Friday, May 6, 2011

Interview with Marsha Altman & Giveaway!

It is my great pleasure to welcome Marsha Altman, author of the The Darcys and the Bingleys, The Plight of the Darcy Brothers, Mr. Darcy's Great Escape, and The Ballad of Grégoire Darcy, to Songs and Stories.
If you have never read any of Marsha's books, you need to. Immediately. Get yourself to a bookshop.

Describe yourself in five sentences or less.

Introverted. Bookish. Intelligent. Quiet. Inquisitive. 

Also, this is one weird dating website you’re running. 

Who is your favorite character in the original Pride and Prejudice?

I assume you mean after Mr. Darcy, and the answer is Mr. Bingley. He was a sweetie. A little dumb, but a sweetie. And a cutie in the 2005 movie.

Who is your favorite character to write?

Mugin. You pretty much cannot go wrong with any of his dialogue. Also he can be violent whenever he wants to be and get away with it.

What was the hardest scene to write in the Ballad of Grégoire Darcy? (Without giving too much away.)

The court scenes toward the end, because I’m not tremendously familiar with the Irish court system in the 1810’s, couldn’t find a ton of material on its procedures, and also wanted a resolution to the plotline that wasn’t too gruesome. The last book, Mr. Darcy’s Great Escape, was pretty gruesome, and I stand behind the writing, but I know it was a different direction and I didn’t want to constantly keep that up. The rest of the books are relatively lighter.

What was the most fun?

Any of the scenes with Charles Bingley and Brian Maddox traveling in India and China. There’s always room for cultural misinterpretations and it was another chance to get the characters outside of the European hemisphere, which is hard to do in this setting.

What is your craziest writing/publishing moment?

Once in college, during the dead of winter, I was writing a book and I was pretty much on a reverse schedule – I went to sleep when the sun went up and woke up when the sun went down. After three days, I had to get up earlier in the afternoon to get my mail from the post office, and I went outside and was stunned that there was LIGHT EVERYWHERE! FREAKIN’ EVERYWHERE! And it was even worse because the ground was covered in snow, making it especially bright in the sun. Then I realized that maybe I should see the sun on a regular basis, even if it impacted my production.

What are your favorite and least favorite parts of writing a book?

My favorite part is when I’m in a zone, where it’s material I’ve been eagerly looking forward to writing and have all planned out or is just flowing really well unexpectedly. I cannot describe how this feels. It is the entire reason I write. To be there.

My least favorite parts are (a) describing scenery, because I was always taught not to bore readers, so I don’t have much practice in it, and (b) writing the scenes that come before the scenes I’ll really eager to write. Even if they’re not just filler, they’re in the way and it feels like they’re a hurdle I have to jump. Like if all the action is at Pemberley, but everyone is in London from another plotline and I have to wrap that and get them there, and that can be really aggravating and slow my writing down to a halt.

Have you ever considered writing a sequel for any other work of classical literature, Jane Austen or otherwise?

I’ve written a lot of fan fiction, which is really what we’re talking about, but for TV shows, movies, and modern books that are not in public domain. I can’t really tell you why I choose one thing and not another. Either I’m inspired or I’m not; it’s very hard to write when I’m uninspired and very easy when I am.

Can you tell us anything about what you are working on now?

I’m working on some short stories – very short stories – that coincide with the events of The Ballad of Grégoire Darcy that I hope to release as a freebie on all e-Reader formats (and in .pdf) as a kind of promotional thing and to reward my loyal fans. The last one is holding me up because it’s been a while since I wrote in this genre except to edit, and I’ve been dragging my feet on it for about a month by just reading book after book for research I don’t actually need for the story.

I also have a non-fiction book on Talmudic business ethics that my agent is trying to sell to the Chinese-language market. The proposal is done and if they buy it, I have to go write it.

While I’m waiting on that I have a sci-fi novel called Towerland that I’m thinking of releasing as an e-book. It’s a post-apocalyptic story about a widower trying to find out what happened to his brother during said-apocalyptic event. Science fiction is my original passion; I just sort of wandered into historical fiction and got published there first.

How many books are there planned for the Darcy/Bingley series?

There are ten books in total, all written. They were finished over a year ago, actually. The traditional publishing process is just very slow, and whether the publisher buys the next book depends on sales of the last book. It’s a magical journey of uncertainty, sales reports, and confusing royalty statements. 

Yay! I always get so excited when I hear how many books there are going to be in this series. Thank you so much for visiting, I hope you will come again. :)

The Giveaway:

Ulysses Press has offered a copy of The Ballad of Grégoire Darcy to one lucky winner.

All you have to do is:
Leave a comment telling us who your favorite Jane Austen character is along with your e-mail address and a round of applause for Marsha. :)
You do not have to be a follower to enter, but it would make me smile.
This giveaway will run through Saturday, May 14th. The winner will be selected through a random number generator.
This giveaway is international.

                                  Lieder Madchen


  1. I love her books! I have read all of them!
    I have 2 favorite characters from P&P, Elizabeth and mr. Bennett.

  2. Never read her books, but I love Jane Austin.
    My favourite chaeater is Mr.Darcy!:)

  3. My fav character would be Mr.Darcy. Here's a round of applause for Marsha and I am a new follower. Thanks for this giveaway!


  4. A minor character that I always remember is Mrs. Jennings, Lady Middleton's mother in Sense and Sensibility.

    She sounds like a really fun person to know.

    Thanks for the giveaway.

    Carol T

    buddytho {at} gmail DOT com

  5. I love Mr. Darcy! But Mr. Bingley is awesome too!!

    hense1kk AT cmich DOT edu