"Splendid" - Elizabeth: Obstinate Headstrong Girl by The Quill Collective - Interview
“…enjoy following one of Jane Austen’s favourite heroines as she is superbly portrayed across a selection of tales set from the Regency era to the present day.” –Cass Grafton
Elizabeth: Obstinate, Headstrong Girl
Each anthology in the Quill Collective series is a stand-alone book.
“Obstinate, headstrong girl!”
For over two hundred years, the heroine of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, Elizabeth Bennet has enchanted and inspired readers by being that “obstinate, headstrong girl” willing to stand up to the arrogance and snobbery of her so-called betters. Described by Austen as having a “lively, playful disposition,” Elizabeth embodies the perfect imperfections of strong-willed women everywhere: she is spirited, witty, clever, and loyal.
In this romance anthology, ten Austenesque authors sketch Elizabeth’s character through a collection of re-imaginings, set in the Regency through contemporary times. In ELIZABETH: OBSTINATE, HEADSTRONG GIRL, she bares her most intimate thoughts, all the while offering biting social commentary about life’s absurdities. Elizabeth overcomes the obstacles of others’ opinions, not to mention her own flaws, to find a love truly worthy of her—her Mr. Darcy—all with humor and her sparkling charm. “I think her as delightful a character as ever appeared in print…” wrote Jane Austen in a letter to her sister Cassandra, January 1813―and we think so too!
Foreword by NY Times & USA Today bestselling author Tessa Dare.
Stories by: Elizabeth Adams, Christina Boyd, Karen M Cox, J. Marie Croft, Amy D'Orazio, Leigh Dreyer, Jenetta James, Christina Morland, Beau North, and Joana Starnes.
The variety of narratives offers something for Austenites of all stripes, and the authors’ enthusiasm for Elizabeth and Darcy’s sparring romance is infectious. Pride and Prejudice fans should take note. —Publishers Weekly
Q&A with the Narrator
Please, tell us a little about this anthology.
“Elizabeth: Obstinate, Headstrong Girl” is a beautifully curated anthology of short stories following our original herione Elizabeth Bennet. The stories see Elizabeth move across time and space and imagine Jane Austen’s characters in new worlds, previously unseen as well as at home in Regency England. The book serves to remind us of Elizabeth’s unique character, created so perfectly by Austen all that time ago. We remember how modern and relatable she is and can completely fall in love with her all over again. I loved narrating this book and discovering how the authors bring their own personalities to each story while remaining true to the charaters we know so well from Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice”.
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to listeners what they want?
I find it so important for audiobooks that while you input your own style, that it isn’t too jarring for the listeners. My job is to bring the story to life in an authentic way so listeners can switch off and enjoy what they are hearing. If I do or say something in a way that seems out of place or too unexpected, I risk jolting the listener out of the story and making them think, “huh, that didn’t seem right.” As a narrator, I obvisouly have no control over where the story is going but I believe it is important, as in a script, to ensure I understand the motives of the characters and apply this knowledge to the tone in which they speak. When we read, we will make this decision on our own but in an audiobook that choice is given to me so I need to make that as believeable as possible. In summary, I don’t think it is about giving the listeners what they want but more like what they need to immerse themselves in the world I am presenting for them.
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
When I am beginning a book there is a certain amount of research I need to do on how I am going to give the characters voice – including the narrator. I need to know where the story is set and when so I can immediately set the right scene. This can come down to accents which will take more research if it is one that I am not as familiar with. In which case, I will be looking at sources on YouTube and sometimes also podcasts by people from that place to immerse myself in the sounds.
Do you share any personality traits with Elizabeth?
Let’s say we don’t just share a name! I feel like Elizabeth is very relatable to so many women, simply because she was so ahead of her time. She behaves in “Pride and Prejudice”, I think, how we would all like to think we would act in the given circumstances. She questions all the expectations put upon her by society, she thinks hard about what she wants from life and doesn’t fall in line because she has to but because she wants to. Like Miss Bennet, I am very determined and opinionated. I am loyal to those I love and will stand up for myself and them when I need to. At my wedding, my dad’s speech mentioned him feeling like my new husband had many Darcy traits (though not as stoic, I like to think!) and he said, “I could not have parted with you, my Lizzy, to anyone less worthy.”
How long on average does it take you to narrate a book?
So for me, I narrate and edit all my audiobook recordings myself. On average, it takes me around five to six hours to complete one finished hour of audiobook. As you can imagine in this regard my time is very precious within that so it is important I am working as efficiently as possible and tracking my time effectively to review once I am finished.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be an actress! Having starred in a few musical productions and joining a drama club outside of school, I was obsessed from around the age of 9/10. I was a huge show off as a kid and loved the idea of being the star! Into my teens, I allowed the dream to fade somewhat and took the sensible route. I went to uni, got a job in the city and focused on my career, always with the itch to do something more creative. When I came to move roles in 2018, I would discuss my career with the people around me who would ask, “So what would be the dream job” and I always said I wanted to be an actress. I felt silly saying it, like everyone has a pipe dream, right? Apparently not. So I joined an acting school again and eventually quit my job to give it a real shot. To date (Corona aside) I have started making real headway in audiobooks thanks to the wonderful group of authors in the JAFF (Jane Austen fan fiction) community who have promoted me and supported my work of late. I am also continuing my acting classes, albeit online now and have booked a range of screen projects from short films to webseries with VO work in between. 10-year-old me is buzzing about this, and I am really excited to see what the next 12 months will hold.
Books & Benches: Thank you so much for sharing a narrator's perspective. It sounds it would have been a fun project, and we're excited to be sharing it with our readers.
A Word from the Editor
This Dream Team of authors–Elizabeth Adams, Karen M Cox, J. Marie Croft, Amy D’Orazio, Leigh Dreyer, Jenetta James, Christina Morland, Beau North, and Joana Starnes–joined me on another adventure with no promise of success but countless hopes. Like many journeys, we encountered unexpected turns, and even a few disappointments, but “it was our business to be satisfied” and prefer to “think only of the past as its remembrance gives you pleasure.” I am forever indebted for their creativity, inspiration, great suggestions, and adherence to schedule. And for bolstering my own offering of an Elizabeth story. I can easily count you all as my friends. I am really proud of their work and how well this collection of stories came together.
In my previous anthologies, we were blessed to have such stellar Austen academics like Dr. Claudine DiMuzio and Dr. Devoney Looser write our forewords, and it was doubly important to find someone who really understood Austen, especially Elizabeth Bennet, for this project as well. I had heard that New York Times and USA Today bestselling Regency romance author Tessa Dare had once upon a time written Jane Austen fan fiction. When author Beau North suggested we ask her to write the foreword, there was a resounding “Yes!” You might say we were audacious to even ask but, in the temperament of Lizzy Bennet, our “courage always rises…” When she ardently accepted, you can imagine us: “What delight! What felicity!”–well, more like fangirl squeals! Tessa’s love of Elizabeth Bennet and her deft understanding for the scope of this anthology left me wholly gratified, knowing we asked the right person to introduce this fifth anthology of the QuillCollective series.
We hope this homage to one of Jane Austen’s best-beloved heroines will not disappoint, especially those that suggested an “Elizabeth” anthology back in 2017. Like Darcy, we “had never been so bewitched by any woman” and writing this collection has been diverting/gratifying/delightful. Please accept these stories in the same affectionate spirit they were written. Elizabeth:Obstinate Headstrong Girl is dedicated to “the Elizabeth Bennet in all of us” because I’d like to think she resides in our hearts, even if but a little spark of courage, wit, loyalty–and whether we reveal her to the outside world or not, she is there inspiring us to find our own felicity and dignity. –Christina Boyd, editor
Enjoy an Audio Excerpt
Meet the Narrator
Originally from the East Midlands in the UK, Elizabeth Grace now lives in South London (via two years in Amsterdam). She is a full time actor, voice over artist, and narrator.
Elizabeth began her professional performing career a little later in life and has been studying at Identity School of Acting in London since 2019. Prior to that, she had a career agency side in Marketing which explains her penchant for client services.
Since 2019, she has been growing her professional portfolio on top of the amateur theatre work she began in her formative years. She has now been a part of many projects from short films and web series to audio dramas and audiobook narration.
Learn more at elizabethgraceofficial.com.
Follow the Authors
Elizabeth Adams - eadamswrites.com Christina Boyd - thequillink.com Karen M Cox - karenmcox.com J. Marie Croft - jmariecroft.wixsite.com/j-marie-croft Amy D’Orazio - m.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100030788056041 Leigh Dreyer - m.facebook.com/authorleighdreyer Jenetta James - m.facebook.com/jenettajameswriter Christina Morland - christinamorland.wordpress.com Beau North - beaunorthwrites.com Joana Starnes joanastarnes.co.uk/news Tessa Dare - tessadare.com
Genre: Regency through Contemporary
Publisher: The Quill Collective
Narrator: Elizabeth Grace
Audiobook Publication Date: August 31, 2020
Publisher: The Quill Ink, LLC
Content Note: 2 Hearts
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