The Confession of
Mr. Darcy, Vampire
1st Place Winner in Category: Chatelaine Awards Romantic Fiction
In this thrilling and sensual adaptation of the classic love story, Elizabeth Bennet and the citizens of Hertfordshire know Fitzwilliam Darcy to be a proud, unpleasant sort of man, but they never suspect the dark secret of his true nature. He is not a man at all – but a vampire.
When the haughty and wealthy Fitzwilliam Darcy arrives in the rural county of Hertfordshire, he finds he cannot control his attraction to Elizabeth Bennet – a horrifying thought because, as she is too far below his social standing to ignite his heart, he fears she must appeal to the dark impulses he struggles to suppress.
Set against the vivid backdrop of historical Regency England, this adaptation of Pride and Prejudice follows the cursed Mr. Darcy as he endeavours to overcome both his love and his bloodlust for Miss Elizabeth Bennet. Although Pulse and Prejudice adheres to the original plot and style of the Jane Austen classic, it is not a “mash-up” but an imaginative, thrilling variation told primarily from Mr. Darcy’s point of view as he descends into the seedier side of London and introduces Elizabeth to a world of passion and the paranormal she never knew existed.
Interview with author Colette Saucier
Q: When did you get the idea for your book? How did you get the idea?
A: To this day, I suffer terrible insomnia. One night several years ago, after my daughters’ had moved out (but left behind many of their belongings), I ventured into their former bedroom in search of something to read. I happened across a certain zombie/Austen mash-up, popular at the time, and thought I’d give it ago. I found it appalling, that the “author” had taken the entire text of Pride and Prejudice and just added zombies and ninjas here and there without even an attempt to stay true to the character or the language. That did lead me to read other adaptations and variations (some great, some OK, many dreadful), but I never found a vampire adaptation I found satisfying.
I thought the novel far more suitable to a vampire variation than zombies. Through multiple readings of Pride and Prejudice, I had come to see Mr. Darcy as a Byronic hero: intelligent, arrogant, introspective, and cynical. Perhaps knowing that John Polidori had written The Vampyre—thus creating the image of the “gentleman” vampire—with Lord Byron in mind caused me to see how well Austen’s Darcy lent itself to a vampire characterization. With my daughter’s encouragement, I wrote Pulse and Prejudice through the eyes of Mr. Darcy as if Jane Austen herself had always conceived the character as a vampire, hence his dark brooding and complete misinterpretation of “human” behavior, but she had failed to reveal that to the reader.
Q: Most, if not all, Jane Austen Fan Fiction assumes the reader has a strong knowledge of the source material, in this case Pride and Prejudice. Do you think readers of Pulse and Prejudice need to know Jane Austen’s original well?
A: No. This has always been intended as a stand-alone adaptation of Miss Austen’s classic.
At the time I began the project, I had never even heard of JAFF—and neither had my beta readers! In fact, I finished Volume I last because five of my six beta readers had either not read Pride and Prejudice or had “read it so long ago” that they didn’t remember it, and so I had to add more of Miss Austen’s dialogue to provide clarification and context. This time, however, we see Mr. Darcy’s interpretation of events. Because I worked to channel Miss Austen while writing this, adhering to her style and language, who am I to change her words on the few occasions that the plots overlap?
Several readers who had never read Pride and Prejudice have asked that I publish a combination, with facing pages of Pulse and Prejudice on the timeline with the original so they can see what Elizabeth is doing, say, while Darcy is in London, and get her perspective. I have absolute no idea how something like that could be accomplished! I suggest that they read them both together since everyone should real Pride and Prejudice at least once. I am always pleased to hear from readers who say that reading my adaptation made them want to read the original.
Q: What research did you do for this book?
A: I spent eighteen months researching and writing Pulse and Prejudice. I went to London twice and Europe three times, and I read everything I could about vampires in that historical context (obviously they couldn’t glitter or have the same traits as depicted by Bram Stoker’s late nineteenth century vampire) including Dom Augustine Calmet’s Treatise on Vampires & Revenants from 1746. I read books and journals about the dark underworld of Regency London, since the majority of the novel takes place there—completely away from Miss Austen’s narrative. I found detailed information about certain weather phenomena that occurred at the time, so I had to include that, as well as about actual historical events such as a ball in honour of the Duke of Wellington and the Grand Jubilee celebration, the latter I found in a magazine from 1814.
So obsessed with historical accuracy, I even determined to find a two-volume book from that time—something that Mr. Darcy might actually read—for the Netherfield scene in which Miss Bingley affects to read the second volume. I found something so ideal, The Life of Nelson by Robert Southey, that I had to buy it! I am now the proud owner of a 202 year-old set. It suited Pulse and Prejudice not only because it would have been a “new release” when Mr. Darcy read it but also because my Mr. Darcy alludes frequently to his friendship with the Lake Poets, of which Southey was one.
Q: This is a re-release. How is this edition different from the original?
A: For one thing, I was able to divide the scenes into their original chapters (the previous publisher had strict rules regarding chapter length), and I gave the chapters titles based on one of my other favourite novels (See if you can figure it out!). Throughout the novel, the characters frequently quote poetry, plays, philosophers, and I have added the references to those for the interested reader. No matter how many times a manuscript is proofread or how many editors review it, one will always find typos. So I corrected any that I found, although I’m sure I will continue to see more to taunt me!
Also, I got rid of almost all instances of the term “a bit.” I had not even noticed how often I had used it until editing the audiobook, and it drove me to distraction! When working as an editor, I always slashed through any kind of qualifiers and told the authors that they weaken the prose; then I was guilty of it myself.
Q: For those who read the original edition of Pulse and Prejudice, do they need to read this new release?
A: I might be hurting my sales to say this, but probably not—although I suppose the decision should be based on how much they enjoyed the original. I mean, the eBook is less than the cost of a latte from Starbucks (which is to say, it’s not a latte…sorry, couldn’t resist). I think of this as like the “director’s cut” (but one in which Han Solo shoots first—heehee). This is my original vision of the novel. In addition, it’s cleaner, has annotations, and wonderful chapter titles.
Plus, it has this beautiful new cover! Perhaps those who read the original in eBook or audiobook would like to get the print version to add to their libraries.
Q: When will the new release be available?
A. Both the hardback and the Kindle version are available for pre-order now, but the official release date is May 12, 2015—exactly four years to the day that I completed the first draft. A new paperback edition will be released in a few months.
Q: What other books or other writing have you done?
A. I have also published The Proud and the Prejudiced: A Modern Twist on Pride and Prejudice; and Alicia’s Possession, a romantic psychological thriller, as well as other works under a different pen name.
My next release will be the romantic suspense thriller The Widow (Viuda).
Q: Have you won any awards for this book or other books?
A: Pulse and Prejudice won the Chatelaine Award for First Place in its Category for Romantic Fiction and the Readers’ Choice for Best Novel of the Year by Austenprose.
An abridged version of The Proud and the Prejudiced was an Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Semifinalist (1 of 20 in a field of 10,000) in 2013 and named “Favorite Modern Adaptation of the Year” by Austenesque Reviews; and Austenprose selected me as a “Debut Author of the Year” for that novel.
Alicia’s Possession was voted a Top 10 Romance Novel of the Year in the P&E Readers’ Poll.
Q: Is this book being adapted for film or television? Any others?
Not yet but always hoping! Everyone who has read Pulse and Prejudice or the ARC of The Widow tells me they should be made into movies, but that’s easy to say and rare to accomplish.
Q: Who is your editor?
A. I’ve had a different editor on each novel, although Julie Reilly proofed Pulse and Prejudice; and we developed such a rapport (and she was so patient with my obsessive attention to detail and historical accuracy) that I requested she be the editor on Alicia’s Possession. Of course, before a draft even gets submitted to the publisher, my daughter – a talented writer herself – is the first editor. She and I went to Holland and Belgium, each with a bound hard copy of the first draft of Pulse and Prejudice, to get away from everyday distractions and focus on editing. And Holland and Belgium! While there, I also did research for the sequel.
Q: Who is your agent?
A: Brittany Booker of The Booker Albert Literary Agency.
Q: What are you currently working on now?
A: I am in the midst of final edits for The Widow, and I am currently researching and writing Dearest Bloodiest Elizabeth, the sequel to Pulse and Prejudice, which follows the newlywed vampire Darcy and his bride Elizabeth to Antebellum New Orleans. Because it is not an adaptation, I am not restrained by anyone else’s plot; so it will be much darker, bloodier, and sexier.
I should mention for anyone who has not read Pulse and Prejudice that, although it adheres to Miss Austen’s plot for the first three volumes, I added a fourth volume – Beyond Pride and Prejudice – which contains scenes of a sensual nature. For anyone who prefers Darcy and Elizabeth to remain chaste, just skip Volume IV altogether and go straight to the Epilogue!