From Michelle: Ann Herendeen is delightful and intelligent and loves to talk about sexy stuff, especially the hotness that is boy-on-boy. Her groundbreaking "Phyllida and the Brotherhood of Philander" redefined for us the term Regency Alpha/Corinthian. Ann's new riff on the iconic Austen Classic is as erotic and brash as a romance that includes hot guys acting out our naughtiest English-class fantasies should be -- and the writing'll knock your socks off.Please offer Ann your warmest "And what of Knightly?" Bella buongiorno...
From Ann: Good morning, Michelle, Bellas and Bellos! It's a pleasure to be back here, chatting about my new novel, "Pride/Prejudice."
As Michelle has mentioned, many of us have long suspected that Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley were more than just good friends. When Mr. Bingley says that “if Darcy were not such a great tall fellow, in comparison with myself, I should not pay him half so much deference;” and when Mr. Darcy goes to such lengths to prevent Mr. Bingley from marrying, you have to wonder if there might be the teensiest hint of jealousy or possessiveness in their relationship.
Well, I decided the answer to all that speculation was a resounding Yes! And I wanted to see what this relationship would be like if we could read about it explicitly, not just between the lines. My first novel, "Phyllida and the Brotherhood of Philander," was a bisexual m/m/f ménage, so writing P/P came very naturally to me.
Still, I know not everybody will be as excited as I am. In the interest of sparing the sensibilities of the fans of Colin Firth and his perfect tall, dark and handsome Mr. Darcy, I imagined my bisexual Darcy as tall, handsome and—“fair.” Jane Austen didn't go in for description; all we know of Mr. Darcy's appearance is “his fine, tall person, handsome features and noble mien.” Why shouldn't he have, as I've written him, dark blond or light brown hair, gray eyes, a muscular build and a very large...intellect? Think Russell Crowe or a more sophisticated Albert Finney in Tom Jones. He's still clever and proud, still looking for that one person, man or woman, who can satisfy his greatest desire: intelligent conversation.
I see Darcy and Bingley as “married” to each other, while having passionate affairs—with their wives. These men complement each other, one dominant, one submissive, and they're comfortable together, like longtime domestic partners. But the women they eventually marry—spirited, witty Elizabeth and sweet, gentle Jane—are too much like their husbands for comfort. Like most of us, these men want both, passion and comfort. Once they've worked out their petty jealousies, I think they'll live, all four of them, as Austen implies, in an unusual, but very happy ever after.
My idea for Pride/Prejudice was to expand Austen's novel, not change it. Do you think portraying the main characters as bisexual changes the story, or, as I thought of it, simply shows us previously hidden aspects of the characters?
In the story of P/P, Jane Bennet tells Elizabeth that Mr. Bingley and Mr. Darcy believe that "loving" each other is different from "being in love with" a woman (their wives)--and that this allows the men to go on loving each other after marriage. Do you think this kind of distinction is or can be valid in some cases?