I am honoured and humbled to be doing an interview with C.P.Odom about his new book Consequences; plus hosting a giveaway for one paperback copy!!! C.P.Odom has become one of my favourite Jane Austen Fan Fiction Authors (JAFF) and he has only published two books, I think that says it all! Before I start I would like to say a big thank you to Jakki at Leatherbound Reviews for allowing me to participate in this book tour, I've had such fun and I hope Colin has too!!
Consequences is a cautionary tale about the evils of hasty judgment, revisiting Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and one of those pivotal moments when Elizabeth Bennet throws away Mr. Darcy’s offer of marriage so decisively. What transpires from that point is well known to Austen’s extensive readership, but what if even one element in the chain of events in her novel turns out differently? Does Austen’s happy ending eventually come to pass, or is the outcome more bleak?
And if, in order to secure financial security for her loved ones, Elizabeth does not reject Darcy, is she married to a proud, arrogant, disdainful man who, as she feared, forces her to deny her own relatives and thus condemns her to a lifetime of misery? Or does she find herself married to a man who cares
enough for her to reject the opposition of his family and chance his very standing in society in order to marry a woman he loves beyond measure?
Consequences, written by the author of A Most Civil Proposal, explores two alternate realities—both tragedy and triumph.
Both of the alternate realities in this book created a myriad of emotions within me. When writing the book were the emotions incited, a consequence of the storyline or was the storyline led by a desire to create such emotions?
Certainly, I knew that some unpleasant realities would be occasioned in Book 1, titled “The Road Not Taken.” But, as usual, I was writing action and dialogue as much as I was writing down plotlines, so the storyline really led to the emotions. I didn’t set out, when I first came up with the plot outlines, to take it as far as it wound up going. Certainly, I knew there was going to be angst, but then there’s plenty of angst in Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice.” Including some that the reader doesn’t see, such as suffered by Darcy and, to a lesser extent, Bingley. On the other hand, when I decided to add the separate plotline for Book 2, titled “The Sleeper Wakes,” I already knew it was going to be low in angst. And, after writing Book 1, that didn’t make me unhappy at all.
'Alternative realities both tragedy and triumph'. Do you think an author could get away with publishing the tragedy of book 1 (“The road Not Taken”) without the reprieve that book 2 (“The Sleeper Wakes”) offers? Is the absence of a happily ever after a sacrilege in the world of JAFF?
The plot bunnies that culminated in the shorter fan-fiction version of Consequences were originally two separate plotlines. For what became the darker reality 1, I wanted to examine how dramatically events could be altered by a simple mischance such as Darcy’s horse going lame so that the two lovers didn’t meet to renew their “romance” (if one could characterize what went before as a romance!). That meant that Darcy wouldn’t find and rescue Lydia and resurrect the Bennet family’s good name. For reality 2, I wanted to examine Elizabeth’s firm idea that, had she accepted Darcy at Hunsford, she would have sentenced herself to a life of misery. I anticipated having some good fun in following the plot bunnies wherever they led, since I had some different ideas about those topics than a lot of the JAFF readership. However, as I was writing reality 1, I realized that both plot bunnies were actually connected to a single critical decision, which was Elizabeth’s fiery rejection of Darcy, so I decided to combine the two into a single story rather than two shorter pieces. That said, however, I have to admit that, because reality 1 led me to darker places than I had originally envisioned, I was somewhat relieved when I decided to graft a plotline with a happier ending to reality 1. My fears were realized when I posted the story as fan-fiction, since the readership was pondering a cyber-lynching until I mollified them somewhat with reality 2. Now, even though a lot of this kind of fell into place rather than being planned from the very beginning, I have to say that the complete absence of a happy ending would be a very difficult sell in the world of JAFF. In any event, I am no more disposed to melancholy than Austen’s character of E.B., so this will probably be as close as I come to trying to write a true tragedy. No “Romeo & Juliet”s for me!
Ha ha, you were relieved! I was relieved! I agree an absence of a happily ever after would be a hard sell indeed!
Societal norms and values would have us believe that Pride and Prejudice is unlikely to appeal to men, please share with us why that is not true, why do you love P&P?
I will cheerfully admit to a streak of romanticism in my makeup which far pre-dates my reading of my late wife’s beloved Jane Austen’s books. I’ve even enjoyed the occasional “chick-flick” (my favorites include “You’ve Got Mail,” “Princess Bride,” and “27 Dresses” -- even one of my favorite melodramas, “Casablanca,” makes a number of “Best Chick Flick” lists), and I own four versions of P&P videos, including the truly ghastly 1939 version with Sir Laurence Olivier, as well as multiple versions of “Emma,” “Sense & Sensibility,” “Persuasion,” etc. At the same time, I’m a retired engineer, a former football player, unilaterally hetero, a former U.S. Marine during the Vietnam festivities, and a woodworker busy making shelves to relieve the stress of my book addiction. I mention these conflicting facets of my persona because I’m not sure I can point to any of them as the reason I’ve read P&P at least a dozen times in the last decade and a half. I like others of Austen’s books, but it’s P&P which keeps calling to me.
However, there is a possibility that there might just be a few more potential P&P admirers than popularly thought, and I offer the following to buttress my claim. Back in October of 2013, after the publication of my first novel, “A Most Civil Proposal,” I was having lunch with some friends of mine from work, both employed and retired. One of the late arrivals came over and sat directly across from me. This guy is definitely toward the “macho” side of the male species – he’s a veteran, his main hobby is working on cars and motorcycles, and he still races motorbikes competitively at 60. I’ve known him for more than twenty years, and he’s absolutely frank-spoken to the point of brusqueness. Anyway, he leans forward, fixes me in his eye, and growls, “Odom, we need to talk about your book!”
Oh, great, I think, he’s going to make a scene and call me out for writing chick-lit at what was supposed to be a good times lunch! Anyway, he leans closer and says, “Because of the years we worked together, I felt compelled to buy a copy of your book—and I read it!” Naturally, I was waiting for the other shoe to drop when he leans forward and says, “It’s not the kind of book I would ever have read if it weren’t yours . . . but I couldn’t put it down! When’s your next one?”
I was completely stunned, but this was not altogether an isolated occurrence. I was almost as surprised when my brother, who’s a CPA and made a small fortune in the travel agency business, sent me an email saying the same thing. As did a friend in my neighborhood, whose kids went to school with my kids and who is also a former Marine. So there are a few males out there who, while not P&P fans, could nevertheless enjoy the kind of literature we like.
Thanks for sharing, the story of the veteran brings a smile to my face. I whole heartily agree as I am sure will many, that it is P&P that keeps calling. Following in the same vein I must ask, as a woman I love Darcy, which is in part due to his constancy in regards to Elizabeth and his act of kindness towards Lydia. As a man & considering Elizabeth does nothing half as heroic as Darcy (although I grant you her walk to Netherfield to care for Jane was of no little matter) did you fall in love with Elizabeth? If so why?
I think I understand Darcy in a different way than most female readers, but, yes, I admit to a definite fascination with Elizabeth. For example, most JAFF aficionados of my acquaintance consider the 1995 BBC P&P miniseries to be the best of all time, to a considerable degree because of Colin Firth’s portrayal of Darcy. For myself, while I grant the many fine points of that version, I’m not as happy with it because Jennifer Ehle’s Elizabeth just didn’t sit well with me. I much prefer Elizabeth Garvie’s E.B., though she is definitely not as beautiful nor as well known, nor did that miniseries have the production values as the 1995 version. The actress who I think could have been the best E.B., though the director wouldn’t let her, was Kiera Knightly in the 2005 P&P. I do not like that version because the director wandered away from the classic storylines and made E.B. fiesty without making her courageous or witty.
Among the reasons for my affection for E.B. are her undaunted optimism in the light of her family’s misfortunes, her wit and courage when confronted with obstacles such as the social snobbery of Caroline Bingley and Lady Catherine, her willingness to admit her errors (remember, she was guilty of “prejudice,” not “pride”), her loyalty to family and friends (even if misplaced, but none of us are perfect), and the fact that, notwithstanding all the previous, which seem relatively modern in outlook, she remained a person of her time and her society. I truly value civility and politeness, and I think that the diminution of these qualities in my American culture is truly saddening.
Wow great answer and thank for your views on the screen productions of P&P. You mentioned that you think you understand Darcy in a different way to female readers I would love for you expand on that, would you care to enlighten us?
I’ll give it a try. The first thing that comes to mind is that I’ve experienced the delights and the dejection that are part of the interaction between guys and gals in the courtship rituals, and I’m convinced guys and gals react differently, especially to rejection – or perhaps it’s that each sex perceives how the other sex is reacting to rejection differently. I remember having a discussion with my mom during my teenage years when I was suffering through being “dumped” by my steady girlfriend. It caught me completely by surprise, since I thought things were going along great, and, as is the case with teenage romances, life looked very bleak at that moment. But my mom shared with me that she didn’t think men and women reacted the same way to rejection – she said, as best I remember, that she could easily see why a woman would kill herself over the end of a romance, but she didn’t think any man would react nearly that strongly. Even then, I had enough common sense that I didn’t dispute what she said, but it convinced me that the sexes didn’t really perceive what the other was truly experiencing. I was feeling absolutely crushed at that moment, while I thought my ex-girlfriend was sailing off blithely on a new romance with no thought for what I was going through, and my mom was telling me that females felt such things deeply while men had only superficial dejection at best! Which was correct? Even after the years I’ve lived, I don’t know the definitive answer, but I think I could perceive how a man like Darcy could react to being rejected in the manner he was rejected. His bleakness, I think, could be immense and pervasive, and I’m not sure that most women would see it that way.
Having said the above, I do want to say that my reactions are based on my own experiences and values, and I’m not sure that what I just said would apply to males of today. I have a distinctly low opinion of most of today’s males, believing they are lacking in the kind of values my father (and the fathers of my friends) exhibited when I was young. Lack of commitment and avoidance of responsibility being just two qualities that I see lacking in many modern young men. But, if I am out of step with today’s young men, I think I can understand a very traditional Darcy more easily.
I totally agree, in regards to the morals and values of today, it is one of the things that most appeals to me about Austen's books, I am quite old fashioned.
Although the angst I experienced in this book was unparalleled in comparison to any JAFF I have read before I wondered if I had to choose which was my favourite of the two realities which would it be. Although my first thoughts were “it has to be book 2”, it was book 1 that stirred the most emotions, the one I could remember the most details and the one that left me feeling I had just read the most thought provoking book this year. What are your thoughts? Do you have a favourite?
I’m probably prouder of Book 1 of “Consequences” (your reality 1 above) because I had the intestinal fortitude to address the dire situation of the Bennet girls. After writing “Consequences,” I have much more understanding of Mrs. Bennet’s unceasing efforts to find husbands for her girls, though I’m sure her complaints would be unbelievably wearing if I actually found myself living in that fantasy universe. But I also enjoyed portraying Darcy as far short of an abusive or arrogant or insensitive husband. After all, despite the miserable way in which he expressed himself when he proposed, he was completely willing to undergo any adverse reactions in order to win E.B.’s hand. To think that he would treat her badly after accepting the downsides simply, as we engineers (and Star Trek fans) used to say, “Does not compute. Does not compute.” So I have to say that Book 2 edges out Book 1 by a nose.
Which is your favourite of your two published books?
I would probably choose A Most Civil Proposal as it is more optimistic and enjoyable, while “Consequences” caused me to stretch more. AMCP would certainly be easier to re-read a number of times – I’ve re-read it dozens of times while editing and re-editing and re-re-editing it for publication! I’m reminded of how I have reacted to a number of well-done movies over the years, and I have a personal category called “Excellently done movie that I won’t watch again.” In that category fall movies like the “Godfather” movies and a Stanley Kubric movie called “Paths of Glory,” among others. Superbly done movies that simply don’t lend themselves to watching numerous times. I could easily see how “Consequences” might fall into a similar category.
What was it that made you decide to pursue writing JAFF? Did any JAFF authors inspire you to write?
During my reading over the years, I’ve often finished a book by a favorite author and thought, “I wish I could write something close to that good.” But no ideas came to mind and inspiration didn’t strike, and there were always so many other demands on my time that nothing ever came of it. After I read my wife’s Austen books and watched the 1980 and 1995 P&P miniseries, I remembered my present wife telling me of fan-fiction sites for her favorite TV show, “Buffy, the Vampire Slayer” (and yes, I’ve heard all the jokes about what a strange combination we make, but I love her dearly). Anyway, I discovered several, including my favorite, the old Hyacinth Garden site. I sampled a number of stories there and was more than pleasantly surprised by how good a number of authors were. My favorites included Abigail Reynolds, Jan Hahn, mariafaith (her pen name; I’m not sure of her real name), and Pamela Aidan, as well as others. Anyway, as I read, the idea for my first story, “A Most Civil Proposal,” kind of crept up on me. I was in a period where there was nothing at work to obsess my mind, I had a number of nights where there was little else to do (my new wife, a nurse, worked the night shift), and I was (and am!) very much in love with her. So I started (amateurishly, I freely admit) trying to put together a plotline. I probably made all the newby mistakes plus invented some of my own, but I’m kind of a methodical writer and I slowly started getting words down on paper (actually, on my hard drive! How did people ever write books in longhand?). Then, finally, the evening came when I could delay no longer – I had to either try posting a few sample chapters or give up and fold my tent. So I tried it, and the response was quite heartwarming. The ladies (it’s no secret that most JAFF readers are ladies) were quite welcoming to this rather skittish male, and I was encouraged enough to keep on posting. Though it was a while before I told my wife what I was doing! Sadly, she remains more attracted to Buffy than to Elizabeth, but maybe someday I’ll write “Elizabeth Bennet, Vampire Slayer” and dedicate it to her.
Well, I for one am glad you decided to put pen to hard drive. Do you have any plans to write another Pride and Prejudice inspired book? Because another cannot come soon enough!!
I have four other fan-fiction stories that I have completed, so perhaps my publisher would be interested in one of those. In both my published novels, the published version was developed considerably beyond that of my fan fiction stories, and I’m sure that would be true of those four. Plus, I’m working on a couple of other plotlines, including one that takes on P&P from the view of Colonel Fitzwilliam. I think that one has fewer constraints than most of my other ideas, since Fitzwilliam is onstage only at Rosings. Everything else is pretty wide open!
Oh sounds interesting I do love the Colonel!
Thank you so much for your insightful answers Colin, it has been a pleasure. Consequences is indeed a book most worthy to be read!! If you would like to keep abreast with what Colin is up to, his links, a short bio and the Consequences blog tour schedule are below, followed by the GIVEAWAY!!!! Good luck and thanks for stopping by!!!
Colin Odom Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/colin.odom
C. P. Odom page at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/C.-P.-Odom/e/B00BPT2BQQ/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1393834353&sr=1-2-ent
C. P. Odom page at Goodreads.com: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7073904.C_P_Odom?from_search=true
C. P. Odom page at Meryton Press site: http://colinodom.merytonpress.com/
Books by C.P.Odom!
|To read my review click this link|
C. P. (Colin) Odom Short Bio:
By training, I’m an engineer, born in Texas, raised in Oklahoma, and graduated from the University of Oklahoma following a stint in the U.S. Marine Corps. The next thirty-five years was spent working on military electronics in Arizona with my first wife, Margaret, where we raised two sons before her untimely death from cancer. I have always been a voracious reader and, as so often happens in such cases, this has resulted in a serious book addiction problem. Luckily, I developed an interest (and a few skills) in woodworking, which allowed me to build the bookcases needed to house my "addiction." My favorite genres were (and are) science fiction, historical fiction, and histories, and, in recent years, reading (and later writing) Jane Austen romantic fiction. This late-developing interest was indirectly stimulated when I read my late wife's beloved Jane Austen books after her passing. One thing led to another, and I now have two novels published: A Most Civil Proposal (2013) and Consequences (2014).
Recently retired from engineering, I currently live in Chandler, Arizona with my second wife, Jeanine, our two adopted daughters, two stubbornly untrainable dogs, and a quartet of very strange cats. I still labor under my book addiction problem, which takes up a fair bit of my time, and raising daughters is no simple matter either. I’m also a dedicated college football fan (no NFL gladiatorial arenas for this citizen!) and I also follow Formula One racing (needless to say, our home is a “No NASCAR Zone” – at least they turn both ways in F1).
3/10 Guest Post at My Jane Austen Book Club
3/11 Review at Addicted to Jane Austen
3/12 Review at Best Sellers and Best Stellars
3/13 Excerpt and Giveaway at So Little Time...
3/14 Guest Post and Giveaway at My Love for Jane Austen
3/16 Interview at My Kids Led Me Back to Pride and Prejudice
3/18 Review at More Agreeably Engaged
3/19 Review at Diary of an Eccentric
3/20 Review at Warmisunqu's Austen
3/21 Guest Post and Giveaway at Joana Starnes
To be in with a chance to win a paper back copy of Consequences, simply leave a comment below. The lucky winner will be announced on the 30th March 2014 !! The winner will have 72 hours to contact me. If the winner does not contact me within that time, then I will choose a new winner. Good Luck!!!