terça-feira, 19 de abril de 2016

Q&A at Leslie Diamond

Hello, how lovely can it be to be invited to a Q&A to launch The Prince of Pemberley?


I loved it!

There were questions from many interesting JAFF people, some authors of great novels such as Compromised, Love never fails, What would Lizzy Bennet do? and The Earl's conquest. Amazing, right?

Is Jane Austen popular in Brazil?
Yes, incredibly. We have Facebook groups of 10k fans, our ‘Jane Austen Society of Brazil’ is pretty big too. I have to say the 2005 movie has opened Austen’s domain to lots of people – and that’s the beauty of adaptations, right?

How did you get introduced to this Jane Austen world and how old where you?
Late 20s, I guess. I have a dear friend who challenged me to read ‘the classics’ – her favorite classics – and gave me Tolkien, Balzac, Austen. But it was S&S and the first pages killed me. I wanted to jump in the book and punch John Dashwood in the face! Then shake Elinor’s shoulders! As I complained, my friend grimaced and said: ‘Honey, you need Elizabeth Bennet.’ Here I am, a P&P junkie!

Which is your favorite Jane Austen novel and why?
P&P. Always.
But I have to say Lady Susan gnaws on my heart, she’s my guilty pleasure. ;)

Who is your favorite Austen hero and why?
Darcy! Always! *grin*
I like a bunch of other great Austen men but Darcy for me is perfect because he is so flawed. He offends the woman he adores when he’s trying to compliment her, his clumsy flirting is adorable, his efforts to make things right are to swoon for… Darcy, definitely.

Who is your favorite Austen heroine and why?
Elizabeth Bennet, without a question.
I find it very hard to digest women being tramped upon. Of course, we’ve come a long and hard way from the social situation in Austen novels, women whole in Regency England’s society was a lot different, but still Elinor Dashwood’s or Anne Elliot’s reactions kill me. Lizzy fights back, she refuses two very good matches, she doesn’t fall under Lady Catherine’s diatribe, she’s great. I love her.

Who is your favorite Jane Austen villain and why?
I should be loyal do Wickham but no one pars Churchill to me. Wicky, as I see it, is a dimwit bad boy, what we call a ‘malandro-cocô’ in Rio. He scams and lies and deceives and end up tied to poor and empty-headed Lydia. *shrug* But Emma’s Churchill… horrible, horrible man. He flirts and lies and scams and humiliates the very woman he’ll marry. I was so shocked when I first discovered his secret engagement to Jane Fairfax…
There’s also Isabella Thorpe, Fanny Dashwood, Caroline Bingley but these sweet ladies can never have any spotlight because Lady Susan is, wow, perfect.
Actually, I’d pick Susan over Churchill. (I love Susan to the moon and back!) 

How did you become interested in the world of Jane Austen? 
As I said, finding Lizzy after Elinor opened the Austen wonderland to me. I searched for more, the BBC series (Firth!... awww…), graphic novels and fanfics. When I discovered Mrs. Darcy website I was in Heaven!

Do you write your stories in Portuguese first and then translate?
No, I write in English and revise and revise and revise…
I studied the language from 8 to 18 years-old, taught children and teenage courses for a while.

Do you find it hard to translate your thoughts in English?
I don’t realize I do it, but I’ve been told my syntax is ‘peculiar’, so I probably think in a neat jumble of English+Portuguese. I write as I think about it, in English, as I’m doing now. (I apologize for any syntax weirdness.)

What is the biggest challenge you face writing in English?
The colloquialisms. I love them. Love slangs and accents and how they color a character’s personality, make him/her more believable. But, it’s tricky sometimes… every time I visit US (I have a six-years-old who loves Orlando Parks) I spend my time trying to engage as many people in conversation as I can.

Do you have a special time of day and place to write?
I usually write after arriving from my morning jog at the beach, but sometimes the plot is too juicy not to stop everything and put it to paper.
My hubs gave me a ‘writer’s office’ as a 40th birthday gift. My design (I’m an architect), it’s really cute but in reality he wanted me to dissolve the mess I created in our dining room table. So, my smallish balcony is now a lovely office.




Where do you find your inspiration?
I dreamt the last story I wrote. It was a long scene about a couple meeting again after a bad breakup and it’s clear they still love each other but can’t find a way to be together. When I opened my eyes I knew I had to write it. From that scene came the whole story and then two more to form a cute project: Persian cats plot to unite three couples.

When your muse decides to be uncooperative what do you do to get her cooperation again (walking, cleaning, listen to music, etc)?
I give her time.
My muse is a whimsical indolent Lady, she smokes smelly cinnamon cigarettes, those brown long ones with swirling smoke and she smirks when whispering a good idea in my ear. When she’s taking a break, I put the work aside and wait.
The Prince of Pemberley was left half written, simmering untouched for several months, almost a year.
 At first Darcy and Lizzy are friends, pals, ‘bros’ until the sexual tension wins them over. Conducting them was easy. Their lifetogether as a rightful couple once their divorces were done, that wasn’t difficult because it’d be so nice – a life together after emerging from hell. But the period in between when they cheat on their spouses repeatedly, are lovers with so much baggage, so much love and contradicting emotions was very hard to make it right (sorry for the pun, it’s wrong and they know and Lizzy freaks out).
My muse took her time to help me write exactly the way I wanted this story to be told.

When writing do you need quiet or do you listen to music, and if so what kind?
I’d love to have peace and quiet! Loooove it!
But I write in my free time, often shared with my hubs and son. Especially when I’m in the middle of a hot scene, whenever Darcy does this or that to Lizzy, I hear: ‘Mom!...’ *groan*
When I can’t absolutely concentrate, I work on covers or playlists. Every story I write have a wicked playlist I like to enjoy when working out.

Which of Jane Austen’s characters would your mother say you are most like? How about your friends? Who would they say you are most like?
My mom is into Brazilian historical biographies. But, I’d say she would choose Catherine Morland for me because my head has always been filled with fantastic stories, imaginary friends, alternative views to everything.
My friends would dare to put me anywhere far from Lizzy!

Who is your least favorite Jane Austen character and why?
What a sad thing to think about… Elinor Dashwood, I have to say. She’s lovely and sane and sensible and intelligent but also so very compliant. I’d kick and complain, but she is so very classy… coming to think of it, I dislike her reactions, not her.

If Darcy was on an Olympic football (soccer) team, what position would he play? Who would be his biggest competition? (Neymar Da Silva Santos, Lionel Messi, or Christiano Ronaldo)
I never see Darcy as spotlight guy, a forward in soccer. I always see him as a backstage man, one that makes sure everything goes smoothly, let someone else take the lights. So I’d say he’d be midfielder, Zidane or Pirlo. (I may have been distracted by Mr. Pirlo’s looks.)
But I have to say that, after Germany shamed us here in our own Maracanã stadium during World Cup, soccer is no longer something we’re so fond of. We’re very hurt with our national team.

Actually, if Darcy and Lizzy each competed in an Olympic event during the 2016 Olympic games in Brazil, which sport would YOU want to watch them participate in?
I’m laughing here! What a great scenario! Tall, dark and handsome Darcy in tight sportswear!
For Lizzy, a team… maybe handball. I see her as a leader. Or tennis, she’d be great shooting cannonballs towards an opponent, wouldn’t she?
For Darcy I’d say rowing. He does row in my P&P inversion (he’s middle class and Lizzy is filthy rich).
Wouldn’t it be great to have a light and funny fanfic about them meeting at the Olympic Village?

Which is your favorite Darcy and Elizabeth to read – modern or Regency?
I like modern, love them. Because of what I said, my difficulty to accept women’s whole in the past. But I’ve read so many marvelous Regency pieces…
I’ve recently tried to write Regency and while these short stories are good reads, I’d say they are modern stories in Regency clothes.

Do your family and friends know you write Jane Austen fan fiction?
Oh, yes! They’ve learned to love Darcy because of me!
My hubs said he’s thinking about buying us a cat to name it Darcy and be able to say: ‘Darcy, leave my bed now!’

So, I’d like to know what inspired your covers? Do you also paint/design?It took us – my cover designer Cris Neiva and I - a long time to choose an image that could translate the long and hurtful journey these Darcy and Lizzy take – from friends to lovers to a married couple – and we toyed with several sequences of pictures until we found this one. The kiss seems ambiguous; it can be a stolen kiss, a reunion or a celebration of free love.
I do paint and try craft arts but writing takes most of my free time these days. My son is too curious, I cringe thinking how much he’d mess with my painting gear…

What makes your variations different from other writers of p&p variations?
My Darcys and Lizzys are half Brazilian.
In my first story ‘Friendship of aspecial kind’, they barely knew each other but he greeted her with a kiss on her cheek; it’s a common thing to do here in Brazil, I didn’t think twice of it but my Beta said ‘Whoa! What a forward guy! Why would he do that?’ *laugh* Since then I’ve been taking care to ‘clean’ them of Brazilian zest, but there’s the syntax…

Are your books set in the present day, or the Regency period? What inspired you to write them?
Present day. The story starts in the 80’s when they meet as teenagers, than there’s a twenty years gap.
When I met my hubs, he was practically engaged and I had an older boyfriend who was always threatening me with a proposal. It was meant to be, we broke our commitments to be together but the ‘what if’ never left me. What if we had met a year later and we were both married? What if we hadn’t managed to be together? What if… The prince of Pemberley is about this doubt, a leap of faith, second chances.
Darcy and Lizzy meet as teenagers through letters, England to Brazil by post, stamps, paper, envelopes – late 80s. They try to meet in person but fate intrudes. Then life gets between them, they grow older and their friendship is put aside for twenty years. They both marry and have children (in England, Darcy marries Anne; in Brazil; Lizzy marries Wickham) until Lizzy finds him on Google almost twenty years after their last letter. The friendship rekindles instantly and from that to love is the journey told in three books.

Are all three books about Darcy? Or are we looking at future generations? Or are there men at Pemberley the we know not of? Or are these sequels?
All Darcy and Lizzy. They both have children, there is the next Bennett-Darcy generation, but it’s centered on them. He is the King of Pemberley!
In my stories, Darcy and Lizzy are together from the beginning and most of the time, I try not to fill it with subplots that don’t add to their timeline.
The books are part of a single touchy story– they are friends in book 1, cheaters in book 2, struggling to make it work in book 3. Sequels, yes… but continuations, that’d be better said.

If you could spend two months at Pemberley in the 1800’s, what three items would you have to pack in your suitcase?
A toiletries bag, a phone (to record conversations, take pics and notes), calming tablets – I’d freak out!