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Monday, 30 October 2017

President Darcy by Victoria Kincaid - Guest Post and Giveaway

Today I'm welcoming Victoria Kincaid to the blog. Victoria has visited here quite a few times before with her Pride & Prejudice variations (including Pride & Proposals, Mr Darcy to the Rescue, Darcy vs Bennet, Chaos Comes to Longbourn and Darcy's Honour) but never with a modern one. I'll share the blurb of her new story, President Darcy, with you, and then hand over to Victoria for a guest post to explain something of US politics for the benefit of those of us who aren't familiar. Victoria is also kindly offering an ebook giveaway to a commenter here, plus treating us to an excerpt!

Book Description

Book cover: President Darcy by Victoria Kincaid
A modern adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

President William Darcy has it all: wealth, intelligence, and the most powerful job in the country. 

Despite what his friends say, he is not lonely in the White House.  He’s not.   And he has vowed not to date while he’s in office.  Nor is he interested in Elizabeth Bennet.   She might be pretty and funny and smart, but her family is nouveau riche and unbearable.  Unfortunately, he encounters her everywhere in Washington, D.C.—making her harder and harder to ignore.  Why can’t he get her out of his mind?

Elizabeth Bennet enjoys her job with the Red Cross and loves her family, despite their tendency to embarrass her.  At a White House state dinner, they cause her to make an unfavorable impression on the president, who labels her unattractive and uninteresting.  Those words are immediately broadcast on Twitter, so the whole world now knows the president insulted her.  Elizabeth just wants to avoid the man—who, let’s admit it, is proud and difficult.  For some reason he acts all friendly when they keep running into each other, but she knows he’s judging her. 

Eventually, circumstances force Darcy and Elizabeth to confront their true feelings for each other, with explosive results.  But even if they can find common ground, Mr. Darcy is still the president—with limited privacy and unlimited responsibilities—and his enemies won’t hesitate to use his feelings for Elizabeth against him. 

Can President Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet find their way to happily ever after?

A contemporary romance
99238 words
Guest Post from Victoria Kincaid - on the US Political System

Although it is primarily a love story, President Darcy necessarily deals with political issues—which can sometimes be confusing to non-Americans.  Join the club. ­čśŐ  Many Americans are confused too.  Especially lately. 

One of the reasons for the quirks in our system is that we really were founded as a union of states.  There were thirteen colonies—each founded by different groups of people for different purposes (usually religious or economic).  Those thirteen colonies fought the British in the Revolutionary War and then were faced with the conundrum of how to build a country.  They thought of themselves as thirteen separate entities; the only thing they’d really cooperated on was fighting the war. 

So when they established a government, they created one that preserved a lot of rights for the individual states.  In fact, the original concept was a confederation of states with almost no central government (each state issued its own money, for example) based on a document called the Articles of Confederation. 

When it was clear the confederation idea wouldn’t work, they wrote the Constitution, which creates a national Executive branch (the president and those who work for him) to carry out laws and a Legislative branch (Congress) to create the laws.  Of course, in order to carry out laws, you have to create more laws  (for example, in order to collect taxes, you need laws about how, when, and where taxes will be collected—and who will pay them).   So the Executive branch ends up creating a lot of those smaller laws, some of which the president issues as executive orders.  The question of which things require Congressional approval and which can be done by executive order is hotly debated in Washington. 

The Constitution stipulated that members of Congress would be directly elected by the citizens of the states they represented.  But it created the Electoral College (to elect the president) for two reasons.  First, the founding fathers were scared of the idea of a pure democracy; they thought it was better to have a republic in which the most knowledgeable men chose the president.  So they created the Electoral College in case the people picked a bad president, then the Electoral College could prevent him from taking office.  In practice, what happens today is that electors’ votes almost always coincide with the will of the people; so that part of the plan doesn’t function as intended.

The other thing the Electoral College does is give more weight to the votes of states with smaller populations.  The electors are not apportioned equally.  The minimum number of electors a state can have is three; the largest number is 55 for California, the state with the largest population.  Each elector in Wyoming (a smaller population state) represents approximately 145,000 people.  Each elector in California represents approximately 500,000 people.  This is how someone can win the popular vote and lose the Electoral College.  That seems unfair, but the system was designed that way.  When the Constitution was created, smaller states were concerned that their voice would not be heard in the national government, so the Electoral College helps to ensure that they have a voice.  (This is also the reason that Congress has two houses.)

A lot of people think the Electoral College system should be abolished since it often doesn’t function the way it was intended.  However, systems that are enshrined in the Constitution are difficult to change.  And, of course, there are groups who benefit from the system who wouldn’t want it to be altered.   Love it or hate it, the Electoral College system has a huge effect on how presidents campaign and win. 

But my vote is still with President Darcy!

Excerpt from President Darcy

Book cover: President Darcy by Victoria Kincaid
 “Intellectual lightweight.”  The phrase niggled at Darcy’s memory.  Where had he heard it recently? 
Not that it mattered anyway.  He’d probably imagined any connection between them—wishful thinking brought on by too many lonely nights in the Residence.  First, she babbled, and then she acted like he’d killed her cat.  Perhaps she was just a strange person.

Then he recalled he had used the phrase in describing Elizabeth to Hilliard.  And somehow, she had heard him.

No wonder she had been icy and distant.  Darcy was lucky she hadn’t flung a drink in his face. His cheeks heated and his chest tightened as he imagined her overhearing his uncensored remarks.  Now that he knew she wasn’t a pampered rich girl, his comments were even more egregious.  He grappled with an intense desire to leave the room—or hide behind one of the eight-foot-high floral arrangements. 

The proper course would be to follow Elizabeth Bennet and apologize.  But he certainly couldn’t chase after her, Secret Service agents in tow, begging for a moment of her time to explain—what, exactly?  He couldn’t claim he hadn’t meant the words; there was no denying he had said them.  She probably wouldn’t even listen to a convoluted explanation about his annoyance with Hilliard, let alone believe it. 

However, it was equally unimaginable not to apologize.  Darcy started after her, but a hand on his elbow pulled him back.  Bob Hilliard yet again.  One glimpse of the man’s white-lipped frown and tense shoulders prevented Darcy from voicing his complaints. 

Without a word, Hilliard pulled Darcy to an unoccupied table, where they were immediately joined by Caroline.  Hilliard handed Darcy a scotch on the rocks—a bad sign. Hilliard spoke in a low tone. 

“Sir, we have a potential situation on Twitter.”

Darcy frowned at Caroline, who handled social media.  His predecessor in the office had been a disaster on Twitter, but most of Darcy’s tweets—posted by his social media staff—were about his policy positions.

“Not your Twitter account,” Caroline clarified.  “There’s a guest here tonight by the name of Lydia Bennet.”  Darcy couldn’t recall which sister she was.  “She has a picture of herself with you.” Darcy shrugged; people posted pictures with him all the time.

“She also complains that you ‘threw shade’”—Bob used air quotes—“at her sister Elizabeth. Supposedly you said ‘she is stupid and not pretty enough to dance with.’  It’s been retweeted 800,000 times.”  He checked his iPad.  “Wait a minute…800,015.” 

Darcy was suddenly nauseated.  Not only had Elizabeth overheard, but her sister had tweeted it? “That’s what I said when—” Hilliard nodded knowingly.  Darcy gratefully gulped scotch before scowling at Hilliard.  “That area should have been cleared before we talked.”

Hilliard grimaced.  “The Secret Service should have cleared it, but apparently they didn’t check the ladies’ room.”

Darcy tossed back some more scotch.  “Elizabeth Bennet heard me insult her in person?”  Hilliard nodded, and Darcy stifled a groan.  He had harbored a small hope that she had heard it from a third party.  I’m lucky I got off with a cold shoulder instead of a slap to the face.

The Washington Post wants to know if we have a comment,” Caroline said.

How soon was too soon to leave his own state dinner? This had been a series of fiascos.  “They want us to respond to a tweet from a high school student?”

Caroline consulted her phone.  “Her profile says she’s at GW University.  The Post wants to know if you actually said her sister was ‘ugly and stupid’ and if you said it to her face.”
 
“No!” Darcy practically yelled.  “I would never—” Several heads pivoted in their direction; Darcy lowered his voice.  “Obviously I didn’t know she was there.”

Caroline frowned.  “Her father is a big donor.  Can we issue a denial?”

Darcy’s predecessor had been notorious for his falsehoods, and Darcy had been scrupulous at avoiding any appearance of being less than truthful.  It was one of the ways he had gained the public’s trust and restored faith in the presidency.  “No,” he said wearily.  “I did say it.  I haven’t lied to the press before.  I’m not starting now.” 

Caroline took notes with brisk efficiency.  “We can say ‘no comment,’ but perhaps we should get someone working on damage control.”  She shot a quizzical look at Hilliard, who nodded.

Darcy rubbed the back of his neck where the headache had now taken hold.  He couldn’t help imagining Elizabeth’s reaction when he had uttered those words.  How had her face looked?  What had she thought?  Had he made her cry?   God damn it!  Darcy scrubbed his face with his hands.  “Can I issue an apology?”

“What?” Hilliard’s voice squeaked, and Caroline barked a laugh.

“I was irritated at you.” He waved at Hilliard.  “And it was an insensitive thing to say.  I didn’t even mean it.”  Darcy’s breathing constricted just thinking that she might believe those ill-considered words.  They were beneath him and beneath the office of the president. 

“No, you can’t apologize!” Hilliard hissed.  “An apology would only confirm that you said it. That would be the surest way to transform this into a media circus.  It would be breaking news on the cable stations.  Rule number one of the presidency: don’t admit mistakes.”

“Stupid rule.”  Darcy hated to maintain a fa├žade of infallibility.  Presidents were human and made mistakes.  Pretending otherwise was idiotic and counterproductive, but admitting to errors gave your enemies too much ammunition.  He gripped the scotch glass so tightly that his fingers turned white.

“If we don’t say anything, it will likely die down,” Hilliard said.

Darcy stretched his neck, willing the muscles to loosen.  Hilliard was right, but still.  “Can I at least apologize to Elizabeth Bennet?”

“Why bother?” Caroline asked sharply.

He drained the last of the scotch and slammed the glass down on the table.  “Because it was rude and inaccurate.  She’s neither stupid nor ugly,” he growled at Caroline, not even caring when she drew back slightly.

Hilliard shook his head sadly.  “No.  You can’t apologize to her.  It would be the first thing she’d mention if the media contacts her.   It would be best if you didn’t have any conversations with her at all.”

Darcy thumped the glass on the table, startling Caroline. “Great. Just great,” he muttered to himself. 
Elizabeth would continue to believe that he thought she was unattractive and dumb, and the whole world would think he’d insulted a woman he barely knew. And he’d been barred from speaking with the most intriguing woman he’d met in years.

Sometimes being president sucked.

* * *

Oh dear! I am so glad Victoria chose to share this excerpt with us, because in Pride & Prejudice unless Darcy intended for Elizabeth to hear his initial poor impression of her, it's likely that he doesn't know for a long time that she heard him. In canon, news of his insult is spread, but from person to person, and probably never told to him. In a modern-day story, this can happen too, but news of an insult by the US President, shared many times on Twitter, is certainly going to be known to him. So I was wondering how he'd take the news that his insult had been overheard.

Giveaway Time!

Book cover: President Darcy by Victoria Kincaid
Victoria is kindly offering a giveaway for my blog visitors. An ebook of President Darcy is up for grabs to a commenter on this post. You can comment on whatever aspect of the story catches your fancy, but please remember that this is all intended as light entertainment, and we are not starting a heated political discussion! The giveaway is open internationally, until the end of the day on Sunday 5 November. Please leave a way for me to contact you in case you are the lucky winner.

If you just can't wait that long to read the book, then don't worry; you can buy it now! It's available in kindle and paperback on Amazon UK, Amazon US, and elsewhere. You can also add it to your Goodreads shelves.

28 comments:

  1. Interesting comments. I read and totally enjoyed this. The cover Darcy is yummy!

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    1. Isn't he! I think Victoria has smashed it with this cover.

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  2. I have read every book by Victoria Kincaid and am anxious for this one too! Imagingibg Mr. Darcy as President is a dreamy thought, that's for sure! He's got my vote! Thanks for the giveaway!

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    1. It's a lovely thought isn't it! Thanks for commenting, and good luck :)

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  3. I have followed this blog tour and am so anxious to read this book! Victoria has written wonderful books and this one certainly is another winner (I'll vote for Darcy!). How does he get out of this mess? Twitter is a great way to spread his remark not throughout the village of Meryton but throughout the world. How in the world will Darcy and Elizabeth have their HEA? Thank you for the excerpt and giveaway. evamedmonds(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Hi Eva. The stakes are certainly raised here! Meryton was the centre of canon Lizzy's world, but these days with a global audience, and a high profile person, the comments would go worldwide.

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  4. I have read about Darcy as many things. I am quite curious to see him as President! Cherringtonmb at sbcglobal dot net

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    1. Hi Becky. So often Darcy is kept as English in modern updates so it'll be a change to see him as American. And especially as a politician, which is something which you'd think would require a lot of socialising.

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  5. This premise, of Mr. Darcy as President, is quite intriguing. Well done!

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    1. I agree, Sue, interesting idea for a story.

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  6. Oh, I loved this excerpt! Very excited to read this book, I know I am going to love it! Thank you for the giveaway! :)

    danielaquadros@gmail.com

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    1. Hi Daniela. I hope you enjoy the book when you read it.

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  7. I can't wait to read this modern take!

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  8. So, what were President Darcy's numbers in the election? Was he a landslide? Did he get the office via the electoral college vote? We need the post-election day coverage!

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    1. Ooh, interesting, Ginna! I wonder. It would be interesting either way, wouldn't it, especially with having to deal with a PR issue like insulting guests.

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  9. Loved the excerpt. I love to see how authors update things that happen in canon to give it a modern take. So I enjoyed seeing how his "barely tolerable" insult was changed. With social media, it is sure to spread quickly and cause him some headaches. jadseah4 (at) yahoo (dot) com

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    1. Yes, the insult being so widely known is an interesting twist, isn't it, Darcybennett, because in canon he probably doesn't know that she has heard, but on Twitter, he knows that she knows, so it'll be a different dynamic.

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  10. This book sounds like so much fun. I've read many JAFF stories where Darcy has been many things... but never the POTUS. I am so looking forward to reading this.

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    1. I haven't read a story on this concept either, Jeanne. I hope you enjoy it when you read it.

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  11. Carole in Canada31 October 2017 at 21:05

    President Darcy, I believe you should apologize...
    Looking forward to this one!

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    1. I agree, Carole, but politicians so often see admitting an error as a weakness :(

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  12. Great excerpt....it left me wanting more!!!
    Can't figure out how President Darcy is going to get himself out of this self inflicted mess!!
    I imagine there will be stony silences when next they meet,or perhaps Lizzy will ignore his remarks,preferring her revenge as a dish served cold?

    Looking forward to find out how they resolve matters!

    Thanks Ceri for such a lovely post!
    Victoria,wishing you success in your wroting endeavours! ��

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    1. I can't see how he can get through this without apologising, Mary. I'll be interested to see how it progresses.

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  13. I haven't had a chance to look at this book yet and I love VC's books. Thanks for featuring it here. Jen Red

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    1. Hi Jen. This is such a different concept to Victoria's other books, with being set in the modern day, and with all the other difficulties brought in of being a very high-profile person.

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  14. What a fun excerpt. And he looks so presidential.

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    1. Glad you enjoyed it, KateB! I agree that the cover model looks really presidential, I think the picture on the cover is perfect.

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