Saturday, July 21, 2007

Great Big Blog Party 41 - Amanda Grange

I first met today's Guest Blogger Amanda Grange at the RNA Conference in Durham in 2002. While not actually one of the the 'Virgins' she was at her first Conference there and a little out on a limb until she joined the original four and I in the bar and became part of our small group. Later, she was to take on the welcoming of the Conference First timers when the Conference was set in Egham in 2005.

Amanda writes adventurous historical romances set mainly in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. But she has also hit on the brilliant and original idea of writing Jane Austen's novels from the heroes' point of view. Mr Darcy's Diary is already out, with Mr Knightley's Diary due in October 2007.

Amanda's publisher, Hale, usually only publishes hardback, library editions in the UK which means that her books have until now only reached a limited audience. But just lately Amanda has had the great news that the paperback versions of Lord Deverill's Secret, Harstairs House and Mr Knightley's Diary will all be published by Berkley in 2007. Scheduled release dates are October for Mr Knightley's Diary, November for Lord Deverill's Secret and December for Harstairs House.

Wishing you every good luck with those, Amanda!

Another side to Amanda's talent is her ability to write great humour, combining her love of Jane Austen with her knowledge of the current popular market. Check out her vision of Jane Austen trying to make a pitch for her novels in todays publishing climate - you can find it here. I think it's brilliant

So here's Amanda Grange

The fact that Kate has hit the big 50 sums her up in one word - inspiring.
I first met Kate at the RNA conference in Durham about five years ago. It was my first conference and I was immediately drawn to her because Kate exudes a warmth and energy that attract people like a magnet. She'd hit upon the idea of organising a meeting for the conference first-timers, which shows you exactly what kind of person Kate is, because it can be scary walking into a conference and realising you don't know a single soul there. I was soon part of the group and I met a number of other fabulous writers like Julie Cohen and Amanda Ashby who have since gone on to great things, encouraged by Kate. Kate must have helped more people on the path to publication than anyone I know.

But it doesn't stop there. As Kate's 50th shows, getting published is only the first step along the way. I know I'm not the only writer who thinks, 'How fantastic!' and feels inspired to reach the big 50 myself. With 15 books under my belt, I've only got 35 to go! And by the time I get there I hope Kate has reached her 100th so she can inspire me to hit those heights, too.

So thanks, Kate, for the inspiration. Thanks for the conference at Durham, which would have been a lot less fun without you, and let's hope we both make it to 50 conferences as well!



Who is your favourite historical hero and why?

Signed copy of Mr Darcy's Diary


Virginia said...

Rhett Butler from Gone With The Wind. He will always be my hero. I really no sure why, but it has always been my favorite book. He was such a rogue in the book, but he really did care for Ms. Scarlett, and tried to do right by her. At times she was a real B toward Rhett Butler I kind of felt sorry for him.

Anne McAllister said...

Well, besides Captain Wentworth and Darcy (never was a Knightley fan, sorry), I like
The Marquis of Alverstoke in Frederica by Georgette Heyer
and Max Ravenscar in her Faro's Daughter. They both have a charm that makes me smile when I read the books.
For entirely different reasons, I have always like Luke Turner, the ex-con hero of Lisa Gregory's The Rainbow Season who was a man redeemed and made whole by the love of a good woman.

Come to think of it, I think Max and the Marquis are redeemed in their ways, too.

juliemt said...

Hi, Amanda!
Darcy's Diary is one of my all time favourite books so predictably my favourite hero is Mr. Darcy. He's so arrogant and taciturn when the novel starts, but I just love how he devlopes as the novel progresses.

I'm also fond of Gaskell's Jem Wilson in Mary Barton. The fact that he was ready to be hanged to protect the father of the woman he loved just gets to me every time.

Ayla said...

Well the only historical hero i can remember is micheal henchard from the mayor of casterbridge, but i dont really like him!

I do like heathcliff though from wuthering heights (but i only managed to read half the book) =(

pearl said...

My favorite hero is David Copperfield. Mainly due to his perseverance and steadfastness in combating adversity. A character that I have to admire who is memorable and likeable.

sabrina said...

Jacob Marley is the hero who I would consider unique, but definitely whose presence does change the outcome. What happened would never have occurred without Jacob Marley's appearance.

sharon said...

One of the most known but overlooked romantic heroes is Cyrano de Bergerac. He has a powerful gift which does mesmerize the heroine and is more than sheer looks.

annie said...

Nicholas Nickleby is my hero. A young man who is bent on his quest to salvage his life and that of his famiy with honor and integrity.

Cherie J said...

My favorite literary hero is Mr. Darcy. Not surprising since Pride and Prejudice is my favorite literary novel.

Amanda said...

Thanks to everyone for dropping in! They're all great heroes, but I'm going to pick Anne McAllister as the winner because she reminded me about Max Ravenscar, one of my favourite Heyer heyeros! If you send me your snailmail details, Anne, at, I'll put a signed copy of Mr Darcy's Diary in the post for you.
Thanks to everyone for entering!



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