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  • Emilie Davis

An Interview with Ali Scott

Updated: Dec 7, 2023

Hey, Book Clubbers! We've got something special for you this week—we recently had a delightful email correspondence with the amazing Ali Scott, and we can't wait to share the literary goodness with you. If you remember our lively podcast discussion a few months back about Ali's book, "A Man of Good Fortune," you'll want to stick around because she's back with a new gem, "A Wound Deeper Than Pride" (affiliate link).

We sent Ali 10 burning questions, and her responses are like unwrapping little bookish presents! Join us as we dive into Ali's world, discover her writing habits, and explore her love of Pride & Prejudice.

1. When were you first introduced to Pride and Prejudice? When did you fall in love with the story?

My first encounter with Pride and Prejudice was the 1995 BBC adaptation. I was nine when it was initially broadcast, so I think I might have watched it with my mum (who is a big fan of the series). I have a vague memory of being confused as to why Lydia had to marry Wickham and having a really awkward conversation about how men and women weren’t expected to live together unless they were married. I rewatched the series in my early teens, and I read the book soon after. At the time, I was swept away by the love story, but through the years I have really started to appreciate Austen’s humour. I think falling in love with a book when you are young is such a privilege - you get to revisit a story with a different perspective as you get older, whilst simultaneously being transported back to the moment when you first fell under its spell.

2. When did you start reading Pride and Prejudice variations?

I blame Nicole Clarkston/Alix James! She has written some fabulous North and South variations (which is another favourite book of mine). I think an algorithm must have targeted me as Amazon recommended her Pride and Prejudice variations, and I devoured them. Then COVID struck during my first maternity leave, and I became completely hooked on Austenesque variations.

3. How did you start writing Pride and Prejudice variations?

As for writing, there was a real eureka moment. A British newspaper called the Guardian has a feature that showcases someone who has tried something new after they turned sixty. By chance, I read their article about a woman called Anne Youngson, who published a book when she was seventy and was subsequently shortlisted for a major prize. Something about her journey really resonated with me. I remember thinking if you want to be a writer then you have to write. It sounds so obvious, but I had never had the courage to do it. The Austenesque world seemed like a great place to start as I was already a fan of the genre. When I started writing A Man of Good Fortune, my objective was to get feedback so I could improve. I was completely blown away when I got a message from Quills and Quartos about publishing with them, and I am so grateful for the faith that Jan and Amy put into me and my story.

4. How do you come up with your stories and plot lines? What inspires you?

That’s a hard question! I do try to find an element or perspective that I haven’t read before as I want to bring something fresh to the Austenesque world. Sometimes a piece of research might spark my interest, or I might think of a dramatic scene and wonder how our beloved pair might get there.

5. Was writing A Wound Deeper Than Pride very different from writing A Man of Good Fortune?

Yes! When I wrote A Man of Good Fortune, I was pregnant with my second daughter, and my life was beyond hectic. Now that I am not juggling work, I have the mental space to concentrate on my writing (when I am not chasing after my children). I also learnt a lot during the editing process of A Man of Good Fortune, and this really helped to keep me focussed when I wrote A Wound Deeper than Pride as I had a better idea of what was required.

6. What does your writing process look like? Do you map it all out first or do you just start?

With A Man of Good Fortune, I had an outline of where I wanted the story to go - sometimes the characters had other ideas, but we broadly went in the same direction! After completing A Man of Good Fortune, I spent some time learning about different methods for story plotting. I found Take Off Your Pants by Libbie Hawker to be a helpful starting point. There were also some great resources online which helped me plan A Wound Deeper than Pride in more detail. I still keep my outline quite loose as I like having room to discover things as I go, but I definitely stick to a plan. I also create a timeline/overview that links back to Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, so I can keep track of how events match up with the original story. I update it with any tweaks to my plot, and I use it to keep an eye on chapter length as well.

7. Do you have any favorite characters or types of scenes to write?

Well Elizabeth and Darcy are always a lot of fun! I read somewhere that the reason why Darcy is the ultimate romantic hero is because he knows how to apologise. I think a heartfelt declaration is a necessary part of any Pride and Prejudice variation. I also enjoy Mr Bennet - he is so dry and he doesn’t seem to care if he offends anyone.

8. Are there any tropes or storylines you're hoping to write in the future?

I have so many ideas - I don’t know where to start! I found a brilliant first-hand account of a woman’s plight during the battle of Waterloo. It really caught my interest, and I would love to do something bold with it.

9. If you weren't penning variations of Pride and Prejudice, is there another tale by Jane Austen that would spark your interest for a variation?

Oh, that is a good question! I loved the BBC television adaptation of Emma. Perhaps her matchmaking schemes don’t stop after she is married?

10. Do you have any favorite variations you'd like to share? Why do you like them?

Where to start! I loved Jessie Lewis’s Speechless and Fallen. I really enjoyed Caitlin Williams’s The Coming of Age of Elizabeth Bennet - the premise could have been a difficult one to pull off, but she completely draws you into their relationship. I also adored the dual first-person dynamic in Grace Gibson’s The Last House in Lambton. And there are so many fabulous Quills and Quartos books - we are spoilt for choice! (links are affiliate links)


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