Recently, we had the pleasure of posing some questions to the distinguished crime writer P.D. James. James has won numerous awards and has been inducted into the International Crime Writing Hall of Fame. At ninety-two years old, she is beloved by so many, having written some twenty novels, many of which have been adapted to television (as well as to movies, including one of my all-time favorites "Children of Men"). Her most recent novel is Death Comes to Pemberley, in which a murder takes place in the world of Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice.
Omnivoracious: How long have you been thinking about setting a detective novel in world of Pride & Prejudice?
P.D. James: The idea of combining my two enthusiasms, writing detective stories and Jane Austen, in one book had been at the back of my mind for a few years but I did not seriously start to plot it until some months after the publication of The Private Patient.
Omni: What pitfalls were there in entering the world of another author? Did you feel you were playing in Austen's sandbox, or did it feel like your own?
P.D. James: As I re-read all Jane Austen’s novels at least once a year her world was not strange to me and I did not feel I was imposing on her creativity. I enjoyed introducing new characters and I think the magistrate, Sir Selwyn Hardcastle, made a particularly effective contribution to the plot.