Anyone who knows me knows just how much I absolutely adore the Lizzie Bennet Diaries. There's a reason, after all, that Pride and Prejudice has remained such a beloved classic.
With a spy-cial re-imagination of Austen's iconic novel, please put your hands (fingers? via keyboard?) to give a drumroll to...
SPIES AND PREJUDICE! (the blog tour)
Alright, you all know how much I love guest posts. For this stop I asked the fabulous Talia Vance (by the way, her other YA novel, Silver, is amazing. You can read my review of it here--funnily enough, I was also part of the blog tour for Silver!) to explain her research process. After all: How do we understand a trade so clandestine?
Before I let Talia take the stage, let's find out what Spies and Prejudice is about first, shall we?
Spies and Prejudice
By: Talia Vance
Reported by: Julianna Helms
Release date: June 11th, 2013 via Egmont
Fields’ Rule #1: Don’t fall for the enemy.
Berry Fields is not looking for a boyfriend. She’s busy trailing cheaters and liars in her job as a private investigator, collecting evidence of the affairs she’s sure all men commit. And thanks to a pepper spray incident during an eighth grade game of spin the bottle, the guys at her school are not exactly lining up to date her, either.
So when arrogant—and gorgeous—Tanner Halston rolls into town and calls her “nothing amazing,” it’s no loss for Berry. She’ll forget him in no time. She’s more concerned with the questions surfacing about her mother’s death.
But why does Tanner seem to pop up everywhere in her investigation, always getting in her way? Is he trying to stop her from discovering the truth, or protecting her from an unknown threat? And why can’t Berry remember to hate him when he looks into her eyes?
With a playful nod to Jane Austen, Spies and Prejudice will captivate readers as love and espionage collide.
-Summary via Goodreads
Pre-order: Mrs. Nelson's (you should totally support my local indie store, yo!) || Barnes & Noble || Amazon || The Book Depository
Doesn't that just sound AWESOME? I know I can't wait to read it!
Alright- Let's get to the guest post:
What was Your Research Process for SPIES AND PREJUDICE?
Since the romantic storyline in Spies and Prejudice is loosely based on Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy, it probably comes as no surprise that I spent some time re-reading Pride and Prejudice before I started writing. I picked which characters/archetypes I thought would fit well with my contemporary spy story and re-read some of my favorite scenes. Then I put it away, because I never wanted to do a straight retelling and I didn’t want to copy scenes, so much as honor them with subtle references.
I spent a lot of time researching spy gadgets. I started with gadgets that would be available to a teen with an internet connection. A lot of Berry’s gadgets are things you can purchase online: ninja claws (http://www.amazon.com/Ninja-Hand-Climbing-Tigers-Spikes/dp/B0009X4CDO), foot spikes (http://www.amazon.com/Ninja-Ashiko-Foot-Spikes-Set/dp/B009XXFRBW/ref=sr_1_18?s=sporting-goods&ie=UTF8&qid=1370322648&sr=1-18&keywords=foot+spikes), grappling hooks (http://www.amazon.com/Black-Ninja-Folding-Grappling-Hook/dp/B0009PGVG8/ref=sr_1_5?s=sporting-goods&ie=UTF8&qid=1370322648&sr=1-5&keywords=foot+spikes), listening devices (http://www.amazon.com/Listen-Up-Personal-Sound-Amplifier/dp/B0010ZPI10/ref=sr_1_6?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1370322755&sr=1-6&keywords=listening+device)and camera glasses (http://www.amazon.com/Fashion-Black-Glasses-Hidden-camera/dp/B009GEOEF8/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1370322829&sr=1-1&keywords=camera+glasses+spy) can all be bought with the click of a mouse.
Most teens already have digital cameras, camcorders and voice recording devices right on their cell phones, but I wanted my spy gear to be a bit more sophisticated and stealthy. I interviewed a woman who worked for a defense contractor who designed spy gear, and while she couldn’t reveal any secrets, she was willing to listen to my ideas for button cameras, exploding bracelets and portable scanners, and to let me know if they were feasible (button cams exist!).
I also spent time researching hacking, addiction, Hamlet, energy drinks, redness minimizers and Spielberg films. Berry has a Saint Bernard, and I conducted hands on research, buying a Saint Bernard puppy within days of starting the manuscript and incorporating realistic details of owning a 150 pound monster (like drool that dries to the consistency of glue and hogging the bed).
Finally, I had some real life experience to draw on. My father is a private investigator, and I spent a summer working for him after college. I was a terrible spy, but I the idea that I could have seen something was the impetus for Berry’s story.
That is truly fascinating, Talia! Thanks so much for sharing the behind-the-scenes stuff. It's always interesting to read about these processes.
Want to Know More about Talia?
Talia Vance is a practicing litigation attorney living in Northern California with her real life love interest, two-point-five kids, and a needy Saint Bernard named Huckleberry. Talia has been writing since she could talk, making up stories for every doll, stuffed animal and action figure she could get her hands on. She grew up hoping to write the great American novel, but her life ran more along the lines of tortured romance and fast paced thrillers, so that's what she writes.
Find Talia Online:
Personally, I think Talia can pass for a spy just fine. :)
And now... the moment you've all been waiting for!
-There will be 5 total winners (US only)
-3 winners will receive a hardcover copy of Spies and Prejudice and a t-shirt
-2 winners will receive a t-shirt
Just enter in the Rafflecopter widget below!