Friday, July 15, 2011

Mary Simonsen Interview & A Wife for Mr. Darcy Giveaway

Please join me in welcoming the lovely Mary Simonsen to Songs and Stories! This interview is part of a blog tour for Mary's newest novel, A Wife for Mr. Darcy which, thanks to Sourcebooks, we will be giving away at the end of this post. If you have not read one of Mary's novels yet, you really should!

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I grew up in North Jersey (not the Jersey Shore). Shortly after I married my dear husband in 1976, we moved to Texas where we adopted our two daughters. After six years in Maryland, we moved to Phoenix in 1996. I have been an executive secretary, legal secretary, special ed assistant, and a tutor for English language learners. After I retired, I started to write a family history of my Irish ancestors and the little mining town in Pennsylvania where they lived after emigrating to the United States. That research led to Searching for Pemberley, my first Austen tie-in. Deb Werksman, my editor at Sourcebooks, saw my self-published book on Amazon and offered me a contract. That was in 2008, and I’ve been writing ever since. I have one more book coming out with Sourcebooks. Mr. Darcy’s Bite will be released in October in time for Halloween. That’s a hint.

How was writing A Wife for Mr. Darcy comparable with your other Pride and Prejudice variations? Was it harder? Easier?
Before I sit down to write my stories, I have had the plot in my head for quite a while. Once I start typing, the words just flow. If I should hit a rough patch, I mop my floor with my super duper Shark steam cleaner. By the time I have finished, I usually have the problem worked out.
It was interesting how you neatly cut off most of the problems that plagued Elizabeth and Darcy in the original. Why did you decide to do that?

I wanted to write something different from Austen, but stay true to her characters. What if Darcy and Elizabeth fell in love right off the bat, but outside forces worked to keep them apart? That is the case with Darcy and Letitia Montford. Darcy paid sufficient attention to Miss Montford during the season so that there were “expectations” of a proposal. Darcy, being the straight arrow we know and love, feels obligated to follow through. Fortunately, his friends and family work behind the scenes to keep him from ruining his life and Letitia’s as well. 
What were your favorite scenes to write?

I really enjoy writing original characters. In A Wife for Mr. Darcy, I had a lot of fun writing about Colonel Fitzwilliam’s brother, Lord Fitzwilliam, a total rake, and I invented Diana Crenshaw, Mr. Bingley’s sister, who happens to be the mother of a tribe of free-spirited children who don’t like the word “no.”
What are you working on at the moment?

A novel called Darcy on the Hudson in which Darcy, Georgiana, and Bingley come to New York to visit Bingley’s uncle. Elizabeth Bennet is an American, and Darcy is attracted to a more liberated woman than one would encounter in London society. I found it interesting to compare the two cultures circa 1811.

For Fun:

If Darcy asked you out on a date, what would you wear?

I would wear a simple sleeveless black dress that would hit me just above the knee and pearls. I don’t think Darcy would want me to wear anything low cut. Certainly, not on the first date.

What is one question you would love to ask Jane Austen?

How did you make revisions to your manuscripts using a quill pen? Would you have changed anything else if editing had been easier? You have got to admire writers who turned out masterpieces when their writing instruments were so primitive.

If you went for a walk about the park with one of the ladies in your story, who would it be and what would you talk about?

I would like to talk to Jane Bingley. Before Bingley bolted to London, what did you and Charles discuss? You talked a lot at the Netherfield ball. What were you talking about? Also, I would love to ask Jane Fairfax what she saw in that rascal, Frank Churchill—other than not having to take a position as a governess.

Who are your favorite literary hero and heroine other than Darcy and Elizabeth?

I love Anne and Captain Wentworth. What’s not to love about a couple who stayed true in their hearts for eight years?

Thank you, Natalie. This was fun.

Thank you, Mary, for letting me ask you all these questions! :)

Books by Mary Simonsen:
Searching for Pemberley
The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy
Anne Elliot, A New Beginning
For All the Wrong Reasons
Mr. Darcy’s Angel of Mercy
A Walk in the Meadows at Rosings Park (August 2011)
Darcy on the Hudson (August 2011)

The Giveaway:
Beth from Sourcebooks is offering a copy of A Wife for Mr. Darcy to one lucky commentator. To enter, just leave something nice for Mary along with your e-mail or Twitter handle. For one extra entry, spread the word (Twitter, FB, Blogger etc.) and leave a link. This giveaway is only open for the U.S. and Canada and runs to 11:59 p.m. July 25 Pacific time.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. This book sounds really wonderful! I have been following you Mary on this blog tour. I've been enjoying it! Thank you!


  3. Hi, Natalie. Thank you for having me on your blog. It's been fun getting to know you behind the scenes.

    Hi, Margaret. Thank you for joining me on my blog tour. It's always good to have company.

  4. How awesome to have been offered a contract! Congrats on your success, and best wishes with your future books.

  5. I've already purchased an advance copy of Mr. Darcy's Bit Bite, so I'll be one of the first to have it when it's released. Like you said, just in time for Halloween. Enjoyed this little conversation, Mary.

  6. I love your variations, Mary! I look forward to reading more.


  7. Thank you, Ladies, my faithful friends. It's always a pleasure.

  8. Hello Mary...I have not read any of your books yet but I would love to =) I have been looking for Jane Austen sequels/pastiches and that's how I came about Austen authors group in FB and saw this. I look forward to reading your books.


  9. Mary, like Roselle I haven't had the pleasure to read any of your books yet. I am really dying to read your new one, because I've been craving a "fantastic" Pride and Prejudice sequel. Good luck in the future!



    And I shared this on facebook!!

  10. I really love Pride and Prejudice. It is my favorite book. Its real great to see authors continuing with this love story or making spin offs because I can fall in love with the story again. Thanks so much for this book and the giveaway.

  11. good luck & congrats, Mary!!!! thank you for visiting!!! i can't wait to read your book!!!
    thank you for the giveaway, too!!!!
    sharing on FB:

  12. I LOVE reading 'Pride & Prejudice' variations and 'A Wife for Mr. Darcy' has been a book that I have wanted to read for awhile now. Please enter me in this wonderful giveaway and thank you for this opportunity!

    lovetoread205 [at] gmail [dot] com

  13. I tweeted about this giveaway. Here is the URL -!/Celtic_Girl/status/92902725880258560

  14. Hi Ladies, Thank you so much for stopping by and visiting with Natalie and me. Good luck to you all.

  15. i have your available novels on my wait list at the library!
    blstef1 at mts dot net
    i shall now be adding this one, but with the fervent hope of removing it with the good fortune of winning my very own copy! thank you so much sharing your work with us today and for the generous giveaway ")
    blstef1 at mts dot net

  16. This sounds wonderful! I enjoyed Mary's Anne Elliot: A New Beginning and this sounds like fun as well! Thanks for hosting the giveaway!


  17. Tweeted:!/afewmorepages/status/95514637822468097