Dear Mr. Knightley is a contemporary epistolary novel with a delightful dash of Jane Austen.
Samantha Moore survived years of darkness in the foster care system by hiding behind her favorite characters in literature, even adopting their very words. Her fictional friends give her an identity, albeit a borrowed one. But most importantly, they protect her from revealing her true self and encountering more pain.
After college, Samantha receives an extraordinary opportunity. The anonymous “Mr. Knightley” offers her a full scholarship to earn her graduate degree at the prestigious Medill School of Journalism. The sole condition is that Sam write to Mr. Knightley regularly to keep him apprised of her progress.
As Sam’s true identity begins to reveal itself through her letters, her heart begins to soften to those around her—a damaged teenager and fellow inhabitant of Grace House, her classmates at Medill, and, most powerfully, successful novelist Alex Powell. But just as Sam finally begins to trust, she learns that Alex has secrets of his own—secrets that, for better or for worse, make it impossible for Sam to hide behind either her characters or her letters.
Enjoy learning a little bit more about the story behind the story of Katherine Reay's new novel Dear Mr. Knightley. And don't forget to RSVP to Katherine's Austen-themed Facebook party on 12/3 and enter to win a Kindle HDX and Austen-themed prize pack!
Tell us a bit about the story behind your latest novel. Where did your inspiration spark from?
I started Dear Mr. Knightley while recovering from an injury in 2009. I was housebound for several months recovering, praying, reading and, eventually, writing. I canvassed all the Austen novels first – my “home base” when reading – and then moved onto Webster, Dickens and the Bronte sisters. The idea started to roll from there. In my mind, I saw a character pushed by her past and started to play with how that would and could define her future. Sam and all the wonderful people, literary and real, surrounding her started to form.
How long did your book take you to write?
It took me about 18 months to write. Then it sat for a year while we moved the family across the country. In the spring of 2012, I dusted it off and started peddling it.
What’s your next book or project ?
I am SO excited about that one. Lizzy and Jane is already in my editor’s hands and I love these sisters and their story. It’s got it all it: sibling squabbles, misunderstandings, food, literature, love…
Debut author Katherine Reay is celebrating the release of her delightful novel, Dear Mr. Knightley, with a Kindle Fire HDX giveaway, a fun Favorite Austen Moments Pinterest contest, and an Austen-themed Facebook Party.
One winner will receive:
- A Kindle Fire HDX
- Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay
- Handmade Austen-themed items (scarf, mug, bracelet, and necklace)
Two ways to win! Enter today by clicking one of the icons below or participating in the Pinterest contest (see banner below)—or BOTH!
But hurry, the giveaway ends on December 3rd. Winner will be announced at the "Dear Mr. Knightley" Austen-themed Facebook Author Chat Party on the 3rd. Join Katherine (and Austen fans) for an evening of book chat, prizes, and an exclusive look at Katherine's next book.
So grab your copy of Dear Mr. Knightley and join Katherine on the evening of December 3rd for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book, don't let that stop you from coming!)