JoeyPinkney.com Exclusive Interview
5 Minutes, 5 Questions With…
Mitzi Szereto, author of Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts
Regency prose meets sexual mayhem meets historical parody in Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts. The entire cast of characters is here, caught with their breeches unbuttoned and their skirts raised high in this rewrite that goes all the way – and then some! Mr. Darcy has never been more devilish and the seemingly chaste Elizabeth never more turned on.
In this no-holds-barred account, men are not necessarily the only dominating sex. This time, Mr. Bingley and his sister both have designs on Mr. Darcy’s manhood; Elizabeth’s dear friend Charlotte marries their family’s strange relation, discovering that her husband’s pious nature extends to worship of a different sort; and, in this telling, Lady Catherine de Bourgh takes the disciplining of those in the parish very seriously.
As for the handsome Mr. Wickham, he’s wickeder than ever! And of course there’s plenty of good old-fashioned bodice ripping that shows no pride or prejudice and reveals hot hidden lusts in every scandalous page-turning chapter. This is the book Jane Austen would have written, if only she’d had the nerve!
Joey Pinkney: Where did you get the inspiration to write Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts?
Mitzi Szereto: To be honest, I never quite know where my inspiration comes from. I suppose it might be equivalent to a fit of madness, in that it just comes upon you and takes over. I will say that I’ve always been a huge fan of the 1995 BBC TV mini-series of “Pride and Prejudice.” I never get tired of watching it. In fact, I actually read the book after I’d seen the series.
To me, the actors who played in it were perfect as the characters Jane Austen created. They were foremost in my mind when I wrote my version. It was their voices I heard and their faces I saw. So everything that happens in Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts is all their fault; I’m innocent!
JP: What sets Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts apart from other books in the same genre?
MS: I’m glad you asked me this question. Of course, with a novel as popular as the original Pride and Prejudice, you’re going to get a lot of writers taking inspiration from it and doing their own versions. Because of this, I wanted to make absolutely certain that my book was not like anyone else’s.
On the surface, it would be very quick to dismiss it as just another “sexed-up Austen” (and a few naysayers have already done so without, I might add, even having read it!) Well, dismiss at your peril. Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts is historical parody, Regency romance, erotica, and satire. It’s the mashup of all mashups. And most of all, it’s a whole lot of fun!
JP: As an author, what are the keys to your success that led to Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts getting out to the public?
MS: I never leave things in the lap of the gods. I am very pro-active. You have to be in this business. You can’t count on publishers to push your work or spend money on promotion. Sure, they do it to some extent, but they have other books to sell, not just yours. They may have limited budgets, or else budgets that are spent more so on a handful of books and authors.
The burden falls on you, the author, to make people aware of your work and hopefully get them excited enough to actually buy it. I realized this fact a long time ago. The reality is, who cares about your book more than you do? You can’t live in some airy-fairy writerly world. The Renaissance ended a long time ago.
JP: As an author, what is your writing process? How long did it take you to start and finish Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts?
MS: My writing process is not any cookie-cutter kind of thing. I don’t lock myself away in a room for 14 hours and write. I suspect authors who claim they do this are either fibbing or else they spend the majority of those 14 hours chewing on a pencil rather than doing any actual writing!
I myself tend to work on several things at the same time, such as social media, replying to emails that need replying to, etc. So I’ll bounce back and forth between all this and my writing. I will say that even if I’m not anywhere near my writing (such as at the gym or out buying groceries) my brain is busy with the process of it, and I’ll find that I can get things resolved in my head regarding a plot or character issue, or the development of a scene, even when I’m not working on the manuscript itself. I occasionally scribble things down on errant bits of paper or a post-it note to incorporate later. I don’t keep a notebook or journal though. Basically my head is my filing cabinet.
Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts had a rather short deadline of only a few months, so I had to really get my backside in gear to write it – but write it in such a way and to such a standard that I myself was happy with it. I pretty much went underground for this book. I rarely went out anywhere, other than to the gym or to buy provisions to sustain my life.
JP: What’s next for Mitzi Szereto?
MS: I’ve recently completed a new book, an anthology of short stories featuring several authors, myself included. It’s called Red Velvet and Absinthe: Paranormal Erotic Romance. The book is very much inspired by the Gothic tradition in literature, and is chock full of the paranormal, not to mention the erotic. I’m extremely pleased to have Kelley Armstrong writing the foreword. The title will be out in September 2011 – right in time for Halloween!
I’m also working on four other books, which are in various stages of development. I never discuss my works-in-progress, so you won’t get any more out of me on this! Aside from books, I continue to write at my blog “Errant Ramblings: Mitzi Szereto’s Weblog” as well as keep the word out about my Web TV channel Mitzi TV. I guess it’s safe to say that I’m always up to something!
I hope readers will enjoy Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts as much as I enjoyed writing it!