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Thursday, March 26, 2020

#OMGitsOHG! Guest Post and GIVEAWAY from Christina Boyd!

I've talked about Christina Boyd (The Quill Ink)'s Pride & Prejudice anthologies here on the blog before, mostly for Austen in August (surprise, surprise). Christina normally curates and edits these collections — which are stellar, might I add — but with the latest entry in the lineup, Elizabeth: Obstinate, Headstrong Girl, she's not only wearing her editor hat, but is making her debut as one of the featured authors as well.

Today, she's stopping by to talk to us a bit about our favorite OHG (obstinate, headstrong girl), and what it is about her, maybe even more than Darcy, that draws us back to P&P again and again. She's also giving you a chance to win a pretty stellar prize pack featuring titles from each of the authors involved in the anthology, as well as a bonus giveaway (more on that below)! So make sure to check out her post below, and enter to win — and then stop back by tomorrow for my thoughts on the book!



Why Elizabeth? by Christina Boyd

Elizabeth: Obstinate, Headstrong Girl has been a project on and off my mind for some time. Even the day after the release of my anthology The Darcy Monologues (2017), readers were suggesting I put together an Elizabeth collection. But I kept putting it off, wanting to pursue other projects like Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues, Rational Creatures, and even Yuletide: A Collection of Jane Austen Inspired Stories. As Pride & Prejudice is told mostly from the third person limited narrative of Elizabeth Bennet, and there is already so much Elizabeth fanfiction out there, I wondered if there was a need. But that thought was always there, niggling at me like an itch that needed to be scratched. (Don’t touch your face, by the way.) And when it came right down to it, I wanted to assemble this collection. Still, I needed to justify why she is relevant two centuries after her creation, why she might translate well to other era stories, and why readers might like more Elizabeth—so I made a list.

Five Reasons We Love Elizabeth Bennet:


  1. She is confident and refuses to let anyone, regardless of sex or rank, intimidate her. “I am resolved to act in that manner which will in my opinion constitute my happiness without reference to you or to any person so wholly unconnected to me.” –Chapter LVI
  2. She uses her wit rather than fall for petty behavior. “I am no longer surprised at your knowing only six accomplished women. I rather wonder now at your knowing any.” –Chapter VIII
  3. She is fiercely loyal (even when she proves fidelity to the wrong man.) “…do you think that any consideration would tempt me to accept the man, who has been the means of ruining, perhaps for ever, the happiness of a most beloved sister?”—Chapter XXXIV
  4. She recognizes her faults and strives to improve herself. “But vanity, not love, has been my folly…Till this moment I never knew myself.” –Chapter XXXVI
  5. She cannot be bought. She would rather face genteel poverty than marry someone she could neither respect nor marry. “Do not consider me now as an elegant female intending to plague you, but as a rational creature speaking the truth from her heart.” –Chapter XIX

I could go on but we Lizzy Bennet fans don’t need to be told what we already know. And who doesn’t have a little bit of Elizabeth inside them?

Once I determined that I was going to commit to this project, I floated the idea to a few of the authors I had worked with before and was pleasantly surprised how enthusiastic they were. I don’t know why I was hesitant to ask—of course, we all love Elizabeth Bennet! And because The Darcy Monologues is a collection of stories set in the Regency to modern times, I wanted Elizabeth’s stories to mirror that idea. Author Beau North suggested we approach NY Times bestselling Regency romance author Tessa Dare to write the foreword as she had at one time written Jane Austen fanfiction—and so we did—and she accepted. Her deft understanding of Elizabeth and Pride and Prejudice and the focus of our collection—well, she made my Dream Team complete!

And the title, it seemed a no brainer to me.

Late last spring, seeing the stories that had already arrived in my inbox: five re-imaginings or prequels or sequels in the Regency era, an Edwardian story, a 1930s story set in old Hollywood, a college-aged student in a1980’s male dominated field of engineering, and a present day story about a young coed on a blind date, I thought a Victorian era story might work too. I had an idea for an Elizabeth story about aging, and the wisdom we gain, and how older people often bestow such experiences on you. In “A Mate for Life”, set in 1855, an aged Elizabeth Darcy, with side commentary from her beloved Fitzwilliam, counsels her granddaughter about an impending betrothal while sharing how she came to marry Darcy.

Since publication of our collection, I’ve received encouragement for my debut story but this, from my very practical, non-romance, non-Austen reading sister was everything:

After reading your story and pondering it, I’ve finally concluded that P&P is not a hopeless romantic story at all… For me, Jane Austen’s premise of the Darcy & Elizabeth saga is that unconditional love is not instantaneous awareness that someone is your soul mate. It’s hurdling obstacles of perceived lies and assumed transparency into another’s soul and decide quite unexpectedly, I love this person whole heartedly. The totality of my mind does not love every notion of this being because that would be absurd. But yes, despite our differences, we are very much alike, and it is the differences that make our hearts whole and compatible. I like the aged Elizabeth reflecting on her obstinate, headstrong girl ideals and then see how those ideals evolved with maturity and ‘lived’ wisdom so translated into how she perceived Darcy…
I’ve learned through my years of reading, reviewing and editing Jane Austen-inspired fiction that many refuse to read it because they have prejudices against the genre. Some discount Austenesque novels as escapism, like one man said to author Christina Morland at a dinner party, while others might read it and then write their two-lined Amazon review: “Jane Austen would be rolling over in her grave if she knew people were using her characters…” I get it. Not everyone is going to like the same stuff. (“One half of the world cannot understand the pleasures of the other.” –Emma) But words like that from my non-Austen reading, non-romance reading sister make me hopeful… If this collection about our favorite obstinate, headstrong girl can help even one person reevaluate their prejudices against Pride and Prejudice or Austen, and even Austenesque fiction, then surely that must be a win. I am confident there is enough room for everyone under the Austen umbrella. Let Elizabeth: Obstinate, Headstrong Girl be your gateway to Austenesque literature. It’s addicting. In a good way. Moreover, we hope readers will enjoy the stories inspired by Austen’s best beloved heroine in the same affectionate manner they were written.

Thank you, Misty, for hosting this last stop of our #OmgItsOHG (as in oh-my-gosh it’s obstinate, headstrong girl) blog tour. And for shining your light on this collection of stories!



CHRISTINA BOYD wears many hats as she is an editor under her own banner, The Quill Ink, a great reader and reviewer, and a ceramicist. A life member of Jane Austen Society of North America, Christina lives in the wilds of the Pacific Northwest with her dear Mr. B, two busy young adults, and a retriever named BiBi. Visiting Jane Austen’s England was made possible by actor Henry Cavill when she won the Omaze experience to meet him in the spring of 2017 on the London Eye. True story. You can Google it.
You can connect with Christina via her website, Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.

ABOUT THE BOOK: (e-book, trade paperback, pp.350):

“Obstinate, headstrong girl!” For over two hundred years, having a “lively, playful disposition,” Elizabeth embodies the perfect imperfections of strong-willed women everywhere: she is spirited, witty, clever, and loyal.

In this romance anthology, ten Austenesque authors sketch Elizabeth’s character through a collection of re-imaginings, set in the Regency through contemporary times. In ELIZABETH: OBSTINATE, HEADSTRONG GIRL, she bares her most intimate thoughts, all the while offering biting social commentary about life’s absurdities. Elizabeth overcomes the obstacles of others’ opinions, not to mention her own flaws, to find a love truly worthy of her—her Mr. Darcy—all with humor and her sparkling charm.

“I think her as delightful a character as ever appeared in print…” wrote Jane Austen in a letter to her sister Cassandra, January 1813―and we think so too!

Foreword by NY Times & USA Today bestselling author Tessa Dare.

Stories by Amy D’Orazio, Jenetta James, Christina Morland, Beau North, Joana Starnes, Karen M Cox, Elizabeth Adams, Leigh Dreyer, J. Marie Croft, and Christina Boyd.



GIVEAWAY



The #OmgItsOHG (Oh-my-gosh, it’s Obstinate Headstrong Girl) Blog Tour began February 18 with announcement and cover reveal at Austenesque Reviews, and we hope you will continue to join us and connect with each author about their “Elizabeth” story. We’ve included a Grand Prize package giveaway (a book of your choosing from each of the eleven author’s backlist) as well as additional giveaway: my Silly Austen-inspired blank note cards and coordinating coffee mug.


Open worldwide, so be sure to participate. 1) Enter the Rafflecopter for the Grand Prize package of books, and 2) comment on the blog stops to be counted for the additional giveaway (you need not comment everywhere to be entered in that drawing but we hope you’ll have your share of the conversation.) Ends March 31.
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/51329630-elizabeth
BuyLink: https://www.amazon.com/dp/0998654051/


a Rafflecopter giveaway


13 comments:

  1. I love Christina's anthologies and am excited that she has contributed a story to this collection.

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    1. Thank you! I hope you enjoy the collection. It’s been a labor of love and a project almost a year in the making. I think the authors really stepped up in contributing a short!

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  2. What a fabulous anthology this is! My favourite characters are Darcy and Elizabeth so this was definitely a must read for me!
    I loved all the stories but, as she already knows, Christina’s made me cry! I’ve already read the whole book twice. Love it, love it! Thank you.

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    Replies
    1. Twice! That’s wonderful. Thank you for the compliment.

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  3. I am so incredibly humbled and pleased to be a part of this amazing project. Thanks Misty for hosting!

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    1. I am So glad you agreed to be a part of the collection and your modern day story, The Last Blind Date, fit perfectly! Thank you.

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  4. When I need a rest from reading long books, a short story is very welcome especially JAFF

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  5. I love your sister's comments -- and all your thoughts on Elizabeth. How fortunate that you gave us a story, as well as your editing prowess, for this project! Thanks, Christina! And thanks, Misty, for hosting.

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  6. Love this! So many reasons to continue to explore the character of Elizabeth Bennet. Thank you, Misty, for hosting :)

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  7. Neat getting the background on this one. I adored it from cover to cover. :)

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  8. Love the list and your sister’s comment. So sad that the book tour is at it’s end. I just started reading it and loving it. Thank you Christina and the amazing authors who contributed to another great anthology!

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  9. I enjoyed this last stop on the tour so much, reading about what brought you to this project. Your sister's comment is wonderfully insightful. I loved the entire anthology, and your story made me grab the box of tissues!!! Congratulations on another fantastic anthology and enticing such excellent authors.

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