Thank you for inviting me to contribute; it’s a great pleasure.
Q1. Which is your favourite Jane Austen hero/heroine and why?
Answer- As the author of the Pemberley Series, which followed the lives of the characters from “ Pride and Prejudice”, I may outrage readers by naming Mr Knightley ( Emma) and Anne Elliott ( Persuasion ) as my favourite male and female Austen characters. The reasons are not difficult to outline- despite my immense admiration for characters like Mr Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet, I find both Mr Knightley and Miss Elliott better developed characters in the novels in which they feature. Perhaps the fact that these are later novels, written several years after Pride and Prejudice, may account for the fact that the author gives us a more rounded picture of their characters- both showing a degree of maturity in the way they deal with the characters and situations in which they find themselves.
Q2- Tell us what it was like to get your first “call” to publication.
Answer- I have to be honest- there was no real “call to publication” as such. The first volume of the Pemberley Series – “The Pemberley Chronicles” was published as a result of a fortuitous meeting on a sunny afternoon in 1997- between the enterprising Manager of a publishing place in Sydney, Australia called The Pink Panther and the author. Having listened to what it was all about and read a few chapters of the manuscript, the lady who was herself a fan of Jane Austen agreed to publish the book, on certain terms- and four months later- the first proof copies emerged! Needless to say, it was a thrilling moment- until we discovered they had no pagination! Panic reigned, until the Operations Manager stepped in and took charge- and by the miracle of modern technology – computerised printing- a few keystrokes later- the pagination was in and the presses rolled again. Relief and rejoicing all round, the first copies went out and as the orders came in and a reprint was called for- we broke out the first bottle of champagne! Thereafter, the response of reviewers and readers led to the nine follow- up volumes of the Pemberley Series. The complete series was picked up and reprinted in the USA by Sourcebooks in 2007.
Q3- How does living in Australia influence your writing?
Answer- I have lived in Australia for the past thirty years and while it is very different to Regency England, I do have access to all the resources of some of the best libraries and the internet to do my research. I have visited England and am quite familiar with the places in the novels. I have also studied English history and literature intensively at University. To give some credit to Australia- the freedom and sense of space that I enjoy living in our beautiful national capital- Canberra, together with the many resources available to us, provide both the inspiration and the quality of life that any writer would envy.
Thanks again for your invitation and I hope your readers enjoy Expectations of Happiness. I look forward to reading their comments.
Rebecca Ann Collins Website-www.rebeccaanncollons.com