The Midnight in Austenland party at The King’s English was a blast! Here are some of the hilarious and witty highlights (paraphrased from an audio recording of the event).
Shannon Hale talks about how she falls in love with Colin Firth against her better, intellectual judgement. Then she got the idea of just wanting to live in the Pride and Prejudice movie like a vacation with actors and costumes similar to How to Host A Murder games. She didn’t know the genre of it, she just had fun.
One of the fan mail letters she read to us was from some nuns. The Nuns said that “even though we are espoused to Jesus Christ, the perfect man, we too have a crush on Colin Firth.” Shannon apologized to these nuns in her acknowledgements of Midnight in Austenland because of the grisly fate of some nuns in the story and she got an email from the nuns on Saturday morning saying thanks.
The idea for Midnight in Austenland happened when working on screen play for the Austenland movie. She made character outlines and wrote that Colonel Andrews would make up a mystery for the guests to solve and it would be like Northanger Abbey because they wouldn’t know if the mystery was real or not.
(Shannon’s answers are paraphrased. They are not exact quotes.)
What are you working on now? A book I used to call Daisy Danger Brown – it’s a science fiction novel that my editor doesn’t want me to call science fiction. It’s not cool yet, but it will be.
What do you do when you get stuck in a scene? I don’t really get stuck. My philosophy is you can always write crap. If I get stuck, I guess the answer is I write crap. Then rewrite like crazy. I only keep 10% of what I write.
Talk about the articles on your blog about dumbing down stories for young adult fiction. As an adult I fell out of love with reading because I thought I could only read books written by dead people. (That would be awesome if they were actually written by dead people! But they were alive when they wrote it, and now they’re dead.) I loved young adult literature which was quality and had story to it with relatable characters. Not all YA is wonderful and for everyone, but the genre was freeing. She feels like it’s not always true that old, archaic books are better than new books. Literacy is more important.
Then there was a scavenger hunt for foreign editions of her books.
A Murder Mystery! The winner of the murder mystery won a Ricky Whittle calendar. When Ricky Whittle was cast in Austenland, Shannon couldn’t find any pictures of him with his shirt on. She jokes that he tries to wear shirts, but they melt right off. There are four people in character that we interview and guess who did it. SO FUN :)
RICKY WHITTLE STORY –
Shannon: “Is it appropriate to tell a Ricky Whittle story?”
Husband: “Not if it involves underwear.”
Shannon: “Now they want to hear it because you said it!”
So she tells it.
In the Austenland movie, Shannon was an extra. She was chatting with Ricky all day long on the shoot.
Shannon: “Children – I’m not an example of someone you should emulate. Dehydration!”
Ricky wants her to sign Austenland for him and she says she would sign anything even underwear. Not being serious. Immediately, he has someone get a sharpie so she could sign his underwear. She thought it was a joke. Three seconds later a bunch of PA’s bring sharpies. Unbutton, flap before she can think (because he’s wearing breeches, you know:).
Shannon: “I’ve never seen anyone unbutton their pants so fast.”
So she just signed it really fast. They did the scene and she was in a fog. What just happened? Camera guy gets her to tell it on camera.
Shannon: “I wonder what my friends in Utah are going to think about that.”
Her friend: “I wonder what your husband’s going to think abou that.”
So she told her husband and his only question was, “Where did you sign?”
“On the waistband.”
Husband says, “Wimp.”
Is Shannon witty and funny or what?! I got a signed copy for one of you guys, but the giveaway goes up tonight at midnight so check back for it! :) (I will also talk more in my next post about the murder mystery and what the answer was!)