Friday, 14 January 2011

Interview and giveaway: Mary Lydon Simonsen with The Perfect Bride for Mr Darcy

Today I have the author of The Perfect Bride for Mr Darcy over.  There will also be a giveaway of two copies at the bottom of this post. But first, please help me welcome Mary Lydon Simonsen.

Welcome to Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell!

Tell me something about yourself, so we can get to know you better.

First, thank you for having me as your guest. Now to answer your question. I am the perfect example of someone who developed a second career relatively late in life. As a working woman, I was a legal secretary and special education assistant, but after taking early retirement, I started to write a novel which would eventually become Searching for Pemberley, my first novel for Sourcebooks, in my mid fifties. It goes to show you that it’s never too late to begin again. Of course, I’m not talking about trying out for the Olympics.

Your newest book is called The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy; could you tell me what it is about?

I chose to use two minor characters to advance the plot of my Pride and Prejudice retelling. The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy is faithful to Austen’s novel in that the set-up of the story is the same: Darcy proposes to Elizabeth at Hunsford, and she rejects him because of his arrogance, his interference in Jane and Bingley’s romance, and his supposed mistreatment of George Wickham. So that’s the end of their romance. Right? Not exactly.  Darcy’s cousin, Anne De Bourgh, realizing that Elizabeth is perfect for Darcy, puts a plan in place to bring the pair together at Pemberley. Along the way, she enlists the aid of Georgiana Darcy as well as Colonel Fitzwilliam and even their rascal cousin, Earl Fitzwilliam. Although there are difficulties, my goal was to write a light-hearted story.

I know that you have written a couple of other books. Could you tell me about those?

This is a question that every author dreams about getting. My first novel, Searching for Pemberley, takes place in post World War II England where American, Maggie Joyce, finds her own Mr. Darcy.  Anne Elliot, A New Beginning, is a parody of Austen’s Persuasion, and I had a ball writing it. Anne becomes a long-distance runner, and the confidence she gains from that experience, changes everything—everything except her love for Captain Wentworth. Finally, I wrote a modern, non-Austen romantic comedy, The Second Date, Love-Italian American Style, that takes place in the late 1980s in the Italian-American community of North Jersey where I grew up.

Now to the important question: what led you to writing Austen variations?

I have been in love with Jane Austen’s writings since I first read Pride and Prejudice in 1969, so Jane and I have been together for more than four decades. For years, I had been thinking about writing an Austen tie-in because Austen is one of those writers who doesn’t detail every single thing, allowing your imagination to fill in the blanks. Over the years, I have imagined many “what ifs.” In addition to The Perfect Bride, I have another novel coming out in July, A Wife for Mr. Darcy. Realizing that he was rude and had given offense at the Meryton assembly, Mr. Darcy apologizes the next day to Elizabeth. Because they don’t start out disliking each other, their romance goes off on a different trajectory. But the course of love never does run smooth or it would be a very short novel.

Are you working on something new and exciting right now?

I have several irons in the fire: a time travel in which a modern  P&P enthusiast travels back to Regency England, Mr. Darcy visiting New York where he meets American Elizabeth Bennet, and a post World War I story where Darcy and Elizabeth meet in a hospital. I don’t lack ideas; I lack time.

Which Austen heroine do you most feel like?

I would like to say Elizabeth Bennet because she has spunk, and I admire spunk. But I’m more like Anne Elliot. I tend to let events come to me, but Anne did end up with Captain Wentworth, one of my favorite heroes in all of literature.

Which Austen hero would be your perfect match?

Again, I will have to go with Captain Wentworth. Despite a separation of eight years, Frederick remained faithful to Anne Elliot in his heart and mind. I would always know that such a man would be there for me. Such devotion provides a foundation for a person to grow. I know this from personal experience. (Thanks, Paul.)

Do you have any insight into why we all love Mr. Darcy so much?

Hmmm. Let me think? Wildly in love with Elizabeth, devoted to those he cares about, good brother, excellent master, a man capable of reform, rich, handsome, a person of rank, portrayed by Colin Firth and Matthew Macfadyen, master of Pemberley. Should I keep going?

Any advice for aspiring writers?

Getting published is a hard business, so I would tell writers to remember why they started writing in the first place. Keep reminding yourself that this is something you love to do, so do it for that reason. Everything else is a bonus.

Thank you so much for having me. It’s been a pleasure.

Thank you :)

Now to the giveaway. Thanks to Sourcebooks I have 2 copies of The perfect bride for Mr Darcy to give away.

1. Open to US and Canada
2. Ask Mary a question, comment on the book, the interview, or just tell me which is your fav Jane Austen hero or heroine. Or who would be perfect for you. In the end just something more than enter me  :)
3. Ends January 19th
4. And last, if your email is not in your profile, then leave it here or just email me it. So I do not need to hunt you down if you win (which I will still do anyway but still :)


If the two of them weren’t so stubborn…

It’s obvious to Georgiana Darcy that the lovely Elizabeth Bennet is her brother’s perfect match, but Darcy’s pigheadedness and Elizabeth’s wounded pride are going to keep them both from the loves of their lives.

Georgiana can’t let that happen, so she readily agrees to help her accommodating cousin, Anne de Bourgh, do everything within their power to assure her beloved brother’s happiness.
But the path of matchmaking never runs smoothly…


Mary Lydon Simonsen’s first book, Searching for Pemberley, was acclaimed by Booklist, Publishers Weekly, and RT Book Reviews. She is well loved and widely followed on all the Jane Austen fanfic sites, with tens of thousands of hits and hundreds of reviews whenever she posts. She lives in Peoria, Arizona where she is working on her next Jane Austen novel. For more information, please visit and, where she regularly contributes.


  1. I am amazed how Jane Austen's work keeps travelling. I loved all the story ideas she has planned for future works.

  2. Wonderful interview! Mary is great and I'm looking forward to reading her new novel!

  3. Not entering, but I added it to linkity just now!

  4. Love the cover of this book and would love the opprotunity to win it. Mr Darcy of course is my favorite character ;)
    Joy at Books and Life

  5. Great interview! The Perfect Bride for Mr Darcy sounds like a wonderful book. I love Mr Darcy!! ;)


  6. And upon all these I am yet to read an Austen novel. I would by all necessary means. It is bad. lol. thanks for this

  7. Seeing someone start a great career like that mid-life, gives hope to middle aged folks like me!

  8. Blodeuedd, Thank you for hosting me on your blog today and to all those who read our interview. It's very exciting for me to know that people all over the world are reading my book or just getting to know me. This is exciting!

  9. Are you planing on doing any other books based on famous characters other than Jane Austen? This sounds like a fun book.

  10. (not an entry as i have these already)

    wanted to woot for mary! i love learning tidbits from authors.

  11. Thank you everyone for your comments.

    Bermuda Onion, If I can do start anew, anyone can. I'm not one to take chances, but I did.

    Melissa, I am going to try to write a non-Austen mystery. But I already have a non-Austen romantic novel out called The Second Date, Love Italian-American Style set in NJ's Italian-American community in the 1980s. Thanks for asking.

    Hey Velvet. Thanks for stopping by.

  12. Vivienne
    Thank you Jane Austen :D

    I have her older one to read, yay

    Thanks Chris!

    One cannot go wrong with Mr Darcy :)

    Lol, I do think everyone loves him :D me included, he is just dreamy

    You know, I have only read 2!

    Gives hope to me too :)


    Velvet :D

  13. Hi Mary :)
    Thanks for stopping by today and giving this fun interview.

    Trying my best to spread the Austen variation love here in cold Finland :)

  14. Northanger Abbey and Sense and Sensibility are my two favorite Austen books, but Elizabeth Bennett is my favorite character.


  15. I'm from Europe so, not entering. Just wanted to say that I enjoyed the interview!
    Great that you're spreading the Austen variation love, B. :)

  16. Really great interview! I'm so looking forward to reading this book!
    And my favorite Austen Hero/Heroine? Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth, of course ;-)


  17. I like that your favorite Jane Austen heroine is Elizabeth Bennett - she's mine too!

    i would love to be entered in the giveaway -

  18. I still haven't gotten to read The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy yet, but I'm really looking forward to it.

    Please don't enter me in the drawing. I just wanted to say hi!

    Jennifer Becton

  19. I love Mary's books and just wanted to say she's also a very kind and good person as well as a fine writer. Well done, you!

  20. I loved the interview! Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion are tied for first as my favorite Austen novels. Who is your favorite Austen villain? Not necessarily the most evil, but the one you enjoy disliking the most.

  21. Why oh why is all the JA fan fiction giveaways with restrictions????

  22. Susi
    Good choices :)

    Trying my best, lol

    They are just wonderful :)

    She is wonderful :)

    Hi Jennifer and Karen :)

    I do love Persuasion too.
    Oh I wanna answer this one, I do like being angry at Wickham

    I know, it's sad, not even I could enter :(

    As for my own question at the beginning:
    Persuasion has become my fav novel. Fav hero is a tie between Darcy and Wentworth, and the same goes for heroine, Lizzy and Anne

  23. I'm with you, Mary. Although I do love Mr. Darcy, I have a special place in my heart for Captain Wentworth. I'd like to explore his story more myself, in fact, I have a few ideas i'm working on.

  24. I love how there is always something re-imagined to the story of Darcy :)

    Great interview, Linda!

  25. I definitely need to catch up on my classics. No need to enter me but I really enjoyed the interview!

  26. hi mary...just wondering who some of your favourite are...

    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

  27. Awesome interview.

    While I love "Pride and Prejudice", I must admit that I love "Persuasion" more. My heart always breaks for Wentworth and Anne.


  28. My favorite Jane Austen characters are Emma and Mr. Knightly. Of course, I love Mr. Darcy too :)


  29. Great interview Ladies. You are quite the busy bee Mary WOW!

  30. My fav Jane Austen hero or heroine is Colin Firth. I mean, Mr. Darcy.

    nbmars AT yahoo DOT com

  31. Thank you for the chance to win this and for the interview. It sounds really good and I love to read it.

    niteofblu at gmail dot com

  32. Thanks for the chance to win! What a great interview!! I have to admit, I love me some Mr. Darcy!



    Winners have been notified



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