In Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dreadfully Ever After (Quirk Classics), four years have passed since Elizabeth married Darcy, and she is no longer allowed to carry weapons. During a walk back home, Darcy is bitten by an unmentionable. Elizabeth must swallow her pride, and cast aside her honor if she is to receive help from Lady Catherine, who has made at least one assassination attempt on Elizabeth since the wedding. Mr. Bennett and Kitty are drafted to help Elizabeth by pretending to be a family of rich foreigners (loved that Elizabeth uses the name “Ursula” heh heh) to root out a possible cure being kept secret from the general public.
The story is told through several POVs, but Elizabeth is surprisingly not the central figure. More attention is given to Darcy’s and Kitty’s perspectives, and I enjoyed the character of Kitty very much this time around; she has grown up quite from the silly girl in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The Classic Regency Romance – Now with Ultraviolent Zombie Mayhem!. In contrast, another of the Bennett girls, Mary, has become quite outgoing, and her character was another favorite of mine in this sequel. In fact, I found Elizabeth to be extremely boring compared to her sisters. (I am even hoping that Kitty and Mary might have their own adventure, if Hockensmith is up to writing just one more!)
Darcy’s cousin Anne is portrayed in a rather sinister manner, and when it is revealed what has happened to Anne during her time under the thumb of her mother –Lady Catherine—she was a formidable character, as opposed to the meek girl she once was. In addition, the source of the possible cure is horrific and repulsive, showing how desperate the English have become. Interestingly, we learn a bit more about the nature of the zombie virus that has ravaged Britain since Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls (Quirk Classics).
Out of the Hockensmith books, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dreadfully Ever After (Quirk Classics) was by far my favorite, especially because Elizabeth takes a backseat to the actions of her sisters, Kitty and Mary. The storyline flowed effortlessly, and included a few behind-the-scenes details from the first two books that the characters were unaware of themselves, until several secrets are revealed to them.
Of course, I’ve heard rumors of a movie in the making, so I sat down with Mr. Hockensmith to sort fact from fiction (pun intended)…
Q. Why a Jane Austen classic? What in particular caused you to imagine zombies in the world of Miss Bennett?
A: I can’t take credit for that stroke of genius. If I could, I’d be typing my reply on the veranda of my new vacation home in the Bahamas. It was actually Jason Rekulak, associate publisher at Quirk Books, who dreamed up the zombie/Austen connection. He was looking for a way to mix goofy pop culture with a classic novel in the public domain. I’m just thankful he went with Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and not Romeo & Juliet & Giant Transforming Robots or whatever.
Q. What was one of the most surprising things you learned in writing this series?
A: That I could write a series like this! I’d never tried my hand at romance or horror, so it was a little daunting taking on a project that mixed both. I had plenty of experience with humor, historical fiction and blending genres, though, so in the end it wasn’t that much of a change of pace.
Q. Tell us about the upcoming movie being made from the first book. Are you involved with the production?
A: This is the extent of my involvement with the film: Every two or three weeks, I will go to Google News and do a search for “pride prejudice zombies movie.” I will then read any articles that pop up that seem to include actual information. (This is very rare.) In addition, perhaps once a month I talk to Jason at Quirk, and I always ask, “Any news on the movie?” His usual reply is “Not really.” Obviously, I’m quite the Hollywood insider.
Q. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in any of your books?
A: I’m sure I’d change a lot of little things. It’s always kind of painful to read one’s prose again later. Inevitably, you end up thinking something like, “What the –? I used the word ‘salubrious’ twice in the same chapter? How did that slip through? God, I suck!”
Q. What do you have planned for the future? Where can zombiephiles find out more?
A: I’ve got a few projects cooking at the moment, but nothing I can talk about yet. If folks are interested in updates, they can pop by my website www.stevehockensmith.com or sign up for my e-newsletter by writing to me at [email protected].
A: Thanks for the chance to plug that!