It’s a very different launch day for Cass and I! Normally we are together having a party with our family, friends and closest supporters!
We’ll be having a fab time, though, and will be celebrating from the time Cass gets up in Switzerland until I go to bed in California – an extra LOOOOOOONG day. Look out for posts and a giveaway or six. You can find us hanging out here (when we’re awake in our respective time zones): Facebook – Ada ond Cass and Instagram – @adacakes & @cassgraftonwriter
We’ll be doing some polls and silly interviews and contests in which you win nothing (but there will be giveaways too, lots of them)! Check in on Cass’s blog here to find out about the fab gift bundles we’re offering throughout the day!
We’re going to make it fun, we hope you join us and have some fun as well!
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 Otherso 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 usabout 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
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.
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!!
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.
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.
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.
You can say a lot of things about Cass and I. We’re brilliant and funny and obsessed with cats to name a few. But you can’t say we overly self promote ourselves; considering I’m seven months late telling you all about a really wonderful book signing we did here in Pasadena, CA.
September 24, 2017
Vroman’s Bookstore in Pasadena is a historic local shop that is notorious for supporting artists from the community. I have loved Vroman’s since I moved here in 1998.
After our mountain-top experience for our book launch at 4 Sydney Place in Bath, England, we always had the intention of doing something on my side of the pond. After some research and communication with Vroman’s, we decided a book signing there would be ideal. And then… well, obviously… we’d need a party afterwards.
As excited as we were to plan another visit together and celebrate The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen with our friends and family, we were not overtly excited about the presentation portion of the book signing evening. Cass had a list of diseases she planned to use to get out of it, but I promised her that there would only be four people in the audience and that we’d be back at my house for the party in no time (she had no problem with the party portion of the plan).
Well, we had a few more than four people in the audience. And we were surprised to get a solid slate of questions from them. While we did have a good set of people that were there to support us because they knew us, there were quite a few from the public too.
This was beautiful and wonderful but we were *not* prepared. We signed books for an hour, and we sold out!
After that, we went home to an amazingly catered meal by my mom and an amazing show of support from our friends and family. Special appreciation goes to our husbands who were more than supportive, more than gracious and more than wonderful.
Thank you to my mom for the food and help, for Megan for taking photos for us and everyone for the support! We will endeavor to be slightly quicker to update Tabbycow the next time something exciting happens!
One year ago today The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen was published! It also happens to be on sale right now on Amazon or available free in Kindle Unlimited!!
As many of you know, we celebrated the launch of the book in Bath at 4 Sydney Place (thank you again, Bath Boutique Stays!). This was an incredible event for the two of us as we were surrounded by such lovely support celebrating the publication of the book. Do you want to see pictures? Here! Look! It was so much fun!
We were able to have the books carried in JA Centre Bath and Visitor Information Centre Bath for what was initially a ten day period during the Jane Austen Festival. Well, we are very proud that The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen is still being sold in both places ten months later. This tickles us endlessly as I’m sure you can imagine.
Now it’s time to work on my side of the globe. Anyone who has spent any length of time in Pasadena will have heard of Vroman’s Bookstore. They are a large, local bookseller with amazing character. They have championed the local artist and author for many years… and, starting a couple days ago, that includes me (and Cass, who is an honorary local).
Here it is at the main location on historic Colorado Blvd:
And here it is at the Hastings Ranch location which is conveniently located next to an Einstein Bros Bagel shop ;)!
But, wait! There’s more! As part of the deal with Vroman’s, they will host a book signing at the Colorado Blvd location on September 24! BOTH authors will be there, (though one of us may be slightly jet lagged).
This is not a drill! Friends from near and far, please save the date as we would love you to show up and say hi! More information to come!
There have been a couple other notable things happening this year with the book which Cass will share soon, but for now I must end this post because it’s my birthday!
Thank you for your support on social media and in purchasing our novel. We will hopefully be sharing updates on… *gasp* the sequel soon.
*If it’s not July 7th where you are, please pretend it is. Having writing partners in different time zones does make anniversaries confusing!
We’ve had another exciting month in October of visits to Blogspots, and there have also been some more lovely reviews coming in for The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen!
Firstly, we were delighted to visit talented author, Wendy Clarke, on her blog, Wendy’s Writing Now, for a guest post a few weeks ago. We talked about how our co-writing works on a day-to-day basis, and you can read all about it here!
Sophia Lykke Illner Thorsen invited us back to her Blog, Interests of a Jane Austen Girl, where we answered several questions, including ones on our inspirations for the men in the book! You can read the interview here.
Then, to round off a wonderful month on the ‘road’, we have been delighted by several lovely reviews of the book coming in on blogs, Amazon and Goodreads, including Sophia at the aforementionedInterests of a Jane Austen Girl, Amazon Vine Voice Reviewer, Christina Boyd, Sophia Rose of Sophia’s Sofa Chats on Goodreads and the lovely Claudine at Just Jane 1813!
You can read Sophia’s review in full here, but we did love this bit (we’re assuming Sophia was in an aeroplane when she read the book!):
It felt like being there through Roses eyes, even if I was sitting 42000 feet above ground reading this exciting, lovely and nerve wracking book. You are definitely being forced through a lot of emotions, while reading, which I see as one of the best achievements an author/authoress can accomplish.
You can read Sophia Rose’s full review here. There was so much we loved about it, it’s hard to pick a quote, so we opted for her summary at the end!
This was a gently-paced, thoughtful, and heartwarming story of a woman and her simple life which grows richer for having her friends, her daydream romance maybe come to life, and her love of Jane Austen and her stories in it. I would recommend this to Austenesque lovers, of course, but also fans of contemporary romance and women’s fiction who don’t mind a bit of magical realism.
Christina Boyd is a Vine Voice reviewer on Amazon, and you can read her review here. We loved this review, but in particular, this:
Wow– just wow! What a story. The unrequited love was touching and the longing felt believable. I was captivated by the women’s friendships–rang very true to me. This is a great story that I’m glad I took the time to read. Now just to make time to get to Bath!
Finally, this week we’re part of the Haunted Austen feature over on Just Jane 1813, where we’ve shared an excerpt of the book and there’s also a giveaway!
You can read the full (lovely) review from Claudine here. We really enjoyed reading this, especially:
Ada Bright and Cass Grafton communicate their shared vision and passion for this story through their seamless collaboration. As an ardent Austen admirer, I could certainly relate to their love for Austen and the sheer despair their characters experienced in a world void of Austen’s work. My hope is that they’ve written this ending with a sequel in mind, even though the ending wraps this story up quite nicely.
I highly recommend this story to Janeites who want to experience the pleasures of Bath alongside the lovely Jane Austen and friends, as well as for readers who enjoy stories that allow us to explore the possibilities offered to us through friendship, shared optimism, and the bond we can share with other people through our love for the treasures found in the past.
Just leave a comment on the post on Just Jane 1813 to enter the GIVEAWAY, a chance to win one of two eBook copies of The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen!
What next for us? Well, we still have our virtual passports in our pockets as we have more Blog visits coming up between now and the end of the year and also quite a few reviews due to come in (continued serious nail biting on our side!), so we will continue to summarise things here in case you miss anything!
Aside from that, I’ve started to post a Pride & Prejudice inspired story (two chapters a week) called A Quest for Mr Darcy over on my Blog, Cass Grafton – Author. Do come on over and enjoy the read (and the comments!)
You can find the blurb and the chapters posted so far here!
Ever fancied sleeping in a house once lived in by Jane Austen? What about spending the night in the very bedroom she shared with her sister, Cassandra? Here’s the icing on the cake! How about spending the night there on the 200th anniversary of Jane’s last ever birthday – 16th December 2016!
December is an expensive time of year, of course, but hey, this year we’ve had the Brexit vote, one notable result of which is the vast slump in the value of the pound! This means if you are living outside the UK (and quite a few people do!), there has never been a better time to book a trip to England, because your currency is going to go a lot further.
If you are living in the UK, it means travelling abroad is much more expensive, so if you fancy a pre-Christmas break, what better time is there to buy British and take a mini-break in your home country?
This is a wonderful opportunity for any dedicated Jane Austen fan! No 4 Sydney Place in the beautiful city of Bath is the only former residence of the author where you can go and stay. As you probably know if you’re here on Tabby Cow, Ada and I set a large part of our recent release, The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen, in and around Sydney Place. Our heroine, Rose, lives in the basement flat of No 4, and a certain lady authoress is staying in the ground floor holiday apartment during the annual Jane Austen Festival.
The house is looked after by the lovely, friendly team at Bath Boutique Stays, led by the equally lovely Marcus Whittington (who even has a cameo in the book)!
The property has been beautifully renovated and can be rented either as an entire house for larger parties or as one of four separate apartments, with each one sleeping up to four people (even better value, you see, if you can bring along some fellow Jane Austen fans)!
It is a light-filled house with beautifully preserved original features: ceiling roses, cornices, bell pulls, fireplaces and etched glass panels etc. However, do not fear this means you need to get your water from a well, bathe in front of the fire and hand-wash all your clothes! The apartments are all equipped with brand new modern kitchens and bathrooms with all the essential appliances!
Two years ago, on 16th December 2014, I was fortunate enough to stay in Mr Darcy’s Apartment (yes, I know. He’s terribly accommodating!) which is located on the second floor and has that very special bedroom! Last year, I was holidaying in Bath with my lovely friend, Rita Watts, and she had the pleasure of staying in the same apartment on Jane’s birthday. We can both promise you it’s a truly wonderful thing at any time of year to have a few nights in Jane’s former home; but on this particular day? Nothing could be more special!
Bath itself, of course, is gorgeous all year round, but in December it truly sparkles under the shimmer of its stunning Christmas lighting. There are festive menus on offer in the vast range of eating establishments and the shop window displays are typically reflective of the season.
So here you are! The perfect gift for the Janeite in your life (which may, in fact, be you!) Go on; treat yourself – or leave this blog post strategically where your nearest and dearest might see it! After all, people always get stuck for ideas for Christmas!
If you’re lucky, you may even see Bath with a dusting of snow or, if you’re like Rose, you may find someone quite unexpected staying in one of the other apartments in No 4 Sydney Place!
STOP PRESS: Bath Boutique Stays currently still has availability for 3 of the 4 apartments at No 4 Sydney Place on Jane’s birthday this December, including Mr Darcy’s Apartment with that unique bedroom and the ground-floor Emma’s Garden Apartment, where you can stay as though you are a character in The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen! Follow the link below to check them out and get booking:
Don’t forget to tell us about your adventures when you’ve stayed there!
What about Jane Austen? What was she doing on her 41st birthday?
She seemed perfectly happy on this particular day, which she spent at home in Chawton. How do we know this? Because she wrote to her nephew, James ‘Edward’ Austen (son of her eldest brother, James) in a letter written across the 16th and 17th December that year.
She doesn’t mention her birthday, and the only reference to her health is that the walk to visit her brother Charles is beyond her strength (though she adds she is otherwise very well). In the main, she teases her nephew a great deal, most notably about writing and the fact he has allegedly mislaid two and a half chapters of the novel he is attempting to write! Jane writes the following:
It is well that I have not been at Steventon lately & therefore cannot be suspected of purloining them; two strong twigs & a half towards a Nest of my own, would have been something.
Soon after follows a very well-known quote from Jane’s letters:
How could I possibly join them on to the little bit (two inches wide) of Ivory on which I work with so fine a Brush, as produces little effect after much labour?
If only she knew the ‘little effect’ of her labours… or perhaps she does! 😉