Follow by Email

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Blog Tour - The Muse by Jessica Evans - Guest Post and Giveaway

Today I am welcoming Jessica Evans, author of 'The Muse'. This is a Pride & Prejudice-inspired modern story, set in the world of ballet. Jessica has a post for us about artistic inspiration, which is one of the themes of 'The Muse'. There's also an international paperback and ebook giveaway! So without further ado I'll hand over to Jessica.

Book Cover - The Muse by Jessica Evans
Blurb for The Muse

Elizabeth Bennet, the newest corps de ballet dancer at Ballet Theater of New York, dreams of rising through the prestigious company’s ranks to become a prima ballerina. When she’s cast in superstar choreographer William Darcy’s newest work, she believes she’s one step closer to realizing her dream–until she meets him.

William Darcy, the former dance legend and ballet bad boy, is a jaded perfectionist who dancers both fear and admire. Although touted as the next big thing in the ballet world, he secretly battles a bad case of artist’s block–until he meets Elizabeth Bennet.

Tempers ignite between Elizabeth and Darcy, but he’s irresistibly drawn to the stubborn and beautiful corps de ballet dancer. Could she be the muse he needs to reignite his passion for ballet?

* * *

From the beginning, I knew that the title of my story would be The Muse. Many years ago, this story lived in my head about an artist – a choreographer – and the muse who inspired him. Somehow, this story became intertwined with some of the themes and plotlines from Pride and Prejudice, and The Muse was born. Just as Lizzy and Darcy's relationship was shaped by conflict, I also thought the relationship of artist and muse was a problematic one. 

Think about the Greek myth of Pygmalion - the artist who fell in love with his perfect sculpture and eventually married her. The artist-muse relationship assumes that the artist (who is usually male) is a genius and the muse (usually female) is just his object, his vessel, a cold slab of stone waiting to be chiseled and molded. She, the muse, the art object, has no say in the creative process.    

But this is a misconception because most art is collaborative. Choreographers inspire dancers and dancers inspire choreographers. I wanted to portray this reality in The Muse.

In my story, William Darcy is a rising choreographer in the American dance world. A former superstar dancer whose career was cut short by a knee injury, he suffers from a bad case of artist's block. Thankfully, he finds his muse in Elizabeth Bennet, who, as a member of the corps de ballet, ranks very low in the ballet company's hierarchy. In the beginning of the story, we see this stereotypical artist-muse dynamic unfold: Darcy flagrantly uses Elizabeth for his own selfish purposes. She is his object; he sees her as an empty vessel without a personality or feelings or artistic desires of her own. She hates him for it and pushes back at him constantly, which, ironically, continues to challenge and inspire him.

When preparing this book for publication, a friend suggested that I change the title to Mr. Darcy's Muse. I was adamant that it remain The Muse, because this isn’t just a story about Mr. Darcy’s muse. Yes, in the first half of the book, Elizabeth is eponymous muse. But eventually, the roles reverse. In the second half of the book, Darcy begins to inspire Elizabeth’s dancing in unexpected ways. In a way, Darcy becomes Elizabeth's muse. 

To me the artist-muse relationship should be a symbiotic one - both artists evolve and grow by collaborating with each other. This is exactly what happens in The Muse between Elizabeth and Darcy. Their romantic relationship parallels their artistic relationship, going from one marked by conflict, selfishness, and strife, to one of equality, collaboration, and inspiration. To me, that’s what a creative relationship is all about.

* * *
Jessica Evans - Author of 'The Muse'
Author Bio for Jessica Evans

Jessica Evans cut her writer’s teeth in various fan fiction forums starting at fifteen. Although she discovered Jane Austen’s novels as a college sophomore, she didn’t begin writing Austenesque until several years later. The Muse: A Pride and Prejudice Variation is her debut novel.

Jessica teaches sixth grade English in New York City. In her spare time, she reads a lot of Young Adult literature, and cooks and eats as healthily as possible. She lives in Brooklyn, NY.

You can catch up with Jessica on FacebookGoodreads and on her blog.

Giveaway!

Meryton Press have very kindly offered an international giveaway of one paperback and one ebook version (Kindle or Nook) of 'The Muse' to commenters on this post. Please specify if you'd like to enter the draw for only one format, otherwise I'll include your name in the draw for both, paperback first. Just leave a comment for Jessica including a way for me to contact you if you're a winner (twitter handle, email address etc. If you want to avoid spam please leave your email address with an (at) instead of an @). Last day for entries is Monday 15 December 2014.

Blog Tour

As this is part of a blog tour that means there are other stops that you can visit with guest posts, excerpts, reviews and chances to win a copy of 'The Muse'. Here are the stops:



1/12: Excerpt at My Kids Led Me Back to Pride and Prejudice
2/12: Review at Songs & Stories
3/12: Guest Post & Giveaway at More Agreeably Engaged
4/12: Review at Wings of Paper
5/12: Excerpt & Giveaway at Laughing with Lizzie
6/12: Guest Post & Giveaway at Babblings of a Bookworm
7/12: Guest Post & Giveaway at My Love for Jane Austen
8/12: Excerpt & Giveaway at Stories From the Past
9/12: Review at So Little Time...
10/12: Review at BestSellers & BestStellars
11/12: Author Interview at Wings of Paper
12/12: Review at Diary of an Eccentric
13/12: Review at Fairy Jane Tales
14/12: Excerpt at The Calico Critic
15/12: Review at Warmisunqu's Austen



72 comments:

  1. Very keen to read this one! I've been wanting to read a story where the relationship between Darcy and Elizabeth is really intense and this sounds like it might fit the bill! I'd love to be entered in the giveaway for either version of the book - paperback or eBook. Thanks for the giveaway opportunity Ceri & Jessica :D brendapwood at gamil dot com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Brenda, I'd say intense describes the relationship between my Lizzy and Darcy. After you read the book, I'd love to know your thoughts on the matter! Thanks for commenting!

      Delete
    2. Hi Brenda! I am very keen to read this one too. I've read some excerpts on other stops of the blog tour and they are so good, I wanted more!

      Delete
  2. Sounds like an intresting book. I would love to win a paperback copy. e-mail: heleanna(at)gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for commenting! Good luck in the giveaway!

      Delete
    2. Thanks Eleanna! I'll enter you for the paperback giveaway only :)

      Delete
  3. I definitely want to read this book!!! As the Giveaway is open internationally,I have no preference whatsoever, so please, include my name in the draw for both.
    pottypo(at)yahoo(dot)it

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good luck in the giveaway! Thanks for commenting!

      Delete
    2. Hi Gabriella, thanks for your comment!

      Delete
  4. Thanks for hosting me, Ceri! I enjoyed writing this post. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am very happy to host you Jessica! I really enjoyed the post too, very interesting. I like the idea of the creative process being two way, I'd usually think of a muse as a one-way process, though I suppose if your muse is a dancer rather than a statue your inspiration will come from what they do rather than just their attributes so it would always be a more active relationship. This book is one I want to read very soon!

      Delete
  5. On my TBR list. Thanks for the giveaway. tresha_7@msndotcom

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's on mine too! Thanks for commenting Tresha.

      Delete
    2. Glad to hear it! Please let me know your thoughts after you've finished reading.

      Delete
  6. I read above that this book has been years in the making. Are you planning to write any other Pride and Prejudice variations?

    I love modern Pride and Prejudice variations and I just checked Amazon and ‘The Muse’ isn’t available for pre-order. Will your book only be available through Meryton Press and if not, when do you anticipate it being available through other venues?

    td4bz2 (at) hotmail . com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is a very good question and I hope Jessica comes by and sees it, as I'd like to know the answer too. Good luck in the giveaway.

      Delete
    2. I checked Jessica's blog and it says there that The Muse is due out on 15 December, though I'm not sure which retailers.

      Delete
    3. To answer your questions,

      Yes, I do have some more ideas for future stories, and hope to have another book out very soon! I'm actually going to repost a story I wrote many years ago, The Chosen People, on A Happy Assembly, so if you're hungry for more P&P variations you can read that. :)

      The Muse isn't available for pre-order on Amazon, but will definitely be up for sale on December 15, if not earlier. Check my Facebook page for latest updates: www.facebook.com/jessicaevansbooks

      Thanks for commenting!

      Delete
    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    5. Thank you Jessica and Ceri for both of your responses. Only eight days till the premiere of 'The Muse'!

      Delete
  7. This sounds like a super fun read! Thanks for the giveaway
    theresamattina at gmail

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for commenting Theresa!

      Delete
    2. It was fun to write! I hope you enjoy reading it, too!

      Delete
  8. Jessica, I am so excited for you as you bring this terrific story to the market, but even more excited for the readers who will get to enjoy it for the first time. I am also excited for the opportunity to re-read this story from the pages of a paperback, from start to finish, particularly certain "shower scenes." Wishing you great success with sales of the book. Please enter me in the drawing for paperback. I'm still a bit of a Luddite when it comes to my books. 😊

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Amy, you are not the first person to mention the shower scene, I am all agog to read it now! Good luck with the paperback giveaway

      Delete
    2. It's a short scene, but very - ahem - steamy. (I'm sorry, I had to do it!)

      Glad you enjoyed it the first time and I look forward to your feedback this time around. :)

      Delete
  9. Great author post, I'll keep in mind what you've said as I read the book which i cannot wait to read. I love unusual concepts :) please do not enter me into the giveaway Ceri, good luck to everyone who enters!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your comment Tamara. I am looking forward to reading it too.

      Delete
  10. I love the ballet aspect of this book! Thank you for offering the chance to win a copy!

    NovEllaandBanannabelle(at)Gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for dropping by, and good luck with the giveaway!

      Delete
  11. I love knowing how an author comes up with the inspiration to write novels. This particular title and the gorgeous cover had my attention since I came to know about it. Congratulations on the upcoming publication of The Muse, Jessica. I would definitely add your book to my wish list.

    evangelineace2020(at)yahoo(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree LĂșthien, both the title and the cover of this book really make it stand out.

      Delete
    2. I know, right? My cover is beautiful! Meryton Press outdid themselves. Thanks for commenting!

      Delete
  12. Thanks for hosting Ceri. Jessica I agree with you regarding the artist-muse relationship is a symbiotic one. They both can inspire each other creative side.

    Looking forward to reading this novel. Thank you for the giveaway opportunity. My email address is tdungnvu (at) yahoo (dot) com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Dung Vu! Good luck in the giveaway.

      Delete
    2. Thanks for commenting! I hope you enjoy the book. :)

      Delete
  13. While I know next to nothing about ballet, I do love Darcy & Elizabeth, so that one will have to be read! (And I can soooooo see Darcy as a snooty ballet dancer! :-) stinelutts(at)gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The book is written for the ballet novice in mind, so even if you have no background in ballet, I think you'll enjoy it. Let me know what you think after you read it!

      Delete
    2. I don't know much about ballet either, other than it takes masses of hard work. I can really see Darcy as a snooty dancer too!

      Delete
    3. When does it get published? I can't seem to find anything via amazon (so maybe I'll just have to win a copy :-)

      Delete
    4. Hi Stacie, it's due to be published on 15 December but it could be sooner. If you haven't already, check out the other stops on the blog tour as there are other chances to win. Also, I think there is a goodreads giveaway open for The Muse which closes around 15 Dec so you could try that too!

      Delete
  14. Great! Another chance to win! I would love to win the paperback (don't have an e-reader). Thanks for the giveaway
    kookblogs (at) gmail (dot) com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Arjanne, I will enter you just for the paperback :)

      Delete
    2. Thanks so much for commenting! I hope you enjoy the book.

      Delete
  15. I would love to win either format. my twitter handle is @achubbybookworm

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Judging from your twitter handle you and I have a lot in common ;) Thanks for your comment and good luck in the giveaway!

      Delete
    2. Thanks for stopping by and good luck with the giveaway!

      Delete
  16. I keep checking Amazon to see when it is available. I love the ballet. My husband - not so much. However, when we were first married I promised him that if he would go to one I would never ask him again. He agreed. We got tickets to see Mikhail Baryshnikov. John was stunned at his sheer athleticism and enjoyed the night. From then on I used my season tickets for friends and then my daughter. I long to read this book.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Joy, the book is due out next week, the 15th. The blog tour giveaways all finish by the 16th I believe, so you don't have to wait too long either way. I have never been to watch the ballet, I keep meaning to, particularly as I think they subsidise both ballet and opera in my area to encourage uncultured people like myself to attend. I'll have to try it next year!

      Delete
    2. Wow, I'm so jealous that you saw Baryshnikov in person! That must have been spectacular! Keep checking Amazon. There is a very likely chance that the book will be released early!

      Delete
  17. I love the idea of Lizzy being Darcy's muse and then Darcy being the muse for Lizzy. Turnabout is fairbplay. I enjoy ballet, unfortunately the men in my life do not. I am looking forward to reading this book. I would love to be entered for either format. Thank you for the generous give away. skamper25 (at) gmail (dot) com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I really wanted the relationship to be one "between equals" and so that's why I decided to make them each other's muses. Thanks for commenting and good luck with the giveaway!

      Delete
    2. Hi Debbie, I love that idea too, that they become each other's muse, as a true equal relationship is like that, it's a two way street isn't it. Good luck in the giveaway.

      Delete
  18. Sounds very interesting :). I always think there's a lack of ballet related books. I would be interested in the paperback only. My twitter handle is @dysphoricsylph ^_^

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree with you! I really couldn't find many fictional stories set in the ballet world as I was doing research for The Muse. Hopefully, my book will fill the void. Thanks for entering the giveaway!

      Delete
    2. I think that's probably very true, I can think of books I read as a child/tween based around ballet, but very few stories aimed at adults. Good luck in the giveaway!

      Delete
  19. I LOVED this guest post! Thanks for sharing it! I always like to know what inspires an author, and since I love anything Austen everything is more interesting!
    I'd love to enter for both formats, Ceri.

    newyorkgirl82(at)gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for reading and for commenting!

      Delete
    2. Me too Maria, I love to know the thing that sparked off the idea for a story, as a non-creative person it amazes me that something could spark off a whole story! Thanks for commenting :)

      Delete
  20. I want to read this book soooo much and would love to win.
    dez3b@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree, I'm really looking forward to reading this. Good luck in the giveaway!

      Delete
  21. Yey, another chance to win this book. Love the ballet-aspect together with P&P! :)

    kewinkler at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Katrin! I love the idea too, looking forward to reading this. Good luck in the giveaway!

      Delete
  22. I've enjoyed following the blog tour for this, and look forward to reading it in the new year. I don't know much about ballet (except for what I've seen on So You Think You Can Dance! Lol) and never seen one in person, but I have such respect for dancing and choreographing as an art form. My mom took my nieces to see The Nutcracker a few Christmases ago and they enjoyed it but were freaked out a little by how much of the male dancers' "parts" they could see. Lol! But I digress....

    Thank you for the chance to win!
    @jaffobsession

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL, Monica! Those tights don't leave much to the imagination! Thank you for your comment, and good luck in the giveaway :)

      Delete
    2. Monica, the story with your nieces is so funny! I remember watching the Mikhail Baryshnikov version of The Nutcracker as a young girl and being shocked by the exact same thing!

      I hope you enjoy The Muse, through it, learn more about dancing, too. Thanks for commenting!

      Delete
  23. I loved this book when it was on line. I was sad that i could not find it. Add me in! Karon663(at)gmail.com

    ReplyDelete