I’m so happy you’re here to celebrate the release of An Unexpected Harvest! Yes, I know it’s not the norm for an author to have their own blog as the very first stop on a blog tour, but why not? It gives me a chance to talk a little about the book and give away some great swag.
From the back cover:
Elizabeth Bennet left her affluent New England home at the age of sixteen and never looked back. She’s built a great life in Boston and loves everything about the city—especially her dream job as creative director at an advertising agency.
Will Darcy has never lived anywhere but in rural Stockbridge, Massachusetts. He lives a small-town life and loves everything about the country—especially his family’s farm, which he’s doing his best to modernize and return to prosperity.
When her older sister moves back to New England, Elizabeth reluctantly pays a visit to the hometown she left behind. Soon enough, the city girl meets the country boy and the insults and misunderstandings fly—but so do the sparks.
No one is more surprised than Elizabeth and Will when those sparks turn into a brilliant flame, and the 300 miles between them that once felt far too close suddenly turns into an unbearable distance. The city girl and the country boy know a good thing when they see it—even if they don’t see it nearly enough. Can they overcome their greatest challenge and find common ground—and their happily-ever-after?
THE CHARACTERS: Years ago, I came up with an idea for a modern P&P variation that took the original cast of characters and switched them up. It’s the city girl, Elizabeth Bennet, who is wealthy and a bit worldlier. Fitzwilliam Darcy is a blue collar country boy who lives with his parents and younger brother on the family farm. He’s laid back, friendly, and outgoing, and is considered the
brightest jewel of the country most eligible bachelor in town.
What if the city girl showed up on the country boy’s turf, and the country boy overheard the city girl make a snide remark about him before they even had the chance to meet? You get the idea. From there, the story sort of took off. There are other personality/character swaps (or complete 180 degree changes) as well, but I don’t want to give them away. I’m sure (I hope!) you’ll be able to figure them out as you read!
THE STORY: The story is divided into a Part 1 and Part 2. In Part 1, there are many occasions/situations that mirror occasions/situations in Canon (falling closer to the variation category). It’s all about Darcy and Elizabeth overcoming their pride and prejudice and getting to the point when they have a lightbulb moment and realize they are meant to be together.
Part 2 follows its own path, and is all about overcoming physical distance. I thought a great deal about this when I was writing the story, because in Canon, Darcy lives in Derbyshire and London, while Elizabeth was in Hertfordshire. Obviously, after marriage, Elizabeth leaves to begin her new life, as was expected back then. But what happens when distance exists in a modern? How does it translate? In An Unexpected Harvest, Boston to Stockbridge is roughly 300 miles (I took some liberties with that; it’s actually a bit less). While not a tremendous distance, it’s slightly more than fifty miles of good road! In this day and age, it’s unrealistic (in my opinion) to think that one party will just up and move, especially if both are firmly established in their respective zip codes. How does a modern couple cope with that? How will it work? And if someone moves, who will it be? How is that decided? And what happens when one half of the couple is ready to close the distance, but the other half hasn’t quite reached that point?
A LITTLE MORE: Anyone who has read Sanctuary knows one of my biggest failings: I cannot write a short story to save my life (believe it or not, more than half of An Unexpected Harvest was cut before publishing!). More than anything, I love weaving intricate stories around Will and Elizabeth. While their love story is always at the forefront, I enjoy imagining the relationship dynamics within the Darcy and Bennet families, and then going beyond that and involving other characters. I went a bit further here, giving Will two brothers (but no sisters) and parents who are living; and giving Elizabeth just two sisters (instead of four) and parents who are deceased—while still trying to keep the character swap flourishing.
I’m a big fan of writing a lot of everyday moments and minutiae, even if they don’t always move the story forward. Some of the best things in life happen in the smaller moments and not in the big, grand occasions. Sometimes it’s a quiet conversation or a meaningful glance (or a cuddle with a baby goat) that mean the most.
An Unexpected Harvest is similar to Sanctuary in that it’s a family saga built around a love story. As I said, the love story is the primary story, but there are circumstances that pull on that relationship and affect its trajectory, and I love to take a peek into the things that can influence the personalities and behavior of our favorite couple.
THE EXCERPT: Here’s a little snippet from Part 2. Elizabeth and Will are out on the town in Boston, and Elizabeth is having a conversation with her best friend Kit, who is prodding her about the future.
“Not for nothing, Lizzy, but the camera on your phone sucks,” Kit proclaimed as she looked at Will. “Pictures do not do that man justice.”
Elizabeth sighed, her eyes lingering on his tall, muscular frame—standing head and shoulders above every other man in the bar. Drool-worthy. “You’re right. He’s freaking hot.”
“No wonder you’re all about goats and farms and mountains lately. I would be too. Especially that particular mountain. Mount Will.”
Elizabeth grinned. Don’t mind if I do.
“So what’s the deal?” Kit went on. “You’re crazy about him, obviously. What’s your plan?”
“My plan for what?”
“The future. With him.”
“We’ve only been together for four months! I’m not thinking about the future yet.”
Kit rolled her eyes. “Liar. How can you not be thinking about it? You realize there’s no happy medium, right?”
“There is, and we have it.”
“I asked him what his intentions are.”
Elizabeth’s mouth dropped open. “You did not!”
Elizabeth was horrified…but curious. “What did he say?”
“He very politely told me to mind my own business. I can respect that.”
Elizabeth took a large swallow of wine. The conversation she’d had with Jane on Thursday bounced back into her mind, and a kernel of anxiety expanded in her chest. “Please leave it alone, okay? Leave him alone. What we have is working for us.”
“But for how long? That farm he owns—Panderley? Pemburton?—isn’t going anywhere. I mean, he can’t move it to Boston—”
“It’s Pemberley. And you can shut up now.”
Kit’s eyebrows rose. “What? Why are you getting so upset? I know you, Lizzy. You were with Colin for twice as long as you’ve been with Will, but you were never like this. Not even close. Stop avoiding the inevitable.”
“I’m not avoiding anything.”
“Yes, you are.” Kit’s voice softened. “And I get that it’s a lot to think about, but you have to decide if he’s worth giving up the life you have here, because—”
“I’ll say it again. Four months.” Elizabeth’s cheeks warmed as her ire rose. “Let. It. Go.”
I hope you enjoyed that little bit from Part 2!
AND NOW FOR THE GOOD STUFF – THE GIVEAWAY!
I have wonderful AUH-related swag to give away, and two eBooks! Unfortunately, you have to reside in the US to be eligible for the swag, but if you live in the US, UK, or Canada, you are eligible to win an eBook! To enter, just leave a comment or question on this post by June 5th.
If you are in the US and want to be entered for the swag, please start your comment with the word SWAG!
If you use Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, or Amazon.ca, and want to be entered for an eBook, please start your comment with the word EBOOK!
I will choose one entry for the swag first (the old-fashioned way—by putting names in a hat!), and then will randomly choose two more entries for the eBooks.
Thank you so much for visiting my blog! The universal buy link and the rest of the tour stops are listed below. I hope to see you again!
Get An Unexpected Harvest here ~ available in eBook, KU, and paperback!