Pink X: Ask the Author


Alright – Miss Gwen had her chance to ask the author of the Pink Carnation series her questions. Now it’s your opportunity! What do you want to know about William, Gwen, and the revelation that Colin is descended from the Selwicks AND the Meadows-Reids? Lauren has graciously agreed to pop by today and answer any questions that you leave in the comments section. So ask away! But form a line and keep things orderly, or Miss Gwen will be reigning us in with that parasol of hers.

As always, the Pink Fairy will be awarding a lucky commenter on today’s post with a themed Pink X mug.

Thanks again to Lauren for hanging out with us, and to all of you for the Pink love and enthusiasm.

25 thoughts on “Pink X: Ask the Author

  1. Why has Richard been such a nitwit with Miles for so long? I would think he’d have realized how much in love his sister and Miles are, and what a good match they were. And why didn’t Miss Gwen take a poke at him for being a jerk?????

    • Hi, Sue! I think Richard was suffering from a prolonged case of hurt feelings, but, being a guy (and, more importantly, himself), doesn’t have the emotional vocabulary to express that, which, of course, makes it fester. Miles was HIS friend. And even though he has Amy now, the idea that he comes second with Miles is very hard for him, although he would never put it that way himself. To compound the problem, if Miles had come to him and said, “Hullo, old bean, I think I might be, erm, falling in love with your sister,” Richard would have been uncomfortable but dealt with it– but as it was, it all happened behind his back making him feel doubly betrayed. In his heart of hearts, Richard would love to effect a reconciliation, but doesn’t know how to go about it (and Miles makes it harder by looking like a kicked puppy), so the only way it’s going to happen is bit by bit, over time, as the awkwardness dispels little by little.

      As for Miss Gwen, she rather enjoys watching other people squirm and she doesn’t particularly care much one way or the other about either Richard or Miles, so watching them wriggle like worms on a hook is pure entertainment for her.

  2. Assuming she lives to a ripe old age, Miss Gwen could have taken part in the nineteenth century women’s rights movement. Would she have taken part? Or would she have held herself above the fray? And if she here today, would she be Ms Gwen or Miss? I can see her poking the parasol at pesky police, demanding to know where there manners are. She and Colonel Reid are a marvelous couple…..I see a lot of Col Brandon in him, Lauren. Was there any inspiration there?

    • Somewhat paradoxically… yes, I think if she were around today, she would be a “Ms”, not a “Miss”, but, no, I don’t think she took part in the women’s rights movement. Miss Gwen is, more than anything else, an individualist, so it’s hard to imagine her willingly participating in any form of collective action. Group movements as such are anathema to her.

      As for Colonel Reid– I didn’t have Colonel Brandon in mind when I was writing him, but who knows what’s floating around in the subconscious! I consciously based him off Colonel James Kirkpatrick of the Madras Cavalry, commonly known as “the handsome colonel”, whose love life historian William Dalrymple describes as “rackety”. Like Colonel Reid, Colonel Kirkpatrick was born in South Carolina to Scottish Jacobite parents and eventually fished up in India with a brood of legitimate and illegitimate children.

  3. Hello, Lauren! This is a question which emerged during an earlier discussion this month. Does Mrs. Seldwick-Adderly know about Colin’s novel? And did Eloise ever mention to Colin that Mrs. Seldwick-Adderly had once thought about writing one?

    • Since Mrs. Selwick-Alderly knows absolutely everything…. I’d say yes. Yes, she does. I don’t have the same access to Colin’s head that I have to Eloise’s (since her sections are in the first person), but I’m pretty sure Colin has discussed the book with his great-aunt. She’s the closest thing he has to a mother/confidante.

      On the other way around, I’m pretty sure the fact that Mrs. S-A had once thought of writing a novel went right in one of Eloise’s ears and out the other. I doubt she’s mentioned it to Colin.

  4. Pingback: PURPLE PLUMERIA Ask the Author Day « Lauren Willig – News and Events

  5. Lauren: What prompted you to write Gwen’s story? Had she been lurking about in your head for a while demanding that you get the story out, or was there a blinding flash moment when you knew you had to do it or be parasol-whomped?. Also, I remember you saying you hit a brick wall at some point during the tale when you and Gwen were really wrestling about where it would go. Do you remember where that happened? The book itself is seamless – no indication where there was a struggle!

    • It’s so hard remembering! I will say that it definitely wasn’t a blinding flash. For a long time, I’d toyed with the idea of having Gwen’s love story as a secondary story in a book about someone else (because it’s rather hard to convince publishers that you can successfully sell a love story about an older couple), but the turning point came for me when I was writing “Blood Lily” and Colonel Reid walked onto the scene. And I knew, right there and then (this was back in summer 2008) that he was the man for Gwen. I mooted the idea to my then editor, who was not entirely encouraging (pointing out the difficulties of selling books with older heroines). So I waited three years (during which time I went through two more editors) and tried again in 2011– and this time got the okay.

      As for the brick wall…. It was the summer of 2012. I’d come back from my honeymoon and was on an insanely tight schedule with “Purple Plumeria”. (It was my first year of balancing a stand alone and a Pink.) I’d had the idea that I would layer in a few Jane chapters with Gwen’s story. And I got stuck. Really truly stuck. Because having a Jane chapter threw off the rhythm of the story. But there was information I’d planned to convey in that chapter and I had to figure out how I was going to do it without it being funneled directly through Jane. Because I was pressed for time, this whole block– which felt epic at the time– was probably no more than three or four days! But when you have two months to write the whole book, three or four days feels like a year.

  6. I can’t help but ask for a spoiler here, but I’ll try to ask it in pretty general terms – will we get to see or hear about Jane’s thoughts about some of the scenes between her and Miss Gwen in the new book?

  7. I was very struck by how even though Ms. Gwen was a pRt of the organization from day one, but she still was an outsider. Why is that? Was it because she used her acerbic wit to push people away? Gwen and William are two of my favorite characters and I can hardly wait for Moonflower Day!!

    • I’m so glad you loved Gwen and William! They do both show up in “Moonflower”. (If that doesn’t give too much away!)

      I think part of it is that Jane doesn’t share control well. (This is something she’s going to have to learn to deal with in “Moonflower”.) So while Miss Gwen thinks she’s an equal partner, Jane sees her as a subordinate, and someone who frequently needs to be protected from herself. (Which is pretty much how Jane sees everyone.) She does appreciate Miss Gwen’s good qualities and uses her verve and derring do for the good of the League, but it’s never a fifty-fifty partnership. As for the others, they never get even that close to Miss Gwen. Jane is probably the only one who isn’t fooled or put off by Miss Gwen’s acerbic exterior– the rest, even Amy, tend to take Miss Gwen at face value, and treat her as either the dragon lady she pretends to be or as comic relief.

  8. Was Jane really ever tempted by “The Gardener”? Yes, there’s the physical attraction and the similarity in occupations, but he is seriously evil, what with all the deaths…

  9. Lauren, this question is not about the story, but the author. Out of the series, who did you love to love and who did you love to hate? My favorite person in the whole series was Colin’s mother. What a woman! I want to be her when I grow up.

    • That’s a tough one! The problem is that it’s very hard for me to hate any of these characters– because I know that in their heads they’re the heroes/heroines of their own stories and have reasons for the way they behave and what they do. (My college roommate has commented to me that my big problem as a novelist is that, fundamentally, I don’t want anyone to be a villain.) But if I had to pick the characters I loved to love, I’d have to go with a combination of Henrietta, Turnip, and the Dowager Duchess of Dovedale. On the most hated list? Nigel Dempster.

  10. I think I’m a little late but what does Gwen think of becoming a step mother and especially to such a group of children and now adults and what do Williams children think of their new step mom (as far flung as they are)? When we meet back up with Jack does he know anything about his new step mom and sister in laws? (being a spy he probably does right? Lol)

    • It’s made easier for Gwen by the fact that most of her step-kids are grown up and in other places. Alex and George are entirely off-scene, in India. Kat is around, but Kat very deliberately makes herself not an issue. (Something I will explore further if I ever get a chance to write Kat’s book.) There are really only two Gwen has to deal with: Lizzy, because Lizzy is on the spot and still a minor (mercifully, Lizzy is a step-child after Gwen’s own heart), and Jack, because Jack’s absence haunts her husband, and while Gwen might not have any feelings about Jack, she does care about anything that bothers William.

      When we meet up with Jack, he does know that he has a stepmother and a new stepsister, but he’s very deliberately avoided learning anything more about them. Unlike Jane, who believes that knowledge is power and very deliberately learns everything she can about everyone and everything, Jack keeps his head down and gets his job done (or so he would tell you). His attitude towards his family is the adult equivalent of sticking his fingers in his ears and humming very loudly.

      • Thanks Lauren for answering since I was late! I cannot wait to read the new books!! I have had them both pre-ordered on Kindle since February.

      • Oooh, so the thing I’M latching onto in this response is that seed that there may well be more books around some of these characters, even if the “pink” series is coming to a close…. you know, Kat’s book… 🙂

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