Ask the Author XII

Good morning!  It’s finally that time – time for our very last “Ask the Author” Q&A with Lauren and wrapping up our year of reading the Pink series.

What are your questions about Jane and Jack, Colin and Eloise, Aunt Arabella, or anyone else from the Pink books?  Is there something you have always wanted to know about Parsnip Fitzhugh, or are you dying to ask about the big revelation regarding Nicolas in the Reader’s Guide?

Leave your questions in the Comments section below, and Lauren will pop by throughout the day to answer them.

Once again, our benevolent Pink Fairy has agreed to gift a Pink XII mug to a lucky comment-writer today (the mug designed, as ever, by Miss Eliza – go check out Zazzle to see the full garden of mugs she created for Pink for All Seasons!).

pink xiiSo for one last time, thanks again to Lauren for agreeing to hang out with us today!  I can’t wait to hear your questions – they are probably very similar to my own.

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33 thoughts on “Ask the Author XII

  1. This is less of a question and more of wishful thinking/request. Will be ever get a standalone Nicolas book? See the whole Jane affair and birth revelation from his point of view? Will we see more of Jane and Jack? Last part for now, for those of us going through pink withdrawals are there any other books that you woild recommend that have the same feeling or close feeling as the pink books?

    • Hi, Rebecca! I don’t think we’ll ever have a stand alone Nicolas novel covering that particular time period. I’d originally intended to write a novella (“The Pink Carnation in Love”) about Jane’s affair with Nicolas in Venice, which I’d still love to do one of these days, although the big plot points are all out of the bag, so to speak.

      The other possibility is a novel about Nicolas and Lizzy. I’m not quite sure how I’d do it– whether it would be a complete stand alone or an extra Pink novel with an Eloise frame– but the idea is one the back burner, percolating. (Forgive all the mixed metaphors, I’m not fully caffeinated this morning.)

      As for similar books…. There’s an If You Like on my website from a while ago with Pink Carnation readalikes: http://www.laurenwillig.com/news/2011/07/10/if-you-like-2/

      It’s a rather sparse list, though, so if anyone has any other suggestions, they should definitely chime in! For Napoleonic intrigue, I’d suggest Joanna Bourne and Tracy Grant and William Deitrich’s Ethan Gage series (think Napoleonic “Flashman”). For books with a similar tongue in cheek tone to Eloise, try Elizabeth Peters’s Vicky Bliss books. For modern/Regency intersection, Kasey Michaels’ Maggie books, where a Regency viscount pops out of an author’s books and into her living room.

  2. Lauren , Thank you for writing these amazing books and creating a fan community full of lovely people. My comment/slash question is twofold, if that’s okay.

    I mentioned before that I don’t think smoking dope and other nefarious doings is enough for the Frobisher gang. I wish that if you ever revisit the land of Pink you would have them transported to Australia and put to work cleaning sewers.

    Secondly, everyone knows I adore Turnip. He seems like such a bumbler but always does the right thing. Could an idiot have remembered everything to make Arabella comfy on her winter ride? There is one scene where he is consulting with Geoff, I think, and seems just as smart as everyone else. I would love for Vauhgn and Mary to see this side of him.

    • My guess is that Lord Vaughn and Mary wouldn’t see that bit of Turnip even if he single-handedly saved the day right in front of them. They’ve always both struck me as the sorts who see largely what they prefer to see….

    • How did you guess? One of my “maybe in the future” ideas is a mystery/spy series about Arabella’s adventures in the 1940s and 50s, starting out in India right after World War II and moving to other hotspots. Think M.M. Kaye’s “Death In…” books but with more Selwick. : ) Whether I’ll ever get to it is another matter, but it’s definitely up there on my list of “things I want to write”.

  3. I loved The Lure of the Moonflower! Since this was the end of the series did you have a lot of fun writing it or did you feel a lot of pressure to get it right?

    • I’m so happy you loved “Moonflower”! You hit the nail on the head with the whole “pressure to get it right” bit. I was terrified that it would be a no win scenario: that people would come in with their own firm ideas of who they wanted Jane to be and how they wanted Jane’s book to progress and that everyone would hate my book for not being *that* book. I’ve been surprised and thrilled by how positive the response has been!

      That being said, I felt a lot of pressure over the Jane part, but I had a lot of fun with the Eloise bit, where there was less perceived weight of expectation.

      The way I got around the pressure to get it right was… well, deadline panic. I wound up in the sort of deadline crunch where there was no time to overthink or second guess. I could only write as fast as I could and hope that the book made it to my editor in time for publication. Which, while not to be recommended as a career or lifestyle choice, certainly took the edge off worrying about getting it right!

  4. I just want to say thank you for all The Pink Carnation books! I love them all, specially the Lure of the Moonflower. It was the perfect ending. I am missing the pink books already, waiting for the novellas, please! Thank you for all your books!!!

  5. Hi Lauren! I can’t wait to read Lure of the Moonflower. My question is, if you could meet any one of your characters and have a one on one discussion, who would it be with and why?

    • I’m tempted to say Lord Vaughn (he’s always the character with whom I would most like to flirt at a dinner party), but this requires more thought. Possibly a good gossip with Henrietta or a tete a tete about books with Charlotte?

      • Hmm Lord Vaughn would probably be too condescending. However, I would love a good gossip chat with Henrietta over some tea and biscuits 🙂 Thanks for answering.

      • I LOVED the Blood Lily book…adventure, fascinating settings, an unlikely heroine (I wasn’t crazy about Penelope in the preceding books but fell for her in her own book), the introduction of the dashing Colonel…what’s not to love? 🙂 Thanks for writing my “go-to” adventure book….I must have read it 8 times.

  6. Lauren, how many of the Pink locations did you actually get to visit for research? (India, Ireland, Portugal, various locations in France and England, etc.) Or are most of them places you hope to visit without having to worry about getting the details right for a book? Thanks again for all the fun reads.

    • France, England, and Ireland were all places I’d already spent a fair bit of time in and got to revisit for research. (It is funny how you view a place differently when you’re looking for very specific bits of it. I’m just starting a book set partly in 1889 Paris right now, and it’s a completely different place from 1804 Paris, geographically. I mean, the Seine is in the same place, and all that, but the street plan has altered dramatically. But I digress.) India and Portugal were places I both very much wanted to go to research, but couldn’t fit the trips into my writing schedule. I had to make do with reading contemporary travelers’ accounts and looking at lots of pictures and maps….

  7. If given the opportunity to go back in time would you write Tommy and Kat’s book instead of Sally and Lucien’s? You seem to heavily hint as such in the afterword, though personally, I think we needed the comedy at that point 😉

    • That’s a tough one. I wouldn’t trade in “Midnight Manzanilla” for anything. As the first book I wrote with small person, it has a very special place in my heart. In an ideal world, though…. In an ideal world, I would have been more efficient the year before, left myself time to write Kat and Tommy’s book as Book XI and then done “Midnight Manzanilla” as an extra, like “Mistletoe”. But this is really hindsight is twenty twenty stuff: it only dawned on me well after “Manzanilla” had come out in print that, wait, it would have made sense to move Kat and Tommy to Book XI. Oh, well….

  8. Hi Lauren! I’m so glad you wrote these books and have done ‘ask the author’ each month. My question is, why did Jane’s parents make the choices that we learned about in Moonflower, after they seemed so out of it when Agnes went missing? I can’t quite make sense of them. Thanks!

    • My sense of them is that they’re fundamentally deeply self-absorbed (well, sheep-absorbed and embroidery-absorbed) and they’re willing to turn a blind eye until something jolts them out of their absorption and threatens to disrupt their lives. As long as Jane was being “chaperoned” by Miss Gwen, the proprieties were technically observed and they could cheerfully ignore her. It didn’t matter that Miss Gwen was probably the least effective chaperone in the history of chaperones; her very presence was enough. Once Jane announced her intention of going off on her own, sans Miss Gwen, she suddenly became a Big Problem, the sort of problem that might actually demand parental attention. My guess is that threatening disowning was originally a scare tactic meant to make her show sense. When that didn’t work, her father was so annoyed that he followed through. Because he’s rather a traditional sort and to have an erring child insist on continuing to err brought out all his more blustery elements. And Jane had distracted him from his sheep by causing this crisis and for that alone he’s particularly irritable. My guess is that his temper had begun to cool a bit by the time they’d actually erected the tombstone, but, by that point, there was no gracefully going back.

  9. Hi Lauren,

    Thank you for writing such a wonderful ending to an equally wonderful series. The Pink Carnation books are my ultimate go-to comfort read; they do not have a chance to gather dust on my bookshelf with constant rereads.

    I have alway wanted to know if you found you had to balance the information found in the archives Eloise was reading with what the historical characters would have really written in their letters and diaries? If they were spies, they probably would not have put detailed espionage plans on paper, whereas we, as the actual reader, get to know these things. Did you find this limiting with what you could write in the historical chapters?

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