I'm very happy to introduce  Alexa Adams to all of you.

Alexa lives a rather quiet life in Wilmington, Delaware with her amazing husband (her very best friend in the world) and her two cats . She says: "Wilmington might seem rather dull - and in all honesty, it is - but I have lived in my share of exciting places and enjoy the calm. Besides, the Brandywine Valley (in which Wilmington is located) is magnificently gorgeous and an easy train ride from New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington D.C.. Right now two subjects rule my mind: the move to our first home (that we own) in May and the book that I just self-published, FIRST IMPRESSIONS, A Tale of Less Pride and Prejudice.

After having decided to publish my scribblings last year, I started a blog with the intention of finding some readers and as an outlet for my rather all-consuming Austen obsession. My blog  is also called FIRST IMPRESSIONS, just like my book. That is how I met  Maria Grazia, on one of the Austen blogs, as well as a host of other wonderful people I now call friends. My husband is terribly grateful for you all, as having others with whom I can debate Austen has relieved him from bearing the brunt of my fascination. Really though, he is incredible. We have watched all the movies, read all her books aloud (as well as my favorite fan fiction), and now we are tackling Georgette Heyer together. Actually, that was kind of how I wrote the book: as an entertainment for my husband and myself. I'd write a few chapters a week and read them to him in the evenings".

Here's my interview with Alexa Adams. Read it through and leave your comment and your e-mail address to get the chance to win a brand new copy of Alexa's First Impressions, which she has kindly offered for a giveaway open worldwide. Good luck every one! Meanwhile, my copy is in the mail, travelling from the USA to Italy. I can't wait to read it. THANKS, ALEXA!

So, Alexa. Since this is a friendly chat between mates, let’s start saying where or how we met on line. Do you remember?
Not specifically, though I know it was either on one of the Austen blogs, or perhaps was it at Enchanted Serenity of Period Films? Either way, I believe we both were engaged in commenting on a series of similar topics and one of us found our way to the other’ s blog. I think I do remember both of us exclaiming, “I didn’t know you have a blog!” in each others’ comments, but I can’t recall who found who first.

I wanted to become a writer as a child after reading Little Women. Jo was my favourite character. But then I became a teacher (like her) and never a writer (as she did, instead). When and why did you start writing?

The first piece of creative writing I ever wrote was when I was six. It was an assignment for school – we were to read a book and either write a report or a play on it. I chose Heidi, which I had already read twice, and adapted it into a short farce. I don’t remember exactly what happened, but I am pretty sure Clara fell off a cliff. Though I continued to write, frequently turning assignments into creative outlets, I never really considered publishing anything until recently. I studied literature in school, thereby convincing myself of the inadequacy of my own prose. It was much more comfortable to analyze the work of others than to put myself in the spotlight. It wasn’t until I discovered fan fiction – a genre which I have come to consider ideal for creative literary critique – that I felt I wrote something good enough to see in print.

Where does instead your fondness for Jane Austen come from?
Jane Austen has been a continuously increasing passion for me, ever since I was twelve and picked up my first copy of Northanger Abbey in an airport bookstore. I soon had read all her books, considered them thoroughly enjoyable, and then reread them again as a teenager. In college Persuasion was on the syllabus of my Romantic literature class, and it was then that I was first stunned by the full force of Austen’s genius. Of course, I had to reread all her books once more. Then I read her other works. Then the novels once more, get the idea? As a child her books were glimpses into a far off world, filled with beautiful dresses, dashing heroes, and grand houses. As an adult they are exquisite pieces of art, to be ogled, learned from, and cherished. Her books not only delight me but make me a better person. Life would be so shallow had Jane not shown me my way.

Your First Impressions is a "what if" revision of Pride and Prejudice. Which is your favourite P&P character?
It’s really hard to say. Darcy is my default answer, as he is my favorite hero in Austen, but all the characters are so vivid that there isn’t one I don’t love – including Lady Catherine, Mr. Collins, and Lydia.

What about your Favourite P&P adaptation?
Andrew Davies 1995 masterpiece starring Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle, of course.

Out of P&P who is favourite Austen hero? And what about heroines? Choose just one, please.
Henry Tilney. I have always adored him. One should never underestimate the value of a man who can make one laugh. Anne Elliot is my favorite Austen heroine.

Do you watch period drama in general? You know I love watching adaptations of classics and costume movies. What about you?
I do. My entire life I have been a sucker for a pretty dress, the allure of which has shaped my taste in film. The more lavish, the better. I am particularly fond of musicals. My very favorites – My Fair Lady and Gigi – have the most incredible costumes. I have something of a love/hate relationship with adaptations of the classics, as I tend to find them frustrating rather than fulfilling, but generally I adore historically set films.

My favourite period drama is BBC North and South (2004). Apart from being the beginning of my interest in Mr Armitage’s work and career, it is indeed my favourite adaptation of a classic. Have you seen it?
This is going to be difficult to admit but ... no, I have never seen North and South, though I did read the book many years ago. The truth is, until I found your blog, I didn’t know who Mr. Armitage was. I hope that confession does not irrevocably destroy your opinion of me. I do have very good intentions of correcting this fault, as several months of RA Fridays have thoroughly proven what I am missing, and will let you know as soon as I have seen the film.

You’ve just lost 10 points on my buddy scoreboard. I’ll forgive you only because you promised to correct this fault of yours, Alexa! Jokes apart, waiting for your opinion on North and South soon. Meanwhile, let’s go on with our questions.Do you read other genres/ authors apart from Austen?
Well, I do love Russian literature, particularly Dostoevsky and Gogol, as well as classical Greek theater. My tastes tend towards things written before 1900, but my favorite author, apart from Austen, is Salman Rushdie, another mind boggling genius. His last book, The Enchantress of Florence, was magnificent. I have read everything he has ever written. Other living writers I particularly enjoy include Roddy Doyle, Philip Roth, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez, but mostly I stick to the Victorians.

I’ve discovered blogging in November 2008 and I started  to motivate and help my English Literature students, with LEARN ON LINE. Then I started blogging for my pleasure on FLY HIGH. It has been such an enriching discovery and it is still such a wonderful experience that really has brought so much to me! What has it brought to you?
Blogging is a revelation. It gives me a channel for all my many musing about Austen, as well as a place for me to keep track of all the fan fiction I’ve read. The best thing about blogging, however, is meeting all the other people who share my interests. It has been a far more rewarding experience than I ever anticipated.

Just a curiosity. What is your most frequent daydream? Mine is top secret!
I like to pretend my singing voice is better than it is.

I love singing and music in general. It's such fun.  Now, what can we ask our readers at the end of this nice chat to make their comments more interesting?
I would be curious to learn if other people have an author who has inspired them the way Austen has me. Or maybe we should inquire into more daydreams?

Ok. We’ll leave our readers free to comment and say about their daydreams or the author who inspires/d them. Or both if they want! They are going to win a copy of your book just leaving their comments here. Are you ready to sign and dedicate the copy of your book for the giveaway? What strong emotion might that be!!!
It’s very gratifying just to hold the book in my hands, let alone sign it. I just hope that it brings as much joy to its readers as it did to its writer.

Thank you very much indeed, Alexa. It's been a pleasure to have you here as my guest. I wish you a great success with your book and a very happy Easter!

Happy Easter to you all of course!
And don't forget to leave your comment. Winner will be announced on Monday 12 April.
You can buy Alexa Adam's First Impressions HERE
Read the first 3 chapters HERE
Visit her blog HERE


JaneGS said...

I get back to the real world (I've been on vacation in New York City) and get to read all about my bloggie friend, Alexa. That was a wonderful interview--thanks to you both!

My secret fantasy is to be able to carry a tune :)

I loved the Heidi creative writing assignment--Clara falling off a cliff sounds like a winner to me.

I'm looking forward to reading Alexa's sequel to P&P soon...whether I win it here or not!

Meredith said...

I knew an interview with Alexa would be forthcoming on this blog!!! I'm so very happy to learn more about you, Alexa. And don't worry, I hadn't seen N&S until two months ago when I won the DVD here on Maria's lovely blog. It is terrific though, and I can't wait to hear your thoughts, especially on Richard Armitage!

Meeting new people ane makings friends IS the best thing about blogging! I feel so fortunate to "know" wonderful people like Maria and Alexa who are not only kind, but are intelligent and inspiring! Best of luck of your new release, Alexa! Thank you for another fantastic interview, Maria!

Oops! I almost forgot to answer the question! I wouldn definitely have to say Jane Austen is the author to have most inspiried me, even though I am no writer. If you were to ask me what composer most inspires me that would have to be Beethoven hands down! Which is cool because Austen and Beethoven are contemporaries!

Thanks for the lovely opportunity!

Alexa Adams said...

Maria Grazia - The post is lovely. Thank you so much for including me as a blogger buddy. It is an honor to be a part of your community, and I am touched by Jane GS and Meredith's sweet comments. I love all the pictures you incorporated - especially that you found a way to include one of your Mr. Armitage! I promise to do what I am sure will be very pleasant penance soon.

Jane GS - It was a pleasure! I hope you had a lovely time in The City. If you hurry, I am giving away another copy of the book on my blog. You have about five hours left to enter.

It might sound a bit cruel, but I have very fond memories of Clara falling off that cliff. Whiny girl.

Meredith - I feel so fortunate to "know" you too! It's amazing how enriching these virtual friendships can be. I blush to think of my self as inspiring and revenge myself by letting you know that you are also.

My rendition of the Ode to Joy is a disaster. It is exactly the kind of piece of music that makes me curse my totally tone deaf state, though it doesn't keep me from singing anyway.

CaRiiToO said...

My secret fantasy is to meet Darcy or someone like Darcy and be marry to him XD

As for authors, the one who have inspired me are: Alcott, Austen & Brontë (Emily & Charlotte, I haven't read Anne's Agnes Gray).

I loved the interview!
My e-mail is caro.echevarria@hotmail.com

felicia said...

This is a lovely interview, thank you so much. I'm looking forward to reading the book.

Alexa, North and South with Richard Armitage is a definite MUST see! It is one of the best adaptations in my opinion!

Alexa Adams said...

CaRiiToO - It might, if you asked others, be something of a stretch, but I fancy my husband is my Mr. Darcy. A bit short, perhaps, but he nails the hauteur and has a very Firth-like nose and hair. I am so glad you enjoyed the interview - it was great fun to participate in!

I recently reread and reviewed The Tenant of Wildfell Hall for the All About the Brontes challenge on Laura's Reviews and it was much better than I had remembered. I'll be reading all the Bronte novels except Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights - just did The Professor, now I'm on to Villette. Please come by and check it out!

Felicia - I fervently hope you the book fulfills your expectations! It has been a very anxious week, waiting to start getting some feedback from the first readers. It is suddenly glaringly obvious to me that I should have done this or that differently - terribly nerve wracking! The good will of bloggers has been a phenomenal support.

I just looked up North and South on Netflix and it is available for instant viewing. I promise to watch it ASAP!

Katherine said...

Lovely interview, thank you Maria and Alexa. :) I hope you enjoy watching North and South, Alexa, and that you both have a wonderful Easter!

Austen is certainly my favorite and the most inspiring writer for me, I love her style. I think one of my favorite things about her writing is that she expects her readers to be her equal, she doesn't explain her witticisms and of course the stories and characters are wonderful.
I'm also a great admirer of Elizabeth Gaskell. So far I've only read Cranford and a tiny bit of Wives and Daughters but I'm eager to read more of her work.
Anne Bronte is another favorite, I find I prefer her style over that of her sister Charlotte. In some aspects her writing reminds me a little of Austen.

Lory Lilian said...

Maria and Alexa - what a wonderful interview !
Alexa - congrats and good luck in your self publishing adventure !
Maria, I just discovered your blog and I started exploring it. Love it so far !

Maria Grazia said...

Well, Katherine, you just mentioned three of my best loved women writers. And what is more, I also prefer Anne Bronte's style to her sister Charlotte's!
Welcome Lory! I hope you enjoyed what you've found here and will be back.

Alexa Adams said...

Katherine and Maria Grazia - You know, as I have been rereading the Brontes (mentioned above). I find the Anne's works holds far more appeal to me than when I first read her novels as a teenager. Then, Charlotte blew my mind away and in comparison, Anne seemed dull. Now she reminds me very much of Austen, though her subject matter is certainly darker, and I appreciate her work far more. The Tenant of Windfell Hall was wonderful to revisit and I'm looking forward to Shirley. I wait to see if she has unseated Charlotte as my Bronte of choice upon completion of the challenge.

Lory - I'm glad you enjoyed the interview, deeply appreciate your congratulations, and am pleased you found you way to Fly High! It is a wonderful blog; I'm sure you will enjoy yourself!

Phylly3 said...

Great interview, as usual MG. Congratulations Alexa on the publication of your book. It is so inspiring to know it is never to late to reach for your dreams and make them a reality.
Please put my name down for your book giveaway!

Lúthien84 said...

I really enjoyed this wonderful interview. A big thanks to MG and Alexa. Congrats Alexa for your first published book. I'm looking forward to reading another paraliterature of Jane Austen's books.

Alexa, you should watch North & South. I watch it some years ago and I love it very much. In fact, it is 1 of my top period costume drama.

My secret fantasy is to become a spy just like Lucas North & co in Spooks to serve my country. Please put my name into the drawing to win this book.


Have a great day!

Alexa Adams said...

phylly3 - Thanks for the congratulations! Good luck in the giveaway.

Luthien84 - I have watched the first episode two days ago but have not yet had a chance to see the rest. Good luck in the giveaway and I hope you enjoy the book!

Mystica said...

Wonderful interview and congratulations on the book.


Anonymous said...

Wonderful Interview MG and lovely to read of another author who has braved the independent press. I agree so much with the comment that blogging makes new and wonderful friends. I would never have met you MG and I honestly have lifelong friends out of the blogging I have done in the last 4-5 months.
The author who has inspired me the most is Dorothy Dunnett who is the most incredible historical fiction writer, now sadly deceased and what a loss!
Alexa, you will love North and South and you will, I guarantee, become an RA fan.
My constant daydreams are that summer should last forever here where I live and that I have energy to enjoy every minute of it.