Showing posts with label Quills & Quartos. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Quills & Quartos. Show all posts

Tuesday, 9 March 2021

Fearful Symmetry by Gailie Ruth Caress – Blog Tour, Author Interview and Giveaway

Book cover: Fearful Symmetry by Gailie Ruth Caress
I’m very happy to be welcoming a new visitor to the blog today. Gailie Ruth Caress has published a book called Fearful Symmetry: A Pride & Prejudice Variaion with Quills and Quartos, and the blog tour for the book visits here today. Let’s take a look at the blurb and then we’ll move on to an interview with the author. There’s also a giveaway to accompany the blog tour. Read on for details!

Book Description 

Darcy had never known such a woman, one who could rush into an inferno and emerge as bold and brilliant as burnished brass, bright as any mirror.

Fitzwilliam Darcy had planned to leave Netherfield Park and all thoughts of the enchanting Miss Elizabeth Bennet behind him—until one night when he saw smoke rising from Longbourn and realised she was imperiled.

Elizabeth Bennet found Mr Darcy arrogant and insufferable right up until he became her hero, pulling her and her sister from the fire that devastated their home, and could have claimed both of their lives. Seeing how he put his own life at risk to pull her from the fire, how could she help but change her opinion of him?

Thrown together again in the refuge offered at Netherfield, Darcy and Elizabeth’s unexpected bond gains strength. But disapproval, debts, and doubts all arise when the costs in time and expense involved in rebuilding Longbourn threaten to widen the gulf in standing between Elizabeth and Darcy in the eyes of society. Amidst these perplexities of destruction and decorum, can love’s courage overcome calamity?

Author Gailie Ruth Caress
Author Interview with Gailie Ruth Caress

Thank you for having me here, Ceri! I feel so honored to be invited to come visit for an author interview.

I’ll do my best to be a good guest and behave myself. **Sits and pours some tea** Let me see if I can tackle these good questions on your list!

1. What inspired your Pride and Prejudice variation?

In 2012 when I began to write Fearful Symmetry, I was still actively processing what felt like the rather abrupt end to my carefree youth. My excellent father had passed away from a long and rough battle with cancer just a few years prior, when I was twenty-one years old—very close to Elizabeth Bennet’s age in Pride & Prejudice. In the weeks and months after his death, I graduated college and entered the workforce during the 2009 US economic recession. It was a rough year to say the least, and I felt like I’d had to hurry up and finish becoming a fully-fledged adult very quickly, and without a lot of support or stability. In Fearful Symmetry, the housefire that guts Longbourn in its early chapters similarly catapults Elizabeth out of her idyllic, sheltered life as a young country miss, and she must rise to new responsibilities and open her eyes to a deeper understanding of the real challenges of the world she inhabits. It’s ultimately a coming-of-age tale for her, and it served as a bit of “narrative therapy” for me!

The title of my novel comes from a line in a poem called “The Tyger,” a work pulled from William Blake’s collection called “Songs of Experience,” which he wrote as a counter-themed collection to his “Songs of Innocence.” Fittingly, the journey Elizabeth takes in my novel not only borrows from some of the fiery imagery from “The Tyger” (hello, housefire!), but it also moves her into a brand-new world of experience, and out of the innocence of her halcyon days at Longbourn.

This was a story I would compose in spurts and then set aside—sometimes for years at a time. But there was something healing for me in the experience of writing this new path for Elizabeth. The worlds and characters of Jane Austen feel “safe” to us since they are known and familiar, and I think that sense of safety helped me to gather courage as a writer to explore some of the more difficult parts of my own life within these fictional confines. Because I know, in Elizabeth’s world, I can count on making my way towards a resolution with a happy ending even when my own might be far more uncertain.

I think this form of narrative “therapy” worked; finishing the manuscript for this novel under pandemic lockdown definitely helped me retain some hope for the days to come!

2. Besides Jane Austen, what other books are your favorites and why?

I should start off by saying I’m a long-time fan of Elizabeth Gaskell’s North & South. I also survived my angst in middle school reading Jane Eyre; and then in high school, when I wasn’t working my way through The Lord of the Rings, I was diving into postmodern gothic-inspired works like Anne Rice (Interview with the Vampire) and Thomas Harris’s (Silence of the Lambs) novels.

I really loved Gaskell and Brontë’s narrative voices, which convey their leading characters’ keen emotional self-awareness without being cloying. I was fascinated by Tolkien’s world-building. And I was constantly in awe of Rice and Harris’s story craft. Each of their books’ plotlines feel like a rollercoaster! They launch the reader out of their seat with some kind of revelation or action sequence in the very first chapter, then the middle-plot develops a steep and unstable arc of conflict and growth, and finally the whole tale just rolls downhill at a gathering pace towards a breathless ending each time. It’s mesmerizing. Harris in particular knows how to pace his pages, and he never wastes a word.

3. What do you do when you are not reading or writing?

Right now, I am taking care of my two wild little boys, ages five and two, which is my main daily challenge as a mom. You might also find me trying not to fall on my face at Jazzercise class (yes, Jazzercise! I’m a former show-choir kid and musical theatre geek, so I fit right in). Sometimes I sew, bake, help people build websites, and sing. My husband is a pastor in a rural church, so I help organize church events and children’s ministry, gather community resources for folks in the margins, and sometimes lead Bible studies for adults that let me be nerdy in my hermeneutics by pulling in socio-historic and linguistic context for scripture. And that last bit involves me researching, which I also love to do. I’ll be looking to return to the work force in some form or other in 2021, but I’m grateful I could stay home during this terrible pandemic so my whole family could literally survive the virus (since we all had it in November, and it was awful!).

4. Do you have any plans for a second book?

Oh yes, but it’s not a sequel, if that’s what you mean. I’m trying to be secretive about it. I suppose I could tell you that it’s a “crossover” between two of Austen’s works—but I won’t give away which ones! I’m also working on a short story woven out of some side-plot threads I had cut away from Fearful Symmetry. I admit I have a soft spot for gothic tropes, and they’ll appear in this shorter tale featuring a bit of the paranormal. Doesn’t that sound fun?

Thank you so much for having me by to chat today! I really enjoyed this interview!

* * * 

I hope you enjoyed this interview, because I certainly did! 

I think all our experiences shape us but some big experiences are like a milestone in our lives that we can see as life changing when we look back, there is us before the event and a different us afterwards. It's amazing to me that Gailie Ruth has weaved her loss into something as creative and lasting as a book.

I am so glad Gailie Ruth told us about her reading habits, too, because that’s something I always find interesting. I have actually read all the books she mentioned, most of them more than once! Big thanks to Kristi from Quills and Quartos for her input to this post 😊

If you are wondering about the poem, I am sure you will recognise it. Here is the first stanza:

Tyger Tyger burning bright,
In the forests of the night:
What immortal hand or eye,
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

I am not a big one for poetry, but I love this one, it’s very dramatic! I know it's written by Englishman William Blake but if I read it aloud I go full on Welsh sounding. I think it's something we learn at school here, if we read poetry we all sound like Dylan Thomas!

Author Bio

Gailie Ruth Caress, author of Fearful Symmetry, never dreamed of writing a debut novel in her own pleasure-reading genre when she was a no-nonsense, 4.0-chasing English major who won prizes for her academic essays at Hanover College in her home state of Indiana. Forced to readily adapt after a pivotal loss in early adulthood, she became a dabbler in many forms of expression and relationship-building—from opera and ballroom dance to nonprofit education and mentoring. And yet, she committed mid-Pandemic to the challenge of completing the manuscript of the story that kept her up at night, driven by a need to borrow from the courageous vulnerability of her favorite Jane Austen couple in a landscape transformed by disaster.

Her everyday life continues to hold unexpected adventures. Her two small boys and a duo of sassy tabby cats run wild on the Illinois prairie around a parsonage, where they keep her busy alongside rural community and ministry work with her pastor-husband. Learn more about Gailie Ruth at gailieruthwrites.com.

Book cover: Fearful Symmetry by Gailie Ruth Caress
Buy Links

Fearful Symmetry is available to buy now in Paperback, Kindle and Kindle Unlimited. It’s also available in audio!

Amazon USAmazon UKAmazon CA • Add to Goodreads shelf

Giveaway Time 

Quills and Quartos are giving away an ebook of Fearful Symmetry to a commenter on this post. They will choose the winner on 19 March.

If you have any problems adding your comment please contact me and I will add your comment for you :)


Blog Tour Schedule

Visit the other stops on the blog tour to learn more about Fearful Symmetry.

Blog Tour: Fearful Symmetry by Gailie Ruth Caress

* * *

If you don’t want to miss any of my future posts, please subscribe

Subscribe to Babblings of a Bookworm

If you'd like to be friends on Goodreads then please invite me - just say that you visit my blog when it asks why you'd like to be friends with me.

Thursday, 4 February 2021

Lover's Meeting by Catherine Lodge - Blog Tour, Excerpt and Giveaway

Book Cover: Lover's Meeting by Catherine Lodge
I’m really happy to be welcoming Catherine Lodge back to the blog with her new Pride & Prejudice variation, Lover’s Meeting .I can’t believe it’s been over 3 years since her last visit, with Fair Stands the Wind, it seems like yesterday!

Let's look at the blurb and then I'll share an excerpt of Lover's Meeting with you. There's also an ebook giveaway, so read on for more details. 

Book Description

‘Journeys end in lovers’ meetings, every wise man’s son doth know.’ — William Shakespeare

It is a truth universally acknowledged that the disastrous first meeting of Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet at the Meryton Assembly provided each with a ready-made set of prejudices to apply to the other. But when a horrific rural accident reveals Darcy to be a man of active, intelligent benevolence, and Elizabeth, in the absence of her appalling family, to be an extraordinary lady of courage and decision—then surely the course of true love will run smoothly.   

But alas, the lovers’ meeting is not the end but a new beginning. For though they have found each other, a seeming multitude of complications—a catastrophic flood, the last wishes of a dying friend, Lydia’s misfortunes, a dastardly Member of Parliament, and even their own fears— contrives to come between them and their ‘journey’s end.’

Monday, 11 January 2021

Fallen by Jessie Lewis - Blog Tour, Excerpt and Giveaway

Book cover: Fallen by Jessie Lewis
I’m very happy to be welcoming Jessie Lewis back to the blog with the blog tour for her latest Pride & Prejudice variation, Fallen, which is released today. Let’s take a look at the blurb and then I’ll hand over to Jessie for an excerpt from the book. Quills and Quartos are also offering a giveaway of an ebook of Fallen to a commenter on this blog post. Read on for details.

Book Description

The air was all gone, and coldness overtook her, as though she had fallen into icy water and was sinking into the blackness. Her stomach churned, as it was wont to do these days. He would not marry her. She was ruined.

THE ARRIVAL OF TWO ELIGIBLE GENTLEMEN at Netherfield Park sends ripples of excitement through nearby Meryton. But Mr Bingley and Mr Darcy are not the only additions to the neighbourhood raising eyebrows. An unremarkable cottage in the woods between Netherfield and Meryton also has new tenants. One of them—a lively little girl with an adventurous spirit, a love of the outdoors, and a past shrouded in mystery—draws the notice of more than one local.

ELIZABETH BENNET—YOUNG, INTELLIGENT, and UNFASHIONABLY INDEPENDENT—forms a poor first impression of the haughty Mr Darcy. On closer acquaintance, and against her better judgment, her disgust begins to give way to more tender feelings. Yet standing in the way of any potential romance is the closely guarded history of a certain little girl in a cottage in the woods. Elizabeth might be ready to disclose her hidden affections, but she is about to learn that some things are better kept secret, and some hearts are safer left untouched.

Friday, 29 May 2020

Disenchanted by Kara Pleasants - Review

Book cover: Disenchanted by Kara Pleasants
Today I’m welcoming a first time visitor to Babblings of a Bookworm, Kara Pleasants, who has written a tale placing Pride & Prejudice in a world where magic exists. I first read this story years ago when it was posted online, so I was really pleased to see that Disenchanted has now been published with Quills and Quartos. Let’s look at the blurb and then we’ll move on to my review of the book.

Book Description

Disenchanted is a tale of wizardry, enchantment, disenchantment, the good and the bad, all thrown in with the characters of Pride and Prejudice. Mr Darcy, a renowned wizard, reluctantly joins his friend Mr Bingley at his country estate in Hertfordshire (a place that is not known for its magic). The gentlemen are lying low tracking the threat of a new dark wizard on the loose who is stealing people’s magic. Darcy is surprised to discover more excitement than he bargained for in the form of Miss Elizabeth Bennet who possesses a singular talent: she is not only immune to magic, but she can counter enchantments as well. Despite their initial dislike of each other, Darcy and Elizabeth are drawn closer as the threat of the Thieving Necromancer grows. As Elizabeth learns to unravel more and more complicated magic, she also uncovers dark secrets and breaks mysterious enchantments—but will Darcy ever discover the way to her heart.

Friday, 7 February 2020

Two More Days at Netherfield by Heather Moll - Guest Post and Giveaway

Book cover: Two More Days at Netherfield by Heather Moll
I'm very happy to be welcoming author Heather Moll back to the blog, as the blog tour for her new book Two More Days at Netherfield stops here for a guest post. I love posts where I learn something, and this is what Heather has treated us to today, with a post about parlour games in the Regency period. There's also the chance to win an ebook of Two More Days at Netherfield for yourself! Let's look at the blurb and then I'll hand over to Heather :)

Book Description

While her sister Jane is ill at Netherfield, Elizabeth Bennet overhears Miss Bingley and the proud Mr Darcy discussing his admiration of Elizabeth and her fine eyes. Not sure what to think of his praise after all of their previous disagreements, and more flattered than she wants to admit, Elizabeth teases him for the disparaging remark he made about her at the Meryton Assembly. Darcy is then forced to reconsider his opinion of a woman who has truly bewitched him more than any other. 

The result of this unintended eavesdropping leads to confrontations and apologies on both sides and, eventually, the beginnings of a friendship between Darcy and Elizabeth. Their warming acquaintance impacts the courtship of Darcy’s friend and Elizabeth’s sister, the jealous temper of Miss Bingley, and even the behavior of Mr. Wickham after he arrives in Meryton. 

How are the events of the winter drastically affected by the Bennet sisters choosing to spend two more days at Netherfield?

Friday, 1 November 2019

The Perfect Gentleman by Julie Cooper - Blog Tour - Review and Giveaway

Book cover: The Perfect Gentleman by Julie Cooper
Today the blog tour for Julie Cooper's The Perfect Gentleman stops here. Thank you for joining us!

When I first discovered the world of Austen-inspired novels I stumbled across unpublished fiction. I'm sure a lot of readers do, your book-buying budget will only stretch so far! I don’t read much unpublished work these days but in the days when I could, JulieCoop was one of my favourite authors. I hadn’t read all of her stories, but her modern ones (The Best LightPounds) have made it on to my list of stories that I’ve re-read many times.

I can understand why people are reluctant to publish but I am always so happy when writers I've enjoyed reading online make their work available to a wider audience. Julie Cooper is one such writer and so I was very keen to take part in this blog tour. Let's look at the blurb and then I'll share my review of The Perfect Gentleman with you :)

Book Description

’Tis no secret that Lizzy Bennet has dreams. The uniquely talented daughter of a woman with a dubious reputation, Lizzy knows she must make her own way in a world that shuns her. Fitzwilliam Darcy carries the stains of his family’s disgrace upon his soul and only by holding himself to the strictest standards has he reclaimed his place in society.

Now Georgiana Darcy has gone missing. If his fifteen-year-old sister cannot be found quickly, the scandal could destroy Darcy’s years of perfect behaviour. Lizzy Bennet know just what to do to find Georgiana. She is willing to join the pursuit to get what she wants but will Darcy be willing to trust her with his secrets? And what will they do when the search for Georgiana reveals what neither expected to find?

The Perfect Gentleman is a romantic adventure so big it needs two volumes in one book. Follow the adventure in A Not-So-Merry Chase and discover the surprises and temptations that await at Pemberley in Love Wisely But Well.