Beth Pattillo is a talented American writer of women’s fiction born Texan and now living in Nashville. Her most recent publications are two successful Austen-based novels, Jane Austen ruined my life and Mr Darcy broke my heart, but she wrote many others! I’m glad she accepted to answer some questions about her latest book, which I have recently read , and accepted to be my guest on FLY HIGH! This interview opens my Jane in June events. Jane in June is hosted by Misty at her Book Rat .
Leave your comment after reading this interview and do not forget to add your e-mail address. You’ll have the chance to win an autographed copy of MR DARCY BROKE MY HEART by BETH PATTILLO. The giveaway is open worldwide. The winner will be announced at the end of the month, on June 30th.
Here's my interview!
I’ve recently read and reviewed your delightful Mr Darcy’s Broke my Heart. I rated it 5 out of 5 stars on Goodreads and wrote a post about it on My JA Book Club. It was such a pleasant reading. I particularly liked the idea of the two books in one, I mean, Claire’s story interwoven to her reading of Jane Austen’s manuscript of First Impressions. Do you really think Austen’s first draft of our beloved P&P was so different from the final version or was it just something you needed for the plot of your novel?
Austen wrote First Impressions when she was nineteen, and then returned to it when she was thirty, so I’m sure the novel changed significantly simply because of her greater ability as a writer and her enhanced life experience. Whether it changed as much as I portrayed in Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart is anyone’s guess, but my verison of First Impressions gave me the chance to raise the whole question of what makes a man heroic. I think it’s terrific that we can all ‘play’ together in this wonderful world of ‘three or four families in a country village’ that Jane Austen created for us.
What is your personal relationship with Mr Darcy? As for me, for instance, I prefer Mr Knightley, Captain Wentworth or Henry Tilney to him.
I love the relationship between Elizabeth and Darcy, because I think they both have to overcome a significant flaw in their character before they can appreciate the other. Darcy is perhaps the ultimate challenge for an Austen heroine. For myself, I would choose Captain Wentworth. I love a reunion story and Persuasion, for me, is Austen’s most meaningful ‘happily ever after.’
I’ve stolen a question from the final discussion proposed in the last pages of your book: Mr Darcy has truly become an iconic hero. But what makes a man a hero?
I think a man who is a hero is strong enough to know when he can be weak, courageous enough to know when to be afraid, patient enough to put up with a strong-willed woman, and loving enough to put his beloved’s needs ahead of his own. I think, too, that a woman has to show these same characteristics to be considered a true heroine.
Among the Mr Darcys we have had on screen, who is your favourite one?
Colin Firth. ‘Nuff said.
James Beaufort, Claire’s Mr Darcy in your novel , is “like a Michelangelo statue come to life” . Who inspired this character?
I wanted James Beaufort to be that ideal that so many women secretly long for. So he had to be incredibly good looking! I think we’ve all had that experience, women and men alike, of seeing someone who was so physically perfect that our jaws dropped. That’s the reaction I wanted to see in Claire.
I was moved by Claire’s final choices, though I don’t want to give big spoilers away, I must ask. Do you agree with me on the fact that sometimes we idealize literary heroes and dream about perfection to the point of not realizing our “Mr Darcy” is just at hand?
I don’t think women confuse the hero of a romantic novel or film with real life, but I think it’s important to remember the things that matter. My favorite love stories are ones where love is right under the characters’ noses all along. I’ve seen that in real life, when someone really opens their eyes one day and realizes the person they’ve been searching for is right there in front of them. That’s a great moment!
Your story of the manuscript is partly inspired to Jane Austen’s flirt with Tom Lefroy . Do you think it was really that crucial in her life? Have you seen the movie Becoming Jane based on those events in Jane’s life? What do you think about it?
I thought that Becoming Jane was really well done, but like so many of the Austen-inspired books and movies, much was made out of very little. I’m not casting stones – I did the very same thing in Jane Austen Ruined My Life. Honestly, I don’t think we’ll ever know whether Tom Lefroy was the love of her life or simply a flirtation and a fancy.
Since I’m a period drama addict and I really like Austen adaptation, I ‘d love to know if you like watching them, if you’ve got a favourite/favourite one/s?
I adore all the Jane Austen adaptations. I tend to rotate among them, but now, with the help of iTunes, I can carry all the Lizzies and Emmas and Elinors and Annes with me wherever I go. Bliss! The Amanda Root/Ciaran Hinds version of Persuasion is at the top of my list, I have to say. Recently, I’ve enjoyed the newer Andrew Davies-penned version of Sense and Sensibility.
Guess what, I’d love to see a film based on your MR DARCY BROKE MY HEART. It’d be great fun. If you were asked would you accept? If you could also suggest names for the leading actors/actresses, who would you choose as your Claire-James-Neil?
I would love to see someone make a film or television movie from the book. I’m currently enamored of Matthew Morrison of Glee, so he could play Neil. (If he’s not available, I’ll take John Krasinski.) I’m not sure about who should play James. And as for Claire – maybe Amy Adams? She’s not super glamorous but is pretty and perky. I think Claire has a lot of resiliance and that’s what I’d love to see come through on the screen.
Thank you, Beth! It’s been very kind of you and definitely a great pleasure to me !
Now for the giveaway of an autographed copy of MR DARCY BROKE MY HEART, leave your comment and e-mail address here and …GOOD LUCK everybody! Winner announced on June 30th.
Good Jane in June to you all!