"Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body." Sir Richard Steele

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Interview with Mary Lynn Simonsen

It is my pleasure to welcome author, Mary Lynn Simonsen to my blog today. She has agreed to answer some questions for me and her readers.

Hi Eva. Thank you for having me on your blog. You have asked me to answer a few questions, and I am happy to do so.

1. Tell us a little bit about Mr. Darcy’s Bite.

Mr. Darcy's Bite

When Fitzwilliam Darcy was 14, he was bitten by a werewolf while on a visit to Germany’s Black Forest. In the subsequent years, he has had to adjust to the fact that he becomes a furry, fanged, four-footed creature for two nights of every moon cycle. But he is not a lone wolf. He is the Alpha male for a pack of three other wolves and helps in the protection of an extended wolf/werewolf community. Discovery of his other life is an ever-present danger. Into this reality, he wants to bring the love of his life: Elizabeth Bennet. But will she accept his dual nature and what will be required of her if she does?

2. What made you decide to go with a paranormal twist to Pride and Prejudice?

Actually, Mr. Darcy’s Bite started off as a short story written for Halloween on a fan fiction site. It was a lark, nothing more. But the response was so tremendous I kept writing and ended up with a full-length novel. Before starting, what I knew about werewolves, you could have put in a thimble, so it was fun making it all up! Of course, I had Jane Austen’s excellent story to work with.

3. There are many rewrites of Elizabeth and Darcy. What is the fascination with Pride and Prejudice?

In my opinion, Pride and Prejudice is Austen’s masterpiece. In Elizabeth Bennet, we have a likeable heroine who is witty, intelligent, and engaging. Because we like Lizzy so much, we want her to marry a man who will appreciate her worth. Enter Fitzwilliam Darcy. Now that we have Colin Firth and Matthew Macfadyen’s portrayals of Darcy in our heads, the story got even better.

4. Do you have plans for following this theme or will you write something else?

Both. I have a few more Austenesque novels in the works, but in 2012, I want to write a modern murder mystery. I have worked out the plot. Now I have to see if I can get it down on paper without my muse, Jane Austen, watching over me.

5. Is Jane Austen your favorite author?

Austen is certainly in my top five, but I’m also a big fan of Charles Dickens. My favorite books are mysteries.

6. Who has been the biggest influence on your writing?

Obviously, Jane Austen’s style greatly affected my Austen re-imaginings. But I am a big fan of Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe mysteries. I like crisp, witty dialog and an atmosphere created with a minimum amount of words. I don’t write or read overly descriptive material because I want to set the scene in my head.
7. What has been the biggest obstacle in your writing career?

Because I didn’t start writing until I was 55 and my family was raised, there haven’t been all that many obstacles. I have two grandchildren. Kaelyn is eight, and Skyler is nine months. I am absolutely committed to giving them my maximum attention. There are times when I’m up late at night writing blog posts or chapters in a new book because I spent most of the day with my grandkids, but that’s the way I want it. (Work keeps their dad away from home for long periods of time, and my daughter needs my help.)

8. Who are my biggest supporters?

I’ve always written stories for my family, so my five sisters encouraged me to write and get published. They are my cold readers. Early on, my husband saw it as an avocation rather than a vocation, but he got on board with my first royalty check. J Finally, I have to say Jan Austen fan fiction fans were critical in my development. The support and comments I received for my stories on fan fiction sites was huge! I can’t say enough about them. As a result, I have hundreds of friends all over the world. It’s been a wonderful experience.

Mary, thank you so much for stopping by my blog and answering questions for us.

Again, thank you for having me on your blog. This has been fun.

Now, if anyone has any questions for Mary, ask away. Just be sure to stop back to see what she has to say to you.


  1. Thank you, Eva, for having me on your blog. It was a pleasure.

  2. Mary, a modern murder mystery?! I can't wait! I swear you just continue to keep me hooked (like any good dealer does to her "clients") on your books! Well, I am all anxiety over what 2012 will hold in store!
    BTW, LOVE Mr. Darcy's Bite!! What a great love story and a sexy Darcy (but then again, isn't he always sexy)? :)

  3. Mary, thank you for sharing with us and giving me the opportunity.

  4. Jakki, thank you for stopping by my blog.

  5. Mary, we are chasing each other about the internet today. I applaud your continued success, and I am proud to have my name associated with yours on AuAu.

  6. Regina, thank you for stopping by my blog today.

  7. Hey, Regina. We are running into each other, aren't we? Maybe one day we'll actually meet.

    Thanks, Eva, for having me on your blog.

  8. Great interview, as always, Mary! I look forward to having you on my blog tomorrow. :)

    I can't wait to read your modern murder mystery - - sounds good!

  9. Lori, thank you for stopping by my blog.