Thursday, 30 November 2017

Collide by Melanie Stanford - Blog Tour - Guest Post and Giveaway

Book Cover: Collide by Melanie Stanford
Today I'm joined by Melanie Stanford. Melanie is the writer of Sway and Clash, which are both nods to Austen's Persuasion, the first book being a modernisation of Anne and Captain Wentworth's story, and the second being a follow on focusing on the Elizabeth Eliot character. Melanie's latest book, Collide is a modernised version of North and South. These are pretty rare; in fact, I don't think that I've ever read one.

If you haven't read Mrs Gaskell's North and South I would heartily recommend that you do so. It's a wonderful book, looking at people across class divides and differences between the North and South of Victorian England. There is also a bit of a Pride & Prejudice-ish style romance and arguably the most delicious hero ever. John Thornton is an amazing man - both in terms of business and as a person. He runs a successful business from humble beginnings but what is more admirable than this are his personal qualities - he is hardworking, honourable and fair. He isn't perfect, and by the end of the novel has become a bit of a philanthropist, in addition to being a wonderful son and a loyal man ...... thump.... just swooned! You can see why something this complex, looking at Victorian issues might well be hard to translate to a modern day story and that is just what Melanie is here to discuss today. She's also brought a giveaway! Read on for more details.


Book Description

When their worlds collide, neither will be left unscarred.

Suffocated by her small-town life, Maggie Hale runs away to Las Vegas to pursue her dream as a contemporary dancer. But Vegas doesn’t turn out like she imagined. She doesn’t make it into Essence Dance Theater and the only job she can find is working in a greasy diner—again.

Jay Thornton wants to quit enforcing and own his own boxing gym one day. But his loan shark boss saved him from the streets as a kid and he owes the man everything. Cutting ties isn’t so simple.

When Maggie pledges to pay back a friend’s loan, she becomes Jay’s next mark. Sparks fly between them, but choosing each other could mean the end of both their dreams.

COLLIDE is inspired by Elizabeth Gaskell’s NORTH & SOUTH

Guest Post from Melanie Stanford

Thanks for having me today, Ceri!

COLLIDE, which is my second Romance Revisited novel, is revisiting Elizabeth Gaskell’s North & South. I’m here today to talk about turning this beloved classic into a story that works in our modern times.

Turning North & South into a modern-day story wasn’t easy. In the original, you have two grown main characters who both live with their parents. Margaret moves because her father has a crisis of faith. There are many layers of class and status- Margaret being the gentleman’s daughter but not exactly rich- and John Thornton the rich mill owner who isn’t a “gentleman.” There’s a strike, poor people struggling to get by, and deaths galore. There’s a friend of the family who wants to marry Margaret, then gives her a bunch of money… These things aren’t easily translatable into modern times. I could have forced it, but I wanted my story to read as natural as possible.

So I went my own way. There is no strike. Only one death. No old family friend or inheritance. No adults still living with their parents. ;)

One of the biggest changes I made was to John Thornton’s character. I made him an enforcer to a loan shark. Instead of owning his own business as he does in the original, my Jay has a boss he’s trying to cut ties with. My Jay is almost like the early John Thornton, who started work in a draper’s shop and then worked his way up. My Jay is trying to open his own boxing gym, but his boss won’t let him.

This is a big change. Maggie isn’t meeting a man who’s already established, doing well, and has something to be proud of. Instead she’s meeting a man whose job she finds despicable. But this, to me, only adds to the tension. It makes the reasons for her disliking him all the more real, and the journey to discovering who he really is all the more potent. It also gives Jay a larger goal to strive for, a bigger obstacle to overcome.

While Jay’s job as an enforcer forced me to eliminate things from the original story, it also allowed me to keep some things. Margaret’s relationship to Bessie and Nicholas Higgins, for example, and the appearance of her brother, Fred. Bessie becomes Bronwyn, her roommate in Vegas, Nicholas becomes Bronwyn’s boyfriend Nico, and Maggie’s brother Frasier definitely pops in to cause some trouble.

Modernizing North & South wasn’t easy, but it was fun. I hope readers and fans will forgive me for eliminating the economic and social concerns of the original and appreciate the elements that I did keep: the moments, the character traits, the misunderstandings, the theme of opening your mind to new experiences, and people, and ways of life. And most especially, I hope you’ll enjoy the hard-fought love story.

Author Bio

Author Melanie Stanford
Melanie Stanford writes romance and YA of different genres. Her first novel, SWAY, a modern-day retelling of Jane Austen’s PERSUASION, debuted December 2015 from Samhain Publishing and was shortlisted for the Kobo Emerging Writer Prize. Since Samhain's closure, Melanie decided to republish SWAY herself, along with the rest of her Romance Revisited series: CLASH, a Romance Revisited novella, COLLIDE, and a third novel coming 2018. She also has short stories featured in the Austenesque anthologies THE DARCY MONOLOGUES and THEN COMES WINTER.

Melanie reads too much, plays music too loud, is sometimes dancing, and always daydreaming. She would also like her very own TARDIS, but only to travel to the past. She lives outside Calgary, Alberta, Canada with her husband, four kids, and ridiculous amounts of snow.

Connect with Melanie

WebsiteTwitterFacebookInstagramGoodreads • 

Buy links

Amazon US • Amazon Canada • Amazon UK • Barnes & Noble • Kobo • 

Giveaway Time!

Melanie is giving away a $25 Amazon card to celebrate Collide's arrival. To win, enter the rafflecopter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you so much to Melanie for the guest post and giveaway. All the best with Collide!

27 comments:

  1. Thanks for having me Ceri! And I love your "thump...swoon!" :D

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    1. John Thornton is worth swooning for, Melanie! Thank you so much for visiting Babblings of a Bookworm :)

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  2. I love North and South and while this modern version does not seem to follow canon closely I will have to take a look at it. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Thanks Sheila. If you decide to give it a try, I hope you like it!

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    2. I think N&S must be a tricky story to update and keep very close to canon. I look forward to reading this and seeing how much of canon makes it into the story.

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  3. I had never read N&S until my GoodReads friends goaded me... rather talked about it so much... I felt I could not go through life without having read it. Then I fell into the fan fiction variations [Clarkston I blame you] and that was it for me. I look forward to reading this variation. The clash of societies, personalities and fortunes looks really interesting. I already have the other books and will be pleased to add this one to my collection. Thanks to Ceri for hosting and thanks to our author for the generous give-a-way. Thank you. Blessings on the launch and success of this group of stories.

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    1. Thanks J.W.! I have to admit I haven’t read other N&S variations yet, but I have a few on my to-read list.

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    2. When I posted my review of N&S on Amazon a comment was made there that Pack Clouds Away by Lucy Stone was one of the best sequels/variations. I read it and you can find a review on Goodreads. I also shared it with J. Dawn King who loves N&S and she agreed that it is an excellent story. It is unpublished.

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    3. I have read Nicole's and love those also.

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    4. Hi Jeanne. I've found some wonderful books through Goodreads as well. I have only read one N&S-based book, so I'll aim to read some in my next year's reading.

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  4. I loved this story! I wasn't a big fan of North and South because when I was young I used to think of it as a Pride and Prejudice copy but this modernization made me want to read it again. I fell in love with the characters, especially with Jay and loved his hard path through life. I heartily invite everyone to read this story. Kudos to the writer!

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    1. Thanks so much Loren! Glad you liked the story. I actually like the movie version of N&S better than the book (but don’t tell anyone I said that!).

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    2. Hi Loren, so glad to hear that you loved this book. I love Mrs Gaskell's book. I agree that there are some similarities to P&P; I've always thought of it as P&P with some social conscience thrown in.

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  5. I've got Sway last week, I'm curious about Collide. Thanks for hosting.

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    1. I read Sway and enjoyed it, but I waited too long to review it and so I might have to read it again. I picked up the sequel to it as well, because I liked the Elizabeth Eliot character (which surprised me!) and I wouldn't mind a bit more of her.

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  6. Woohoo! Ready to stalk Melanie and her blog tour! LOL! Loved Sway and can't wait to read her new story!

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    1. Blog tours are all about stalking! Glad you stopped by, Maria :)

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  7. I cannot imagine John Thornton as an "enforcer" but I can only begin to imagine how Maggie will react. What a wonderful premise for a book!

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    1. I really struggled with what job to give John Thornton... I know it doesn't fit with "mill owner" but I hope it all makes sense as a whole. :)

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    2. I'm interested to see how that works too, Eva.

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  8. So so excited to read this book!! Haven't read many N&S modern variations but this sounds amazing.

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    1. I don't think I've read many N&S-based books at all, and I can't think of a modern one. I'm interested to see how well it translates.

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  9. Carole in Canada1 December 2017 at 23:19

    Looking forward to reading this one! Congratulations!

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    1. Me too Carole! Thanks for commenting :)

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