Happy Friday all of my little naughties!! I have two very special guests with me today. Bonne Bliss was here earlier (you can take a look at her post here) and right now I have Colette Saucier with me. We have been discussing her book Pulse and Prejudice, which is a paranormal spin on my beloved Pride and Prejudice. I must say Mr. Darcy is even more appealing as a vampire!! This is what Colette had to say about her book:
Pride and Prejudice and Vampires? Oh, My!
I love vampires. I don’t mean like Nosferatu or the monster kind of vampires in horror movies. I love the suave and charismatic vampire—sensual, seductive, and mysterious.
I also love Jane Austen, in particular Pride and Prejudice. Now most people would not see a connection between the two. In fact, many Austen devotees have vilified me for daring to write a vampire adaptation of their beloved novel. To them, I must say it is beloved by me as well. I did not enter into this project lightly but approached it with great respect for the style and language of Miss Austen.
I have been asked more than once why I wrote a vampire adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. As Thomas Berger said, “Why do writers write? Because it isn’t there.”
“But wait!” you might say. “There are already vampire variations of Pride and Prejudice.” The simple truth: I never found the vampire adaptation I longed to read, so I had to write one myself! Yes, someone had published a vampire “mash-up,” which essentially takes Austen’s novel and sticks vampires between the paragraphs. I also found a vampire sequel told in gothic style, as well as a fascinating novel inspired by Pride and Prejudice with Mr. Darcy as dhampir, battling against vampires while resisting the urge to become one himself.
I wanted to read an authentic paranormal adaptation that remained faithful to Miss Austen, to Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth, and to Pride and Prejudice.
Through multiple readings of Pride and Prejudice, I had come to see Mr. Darcy as a Byronic hero – intelligent, arrogant, introspective, and cynical. Perhaps knowing that John Polidori had written The Vampyre (thus creating the image of the “gentleman” vampire) with Lord Byron in mind caused me to see how well Austen’s Darcy lent itself to a vampire characterization. Hence, I wrote Pulse and Prejudice through the eyes of Mr. Darcy as if Jane Austen herself had conceived the character as a vampire.
The few details Miss Austen provided allowed me to remain true to the original Darcy while expanding on his core characteristics to reveal him as a vampire. This also adds another level of complexity to the attraction he feels for Elizabeth Bennet that he struggles to suppress and to deny. Yes, as in Austen’s classic, Darcy’s vanity and arrogance play a role in keeping our lovers apart; but now Darcy faces further challenges in fighting his deepest desires. Frequently in Austen’s narrative, the reader hears of Elizabeth’s liveliness and how it garners Darcy’s attention. For vampire Darcy, it also triggers his hunger for her very lifeblood as well as a craving for life itself that for him no longer exists.
Although Pulse and Prejudice is not a “mash-up,” it adheres to the original plot and style of the classic romance; but where Miss Austen told us Elizabeth’s story, my novel unravels primarily from Darcy’s point of view and follows him to London after he leaves Elizabeth in Hertfordshire. As their paths continue to cross, vampire Darcy encounters Austen’s Elizabeth. That is, until...
Of course, at some point Elizabeth must discover Mr. Darcy’s dark secret, which as one might suspect deviates from the original narrative. Regardless, Elizabeth had to remain true to the character created by Miss Austen. This required me to meditate and ruminate on how Elizabeth Bennet would react to these extraordinary circumstances. In studying Elizabeth, I discovered a young woman who is curious and adventurous. Of the five Bennet girls, only she would want to tour the Northern country to see its rocks and mountains. She wants to experience new things – all that life has to offer. A hopeless romantic, she becomes excessively secretive in matters of her own heart. These Austen-given qualities provided the material I needed to weave the behavior of Elizabeth when she steps outside of the original narrative and into the realm of the paranormal.
At long last, I had done it! I had written a vampire adaptation of the classic love story that remained true to Miss Austen’s plot, style and characters.
Alas, I still found something lacking. S-E-X. Darcy and Elizabeth are one of the most romantic couples in literature, yet they never even kiss. As Martin Amis said in The Atlantic, “I wouldn’t have minded a rather more detailed conclusion— say, a twenty-page sex scene featuring the two principals, with Mr. Darcy, furthermore, acquitting himself uncommonly well.”
Jane Austen published Pride and Prejudice nearly 200 years ago. Although in her novels she did make references to women who had sex – and paid the price – she could only hint at the physical aspects of love and desire shared by Darcy and Elizabeth. (Obviously, she would have no reason for Darcy to bite Elizabeth’s neck either!)
Therefore, to satisfy that other craving, I added an additional volume to Pulse and Prejudice entitled “Beyond Pride and Prejudice.” As the name implies, this section breaks from Austen’s story but offers the twenty-first century reader a taste, so to speak, of the culmination of those many months’ suspense. (Anyone who prefers Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth to remain chaste is welcome to skip this section.)
Finally, I had the novel I had wanted (although my daughter was still not satisfied and insisted that I write a sequel, currently in progress).
I hope I have written the vampire adaptation that others want to read as well.
In this thrilling and sensual adaptation of the classic love story, Elizabeth Bennet and the citizens of Hertfordshire know Fitzwilliam Darcy to be a proud, unpleasant sort of man, but they never suspect the dark secret of his true nature. He is not a man at all – but a vampire.
When the haughty and wealthy Fitzwilliam Darcy arrives in the rural county of Hertfordshire, he finds he cannot control his attraction to Elizabeth Bennet – a horrifying thought because, as she is too far below his social standing to ignite his heart, he fears she must appeal to the dark impulses he struggles to suppress.
Set against the vivid backdrop of historical Regency England, this adaptation of Pride and Prejudice follows the cursed Mr. Darcy as he strives to overcome both his love and his bloodlust for Miss Elizabeth Bennet. This compelling variation remains faithful to the original plot and style of the Jane Austen classic but tells Darcy’s story as he descends into the seedier side of London and introduces Elizabeth to a world of passion and the paranormal she never knew existed.
Here is an excerpt from Pulse and Prejudice:
Darcy leaned in with his hands on either side of the doorframe and let his forehead fall against the door. He closed his eyes and imagined her lying on the bed, her hair splayed out on the pillow, the eyes that had challenged him so brightly just that evening now closed in repose. What little effort, how few steps it would take, for him to be upon her, taking what he needed, sating his thirst.
He pushed himself away from the door and leaned back against the wall beside, despair filling him. He had stood watch over Elizabeth and her sister for two nights and had come back to do so again, to protect them from the very thing he now ached to do himself. The irony sickened him but did not staunch his desire. Gathering all the resolve he knew it would require to return to his room, he stepped away from the wall.
Darcy turned just as the door opened and Elizabeth appeared. They cried out in surprise simultaneously.
“Eliz –a – Miss Bennet!”
She was dressed in her night rail and wrapper; and, though more modest than even her day dresses, the sight set his nerves on edge. Her hair hung down as he had imagined. She held one hand to her heart as the other gripped a candlestick.
“Mr. Darcy, you frightened me! What do you mean by all this skulking about in the dark? How can you even see where you are going?”
He steadied himself before speaking. “I seem to have mislaid my book. I was unable to sleep and thought to read.”
“The Lord Nelson? I believe I saw it in the library on the sideboard.”
He nodded. “That would be a good place for it.”
She smiled. “Indeed. Although if you are looking for the second volume, you may have to wrest it away from Miss Bingley,” she said with a glint in her eye. He smiled at that; but then they both became sensible to the impropriety of their current circumstance and their close proximity. “I was on my way to check on Jane.”
He knew he should step aside, but he did not. He knew he should look away, but he did not. He held her eyes in his stare, his resistance faltering. Another moment and he might have moved towards her, reached his hand to hold the nape of her neck, pierced her flesh with his aching teeth, pressed his mouth upon her lips; but the light from her candle illuminated his face, and he saw his wan reflection in her eyes. As with all those with his curse, he could not bear the sight of his own reflection, a vision of death itself. Her candle flickered out in an instant, and she gasped and broke her gaze.