Thursday, September 27, 2012

Guest Author: Andrea Brokaw - Pride, Prejudice, and Curling Rocks

Winner:  Thanks for your comments everyone. The random winner is Serena S. T.
 Please contact Ashwini at naliniDOTassistantATgmailDOTcom with your mailing address.

I love Pride & Prejudice, so when I saw this Dear Author review about a book that retells P&P in the world of curling, I knew I had to give it a go. I'm so glad I did! I loved the originality of the retelling, and read through the book in one sitting.

Here's the blurb and the link to the excerpt on the author's website:
All Darcy Bennet wants is to make it to the regional curling championships while finding some way to stop Jean, her best friend and team skipper, from moving across the country for college.

Darcy's thrilled when Jean sets her heart on a boy destined for a local university. Maybe hooking them up will keep Jean closer to home. Unfortunately, she hits a roadblock in the form of Lucas Fitzwilliam, who doesn't think it's such a hot idea for his friend to date Jean and soon convinces his friend to feel the same. 
Darcy has no hope of matchmaking while Lucas is working against her in his mistaken belief that Jean “deserves better,” so when he offers to stop trying to keep the couple apart if she'll stop trying to push them together, she agrees. But when upholding her noninterference pact with Lucas means denying Jean help getting a date to the winter formal, the resulting argument leaves the girls' friendship in jeopardy.

Now Darcy has to repair her relationship with Jean so their team can regain the solidarity they'll need to win the tournament that would qualify them for Regionals. And she really has to resist the temptation to kill Lucas, because she's pretty sure there's no curling in prison.

I'm delighted to have Andrea Brokaw here to talk about her writing journey to Pride, Prejudice, and Curling Rocks. Please welcome Andrea to the blog everyone, and don't forget to enter her contest!

Andrea Brokaw on Pride, Prejudice, and Curling Rocks

A few weeks ago, I checked my email and saw something from Nalini Singh. I assumed I'd signed up for her mailing list, then forgotten about it, but while I was wondering if she had something new due out, I realized the subject of the email she'd sent was “Pride, Prejudice, and Curling Rocks.” I stared at that for a moment as it clicked in my head that Nalini Singh had sent me an email with the title of my novel as the subject line.

If someone had told me last year that my first fan letter from a complete stranger was going to be from someone whose name has repeatedly graced the New York Times Bestseller List, I would have laughed at this person and assumed they were drunk or stoned or something. But that's what had happened! Nalini said that not only had she heard of my book, she'd read my book and enjoyed it! And she wanted to know if I'd be interested in doing a guest spot on her blog.

I stared at that message for long enough that my son asked me what was wrong. He was a little freaked out when my response was to laugh.

So, to make a long story short (Too late!), yes, Nalini, I would love to do a spot on your blog and it really and truly means the world to me that you've asked!


A very common thing for people to ask me about is why I decided to retell Pride and Prejudice through a curling story.  The mainstream wants to know “Why curling?” and curlers are all, “Why Austen?”
There was never a point in time when I thought out of the blue, “I need to introduce Lizzie Bennett to winter sports!” Rather, the idea evolved on its own.

I've been a fan of curling since I noticed during the 2002 Olympics that my newborn would stare captivated and quiet at curling for hours straight. That February, I had curling on the TV every second I could and cursed the fact that I didn't live in Canada where I could continue watching it after the Olympics.

By 2010, my son was no longer bespelled by the sport, but I still enjoyed it immensely. I also enjoyed Twitter and spent a great deal of time Tweeting about the Vancouver Olympics curling matches I was watching. I'm sure  a lot of people didn't care for the sudden sports Tweeting, but there were quite a few people who really seemed to appreciate it. Some of them even wrote to tell me that I'd made the game much more understandable to them and that they were enjoying it for the first time ever.

Andrea at a curling rink!
Somewhere in all this, it occurred to me that I could write a novel about curlers. Before that point in time, everything I'd written had been some form of fantasy, either traditional or urban, but there was something appealing in the notion that I could create a contemporary romance if it had a background of something I enjoyed as much as curling.

I spent the last week of the Games alternating between Tweeting and outlining a novel. I was really excited about the idea, although there were two slight problems. One was that I didn't feel I knew enough about curling because all I'd ever done was watch it on TV. That was easily fixed thanks to the Granite Curling Club in Seattle. Sure it was over two hours from where I was living, but they let me join anyway and my uber-fabulous husband drove me over the mountains and through the city every week so we could pick up the sport. The other problem was harder though. There was something “off” about my outline and I couldn't figure out what it was.

I did the only thing I could think of and let the outline sit for a bit. When I picked it up with fresh eyes, I realized my issue. “Huh,” I said to myself. “You outlined Pride and Prejudice.”

I honestly hadn't meant to do that, but looking at the plot, it was inescapably the same basic story.

It took me a week or two of internal debate, but eventually I decided that rather than trying to edit my outline to make it stand out more from Pride and Prejudice, it would be more fun to tweak it to be closer. So my names changed and a couple of new characters wandered in and a few points were nudged around until I had something that I felt was perfect for the title Pride, Prejudice, and Curling Rocks.

When I told Twitter, the response was great. One friend immediately asked, “What position does Mr Darcy play?” With a grin, I wrote back, “Mr Darcy does not curl. He plays hockey. This is just one of his many flaws.” And my friend declared that I'd nailed it.

Now I'm working (far too slowly) on a curling version of Much Ado About Nothing, because Beatrice and Benedick are one of my favorite couples of all time. My mom thinks it should have ghosts in it. Or vampires. Maybe angels. I told her she should write that then. (Or perhaps Nalini should? ;)

But what about you guys? What unusual retelling would you create? 

Giveaway: Andrea is giving away a copy of Pride, Prejudice, and Curling Rocks. Giveaway open internationally. To enter the draw, just leave a comment on this post (on the main blog rather than the Goodreads feed), before noon Sunday 30th September, New Zealand time. Make sure you either leave a way for me to contact you, or check the blog on Monday to see if you've won.

The fine print: One entry per household. No purchase necessary to enter. Winner will be chosen randomly using and his or her name posted on this blog on Monday 1st October 2012. Void where prohibited.


Sasha said...

Thanks for introducing me to this new take on P&P Nalini :)

jennifer said...

This sounds like an very interesting story.

Bron said...

I love historicals, so I can't wait to read this. And have to say I love Much Ado About Nothing. So hurry up!!! tee hee

Shan said...

This sounds great! I only read P&P 2 years ago - and loved it. And lets not forget a certain Mr Darcy and the lake.... fans herself. And Much Ado??? I love MAAN.

Chanpreet said...

P&P is my favorite book and I love it in all it's forms and would love a chance to read this book!


Kristal said...

I read a review of this book and have been looking forward to it. Sounds like so much fun!

Anonymous said...

I love discovering new authors especially from ones I trust. This one sounds like quite a hoot. I love P&P and know very little about curling but am eager to spend some time finding out with this book! Thanks for the recommendation. JoAnne at jkk8250(at)yahoo(dot)com

Anonymous said...

Oooooh looks pretty cool! I love P&P, and this looks like a great twist!
-Amy C

MerviR said...

Sounds interesting! I've tried curling. It was fun but quite difficult.

Ursula K. Le Guin has done a beautiful retelling of Aeneis by writing Lavinia's story. It might be interesting to retell Odyssey from Penelope's point of view as a contemporary romantic comedy.


Liz C said...

I love P&P, one of my favourites, this retelling looks fun. As fir other retellings I haven't really thought about it, the three muskateers maybe -endless possibilities there

Diane said...

I have a friend who curls in a team but she never told me about every thing that goes on!!!!

angel said...

sounds like a wonderful idea, I cant wait to read the much ado about nothing one!

Joy said...

Wow, how interesting! Thanks for featuring this book - it sounds like a blast.

Unknown said...

Sounds very interesting. I'd love to read this book. :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Andrea and Nalini,

I read the Dear Author review and also picked up your book! So glad I did. Loved it. I can't wait to read your next book. Please don't enter me in the contest. I already have a copy on my Kobo. Look forward to your next book. Carol

Rachel said...

I love that concept! Pride and Prejudice has always been a favorite of mine and many of the retellings have held great appeal to me - but I have a feeling adding curling to the mix will make it that much more interesting! :)

Scarly said...

Pride and Prejudice was the first ever classic novel I read. I always though that I would find them awkward to read so never bothered. Until I saw Pride and Prejudice in a charity shop looking all forlorn and unloved, abandoned in a place of forgotten objects. So I bought it. Well.... I ADORED it, and the amount of times I changed my mind about the characters!!! That Mr Darcy is an arse! OMG I LOVE MR DARCY!!! HE IS SO ADORABLE AND CHARMING!!! I think you get my point :)
Anyway, Pride and Prejudice holds a special place in my heart and a new updated version with CURLING??? Can't go wrong if you ask me.
And if Nalini Singh, one of my all time favourite authors has Andrea Brokaw in high regards then she must be AMAZING! :D Fingers crossed!!!!!! x

Gail Leinweber said...

Oooh, fun setting to give P&P.

Shoba said...

Sounds interesting!!!

bn100 said...

The book sounds intriguing.


Unknown said...

I love to read updated stories of P&P. This sounds like a really good read. Thanks for the giveaway.

Catherine said...

I love Pride & Prejudice and Andrea's book sounds like a great read for a long (warmish) spring day.

Tiffany M. said...

I love fairytale retellings, but your lit retelling sounds great. I am definitely interested. :)

Dana said...

Yes. Winning. I am definitely going to get a copy for myself!

Jillian said...

I'm a true Austen fan! If only u could convince my own mr Darcy to dress in period clothing. Yea he wouldn't go for that!! One can dream :) this book definitely looks great! I've been looking for a fun, fresh and modern p&p re-telling. Just found one! Thanks for the suggestion nalini!!

Jill B said...

I'm very excited about this book. Thanks for the giveaway!

Julie said...

Wow! I love the original work, but this rendition looks great as well!! I definitely look forward to reading it.

equinuxxx (AT) yahoo (DOT) ca

Sarah said...

Wow I normally shun Pride & Prejudice remakes but this actually looks really fun! I look forward to reading it :)
gatorgr00ve (a t) yahoo (d o t) com

nalini.assistant said...

Winner: Thanks for your comments everyone. The random winner is Serena S. T.

Please contact Ashwini at naliniDOTassistantATgmailDOTcom with your mailing address.

Diane P said...

Noticed there were no curlers here. As a former curler I will be interested to read this book. Not many Curling clubs out here in the West, many more back in the Northeast & of course Canada. McGill University had a curling team-my boy friend wanted to go there so he could keep curling.