Your Affectionately, Jane Austen Tour Stop: Author Interview & Giveaway

June 14, 2013

Yours Affectionately tour

Title: Yours Affectionately, Jane Austen
Author: Sally Smith O'Rourke
Publication date: September 22, 2012
Publisher: Victorian Essence Press
Was Mr. Darcy real? Is time travel really possible? For pragmatic Manhattan artist Eliza Knight the answer to both questions is absolutely, Yes! And Fitzwilliam Darcy of Pemberley Farms, Virginia is the reason why!

His tale of love and romance in Regency England leaves Eliza in no doubt that Fitz Darcy is the embodiment of Jane Austen’s legendary hero. And she’s falling in love with him. But can the man who loved the inimitable Jane Austen ever love average, ordinary Eliza Knight?

Eliza’s doubts grow, perhaps out of proportion, when things start to happen in the quiet hamlet of Chawton, England; events that could change everything. Will the beloved author become the wedge that divides Fitz and Eliza or the tie that binds them?
 
Praise for Yours Affectionately, Jane Austen
O’Rourke creates a world that defies cynicism and demands suspension of disbelief – even in this age of doubt and hyper-realism. Sheer escapism at its best. Clever, charming and affectionate. ~Jocelyn Bury

…the reader must tenaciously read on rather than put the book down to satisfy their hunger for the story to resolve, which it does in characteristically Jane Austen fashion. ~Erin Murdock
In Yours Affectionately, Jane Austen, author Sally Smith O’Rourke creates a compelling story that investigates what and who might have inspired Jane Austen. While the story line is certainly far-fetched, it is a truly unique idea, one that captivated this reader until the very last page. ~Meg Massey

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Audio Book Excerpt 

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AUTHOR INTERVIEW 

Where did the inspiration for Yours Affectionately, Jane Austen come from? Why Austen? How did you get the idea to incorporate time travel into the story?
The answer to all of these questions is The Man Who Loved Jane Austen the prequel to Yours Affectionately, Jane Austen but I’m pretty sure that isn’t what you mean so I will expand that a bit.

Some years ago my late husband, Michael and I were evacuated from our home because of toxic mold. The ensuing law suit seemed to be taking over our lives, in an attempt to lighten things and keep our minds off mold we watched all six hours of the BBC/A&E mini-series, Pride and Prejudice. That inspired me to read the book again which in turned led me to all of Jane Austen’s other works. I was fascinated by the fact that 200 years ago she was writing intelligent, strong and independent (for the era) women and men who love them for those traits. Not the norm for the day.

I proceeded to read three biographies and all of Jane Austen’s letters (160 survive). About that time Mike suggested we resurrect a time travel project I had started about a modern woman who goes into the future. But I had another suggestion. One of the things that all the biographers agreed on was that Austen used the people in her life as the basis for her characters; the one stand out is Mr. Darcy of Pride and Prejudice. My suggestion was that we write a time travel story about a modern American who falls into Austen’s time and becomes the embodiment of Elizabeth Bennet’s Mr. Darcy and one of the most romantic figures in English literature.

As we had written the book for ourselves (Mike called it the ultimate valentine because it was created out of the love we had for each other) we didn’t try to get it published we type-set and hand bound copies for friends and family. Then Mike died; we hadn’t gotten out of the house soon enough.

After a period of recovery and grief I attempted to and succeeded in getting The Man Who Loved Jane Austen published because I didn’t want it to die with him. Unfortunately the publisher insisted on only one of our names on the cover and opted for mine as I would be doing the revisions and promotion.

Then a couple of years ago I decided to create a companion piece. I planned on a small journal ostensibly written by Jane Austen chronicling the five days she spent with Darcy in 1810 from The Man Who Loved Jane Austen. At one point early on I had her write at the end of an entry, “I wonder what Mr. Darcy is doing right now.” I found myself answering that question and the result was Yours Affectionately, Jane Austen. Completely unplanned and inspired by everything that went before it.

Is Eliza, the heroine of your novel, inspired by an Austen heroine?

I don’t want to sound egotistical, but Eliza is largely based on me, I was Mike’s inspiration and he was mine so Darcy is based on Mike. We wrote each other in The Man Who Loved Jane Austen. I continued that in Yours Affectionately, Jane Austen.

The name however, Elizabeth Ann Knight is drawn from Jane’s work and life and my life. Eliza is from Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice. One of her brother’s, Edward was adopted by a wealthy, childless distant cousin of their mother’s so they would have an heir. Edward’s adopted name was Knight. Ann was my sister’s middle name.

Was it difficult to switch between time periods while writing?
I’m a fan of time travel so writing it was fun. Immersion in books about the Regency era that included language and learning about day to day living and reading Georgette Hyer made it that much easier. Of course, reading Austen herself (novels and letters) helped immensely. I didn’t find it difficult at all to jump back and forth between eras, it felt like a natural progression as I wrote. I can’t really say why. It was fun though.

What do you think today’s average person would miss most if they suddenly found themselves in Regency England?
I suspect that anyone would feel pretty much the same way Fitz Darcy did when it happened to him.

The movement woke him. His mind finally clear of drugs (laudanum), he scanned the room in the dim, pre-dawn light. There were no electrical outlets or switches, no lamps, television or telephone, and the only clock appeared to be pendulum driven. Everyone he’d seen wore costumes similar to the ones people wore to the Rose Ball (the annual charity event he hosted). Those things and the medical treatment he had received (leeches, mercury) led him to the inexplicable conclusion that somehow he’d fallen into another time—a time when Jane Austen was alive.


If folks are like me they’d miss pretty much miss everything, being a creature of comfort, lack of plumbing and electricity would definitely be missed. Clothing in the Regency era was more comfortable than what preceded and followed it but still much different than today. I must admit, though, that I make regency style dresses to wear at home. I used to wear them for book signings.
  
Do you have any special memories attached to the writing of the book?
Memories were stirred about writing the first book because it was a collaboration with my late husband and working on Yours Affectionately, Jane Austen kept me connected to Mike while I was writing, it was as though he had his hand on my shoulder the whole time.

So what’s next?
I am currently working on a novel, Physician Heal Thyself, about past loves meeting up again twenty years later with the new blossoming relationship impacted by the reincarnated spirit of one of the main characters.

The audio book with Kendra Hoffman wonderful narration is now available at Audible.com, Amazon and iTunes.

Trade paperback available at Amazon and eBooks available pretty much everywhere.

GIVEAWAY TIME!!
$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 6/27/13


About The Author
Sally Smith O’Rourke is a surgical scrub nurse at the City of Hope national cancer research hospital in Duarte, California and resides in the near-by Victorian village of Monrovia. With her late husband, author Michael O’Rourke (aka F.M. O’Rourke) Smith O’Rourke owned and operated a medical advertising company where she used her diverse talents to produce and co-write teaching films and videos. Working not only with major medical and surgical manufacturing companies but also network television. These endeavors ultimately led to a collaboration on two feature films (direct to video) and three published novels. The wife and husband writing team of Sally Smith and Michael O’Rourke, being long-time fans of Jane Austen, wrote The Man Who Loved Jane Austen released by Kensington Books in 2006. Kensington followed that very successful effort with The Maidenstone Lighthouse in 2007 and Christmas at Sea Pines Cottage in 2009, both also collaborative projects by Smith and O’Rourke. Published after her partner and spouse’s untimely death in 2001, the publisher chose not to use the names Michael O’Rourke and Sally Smith (as the manuscripts were presented), releasing all three books under Sally Smith O’Rourke. Yours Affectionately, Jane Austen is Sally Smith O’Rourke’s first solo novel.

2 comments :

  1. Wow this book looks amazing! Great interview(:
    Jackie

    http://www.nobentspines.blogspot.com/2013/06/giveaway-expert-all-in-by-marta-brown.html

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks, Jackie! I'm glad you enjoyed it :)

    ReplyDelete

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