Rebecca Ann Collins
The Pemberley Chronicles Series
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Questions and Answers
A. I was interested to see how these wonderful characters would cope with life in a challenging and dynamic new era- moving out of quiet provincial life to the world of Pemberley and London.
I was also very tired of the many silly sequels in which the writers paid no attention to the work of Jane Austen and went off on a frolic of their own, using the names of her beloved characters to create a "soap opera" of weird tales. I decided it was time to do some genuine research and produce an authentic sequel to "Pride and Prejudice."
That was how I began- but the huge response of readers led to the continuation of the series. RAC
A. Thank you Andrea, I had hoped that Austen fans would enjoy the Pemberley Chronicles, because of their authenticity and closeness to Jane Austen's original work and values. Which is why we worked so hard to get the right ambience for the novels and keep as close as possible to the spirit of her work. I don't believe one ought to adopt another author's characters and distort them as some writers tend to do. That is not a "sequel" in the best sense of the word.
For more information on this subject - read Rebecca Ann Collins Thoughts on Sequels on Austenpress blog or austenfans.com/Rebecca Ann Collins .RAC
A. Tina, I can understand your problem- but I'm afraid- that was just how it was in that era. There was a fairly limited list from which a family selected names for their children; names of the royal family were very popular-( eg- George, William, Edward, Caroline, Charlotte, Elizabeth, Victoria ) and family names ( Darcy, Fitzwilliam ) were repeated from one generation to another- parents' and god parents' names ( Catherine ) were handed down and certain families gave the eldest children the same name as the father.
Biblical and Latin names were used by educated families but the kind of fancy foreign names and "made-up" names that are popular today- would certainly not have been used. So variety in names was not easy. RAC
A. Dear Gemma, this is an interesting question- and the answer lies in the context.
Jane Austen's lovers do not even kiss or embrace- certainly not in full public view. Quite obviously, their love is both deep and passionate and we assume that they do get into bed finally- usually after marriage ( except in cases like Lydia and Wickham! ) - but in the literary tradition of the period, love and passion could be spoken or written of but not acted out, except in private- leaving the rest to the imagination of the reader. RAC
Dear Rachel, there are two or three reasons-
1. It was quite traditional in that era- for people to keep diaries and notebooks in which they confided their innermost thoughts. Women particularly, used to keep diaries in which they could write from the heart and keep notes of ideas and feelings they could not reveal to others. My ladies do it too.
2. Using these entries in the novels, adds a level of information, revealing the intimate thoughts and feelings of characters to the readers-as they speak to their diaries ( or each other)- without the author’s voice intervening between them.
3. Letters – were the main form of communication in an era without modern communication- no telephone, no mobiles, no emails!!! People wrote letters to each other all the time and using them allows an author to let characters speak in their own voices to each other- in both intimate and practical situations. It also enables the reader to get two or more points of view on a character or an event-again without obvious interference from the author. It was quite common in 19th century literature.
4.I find it also imposes a certain discipline on the author- to consistently write in character- when expressing a character’s thoughts, rather than always using the omniscient author’s voice to tell the readers what characters are thinking or feeling.
Dear Anne, it’s quite simple- Parliament, the Church and the Military were the three main areas of employment open to the sons of “gentlemen” in that period, A few became professional men – ( doctors, lawyers etc ) but in most landowning families the sons had to enter one of these three fields. It was also the period of English history when great political changes were taking place as the Reform movements giving more people the vote and bringing in more social changes were gaining support.
Personally, I found the political sphere more interesting than either the church or the military- so several of my characters went into politics- Colonel Fitzwilliam, Jonathan Bingley, Colin Elliott to name a few. It was necessary then to give these characters something worthwhile to do- and to explain their interest in political and social causes. It also demonstrates some important aspects of their characters- ambition, social conscience, compassion etc.
Involving some of the other characters ( like Anthony Tate the publisher ) and some of the wives-( Caroline Fitzwilliam or Becky Tate ) – through their charitable and lobbying activities added another level of interest. This was quite common at the time, because women, who could not vote or stand for Parliament- could influence politics by their activities and frequently did so. They were deeply involved in supporting the social causes that the governments ignored- support for women, health care for the poor, education for girls etc
Finally, in a period of great change, political activity always reflects what is going on in society- and intelligent and educated men and women were interested in it. Since the majority of my characters are active, intelligent people, it was essential that they retained an interest in those developments in their communities. After all, it is not possible to believe that all these interesting, intelligent men and women did no more than eat, drink and fall into bed with each other!
Q. Dear Rebecca Ann, what made you
write the Pemberley Chronicles? Joanne
Q. Dear Miss Collins, thank you for your Pemberley novels. I am a great Jane Austen fan and they transport me right back to that lovely period in English History.......I love your new characters who seem to have walked right out of Pride and Prejudice. How do you do it? Andrea?
Q. Dear Rebecca Ann, why do so many characters in your Pemberley series have similar names? Charles, Elizabeth ( Lizzie, Eliza ) Lucy, George Edward- all seem very popular with this family. It's a bit confusing. Tina
Q.Miss Collins, why do the lovers in your books kiss and embrace but never get into bed? Gemma
Dear Miss Collins, why do you include so many letters and diary notes in your stories ? ( I enjoy them- but wanted to know why you do it throughout the series. )
Anne of Newcastle asks- While I do enjoy the authentic historical background of the Regency and Victorian periods you provide in your books, may I ask why you concentrate so much on the politics of the period?