The Lizzie Bennet Diaries: An Interview with Writer Kate Noble

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries I apologize for what I am about to unleash upon you, if you haven't already been afflicted by this video addiction. It's likely that you may have heard about The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, a video blog adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, but if you haven't, well, clear your schedule now. Once you start, you'll keep going. Seriously, just order takeout tonight and tomorrow, too. If you're in the US, you might have today off, so this is perfect. Enjoy! 

I don't remember when I found out that romance novelist Kate Noble is a writer for The Lizzie Bennet Diaries – she's credited as Kate Rorick, prompting me to say, “Alas, poor Rorick, because that has to be the worst job ever…NOT.” When I started watching the LBD again after taking a brief break, I realized that I'd never held her down and asked her nosy questions – and now that so many of you are discovering the addicition, well, alas poor Rorick, she got an email from me – which she was kind enough to answer, thank heavens! 

1. How did you start writing for this project?

Kate Noble: I previously worked on a job with one of the co-executive producers on LBD, Margaret Dunlap.  We stayed friends after that job ended, and when she told me about the LBD, I basically said, “Awesome. Let me know if you ever need any more writers because I have the book memorized.”  Sometime around cycle 4, they decided to expand their writing staff, and Margaret set me up for coffee with the showrunner Bernie Su. We hit it off, he very much appreciated my background in romance, and hired me.  My first episode was episode 35, Home Sweet Home, right after Lizzie and Jane get back from Netherfield.

 

2. What are some of the things you've written – and are most proud of?

Kate: The line “Excuse me, Lizzie” seemed to go over pretty well with the fandom. (As did “You called me a robot.  And a Newsie.”  — personal fave.) 

Seriously, being able to write episodes 59, 61, and 62 (aka, the lead up to Darcy’s proposal and the aftermath of Darcy’s proposal – Bernie wrote the actual proposal episode, which is how it should be: the showrunner shouldering the weight for the most important story moment to that point) was a huge rush – and major responsibility, and I’m very proud of how they turned out.

I really enjoyed the response to episode 70, New Jane, where Jane tells Lizzie she’s worried about what Lizzie will do when she graduates.  It seemed to resonate with a lot of people who found themselves in similar situations.

And on a different level, another favorite is episode 72, Party Time.  The only direction I gave in the script is the following…

Mary is TERRIBLE at reading her lines and supremely uncomfortable playing a role.

Briana Cuoco took that one sentence description and knocked the scene out of the park.  It still makes me laugh.

3. How does your approach to the material perhaps differ from the other writers?
 

Kate: I don’t know if my approach does differ fundamentally.  It’s possible that I know the book better than some of the other writers (because when Jane Austen was writing it two hundred years ago, she was obviously writing it with me in mind and it speaks to me on a level that no other person could ever share EVER), but that isn’t entirely a good thing: we are a modern interpretation and sometimes you have to be willing to let the original text go.

When we are breaking the story (i.e. figuring out what’s going to happen in the next block of episodes) we are all in a room together, talking, figuring, and arguing it out.  Just us, a big white board, a lot of soda and some Red Vines.  Television shows like this are a product of collaboration, and there is an incredible group of people writing for the LBD, and we are all working very hard in service to a story we love.

4. Why is this series so addictive? WHAT IS THIS CRACK YOU ARE WRITING?!

Kate: Jane Austen wrote the crack two centuries ago.  We just transmedia’d it. 

Obviously, the original story (super rich snobby guy falls for poor but smart everywoman and she SAYS NO, then, as they get to know each other better their first impressions of each other are challenged) holds up for modern audiences.  The myriad of television and film adaptations attest to that.  However, I think that with the LBD, the way the show is set up to deliberately break the 4th wall and involve the audience via Twitter and Tumblr, gets the fans invested as they never have before. Combine that with the fact that this is all unfolding in real time – i.e. a week in the show is a week in real life — it feels like we are on this journey with Lizzie. It heightens the anticipation: you can’t wait to see what happens next, but you have to, because in our story, it’s still in the process of happening.

Let It Be Me - Kate Noble 5. What's the process of writing for the series like for you – is it substantially different than, say, drafting a novel?

Kate: Funnily enough, I wrote a blog about this the other day – there are a couple of major differences between writing for the LBD and writing novels.  The biggest being the collaborative aspect of the show (mentioned above) vs. the solitary nature of drafting a novel, and the role money plays in a production – i.e., you are limited in your writing by what you can afford to put on the screen.  But this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because it forces you to get creative with what you have.

Another aspect that makes a difference is the fact that the LBD is an adaptation.  We know how the story ends (no spoilers!), and don’t have to invent the plot from whole cloth, they way I do when drafting a novel. That said, we do have to meticulously build the world that they live in and make the character and plot adjustments so that 19th century characters really feel like they live in the here and now.  So, six of one, half dozen of the other.

However, my opinion has always been that no matter the format, good storytelling is good storytelling, and I’m just happy to be involved in something that has elicited so much love from so many people.  That it’s an adaptation of my favorite book ever?  Well, that’s a heck of a bonus.

6. What's next for you as Kate Noble?

Kate: My next historical romance is coming out April 2nd, and I’m very excited for it.  Let It Be Me ( A | BN | KiB) is the passionate tale of Bridget Forrester, the oft-overlooked middle child of the Forrester clan (think Lady Edith) who travels to Venice for the opportunity to be tutored in music by the renowned maestro Vincenzo Carpenini.  But Bridget also catches the eye of theater owner Oliver Merrick, and soon enough both men need her help to win a wager.  But there’s so much more than money at stake.

I’m madly in love with this story, and you can find excerpts and more at my website.

8. Can you give us a teeny bit of info about what happens next in the LBD world?

Kate: We are in the process of writing and shooting the last few episodes! 

It will be so hard to say goodbye to Lizzie and the gang, but then again, these episodes are fantastic and I can’t wait for everyone to see them.  (I believe that last sentence is what the kids call “trolling”.)  And I know there are plans for a new series in the works.  I can’t spill secrets about what it will be of course, but rest assured – awesomeness is in store.


I really like Noble's writing (I gave The Summer of You an A-) and am not surprised that she's adding to the crack that is this series. You can find out more about Kate at her website. Her new book Let it Be Me is available for pre-order now at Amazon, BN, Kobo, and iBooks. You can also see a complete list of her books in order at Amazon.

Thank you to Kate for her time and for her contributions to what is seriously among the most addictive things on the internet right now. If you haven't watched The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, I apologize in advance for the time you're about to lose.

Comments are Closed

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    Evamaria N says:

    Seriously, I am so in love with LBD! One of my favorite things is how they fleshed out Lydia and made her into someone I really root (and hurt) for (instead of wanting to slap some sense into her silly head the way I always do in P&P).

    I tend to make myself not watch for a few weeks, because I know that when I come back there’ll be several episodes of wonderfulness. Did you by any chance ask whether there’ll be a DVD?

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    twistybiscuits says:

    I am TOTALLY in love with LBD! Thanks for the interview, and I agree with Evamaria – when it’s all over, I want it on DVD!

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    I’d been resisting the LBD hype for MONTHS (I get perversly stubborn with hype-aversion sometimes) and cracked last weekend.  I may have watched the “proposal” scenes a number of times. 

    As I posted elseweb:

    I am really curious as to how they’re going to endgame Wickham/Lydia. In 1815, getting them hitched makes sense (on a couple of levels- avoids scandal for the family and Lydia in particular, gets Lydia settled, puts Wickham in Darcy’s debt FROM NOW UNTIL THE END OF TIME, and saddles Wickham with Lydia, which is kind of a punishment in and of itself). With the modern update, the scandal is limited, and the settlign Lydia needs isn’t of the marraige variety, it’s in the grow the hell up variety, and I like Lydia so much I don’t want her with Wickham.

    I hope they can find an endgame that is true to both the original and their story, that gives Wickham his comeuppance while being in Darcy’s debt FROM NOW UNTIL THE END OF TIME, but frees Lydia to grow up and find someone worthy of her awesome (and her adorbs).

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    I must be the only one who read Jane Austen, took the class and read books by Jane Austen, yet on my own I’m not fond of the books and still don’t understand what others see in them. (Besides Sense and Sensibility I have read all the books twice!)

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    geneeste says:

    OMG. I must go out and buy Kate Noble’s books right now. Excuse me.

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    Hollyg238 says:

    Thank you for seriously disrupting my day…I had plans to do something …I can’t remember now b/c ‘ve sat in front of my computer for over 90 mins watching/reading the LBD. 

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    Shelley H says:

    SO MUCH LOVE. I adore this series, I am totally addicted, and now I must go read all of her previous books.

    ALSO, a new series after this? Be still my heart, that’s exactly what I wanted to hear. huzzah!

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    Kate Noble says:

    Hi Sarah—Thanks for having me on SBTB!  Can I just say, “Alas poor Rorick”?  Not like that’s my Dad’s favorite joke or anything.  ;)

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    Tina says:

    Thanks a lot!  I have stuff to do today and I have just spent several hours watching LBD.  I’ve never been particularly into Austin, but I’ve been completely sucked into this.  I love Jane and Charlotte and Lydia is fun, but Lizzie sometimes gets on my nerves.  (However, Lizzie’s impersonations of her mother are pretty funny.)

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    Courtney Milan says:

    I am so freaking addicted to the LBD. I have to structure my entire writing week around the episodes—getting up to write at 6 AM on Mondays and Thursdays because I know that if I don’t, I will lose the hours of 9 AM to 1 PM to watching the episodes and rewatching them and arguing with people about the latest episodes on Twitter and Tumblr and laughing at gif sets…

    It’s okay. It’s an addiction, but I’m totally still doing almost all of the things that I’m supposed to be doing to be a functional human being!

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    laj says:

    Kate Noble’s books are great reads!  The LBD is so well casted, I love those girls.  The adaptation is clever, witty and as compelling as Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

    @Cbeta: Are you kidding!@#$%

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    I love LBD!!!! So glad you got Kate Noble to answer your questions.

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    CarrieS says:

    You are not alone – I’m a huge P&P fan now but it took several readings plus watching several adaptations to get me to like it.  When I watched the adaptations even though they were all different they all conveyed that the dialogue is all basically code, and seeing actors’ body language helped me understand what the code meant.  I appreciate P&P when I think of it like sci fi – as though the characters are aliens, with very rigid and complex alien customs, and the universal translator doesn’t work completely.

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    Krista says:

    AhHh!!! I discovered the series when Smexy Books mentioned it in a post last Friday.  They were a little cheesy at first while the backstories and plot were being setup, but by like the 10th episode I was completely hooked!  I watched all 80 episodes in less than 24 hours (and then, all weekend, proceeded to beg my BFFs to watch it).  I think I’ve watched #78 & #80 about 20 times.  I can’t even imagine what waiting for #60 to be released felt like.  I would have been completely useless for those few days.

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    Malin says:

    Having discovered the show super early thanks to a shoutout by Felicia Day on The Flog, I’ve been eagerly anticipating every Monday and Thursday (and to a certain extent Tuesdays and Fridays, because that’s when Lydia’s vlog updates) for what seems like forever. I love it so much, and when it’s finished I will probably drive my husband crazy by watching the whole thing, with all the extra Charlotte and Lydia additions, all over again, just to get it all in one big go.

    I’m really curious as to how they’re going to resolve the Lydia story, as nowadays you really don’t have to marry someone no matter how foolish a relationship has developed. Also, I love the LBD version of Lydia so much more than the original P&P Lydia, and she deserves much better than that creep Wickham. I hope she gets some self esteem and realizes that it doesn’t matter what Lizzie or anyone says about her, she’s smart and funny and adorbs and should wait until she finds a guy who truly appreciates her, and doesn’t undermine her.

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    Oh. My. God.

    I got started on this series because Courtney Milan kept going on about it on Twitter (Hi, Courtney!), and I am ashamed to say that I watched the whole damned thing on Friday. It took me ten and a half hours, and I forgot to eat.

    In my defense, I had the day off work, and Saturday was my birthday so I had guests coming to town for revelry. I really HAD to finish the series; otherwise, I would have neglected my guests to watch it! Clearly, mine was the only responsible solution.

    Once I was done, I posted a link to the first episode on Facebook and watched as, one by one, my friends fell victim to its addictive powers.

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    The Lizzie Bennet Diaries are brilliant. Would love to see an interview with Co-Ep Margaret Dunlap about the genesis of the series.

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    Robin N says:

    Okay, so Pride and Prejudice is my all time favorite book; I am so glad to have been introduced to Kate Noble here. I have a new author to add to my to read list!!!!!!

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    Amy Raby says:

    I blame this post for my lack of progress on my manuscript today.

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    LovelloftheWolves says:

    I LOVE the Lizzie Bennet Diaries! I was hoping it would show up on this site. I personally loved what they did with Charlotte’s character (and making Kitty a cat – so clever and adorbs)

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    MaddBookish says:

    I’ve been all over this webseries from day one. I love P&P and the many movies/miniseries spawned from it. The only issue I have with the webseries are the occasional youtube commenters who have fits about spoilers when folk who have read the book ponder how they will handle certain plot points in the series.

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    MKthor says:

    Dear Sarah,

    Thank you so much for introducing me to The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. I can’t believe I haven’t heard of this series before which makes me feel like I’m missing out on all the doings of the world. I have just spent the majority of my day watching all the episodes that have been posted. By the first episode, obsession had already taken hold, and I could not stop myself. Goodness gracious, I absolutely adored the format of the story, having Lizzy interact with the viewers: there are so many things about this series that the writers have done fabulously. I especially liked how Charlotte was not a miserable, helpless side character and actually had a strong, outgoing, intelligent personality. I could go on and on about this series and most likely will when I discuss it with my friends. BTW, after I watched ep 1, I immediately told my friends and now they are also hooked on the crack. Sometimes it amazes me what one can accomplish in a day. :)

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    Trippinoutmysoul says:

    This post was the first I’d heard of LBD, and as per usual, I heeded the Smart Bitch recommendation and checked it out. That was 6 hours and 82 episodes ago. I just want to say, from youtube serials to books, I love you, SBTB, for bringing awesomeness our way.

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    Fran S. says:

    I was really lucky to watch Lizzie Bennet from the very first episode (I’m a Nerdfighter and therefore watch everything Hank Green has a finger in) and I got my roommate, Cat, into it as well.  We sit together every Monday and Thursday to watch.  I actually met Ashley Clements, Mary Kate Wiles, Laura Spencer, and Julia Cho (Lizzie, Lydia, Jane, and Charlotte) at LeakyCon and they were really great.  They even took pictures with my Robert Pattinson action figure.

    Waiting for the proposal was agonizing.  I kept quoting Sirius Black “Twelve years I waited…in Azkaban!!” while watching it for the fifth time in a row. 

    I was talking to Cat and mentioned that I thought the best way to resolve Wickham and Lydia would be with sex tape…George takes it and uses it for blackmail.  She pointed out that it could definitely give Darcy an edge in helping, as he could remove it with his media pull and money ect.

    And I’m excited to hear they’re planning another something! 

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    SB Sarah says:

    Happy birthday, Dread Pirate Rachel! Hope you got sleep.

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    SB Sarah says:

    You’re welcome – though I did little but say, “Hey! Look! Awesomeness!”  – because I’m as much as victim of obsessive time loss as you are.

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    Shawny Jean says:

    I worked at home last Friday, and I often like to have a favourite TV show or movie on in the background to keep the house from getting to quiet. It occurred to me that if I were to start the LBD playlist at the beginning and let it roll, there should be almost 400 minutes of content. That is massive. I eventually settled on Criminal Minds, but I think when the whole series is done, I’m going to have a LBD work-fest.

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    Bb_bungalow says:

    You were not lying. One weekend and innumerable episodes, pictures, tweet screen grabs later…

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