Suzan Lauder's third book is due out in about a week and to make it fun, we asked her to answer a few fun and interesting questions for us. We're also having a sale...
You will soon have 3 published books. How are they different?
From a technical standpoint, the point of view in each book gets deeper in the order I wrote them: Alias Thomas Bennet
uses an omniscient third person narrator, Letter from Ramsgate
uses third person deep point of view from four characters' viewpoints, and A Most Handsome Gentleman
is told from a first person viewpoint (Elizabeth Bennet). From a story standpoint, Alias Thomas Bennet
is the mature mystery, Letter from Ramsgate
is full of unresolved negative dramatic situations that create reader angst, and A Most Handsome Gentleman
is a comedy. So in short, all three books are very different!
What was the seed that inspired A Most Handsome Gentleman?
Very simply a "what if?" of a Mr. Collins who was impossibly handsome and knew it yet retained his canon character of a conceited, subservient fool. I wish I had a better story to tell, but it was as simple as that!
All of your books include unique plot twists. Without divulging too much, there’s a Mr Bennet with a secret past, an Elizabeth who does a good deed that does not go unpunished, and now a Mr Collins whose outside oversells his inside qualities. Where do you get your quirky ideas?
As a reader first, I enjoy JAFF books that are variations, including those that go wildly away from some characterization or basic premise in Austen's work. So for my story ideas, I ask myself, what would be a story situation that would change the balance of Pride and Prejudice significantly, yet still allow for a happy ending for Darcy and Elizabeth?
And how do you make them work so well?
I write with the reader in mind all the time. How can I show them this plot twist without making it look ridiculous? How do I delay revealing the truth to them yet keep their attention? What will ramp up the dramatic tension so they think the happy ending can’t possibly happen? What will remind them of the changes I’ve made to Austen’s work? What would make them laugh? What will curl their toes?
Of all your characters in any of your 3 books, which one would you consider the best one to chum around with?
The easy answer is Elizabeth Bennet, because I often have a good friend in mind when I write her actions and dialogue—and it’s not always the same close friend! Out of characters of my creation, Lady Edwina Moore from Letter from Ramsgate would be the most fun.
If you could take that character somewhere in real life, where would you go?
For excellent coffee and delicious Vegan Fudge Cake at a local restaurant called Rebar, just across Bastion Square from Darcy’s Pub. Then we could just talk and talk.
Do you have a character you would pretend not to see if you saw them coming down the street?
Lord Malcolm from Alias Thomas Bennet, of course. He’s the worst kind of evil.
Which of Austen’s secondary characters is your favorite and why?
This has always been a tie between Mrs. Bennet and Mr. Collins, because as a former amateur actor, I feel both would be the most fun to play in theatre.
The drama in your newest book is driven by a #HOTCollins. Which actor in which Austen adaptation is your favorite Collins?
David Bamber’s over-the-top characterization is one I had in mind when I wrote the book, but I also liked the smarmy appearance of Guy Henry (Lost in Austen).
If you were stuck in an elevator with Mrs Bennet, what would you do?
Stare at the door and hope they wouldn’t want to make conversation with me. No, seriously, I’d do the same as if I was with anyone else. I’d take charge and solve the problem by using the elevator phone. It’s the engineer in me.
Look out for Suzan's already published books, Alias Thomas Bennet and Letter From Ramsgate, which go on sale on Amazon Kindle in the US and UK on October 17-24 for $1.99 each.