Today I’m pleased to welcome Rose Servitova to the blog. Rose is the author of The Longbourn Letters which was published by Wooster Publishing on 2 May 2017
Rose kindly answered a few of my questions.
1. Tell us a little about The Longbourn Letters.
The Longbourn Letters is a hilarious read, in my opinion, and tells the tale of life for those in Pride and Prejudice through letters between Mr Collins & Mr Bennet. It displays humour, warmth and remains faithful to the original characters, as drawn by Austen.
2. Where did the inspiration come from for the book?
It was inspired by the line from Pride and Prejudice where Mr Bennet comments to his daughter Elizabeth, after reading a letter from his cousin – “I would not give up Mr Collins’s correspondence for any consideration”. I wanted to showcase Mr Collins because in my opinion he’s one of the greatest fictional creations of all time. I realized the only way to let him shine in all his ludicrousness was to use his equal and opposite in brilliance, the witty, cynical Mr Bennet. There already existed four letters between the men in Pride and Prejudice so I merely filled in the gaps and continued on with more scrapes and intrigues, watching their relationship unfold until it reached its natural conclusion.
3. What has surprised you most about the publishing process?
That I would enjoy it so much and that includes readings, public speaking and going on radio – all the things that I never thought I had the courage to do. But when I’m speaking about my two darlings – Mr Collins and Mr Bennet, I always have lots to say.
4. Are you a plan, plan, plan writer or do you sit down and see where the words take you?
I have discovered that procrastinating is my greatest downfall. My biggest fear is starting. To overcome this, what seems to work for me is to start wherever I am comfortable and where there is a flow. On my second novel, which I have just commenced, I have started somewhere in the middle where some cracking good scenes came to mind…that was followed by another scene possibly from an earlier chapter. Starting at the beginning was obviously too scary for me so I am doing a patchwork quilt and I will knit all the pieces together in the end.
5. How long does the process take you from first line to completed novel?
The main skeleton of The Longbourn Letters was written in three days. Then I tapped and sculpted, in the evenings after work, until I was happy with the end result. It is a very short novel that was fully finished and ready for publication after five months.
6. What do you do when you aren’t writing? What do you do to relax and get away from it all?
I meditate every day or listen to a relaxation cd. I can stay in my head too much and that leads to worry. When I go for walks in nature or meditate I am back in that playful, creative space again and funny dialogue pops into my head.
7. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life which book would it be?
Anam Cara by John O’Donohue. It’s a beautiful, spiritual book that recalls landscapes, ancient friendships and our true nature.
8. I like to end my Q&A’s with the same question so here we go. What question have you not been asked that you wish had been asked – and what’s the answer?
Nobody has asked me yet if writing The Longbourn Letters was fun. It is assumed that it was a hard slog and many have empathized with ‘the blood, sweat and tears’ that goes into getting a book to publication. But, for the record, it was great fun, I laughed the whole way through. It was never difficult. The hard bit came after it was published but the writing itself was a joy.
About the book
Where Pride and Prejudice ends, a new relationship begins.
Good-humoured but detached and taciturn, Mr Bennet is not given to intimacy. Largely content with his life at Longbourn, he spends his evenings in the solitude of his library, accompanied only by a glass of port and a good book. But when his cousin, the pompous clergyman Mr Collins, announces his intention to visit, Mr Bennet is curious to meet and appraise the heir to his estate.
Despite Mr Bennet’s initial discouragement, Mr Collins quickly becomes a frequent presence in his life. They correspond regularly, with Mr Collins recounting tales of his follies and scrapes and Mr Bennet taking great pleasure from teasing his unsuspecting friend.
When a rift develops between the men, Mr Bennet is faced with a choice: he must withdraw into isolation once again or acknowledge that Mr Collins has brought something new and rich to his life.
Tender, heart-warming and peppered with disarming humour, The Longbourn Letters reimagines the characters of Pride and Prejudice and perfectly captures the subtleties of human relationships and the power of friendship.
(image and synopsis from Amazon)
About the author
Irish woman, Rose Servitova, is an award-winning humour writer, event manager and job coach for people with special needs. She has published in a number of literary journals as well as being short-listed in the Fish Flash Fiction Prize and at Listowel Writers Week. Other than PG Wodehouse, Rose is a lifelong fan of Jane Austen. Her first novel, The Longbourn Letters – The Correspondence between Mr Collins & Mr Bennet, described as a ‘literary triumph’, has received international acclaim since its publication earlier this year. Rose is also curating Jane Austen 200 – Limerick, a festival celebrating Limerick’s many links to Austen while nodding at its extensive Georgian heritage through literature, architecture, screen, theatre, fashion, talks and, of course, tea!! Her next novel is in the offing.