Undressing Mr. Darcy, Karen Doornebos

Hello from the steps of the Jane Austen Centre!

Welcome to the tour! As an ice-breaker to each leg of the Blog Tour, I’m taking you along for a ride to England, where I traveled during the summer of 2012 to do some research for Undressing Mr. Darcy. Where am I on this stop? The gorgeous Regency city of Bath…on the steps of The Jane Austen Centre with a statue of Elizabeth Bennet and Martin, the costumed greeter, well known in Bath. I enjoyed the museum and gift shop, but especially loved taking a picture with the oil painting of Colin Firth in the tea room! More photos of England to come as we tour along…

Undressing Mr. Darcy, Karen Doornebos

Let the Undressing begin…

Undressing Mr. Darcy, Karen Doornebos

As author of the just-released Undressing Mr. Darcy and my first novel Definitely Not Mr. Darcy, it’s a thrill for me to be writing here on the Penguin USA blog. Thank you for having me. And what a pleasure to be a published by Penguin, publisher of…

Jane Austen’s novels! How cool is that? An Austen fangirl couldn’t ask for more—but wait, there is more—

Undressing Mr. Darcy releases this week, during Austen’s birthday month of December and in this 200th anniversary year of the publication of Pride and Prejudice. Let me pour you a glass of cyber champagne and toast to Austen herself! Here’s to Austen, still relevant, and, two centuries later, one of the most popular authors on social media, in film, literature, and merchandising. (Have you seen all of the Austen paraphernalia? Everything from Austen action figures and band-aids to tea and umbrellas?)

Undressing Mr. Darcy, Karen Doornebos

Hats off to Austen, and speaking of hats off, I invite you to the coming-out party of my latest book celebrating all things Austen in our modern world: Undressing Mr. Darcy. Join my Blog Tour and all the fun and giveaways on the pea-graveled road through the English countryside ahead…

So, what’s up with the Undressing?

Or, how did it occur to me to write something called Undressing Mr. Darcy? Full disclosure: back when I was still rewriting and researching my first novel in 2009, I would find myself, late into the night, Googling and searching for cravats, waistcoats and Regency drawers. You know, the typical late night fare of a Regency-inspired author, right? One night I stumbled across an English website on the Internet called “The History Wardrobe” and hit upon one of their shows called “Undressing Mr. Darcy.”

Well.

That gets the mind clicking right along doesn’t it? The website didn’t offer much of an explanation other than a certain “Mr. Darcy” would give an historical discussion of each article of clothing as he proceeded to take it off—down to his drawers. (Despite learning that titles aren’t protected by copyright, I did ask permission to use the title of their show, and they granted it, but sadly they no longer do the Undressing show. A few other shows have popped up, such as “Dressing Mr. Darcy” that takes place here in the states at the Louisville Jane Austen Society of North America Jane Austen Festival. But I digress…)

My first thought was: What? A Mr. Darcy striptease act?

The show only took place in England and I thought to myself, why not here in the states? Then, just as quickly, my brain flitted to: what if a “Mr. Darcy” did travel to the states?

* Smirk *

I remember writing down Undressing Mr. Darcy in a notebook I keep for book ideas. By July of 2011, before publication of my first book, I had a sketchy outline.

Because of course, he would be old-fashioned and English. And she would be modern, hooked on her social media, and American.

How about a piece of that?

Here’s a quick excerpt from the book:

… But the young woman and Aunt Ella weren’t looking at her. They were beaming at a tall, dangerously good-looking man on the other side of the rope wearing a formfitting Regency tailcoat, cravat, buff breeches, and black riding boots. He had an antique, leather-bound book tucked under his arm and didn’t carry suitcases but toted old leather trunks—leather trunks on a wheeled cart? A tumble of black hair spilled onto his forehead.

How could he look so much better in person than in his author photo? She made a mental note to update that shot—it would increase their crowds. Pleased with his looks (for marketing purposes, of course), Vanessa cleared her throat, as if to clear her mind.

He wore his Mr. Darcy garb on the plane? Then she found herself trying not to notice the slight tug of his breeches, the snug way they fit him—

Huh? He was a client, after all, regardless of whether he was paying her or not.

Even if he had been a prospect, she preferred a man in a well-tailored Italian suit or blue jeans and a button-down shirt, didn’t she? What woman, at thirty-five years old, with a condo, her own business, family ties, and a thing for modern American amenities, would consider a man from another continent—not to mention the nineteenth century? She didn’t understand it.

And, let’s face it, Mr. Darcy’s skill set—chiefly, diving into a pond in his shirtsleeves—would get him nowhere in today’s job market.

“Miss Ella Morgan and Miss Vanessa Roberts, I presume?” he asked in a bass-range voice that needed no emoticons to get attention. Then he bowed.

He was none other than a very official-looking Mr. Darcy. On the big-screen TV above him, a bomb exploded on the news, and when Vanessa tucked her long brown hair behind her ear, her earbud popped right out.

-End of excerpt-

You can read more about Undressing Mr. Darcy here!

Thanks once again to The Penguin blog for hosting me here. It’s been great. Did you know…

Mr. Darcy’s Stripping Off…

His beaver hat. At each blog stop Mr. Darcy will strip off another piece of clothing. Keep track of each item in chronological order and at then end of the tour you can enter to win a GRAND PRIZE of a book, “DO NOT DISTURB I’m Undressing Mr. Darcy” door hangers for you and your friends, tea and a bottle of wine (assuming I can legally ship it to your state). US entries only, please.

Undressing Mr. Darcy, Karen Doornebos

Karen Doornebos is the author of Undressing Mr. Darcy published by Berkley, Penguin and available here or at your favorite bookstore. Her first novel, Definitely Not Mr. Darcy, has been published in three countries and was granted a starred review by Publisher’s Weekly. Karen lived and worked in London for a short time, but is now happy just being a lifelong member of the Jane Austen Society of North America and living in the Chicagoland area with her husband, two teenagers and various pets—including a bird. Speaking of birds, follow her on Twitter and Facebook! She hopes to see you there, on her website www.karendoornebos.com and her group blog Austen Authors.

JOIN THE BLOG TOUR:

12/2: The Penguin Blog

Launch! 12/3: Austenprose

12/4 Laura’s Review Bookshelf & JaneBlog

12/5 Chick Lit Plus (Review)

12/6 Austen Authors

12/9 Fresh Fiction

12/10 Writings & Ramblings

12/11 Brant Flakes & Skipping Midnight

12/12 Risky Regencies (Q&A)

12/13 Books by Banister

Jane Austen’s 238th Birthday! 12/16 Jane Austen in Vermont, My Jane Austen Book Club & Author Exposure (Q&A)

12/17 Literally Jen

12/18 Savvy Verse & Wit (Review)

12/19 Kritters Ramblings

12/20 Booking with Manic (Review)

12/23 BookNAround

12/26 My 5 Monkeys (Review)

12/27 All Grown Up (Review)

12/30 Silver’s Reviews

1/2 Dew on the Kudzu