Piper Huguley – Joyfully Reinvigorated

August is Read-A-Romance Month.

Welcome!

I hope you’ll visit ReadARomanceMonth.com every day in August to see what 93+ of your favorite authors have to say about the Joy of Romance.

(Check out the calendar. And follow RARM on Facebook!)

Do you love Romance? Let’s celebrate. xo

Celebrating Joy with a marathon of the most romantic story ever.

Virtuous RubyYou know it well before I even said it. Pride and Prejudice. It’s hard to imagine any author in the world who has been more seminal in the development of the romance genre. Austen’s work even brought me back to the love of writing and has impacted me, a Black woman from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She’s remarkable.

Quite a few years back not, my mother knew I was stressed out from graduate school. So to offset the rigors of my academic life, one way that my mother would help me cope would be to schedule a once-a-year Pride and Prejudice marathon during either Christmas or Spring Break when I would return home. The marathon was an all-day endeavor—especially after the 1996 BBC version was released on DVD.  We would have a hearty breakfast of eggs, grits or potatoes, sausage or bacon, and toast.  We would then start to watch the Pride and Prejudice productions, back to back to back. For twelve hours.

We would always progress the same way, earliest version first.– the 1940’s version. Yes, the costumes are all wrong, but Laurence Olivier. Yes, Greer Garson is a little green, but Laurence Olivier. Some of the story is missing and wrong in just two hours, but Laurence Olivier. Remember, this is the man Vivien Leigh left her husband and young baby for and followed this hottie across an ocean and a continent. Leigh didn’t even know if she could be Scarlett in Gone With the Wind yet. That’s some powerful love juju. And Edna May Oliver too. She’s my candidate for the best Lady Catherine De Bourgh. She’s just so good in one of her final roles. And Laurence Olivier. 

Next we’d have a little snack break and then start on the 1979 BBCMostPreciousPearl-A300 version of Pride and Prejudice, which is my favorite. Stop. All you Colin Firth fans, don’t leave comments lifting him up.  I love him too and he’s great, but David Rintoul is just a bit better. Sorry, not sorry. He is. And Jennifer Ehle laughs a little too much. I prefer Elizabeth Garvie’s gravitas. The 1979 version of Pride and Prejudice is four hours long and we would watch the first two episodes and then break for lunch. To continue our serious work, we would bring our sandwiches to the television and eat and finish the rest, quoting lines, all while enjoying Rintoul’s cool sex appeal.

Next, we would dig into the first parts of the 1996 version. After about half, it was time to break to cook dinner.  During the dinner break my poor father would somehow ask if there wasn’t anything else on television, but my mother and I would be determined to see the marathon through to the end.  After all, we had Firth’s sexy pool dip to watch.  So usually, when we started the marathon at around 8 a.m., the all –day marathon always concluded around 10 p.m. or so, allowing for eating/cooking breaks.

After the marathons, I returned to graduate school reinvigorated. Those days are gone now, but those times never failed to bring me joy. I now understand that those marathons were meant to be training for me—to help me keep in mind the kinds of stories I was meant to tell.  Is it any accident that my Migrations of the Heart series features five sisters, albeit set in rural Western Georgia? I don’t think that it is.  I always believed it was Austen who led me away from the confines of literary fiction, and into genre fiction. She made me think about the similarities between the situations of the man shortage in the early 1800’s and of marriageable African American men in twentieth century United States. Pride and Prejudice, especially the 1979 BBC version, always brings me joy.

Piper recommends:

Belle Calhoune (bellecalhoune.com) and Ann Christopher (annchristopher.com). Both of these women, as romance writers, wring every ounce of emotion from their readers.


Questions for the Author:

Tell us about a moment in your life when you experienced sheer joy. 

I experienced sheer joy the first time I set a goal and I realized that I could accomplish it.  I was a teenager and I was determined to qualify for a place to go to the National Speech and Debate Tournament in San Antonio, Texas.  My previous attempts had not gone that well, so I tried a different approach, and a different category.  I used positive self-talk and visualization to help me. I only needed second place to go, and that was what I had aimed for, but I earned first place!  I couldn’t believe that I won a placement through my own efforts.  It was the first time that I realized my own value and worth.

Tell us about a place that brings you joy, or is attached to a memory of joy.

Going back to my parent’s home brings me joy.  Every time we turn down the lane of the street, I start feeling happy again.  My mother isn’t there anymore, but it’s a place that is close to her and reminiscent of her so I still feel joy whenever I return.  I was married in the garden in the back of their house, so the old homestead is just that meaningful to me.

Tell us about a sound that brings you joy.

My son’s laughter brings me joy. Right now he’s beginning to go through the teen years and I want to keep hearing it, even though I hear the laughter less and more angst from him about who he is. I still try to keep his laughter front and center because I don’t want him to lose what makes him joyful.

What recent book have you read that brought you joy. (Or a book you read in your life that brought you so much joy you’ve never forgotten it.) Why?

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.  I’m a hard-to-please reader and will always, always find a stopping place.  With that book,  a stopping place was impossible. I started it a few days before my sophomore year in college, but I could not put it down. I didn’t even want to stop to go down to the cafeteria to eat; I was so determined to finish that story. While Francie’s experiences are not the most joyful, it was the most vivid, joyful experience as a reader I have ever had.

And for fun, the joy of choice ~

Pick your Chris! Chris Hemsworth, Chris Pine, Chris Pratt, Chris Rock, Chris Evans or Christopher Plummer (circ. 1964 aka Capt. Von Trapp?) – trying for a little diversity! ;o)

Is there another Chris besides Chris Hemsworth?

Piper is generously giving away the 1979 BBC version of Pride and Prejudice for US Colin Firth fans who are willing to give her favorite Mr. Darcy a chance. Entry below.

PiperPiper G Huguley, named 2015 Debut Author of the Year by Romance Slam Jam and Breakout Author of 2015 by AAMBC Literary Awards, is a two-time Golden Heart ®finalist and is the author of the “Home to Milford College” series. The series follows the building of a college from its founding in 1866. On release, the prequel novella to the “Home to Milford College” series, The Lawyer’s Luck, reached #1 Amazon Bestseller status on the African American Christian Fiction charts. Book #1 in the series, The Preacher’s Promise was named a top ten Historical Romance in Publisher’s Weekly by the esteemed historical romance author, Beverly Jenkins.

Huguley is also the author of “Migrations of the Heart,” a five-book series of inspirational historical romances set in the early 20th century featuring African American characters. Book one in the series, A Virtuous Ruby won the Golden Rose contest in Historical Romance in 2013 and was a Golden Heart® finalist in 2014. Book four, A Champion’s Heart, was a Golden Heart® finalist in 2013. A Virtuous Ruby will be published in July 2015 by Samhain Publishing.

She blogs about the history behind her novels at piperhuguley.com. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and son.  

Buy Piper’s books:

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  • Lenée M. Anderson

    I’ve been anxiously awaiting your read a romance month post! I have to agree with you on Laurence Olivier. There’s something about him. Maybe just his stage presence. I’m so happy you’re finally seeing so much success and recognition for your work. You’ve earned it!
    There is another Chris for you to choose from, you know! Christopher Walken, perhaps?

    • Piper Huguley

      Thanks Lenee! I appreciate your kind words, but as an old Hollywood movie buff, I have some thoughts about that particular Chris…..

  • Conseula

    I refuse to believe that any Darcy can be as wonderfully sexy as Colin Firth’s Darcy 😉

    • Piper Huguley

      But you have to watch it, Consuela….he’s really good….:)

  • Carol Opalinski

    Piper, so happy for you and all your success! And I am a huge Pride and Prejudice fan and love all versions even the Laurence Olivier one despite its flaws. And I remember reading A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, too! My mother had always loved it and recommended it.

    • Piper Huguley

      Thank you Carol for stopping by! And that book is just amazing. 🙂

  • Melisa Safchinsky

    Love Pride and Prejudice! It’s my go-to movie any time I need a break!

    • Piper Huguley

      I watched in the spring again. Loved every minute! Thanks for commenting Melisa!

  • Austen and Bronte fan over here! Love Pride and Prejudice!

    • Piper Huguley

      My mother was a big Jane Eyre fan. That’s another one we would compare versions of. She loved Orson Wells’s Mr. Rochester….:) Thanks for commenting Tigris!

  • Sandra C

    Great post, Piper. Your mother was amazing. I grew up watching old movies with my Dad, so I can relate so well to this. I have to admit that version of P and P was never my favorite. But you just taught me something. I never knew that V. Leigh left her husband and child for Sir Laurence O. What? You taught me something new today. Congrats on your success. PS: I think I would pick Chris Rock. He slays me.

    • Piper Huguley

      So glad you gained an insight, Sandra! And that romance was something else! So glad you came by and I hope more readers take up some of your wonderful work!

  • Susan Jarrrell

    Thank you for these great moments of reading…..:-)

    • Piper Huguley

      Thank you for stopping by Susan! I appreciate it so much!

  • Kristan Higgins

    P&P/Colin Firth edition…yes! And the book, too, of course! I reread it a couple of summers ago. So, so good. Piper, I have RUBY on my Kindle and plan to read it at the end of the month. I’ve heard such great things about it. Great to learn more about you!

    • Piper Huguley

      Yes, I’ve read P&P many a time as well. There’s a definite influence from her in romance. I so appreciate that you have Ruby and I hope you enjoy it, Kristan! Thank you so much for stopping by!

  • Amy Livesay Hart

    I love Pride and Prejudice!!

    • Piper Huguley

      I think of it as the most basic love story. I’m finding out today there are others who don’t enjoy it, but I just….my mind…doesn’t understand! Thanks for stopping by Amy!

  • Dorothy Salvagin

    You had me going back and forth between googling those actors and this post. gotta say that you were spot-on with your picks.

    • Piper Huguley

      Thank you so much Dorothy! I’m so glad that you stopped by today!

  • sj1384

    I’ve seen all of them EXCEPT the 1979 version! P&P has that same centering effect for me. Love it so much.

    • Piper Huguley

      Ohh, so glad you commented sj1384. David Rintoul is….well, I hope you’ll get to see! Thank you so much for stopping by!

  • jcp smith

    Thank you for the giveaway. Never saw P &P

    • Piper Huguley

      Well, jcp smith, feel free to jump in! If you have Amazon Prime, the 1996 version is free! Thank you for stopping by!

  • I adore the Colin Firth / Jennifer Ehle version of Pride & Prejudice. My mom and I will sometimes watch the entire thing in one late -night sitting. The only other version I’ve seen is the one with Keira Knightley. I’ll have to give the other versions a try.

    • Piper Huguley

      Yeah, our marathons came before the Keira Knightley version, but if it had existed, we would have folded that right in there. Thank for stopping by Reese!

  • Kareni

    Thanks for sharing the lovely memory of time spent with your mother. Wishing you less angst and more laughter with your son in the days to come.

    • Piper Huguley

      Thank you so much for your kind words, Kareni. I appreciate that so much. 🙂

  • Sheila M

    Thanks for sharing. I loved your story of the Pride and Prejudice marathon.

    • Piper Huguley

      Thank you Sheila! I’m glad you enjoyed it and that you stopped by to comment today!

      • Laura T

        I loved this story so much, too! After my grandma had a stroke we would watch this over and over, and it’s a treasured memory. I’ll never forget that time. Glad your post brought that back for me.

        • Piper Huguley

          No problem Laura! I’m glad you enjoyed it with someone you love too. Thank you for stopping by!

  • Piper Huguley

    Yeah Melissa, she just went to a new continent….it was hot and heavy for them. Thanks for stopping by!

  • Jennifer C

    I just added your books to my wishlist. I am super impressed with your Speech and Debate win! (Big time fear of public speaking here, so that’s huge!).

    • Piper Huguley

      Aww, thank you so much for your kind words, Jennifer C! I probably need to sit and be more reflective but that win started something in me for sure! Thank you for stopping by and commenting today and I hope you enjoy my stories. 🙂

  • Kathy Thigpen

    I always wanted my own Mr. Darcy so I created him in ‘Except on Sunday’. Glad I read the whole post and recommend the lovely final scene in the Kira Knightley version.

    • Piper Huguley

      Yes, that is a lovely one Kathy. My mother did get to see that version, but our marathoning was a thing of the past when that version came out. By that time I was married and had a kid. We should have kept on doing it. Thanks for commenting!

  • maya_k

    I agree, I much prefer Garvie as Elizabeth. My late dad was a huge Jane Austen fan and we watched the 1979 BBC version on Masterpiece Theater back in the day (I was a teenager).

    As for Darcy? If I could pick and choose across time and space, I’d love to see Firth play opposite Garvie because I think part of the problem was Firth was playing opposite a less than optimal Elizabeth so his Darcy wasn’t all that I think it could have been.

    I’d have also loved to see Olivier in a more faithful adaptation of the story.

    • Piper Huguley

      Ooooh maya_k, you are so brave! While the Firth faithful have allowed me to have my point of view today–they would be in here defending their man against any hint that his portrayal was less than the best! Thank you for your brave comment!

  • Karen Mikusak

    Thanks for the giveaway. Would love to win!

    • Piper Huguley

      thank you for coming by! We’ll put you in for it! Good luck!

  • Michele Hayes

    I love Colin Firth and the BBC version of P&P. Thanks for the chance to win.

    • Piper Huguley

      No problem, Michele ! And I want to say it–the Firth version is awesome!

  • Quinn Fforde

    Oh, I want to have my own marathon! What a lovely tradition.

    • Piper Huguley

      Thank you Quinn. It certainly was while it lasted and I need to carry it on myself. Thanks for commenting!

  • Patty Vasquez

    Every year I watch Pride and Prejudice, too, but I have to admit that I’ve never watched any of the earliest versions. I’m not fond of the 2005 version, so I’ve happily settled on “wet shirt” Colin Firth’s version. When I tried to learn more about the 1979 version of Pride and Prejudice online, the only photo that IMDB has of David Rintoul is a current one. Unfortunately, that wasn’t very helpful in the Pride and Prejudice wars! 😉

    • Piper Huguley

      Yes, but if you look at the cover of the DVD on Amazon , there is a pic of him there. *sigh* Or you could just watch it! Thank you for stopping by, Patty!

  • kirsten west

    I started watching Pride and Prejudice one day and my husband got caught up watching it too. I offered to change the channel, but he said “I’m drawn in now. I have to see how it ends.” I just laughed.

    • Piper Huguley

      Ha! That sounds like my husband too. They like it, even if they don’t want to admit it! Thanks for stopping by kirsten!

  • Rhi

    thanks for the giveaway.

    I adore the 1940s version of Pride and Prejudice. There is something about it, likely Mr. Olivier as D’Arcy, that just makes it so worth it, even though there are some cringe worthy aspects to it.

    • Piper Huguley

      Oh yes. He was something, which is why I made the point about him as the man Viven Leigh abandoned her family for….thanks for stopping by Rhi!

  • Debbie Fuller

    Don’t you just love MOM’s!

    • Piper Huguley

      I do Debbie and mine was super special! Thanks for commenting!

  • Emmel

    Love the 79 version and agree it’s the best of the television P&Ps. David Rintoul and Elisabeth Garvie FTW! And A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is amazing. I went to the Nationals back in the day as well. Speech competitions do so much for you!

    • Piper Huguley

      Sounds as if we have a lot in common, Emmel! And I wouldn’t be who I was without those competitions. Thank you so much for commenting!

  • Pamby50

    Hi Piper, You a new author for me. I look forward to reading your books. Last year I was introduced to Beverly Jenkins. Loved her. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a wonderful book.

    • Piper Huguley

      So glad you found the fabulous Ms. Bev. Pamby50. She has been so inspirational to me and a great support. Thank you so much for stopping by!

  • Eileen Aberman-Wells

    I recently discovered you through pictures at RWA and yesterday when I read Beverly Jenkins’ interview with USA or NPR (I forgot which). I will be checking out your books as they intrigue & interest me. I love P&P. I don’t think I’ve seen the 1979 BBC version but suspect I own it in my Austen BBC collection. The best feature of the 1940’s version is freaking goreous & talented Olivier. Sighhhhh!!! I hope you can set up a tradition with your son like your mom did with you. That is such an awesome thing to do. Thank you so much for your post.

    • Piper Huguley

      I remember that compilation and you probably do. And you are right, I look forward to the day when I can watch with my son. I think I have to wait until the teen years are nearly over….I’m glad you enjoyed my post and thank you for stopping by!

  • Karin

    What a great idea, I’d love to have a P&P marathon with my girlfriends.

    • Piper Huguley

      That’s an idea! We are having a writing retreat in January…maybe on our down time. Thanks for the idea Karin and for your comment!

  • mariannewestrich

    So nice to meet a new-to-me author. That’s what I love about this month!!!

    • Piper Huguley

      Nice to meet you too, mariannewestrich! Thank you for commenting!

  • Sonali Dev

    Ack! I haven’t watched the 79 version in SO LONG I almost entered the giveaway, when I really shouldn’t. Loved your story, Piper. I’ve been marathoning Outlander with my mom. And sigh, best thing ever!

    • Piper Huguley

      Ha! You still have a nice memory with your mother, though. I need to take up Outlander myself. Thanks for stopping by!

  • Dawn Anderson

    What a wonderful memory of your mother. I’ve never seen the 1979 version of Pride and Prejudice, so thank you for the chance to win.

    • Piper Huguley

      Thank you Dawn! It is a wonderful memory. Best of luck to you in the giveaway!

  • Me and my son love marathon too. The last one we made was about Conan (the cartoon by Studio Ghibli, inspired from The incredible tide), the next will be on Sandokan (a hero created by an italian author, Salgari). And they are beautiful love stories too!

    • Piper Huguley

      That is awesome Marinella! I have to marathon with my son too! Thank you for stopping by!

  • Texas Book Lover

    What great memories! My daughters and I do marathons every once in while but they would never sit through Pride and Prejudice so instead we watch Dirty Dancing, Pretty Woman, The Notebook. Or sometimes The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink, Sixteen Candles depending on the mood. Occasionally we’ll watch all the Bourne movies. Matt Damon looks good in those movies!

    • Piper Huguley

      It sounds like a wonderful way to spend time with a loved one! So glad you stopped by Texas Book Lover!

  • LSUReader

    Colin Firth is a great Mr. Darcy. Good choice!

    • Piper Huguley

      He was! I like them all for one reason or another. Thank you for stopping by LSUReader!

  • I just finished reading A Virtuous Ruby 🙂

    • Piper Huguley

      I sure hope you enjoyed it Stephsco! Thanks for stopping by to tell me!

  • Linda Henderson

    The last marathon I had was Criminal Minds, I love those types of stories. NCIS is a favorite too.

    • Piper Huguley

      I once had a marathon by myself of Veronica Mars. I became so absorbed in it, I was mad I had to go pick my son up from daycare! Thank you for commenting!

  • Kai W.

    Piper, you are a new author to me. Glad to know you through your post.

    • Piper Huguley

      I appreciate that Bobbi has given me the opportunity to meet you this way Kai W! Thank you for your comment!

  • rebecca moe

    OMG, a P&P marathon. Must. Do. You are an inspiration!

    • Piper Huguley

      I hope so, rebecca moe! Enjoy! Thank you for stopping by!

  • Mary McCoy

    OK now know that a P&P marathon will be on at our house soon, my daughter will love it!

    • Piper Huguley

      So glad to have inspired a tradition Mary McCoy! Thank you for commenting!

  • Courtney Cogswell

    I do love a good marathon and your Pride and Prejudice one sounds inspired! I had a girl’s night sleepover for my (35th) birthday and we did a Disney movie marathon just like when we were kids. It was tons of fun and we definitely want to do it again…I think Pride and Prejudice might be the ticket for the next one! Thanks for the great post and giveaway! Yay Colin Firth 🙂

    • Piper Huguley

      No problem! I hope you enjoy your marathon and thank you for stopping by!