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Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Darcy By Any Other Name by Laura Hile - Guest Post, Excerpt and Giveaway

Book cover: Darcy by Any Other Name by Laura Hile
I have author Laura Hile visiting today with a guest post, excerpt and giveaway of her latest book, 'Darcy By Any Other Name' which has a 'Pride & Prejudice' meets 'Freaky Friday' premise.

Here, Fitzwilliam Darcy and William Collins swap bodies! My first thought is: "Ewwwww!", but it is closely followed by other thoughts, like whether poor Elizabeth might find Mr Collins acceptable with a less ridiculous personality and then find herself married to him! I am assured that this story has a happy ending so I am guessing that Laura fixes it all by the end. Read on to find out more about the book and for a chance to win a copy for yourself...


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I suppose there is no explaining the outrageous premise for Darcy By Any Other Name. What can I say? Once the idea of a body swap between Mr. Darcy and Mr. Collins showed up, it was too delightful leave alone. Besides, just about every variation of Pride and Prejudice has been written. I blame my quirky sense of humor and my love for the “But What If?”

Honestly, though, why do we read fan fiction? Because we long to reenter the world of beloved fictional friends and to see them have new adventures. I love immersive stories, where the reader is drawn into each scene. Fitzwilliam Darcy is the main point-of-view character, but we also get to hear from Elizabeth Bennet and William Collins.

You need to know that I am all about Happily Ever After. Precisely how that plays out in Darcy By Any Other Name is part of the fun. When I began writing, even I did not know how it would end.
And then there is a deeper question, one that powered the body swap premise. What is it about a man that attracts a woman? Wealth and handsome appearance play a part, but are we truly so shallow? Aren’t there other factors? The intelligent sparkle in his eyes, the delicious conversational banter, those shared smiles? What about his fine honor and kindly, noble heart?

Yes to all of these! As we better get to know a delightful man, his appearance somehow improves.
I love surprising readers with the unexpected, and there are plenty of twists in this tale. Moreover, Elizabeth is falling in love with the wrong man—no, the right man! But he’s in that podgy body! She cannot love Mr. Darcy when he’s—ugly! Ah, but of course she does. Now what?

Think of Darcy By Any Other Name as a happy roller coaster ride. And you know what they say about those: “Get in, sit down, shut up, and hold on.”

Excerpt:

A favorite scene of mine is in Chapter 17 and involves a family evening at Longbourn. Darcy-as-Collins, having recited a sonnet, has challenged Elizabeth to play the pianoforte for them. She agrees—but on the condition that he sing with her. 

Sing? Darcy does not sing! But wait, perhaps Collins does? After all, what is there to lose? Not dignity, not respect—Collins has neither. Once again Darcy is struck with how freeing it is to be ordinary and obscure. If he makes a fool of himself, who will care? 

And so he boldly selects a piece by Purcell…

“This one is rather good. I’ve heard it done in school.” He threw her a laughing look. “Quite appropriate under the circumstances, wouldn’t you say?”

Elizabeth looked as if she did not know how to respond. “I-I’ve never learned the accompaniment for any of these,” she confessed.

“Nor have I,” he said. “If you will kindly make room for me to sit—” Darcy broke off speaking. Collins would never fit on the bench beside Elizabeth. He procured a straight-backed chair and brought it close beside her.

“Now then, we’ll both be readers, shall we?” he said. “And see here, the wonder of the Baroque. Your part is basso continuo, that is to say figured bass. Meaning you play only chords, Miss Elizabeth. As soloist I do all the heavy lifting. Most unfortunately.”

He reached across and placed his right hand on the keys. “I’ll just run through my part,” he said, “before I make a complete fool of myself.”

He worked through the melody line. Yes, it was as he remembered it. “I will probably slide over these sixteenth notes,” he admitted.

She listened with obvious astonishment. “You play the pianoforte, Mr. Collins?”

“Only one note at a time,” he said, twinkling. “Much to the disappointment of my sainted mother. She was most insistent about lessons.”

“But your mother died when you were very young,” she protested, “or so Father was given to understand.”

Darcy refused to be deterred by this slip. “Ah, but one is never too young to begin learning to play,” he quipped. “And how clever of you to guess her last words to me. ‘William,’ she said, ‘you must practice!’”

Elizabeth broke out laughing. “How wretched you are! To jest about your poor mother!”

“Thus I am saved from weeping. Dear Mother. I hated practicing and would much rather ride my pony. Shall we begin?”

“Your pony?” Elizabeth sounded astonished. “But I thought—no, Mr. Collins, you told us that you do not ride.”

“A mere conversational gambit, that. To, er, save myself from embarrassment.”

Elizabeth was openly doubtful. “What embarrassment?”

He spread his hands. “How was I to know that you would not make me mount a raging stallion and go galloping across fields?”

“As if we had such an animal!” she said, laughing. “Even our carriage horses are used on the farm.”

“Ah, but I did not know then what lived in your stables. If you have a pony, Miss Elizabeth, I will gladly ride him. Although,” he paused to pat his abdomen, “it would be rather a kick in the teeth for the pony.”

Elizabeth continued to laugh, and he joined her.

“Now then,” he said at last, “shall we begin? Miss Lydia is looking impatient.” Actually, it was Anne de Bourgh who was staring at him. Obviously Collins had never been pressed to sing at Rosings Park.

He pointed to the page. “Here we are.”

She leaned in to read the words. “I resolve against cringing and whining.” Again Elizabeth broke out laughing. “Very well, Mr. Collins.” She struck the first chord and shot him a challenging look.

I resolve against cringing and whining,” Darcy sang. He broke off to point at the score. “You have a chord just there,” he whispered.

“I—was taken up with the excellence of your singing,” she whispered back, and spread her fingers over the keys.

“You should know better than to lie to a clergyman,” he countered. “Shall we begin again? And go straight through?”

“I resolve against cringing and whining,
In a lover’s intrigue so unfit.
‘Tis like saying grace without dining,
And betrays more affection than wit.
To kneel and adore, to sigh and protest
And there to give o’er, whereabout lies the jest?”

Again Darcy stopped. “It is bad enough that I must carry the melody, dear Cousin. But if I am left to sing a cappella because you cannot stop giggling long enough to play…”

“I do apologize,” she gasped, still laughing. “But these words!”

He pulled a mournful face. “The story of my life.” He pointed. “Here is your next chord.”

Obediently she played it.

“Dearest mistress, I prithee be wiser,
Recant your platonic opinion,
Whilst you hoard up your love, like a miser,
You starve all within your dominion,
And when the dread foe is vanquish’d by you,
I’ll kiss the boy’s bow, and forever be true.”

His performance was greeted with enthusiasm, but all that mattered to Darcy was the warmth that shone in Elizabeth’s eyes. Could it be that disdain had given way to admiration? And why did this now mean everything to him?

Book cover: Darcy by Any Other Name by Laura Hile
Book Blurb:
At Netherfield, a glorious evening of music and dancing...

But out in the garden two men are arguing, while a ferocious rainstorm swirls round. And then the unthinkable happens: a lightning bolt from heaven strikes. In that instant everything changes.

Jane Austen’s heartthrob hero becomes the bumbling Reverend Collins.

Shorn of his fortune, his social standing, and his good looks, Mr. Darcy is trapped in Mr. Collins’ body. And Mr. Collins wakes up to discover that he is master of Pemberley. Could there be anything worse?

But the inner man is still Darcy. He is in love with Elizabeth Bennet. And now he is living in her house.

Discover the Pride and Prejudice body swap romance that has readers laughing in surprise and delight.

Author of Darcy by Any Other Name, Laura Hile
About the Author:
As a girl Laura Hile read fairy tales and musty Victorian books, before moving on to gothics and mysteries. But it took Jane Austen and the Internet to tempt her into writing stories of her own.
Laura’s Regency novels offer a sparkling good time: thrills, chills, delicious repartee, and the laugh-out-loud excitement of falling in love. Her trilogy, Mercy’s Embrace, is a continuation of Persuasion and showcases Jane Austen’s “other Elizabeth” —the top lofty Miss Elizabeth Elliot—who thinks she’s so smart but just isn’t. She meets her match in a dashing but most unsuitable admiral, and she soon discovers that the course of love is anything but smooth.

The humor Laura comes by in her job as middle and high school teacher. There’s never a dull moment with students! She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, sons, and a collection of antique clocks. One day she would like to add a cat—or three. In case you're wondering, her fiction is for everyone, even teens.

Links
Author WebsiteJane Started It! blogGoodreadsFacebookTwitterAmazon Author Page

Giveaway Time!

Wasn't that excerpt fun?! I hope you chortled as much as I did. Laura is kindly giving away a kindle version of 'Darcy By Any Other Name' to a commenter here. Just leave your thoughts on the concept of this book or the guest post for a chance to win. Please leave a way for me to contact you in case you are the lucky winner. This giveway is open to international entrants who comment by the end of the day on Tuesday 26 July.

Thank you to Laura for the guest post, I hope you've enjoyed reading it as much as I did!

58 comments:

  1. ......'disdain give way to admiration'.Oh!! To watch Lizzy and Darcy fall in love,to see them entertain together,to share a laugh was simply delightful!! To see the pleasure in Darcy's eyes at the slow change in Lizzy's perception of him!
    The premise of this book sounds wonderful,but I just can't imagine how the body swap issue will be solved!! I think this book will be quite humorous and am looking forward to finding out what happens and how ODC get their HEA!
    I have this book so please don't enter me into the competition.

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    1. Mary, it's such a fun read. Do toss your name into the hat. If you win, I will send the ebook prize to anyone you choose. :)

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    2. That sounds like a really nice idea,Laura! Thank you!
      In that case,please consider me entered for the draw.

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    3. Hi Mary. I loved the scene too, how they interacted. I will enter you for the draw :)

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  2. Darcy/Collins singing, reading it I too got the giggles :D

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    1. I got the giggles, too, when I wrote this, Kirsten. Sometimes characters just take over a scene. Who knew Darcy could be so much fun?

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    2. Wasn't it wonderful, Kirsten! I always think that Darcy must have had a good sense of humour because Lizzy's humour seems to attract him so much, but he doesn't show it much in P&P. It's good to see it run free!

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  3. Wow, a cheerful, playful Darcy

    meikleblog at gmail dot com

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    1. Hi, Vesper. The fact that our man Darcy feels safe to just say whatever comes into his head--because no one notices what doltish Collins does!--is one of the drivers of this story. When has the dignified Mr. Darcy of Pemberley--who is everywhere observed and fawned over--ever had the freedom of anonymity? He discovers that it's rather fun. And that's just the beginning...

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    2. My goodness, if this is just the beginning then Darcy must have had fun... though I dread to think what rubbish Collins in Darcy's body might be coming out with!

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  4. What a fun except! Oh boy, I can't wait to find out how the real Mr. Collin will react to the swap! Will he marry Anne? Technically, Darcy is the body of Mr. Collins and is married! What a tangled web!

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    1. Not married yet, Dung Vu. :)

      The body swap happens at the Netherfield Ball, so Mr. Collins is still single. However, in Darcy's body will he be vulnerable to the wiles of Caroline Bingley? Oooo...

      Too much fun, this tangled web. Thanks for entering the giveaway.

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    2. I didn't think of Collins-in-Darcy's-body marrying, gaaaaaaah! It's a shame Darcy-in-Collins'-body can't lock him up and have some fun!

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  5. This story sounds hilarious, I would love to see Darcy trying to woo Elizabeth as Mr. Collins. I just hope there is HEA for ODC, as D&L, not as Lizzy and Collins.

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    1. Kate, Kate ...

      You'll have to read the book to find out. Here's hoping you win!

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    2. This thought occurred to me too, KateB, but I hope for Georgiana's sake that it will end up with Darcy back in his own body.

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  6. Lydia Bennet and Anne De Bourgh in the same room together? Now that in itself is worth reading. I love your idea here and can't wait to read it and see how it all pans out.

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    1. Why write fan fiction if not to have Lady Catherine and Caroline Bingley in the same house?

      Oh, yes. I had WAY too much fun with this. Thanks for entering the giveaway, Amanda.

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    2. Hi Amanda. I wonder what Lady Catherine would make of Lydia?

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  7. I had the most delightful comments you could imagine, but they were lost when the site wouldn't accept my post. Humph!

    At any rate, I complimented you on your light touch in the excerpt and waxed eloquent about this intelligent, witty, wonderful Darcy/as/Collins.

    Use your imagination.

    Sign me up for the giveaway!

    Robin Helm

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    1. Hi Robin! Thanks for stopping by. It's so annoying when the site eats your comment. It was clearly too awesome for the rest of us :) Good luck in the giveaway.

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  8. The mysteries of cyber interface who can fathom? And it is always the most delightful comments that disappear, right? Thanks for entering, Robin. I know you already have the ebook, but if you win I'll send the prize to whomever you choose.

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  9. Loved the excerpt! It is delightful to read about Darcy having fun and feeling free and maybe fooling around a bit:) And as for more serious idea behind the book, I agree that there is always more to the right man than just his good looks and fortune.

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    1. Jane Austen characterized Captain Benwick in Persuasion as being "shy but not at all reserved." I am like this, and I suspect that Darcy is too. We are careful in most situations, but when with good friends our guard comes down and wit has free reign.

      As Collins, Darcy knows that he should be circumspect, but when he's with Elizabeth his reserve evaporates. Is it any wonder that her opinion of him changes?

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    2. In some ways it seems to be a freeing experience for Darcy. He doesn't need to be the reserved master of Pemberley

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  10. "As we better get to know a delightful man, his appearance somehow improves." That's so true! I'm very curious to read this story. I have a feeling it will give us all the perfect idea of what true love is. Appearance is nothing compared to one's heart.

    newyorkgirl82(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. You are so right, Maria. It's a good thing that stunning looks and uber wealth are not prerequisites for a woman to be happy in marriage! Otherwise the human race would die out within a generation. Thanks for entering the giveaway.

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    2. So true Maria! That idea always reminds me of Jane Eyre, where she first finds Mr Rochester ugly, but as she comes to know him her affection for him 'made his face the object I best liked to see'.

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  11. I also read and loved this book. The details about their wardrobes and eating habits, etc. made it so real. Poor Darcy.

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    1. You're in for the giveaway, Shelia. If you win, I'll send the ebook to one of your friends. Yay!

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    2. Their eating habits tickled me, Sheila, Darcy wasn't surprised at Mr Collin's belly when he found out what he'd been eating!

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  12. Love the excerpt. I look forward to reading so I can see how to get over my ewwww factor. Thank you for the giveaway.
    Cherringtonmb at sbcglobal dot net

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    1. Becky, you need to know that there are no bedroom scenes with Darcy-as-Collins (or Collins-as-Darcy). I know, right? What a relief!

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    2. Don't worry Becky, there is less 'Ewwwwww' than I had anticipated :)

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  13. I was not angling for a book. I just wanted to add my endorsement as it so deserved. You can really leave me out of any raffle. But thanks.

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    1. I know you weren't, Shelia. :) Thanks so much for the endorsement. I can certainly understand the initial reluctance of Darcy lovers.

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    2. I knew you weren't, Sheila. I always appreciate that you take the time to comment on my posts whether you're entering a giveaway or just sharing your views :)

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  14. What a fantastic twist and such a great read! Exciting, funny, poignant, deeply moving, fantastic! I won't give any spoilers for the life of me, but whoever can make me swoon at the 'Mr Collins going hunting' scene is a fabulous author!!! Congrats, Laura, this is a must-read!!! (Please don't enter me in the giveaway, got it, read it, loved it)

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    1. Dear Joana, thank you for the props. I marvel at my cheek. What was I thinking, to take on this wacky premise? Especially with our dear man Darcy?

      Trouble is, I grew to love Darcy-as-Collins. And the more I wrote, the more complex the story became. The print book is as thick as a brick! Oh, dear.

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    2. The hunting scene was lovely, though I never thought I would have any swoon in me for Mr Collins :)

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  15. Carole in Canada21 July 2016 at 00:40

    I too have this book and loved it! Don't enter me either, but I found this so well done and very touching, funny, humbling for Darcy and eye-opening for Elizabeth! Thank you!

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    1. Thank you, Carole, for the kind encouragement.

      When Darcy By Any Other Name was released, I was very afraid that people would think it too long. My pre-release readers loved the subtle and immersive aspects of the story and would not let me trim out any of the scenes or chapters.

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    2. Hi Carole, it was definitely good for Darcy's pride to be humbled, and in a completely new way.

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  16. This is such an awesome premise! Darcy's usually written as nearly perfect, physically, so it's great to explore what he'd be like in a less aesthetically pleasing body, shall we say. I'm also insanely curious what Collins will do in Darcy's body!

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    1. One of the things that pleases Mr Collins about the swap is having such an attractive body!

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  17. How interesting! I hope they get switched back at the end!

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    1. That would be telling, Allison, but I promise you that there is a happy ending!

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  18. I wasn't sure about this story when I first heard about it ... too much of an "ick" factor. But this excerpt sounds like a lot of fun -- and isn't that why we read stories? Many thanks for the post and the giveaway offer.

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    1. Hi Teaguide. The 'ick' factor frightened me too, but it's less icky than I thought it would be.

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  19. Cherri Trotter27 July 2016 at 01:29

    Intriguing! Great excerpt, cant wait.

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed the excerpt, Cherri!

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    1. Such a fun concept for a story, isn't it!

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  21. Yes, and then there is Caroline's relationship to Collins in Mr. Darcy's body - so funny...ironic also.

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    1. I liked Collins-in-Darcy's-body's realisation that Caroline just wanted to manipulate him, just like Lady Catherine, and him resorting to headaches to avoid them!

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