Tuesday, March 8, 2016

A Searing Acquaintance Blog Tour ~ Guest Post with J.L. Ashton & Giveaway!

* * Post contains affiliate links. * * 

Hello, Friends! As part of the A Searing Acquaintance Blog Tour, I'm excited to have author J.L. Ashton here today! Her first novel, A Searing Acquaintance, is being published by Meryton Press, and she's here to tell us a little about what inspired her to write JAFF. So, please, welcome Jan! (Details of the giveaway are at the bottom of the post!) 

Thanks so much to Candy for hosting me and my first novel on So Little Time.

I fell in love with JAFF more than ten years ago. Much as I adore Jane Austen’s books, I wanted more…I wanted to know where her characters, most especially those from Pride and Prejudice, would end up, or how they would react to shifts in plot or circumstance. Much as I adored regencies, though, I especially enjoyed seeing how a modern version of our beloved Darcy and Elizabeth might spark and fight and fall in love, and face obstacles together and apart.

I love to read modern interpretations of my favorite book because I am always interested in how authors update these iconic characters. How does one translate the personalities of this couple and their very complicated relationship from the stricter social structure of the early 19th century into a parallel 21st century couple? How does one capture Jane Austen’s wit and her smart social commentary? How can a guy walk around in 2016 with a name like Fitzwilliam Darcy?

So inspired by some fantastic authors, I started writing my own stories. A Searing Acquaintance is a modern re-telling of Pride and Prejudice, set in New York, featuring American graduate student Elizabeth Bennet and wealthy businessman Fitzwilliam Darcy, born to a British father and his much younger American wife. Each has complicated family dynamics, both tragic and comic, and each is deeply affected, even haunted, by those relationships—or the loss of them.

I’ll be honest: I am especially fascinated by Fitzwilliam Darcy and everything Jane Austen doesn’t tell us about him. We readers get to fill in the blanks and shade in his character based on knowing only a few facts or observations about him: He is tall, he is wealthy, he is proud and intelligent, he has a sister, and a grand estate. We are giving so much more information on Elizabeth Bennet’s life and family relationships. My interest in their backstories, and how their childhoods and families affect them as adults and color their view of relationships propelled me to write A Searing Acquaintance.

But first, creating the gap between a modern Darcy and Elizabeth isn’t as dictated by society as it was in 1811-12. The Social Register means far less, and money and educational and career achievements are more prominent markers of social class. So if the social gulf that propels their pride and prejudice is harder to recreate, the misunderstandings between them are ever more important. Yes, that means my least favorite character, George Wickham, shows up. And a very difficult, very different kind of Mrs. Bennet.

I’m making this book sound way more serious than it is! Jane Austen wrote a great love story within her social comedy of manners, and I tried to do that as well. I have a weakness for screwball comedies, so there is a lot of funny banter, pop culture references, and teasing to go along with the angst (and possible tears).

For example, not long after they meet, Elizabeth teases Darcy about his name:

“Oh, come on. It’s like the name of a subdivision or a sofa at Pottery Barn. ‘Please note the extra firm cushions on The Fitzwilliam.’”
Darcy chuckled. Wow, he can laugh?
 “So, do you have extra-firm cushions? Do you carry extra padding?” She smirked at him and waggled her eyebrows. “Or are your springs sprung?”

She makes up nicknames for him, such as Mr. Noir and Nurse Darcy. Darcy finds her greatly amusing but cluelessly upsets her when an interlude on a sofa goes awry. Yes, even rich, handsome men with British accents can be stupidly awkward in romance. And women with difficult families can have huge trust issues.

Of course those who feel deeply will fall deeply in love, and these two don’t fix all their issues right away. They work them out together during their happily ever after.

Whether or not you love a modern variation of Pride and Prejudice, I hope readers will give the book a try.

Thanks again to Candy for spotlighting A Searing Acquaintance and giving me space to write a bit about it.

It is a pleasure to have you here, Jan! Thanks so much for sharing a little about your journey that inspired you to write, A Searing Acquaintance

Book Blurb: 

“I don’t know why I ever thought we made sense.” Smart, educated people are fools in love, especially when they’re mired in denial and misunderstanding. 

In this modern spin on Jane Austen’s classic tale, Elizabeth Bennet, a grad student with literary aspirations, has found her big career break—and broken up with yet another forgettable boyfriend. While grateful for the professional lifeline thrown by sports agent George Wickham, she is intrigued by the man she calls Mr. Noir.

Fitzwilliam Darcy, marked by tragedy, is a man accustomed to living his life in the spotlight even as his heart dwells on the dark side of loneliness. When he first meets Elizabeth, he thinks she looks like “a bloody pumpkin,” but he soon sees so much more. She, however, can’t even decide what to call him. Mr. Noir? Nurse Darcy? Sleazy British playboy? Ferdinand? 

“So, it’s Fitzwilliam, right? That’s an amazing name, you know. Which came first—the name or the accent?” 

He looked at her. 

“Oh, come on. It’s like the name of a subdivision or a sofa at Pottery Barn. `Please note the extra firm cushions on The Fitzwilliam.’” 

Can an accidental encounter that leads to shocking intimacy change the course they’ve both set and bring them into love’s light? Or will they stay mired in cold words and angry misunderstandings, overshadowing the deep connection they each feel? Getting beyond their own mistakes to find each other again is one thing; they also have to heal the wounds of their pasts. Can they do that together?

Buy: Amazon
Add to Goodreads

FTC Disclaimer: Link to Amazon. I am an Amazon Associate. Should you purchase a copy of the book through the link provided, I will receive a small commission. Thanks! 

J.L. Ashton Bio

J.L. Ashton didn’t meet Jane Austen until she was in her late teens, but in a happy coincidence, she
shares a similarity of name with the author and celebrates her birthday on the same day Pride & Prejudice was first published. Sadly, she’s yet to find any Darcy and Elizabeth candles on her cake, but she does own the action figures.

Like so many Austen fans, Jan was an early and avid reader with a vivid imagination and a well-used library card. Her family’s frequent moves in the U.S and abroad encouraged her to think of books and their authors as reliable friends. It took summers in London, a history degree, and another decade or two for her to start imagining variations on Pride & Prejudice, and another decade—filled with career, marriage, kids, and a menagerie of pets—to discover the world of JAFF. Today, in between writing Jane Austen variations, Jan lives and works in the Chicago area, where she volunteers far too often and is a member of the local and national chapters of the Jane Austen Society of North America. 
A Searing Acquaintance is her first book.

Connect with J.L. Ashton

As always, I would like to thank Jakki @ Leatherbound Reviews for organizing this tour, and Meryton Press for the generous giveaway! 

Make sure to visit other stops on the tour!

A Searing Acquaintance Blog Tour Schedule

3/7: Excerpt & Giveaway at My Jane Austen Book Club 
3/8: Guest Post & Giveaway at So Little Time… 
3/9: Review at Tomorrow is Another Day
3/10: Author Interview & Giveaway at From Pemberley to Milton 
3/11: Character Interview & Giveaway at Leatherbound Reviews 
3/12: Excerpt & Giveaway at Babblings of A Bookworm 
3/13: Review at Liz’s Reading Life
3/14: Review at Half Agony, Half Hope 
3/15: Review at Margie’s Must Reads
3/16: Excerpt & Giveaway at Best Sellers and Best Stellars 
3/18: Review at Diary of an Eccentric
3/19: Review at Just Jane 1813
3/20: Excerpt & Giveaway at Delighted Reader 
3/21: Guest Post & Giveaway at Austenesque Reviews 

* * * GIVEAWAY * * *

It's giveaway time!! Meryton Press is doing a group giveaway! There are FOUR paperbacks and FOUR e-copies up for grabs, and EIGHT different people will win! Giveaway is open Internationally! To enter, just fill out the Rafflecopter below and leave a comment.

  • Only one copy of A Searing Acquaintance per winner.
  • Winners picked randomly by Rafflecopter at the end of the Blog Tour.
  • Readers may enter the drawing by tweeting once a day and daily commenting on a blog post for the tour. Entrants must provide the name of the blog where they commented (which will be verified). If an entrant does not do so, that entry will be disqualified.
  • Open Internationally.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Again, many thanks Jan for being here today! It was delightful getting to know you! Congratulations on the publication of A Searing Acquaintance! I look forward to reading it! 


  1. I love a good modern variation. Definitely on my TBR! Thank you for the giveaway.

    1. Hi, Becky! I hear you! I enjoy a good modern variation! :) Good luck!

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks for stopping by, Christina! Yes, I enjoyed this post! I always find it interesting to hear how writers are inspired.

  3. I'm flexible about the time period and the genre. But I do love that there is the humor element.

    1. Hi, Sophia Rose! I'm flexible about the time period too! Love to read P&P in both Regency and modern. :)

  4. This modern variation sounds interesting. Thank you For The generis give away.

    1. Hi, Deborah Ann! It does sound interesting, and I love the cover! (I'm one of those who will pick up a book because of the cover!)
      Good luck!

  5. This is a great read - hope that people enjoy it as much as I did!

    1. I'm glad to hear you enjoyed 'A Searing Acquaintance', Jenetta! That's good to know! :) Thanks for stopping by!

  6. This sounds like a great read. I will add this to my TBR pile.

  7. Lovely interview, sounds like a very interesting modern P&P story. Would love to read it. Thanks for the giveaway opportunity!

  8. Wonderful interview, thanks for sharing it with us.

  9. Haha I love the Fitwilliam sofa joke. Never thought of it that way but it totally does sound like the name of a fancy sofa. Adding this to my TBR list. Thank you for the giveaway!

  10. I love the comment about the Fitzwilliam sofa too. Given that the design of my sofa is called "Emma" (honestly!), I totally understand that.

    I've become really enthralled by modern and alternative timeline re-tellings of Jane Austens works. Indeed, some of the best recent JAFF books have been in that sub-genre.

    It's always good to have a new author enter this world and this book sounds like a good one.

    Good luck and thanks for the giveaway.

  11. Not sure if I was supposed to leave contact info. Got a flu bug and not exactly sure which planet I'm on right noe. Please let me know if I should.

    1. Oh, I hope you feel better soon, Anji! No, you don't have to leave your contact info. Just make sure you've entered the Rafflecopter. Thanks!! Good luck!

  12. The sofa comment made me chuckle... looking forward to reading it!


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