'Downton Abbey' inspires fan novel, fetes

Dan Stevens stars as Matthew Crawley and Michelle Dan Stevens stars as Matthew Crawley and Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary in "Downton Abbey," on PBS. Photo Credit: Handout

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Season Three of "Downton Abbey" may wrap up tonight, but the mania for all things "Downton" rages unabated. The beloved PBS series has inspired countless Internet fan pages, an unofficial cookbook and parodies by Jimmy Fallon, Jennifer Saunders and "Sesame Street."

Now Atlanta author Wendy Wax ("Ocean Beach") has written "While We Were Watching Downton Abbey," possibly the first novel about fans of the show.

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Coming from Berkley Books April 2, the novel will follow three Atlanta neighbors who come together at the concierge's apartment every Sunday to watch the show. The three women and their British host bond over the trials and tribulations of the Crawleys and their servants, which echo their own life struggles.

"I began by letting the show bring my main characters together," Wax writes on her website. "Sure enough, they were just as passionate about Lord Grantham, his family and those below stairs as I am."

"Downton" viewing parties caught on after the program's U.S. premiere in 2011, with fans gathering, sometimes in period clothing, to watch.

So what's next? A "Downton Abbey" video game?

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