Meet New Author, Belén Paccagnella
Belén Paccagnella is a new author for Meryton Press, and her first book, Obstacles, was released on September 4, 2018. As an introduction to Belén, I asked her to tell us why she chose the equestrian world of show-jumping as the setting for her contemporary Pride and Prejudice re-telling.
Please join me in welcoming Belén Paccagnella to the Meryton Press family.
The inspiration for Obstacles came soon after I finished posting my second story, “Paper Jam,” and was wondering what to write next. My sister and I were having dinner at the house of a friend who is a horse breeder and trainer, and she told us about a foal she wanted to import from Germany and all the issues she was having with the stable that was currently housing her horses. Like us, she was a middle-class woman struggling to pursue a dream with few resources while the rich and powerful gloated about their insanely expensive Grand Prix horses and achievements that can only be obtained with tons of money. As I listened to her, I thought, “Wow! This would make an excellent setting for a P&P story.” I mean, what better backdrop for a battle of the classes than the equestrian world? While more and more people around the globe practice equestrian sports, it’s still the one most associated with wealth and royalty.
My history with horses started when I was really small—about five years old. We lived in the suburbs of Buenos Aires, and believe it or not, my father bought us—my sister, brother and me—a mare. Tintera was her name, which could be translated into English as “Inky” because she was black. The mare didn’t stay at home long—you can’t just keep a big horse in the back yard—but that’s when my love story with horses began. After that, I took riding lessons and spent most of my time atop my horse whenever we went to the farm my family owned in the country. A long time has passed since I last rode a horse, but my heart still flutters whenever I watch a show-jumping championship on TV or online.
From the very beginning, I wanted Obstacles to follow the Pride and Prejudice storyline closely so that it felt familiar to readers—so much that I chose a title that would repeat the first letter of each word and named the story “Obstacles to Overcome.” The originality came from changing certain characters, such as making Lydia a horse, and adding circumstances that would make the Bennet family less ”respectable” in modern times. I also wanted to emphasize the age gap between Elizabeth and Darcy and explore not only their social differences but their maturity in facing certain situations. Elizabeth is young and naïve, and Darcy is…well, Darcy. For someone so worldly, he really has no clue what makes the world spin.
As a native Spanish speaker, one of my fears when I first posted was not being true to British idiosyncrasies. Unlike my previous stories—one Regency and the other happening in an imaginary country in South America—Obstacles takes place in modern England, a country I didn’t visit until almost twenty years after writing the story. It was 2002, and all I knew about England had come from movies and TV shows, which happened to be translated into Spanish. There was no YouTube, and with dial-up Internet, I couldn’t obtain much information online, so I bought books and searched everywhere to learn more about the modern Brits and the international show-jumping world. As information became more accessible and my English improved with constant practice—and the help of my very kind and patient betas—Obstacles has evolved into what it is now, and I have finally fulfilled my dream of being a published author. I hope this little back story of me and my novel inspires you to get into the pages of Obstacles’ world.
The Obstacles Blog Tour Will begin September 17, 2018. Belén has some great posts lined up, and we invite you to participate in the blog tour and giveaway.
Obstacles Blog Tour Schedule
September 17 / My Jane Austen Book Club / Guest Post
September 18 / Diary of an Eccentric / Excerpt Post
September 19 / Austenesque Reviews / Vignette Post
September 20 / More Agreeably Engaged / Author Interview
September 21 / So Little Time / Excerpt Post
September 22 / Just Jane 1813 / Guest Book Review
September 23 / My Love for Jane Austen / Character Interview
September 24 / From Pemberley to Milton / Excerpt Post
September 25 / Margie’s Must Reads / Book Review
September 26 / Babblings of a Bookworm / Vignette Post
September 27 / My Vices and Weaknesses / Book Review
September 28 / Of Pens and Pages / Book Review