Persuading Austen

By: Brigid Coady

It is a truth universally acknowledged that working with an ex is a terrible idea…

Annie Elliot never expected her life to turn out this way: living with her dad, working as an accountant – surely the least glamorous job in Hollywood?! – and dodging her family’s constant bickering.

Landing a job as a producer on a new adaptation of Pride and Prejudice seems like the piece of luck she’s been waiting for. Until the cast is announced, and Annie discovers that the actor playing Mr Darcy is Austen Wentworth: the man she’s spent nearly a decade trying to forget.

Not only is Austen her ex – but while Annie’s life has stalled, Austen is Hollywood’s hottest property…and has just been voted World’s Sexiest Man.

With nowhere to hide, there’s just one question. Now the one who got away has come back, should Annie stand by her pride? Or give into Austen’s powers of persuasion?


Brigid Coady was born in the UK but raised round the world with most of her childhood spent reading. Brigid works for a communications and digital marketing agency as a producer and storyteller. Much of her writing is done at weekends in various Starbucks around the world. In the past, she has been the official Writer in Residence on the 06:37 train from London Victoria to Canterbury West. Brigid is also a voice-over artist, loves country music and has had her own radio show. Brigid’s obsession with One Direction and Kenny Chesney is perfectly healthy, no matter what anyone else says. She lives in London. Persuading Austen is her second novel.


People say that writing a book is a very solitary activity. Obviously, I’m doing it wrong. This book would not exist if I didn’t have a huge amount of support for which I am eternally grateful.

Thank you to my family; Mum, Dad, and Annalise. You are my biggest cheerleaders and the best handsellers of my work.

There would be no Persuading Austen without my lovely agent, Felicity Trew, from The Caroline Sheldon Literary Agency. Thank you for taking me on, and who would have thought that two years after that initial brainstorm that produced Annie’s story and introduced us to Austen Wentworth that they would be out in the wild.

Thanks to my editors at HQ Digital. Victoria Oundjian for taking a chance on the book and to Clio Cornish for taking over at short notice.

I’m incapable of writing without the support of Liz Fenwick, we have decided we are really one person with two writing careers. She is the voice of reason when I’m panicking. My cheerleader, friend, family, and literary other half. We must never have the same deadline again. And thanks to the whole Fenwick clan; Chris, Dom, Andrew, and Sasha for letting me be a part of the family and also lending me Liz.

Julie Cohen and Anna Louise Lucia have been my writing sisters for years. We don’t see each other enough but I can feel you behind me every time I put fingers to keyboards.

Thanks to the RNA for having my back and for being the best writing organisation in the world. Also thank you to Dr David Hessayon for his sponsorship of the Joan Hessayon Award for New Writers. I was lucky enough to win this award for my first novel, No One Wants To Be Miss Havisham the boost it has given me is incalculable.

This book would have been written faster if Keris Stainton hadn’t pushed me down the rabbit hole that is the One Direction fandom. Thanks for that and much more. The Tumblr fandom is a weird and wonderful place, populated with many talented people writing fan fiction and distracting me from my writing. I have left little nods to the fandom in the book; all included with love and respect. So thanks Keris and Katey Lovell for the group chats, writing support, concert ticket panic, and the fan fiction recommendations. I promise I will finish The Breakfast Club AU one day.

Everyone needs a support network of non-writing friends. Matt Turner – white van man extraordinaire, Bookshop Crawl Stig, book recommender, and partner in crime. Thank you for being you, and also for being the only one who bothered to come and see me in Basel.

To Tricia Gibney and Mr Pie, thank you for letting me stay and looking after me so well. No writer could ask for more; gluten-free food on tap, cat cuddles, and great conversation.

The wonderful Jill Mansell bid on and won my offer – to have a character named after her – for the Authors for Nepal auction. The Jillian Mansell depicted in this book in no way resembles Jill.

This book has its own playlist that was the soundtrack to my writing - And yes, there are rather a lot of One Direction songs on it. That is the way I roll.

All the many mistakes in this book about producing a TV show are all mine. And in the words of Dick Wolf and Law & Order: The following story is fictional and does not depict any actual person or event.