A superhero in a steampunk corset? Indeed, indeed. Read on and find out more…
If you were to write the ‘origin’s episode’ of your writing what would be the most important scenes? What did your early efforts look like? Are they still around to be used as bribes and blackmail material?
There is none. I was always making up stories in my head when I was a kid. My father was an English professor and he was specialized in George Bernard Shaw, so we often listen to his plays and read them. I remember distinctly when I was eight years old I wrote a play. It wasn’t like Shaw’s at all, it was a very tragic piece. I cried for about an hour when I finished it. I would love to get hold of a copy of it but I fear it’s lost forever!
The first book I published was a Regency romance, AN IMPROPER SUITOR, and then I discovered Jane Austen sequels with THE OTHER MR. DARCY and I haven’t looked back since.
All super heroes have their mild-mannered secret identity, what is yours? I promise we won’t tell.
I’m not sure how mild-mannered I am – secret identity or not. I think it’s hard to keep any of my identities secret as I muddle all of them up. However, when my daughter was in primary school I did a very good impersonation of a mild-manner school mum picking up and dropping off. No one knew the Terrible Secret.
Who are your partners in crime? What are their superpowers?
My partner in crime is my computer, Compy, an extremely useful entity with the power to send messages all over the world. I can honestly say I wouldn’t exist without Compy. Compy can be grumpy sometimes and refuse to cooperate, but most of the time she is my savior.
Where do you get your superpowers from?
My little gray power cells. I don’t claim they are anything like Hercule Poirot or for that matter Benedict Cumberbatch’s (I don’t look like them, either), but they do an adequate job.
Where is your secret lair and what does it look like?
Ah – my secret lair. If I revealed the secret, that would be the end of me. Let’s just say it’s not in the North Pole.
What kind of training do you do to keep your superpowers in world saving form? How do you insure they are used only for good?
To quote Hercule Poirot: “There those who have to exercise their little grey cells, and some who lock people *in* them.” I lock people in them – let them bang their heads about on the wall for a while, then let them out. Low and behold, they emerge as characters I can use in a novel.
I do like imagery, by the way.
When I write my characters, I have no control over how people will use them. It’s like a powerful, secret weapon. It starts out in some laboratory as a perfectly innocent substance, and then suddenly, low and behold, it has been taken up by some government agents and developed into a weapon. Anything can be used for good or bad. I hope my characters make my readers happy, but who know what they may morph into?
Granted, you probably don’t’ get to wear your superhero costume a lot, but if you did, what would it look like?
Ideally, if I were a lot slimmer, I would wear a white empire waist Austen-era costume, but given that my wide girth, I might as well wear a sack and save myself the money. You don’t look very superhero wearing a sack. Steampunk-style corsets, ruffles and a parasol work better as a disguise, I have found.
What is your kryptonite? What are the biggest challenges faced with in your writing?
Challenges? I don’t have any challenges. I’m a superhero and nothing can beat me.
Okay, so occasionally villains do appear on the scene. They are reviewer trolls who have never read the authors they review but decide to review them anyway. They are particularly common on Amazan and Goodreads. Superhero to the rescue!
What was the supervillian that threatened to stop your latest project and how did you vanquish it?
A superhero’s enemy tends to be a projection of him/herself. Like Moriarty in Sherlock. My Supervillain Self is there when I’m starting a new novel, telling me I’ll never manage to finish it. Then when I finish it, Self tells me the novel is no good and that I should spend years revising it. Then when reviewers who are perfectly complimentary say one negative thing, Self jumps up and screetches, waving an evil finger in my face: “I told you so!”
I vanquished it through stuffing my ears with cotton wool and refusing to hear a word.
What important lessons have you learned along the way?
You have to find a balance. You have to know when to stop revising. You can quite literally revise a novel to death.
What have been the best/most memorable experiences along the way?
At the moment I’m doing a group project on Austen Variations called The Darcy Brothers. I’ve found working on a collaborative project both the best experience and most frustrating experience I’ve had to deal with as a superhero. Of course, being a superhero, I managed to smooth over all the little bumps and bubbles and to make something productive out of it. :evil grin:
No seriously – I recommend the experience. You will never look at writing the same way again.
If you did this again what would you do differently and what would you not change?
I would start out by not trying to conquer the world. Seriously. I think every author is a fascinating mix of supersensitive and overconfident. You send out your manuscript (via Hermes, the messenger god) thinking no one will take it, then when someone does, you swing the other way and wonder why they haven’t already acquired the film rights to your previous novel.
What is the best (writing or otherwise) advice you have ever gotten and why.
Don’t think you can do it alone. Critiques are crucial and a huge learning curve, and thin skin is a detriment. As a superhero you have to be ready to go out there and fight. No one is going to give you a free ride if you don’t allow your flying abilities to develop.
Tell us about you new book and why we need to drop everything and get it now.
You can’t drop anything and get it because it isn’t out yet. MR. DARCY’S PLEDGE is coming out in May and it is a wonderful traditional Pride and Prejudice variation in which Mr. Darcy plans to get married. Not to Elizabeth Darcy, of course, because what would be the point of a variation if he did that?
If you really want to drop everything, however, to pick up one of my incredibly good oeuvres, STEAMPUNK DARCY was released in October and is a spoofy spin-off set in a retro-future universe and there is most definitely a superhero and a superhero in it. There is an epic battle in a sky ship and a handsome gentleman named Darcy in Neo-Victorian clothes.
What’s in store for you in the future? Do you have any other big projects on the horizon?
I have so many things I want to write at the moment I’m bursting at the seams. Mr. Darcy’s Pledge is the first volume in a series, so I’ll be starting work on the second volume shortly. I also have a Regency romance I am working on. We are finishing off work on The Darcy Brothers so hopefully that will be turned into a book shortly, and we will soon be laying the foundation for the story of Theophilus Darcy, our gorgeous hero from The Darcy Brothers.
To keep up with all the different projects I am working on and that will soon come to fruition, you can find information in the following places:
Web page and latest news: www.monicafairview.com