Tuesday, 30 June 2009


We meet a lot of Darcy's relatives in Mr Darcy, Vampyre, many of whom have an unsettling attitude to Elizabeth. Is it just because they think she is beneath him or is there another reason?

One of the first people Elizabeth meets is Darcy's cousin, Mme Rousel, who lives in Paris.

At the time of the book, Paris is a city in upheaval. Having endured a turbulent ten years of revolution and war, it is enjoying a brief period of peace with England, but there are unsettling undercurrents everywhere as the peace is not likely to last.

I see Mme Rousel as looking like Madame Recamier, whose famous portrait is on the left. But is she a vampyre or is she not?

Sunday, 28 June 2009

Mr Darcy, Vampyre is now available to pre-order on Amazon UK.

At the moment Amazon UK are displaying the US cover but I'm sure that problem will soon be sorted out.

In case you missed the earlier posts, the two covers are UK cover (left) and US cover (below)

Meanwhile, the first review has gone up on Barnes and Noble from an advance reading copy. ***** 5 stars! Yay!

There's nothing better for me than knowing that a reader has enjoyed one of my books! But a word of caution, the review contains spoilers so if you don't want to know what happens then approach with care.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

UK cover

I've been incredibly lucky with the covers for Mr Darcy, Vampyre - yes, covers! Sourcebooks have decided to give the UK edition a different cover and here it is. Isn't it fantastic?!

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Now available to pre-order on Amazon US

Mr Darcy, Vampyre is now available to pre-order from Amazon US as well as Barnes and Noble

There's no sign of it on Amazon UK yet, but I'll post here when it arrives!

Monday, 22 June 2009

Interview with an author

Read an interview with me about the writing of Mr Darcy, Vampyre on For Romance Readers

Sunday, 21 June 2009


I thought I'd fill you in on a bit of background to the book. It's set at the start of the nineteenth century, in 1802, and the pictures show you the kind of clothes people would have been wearing then. I see Lizzy being dressed in clothes similar to those at the left, and Darcy's French relatives being dressed like those below.

As all you history buffs will know, England was at war with France throughout most of the period but there was a brief peace, The Peace of Amiens, from March 1802 to May 1803. It’s during this period that Mr Darcy, Vampyre is set - the date is important, because it made it possible for Lizzy and Darcy to travel outside England.

The action takes place between October and December of 1802. The month of October was fixed for me by the timeline of Pride and Prejudice, because that's when Lizzy and Darcy married, and December – well, that’s how long the action takes!

Friday, 19 June 2009


Mr Darcy, Vampyre is on Twitter Join him for news, extracts and more!

Thursday, 18 June 2009


I love Jane Austen's novels, and one of the things I especially love is the brilliant ways in which Jane Austen uses letters. Darcy's letter to Elizabeth in Pride and Prejudice provides the turning point of the novel, the moment at which Lizzy starts to recognise she's got it all wrong and that things are not as she thinks they are.

Marianne's letter to Willoughby in Sense and Sensibility convinces Brandon, wrongly, that Marianne and Willoughby are engaged.

And who can forget Wentworth's letter to Anne in Persuasion? Not me, that's for sure! In fact I think it would qualify as "best letter in a book" for me.

So when I was writing Mr Darcy, Vampyre, I knew there would be letters, in fact it begins with a letter. You can read the exclusive extract on Austenprose, so if you haven't been there yet, head on over and read it!

As for Jane's letters to Lizzy . . . well, I'm not saying anything about them. Let's just say if you want to learn more, you'll have to read Mr Darcy, Vampyre!

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

New extract!

Austenprose has an exclusive extract from Mr Darcy, Vampyre so head on over there and read it! It's the very first page of the book . . .

Monday, 15 June 2009

The cover!

Here it is! Isn't it gorgeous? I love it!

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Available to order now!

I've just seen that Mr Darcy, Vampyre has appeared on Barnes and Noble. You can order now by clicking here!

Meanwhile, I've seen the cover which is gorgeous. I'll post it as soon as I get the OK from the publishers!

Friday, 12 June 2009


Every book I write is a different experience. Sometimes I just sit down at the computer and see what happens. Sometimes I have a scene or a character in my head before I begin and I take it from there. But with Mr Darcy, Vampyre, I had the whole book in my head before I started.

I think there were three real seeds which finally resulted in Mr Darcy, Vampyre.

The first seed was sown when Buffy the Vampire Slayer was on TV in the UK. I always hoped they would do a Pride and Prejudice episode. I could see it all: Buffy and Willow eating ice cream in front of the TV, talking about their boyfriend problems with Angel and Oz whilst watching Pride and Prejudice.

Buffy says, If only life could be like Pride and Prejudice – and hey, presto! Some lurking fairy sends them back into Regency England as Lizzy and Jane. Then all the rest of the cast turn up: Angel as Darcy, Oz as Bingley, Xander as Mr Collins, Giles as Mr Bennet, Buffy’s mum as Mrs Bennet, Drusilla as Caroline Bingley and Spike as Wickham.

Sadly for me they never made the episode, but the idea of Darcy / Angel lingered, encouraged by my great friend Amanda Ashby, brilliant author of You Had Me at Halo and Zombie Queen of Newbury High. I think it’s fair to say that Amanda has a slight fixation with David Boreanaz :) We spent a happy hour chatting about it on her blog when she interviewed me on the release of Mr Darcy’s Diary. (And if you’re wondering how an interview about Mr Darcy’s Diary turned into a chat abut David Boreanaz, all I can say is that most chats with Amanda end up turning into a chat about DB!).

The second seed was the wealth of Austen related books coming out, which made me wonder what Jane would make of it all. In a quirky moment I asked myself what was next - Mr Darcy, Vampyre? As soon as I thought of the title, I loved it.

The third seed sprang up at about the same time. I was reading a lot of the classic Gothic novels again in preparation for writing Henry Tilney’s Diary and the idea of a very different kind of Austen sequel occurred to me. Luckily I did warn people that I have an untidy mind so I don't think they will be too surprised that my imagination suddenly carried me off in a different direction.

Then the three seeds sort of merged inside my imagination like tea, milk and sugar combining in a cup of tea, all mixing together so that one minute they were three separate entities and the next they were one complete and delicious whole.

You’ll be able to see if you agree with me about the delicious bit on August 11, because that’s when Mr Darcy, Vampyre hits the US shops!

Thursday, 11 June 2009

An immortal love story

Like many other people, I'm obsessed with Pride and Prejudice, and although part of it is because of the characters, mainly it's because Pride and Prejudice is such a brilliant love story. Two strong-willed people, both with flaws and failings, meet and eventually fall in love.

But what happens afterwards? I've been thinking about this for a long time.

I began to realise that what I wanted to read was a story which would test them and their love for each other in the way that Pride and Prejudice tested them, because I knew that whatever happened they would find a way to overcome their difficulties.

Their love for each other is legendary and immortal and so I wrote a legendary and immortal love story for them.

There are still plenty of familiar things for them to do. They visit the ballrooms of Europe, they entertain, they meet Darcy's relatives, just as they did in Pride and Prejudice. But under everything is a current of unease, because as well as the strange happenings, Darcy is reserved and Lizzy doesn't know why. All she knows is that when they left the church he was full of love and longing, and by the time they reached Longbourn for the wedding breakfast, everything had changed.

Could it have anything to do with the message he received after the wedding? And if so, what was in it?

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

This post contains an extract

I'll head posts with extracts accordingly but I'll be choosing extracts which don't contain any great spoilers, so it's up to you whether you read them or not!

I wanted to put an homage to The Vampyre (see post below) in Mr Darcy, Vampyre and so I decided to call one of Darcy’s uncles Count Polidori. Count Polidori lives in a castle in the Alps and this extract has his first meeting with Elizabeth:

‘We are going to have a storm,’ said Elizabeth. ‘Are there any inns nearby where we can stop until it passes?’
‘No, there is nothing for miles, but no matter, in another half hour, or hour at most, we should be there.’
There was a distant rumble and the threatened storm began to make itself felt. The sky was suddenly lit from behind, glowing with a lurid brightness before quickly darkening again. Inside the coach, it was becoming hard to see, and matters were made worse when the trees began to thicken as the road went into a forest of dense trees. They cast long shadows and Elizabeth could barely make out her husband’s features, although he was sitting only a few feet away from her.

They emerged at last, but it was scarcely any brighter beyond the trees for the sky was now almost black. Another rumble, closer this time, tore the silence and a few minutes later the rain began to pour. The thunder grew louder as the storm broke overhead and the sky was rent apart by a jagged spike of lightning which ran down to the ground in a network of brilliant veins. The horses neighed wildly, rearing up and flailing their hooves in the air. The carriage rocked from side to side as the coachman tried to hold them and Elizabeth took hold of the carriage strap which hung from the ceiling. She clung on as she was bounced and jolted this way and that. She managed to keep her seat until the horses at last quieted but she did not let go, knowing that another flash of lightning would scare the horses again.
‘How much farther?’ she asked.
‘It is not far now,’ said Darcy, holding onto the strap which hung on his side of the carriage.

Another flash of lightning lit the sky and revealed an eerie shape on the horizon, a silhouette of spires and turrets that rose from a rocky pinnacle. A castle, but not like those in England, whose solid bulk sat heavily on the ground. It was a confection, a fragile thing, tall and thin and spindly. And then the sky darkened and it was lost to view.
The rain was coming down in earnest, drumming on the roof of the coach, and Elizabeth was glad when the gatehouse came in sight. The coachman held the horses and guided them over the last stretch of road. There was a pause at the gatehouse, and through the wind and the rain Elizabeth heard a shouted exchange between the coachman and the gatekeeper. Then the windlass creaked and the drawbridge was lowered, its chains clanking in the rain-sodden air before it settled with a dull thud on the reverberating ground.

The coach traversed the drawbridge and Elizabeth glimpsed a steep drop on either side, and then they were through into the courtyard. Armed men in billowing cloaks with hats pulled down over their eyes were patrolling with large hounds, more wolf than dog, and their free hands rested on their sword hilts.
‘There is no need to be afraid,’ said Darcy as Elizabeth shrank back against her seat. ‘This is a wild country and my uncle employs soldiers to protect him from roaming bands of villains.’
‘He employs mercenaries, do you mean?’ asked Elizabeth.
‘If you will. Armed men, at any rate, who are in his employ.’
Elizabeth heard the drawbridge being raised behind them and as it clanked shut on its great chains she knew a moment of panic, thinking wildly, ‘We’re shut in.’
Darcy touched her hand in silent support and the gesture calmed her, and the sight of liveried footmen emerging from the castle dispelled much of her fear. Darcy stepped out of the coach as the footmen unloaded it, and he handed Elizabeth out. The butler appeared, a man past youth but not yet old, with bright eyes that missed nothing as they ran with recognition over Darcy and then ran more watchfully over Elizabeth. He greeted them with a few barely comprehensible words in garbled and heavily accented English, then bowed them towards the steps that led up to the massive oak door. Darcy returned his greeting and then stood aside to allow Elizabeth to precede him through the door.

As she stepped over the threshold there was a grating sound and one of the axes which was displayed above the door, just inside the hall, came loose of its fastenings and fell to the floor. It missed Darcy by inches and Elizabeth by more than a foot. There was an initial moment of shock but then they quickly recovered their composure. Not so the butler, however, who cried out in a strange language and rolled his eyes in fear.
It was not an auspicious beginning to their visit. Nor was the walk across the vast, echoing hall, with its dark stone walls and its draught-blown torches and its gloomy wall hangings. But once they were shown into the drawing-room things improved. The room was warm with the heat of a log fire, which crackled in an enormous stone fireplace. The carpet was old but not threadbare and the furniture, though dark and heavy, was of a good quality. Sitting in a chair with his legs stretched out to the fire was a man whom Elizabeth took to be the Count.

The butler announced the Darcys in a foreign tongue and the Count rose, surprised, his look of astonishment quickly giving way to one of welcome. He was somewhat strange of appearance, being unusually tall and very angular, with a finely boned face, long, delicate fingers, and features which gave him a perpetual look of haughtiness, yet his manner when he greeted Darcy was friendly.

Elizabeth let her eyes roam over the Count’s clothes, which were reassuring in their familiarity, for they were the kind worn by country gentlemen in England. He wore a shabby but well-cut coat of russet broadcloth with a ruffled shirt which had once been white but which was now grey with many washings, beneath which he wore russet knee breeches and darned stockings. His black shoes were polished but they, too, were shabby. The only thing she could not have seen on some of her more countrified neighbours was his powdered wig, which would have marked him out as old-fashioned, eccentric even, in Hertfordshire.
The two men spoke in a foreign tongue which Elizabeth did not recognise. It seemed to bear some resemblance to French but many of its words were unfamiliar and she could not understand what was being said. Darcy quickly realised this and reverted to English. The Count, after a moment of surprise, glanced at Elizabeth and then, understanding, spoke in English, too, though he spoke it with a heavy accent and a strange intonation.

‘Darcy, this pleasure, it is not expected,’ he said, ‘but you are welcome here. Your guest, too, she is welcome.’
He extended his hand and the two men shook hands with a firm grip.
‘Thank you,’ said Darcy. ‘I am sorry I could not give you warning but I did not like to send a messenger on to the castle alone.’
‘The road to the castle, it is not a safe one,’ the Count agreed. ‘But what does it matter? My housekeeper, she is always prepared for guests. And this so charming young woman is . . . ?’ he asked.
‘Elizabeth,’ said Darcy, taking her hand and drawing her forward.
‘Elizabeth,’ said the count, bowing over her hand. ‘A beautiful name for a most beautiful lady. Elizabeth . . . ?’
‘Elizabeth Darcy. My wife,’ said Darcy with wary pride.
‘Your wife?’ asked the Count, recoiling as though stung.
‘Yes. We were married three weeks ago.’

Monday, 8 June 2009

Vampire or Vampyre?

Vampire is usually spelt with an i these days, but in the Regency period it was more commonly spelt with a y and so I decided to use that spelling in Mr Darcy, Vampyre. I also wanted to use the y spelling as a tribute to the first vampyre story, or at least the first vampyre story in print in the English language, which was called simply The Vampyre.

It was written by John Polidori, a physician who was in the employ of Lord Byron and who travelled with him to Switzerland in 1816. They stayed at the Villa Diodati by Lake Geneva in what was to prove a fruitful visit. Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, Percy Bysshe Shelley and Mary's stepsister Claire Clairmont were also at the villa and they amused themselves by reading ghost stories. Afterwards they each decided to try and write a ghost story. What a night that must have been!

Mary Godwin – later Mary Shelley, on her marriage to Percy Bysshe Shelley – started a story which would become Frankinstein and Byron wrote Fragment of a Novel, on which Polidori later based his famous story, The Vampyre.

For two such enduring stories to come out of one evening is truly remarkable. Perhaps whenever I get writers’ block I should try going to Switzerland!

Sunday, 7 June 2009

What would Jane think?

This is impossible to answer, of course, but I think she would approve, or at least not disapprove.

When Catherine Morland and Henry Tilney, heroine and hero of Northanger Abbey, go out walking with Henry’s sister, they have the following conversation about the Gothic novels of the day:

They determined on walking round Beechen Cliff, that noble hill whose beautiful verdure and hanging coppice render it so striking an object from almost every opening in Bath.
“I never look at it,” said Catherine, as they walked along the side of the river, “without thinking of the south of France.”
“You have been abroad then?” said Henry, a little surprised.
“Oh! No, I only mean what I have read about. It always puts me in mind of the country that Emily and her father travelled through, in The Mysteries of Udolpho. But you never read novels, I dare say?”

“Why not?”
“Because they are not clever enough for you — gentlemen read better books.”
“The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid. I have read all Mrs. Radcliffe’s works, and most of them with great pleasure. The Mysteries of Udolpho, when I had once begun it, I could not lay down again; I remember finishing it in two days — my hair standing on end the whole time.”
“Yes,” added Miss Tilney, “and I remember that you undertook to read it aloud to me, and that when I was called away for only five minutes to answer a note, instead of waiting for me, you took the volume into the Hermitage Walk, and I was obliged to stay till you had finished it.”

“Thank you, Eleanor — a most honourable testimony. You see, Miss Morland, the injustice of your suspicions. Here was I, in my eagerness to get on, refusing to wait only five minutes for my sister, breaking the promise I had made of reading it aloud, and keeping her in suspense at a most interesting part, by running away with the volume, which, you are to observe, was her own, particularly her own. I am proud when I reflect on it, and I think it must establish me in your good opinion.”
“I am very glad to hear it indeed, and now I shall never be ashamed of liking Udolpho myself. But I really thought before, young men despised novels amazingly.”
“It is amazingly; it may well suggest amazement if they do — for they read nearly as many as women. I myself have read hundreds and hundreds. Do not imagine that you can cope with me in a knowledge of Julias and Louisas. If we proceed to particulars, and engage in the never–ceasing inquiry of ‘Have you read this?’ and ‘Have you read that?’ I shall soon leave you as far behind me as — what shall I say? — I want an appropriate simile. — as far as your friend Emily herself left poor Valancourt when she went with her aunt into Italy.

In Mr Darcy, Vampyre, Elizabeth and Darcy go on their wedding tour and take much the same route that Emily took in The Mysteries of Udolpho, through France, over the Alps and on into Italy. And that's when things really start to get Gothic . . .

Mr Darcy

Mr Darcy
Mr Darcy is one of the most compelling, if not the most compelling, character in fiction. I, as well as a lot of other people, find it hard to stop writing about him and I’ve been wondering why he is so endlessly fascinating.

He’s rich.
Well, yes, but he’s not the richest character in Jane Austen’s novels. Mr Rushworth from Mansfield Park is richer, but no one finds him fascinating, not even his fiancĂ©e.

He’s been in a couple of movies and a notable TV mini series.
True. But other heroes have been brought to the screen without arousing such fervour. There have been several films of Wuthering Heights, The Scarlet Pimpernel and Jane Eyre, to name but a few, but they haven’t put Heathcliff, Sir Percy Blakeney and Rochester into the same league as Darcy.

He wore a wet shirt (well, he did in the TV series).
Yes, he did, but other men have worn wet shirts or no shirts onscreen and their characters haven’t become part of a global phenomenon.

He was played by Colin Firth.
Except Colin Firth was already an established actor when he played Darcy and has gone on to play many other roles since, none of which can compare with the popularity of his Darcy.

So there is more than wealth, looks, screen adaptations, wet shirts and Colin Firth at work. All of those things help, but ultimately it’s Darcy the character who attracts us. Is it his arrogance? Is it his ability to learn and grow? Is it the fact that he can admit when he’s wrong? Is it the fact he has an overwhelming love for Elizabeth? I think it’s all these things, and something extra as well. Darcy is more than a sum of his parts, there’s an extra special spark in him which makes him uniquely compelling, for which we have to thank Jane Austen.

Amanda Grange

Friday, 5 June 2009


The idea for the plot of Mr Darcy, Vampyre came to me when I was rereading some of the classic Gothic novels of Jane Austen's era. I was starting to write Henry Tilney's Diary, Henry being the hero of Jane Austen's Gothic novel Northanger Abbey, and I wanted to put myself in the right mood.

As I read The Mysteries of Udolpho, and as I followed the heroine over the Alps and into Italy, I found myself thinking, What if Lizzy and Darcy went to the continent for their wedding tour? What if they visited a remote castle and then went across the Alps to Italy? And what if, in those far flung locations, Lizzy discovered that Mr Darcy had a secret?

The idea of a Gothic sequel to Pride and Prejudice began to take shape and it wasn't long before I knew that Mr Darcy's secret would be that he was a vampyre. It explained a lot about his character, why he was so aloof and why he was so devastatingly attractive, and it set the scene for a Pride and Prejudice sequel with bite!

Mr Darcy, Vampyre

If you'd like to put this teaser on your own blog, just send me an email with Teaser in the subject line and I'll send you the code. You can email me by clicking here.