Where I share my love of books with reviews, features, giveaways and memes. Family and needlepoint are thrown in from time to time.


Friday, October 9, 2009

Come and Meet Sara Angelini - author of The Trials of the Honorable F. Darcy

Hi Sara - Let me start by welcoming you to Books and Needlepoint and wishing you a belated Happy Birthday! Both of my daughters were born in September, so I am a little partial to that month.

Thank you! My mother and husband also have September birthdays. I think people must be snuggling too much in January!

1. I read a guest post that you had written at Romance Junkies Blog, and you stated that many of the courtroom scenes came from personal experiences - outside of being a writer/wife/mother - what do you do for you "day" job?

Well, as if being a writer/wife/mother of two isn't enough, I'm also a full-time attorney by day! The courtroom scene in which Elizabeth tells Darcy that she "won't be bullied into settlement when her client is in the right" was an actual event, and Elizabeth was making the same argument that I made. (For the record, I lost :) )

2. This is your first novel - so your first blog tour. Has anything happened on the tour that has taken you by surprise?

I am always surprised by how warm and welcoming the online community is to total strangers. A blog is intimidating—it's like giving a speech, only you can't visualize your audience naked to ease your nerves! But all of my hosts have been great, and I've been exposed to a whole new world - the blogosphere.

That's kind of funny, because even though this isn't my first author interview, I still get intimidated about trying to come up with original questions! Growing up as a reader - they were just so "untouchable!"

3. Where did you come up for the idea for this modern day Pride and Prejudice?

I had been trolling the fan fiction sites looking for an updated version of Pride and Prejudice, but nothing was quite satisfying my peculiar needs. So many of the modern stories felt forced because Regency concepts were being shoehorned into modern times, with the result being characters who seemed uncomfortable in their surroundings. Or even worse, the "proud" Darcy was just a grumpy/stuck up snob. I wanted to create a Pride and Prejudice that related to my world: with a conflict that I could understand, and a hero that I could admire. I'd always felt that yes, Darcy was stuck up, but he also was probably funny and kind. So I decided to take the focus off of his pride and to concentrate on his more attractive traits.

4. Do you have any authors/books that you feel played an important role in your decision to write a book - or influenced you as you were growing up? (I am sure Jane will be part of this list…)

As a child - and indeed as an adult - I loved Laura Ingalls Wilder's books. I also love J.R.R. Tolkien and George R.R. Martin. These writers introduced fascinating new worlds and characters that I grew to know and love, and that inspired me to try to create my own. I'm starting with baby steps by riding the tailcoats of Austen, where the characters are already known and loved, but it allowed me to try my hand in a safe environment. Next time I will be exploring outside of that sphere.

Laura Ingalls Wilder was big for me also, but I wasn't much of a Tolkien fan outside of The Hobbit. My daughter, on the other hand, loves The Lord of the Rings series. I must admit I hadn't heard of George R.R. Martin, but after looking him up am going to recommend him to my daughter also!

5. How important do you think the cover/title of a book is and did you have any say in that process?

I think it's pretty important. So many comments I've read have been about how cute the cover is, and it invokes Legally Blonde, another legal-based chick-lit work. I didn't really have any say in the cover; I was asked to provide some character descriptions but they did not end up on the cover.

It does invoke Legally Blonde! I knew it seemed familiar, but couldn't place why!

6. I know that your life is very busy with children, husband and job—but is there another book possibly in the works? Or an idea for one that you could share with us?

I did complete a second novel called No Strings Attached, which is another contemporary romance. The heroine is a cellist and the hero is a technology mogul (a la Steve Jobs). It was originally written as a Pride and Prejudice fan fiction but is truly a stand-alone work with original characters. It needs some revision but I hope to have it to my agent by the end of the year. I also have another legal-based romance in the works, and I always have ideas swimming around in my head! It's just a matter of getting the quiet time I need to think and work.

I will be watching for No Strings Attached as I am sure many of my readers will be also!

7. How long did it take you to write The Trials of the Honorable F. Darcy? Was it easier or harder than you anticipated?

The initial draft of Trials took only five months. Once I got started, my characters began to take more solid shape and the writing became much easier. It was much faster than I thought it would be. But then, the revisions took two years! My second novel took about a year to finish in its first draft, and I have not begun revisions in earnest yet. I think I was misled by Trials into thinking writing was easy; it's not, it's a constant struggle to write something fresh and invigorating.

8. Are there any books currently on your nightstand?

What To Expect: The Toddler Years and Dan Brown's latest (unopened).

9. You told your husband that he should read this book because it was your owner's manual. Can you tell us more about why this is?

The joke was that all of the steamy sex scenes would give him a road map to a very happy wife! But the truth is that it's an insight on the things I find funny or romantic. There's an awful lot of me in that book, much more than I ever realized when I set out to write it.

What a great way that would be to let your husband know all about you! I know there are times I think - I can't believe that after all these years he still doesn't know (fill-in-the-blank)!

10. If you had actually become a veterinarian as you had originally planned - how do you think your life might be different?

That's a question nobody has ever asked me! I don't think that I would be as happy as a veterinarian. The reason I chose to go to law school was because my Master's degree in animal science didn't feel like a good "fit." I was taking classes at a school that was geared toward agricultural animals rather than small animals, and that didn't really fit me either. I felt like I was forcing myself into a mold. But law school was a wonderful, eye-opening experience. I met so many people from different backgrounds and with different perspectives and goals. Being an attorney keeps me in constant contact with interesting people, many of whom could easily be characters in my next books.

(Yeah - I found an original question!) I had never thought about the differences there must be between agricultural animals and small animals - my oldest daughter has mentioned that she might want to be a vet - that will be something that I will keep in mind if this is what she pursues, as to what college to gear her towards! Being a lawyer just seems like it is the complete other end of the spectrum from vet - and it definitely sounds like it is a good fit for you!

11. Is there anything that you would like to tell my readers today?

I would just like to say that both writing and reading are meant to be enjoyable. I don't take my writing (or myself) too seriously and nobody else should, either. My book is a lighthearted homage to Jane Austen, and it shouldn't be taken as anything other than that. My greatest reward is knowing that somebody had a giggle while reading my book. Thank you so much for having me on Books and Needlepoint!

Sara - Thank you for taking the time to be on Books and Needlepoint!

Danielle at Sourcebooks is allowing me to give away one copy of Sara's book - The Trials of the Honorable F. Darcy. Please tell me what your favorite Jane Austen book is - or Jane Austen inspired book. If you have not read anything that would fall in either of these two categories - then you must sign up anyway so that you can get your feet wet!

Giveaway open only to U.S./Canada - Must leave email address for entry. One entry per person - one winner. Giveaway ends Oct 30.


A Bookshelf Monstrosity said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
A Bookshelf Monstrosity said...

My favorite Austen is Pride and Prejudice by far. I also enjoyed Austenland by Shannon Hale.

Great interview and thanks for the giveaway :)

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I have to say Pride and Prejudice but this author interview is so good I am very interested in this book! It sounds like she is another very inspirational woman - full time mother, lawyer AND writer - wow! Any one of those alone would knock out most people!

nbmars AT yahoo DOT com

Pam said...

The only Jane Austen book I remember reading is Emma and I loved it. P&P is a book on my need to read list.

melacan at hotmail dot com

Haleyknitz said...

I've never read Jane Austen, which is terrible because we own the entire collection... but i would love to read this book!

haleymathiot at yahoo dot com

Wendi B. - Wendi's Book Corner ~ Rainy Day Reads in Seattle said...

What a great (and fun) interview! I've got this one on the top of my tbr pile and am going to try to get it read over the weekend. Can't wait!

:) Wendi

Tammy said...

It's a toss-up between Pride & Prejudice and Emma. I love them both.

missporkchop at yahoo dot com

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Two degrees in English and no Jane Austen. I think that's quite an accomplishment.

No need to enter me, though. I'm dropping in to say thanks for the e-mail. I've got this posted at Win a Book for you.

heatherzilla said...

My favorite Jane Austen novel is Pride and Prejudice.

Please include me in the giveaway.

holdenj said...

I've always really liked Persuasion.
Great interview! Can't wait to read her book.
Thanks for the giveaway.

Sheila Deeth said...

My favorite Austen book is Pride and Prejudice, for the slightly odd reason that it's the one my son had to read in high school, and I enjoyed discussing it with him.

Kristen said...

My favorite is of course Pride and Prejudice. Isn't it everyone's? LOL! Please enter me in this contest.

whitreidsmama at yahoo dot com

budletsmom said...

I must confess I have never actually read a Jane Austin book - hanging head in shame - I have loved the movie versions though - I know I will end up reading them eventually though since the books are always better than the movies. I love the idea of updating a great story.

budletsmom at yahoo dot com

MoziEsmé said...

Pride & Prejudice...

Looks like an interesting book here!

janemaritz at yahoo dot com

Virginia C said...

Thanks for the great interview and giveaway! The excerpt that I have read is sizzlin'! Great repartee and smoky romance!

Emma by Jane Austen

gcwhiskas at aol dot com

Lynz Pickles said...

I'd have to go with Pride and Prejudice. It was my first Austen and will always have a special place in my heart because of that. But I'm very excited with some of the Austen-inspired books I've seen lately, so I've got to start reading them, too.


Anonymous said...

What a refreshing interview...my favourite Austen novel is 'pride and prejudice.' Would enjoy reading this exciting book...thanks for the opportunity.

karen k

bridget3420 said...

I haven't read any. I know, shame, shame.


lag123 said...

I don't guess that I have read anything that falls into these categories except Pride and prejudice.


Anonymous said...

My favorite is Pride and Prejudice. And I also love Sense and Sensibility.


Anonymous said...

I love P & P and S & S a lot. I just finished reading P&P and Zombies. Quite interesting! Would love to read this modern take on a good favorite.

bsyb100 at gmail dot com

Linna said...

My favorite is Sense and Sensibility. :D

linna.hsu at gmail dot com

Jasmyn said...

My favorite has to be Sense and Sensibility. I've loved it for years. Please enter me in your giveaway.


rubynreba said...

Pride and Prejudice is my favorite.

I Heart Book Gossip said...

Please count me in.

cindyc725 at gmail dot com

enyl said...

I enjoyed Pride and Predjudice.


Park Avenue Princess said...

I would LOVE to win this! And while I love P&P...everyone is picking that one so I'm going to be different and go with "Sense and Sensibility" : )

Thanks for hosting!

x0xx Park Avenue Princess


booklover0226 said...

Pride and Prejudice is my favorite, too!

Tracey D
Booklover0226 AT gmail DOT com

Sarah said...

Please enter me in this giveaway!

My favorite Jane Austen novel is Pride and Prejudice.

saemmerson at yahoo dot com

Sarah Emmerson

amweeks said...

My favorite Jane Austen book is probably Emma, but I have to admit that I really am not a Jane Austen fan. However, I'm interested in this book thinking that perhaps the more modern setting will make it that much more interesting for me!

Dawn M. said...

Like half of everybody, I'm going with Pride & Prejudice. :0)

librarygrinch at gmail dot com

FrankSandy said...

Sounds like a very enjoyable book. walkerd@primus.ca

ossmcalc said...

This looks like a wonderful book to read. I have not read anything by Jane Austen or by someone who was influenced by her.

Thank you,


Andrea said...

I'd have to say Pride and Prejudice is my favorite.

edmontonjb said...

My favorite is Emma. This book looks great.

Lanette said...

While I own all of her books, so far P&P is the only one I've read. But I've read it twice! :-)

Laura Hartness said...

Favorite Jane Austen books? P&P is my favorite, followed by S&S, in third is Emma.

Thanks for the chance to enter!

Laura Hartness


Anonymous said...

Pride and Prejudice is my choice. walkermisc@primus.ca

Barb said...

My favorite Jane Austin book is Pride and Prejudice.

Thanks for this great giveaway and great author interview.

bstgilwell12 at comcast dot net

CherylS22 said...

I've never read a Jane Austen book. Our book group has "Pride & Prejudice" scheduled a little later in the year. So, I'll get a chance then to finally read this classic.

Please count me in ~ Thanks!

Nancye said...

I have never read a Jane Austin book. Not sure why. I would love to win this book! It sounds great!

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net


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