In my new time-travel romance, Another Place in Time, Mr. Darcy travels through time to meet with Chris O’Malley, an expert on the Regency Era and the novels of Jane Austen. I recently interviewed Chris to find out more of her thoughts on Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy.
Mary: Easy question. What was your first impression of Mr. Darcy when he showed up at the Baltimore Jane Austen conference in 2012?
Chris: Thanks, Mary, for having me on your blog. I feel like I already know you. To answer your question, please keep in mind that I saw the conference as an opportunity to increase my exposure in the Austen community, so when this “imposter” showed up and basically took over the session, I was not amused. What I remember thinking is that this guy is one hot dude—better than Colin—better than Matthew. But after I stopped admiring his assets, I was pretty steamed. When I spoke to him in the lobby, I thought this “actor” had Mr. Darcy’s arrogance down pat. It was all about him.
Mary: At first, you refused to help Mr. Darcy. What changed your mind?
Chris: I realized that this guy, whoever he was, was deeply in love with his Elizabeth Bennet. Because he was willing to ask for help in repairing the damage he had done when he had proposed marriage, I thought I might give him some advice. By showing some humility, he had already taken the first step.
Mary: When was your first inkling that this Mr. Darcy might be the genuine article?
Chris: Today, you practically get a smart phone at your kindergarten graduation, so when I watched Mr. Darcy using his iPhone, he reminded me of a kid in a candy store. He kept showing me all the things he could find by “Googling,” a word that delighted him. Another clue was that whenever a plane flew over, he would stop and look up in the sky until it was out of sight. Who does that now?
Mary: I think I would be nervous getting into a time capsule.
Chris: That’s because you’re smarter than I am. (Chris laughs.) The main reason I went back to 1812 was because the Regency Era is my area of expertise. I couldn't pass up a chance to see what London looked like during the Regency. Also, I was at a rather low point in my personal life. I think that was why I was willing to take the risk.
Mary: I understand that you will be talking about Regency London on Maria Grace’s blog. Is that correct?
Chris: Yes, I will. When I was in London, my guides through Town were Georgiana Darcy and Fitzwilliam Darcy. I look forward to sharing the experience with you.
Chris will be doing an interview on Random Bits of Fascination on February 12th. We hope to see you there.
Another Place in Time is available on Nook and Kindle. The paperback will be available in about two weeks.