebration.
The lucky TV presenter got to hold a rare first edition of Pride and Prejudice at The Jane Austen House Museum in Chawton – what a treat!
So, Happy Birthday, Pride and Prejudice, and may you live to celebrate many more anniversaries and continue to delight readers in the centuries to come.
On Saturday, I had the great pleasure of tutoring my ‘Novel in a Day’ course at Assington Mill in Suffolk. This has to be the loveliest place I have ever taught and the rain didn’t put a dampener on things at all even when we walked to the storytelling hut in the drizzle!
Earlier in the week, I dodged the showers to visit Helmingham Hall – home to a moated Elizabethan manor house, a walled garden and a fabulous rose garden. I was in heaven and it reminded me of my book, Three Graces, where my heroine marries a duke and goes to live in his ancestral home, Amberley Court.
I love writing about old houses and beautiful gardens and I had such fun researching Three Graces because it was the perfect excuse to visit lots of stately homes.
Purley Hall in A Weekend with Mr Darcy (based on the sumptuous Ardington House in Oxfordshire) was also a lot of fun to research and I spent many a happy hour walking in the grounds and sitting by the lake.
Back at Mulberry Cottage and our garden is full of hollyhocks – giant spires of flowers shooting skywards, and our little pond is blooming with waterlilies.
We’ve had builders in for over a month now and sometimes there’s no better escape than an English country garden.
I’m delighted to see A Weekend with Mr Darcy and The Perfect Hero are the bestselling ebooks in Waterstone’s Romance chart this week. It’s so exciting to see them together and I hope that you all enjoy the third book too. Mr Darcy Forever has just been released on Kindle as an ebook exclusive.
I can’t tell you how much fun it was to write this trilogy and it means the world to me to see them doing so well especially this week as it is 200 years since Jane Austen’s first book was published. Happy Birthday, Sense and Sensibility!
Thank you to all my lovely readers who helped to give my new book, Mr Darcy Forever, such a fabulous launch yesterday. It’s shot up the Amazon Kindle chart and features in three different genre charts – a great start!
I’ve had a lot of emails from readers about the new book and I’d just like to explain – at the moment, Mr Darcy Forever is exclusively published in ebook form. It’s available to readers all over the world excluding the US where it will have a paperback and ebook release (with a brand new cover) in April 2012.
Mr Darcy Forever is the third in my Jane Austen addicts’ trilogy and I’ve been delighted with the recent success of the first two books. Last week, A Weekend with Mr Darcy sold over 1,000 ebook copies and it’s been in the Amazon Kindle Top 100 chart for two weeks. The Perfect Hero is doing well too and is in the Top 20 Waterstone’s ebook chart. It’s lovely to know that there are so many Austen fans out there!
If you’d like to know more about the book, take a look at the Mr Darcy Forever page where you can read an excerpt. There is also a page of photos of some of the locations. The book is set in two stunning locations - Devon and Bath – and I hope you enjoy looking at the pictures.
This Friday, I’ll be launching the third book in my Jane Austen addicts’ trilogy – Mr Darcy Forever. It’s going to be published on Kindle as an ebook in the UK and paperback publication is following in the US in April 2012.
Mr Darcy Forever is about two estranged sisters who meet at the Jane Austen Festival in Bath but can the magic of Jane Austen help to bring them back together again?
The first two books in the trilogy - A Weekend with Mr Darcy and The Perfect Hero – have both been topping the Waterstone’s and Amazon Kindle charts and I’m delighted to be releasing the third book in time to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s first publication, Sense and Sensibility.
So, please come and join the online book launch on Friday 28th October. It’ll be taking place at my Facebook fan page and, if you ‘like’ the page and leave a message, you’ll be entered into a draw to win a signed copy of the US version of A Weekend with Mr Darcy (that’s the cover with the famous legs on it!)
See you on Friday!
I would just like to say a HUGE thank you to all the lovely readers who have been buying A Weekend with Mr Darcy. It’s been in the Waterstone’s Top Ten ebook chart and … drumroll … has just entered Amazon Kindle’s Top 100. I am absolutely thrilled to see it there and I hope all my new readers enjoy it. Don’t forget, it’s part of a trilogy about Jane Austen addicts and The Perfect Hero is the next in the series and has been steadily climbing the charts too.
To celebrate this wonderful news, you can now buy Three Graces for under £1 too. This is a rom com with a touch of magic and was published in Germany in 2009. It’s one of three ebooks published on Kindle over the summer and feedback has been brilliant. I’m so thrilled you’re all enjoying them.
Thank you so much to everyone who entered my competition to win a signed copy of my new novel The Perfect Hero and a Jane Austen-inspired goody bag. The winner, Catherine from Dorset, was picked at random by bestselling author, Miranda Dickinson. Congratulations, Catherine!
Sorry if you’ve not been successful this time but do keep an eye on the website as there will be a new competition soon!
And don’t forget, you can still bag yourself a copy of The Perfect Hero. It was chosen as a ‘Summer Pick’ in The Sun last month and you may have seen it featured on Channel 5′s The Vanessa Show. It’s currently available on Amazon for £3.93 and the Kindle version is just £1.99 and it’s also is on promotion at large Tesco supermarkets across the country together with A Weekend with Mr Darcy.
I adore old houses especially big, old country houses and I’ve set quite a few of my books in them too. So, this week, on a perfect summer’s day, I met up with fellow author, Melanie Rose, and visited Hatchlands Park which lies deep in the Surrey countryside – just a stone’s throw away from Emma Woodhouse’s Box Hill.
Hatchlands has the most amazing collection of keyboard instruments and we saw one that had once belonged to Marie Antoinette. We marvelled at the collection before walking across the parkland and having tea and cake in the stable courtyard. This part of the estate reminded me of my book, A Weekend with Mr Darcy, and my hero Dan Harcourt who lives in a room below a clock tower.
It was a lovely summer’s day and it thoroughly recharged the batteries and I now have all sorts of ideas for the latest country house in a new novel of mine …
Saturday was a very special day for me because I had two talks in Hampshire – the county of Jane Austen! The first was at the West Meon Festival. West Meon is a gorgeous village in the heart of rural Hampshire and the church was decorated with bunting and there was coffee and cake for everyone.
I have never given a talk in a church before and I have to say that I was a little anxious that I might have to speak from the pulpit! Fortunately, this wasn’t the case and I was given a magnificent seat on a small stage in front of a beautiful altar.
Then it was on to Jane Austen’s House Museum at Chawton. I was so honoured to be speaking about my Jane Austen trilogy at the very home of my idol. The room was packed and there were dozens of questions for me to answer at the end and the biggest queue for a book signing I’ve ever had! I have to say that Austen fans are the loveliest people ever!
Now it’s back to the desk where I’m cooking up a lovely surprise for my readers. Keep in touch to find out what it is later this week …
Today is a very exciting day for me because A Weekend with Mr Darcy is published in the US. This is the first book of mine to be published in America and I’m just a bit in love with the cover:
It’s totally different from my UK cover which I also love for its sweetness and humour. I feel very lucky to have two very pretty covers!