Il y a quelques semaines, Tracy Kiely, l'auteur de la série des Elizabeth Parker Mysteries
(topic de présentation ici
et lecture de groupe ici
) avait accepté de répondre à quelques unes de mes questions. Comme elle était très prise par ses projets d'écriture à ce moment là, elle n'a pas pu me répondre tout de suite. Mais j'ai bien fait de prendre mon mal en patience car je viens de recevoir ses réponses et elles sont aussi intéressantes qu'amusantes ! J'ouvre un sujet pour les partager avec vous
Il y a 9 questions en tout. 1- How did you get the idea of writing Murder at Longbourn ?
The plot for Murder at Longbourn, is something of a mishmash of my favorite forms of entertainment. I grew up reading Agatha Christie, Jane Austen, and watching Alfred Hitchcock movies (I am something of an Anglophile, much to the consternation of my Irish Catholic family). I love the twisty, deviously clever plots of Christie, the sublime wit of Austen, and the “average man caught in extraordinary circumstances” themes of Hitchcock. When I began to think of writing my own mystery, I realized it would have to have those elements. I began to wonder how the characters in Pride and Prejudice might fit into a mystery. What, if after years of living with unbearably rude and condescending behavior, old Mrs. Jenkins up and strangled Lady Catherine? What if Charlotte snapped one day and poisoned Mr. Collins’ toast and jam? While I had fun with these ideas, I realized that I wanted to write about my own modern-day characters.
Then one day I was watching the news and - I kid you not - there was a story about a woman who killed her husband at a B&B after they attended a Host-A-Murder Dinner. I was off to the races! However, while there are many references to Pride and Prejudice throughout the book, I didn’t want it to be a retelling of Austen’s classic. Instead, it’s a gentle wink at the reader who is familiar with Pride and Prejudice, but one doesn’t necessarily need to be a fan to “get” the book. That said, I had such fun weaving in the Austenesque aspects. I think my favorites are Henry Anderson’s pride in securing a rare first edition of Fordyce’s Sermons for his client and the ill-manner white Persian cat, aptly named Lady Catherine. 2 - What is your favorite Jane Austen novel ? Did you see all the movie and TV adaptations of her novels ? What are your favorites and less favorites ?
I was about twelve when I saw the 1940 film adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. I liked it, but I do remember thinking that Lawrence Olivier, well, seemed “old.” In my humble opinion, he had nothing on Sean Cassidy. (Since I’m confessing here, I might as well bare it all, and I guess that includes the embarrassing TigerBeat addiction.)
But, anyway, the movie must have made an impression, because I soon read the book and discovered that it was waaaay better than the movie (the first of many such revelations). I don’t remember thrusting it at my friends, demanding that they read it, but they all insist that I did this. A lot.
After reading P&P, I read all the other books. While I enjoyed them all, P&P remains my favorite (although Persuasion runs a close second). If I’m being honest, Mansfield Park is my least favorite. Fanny just doesn’t have the spark of some of Austen’s other heroines.
When the BBC’s released its version of Pride and Prejudice in 1995, I think the angels sang. Honestly, it was as if Andrew Davies ripped out the pages directly from the book and used them for a script. It was perfect. And it had Colin Firth, and he was perfect. Oh, let’s face it; the whole thing was perfect.
I forced my husband to watch it. Repeatedly. When my sister-in-law came down to spend New Year’s with us, I made her watch all five hours of it. Then I bought her the book and sent her home on the train to Boston, firmly in the throws of her own budding addiction (which blossomed all the way into a lovely college thesis).
Since then, I’ve watched all the adaptations. I love the version of Persuasion with Amanda Root. The adaptation with Sally Hawkins I had trouble with. I thought that her Anne Elliot was too dull and beaten down. It was hard to see why any man would find her interesting, let alone two. And as much as I love Rupert Penry-Jones, he was just too good-looking to be believable as Capt. Wentworth. He looks like he only eats organic foods and moisturizes his skin with soymilk. Don’t get me wrong; he’s rocking the look. It’s just that it’s not the look of a weathered sea captain.
I love Emma Thompson’s version of Sense and Sensibility. It’s perfect. The later adaptation bothered me. I thought Hattie Morahan’s portrayal of Elinor was very good – but mainly because she reminded me of Emma Thompson. I thought Dominic Cooper’s Willoughby was ridiculous. He looked like a little boy. It’s kind of hard to top Greg Wise. Emma Thompson must have thought so too as she married him a few years later.
I like Gwyneth Paltrow’s version of Emma. I thought that was a good adaption. The one few years later was good, but not quite as good as the first.
I admit I have not seen Mansfield Park. I heard it was horrible and so skipped it. 3 - Have you read some other Jane Austen inspired novels ? Did you love them ?
I have and I do. Bridget Jones’ Diary is a particular favorite. 4 - If The Elizabeth Parker series is made into a movie or a television show, which actors would you like to see playing Elizabeth, Peter, Aunt Winnie ?
Honestly, I wouldn’t know who to cast. When I come across a People magazine (or something similar) I don’t know half of the people in it. I’m sadly out of touch with the 20-something set. 5 - Do you love cozy mysteries ? What are your favorite titles ?
I’ve always loved reading traditional cozies. I started with Nancy Drew and then graduated to Agatha Christie. I love Elizabeth Peter, Joan Hess and Dorothy Cannell. I wrote Murder at Longbourn to be the kind of book that I enjoy.
I still love reading Agatha Christie. Her plot twists are fiendishly clever and in my own writing, I always try to remember how she said that everyone has something to hide. I also enjoy the complexities of Elizabeth Peters’ characters. There are times when I wonder what a person is doing and then I realize it’s a character from her book. That is good writing! Joan Hess is also a favorite. Her Maggody series is populated with the most bizarrely funny people. 6 - Do you plan to write sequels? Will Elizabeth have some more adventures (maybe in books inspired from Emma or Mansfield Park)?
Right now I am giving Elizabeth and Peter a break, as I will be writing a new series for Midnight Ink. It’s based on The Thin Man movies, which in turn, was based on Dashiell Hammet’s book. The books will be a modern-day update on that famous sleuthing couple, Nick and Nora Charles. My story revolves around Nic(ole) and Nigel Martini. Nic is an ex-detective and Nigel is the wealthy (former) playboy. Rather than a wire-haired fox terrier named Asta, they have an enormous bullmastiff named Skippy. (Skippy was the actual name of the dog who played Asta in the movies.) 7 - It seems to me that you love movies from the Golden Age of Hollywood ? Can you recommend us some of your favorites ? Maybe with Cary Grant ?
I am a huge fan of Alfred Hitchcock. I love his movies and know way too much about them. As such hardly anyone likes to watch them with me, as I constantly talk about all the visual tricks and hidden meaning that Hitchcock added. Cary Grant is a personal favorite. I love him in North by Northwest, To Catch a Thief, and well, just about anything really. I love the Thin Man movies (especially the earlier ones). Off the top of my head here are a few favorites (besides those above): Arsenic and Old LaceTo Kill A MockingbirdCharadeMr, Blandings Builds His Dream HouseHis Girl FridaySome Like It HotThe Ghost and Mrs. Muir 8 - What are your favorite book genres ?
I like Carl Hiaasen’s books. Jasper Fforde is just a genius that makes me feel like that caveman in the Geico commercials. 9 - What are your writing habits ? Where and when do you usually write ?
My husband and I have three kids aged 17, 14 and 10. It is a bit tricky to fit in writing and keep up with their schedules. Once they are all off to school, I have to walk our dog or I will get nothing done. He’s a Golden Retriever and when he’s bored, he retrieves. It’s hard to write when there is a constant parade of shoes, socks and television remotes prancing by.
When I sit down to write a book, I have to know what’s going to happen in advance. I have to know who the killer is, who the victim is, and how and why the murder happened. I am not one of those writers who can sit down and just start writing. Although I pretend that it’s because I’m more “organized,” I think the real reason is that those kinds of writers are just way smarter than I am. When I’ve tried free form it’s been an abject failure. I end up with six paragraphs on the joys of peanut M&Ms. If I don’t have an outline to follow it becomes this weird journal/fiction monstrosity.
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