Today we welcome Vera Nazarian, author of this month’s reading selection Pride & Platypus: Mr. Darcy’s Dreadful Secret. We had the opportunity this time around to ask her even more questions, which we divided into two parts. Today’s interview focuses on Pride & Platypus. Part two will be posted on Wednesday about writing. Also don’t forget to enter for a chance to win one of THREE digital copies we’ll be giving away!
1. Why a platypus?
Why a platypus, you ask? Aha! This is the question that any sane Janeite might ask—and frankly, should ask—when faced with this mind-blowing, ludicrous notion of everyone’s favorite dreamboat Regency hunk Mr. Darcy together with this amazing little critter in the same book. Here is the stunning answer…
Okay, you know how there are so many werewolves and other similar highly attractive “noble” were-creatures and demon shapeshifters in paranormal and supernatural romance? Yes, I am talking about were-lions, tigers, panthers, leopards, unicorns, horses (ahem, virile stallions), bears, serpent, dragons, and other “sexy” manly beasts into which our hero bravely turns, and never loses even a tiny measure of hotness.
All right, I thought, what might be the least sexy and most ridiculous and bizarre creature on this earth to make into a shapeshifter, for the sake of comedy? Well, I briefly thought of moo-cows… But then it occurred to me, I needed something that was actually interesting, not merely something that stood and chewed cud.
And then, in discussion with a friend and fellow writer Marian Crane, as we were joking around with plays on the title “Pride and Prejudice,” she mentioned the platypus. And that was it! I was immediately sold! What could be more perfectly weird than this amazing Australian native monotreme, a strange Frankenstein mix of a duck, an otter, a beaver, a lizard, and a snake all in one? Nothing, that’s what!
A platypus has the bill of a duck, webbed feet, the body of an otter, a plush and thick beaver tail, poisonous spurs on its hind legs (males only) with which it bravely attacks its enemies, defends its mate, and is just the most heartrendingly cute, lovable, dangerous, and at the same time pathos-inducing creature with its quiet depth, loyalty, and many complex layers….
Wait—am I talking about a platypus or a sexy wounded romantic hero here? Seriously, at its heart, the platypus is the ultimate romantic hero to me!
Inconceivable? Au contraire, my friend! But you’ll just have to read the book to see the awesomeness factor of the platypus as a Regency gentleman. Do not be fooled by the silly aspect! Allow yourself to dive deep, and sink!
2. Who was your favorite character to develop/alter?
Although I had tons of delightful fun with the titular hero platypus, and also with Mr. Bingley, Mr. Wickham, Mr. Bennet, and so many other characters, I must admit that what really had me rolling was Mr. Collins. No, I am sorry, I cannot tell you what dire and dreadful creature Mr. Collins turns into, but I promise you, the revelation will make you squee and giggle and then possibly shriek with laughter. My other favorite transformation was Georgiana Darcy, but she is also a surprise.
3. What is your opinion of the giant Mr. Darcy in Hyde Park? Smokin’ hot or constipated?
What? There’s a giant Mr. Darcy in Hyde Park? I am stunned and amazed, and must investigate! Okay, after Googling, I am back with an Opinion ™. And my opinion is, constipated, yes. But there can never be too much Mr. Darcy, in any shape or form or location! So, bring him on! Sculpt him out of mashed potatoes! Put his face on a piece of toast or brand him into the side of a grilled cheese sandwich! Roll him up in a tortilla! Yumm! YES! Ahem…