Celebrating Debutantes 2017: Seeking Mansfield by Kate Watson (Character Interview and Giveaway)

Today, I’m featuring a YA contemporary retelling of Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park. Author Kate Watson take her own spin of the classic story in her debut novel, Seeking Mansfield. Kate re-imagine Mansfield Park in a modern setting with a dash of humor and romance. So if you haven’t read the book yet, I suggest you pick a copy. And check the character interview below for a chance to meet and know a little bit about the main character Finley Price.

Following the character interview is Kate Watson’s author bio along with places where to find her online. Then there’s also the book description and where to buy copies of Seeking Mansfield. And if you are in the US or Canada and would like the chance to win a copy of the book, Kate is giving away a finished copy. Just enter the rafflecopter form a bit further down in this post to be enter on the giveaway.

Character Interview with Finley Price of Seeking Mansfield

Hi Finley! How are you? Please introduce yourself so everyone know a little bit more about you. 

Hi, thanks for having me. I’m Finley Price. *shy wave* I love theater and movies, if you can’t tell from the state of my room. In Harry Potter speak, I guess I’d be a Hufflepuff. In Hamilton speak, I’d definitely be Eliza. Oh, do you see my Hamilton Playbill? Isn’t it gorgeous? I’ve seen Hamilton twice now, and I’m seriously considering selling off a kidney to see it again. It’s one of my favorite…what, sorry?

Why do I have so many posters of Gabriel Price?

Do we have to talk about that? I’d really rather talk about why I think so few plays translate into movies, and why some film stars struggle to connect on the stage. I’d even rather talk about what it’s like to be displaced, living with my godparents or the challenges of sorting through feelings of love versus feelings of duty and…and…

Yes, Gabriel Price was my dad. And I know he was a phenomenal actor, but he was an even better father. He was the best person who ever lived.

Lets say you have a chance to talk to your Dad right now, what are the things you want to tell him? 

Wow, you’re not making this easy on a girl, are you? I guess I’d tell him I love him and thank him for making me feel so wholly, unconditionally loved as I was growing up. I would want him to know that I’m trying to be my best every day, just like he did, and that, although I struggle with feelings of anger and self-worth and not quite knowing where I belong in this world, none of those things are his fault. If anything, I’d be completely lost without the influence he still has on me. And, you know, I’d tell him how much I miss him. Every second of every day.

Anything you want to tell to your Mom?

My mom? No. I don’t have anything to say to her. I prefer not to think about her, honestly. If anything, she should have some things to say to me. Mothers are supposed to be there for you and love you and grieve with you and let you grieve. They’re supposed to be the shoulder you cry on, not burn your shoulder with cigarettes on the morning of your dad’s funeral because you begged her to put down the bottle and… *sharp intake of breath*

No. I have nothing to say to her. Can you, I don’t know, is it possible for that to be off the record, maybe? I’d like to move on now.

To those who are not familiar with theater. What are the key responsibilities of a theatrical director?

Oh, good. I like this question. Directing is so much more than just auditions, casting, and leading rehearsals. It’s pacing and emotion and creating a memorable experience. A director works with all the different tech and design crews to make sure the production looks and sounds right. They also block the play—meaning they outline exactly how the actors stand to ensure things like appropriate audience sight lines and, well, dramatic effect. They have to be involved with pretty much every step of a production to make sure their vision can become a satisfying reality for the audience.

I’m sure you are familiar with Jane Austen. What do you think of her and her works? Any favourite book of her?

Actually—am I allowed to admit this?—I haven’t read any Jane Austen. I’m sure I will someday, but I read plays more than anything. Shakespeare, Arthur Miller, Oscar Wilde, all of the classics. When it comes to classic novels, though…oh, I love Charlotte Bronte! I think I’ve read Jane Eyre about 15 times. The way Jane fights for her freedom and wants to be her own person, the way she wants to be someone who acts instead of just being acted upon? And how she wants to live a life of passion and equality, all while holding true to her personal values? I love it. Her courage inspires me.

What play directed by someone else you wish you’d directed?

Hamilton. Next question?

What advice do you have for potential theatrical director who has big dreams like you?

I don’t know if I’m in a place to deliver anyone advice, but I’ll tell you what I do. I’ve read every book on stage directing and the biographies of famous directors and playwrights. I love learning about the craft and the people who push boundaries to make it great. Beyond that, I try to make sure that, in whatever I’m watching—especially plays, but also TV and movies—I act as a student of the craft. I allow myself to watch something for pleasure only once, and then the second or third time is with a critical eye while taking copious notes. Repeat viewings of a play, for example, allow me to look past the performances and spectacle and see the mechanics that make everything come to life. And I find watching poorly executed plays to be as helpful as well executed ones, because then I can compare and contrast the experiences.

And lastly, what’s the worse movie you’ve seen?

Define worst. Because a lot of different categories own a “worst movie.” The worst horror movie will give you a completely different experience than the worst dance movie or the worst disaster movie (which is almost redundant, really, because disaster movies tend to be so deliciously awful, don’t they?). That said, my favorite types of movies to hate watch are probably horror or sci-fi/disaster. But then, you have to ask yourself, what did the creators intend with this movie? Like Troll 2 can’t really be compared to Sharknado, because the former is totally unintentional, and delivers a special, delightful type of pain, while the latter is brilliantly deliberate, which dramatically reduces the cringe-factor.

So…um, I’m sorry. Can you repeat the question?

Thanks so much Finley for answering all my questions above. And thank you also to Kate for allowing Finley to do this interview.


Kate Watson is a young adult writer, wife, mother of two, and the tenth of thirteen children. Originally from Canada, she attended college in the States and holds a BA in Philosophy. Seeking Mansfield is her first novel, with the companion, Shoot the Moon, to follow in 2018. She is also a contributor to Eric Smith’s Welcome Home adoption anthology coming fall of 2017 from Flux. She lives and writes in Arizona.

Kate is represented by Dawn Frederick with Red Sofa Literary.

Find Kate

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads


Book Details:

Title: Seeking Mansfield
Author: Kate Watson
Publisher: Flux
Publication Date: May 16, 2017
Pages: 300
Format: Paperback, eBook

Sixteen year-old Finley Price has perfected two things: how to direct a world-class production, and how to fly way, way under the radar. The only person who ever seems to notice Finley is her best friend and godparents’ son, Oliver Bertram. If she could just take Oliver’s constant encouragement to heart, she’d finally chase her dream of joining the prestigious Mansfield Theater.

When teen movie stars Emma and Harlan Crawford move across the street from the Bertram’s, they immediately set their sights on Oliver and his vapid sister, Juliette, shaking up Finley and Oliver’s stable friendship. As Emma and Oliver grow closer, Harlan finds his attention shifting from Juliette to the quiet, enigmatic, and thoroughly unimpressed Finley. Out of boredom, Harlan decides to make her fall in love with him. Problem is, the harder he seeks to win her, the harder he falls for her.

But Finley doesn’t want to be won, and she doesn’t want to see Oliver with anyone else. To claim Oliver’s heart—and keep her own—she’ll have to find the courage to do what she fears most: step into the spotlight.

SEEKING MANSFIELD is a charming YA contemporary reimagining of Jane Austen’s classic Mansfield Park, perfect for fans of Stephanie Perkins and Rainbow Rowell.

Book Links

Amazon | B&N | BAM | Book Depository | Goodreads | IndieBound


What’s up for Grab?

  • Finished copy of Seeking Mansfield by Kate Watson

The Rules:

  • Open to US or Canda residents only
  • There will be one (1) winner
  • Winner will be chosen and announced through rafflecopter
  • Winner will be contacted thru email & should response within 48 hours
  • Ends August 25th, 2017
  • Prize will be sent by the author

To enter fill out the rafflecopter form

Good Luck!!!

Treat yourself to a complete #CelebratingDebutantes2017 experience. Click the image below for the full list of schedule and links to each feature post or check out twitter and facebook using #CelebratingDebutantes2017.

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