My guest today is Sharon Lathan, author of the bestselling Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two Shall Become One, Loving Mr. Darcy: Journeys Beyond Pemberley, and My Dearest Mr. Darcy. In addition to her writing, she works as a Registered Nurse in a Neonatal ICU. She resides with her family in Hanford, California in the sunny San Joaquin Valley. For more information, please visit www.sharonlathan.net. You'll find her at Austen Authors – www.austenauthors.com - and Casablanca Authors – www.casablancaauthors.blogspot.com - where Sharon shares the spotlight with other writers.
Read and comment this interview. Sharon will be happy to answer your questions and has granted you a free copy of her latest release
IN THE ARMS OF MR DARCY!
The giveaway ends next Wednesday 27 October and is open to US and Canada readers only. Don't forget to leave your e-mail address so that I can contact you in case you are the lucky winner.
Hello and welcome, Sharon! Thanks a lot for accepting my invitation. First of all, can you tell us how you started writing your Darcy Saga? I’ve heard it has something to do with 2005 Pride & Prejudice adaptation. (Guess what? That was the first adaptation I ever saw of Jane Austen’s masterpiece! Colin Firth and his 1995 cult performance only came second).
Yes, it is true that I first came to know of the world of Jane Austen through a theater viewing of the 2005 version of P&P. I still adore the movie! I absolutely fell in love with the characters and story. So much so that I instantly rented the 1995 miniseries, read the novel by Jane Austen, and initiated a comprehensive Internet search for all things Austen related. The obsession grew from there. Along the way I discovered online fan fiction, which fed my imagination. The question of what would happen after they married was one I never found the answer to as I envisioned it, so eventually I started writing it myself. The rest is history as they say!
You wrote “Mr and Mrs Fitzwilliam Darcy” and imagined our beloved couple live happily ever after. Can you tell us at least part of the secrets of their successful ménage?
Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy was written because I believe in happily ever after. Not necessarily in the perfect fairytale way, but certainly in the sense of a couple having a long marriage where joy abounds. The secrets? Commitment, faithfulness, open communication, romance in all the ways it can be expressed, devotion to the other, selflessness, appreciation for the blessing of finding your mate. It isn't always easy, as anyone married for a while will attest, but a marriage can thrive rather than shrivel away. Those who say this is not true, that my vision for Darcy and Lizzy is a fantasy, who do not believe two people can remain passionate past the honeymoon, or who deny that a couple from any era can actually enjoy being with each other are simply wrong. It isn't a "secret" at all! Just read my story to discover how it can be done!
For what we know of her personality, what do you think Jane Austen would appreciate more in your continuation of her novel?
I think Jane was a believer in love and marital felicity, and wanted that for her hero and heroine. I think she would appreciate that although I take her characters in a direction perhaps she never imagined, even going into the bedroom where she never entered either in her writing or real life, I do so out of a deep love and devotion. I think she would be very pleased to see them living a full, happy life, unlike the examples of poor marriages that she clearly disapproved of.
What is your personal interpretation of Darcy’s appeal? How did you imagine him as a loving husband? Does he keep any of the traits of his proud countenance, those he showed in the first chapters of P&P?
Lots of questions here that I could, and have, written whole essays on! Darcy's appeal is multifaceted, but I honestly believe much of it has to do with his enigmatic quality. We know little of him within Austen's text so can paint a man to fit our personal image. However, what we do know of him once his true character is revealed is positive and appealing. He is loyal to a fault, proud but in a natural sense, loving, generous, selfless, forgiving, willing to change, and so on. All of this combined paints a man who is as close to perfect as is possible!
To me it was already shown within the original text that he would be a loving husband. Just look at what he does for Lizzy after being rejected and with no hope of winning her heart. Look at his devotion to Georgiana. Look at his concern and commitment to Bingley. Look at his care and generosity to Pemberley and the people who support him. Add this to the fact that a gentleman of this era was expected to respect, honor, and care for his wife and there is no way to assume otherwise!
I don't interpret Darcy's pride as the horrible trait some do. Considering the era, his upbringing, and the nearly scandalous behavior of the Meryton crowd a portion of his attitude is understandable! Plus, I think he was awkward and shy, thus being largely mislabeled and misunderstood. My Darcy is a man who still is not socially adept and remains a bit uncomfortable. Like it or not he is in a social class that is high above others - as standard for the time period - so this does not change. But he is certainly loosened up with a lively wife like Lizzy!
The marriages of convenience were often targets of Jane Austen’s satire and I’m convinced this is not the case but … how would you answer those who suspect that Elizabeth married Darcy because, after visiting Pemberley , she became suddenly interested in his patrimony?
Really? I don't see that at all. I mean let's face it Lizzy is only human! She would have been a fool to not recognize the benefits that she rejected. That is why I love the laugh Keira Knightley as Elizabeth Bennet releases when she sees Pemberley for the first time. Nevertheless, I don't believe that drove her change of heart since she knew from the beginning how wealthy Mr. Darcy was. If this was her mindset she would have accepted his proposal the first time around, or thrown herself at him with a bit more vigor while at Pemberley or when he returned to Hertfordshire later.
" In the Arms of Mr Darcy” is another installment in this saga. How would you invite our readers to buy /read this second novel in let’s say no more than 50 words?
Precisely, In The Arms of Mr. Darcy is the fourth volume of my Darcy Saga series! After Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two Shall Become One came Loving Mr. Darcy: Journeys Beyond Pemberley and then My Dearest Mr. Darcy. The first three novels covered the initial year of the Darcys' marriage in a gradual, thematic pace and can be found in bookstores everywhere. In The Arms of Mr. Darcy moves faster and spans just over one year in their life. I think the synopsis from the back cover sums it up the best so I'll share that and hope it serves to entice readers--
Darcy and Elizabeth are as much in love as ever—even more so as their relationship matures. Their passion inspires everyone around them, and as winter turns to spring, romance finds nearly everyone.
Confirmed bachelor Richard Fitzwilliam sets his sights on a seemingly unattainable, beautiful widow, Georgiana Darcy learns to flirt outrageously, the flighty Kitty Bennet develops her first crush, and Caroline Bingley meets her match.
But the path of true love never does run smooth, and Elizabeth and Darcy are kept busy navigating their friends and loved ones through the inevitable separations, misunderstandings, misgivings and lovers’ quarrels…
What is your opinion on the huge success that Jane Austen’s world is experiencing nowadays?
I think it is fantastic! I firmly believe that anything that brings classic literature to the attention of new readers is terrific. Thousands of people, such as myself, who never knew the beauty of Jane Austen's world now do because of a new cinema offering or published fan fiction novel or even a mashup! Austen's stories and characters are timeless. Their problems and personalities are relatable to a modern audience, hence why they fit well in adaptations like Lost in Austen which I loved.
What is instead that attracted you to that world at first?
First and foremost I was captured by the love story between Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy. It was portrayed excellently by Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen. This is where my heart was ensnared and what I wanted to explore initially by reading the novel and delving into online discussions. Very quickly I became fascinated by the Regency Era, the history and fashion and society intriguing me. I am a romantic and a lover of history, so this is where I focused my devotion initially. Next came a greater appreciation for Austen's incredible writing and her storytelling genius.
I’ve recently re-watched Lost in Austen, which I find a brilliant parody of P&P. Amanda ends up living in her favourite Austen novel. If you were given the same chance, which novel would you choose? Which characters would you be bothered to meet? Which instead would you be glad to meet?
Naturally I have to pick Pride and Prejudice! How could I resist? Especially if I was lucky like Amanda and Mr. Darcy fell in love with me! I would not want to meet Mr. Collins since fools irritate me. Lady Catherine would probably scare me to death, so I would avoid her. Yet, romance and fancy estates aside, I think the one Austen character I would most relate to and enjoy chatting with is Elinor Dashwood from Sense and Sensibility. I am very like her.
Are you working on a new project?
Yes I am! But before I tell you about that, I would like to talk about the finished novels. A Darcy Christmas is an anthology that was also released this month and is available everywhere. My novella, "A Darcy Christmas," joins those by Amanda Grange and Carolyn Eberhart in this holiday, Pride & Prejudice-themed book. In my story the reader visits with the Darcys in a series of Christmas memories over 25 years as their family matures. It is really fantastic if I say so myself! In April of 2011 the fifth volume in the Darcy Saga series will be released. The Trouble With Mr. Darcy sees the return of Mr. Wickham for the wedding of Kitty Bennet with some dramatic consequences!
My newest project that I am still writing is Miss Georgiana Darcy and will be released in the fall of 2011. This is a companion novel that tells the tale of Darcy's sister Georgiana as she travels through post-Napoleonic France and falls in love. Are you intrigued? I hope so!!
I am! That's all for now , Sharon , thank you so much for accepting my invitation to Talk Jane Austen with me. Best wishes and good luck!
Thank you, Maria Grazia. I appreciate your invitation and look forward to chatting more with your readers. Fire away! I am happy to answer questions and talk more about my saga.