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I’m thrilled to welcome Victoria Kincaid back to Diary of an Eccentric to celebrate the release of the audiobook of Mr. Darcy to the Rescue. It’s wonderful to see a book I’ve edited released in audio, and Victoria has a fantastic story to share about it. Please give her a warm welcome!

Hi Anna, thank you for having me as a guest. As I was preparing this guest post, I thought about the fact that we both had daughters graduating from high school this year and that led me to musings about the role of audiobooks in my family. Of course, they are handy to have in the car. My husband listens to books in his commute, and I often listen during my multiple daily drives. As a family, we have listened to a number of audiobooks together on long car trips.

But I never realized the real importance of audiobooks until I had a daughter who had difficulty learning to read.

She was in first grade and was supposed to do 20 minutes of reading a day. I had to split up these 20 minutes into 3-4 chunks because reading was such a chore to her. As someone who has found books to be an important part of my life and endless source of joy, I was alarmed. Eventually we traced her difficulties to a vision problem known as Convergence Insufficiency (CI) in which the eyes do not function well together. The doctor who examined her found that she couldn’t focus her eyes more than nine seconds without great effort. Can you imagine trying to learn to read under those conditions?

We started her on vision therapy—with tremendous results. But the process took three years. In the meantime, I worried that she would lose interest in reading. How could she not when it was such a struggle? I read books aloud to her, which was very rewarding. (I read the entire Harry Potter series to her and then did it all over again when my son wanted to read it.) But she often wanted to read when I wasn’t available.

Thank God for audiobooks. They allowed her to be an independent reader—choosing what to read and when to read it without depending on another person. We were fortunate that our public library had many books on CD (eventually they started getting e-audiobooks and she now has a well-used Audible account).

I cannot tell you how grateful I am to have audiobook technology available. If I had experience CI as a child, I would have been out of luck. But with the help of audiobooks, she still read eagerly—and learned to enjoy reading—even when it was difficult and painful to put her eyes to paper. When she graduated from vision therapy, she was able to read print books on her own—and she wanted to. With the help of audiobooks she had become an avid reader. Her problems aren’t gone and probably never will be. Her eyes tire easily, which is a great challenge in school. She still “reads” audiobooks for pleasure because she needs to save her “eye time” for school-related tasks. Fortunately a lot of textbooks and works of literature (for English class) are available on audio; audiobooks are one of the major factors behind her success in school.

Now that I have one of my novels on audio, it will make it easier for my daughter to read my writing. I’m not holding my breath, though. Although she liked Pride and Prejudice, she has a long list of books in her preferred genres that she would rather read. I don’t mind at all; I’m just glad she’s reading.

(One in 20 people suffers from Convergence Insufficiency, but most don’t know it. For more information on CI symptoms and other information, visit CIHelp.org.)

Thank you, Victoria, for sharing your daughter’s story with us. I’m so happy that she was able to become an avid reader despite the challenges. Congratulations on your latest release, and best wishes to your daughter as she goes off to college!

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About Mr. Darcy to the Rescue

When the irritating Mr. Collins proposes marriage, Elizabeth Bennet is prepared to refuse him, but then she learns that her father is ill. If Mr. Bennet dies, Collins will inherit Longbourn and her family will have nowhere to go. Elizabeth accepts the proposal, telling herself she can be content as long as her family is secure. If only she weren’t dreading the approaching wedding day.

Ever since leaving Hertfordshire, Mr. Darcy has been trying to forget his inconvenient attraction to Elizabeth. News of her betrothal forces him to realize how devastating it would be to lose her. He arrives at Longbourn intending to prevent the marriage, but discovers Elizabeth’s real opinion about his character. Then Darcy recognizes his true dilemma: How can he rescue her when she doesn’t want him to?

Check out Mr. Darcy to the Rescue on Amazon and listen to the sample!

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Giveaway

Victoria is generously offering an audio download code for Mr. Darcy to the Rescue to one lucky reader. Please note: the promo code will only work for the U.S. Amazon site. To enter, please leave a comment with your email address. This giveaway will be open through Sunday, July 1, 2018. The winner will be chosen randomly and announced in the comments section of this post. Good luck!

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mr. darcy to the rescueI’m thrilled to welcome Victoria Kincaid back to Diary of an Eccentric to celebrate the release of her latest novel, Mr. Darcy to the Rescue, which I had the privilege of editing.  Victoria is here to talk about humor in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice:

The Importance of Laughter

So, I wrote a Pride and Prejudice variation in which Elizabeth actually becomes engaged to Mr. Collins. Why was I motivated to write such a plot? Well, there are multiple reasons, but one is because my son (then 11 years old) thought Mr. Collins was funny. My son laughed at the guy when he read the Pride and Prejudice graphic novel and even more when we watched the 1995 adaptation (He also does a wicked impersonation of Mrs. Bennet: “You have no compassion for my poor nerves!”). His reaction made me think about Mr. C as more than just a plot contrivance.

When writing P&P variations, authors like me tend to focus on the romance, which makes sense. It’s a beautiful, compelling, timeless love story. Just the fact that P&P can sustain so many wonderful variations is a testament to how well-written it is and how well-drawn Darcy and Elizabeth are. But it’s easy to forget that it’s also a wicked social satire. My son’s reaction reminded me that humor is an essential element of the novel.

And, although Collins isn’t a very nice person, he’s a great source of humor. I had a great time writing scenes with him because he’s so egregious in so many ways. And unexpectedly, those scenes set the tone for the entire novel; the rest of it became fairly light and humorous despite the drama inherent in Darcy and Elizabeth’s romance. Darcy himself even reveals a sly sense of humor when dealing with Caroline Bingley’s insults to Elizabeth.

Writing Mr. Darcy to the Rescue taught me something about Austen’s novels: the importance of laughter. Although her characters often face worrisome dilemmas, the thread of humor helps remind us of a valuable tool in facing the difficult world. Elizabeth encounters some awful people, like Collins and Lady Catherine, but her sense of humor prevents her from growing too angry and resentful toward them (and probably helps her avoid an ulcer). She could easily become bitter, but instead she is amused.

Along with tremendous insights into the human character, laughter is one of the gifts Austen gave us in Pride and Prejudice—and it’s one I flatter myself 🙂 I have been able to share with the readers of Mr. Darcy to the Rescue.

About Mr. Darcy to the Rescue

When the irritating Mr. Collins proposes marriage, Elizabeth Bennet is prepared to refuse him, but then she learns that her father is ill. If Mr. Bennet dies, Collins will inherit Longbourn and her family will have nowhere to go. Elizabeth accepts the proposal, telling herself she can be content as long as her family is secure. If only she weren’t dreading the approaching wedding day…

Ever since leaving Hertfordshire, Mr. Darcy has been trying to forget his inconvenient attraction to Elizabeth. News of her betrothal forces him to realize how devastating it would be to lose her. He arrives at Longbourn intending to prevent the marriage, but discovers Elizabeth’s real opinion about his character. Then Darcy recognizes his true dilemma…

How can he rescue her when she doesn’t want him to?

Giveaway: Victoria is generously offering one ebook copy, in any format, open internationally. Simply leave a comment about why you want to read Mr. Darcy to the Rescue and/or whether or not you find Mr. Collins to be a humorous character, and please include your email address. This giveaway will be open through Sunday, August 23.

© 2015 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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