Hi guys! We have Megan Reddaway popping in today with the tour for her new release Out, Proud, and Prejudiced, we have a brilliant guest post from Megan and a fantastic giveaway so check out the posts and enter the giveaway! ❤ ~Pixie~
Out, Proud, and Prejudiced
One’s proud, one’s prejudiced, and they can’t stand each other.
Quick-tempered Bennet Rourke dislikes Darius Lanniker on sight. Darius may be a hotshot city lawyer, but that doesn’t give him the right to sneer at Bennet, his friends, and their college. It doesn’t help that Bennet’s restaurant job has him waiting at Darius’s table. So when his tutor recommends him for an internship at Darius’s Pemberley estate, Bennet isn’t sure he wants it. He’s also not sure he can afford to turn it down.
Darius is a fish out of water in the small college town of Meriton, but something keeps pulling him back there. He’s helping out a friend with business advice, nothing more. If he’s interested in Bennet, it’s not serious. Sure, Bennet challenges him in a way no other man has. But they have nothing in common. Right?
Wrong. Their best friends are falling in love, and Bennet and Darius can’t seem to escape each other. Soon they’re sharing climbing ropes and birthday cake, and there’s a spark between them that won’t be denied.
But betrayal is around the corner. Darius must swallow his pride and Bennet must drop his prejudices to see the rainbow shining through the storm clouds.
A standalone novel—a modern retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.
Note: contains mention of past abuse.
“They’re Studying Catering”: College Life in Out, Proud, and Prejudiced
By Megan Reddaway
My new novel Out, Proud, and Prejudiced is a retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. The main character, Bennet, is a student—but to reflect the precarious financial position of Elizabeth and her family in the original, he’s not at a prestigious university. He’s studying hospitality management at a further education college, something like the equivalent of an American community college.
For Darius, my character in the place of Darcy, this is a reason to take a swipe at Bennet and his friends. Early in the story he says, “A further education college? And they’re studying catering? That explains a certain ignorance.”
Other characters are quick to point out that these students aren’t stupid. They’re there because it’s the best way to study for the careers they want. Bennet hopes to work in events management; his friend Jamie intends to be a chef. All the same, I think there is a perception in British society that vocational training is somehow “less than” when compared with the “pure” academic subjects like philosophy or mathematics offered at universities, even when it leads to a degree—and Bennet’s doesn’t.
So that was one reason for setting the story in this kind of college. It’s a challenge for Darius, who has to move past this perception, this intellectual snobbery, to be worthy of Bennet . . . while Darius starts out thinking the question is whether Bennet is worthy of him.
Another reason is that I used to work in a place like Meriton College myself. For a year or two, I was the principal’s PA, who appears briefly in the story doing the kinds of things I used to do.
We’re often told to “write what you know,” and in some ways it’s good advice. I don’t think it works for characters or plots, but it works for settings. It’s much easier to bring in telling details when you know the place or situation that you’re writing about.
Like Meriton College, the college where I worked had a strong hospitality and catering department—still does, in fact. It had a training restaurant like the one in Out, Proud, and Prejudiced, staffed by students from the professional cookery courses. The other students and staff ate lunch there, and in the evenings, Monday to Friday, it was open to the public. It was a great place to eat dinner if you weren’t bothered by the lack of cachet. You could get some amazing food for a low set price—although the quality could be unpredictable, depending on the talent and experience of the students in the kitchen that night.
The catering students also used to bring coffee for meetings, just like they do in my book. It was the only office-based job I’ve had where I never made a cup of coffee or tea. I don’t think we even had access to a kettle, shocking as that is in Britain! The principal did have a coffee machine in his office that he used himself, but the rest of us would fetch a cup from the training restaurant or wait for the set times when the students would wheel drinks through the corridors like the tea ladies in a 1950s sitcom, complete with plates of biscuits.
Catering wasn’t the only thing taught there, by any means. The college offered business studies, practical skills like hairdressing and plumbing, and even the “pure” academic subjects for students who had left school. (I took philosophy A-level through evening classes while I worked there.) But the catering department was particularly strong, and its reputation meant that the principal had to manage certain professional jealousies among the teaching staff. All of this gave me ideas for Out, Proud, and Prejudiced.
My first thought, when I began planning a gay retelling of Pride and Prejudice, had been to make my main character a student at art college. But I know very little about art or art colleges, so if I’d done that, the college would have remained in the background of the story.
When I drew on my experience of the college where I’d worked instead, the place and the people started producing plot threads and scenes in my imagination until the college became as important in my story as Elizabeth’s family is in Pride and Prejudice. In the end, everything hinges on its reputation.
Megan Reddaway’s novel Out, Proud, and Prejudiced was published in ebook and paperback on June 4th.
MEGAN REDDAWAY lives in England and has been entertained by fictional characters acting out their stories in her head for as long as she can remember. She began writing them down as soon as she could.
Since she grew up, she has worked as a secretary, driver, barperson, and article writer, among other things. Whatever she is doing, she always has a story bubbling away at the same time.