From Pemberley to Little Horsted; an interview and Giveaway with Julia B. Grantham

Hello! Cass and I are very happy to welcome the very charming Julia B. Grantham on our blog today. Many Jane Austen fans know her as the author of the beautiful Mr Darcy’s Guide to Pemberley. She also happens to be a friend of ours. Here we are together for the paperback launch of The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen in Bath!

Julia has a new children’s book called A Mole Like No Other so we thought we’d ask her a few questions about it and her process. Stay tuned below for instructions on a promotion for the book AND a giveaway!

Julia! Welcome to Tabby Cow. 

[JB] Thank you very much for inviting me!

First of all, please tell us about your book! 

[JB] Gosh! Where to start! My book might seem unusual for your readers, because, on the surface it is a children’s book. But, I hope, as the readers dive a little deeper, they’ll find that it is a book for adults and children to read and enjoy together.

It is a story of a toy mole, who in the beginning doesn’t even have a name. The girl, he was given to as a present, threw him under the bed with the words “an ugly old mole”. Eventually he ended up in a box of unwanted toys and spent quite a bit of time there. But, as it says on the cover, “our mole believed that there were better things in store for him and waited for them to happen.”

In a way, this very much describes the situation we’ve all in at the moment, wouldn’t you agree? Locked in our homes, hoping for the better things in our  future…

Mercifully for the mole, he found a new home, new family and many new friends; and although he hadn’t ventured very far from the garden – he found plenty of adventures too! Perhaps, another lesson for us all – life is full of adventures, if we allow them to happen, even if only in our own backyard.

Interestingly, when I started writing the book nothing of this was happening in the world – no pandemic, no lockdowns – because I started it 7 years ago. But the message was the same then as it is now – stay optimistic and better things will happen to you.

What theme or message did you want to convey in your story? Why?

[JB] Apart from what I’ve said already, the main theme is, perhaps, finding your place in the world. The little mole, once he’d got his new home and a name – Moley, is very keen to be heard, to be noticed, and he makes some mistakes trying to achieve it, mainly because he is too eager to prove himself. But he is a very helpful mole, who is always the first to rush to help his friends, if they are in trouble. He gradually learns the value of teamwork, learns to rely upon his friends and believe in himself too. He actually learns a lot of important lessons in the course of the story – lessons that will be helpful to children in many tricky situations – like starting in a new school, moving home, learning new skills, looking after their personal safety and many others.

What was one of your favorite children’s books as a child? as a parent?

[JB] As a child I moved pretty quickly to books that nowadays we would call “young adult”, perhaps. I absolutely adored Dumas’s  “The Three Musketeers” and read it dozens of times. Interestingly, I came to English children’s literature as an adult, reading and re-reading Alice in Wonderland, Mary Poppins, Paddington, Winnie-the-Pooh. But my absolute favourites amongst the books for children are the Harry Potter series and Watership Down. I’ve just said this and thought, that, arguably, these two are also created for adults and children alike.  

What is a writing quirk you have?

[JB] I write with pen and paper. Can’t write directly into the computer. Maybe that is why it took me seven years to complete my book? 

What was it like switching from a book like Mr. Darcy’s Pemberley to a children’s book? Which was more difficult?

[JB]  Mr Darcy has managed to squeeze himself in the middle of Moley’s writing. So, perhaps it is fair to say that three years from Moley’s seven were dedicated to Mr Darcy. I guess, Mr Darcy is such an irresistible character that he finds the way into one’s mind, doesn’t he? Funnily, I am such a huge fan of Jane Austen in general, and Pride & Prejudice in particular (find me on facebook here and here) that lots references to P&P book and P&P95 adaptation ended up in my Moley’s book. Dedicated Janeites told me that they chuckled many a time having come across some familiar lines while reading “A Mole Like No Other”. I wonder who can spot them all?

I think, some parallels between Mr Darcy’s Guide and Moley’s book happen on a subconscious  level. To start with – both books take place in beautiful English gardens, (of different sizesI need to point out) but of similar enchanting qualities. Both Mr Darcy (in the mini-series) and Moley happened to end up in a pond at one point. There is a lot of misplaced pride in my book, and plenty of misunderstandings. I guess – the books you love always influence you, even when you least expect it.

If you were a children’s book character, what character would you be (in your own book or an older classic?)

[JB] In my own book I am definitely Moley. Well, and Mummy, a little bit. Mummy is an interesting character, because, although humans don’t know about the hidden life of toys and animals in the garden, I think, Mummy knows and understands much more than she lets on.

In other books I always associate myself with characters who are loyal, bright, often with a sharp tongue, who love books and learning in general. Can you think of a couple? 

What was the easiest character to create/and who was the hardest to figure out?

[JB] It all started with Moley, so he was, perhaps, the easiest. Even though he is the most complex one in the book. You see, all the toys and animals, who I describe in the book, are real: Moley, Owlie, the dogs, the dinosaurs, the ducks, even Gordon – the limping pigeon. So, it was easy to write about them, because I knew them so well. Humans were more difficult, because I didn’t want to base them on our family. But, luckily, the humans don’t participate in the story that much.

I must mention also my wonderful illustrator. You can’t imagine how difficult it is to find the illustrator that is “just right”. It took me a long time – but I’ve found the amazing Carol Wellart. She loves painting nature and animals and I was sending her hundreds of photographs of the toys, animals, our garden, the pond – everything. And she’s created the pictures that fit the story perfectly and ring true to me every time. It was a very happy collaboration of like-minded people.

Where can we order a copy?

[JB] It is on Amazon WORLDWIDE. I love the fact that this way the book can reach every corner of the globe. At least – that is how I imagine it.

Currently it is on special offer – only £4.99 in the UK, or $7.50 in the US in large paperback format. The prices are adjusted accordingly in other countries.

For this blog appearance I’ve created a special Kindle promotion – get it FREE – expires in 2 days. (So that is the 25th and the 26th only friends!)

It is very easy to find – just search for Julia B. Grantham

Direct links:

US: https://www.amazon.com/Mole-Like-No-Other/dp/B08TFSQWLB/

UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mole-Like-No-Other/dp/B08TFSQWLB/

[JB] Also – Moley and Friends have their own Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/AMoleLikeNoOther and Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/moley_and_friends/

Thank you Julia, that was awesome. I think I need to know more about Gordon, the limping pigeon!!! We’re so excited for you and can’t wait to see where Moley takes you!

Finally, we are delighted to announce that Julia is offering a giveaway of the physical book here to our Tabby Cow readers! One lucky commenter will receive A Mole Like No Other (the contest is open internationally)! To enter*, please comment with the answer to this question: If you were a children’s book character, what character would you be?

*Entries must be made before midnight GMT on March 2nd. The drawing will be done on March 2nd and the winner announced shortly after! If the prize is not claimed within 5 days, a new name will be drawn.

 

Details, Details, Details

Hey everyone! We are getting close to the release date for Mr Darcy’s Persuasion and it is time to dot all the i’s and cross all the t’s. Cass sent me this shot of how she’s tracked the timeline of the novel, checking that everything could actually happen the days and times that we have them set to happen! Cass is amazing, this is spectacular and it’s so pretty too!!

Pre-Order our Newest Novel!!

As you may have seen around social media, Cass and I have our new co written Austen Inspired book up to pre-order. It is called Mr Darcy’s Persuasion and is a crossover between the stories of Persuasion and Pride and Prejudice.

(oooooo look at that beautiful cover!!) ——>

Two of Jane Austen’s classics collide in this intriguing tale of pride, prejudice and persuasion, set in England’s beautiful West Country.

In the aftermath of the Netherfield Ball, Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet are determined to find respite—Darcy from the allure of the lady and the feelings she evokes in him, and Elizabeth from the drama unfolding at Longbourn.

Fate is not done with them, however, as they both—unbeknownst to the other—take refuge on the Kellynch estate in Somersetshire, home to Sir Walter Elliot and two of his daughters.

Whilst Elizabeth takes solace from her friendship with Anne Elliot, Darcy finds little comfort in his reacquaintance with the woman fast taking hold of his heart—or, indeed, in the eldest Miss Elliot’s company, whose fluttering eyelashes make her intentions plain.

As for Anne, it is five long years since she last laid eyes upon Frederick Wentworth, and though her regret lingers, she has found some contentment in life… until distressing news of the captain arrives.

When hints of deep secrets emerge—some recently stolen, others harboured for decades—the mystery begins to wrap tendrils around Darcy as he struggles to free himself from its ever-tightening bonds.

Can Darcy discover the truth before it is too late? Will Elizabeth even care if he does? And just what has become of Captain Wentworth?

If you enjoy Austen-inspired variations, then you’ll love Mr Darcy’s Persuasion—a tale of romance, friendship and mystery from award-winning writing duo, Cass Grafton and Ada Bright.

It will be released online and on paperback March 9, 2021 and we couldn’t be more excited about it.

Pre-order HERE!!

(Pre-order is only up for digital copies at the moment).

Audio Anyone?

Hello! Cass and I are so very thrilled to announce that Dreamscape Media is releasing The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen in audio book format TODAY, October 13 (physical CDs released Nov 3) and you can find it here!!!

There are a host of reasons why we are excited about this, but number one is that talented actress, comedienne and author, Alison Larkin, is the artist narrating our comedic tale of time travel and friendship. Alison is a multi-award winning Austen narrator—and the only person to narrate all six of Jane Austen’s novels—and we cannot wait for you to hear her read our characters. 

The audiobook release is also an opportunity to reach a new audience which is always fun, so please feel free to share the news with any friends you think might enjoy the book but read primarily in audiobook form!

Also, did you miss out on attending the annual Jane Austen festivals, notably the one held in Bath in September? Well, this is the perfect opportunity to participate by living through Rose and Morgan’s adventures!

Happy listening, everyone!

PS: The audio of the sequel, The Unexpected Past of Miss Jane Austen, is available for pre-order and will release on November 17. You can pre-order here!

 

July at Tabby Cow

Hello Tabby Cow friends!

What a year it has been for everyone so far. We hope everyone is staying safe and keeping well.

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Cass and I, of course, have always been socially distanced unless we’re in the same country—which only happens about once a year, if we’re lucky—so between us, things have been pretty much as usual.

We have lots of exciting things coming up later in the year, but in the meantime, we’ve kept busy on various projects, some solo and some together, and here’s a roundup!

Solo Projects

In case you missed it, Cass’s first ever contemporary romance novel, The Cottage in a Cornish Cove, was released in February, and it’s been really well received (despite Cass’s worries!). It’s also the perfect ‘lockdown summer’ companion, allowing you to armchair travel as you escape with a book to the stunning Cornwall, England coast (I know it’s stunning because I’ve been there)!

I also happen to know that when she was writing it, Cass was imagining the gorgeous Richard Armitage (more in his John-Thornton-Look-Back-at-Me guise than as a hairy dwarf) as a certain gentleman in the novel. Cass says this is why it took so long to write…

It really is the perfect quarantine read, described by reviewers as ‘romance to make you weak at the knees’, ‘like a warm hug’ and ‘brilliantly atmospheric and absolutely unputdownable’!

It’s available in both paperback and eBook in all the usual online stores, so what are you waiting for? Pick it up here!

As for me, I gained a new excuse not to be finished with my romantic suspense novel because, like so many moms, I became an unintentional and unwilling home school teacher when the world shut down.

I am still constantly working on it though and have joined a morning writing group to help me keep going and hone my plot (y’all… you don’t understand the dedication I must finally have to join a morning writing group. Mornings and me… we are not usually friends).  Oh my gosh guys this sounds so sad. The whole thing is ready, it’s just that my murderer is so crappy at hiding that he’s the murderer!  I’m wondering at this point if the suspense part of my romantic suspense novel really needs to be a whodunnit? Maybe it’ll just be a surprise exactly ‘what he done’?

Co-Writing News!

As we’ve mentioned, due to the time difference that we always have to deal with when we communicate, the pandemic has not had that much of an impact on how Cass and I write together.

Book Three of our time traveling Jane Austen series (*spoiler alert*) is still safe in outline form. Cass says it’s the final in the series. I think it’s the jumping off point of a Marvel Comics esque universe. Cass doesn’t talk to me for a few days after I say things like that. We can’t tell you too much about it just now other than you’ll get to spend more time with our time-travelling adventurers, Rose, Morgan and, of course, Jane! (I will acquiesce that it might be the last one with them in it).

If you haven’t given the earlier books a try, you can find out about them at the following links here on our blog:

Book 1: The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen

Book 2: The Unexpected Past of Miss Jane Austen

We also have some very exciting news coming about these books in the autumn, but for now our lips are sealed!!

So, if we’re not writing time travel, what are we doing?

Let’s be honest, it’s hard to write anything set in the present day just now, so guess what? We decided to take a little detour back to Regency England, and we’re almost finished writing a crossover between Pride & Prejudice and Persuasion. Yes, that’s right: Mr Darcy and Captain Wentworth in one book!

I don’t want to say too much about it yet, but I have been enjoying going back to where it all began (in a way—did you know Cass and I co-wrote a couple of JAFF short stories back in the day, after we’d finished with the Harry Potter fan fiction)?

Incredible Cass, as usual, keeps us grounded in the source material when my fancies forget that Darcy would not be celebrating Thanksgiving (I’m kidding! I’m kidding! I haven’t made that mistake in decades!).

It’s been a lot of fun, as it always is when we co-write, and we hope to be sharing the opening chapters here on Tabby Cow with you next month, with the book planned for release in the Fall.

Much more to come on that project as it develops. In the meantime, I’m also busy delving back into cover art for Cass, updating A Fair Prospect and A Quest for Mr Darcy to make them more in line with Canelo Escape’s e-book branding (seen here):

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Once done and out there, I think Cass may just do a give away of the new cover paperbacks, so keep checking in! I’m excited about working together on visual art for a little bit, but we never stray too far from our writing.

Well, that’s it for now. We just wanted to hop in and say hi, and we hope you and your families are staying healthy and as stress free as possible in these challenging times.

Ada (& Cass)

Oh, And because all our pictures together in 2020 look alot like this…Screen Shot 2019-07-29 at 10.44.38 PM

…I thought it would be fun to bring out a video outtake from our very first book launch together in Bath when people were allowed to travel and stand next to each other! As you can see we are incredibly suave and brilliant with timing and words all the time always.

 

 

 

It’s Publication Day for The Unexpected Past of Miss Jane Austen!!

Hello! It is a very EXPECTED day for Cass and I and… ok, that was bad. I know.

The Unexpected Past of Miss Jane Austen (SEQUEL to The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen) is officially released (digitally by Canelo Escape and in paperback by good ole’ Tabby Cow Press and you can purchase it in either format here!)

Did we mention that? We have a paperback edition too, and here’s the gorgeous cover:

I know Cass and I have already talked about the fun we have co-writing, but I just want to say that I actually had more fun writing this book than the first. Some of that has to do with the success of the first, I’m sure, but I know we’re both very excited to see if fans of the first enjoy the second as much as we hope you do.

Not sure what it’s about? You can read the full blurb here, but essentially, the story begins barely ten minutes after the end of the first book – for Rose, that is. For Jane, it’s ten years since they last met! Our time-travelling author has come forward from 1813, and as she is no longer living in Bath but in Chawton in Hampshire, much of the story takes place there. Cue lots of research from us both on our recent visit!

This is us at Chawton Cottage and in Jane and Cassandra’s bedroom in Chawton, both of which play a part in The Unexpected Past of Miss Jane Austen, as does Chawton House.

We hope you’ll join us in following Jane and Rose on their latest adventure! As for today, celebrate with us! Raise a glass to welcome the new arrival, whether it be wine or whiskey, chocolate milk or coffee!

Show us a picture of you joining us in a toast in the comments. Cass and I may be eight hours apart today, but we”ll post our own pictures in the comments when each of us gets to have a drink. Cheers!

Dressing the Part

BP Soldiers

If you’ve read my previous post, you’ll know Cass and I were set to appear at the Jane Austen Festival’s Pre-Festival Get Together on Friday, September 13 in Bath!

What I haven’t mentioned yet is that my little traveling party (my 16 year old daughter, Abby, and my mother-in-law) decided to take advantage of the opportunity to walk in the famous Grand Regency Promenade during the Festival.

This is a costumed event that is always popular and… if I can just say it – AWESOME.

Cass had walked the Promenade before, but this year she decided to watch and was therefore designated as photographer. As for the rest of us, we needed to start from scratch.

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Beautifully dressed promenaders!!

First thing was to pick fabric.

I was pretty nervous about this part. I’m not great at visualizing a finished product. The last time I picked fabric for something it was an armchair and I regretted it and continue to regret it 18 years later.

I also know that a lot of the wonderful people who dress Regency for this type of event choose beautiful era appropriate fabric and patterns, so I went into the fabric store stressed by the entire idea.

Luckily, when I get like that my family knows well enough to ignore me and get on with the task at hand!

IMG_8148And sure enough, Abby was the one who caught sight of a pretty cream fabric with little flowers that looked right enough. And it happened to have a darker, sister fabric that I thought would compliment my complexion better as well. Sold!

It just so happens that my mother and my mother-in-law both know their way around a needle and thread. So my mother-in-law chose to make her own dress, and my mother got stuck with doing the other two.

They got to work on the measuring, cutting, sewing, and my mom twisted our ears until we made time to try on the dresses during the different stages. In fact, my mother-in-law ended up making not one but TWO dresses. Both very cute.

(Yes, never fear, I am aware I hit the mother AND mother-in-law jackpot. How often does that happen?)

Meanwhile I went hunting on Etsy for bonnets.  This is my daughter and I in ours:

 

The next worry was packing them!

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This is the bonnets in their own special box on the airport bus!

And then, after a flight, a few days of all sorts of fun, and a quick iron, we were dressed ready for the Promenade!

Have you ever walked the Grand Regency Promenade through the streets of beautiful Bath? We highly recommend it!

Charmed at the Festival! Our book launches at the Jane Austen Festival in Bath

Cass and I were honored to be invited to launch our new release through Canelo Escape,  The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen, at the Pre-Festival Get Together for the Jane Austen Festival in Bath last month, and it was a fantastic night!

The book is, after all, set during this very Festival in the beautiful city of Bath, so what could be more fitting?

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Outside St Swithin’s Church

The sell-out event took place at St Swithin’s Church (where Jane Austen’s parents were married), and we arrived to find the lovely Festival volunteers had readied everything. All we had to do was set out our books and publicity material and wait nervously for people to arrive (Cass felt a lot better once she had a glass of wine in her hand)!

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Sneak peak at goody bag contents!

We’d had posters made up for both The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen and the sequel, The Unexpected Past of Miss Jane Austen (releasing 7th November but already up for pre-order!), along with the blurb – which you can read here for the first book in the Austen Adventures series, and here for the second. This enabled us to have some lovely conversations with people attending the event, and we were delighted with the interest in our stories.

We’d made up some goody bags for the first 30 people to buy signed books, which proved very popular, especially the Californian candy and the Swiss chocolate!

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Ada and Cass with Q&A host, Dr Gaby Malcolm

We were honored to have Dr. Gabrielle Malcolm (amongst other things, an Austen scholar and author of the upcoming non-fiction book, There’s Something About Darcy – releasing on 11th November) introducing us and moderating a Q&A, which was a lot of fun.

Afterwards, there was time for more conversation as we signed books and handed out the goody bags, during which we met some lovely people from across the globe.

We were also touched and thrilled to see several friends there, who had all travelled some distance to support us.

A huge thank you to everyone involved. We had a great time!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Event of the Year

Most of you know that, much as I love the people that I travel to see and the places that I stay when I travel, TRAVEL, in and of itself is not something I love.

But once in awhile, there comes an opportunity that even I am eager to travel for.

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In The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen, our characters participate in The Jane Austen Festival in Bath. This is a weeklong, world famous event Cass has been to several times and they (very kindly) invited us to be part of their pre-festival get together on September 13… nowhere special… only at St Swithens Church, the same church where Jane Austen’s parents were married. No big deal.

Ummm.. that’s a lie. This is a very big deal to us. Our friend Gabrielle Malcolm will be moderating for us (hey – she can make a conversation about forks interesting, so you know it’s going to be a great time).

We so appreciate the festival organizers for thinking of us and inviting us and we will be there with bells on.

Hope to see a few familiar faces there!

 

Don’t judge a book by it’s… wait! Go on, then!

Hello again everyone!

If you follow Cass or I on any social media platforms you probably already know our biggest news (also mentioned in my last post): the eBook of The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen… AND it’s sequel (I don’t think I’m allowed to tell you the title yet) were acquired by Canelo Digital Publishing at the end of last year.

One of the many things we were excited about on entering the traditionally published world was that there would be real artists and professionals creating our covers!

Our first cover will always be near and dear to us, but at the end of the day it didn’t reflect the light hearted nature of our writing and so… drumroll please… HERE is what the professionals came up with:

I love the color and the whimsy of it. I love the animals and the little Royal Crescent at the top. Hopefully it will grab readers that our first cover might have put off.

But wait! There’s more!

We did edit the manuscript before submitting to Canelo, and with the interior updated to reflect this, it seemed the perfect time to brighten up the paperback cover as well.  

Of course we couldn’t step on the publisher’s toes as far as making the two too similar, but we found something refined and pretty (just like main character Rose).

So HERE is what we came up with:

This means that if you have a book with this new cover, then you have the new and revised version of our book, which we are immensely proud of.

Whereas if you have this cover:

Print

Congratulations! You have the OG (this is apparently a reference no one is going to get based on asking several peers – basically I just mean ‘the original’) version of The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen.

Regardless of the covers, it might be sensible to tell you a little about the inside of the book, for those who haven’t yet read it!

Here we go:

When a time travelling Jane Austen gets stuck in modern-day Bath it’s up to avid Janeite Rose Wallace to save her… because she’s the only one who knows that Jane exists!

Rose Wallace’s world revolves around all things Austen, and with the annual festival in Bath – and the arrival of dishy archaeologist, Dr Aiden Trevellyan – just around the corner, all is well with the world…

But then a mysterious woman who bears more than a passing resemblance to the great author moves in upstairs, and things take a disastrous turn. Rose’s new neighbour is Jane Austen, whose time travel adventure has been sabotaged by a mischievous dog, trapping her in the twenty-first century.

Rose’s life is instantly changed – new home, new job, new friends – but she’s the only one who seems to have noticed! To right the world around her, she will have to do whatever it takes to help Jane get back home to write Rose’s beloved novels. Because a world without Mr Darcy? It’s not worth living in!

~o0o~

GIVEAWAY TIME!!

As we approach the release date for the eBook (12th September – it’s available for pre-order here!), we’ve decided to give away a few copies of the new, revised paperback! What’s more, these will be signed by both authors (not a thing that happens very often with the distance between us!)

All you have to do is leave a comment on this post, letting us know your thoughts on any of the covers (do you have a favourite, anything you love, anything you don’t), and then we’ll enter your name in the draw, which will be made on Sunday, 15th September in Bath!

Draw open internationally! Closing date for entries is 12th September 2019.

Thank you for bearing with us! We hope you enjoy the next few months where we should be posting here more regularly!