Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Author Interview: Jean Burnett

Today it's our stop on the The Bad Miss Bennet Abroad blog tour so it's my pleasure to welcome Jean Burnett for a chat about her new book which Louise will be reviewing soon.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your writing journey? 
I think I’ve always been a writer. I scribbled stories in primary school and went from there. I worked as a journalist and also as an advertising copywriter for a while and also in PR. I started writing books rather late – at least I started submitting them rather late.

What inspired you to writing first Who Needs Mr Darcy and now the follow-on story The Bad Miss Bennet Abroad? 
I was looking for a heroine in literature to write about and someone suggested Pride and Prejudice. It had to be Lydia Bennet because she was obviously the black sheep of the family and very young; plenty of scope there for further adventures.

What made you write about Lydia Bennet in particular?
Because she’s bad! Good girls aren’t much fun to write about.

If you had to describe The Bad Miss Bennet Abroad in one sentence, what would it be? 
Someone obligingly summed this up for me as- Lydia Bennet channels Scarlett O’Hara. 

Why do you think that the writing of Jane Austen appeals as much to readers today 200 years on from when the stories were first written?
As literature it’s her wit and irony.  She has a real emotional appeal to young women everywhere. It’s remarkable, but we are perhaps not as emancipated as we think we are.

Do you write longhand or electronically?
For fiction I always write the first draft longhand, then type it up and edit it from there. If it’s non-fiction I work straight on to the computer.

When are you most productive with writing, mornings, afternoons or evenings?  
That’s difficult! I’m a bit of an insomniac so it depends on how well I’ve slept. The main thing is to write for a set amount of time each day.

If you get a plot block during the initial writing phase, how do you work your way through it? 
I tend to get stuck in the middle of a book. I ask fellow writers for advice, go for long walks, get depressed. If that doesn’t produce anything, alcohol and chocolate helps.

Finally what can we expect from you next? 
I’m re-drafting my ‘modern’ novel, set in 1987. That’s pretty modern for me. It’s best described as a cosy crime story.

The Bad Miss Bennet Abroad by Jean Burnett is published on 23rd May by Canelo, price £3.99 in eBook.

Having controversially run off with George Wickham in Pride and Prejudice, Lydia is confronted with his untimely demise on the battlefield at Waterloo. Merry widow Lydia Wickham, née Bennet, is therefore in want of a rich husband.

Failing to find one in Europe, she embarks on a voyage to Brazil accompanied by her trusty maid, Adelaide, to join the exiled Portuguese Court in Rio de Janeiro. She soon catches the eye of the heir, Dom Pedro.

Staying out of trouble doesn’t come naturally to Lydia as she is captured by pirates, then makes a second disastrous marriage, and even finds ways to ruin the Darcys’ tranquil existence all over again. Will she return from the tropics with a cache of jewels? Could she ever succeed in her quest for ‘an agreeable husband with an estate and two matching footmen’, or must her taste for adventure lead her astray yet again?

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