The writings of Heather Lynn Rigaud

Welcome to Austen Nights, the home of author Heather Lynn Rigaud. Heather's writing is focused on updating the classic works of Jane Austen, taking these classic characters where they've never gone before. She welcomes you to enjoy 'Sweet Austen days and Hot Austen nights!'

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Um, Seriously?

So, I watched Mansfield Park last night. This was the 2008 version with Billie Piper. I have to disclose that I've never read Mansfield Park (it's the only Austen novel that I've not read) or seen any of the other movies. I've been warned by friends I trust that I probably wouldn't enjoy the book. I do plan on reading it, and I do own a copy of it, I've just never had the self-control to do so. (I'm really bad about skipping dentist appointments too.)

But I was familiar with the basic plot: poor cousin goes to live with rich cousins. Finds them largely depraved. Gets rewarded for virtue in the end.

Now, I have to be fair and admit that I'm not sure Billie Piper was the right choice to play Fanny Price. I've seen Billie in all the Doctor Who's she was in (which were a lot) and I'm acquainted with her work. I think she's very talented. But it's a real, REAL stretch to believe that she's supposed to 'blend in the with background'. I know they can do miracles with make-up, but they didn't in this movie. She's shiney and blonde all the way though, and no, I just don't buy that Edmond, or anyone for that matter, 'overlooked' her.

But ignoring that very real flaw, it's a really hard plot to get behind. Boring girl wins the love of boring boy, after he finds the interesting girl is just too interesting for him. Mary Crawford's crime? Not wanting to get hosed for her brother's fooling around.  Oh my, how horrid. 

Also, I have close friends who adopted their niece, under similar circumstances as Fanny and the Bertram's and the idea of the adopted girl and their son marrying is really, really wrong. I know social standards were different then, but no, I'm just not buying this. 

And I point I've learned that the movie ignored is that Fanny was also religious to the point of being judgmental. Oh, lovely.

It's all so repelling that I'd almost believe that this is Austen doing a really deep social satire that we're just not getting. To compare Elizabeth Bennet to Fanny Price, it's difficult to believe they came from the same author.  But then I remember Elinor Dashwood, and I have to believe it is the same writer. Elinor is just too severe for my tastes, and I end up rooting for Marianne, just because I feel sorry for her.

Anyway, Fanny Price, Mansfield Park, Billie Piper, what do you all think?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Undressing Darcy

Sarah Michele Gellar sometimes talks about how it was for her to be starting mid-season with a show called 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer', and having to talk about it with people. And the looks she got.

I sometimes feel like that. I mention that I've got a book coming out, and people ask, "What's it about?" Usually I'm in a non-chatting place, and I say, "Oh, it's a romance" and try and dismiss it as soon as possible. Because I'm a wimp like that.

Other times I explain, "It's a modern adaptation of Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice." That usually goes over well. Most people have at least heard of Pride & Prejudice. "In which Mr. Darcy is a rockstar." Aaaaannnnddd that's usually where I lose them. 

Mr Darcy? A Rockstar??? (Sometimes there is pearl-clutching at this point)  Most people are too polite to tell me what they think of this idea, but they're faces express it fairly well.

And I get it, there are a lot of crazy fan fictions out there. And much of it is not very good. Plus it's Jane Friggin' Austen! Arguably the greatest English novelist of all time. It's Mr. Darcy, beloved of the ages, that I'm undressing and putting into highly irregular positions! What gall! What cheek! Excuse me while I go and clutch my pearls.

So you can see why I sometimes wimp out when describing my book. It's a romance. Find it in the romance section. Next question. 

But just as Sarah Michele was vindicated when Buffy turned into the monster hit it became, so does Slurry do quiet well when people just read it. I frequently getting notes from people who say something like: I've never read modern JAFF before, but your story changed that! I didn't think I'd enjoy it, but I did!

These kind of notes make me very happy.  :D Because although it is taking Darcy and Elizabeth to a very different kind of place, I worked very hard to have it still be Darcy and Elizabeth. I read though P&P so many times while planning and then writing Slurry so that I'd be getting the same characters. One of the things I'd do is at every plot point, is I'd study what was going on emotionally for each character. What was Darcy feeling here? What was motivating Elizabeth at this time? 

This was very important to me, because like any Austen Author, I wanted to stay with my favorite couple. I just wanted to put them in new clothes. 

I want to thank everyone who read my post today at AustenAuthors. It's all brand new and a bit scary too me, but everyone's support has been fantastic! 

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Let's do a test.

I'm getting ready for my big introductory post at AustenAuthors. No pressure, it just has to be light and engaging and make people who have never heard of me want to read my book. (HL quietly throws-up in the corner) Also, I have to figure out how to post this at the appopriate time.

Hmmm, technology. Okay I can do this. How hard can it be? ... Don't answer that.

So, I'm going to do a little test here, to see if I've got this delayed posting thing down. (Cross your fingers)

Okay, one more question- why does my blog think it's 5:20 in the morning?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Rushing towards publication!

So, this week's been a little nuts. On Monday we had the launch of our wonderful new blog, AustenAuthors, which has already been getting lots of positive notice. On Wednesday, I had the school year begin for my two beloved sons.

On top of all that, I had my first phone conference with my editor, Deb Werksman. She had some great news for me, including the information that Fitzwilliam Darcy, Rockstar! will be coming out in September of 2011! I'm so excited.

After the chat with Deb, I got an email from the art department at Sourcebooks, who wanted some information for the art for the cover of the book. Specifically, they asked for :
Physical descriptions of the hero and heroine: Eye and hair color, complexion, build, age, costume, or anything else significant to the story such as scars, tattoos)

I believe I can supply that! :D

Sunday, September 5, 2010

New Beginnings!

In New York where I live, School is just starting this week. The weather is (finally) cooling down and Fall is definitely on it's way. The lazy days of Summer are over and it's time to get back to work.  I'm looking forward to my boys going back to school and having some quiet time to do some writing.

One of the new beginnings that I'm especially excited about is the new Austen Authors blog. This is a blog for writers of professionally published writers of Jane Austen fiction. It will be a chance for the lovers of JAFF to find some new stories, as well as get to know the writers a little better. I'm going to be posting on September 18th, with a 'take no prisoners' post about Sex and Jane Austen. It's one of my favorite topics. (Wink)

I hope you will al visit the new blog. There's going to be give-aways every week, with lots of great prizes and fun games. In the meantime, if you have thoughts you want to share about Sex and JA, please post in the comments. Hope your new beginnings are going well!