We are excited to welcome Jane Odiwe to our blog today to talk to about her latest book, Mr. Darcy’s Secret.
TBRG: Before we get to the burning questions that everyone wants to know, can you tell us a little bit about your book?
JO: I am very excited to be here – I think this is my favourite book yet, thank you so much for giving me the chance to talk about Mr. Darcy’s Secret.
At the end of Pride and Prejudice Elizabeth Bennet is set on course for true happiness with Mr. Darcy, the most eligible man in England. The new Mrs. Darcy is ecstatically happy as mistress of a grand house and wife to the dashing, yet proud Darcy who is proving to be everything she has dreamed of in a loving husband. His former arrogance is rapidly diminishing under her sunny influence; he is even becoming indulgent and sensitive towards her visiting family. But, the discovery of a secret correspondence and rumours involving Mr Darcy’s past threaten the very downfall of Pemberley plunging new bride Elizabeth headlong into a chain of dramatic events to challenge everything she believes in, ultimately testing the Darcy’s love and their future life together.
Mr. Darcy’s Secret is a story about love and misunderstandings; of overcoming doubt and trusting to the real feelings of the heart as our sparkling and witty heroine Elizabeth, and the powerful, compelling figure of Mr Darcy take centre stage in this romantic tale set in Regency Derbyshire and the Lakes alongside the beloved characters from Pride and Prejudice.
TBRG: Who has been the biggest influence on your writing?
JO: Jane Austen has been the biggest influence on my writing, as well as some later authors like Frances Hodgson Burnett, Edith Wharton and Elizabeth Gaskell.
TBRG: What is the one thing your readers would be the most surprised to know about you?
JO: I went to Amy Winehouse’s backstage party in Brixton, London, on her last major tour.
TBRG: Where is the one place you have always wanted to go, a place on your bucket list?
JO: New York – how is it possible that I have never been? I don’t know, but I am determined to get there some time soon!!!
TBRG: Who are some of your go to authors, and what are you reading right now?
JO: Elizabeth von Armin, E.M. Forster, Dorothy Whipple, Barbara Pym, plus those authors already mentioned. I’m currently reading Fenny by Lettice Cooper.
TBRG: If you weren’t writing and keeping us in books (thanks for that by the way), what would you be doing?
JO: I love drawing and painting and would love to indulge myself with painting huge oil canvases which I haven’t done for some time.
TBRG: Who is on your playlist when you are writing?
JO: Because my novels are set around the Georgian and Regency period, when I’m writing I listen to music from the period like Mozart or Haydn, and have recordings of music that Jane Austen enjoyed.
TBRG: Where do your ideas/characters come from?
A lot of my ideas come immediately after reading Jane Austen’s novels because of the questions that arise on finishing them. When I wrote Lydia Bennet’s Story, Jane Austen didn’t explain how Lydia came to end up with the scandalous Mr Wickham and so I decided to write about their story in the Regency resort of Brighton and of course, what happened afterwards. In Willoughby’s Return, I wanted to know what would happen if Mr Willoughby came back into Marianne’s life and how her younger sister Margaret turned out. In my new book, Mr Darcy’s Secret, I wanted to see Lizzy in her new marriage installed at Pemberley and wondered about Mr Darcy’s past as Jane Austen tells us little about it. I was also interested to see how his sister Georgiana would grow up. Taking secondary characters like Lydia Bennet, Margaret Dashwood and Georgiana Darcy gives me a chance to expand on the lives of these characters, tell their stories and also introduce them to some new characters of my own. Lydia, Margaret and Georgiana all find handsome heroes that are entirely my own.
TBRG: Are you a planner or a fly by the seat author?
JO: I do a bit of both – I have an overall plan, but I often find that my characters want to take me somewhere else so I try to be flexible in my planning to allow for that. It’s more exciting that way and I often find ideas for plot twists come when I’m least expecting them!
TBRG: What made you want to write Jane Austen stories?
JO: I’ve loved Jane Austen’s books and stories ever since I can remember, and started by painting and illustrating scenes from Jane Austen’s life accompanied by letters I’d written as her sister Cassandra. It was a short step to writing a sequel and I have had such a wonderful time continuing Jane’s stories for my own pleasure with the amazing rewards of becoming a published author in my own right.
TBRG: If you were to cast Pride and Prejudice who would you cast?
JO: Richard Armitage as Mr. Darcy and Natalie Portman as Elizabeth Bennet. Scarlet Johansson for Jane Bennet and J. J. Feild for Mr. Bingley. I’ve always thought Carey Mulligan would be a great Lydia. Hugh Bonneville makes a lovely Mr. Bennet!
Mr. Darcy’s Secret
One dark secret can completely ruin a bright future…
After capturing the heart of the most eligible bachelor in England, Elizabeth Bennet believes her happiness is complete—until the day she unearths a stash of anonymous, passionate love letters that may be Darcy’s, and she realizes just how little she knows about the guarded, mysterious man she married…
Jane Odiwe is an artist and author. She is an avid fan of all things Austen and is the author and illustrator of Effusions of Fancy, annotated sketches from the life of Jane Austen, as well as Lydia Bennet’s Story. She lives with her husband and three children in North London. You can find her online at her blog Jane Odiwe.