I've read so many positive reviews of her books that I'm very happy Jan Hahn is here on My Jane Austen Book Club as my guest to tell you about her latest release, The Journey. There's a giveaway linked to this post. Read through it. You'll find all the details at the end.
Jan Hahn is fascinated by all things Austen, the 19th Century, and true love. Having spent many years in the world of business, she is now content to leave it behind and concentrate on her true interest—writing about Austen’s characters finding true love in the 19th Century. She is blessed with a large, loving family who tolerates and supports her obsession. Although she is a native Texan, Jan doesn’t live on a ranch, can’t ride a horse, and doesn’t own a pair of cowboy boots. She will admit to being cursed with a definite Texas drawl.
Jan’s first novel, An Arranged Marriage, recently won the award for Best Indie book of 2011 from Austinprose. Her second book, The Journey, has just been released. Both books are available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble online.
Thank you, Maria, for inviting me to post on your lovely site about my new book, The Journey. Of all Jane Austen’s writings, Pride and Prejudice is my favorite, and I never grow tired of discussing Elizabeth and Darcy with fellow devotees.
I have always admired those who are able to write sequels to Pride and Prejudice. I’ve sketched out several such storylines, but for some reason, I’m unable to create a plot that goes anywhere. Instead, variations of the original story take over my imagination. There are many places in Austen’s narrative where the characters may take an alternate path, and it becomes an entirely new account. All of these paths, of course, lead to the ultimate question for Darcy and Elizabeth: Will they or won’t they end up together? And for me, that is my delight. It’s all about the chase.
A popular place for writers to vary the story is in Kent around the time Darcy makes his first dreadful proposal to Elizabeth. It seems to be a natural jumping off spot. I used it in my first book, An Arranged Marriage. Mr. Bennet died immediately thereafter, plunging Elizabeth and her family into poverty, thus creating the need for a marriage of convenience.
The Journey begins earlier in Austen’s story, not long after the Netherfield ball. After refusing Mr. Collins’s proposal and to escape her mother’s disappointment, Elizabeth sets out on a trip to visit the Gardiners in London. Unfortunately, she is forced to suffer the trials of traveling not only with Bingley’s sisters but Darcy himself. Thus far, Elizabeth knows nothing of Darcy other than his arrogant behavior and Wickham’s lies. Naturally, her opinion of him is quite poor. Suddenly, the carriage is abruptly stopped, and a menacing cry rings out. “Stand and deliver!”
By the early 1800s, the scourge of highwaymen had abated in England somewhat, but remnants of the blight still existed. In The Journey, we meet Nate Morgan—the blonde, handsome, leader of the gang that holds up the carriage. As if robbery isn’t bad enough, things grow worse when Morgan decides to seize Elizabeth for his amusement. Darcy offers himself as hostage in her place, but when his proposal fails to secure Elizabeth’s release, he makes a shocking declaration—Elizabeth is his wife!
Abducted for ransom by the highwaymen and taken to a remote cabin in the woods, Elizabeth and Darcy are forced to act as husband and wife and rely upon each other for their survival. At a time when a woman’s future could be ruined by the slightest hint of scandal, Elizabeth’s reputation will depend not only upon the actions of Darcy but Morgan as well. The fateful journey embarked upon that day changes the lives of all three characters forever.
I like to read and write stories of Elizabeth and Darcy that contain a great number of scenes where they interact. Whether sparring in conversation, quarreling outright, or falling in love, I want them to experience an abundance of togetherness. If the plot dictates that they spend time apart, I understand the necessity, but I long for their reunion. When I first considered writing The Journey, I was intrigued by the idea of locking the couple in a room together with no one to talk to but each other. Of course, I needed a reason for their seclusion, and voilà!—a band of highwaymen appeared before me with one handsome rogue in particular who would be attracted to Elizabeth.
Bad boys make an appearance in all of Austen’s books. From Wickham to Willoughby to Frank Churchill, they often arrive quite charming and amiable. Their true nature is hidden, and it takes time for all to be revealed. From the beginning of The Journey, Nate Morgan is clearly a bad boy but not without charisma. His appeal lies in the possibility of redemption, and that’s a seductive temptation for any woman. Needless to say, I thoroughly enjoyed creating the character.
Who’s your favorite Austen bad boy and why? Is it Henry Crawford, John Willoughby, George Wickham, Frank Churchill, William Walter Elliot, John Thorpe, or even the fearful General Tilney? Is there anyone in particular that you’d like to see redeemed? Writers are always searching for new inspiration. Perhaps your idea might stimulate a brand new book.
Thank you for the interest you have shown in An Arranged Marriage. I hope you will enjoy traveling on The Journey with Darcy and Elizabeth.
1 autographed paperback copy of The Journey limited to US and Canada.
1 e-book copy of The Journey open to all countries
Leave your comment and don't forget to add which country you live in and your e-mail address. This giveaway contest ends on February 18th.