Today is part II of our interview with Prom and Prejudice author Elizabeth Eulberg. (Miss Part I?) Today we tackle the topic of writing!
Q. Many of our readers are also writers. How did working in publicity first affect your writing? When/why did you decide to make the leap?
A. Working in publishing helped me a lot because I’m surrounded by books, authors and editors all day. It’s my job to read – how cool is that? But it also made me extremely intimidated to start to write a book. But it was author Dav Pilkey who really encouraged me to write, so I started and kept it a deep, dark secret for a long while.
Q. In the same vein, how did writing Prom and Prejudice differ from your first book, The Lonely Hearts Club?
A. The Lonely Hearts Club took me nearly five years to get to a place where it was publishable. I learned a lot from that experience, mainly start with an outline so you know where you are going before you sit down to write! And now I also spend a lot of time with the characters and get to know them inside and out. Prom and Prejudice only took me about three months before I had a decent enough draft to send to my editor. Of course, having Pride and Prejudice as a template certainly helped!
A. The most fun was probably Colin – he’s just so long winded and pretty clueless. So there were a lot of funny moments with him (as well as Lydia). But of course, being able to create my own Darcy was a ton of fun. I think the most difficult was Lizzie, I needed to make sure was likeable even those she is incredibly stubborn for the majority of the book. Elizabeth Bennet is so beloved, I didn’t want my changes to her ruin people’s love for the character of Lizzie.
Q. What were the challenges of adapting a story from the early 19th century for a 21st century setting?
A. The major theme of Pride and Prejudice – that a woman needs to be married– doesn’t really work in modern times. Which is why I changed it to high school and prom dates. There weren’t too many challenges after that since Miss Austen’s characters and the idea of true love are pretty timeless.
Q. What would you say to convince non-Austen fans to read Prom and Prejudice?
A. I don’t think you need to have any understanding of the original to enjoy Prom and Prejudice, it stands on its own. It’s a fun story about a teenage girl who steps out of her comfort zone to reach her dream of becoming a concert pianist by attending a very wealthy boarding school – she finds out a lot about herself and love along the way. What’s not to like? J