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Hello, friends! I’m delighted to welcome Cass Grafton and Ada Bright back today to celebrate the release of their latest novel, Mr. Darcy’s Persuasion. We had a lovely chat about the book and more, and they’re also giving away some copies. Please give them a warm welcome!


  • What inspired you to merge Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion in Mr. Darcy’s Persuasion? What was your favorite part of combining those two stories? Were there any particular challenges in doing so?

Cass: We both love these two books so much, it was almost a natural step to want to write a crossover. I’d had a thought some years ago about how some of the characters might meet (which is revealed early on, in the Prologue), and I think my favourite part was discovering how well they worked together on the page. 

I don’t recall any challenges in that respect, though we don’t use too many characters from Persuasion outside of the immediate Elliot family and Captain Wentworth. This is mainly because we’re following the timeline for Pride & Prejudice and the story is set in the winter of 1811, meaning it’s three years earlier for all the characters of Persuasion—i.e. Anne Elliot is 24, not 27, and Captain Wentworth is away at sea. It also means Lady Russell is passing the winter in Bath, as she does, Henrietta and Louisa Musgrove are away at school because they are younger in this story and Mr Elliot (the heir) is not yet widowed and is still estranged from the family.

Ada: What she said. 😉

  • Tell us something that you’re especially excited about regarding the new book. A particular scene? An original character? Having both Darcy and Wentworth in the same book?!?!?

Cass: Well, yes, having two such lovely men to work with was not exactly a hardship, and I’m sure Ada will agree. There are so many scenes I love, but there are a few secrets winging around throughout the story, so it’s hard to share specifics. I think the thing I’m most excited about is how we’ve weaved the mystery elements of the book in through the romance. I get excited to hear when readers have picked up on a clue we’ve dropped!

Ada: I was really just so excited to work with Anne. While I may not be like her in many ways, I find her very sympathetic. I hadn’t dreamed up a new future for her, so finally playing in her world was really satisfying!

  • Your co-written novels are so seamless. What process do you use for co-writing? Do you each write certain scenes/characters/POVs? How do you handle the plotting, edits/rewrites, etc.? How difficult do you find co-writing when living in different parts of the world?

Cass: This is one of Ada’s favourites, so I’ll leave her to answer the various questions more specifically. In summary, though, we both work on every aspect of our co-written novels, whether it is scenes, individual characters or POVs. Plotting is usually a brainstorm at the beginning. There are a LOT of video calls, and this year, Zoom has been our saviour!

Ada: Oo! Oo! Call on me! I am excessively long winded about this so I’ll try to be brief.

We both write everything in the book is the honest truth. Here’s how it works.

1. Cass pitches a plot (the plots I pitch usually involve car chases and Cass leaves those to my solo work).

2. We meet up somewhere on the globe and we talk about it while we walk around areas we think will be used in the book: letting ourselves meander through the story both figuratively and literally until we are ready to write our outline (here is also where we decide on actors to stand in for the image in our heads for each character).

3. We go back home, slightly worse for wear, and I start brazenly writing whatever scene I want while Cass starts exactly where one logically should: at the beginning.

4. We send each other our scenes and start editing what we’ve received from each other. This goes back and forth (each of us adding to the scenes) until one of us gets stuck and starts to doubt the validity of our plans.

5. At 10:30 pm my time and 7am Cass-time we Zoom and work out any kinks (or yell at each other—but usually we just laugh). Then I go to bed and leave Cass to fix the problems. When I wake up, I have a new set of solutions or questions in my email which I try to solve while Cass drinks some wine.

6. When all is mostly said and done we usually do a full read thru with each other out loud to check pacing etc. There’s more, but I can expect your eyes and ears are bleeding so I’ll stop.

Cass: Well it’s sort of like that! We have a 9-hour time difference, and I’m a morning person and Ada’s a night owl, so being so far apart works perfectly for us.

  • What drew you to Austen’s novels, and then to writing Austenesque novels?

Cass: Pride & Prejudice was a set book for an English Literature exam at school when I was 15, and I went on to read all the novels from there. I wrote my first Austen-inspired novel because of the proposal in the rain scene from the 2005 movie. I couldn’t believe, despite the ‘conversation’ that had taken place, that the character of Darcy, as a gentleman, would have left Elizabeth Bennet in a downpour and with no way to get back to Hunsford safely—so I sent him back to her!

Ada: I just love to dream in any of the worlds I love. Add to that how beautifully reserved Austen was with her romantic resolutions and therein lies the connection impetus to dream on paper. 

  • What’s your favorite Austen novel, hero, heroine?

Cass: Persuasion is my favourite, very closely followed by Pride & Prejudice. When I was younger it was the other way around, but I love Captain Wentworth’s letter so much, and find I identify far more with Anne Elliot than Lizzy Bennet, so it’s become my number one. I do also have a soft spot for Mr Knightley, though!

I do wonder what Jane Austen would think of Persuasion’s popularity, especially as she chose not to publish it when she finished writing the novel. Did she plan to make changes? Was it because it resonated too closely with her? I wish we knew!

Ada: Pride & Prejudice is my favorite novel, with Elinor from Sense & Sensibility being my favorite heroine and Captain Wentworth my favorite hero… purely for his letter honestly, I do not love witnessing his flirtations before he gets completely distracted by Anne! 

  • In your previous novels, you merged the past and the present. Do you enjoy writing contemporary novels or Regency-era novels more?

Cass: It wasn’t a conscious thing, but I do find it funny on reflection to have started in the past, then gone on to write time-travel, hopping between the present and the past, and then moving onto contemporary. It’s as though I needed to travel through time myself! 

The big advantage of writing historical is it’s easy to create conflict and stumbling blocks for the characters. You only need a letter to go astray (or where it shouldn’t), or for the weather to play up to impact the characters.

I think I love them equally, and it’s why I’m happy to be able to indulge in all three categories.

Ada: I have to say contemporary because what Cass finds easy (being comfortable writing in a historical setting) I find very difficult. It gives me structure I badly need, but also stifles some of my best jokes 😉 . 

  • Do you want to give us a hint about what’s next, book-wise? Do you have another co-writing project in the works? Anything you’re writing on your own that you’d like to share?

Cass: I have a few projects on the go, and we have third (and final, Ada) time-travel novel to write. We’ve plotted it out and it completes the 3-book series nicely, I think.  My next project, however, will be contemporary. I started a heart-warming romance series set in Cornwall last year and hope to work on the second and third ones this year.

Ada: I also have a few projects “on the go”. We have 3-5 more of our time travel adventures to write (trust me, Cass will cave. We have barely even begun to talk about the gravestones!), and I am writing a romantic suspense series, the first of which is done and the next I am researching—when not hanging over my 5th grader’s shoulder in distance learning. 

  • What books have you read recently that you’d like to recommend, Austenesque or otherwise?

Cass: I’ll be honest and say I read far less than I wish I did. I used to be a prolific reader, but when I’m in full writing mode, I find it hard to come out of the world I am in to read another book. I have made exceptions for my writer friends, though, and as a few of them have new releases coming this year, I’m looking forward to getting back into reading again!

Ada: I am in love with Robert Galbreath’s Coroman Strike series.

Thank you both so much for taking time to answer my questions and for being my guests today! Congratulations on your new book!


About Mr. Darcy’s Persuasion

Two of Jane Austen’s classics collide in this intriguing tale of pride, prejudice and persuasion, set in England’s beautiful West Country.

In the aftermath of the Netherfield Ball, Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet are determined to find respite—Darcy from the allure of the lady and the feelings she evokes in him, and Elizabeth from the drama unfolding at Longbourn.

Fate is not done with them, however, as they both—unbeknownst to the other—take refuge on the Kellynch estate in Somersetshire, home to Sir Walter Elliot and two of his daughters.

Whilst Elizabeth takes solace from her friendship with Anne Elliot, Darcy finds little comfort in his reacquaintance with the woman fast taking hold of his heart—or, indeed, in the eldest Miss Elliot’s company, whose fluttering eyelashes make her intentions plain.

As for Anne, it is five long years since she last laid eyes upon Frederick Wentworth, and though her regret lingers, she has found some contentment in life… until distressing news of the captain arrives.

When hints of deep secrets emerge—some recently stolen, others harboured for decades—the mystery begins to wrap tendrils around Darcy as he struggles to free himself from its ever-tightening bonds.

Can Darcy discover the truth before it is too late? Will Elizabeth even care if he does? And just what has become of Captain Wentworth?


About the Authors

Both avid bookworms since childhood, Cass Grafton and Ada Bright write the sort of stories they love to read – heart-warming, character driven and strong on location. Cass loves travelling, words, cats and wine but never in the same glass. Ada loves nothing more than a good, subtle love story… well, except cake. She also really loves cake.

Cass and Ada are close friends who enjoy writing together. Their popular time-travel romance series featuring Jane Austen recently came out on audio and they have just completed a Regency inspired novel, Mr Darcy’s Persuasion, in which two of Jane Austen’s classics collide.

When they are not working together, Cass writes uplifting contemporary romance and Ada writes romantic suspense.  

Connect with Cass & Ada:

Amazon Author Pages

http://author.to/CassGrafton

http://author.to/AdaBright

Blogs

www.cassandragrafton.com

www.tabbycow.com

Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/CassGraftonWriter

https://www.facebook.com/cassie.grafton/

https://www.facebook.com/missyadabright

Twitter

@CassGrafton

@missyadabright

Instagram

@cassgraftonwriter

@adacakes


Giveaway

Cass and Ada are generously offering 2 ebook copies of Mr. Darcy’s Persuasion, open internationally. To enter, please leave a comment with your email address. This giveaway will be open through Sunday, March 21, 2021. The winners will be chosen randomly and announced in the comments section of this post. Good luck!

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Happy New Year, friends! Sorry it’s taken me so long to take stock of last year’s reading, but last year definitely wasn’t a normal one for me…and unfortunately I don’t see a return to normalcy anytime soon. Between working overtime nearly every day, grappling with some health issues and all the associated stress, and losing a beloved pet and having to work through that grief, my reading and writing dramatically dropped off. In fact, after years of reading 50-100 books a year, I only managed to finish 16 in 2020. Of course, quality matters more than quantity, and thankfully, I read some good books last year! Here are my favorites from that list:

What were your favorite books from those you read last year? I’d love to see your lists, so please let me know in the comments!

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Happy release day to Cass Grafton! Her newest book, The Cottage in a Cornish Cove, is out today, and she is here to share an excerpt and a giveaway. Please give her a warm welcome!

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Thank you so much, Anna (you share a name with my heroine!), for inviting me to be a guest on your blog today!

As you can tell from the book blurb, Anna Redding is making a new home for herself in the Cornish village of Polkerran. She quickly settles into Polkerran life and makes friends with several of her neighbours—other than the distinctly unfriendly and rather irritable man she ran into twice outside her Aunt Meg’s house. Next, she needs to get a job, and she soon hears there’s a typing job going working for a reclusive writer/historian who lives across the cove.

This is what happens when she arrives for an interview and is greeted by the writer’s housekeeper, Mrs Clegg.

~o0o~

Mrs Clegg gestured at the stone staircase rising from the large and lofty hallway. ‘He’s alright. Just has some bad days.’ She lowered her voice. ‘Lovely man, really. Divorced, you know. Nursing a broken ‘eart, we reckons. Never seems to date anyone.’ She shook her head with a sigh.

Anna bit her lip. If he was an elderly, needy, broken-hearted man, he didn’t sound like he’d be much fun to work for. Still, if she didn’t earn a bit of money, she wouldn’t be able to stay in Polkerran.

She looked around full of curiosity as she followed Mrs Clegg across the flag-stoned entrance hall and up the stairs.

‘Ready, dearie?’

They’d come to a halt outside the first door along the landing, and Mrs Clegg rapped firmly on the polished wood and pushed the door aside, gesturing for Anna to enter.

‘Miss Redding, Master Oliver.’

Master Oliver? Anna threw the housekeeper a startled look. Surely she didn’t have to call him that? Mrs Clegg merely smiled warmly at her and then she was gone.

Turning back to face the room, Anna waited. There was no acknowledgement from the man at the large desk under the bay window, which framed a wonderful vista of the sea. As Phoenix had implied, he was formally dressed in a shirt and waistcoat, a suit jacket hanging off the back of his chair. The only sounds were the muted cries of the gulls and the tapping of a keyboard.

Anna looked around the room. It was a good size and had obviously been set up as a home office. Two of the walls were made up of bookcases reaching as high as the cornicing and were stacked with books. How she longed to go and study the spines.

Aside from the desk under the bay window, there was a second, smaller desk and chair by a side window, two armchairs either side of a fireplace containing a roaring log burner, and, to her surprise, a dog and a cat curled up together on the rug. Both raised their heads, but deeming her unworthy of further interest, returned to their dreams.

‘Nice to meet you too,’ Anna muttered under her breath.

‘What did you say?’

Anna’s gaze flew back to the man who’d now risen from his chair to face her and instinctively she took a step backwards.

‘It’s you!’

The grumpy giant raised a derisive brow.

‘Of this I was never in doubt.’

‘I thought you were a gardener. Or a neighbour. Not a…’

The mocking brow rose higher.

‘I, I was simply’—Anna gestured towards the animals—‘admiring your pets.’

The man grunted. ‘The feline isn’t mine.’

Oliver Seymour was as Anna remembered: aside from the grumpiness, good-looking, tall, and broad shouldered, with dark hair and piercing eyes. He wore wire-rimmed glasses today on his Romanesque nose and a sardonic expression.

‘So, you want to work for me.’

Did she? Anna was tempted to say, no thanks. I’ve changed my mind, but then she remembered her wish for a job.

‘You’ll do.’

Anna’s gaze snapped to his. ‘But—but you haven’t asked me anything. Or tested my typing speed or…’ Her voice trailed away under his look.

‘I’m not looking for a conversationalist. You’ll do fine. I can’t imagine you came here for a typing job if you can’t. Mrs Clegg knows better than to suggest it.’ He raised his chin. ‘She said she knew you. Does she?’

‘Yes, of course. She was a friend of my aunt’s. Well, not really my aunt, I just called her that.’ Anna paused. ‘Why does Mrs Clegg call you Master Oliver?’

He didn’t answer for a moment. After all, he’d said he wasn’t looking for a conversationalist.

‘She was in service all her life. I’ve asked her not to, but old habits die hard.’

Anna smiled. ‘I like it. It’s sweet.’

A grunt was the only response to this, and Oliver Seymour turned back and retook his seat.

‘The desk is over there. Go and power up the Mac and I’ll give you the first chapter.’ He didn’t look at her again, merely resumed his tapping on the keyboard. ‘Oh, and there’s no need to dress up. There’s no one here to see whether you look like a typist or not.’

Bristling, Anna resisted the temptation to tell him he didn’t dress much like a successful social historian either, but then she realised she didn’t know what one was supposed to look like. Did they all wear business suits and ties? Surely he approved of formal dress? Then, she brushed it aside. He was right. If this is where she would work, and only he and the housekeeper would see her, she may as well turn up in her pyjamas.

She put her coat and bag on one of the armchairs and took a seat at the smaller desk, adjusting the chair to the right height before turning her attention to the Mac. Thankfully, she was used to using one.

He reeled off the password, and Anna tapped it in quickly before grabbing a pencil and writing it down.

‘Here.’ He had risen from his desk and pulled a stack of papers from a tray. ‘The first draft was typed up by the last girl. I’ve made several notes and changes to the first few chapters. You’ll find it stored under Haunting History.’

Anna scribbled down the details, took the papers without a word and began to peruse them, conscious he still lingered. She bent her head, relieved when he walked back to his desk, then raised her eyes to peer at his back. Several notes and changes were an understatement. Every page was covered in pencil, with arrows and annotations and goodness only knew what else.

‘Why did she leave?’ Anna bit her lip. She hadn’t really meant to ask.

Oliver didn’t turn around. ‘Because I told her to.’

Sensing conversation, if it could be called that, was over, Anna turned her attention to the papers and before long was completely engrossed. Though unaware of his writing until now, she found herself gripped by the topic—the run-up to the Battle of Sedgemoor—and although she made a perfunctory attempt at starting the edits, she was soon turning page after page, unable to stop herself.

‘I was wrong then.’

Anna started and looked up. Oliver Seymour towered above her once more.

‘Sorry?’

‘I see no evidence you can actually type.’

Warmth rushed into her cheeks. ‘Yes, I can. I mean, I will. Now. Sorry. I got wrapped up in reading ahead.’

‘I’m flattered,’ he said dryly. ‘I’m going out. There’s a front door key in the desk drawer you can have. Leave me a note of your hours and let yourself out when you’re done for today.’

~o0o~

I hope you enjoyed this excerpt The Cottage in a Cornish Cove, which is out today in both paperback and eBook formats!

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About The Cottage in a Cornish Cove

A heart-warming tale of discovering all you never wanted is exactly what you need.

Orphaned as a baby and raised by uncaring relatives, much of Anna Redding’s happiness as a child came from the long summer holidays spent with an elderly family friend, Aunt Meg, in the charming village of Polkerran.

With Aunt Meg’s passing, Anna is drawn back to the West Country, relocating to the Cornish cove where she was once so happy. Filled with memories, she hopes to perhaps open a B&B—and perhaps cross paths with Alex Tremayne again, a local boy she used to have a major crush on and who only had to walk past Anna to make her heart flutter.

Settling into her new life, and enjoying her work for the older, reclusive and—to be honest—often exasperating Oliver Seymour, Anna is delighted when Alex reappears in Polkerran and sweeps her off her feet.

The stars finally seem to be aligned, but just as Anna thinks all she’s ever wished for is within reach, a shock discovery brings everything under threat, and she realises she’s living a dream that isn’t hers.

Can Anna rescue the new life she has made for herself and, when the testing moment comes, will anyone be there to hold her hand?

The Cottage in a Cornish Cove is the first in a series of uplifting romances from Cass Grafton. Get to know the warm and funny locals of Polkerran, wallow in the quaintness of a Cornish fishing village and fall in love with romance all over again.

Buy links: Amazon (U.S.) | Amazon U.K. | Kobo | Barnes & Noble (Nook) | Smashwords | Apple iBooks | Google Play

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About the Author

Cass Grafton

An avid bookworm since childhood, Cass Grafton writes the sort of stories she loves to read — heart-warming, character-driven and strong on location. Having moved around extensively and lived in three countries, she finds places inspiring and the setting of her novels often becomes as much a part of her stories as her characters.

She leans heavily towards the upbeat and insists on a happy ever after. As one of her favorite authors, Jane Austen, once wrote, ‘let other pens dwell on guilt and misery.’

Cass loves travelling, words, cats and wine but never in the same glass. She has two grown up children and currently splits her time between Switzerland, where she lives with her husband and imaginary cats, and England, where she lives with her characters.

Connect with Cass on her Blogs (Cass Grafton – Writer) (Tabby Cow) | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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Giveaway

Cass is generously offering one winner a choice of a paperback or ebook, open worldwide. To enter, please leave a comment with your email address. This giveaway will be open through February 15, 2020. The winner will be chosen randomly and announced in the comments section of this post. Good luck!

Thank you, Cass, for being my guest today, and congratulations on your new release!

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Source: Review copy from the authors

In The Unexpected Past of Miss Jane Austen, book 2 in the Austen Adventures series, Ada Bright and Cass Grafton pick up right where they left off in the first book, The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen. Rose Wallace has just helped Jane Austen make it back to the Regency era with the help of a time-traveling charm and realized her crush, the archeologist Dr. Aiden Trevellyan, feels the same way about her when Jane returns to the present and insists that they travel with her back to Chawton in 1813.

This time it is Rose who is taken out of her comfort zone, and she soon learns that living in the time of her favorite author is not as delightful as it seems in Jane’s books. Rose and Aiden are welcomed by Jane’s sister, Cassandra, and her brothers, Edward and Charles, and while Aiden is thrilled to see the village as it was during Austen’s time, Rose is more preoccupied with the reason behind their speedy departure from 21st century Bath — especially as it pertains to her own past.

I adored The Unexpected Past of Miss Jane Austen as much as I did the first book. The time travel aspect was fun, especially to see the modern-day transports adjust to the clothing (or lack thereof), shoes, and even food and drink of Austen’s time, not to mention the lack of hygiene and modern medicine. There is plenty of humor to balance out the more emotional scenes, and even as the reason for Rose’s travel back into time (and what it might mean for her future) is revealed, Bright and Grafton keep the tone light and hopeful — and there is always Jane or Charles to provide some levity.

It is clear that Bright and Grafton took time to research what Chawton was like in the early 1800s to show readers how much had changed by Rose’s time, and their affection and respect for Austen and her family really shine through. Their Jane felt authentic to me, in her words and her actions, and that made me love the book all the more. I enjoyed following Rose and Jane through time, watching Rose navigate her ties to both the past and the present, and seeing Rose and Aiden’s relationship strengthen in such a short time under such weighty circumstances. The world that Bright and Grafton have created is fascinating, their characters endearing, and I didn’t want the book to end. I sure hope there will be a third book in the series, as I’m not ready to let go of Rose and Jane, their friendship, or their adventures just yet.

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