Thursday, January 7, 2010

Author Interview-Abigail Reynolds

About the Author:
Abigail Reynolds is a physician and a lifelong Jane Austen enthusiast. She began writing The Pemberley Variations series in 2001, and encouragement from fellow Austen fans convinced her to continue asking “What if…?” She lives with her husband and two teenage children in Madison, Wisconsin. For more information, please visit

When did you first discover Jane Austen? I was 12 when I read Pride and Prejudice for the first time and fell in love, and all the other books followed quickly.

Tell a little about your love/obsession with Austen and her books. At first I think it was escapism and enjoyment of Austen’s wit that kept me reading. Her humor is sharp but not cruel, and she seems to care about all her characters even with all their faults. There isn’t any division into bad and good characters, just ones that are weaker or sillier than others. It’s a world view that appeals strongly to me. As I grew older, I realized the Regency world wasn’t all tea parties and balls, and then I started delving deeper into the characters and finding new understandings, especially in some of the character flaws. Austen’s characters are like old friends that I keep with me all the time.

Describe your writing schedule? I mostly write at coffee shops and late at night at home when my family is asleep. It’s always squeezed in, with a few paragraphs written at my son’s karate practice, then scribbling down lines while cooking, etc.

How do you fit is all in… family, writing, medical practice? That’s easy – I don’t fit it in! I always feel like I should give more time to work, writing, and my kids. A couple of times I’ve tried to give up writing, but my kids complain that it makes me really cranky and tell me to start again! I’ve let go of a lot of things like keeping my house even remotely tidy, and my husband does a lot of work around the house. But writing fits in well because I often don’t have much physical stamina because of a chronic illness, and it’s something I can do while resting.

How many books do you read a year? Oh dear – I’m not sure I can count that high! Usually it’s a couple of books a week, sometimes less when I’m in the throes of writing and there’s no room in my head for anybody else’s characters. Just lately I’ve been reading a series of children’s books by Sally Watson that I loved as a kid but were out of print for decades. It’s like a trip down memory lane.

Fave authors/books? Apart from Pride and Prejudice? My reading is very eclectic. I love Robin McKinley, Gillian Bradshaw, Kate Elliott, Mary Balogh, and I’m currently really enjoying reading Maria V. Snyder’s books.

Do you plan another what if series from another author? Probably not. I embarked on these books because I wanted to spend more time with Austen’s characters, rather than a particular interest in what-if stories. I’m more likely to write original fiction.

How many books do you see publishing in the current Jane Austen what if series? The sixth book, Mr. Darcy’s Obsession, will be coming out next October, and I’ve finished the first draft of a seventh. I’ll probably keep writing them as long as there are people interested in reading them!

Guilty pleasures? Chocolate, chocolate, and chocolate. Did I mention chocolate?

Hidden talents? For a long time, writing was my hidden talent. I didn’t tell anybody in my real life about my secret life in the Regency. My other talent, diagnostics, is useful in my other job. I’m good at teasing out odd symptoms that nobody has ever thought much about and putting them together in a big picture, which is actually a lot like the intuitive parts of writing.

I noticed on your blog you mentioned writing conferences. How many do you attend a year? Would you suggest inspiring writers to go to these? If so, do you have a suggestion on which ones work well for those not yet published? I usually go to two conferences a year, and I find them very useful. It’s a good way to learn the unwritten tricks of getting published and to make connections, as well as learning about the craft of writing. The annual Romance Writers of America conference is a good opportunity, but can be overwhelming, especially for first-timers. I’d recommend the Chicago-North RWA Spring Fling conference ( in April which has a particularly good lineup of workshops, agents and editors, and will be a bit more personal. I’ll be there.

Thanks for inviting me!


In this sexy Jane Austen sequel, Elizabeth Bennet accepts Mr. Darcy's first marriage proposal, answering the "What if...?" question fans everywhere have pondered

" I had not known you a month before I felt that you were the last man in the world whom I could ever be prevailed on to marry."

Famous last words indeed! Elizabeth Bennet's furious response to Mr. Darcy's marriage proposal has resonated for generations of readers. But what if she had never said it? Would she have learned to recognize Mr. Darcy's admirable qualities on her own? Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy follows Elizabeth and Darcy as they struggle to find their way through the maze of their prejudices after Elizabeth, against her better judgment, agrees to marry Darcy instead of refusing his proposal.

Two of the most beloved characters in English literature explore the meaning of true love in a tumultuous and passionate attempt to make a success of their marriage.

1 comment:

  1. I'm a little late in commenting, but this was an interesting interview. Thank you.