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|Caroline, magic, and Mr. Bennet
Written by CarrieB
(4/5/2004 5:19 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Question for Ms. Bebris, penned by Tara O'Donnell
Thank you for having me!
]1)What made you decide that Caroline Bingley would be the person in peril?
The story needed a victim readers would care about, but not one so beloved that having bad things happen to her would be blasphemous to Austen fans. I would never, for example, have used Georgiana in this sort of plot. Because Caroline is already familiar to JA's readers (as opposed to using a new character of my own creation), we have an interest in what happens to her. But she's also so nasty to Elizabeth in P&P that I believed readers wouldn't mind too much if unpleasant things occured involving her. I also thought her own character flaws, combined with the timing of the story (immediately following the Darcys' marriage), made her especially vulnerable to deception.
]2)Did you decide before writing the book that magic would be a real part of the story or did you decide that during the writing?
Before—during the brainstorming/outlining stages. My previous novels were in the fantasy genre, and one thing I learned there was that if anything paranormal is going to be part of your story, you have to set that up from the start. As someone else on this board (forgive me—I don't recall who) observed, Darcy and Elizabeth visiting that museum exhibit early on is no coincidence. Plus, in a mystery, it really helps to know the resolution ahead of time so you can plant your clues!
I knew before starting Chapter One that the rings would be cursed. I also knew that Professor Randolph's knowledge would be critical to defeating Parrish, but that that same knowledge would cast suspicion on him. However, many of the specific paranormal details developed in the course of writing, such as putting the pentagram symbol on the watch and Randolph's knowledge of herbalism.
]3)We didn't see much of Mr.Bennet(one of my favorite characters)in the story-why not and would you include him more in a follow-up book?
I like Mr. Bennet, too! He didn't get much stage time because there were simply too many other characters to deal with. The Kendalls, Parrish and Randolph, even the Chatfields had to be developed from scratch, and Jane, Bingley, Caroline, the Hursts — not to mention Elizabeth and Darcy — all needed their roles in this plot developed. A lot of the P&P folks had cameos at the wedding because you'd naturally expect to see them there, but in the rest of the novel I had to resist the temptation to trot characters in and out of the story simply because we JA readers would enjoy their company for a few pages. Though you and I can't imagine such a thing, there are actually people out there who haven't read Pride and Prejudice (tragic though that may be ;) and importing too many characters from P&P who don't really have a plot reason for being in my book would be very confusing for readers who don't already know them.
While I don't have specific plans for Mr. Bennet, if a future plot can benefit from his participation, I will definitely use him. If I can lure him from his library long enough, that is :)
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