Welcome to our online club, Joy. I'm really glad you accepted to be my guest at My Jane Austen Book Club and I'm so curious to discover more about you and your debut novel, A Father's Sins!
Thank you so much for inviting me Maria. This has been an exciting adventure for me, both in writing, publishing, and promoting my book “A Father’s Sins” and in learning the finer points of modern technology. In the last three weeks I’ve Twittered, Googled, Blogged, and posted more than I have in the 57 years before that time and I do not think it will stop now that I have started.
Your book was released on March 22nd of this year. What has been the biggest change so far?
It is funny that you should ask that, Maria. My husband and I had just been discussing that very question. I think the biggest change is the number of my friends that want to tell me the stories that they have been thinking of writing or those that ask for help to get published. This is delightful to me because I love to hear what goes through the minds of the people that I am around. The tales vary so much. Other Jane Austen fans seem to be pouring out of the woodwork and the support I am getting from friends, family, and even complete strangers is phenomenal. My circle of friends is certainly much wider now than it was before publishing.
While “A Father’s Sins” focuses on the relationship between Darcy and Elizabeth, it has as its background the dysfunctional decisions of the fathers of these two characters. Was that a challenge to write?
It was from the perspective of the 1995 Pride and Prejudice PBS mini-series and the 2005 movie with Keira Knightley and Matthew MacFadyen. I loved the actors that played Mr. Bennet in those movies, especially Donald Sutherland. His interpretation of his character gave me warm “fuzzies” inside my heart and I respected his skill at portraying Mr. Bennet as such. These actors gave the impression that they were devoted fathers who loved their children. But, did they? I am married to a man who has repeatedly put our daughter’s desires and needs before his own. Did Mr. Bennet do that in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice? I do not believe that he did. He has been described in other variations as indolent, which means that he was disinclined to exert himself. Mr. Bennet obviously did not exert himself to provide for his daughter’s future. He did not exert himself to restrain Lydia or his wife. Did this make him a bad man or a bad father? Not necessarily. It made him an imperfect father who made good decisions in some areas and bad decisions in others.
In your book, Darcy and Elizabeth face obstacles from mostly outside sources, yet in the original the drama is between those two characters. What motivated you to make this change?
Good question, Maria. I love the characters of Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet, flaws and all. Because of the consequences of their father’s decisions in my story, I felt that they would have had the maturity to get beyond the frustration and lack of communication that the original story had them struggle with.
Did you picture any of the characters from the movies as you wrote about Darcy and Elizabeth?
I am positively unashamed to admit that I did. My Mr. Darcy had the height, clothing, and voice of Matthew MacFadyen but the hair and eyes of Colin Firth. Elizabeth Bennet was pure Keira Knightley. I have nothing at all against Jennifer Ehle or her acting the role of Lizzy. I needed someone decidedly 20 years old and Jennifer was older when she played the part. Mr. Bennet was definitely Donald Sutherland. With those eyebrows, who else could it be?
You are currently writing about Mr. Bingley and Jane Bennet. Will their characters differ from the original?
Mr. Bingley? Fundamentally, he is exactly as depicted in the original. Jane Bennet, however, is a much different woman to start with. However, they are both lovely people who need to grow up. This will happen as the story progresses. There are outside sources that cause them angst, but it is mostly their own inexperience and naiveté that causes them grief. I do like these characters, though, very much.
Oh my goodness!!! We live 16 miles from an active volcano and it just blew. The explosion was tremendous. From experience, I suspect that our beautiful sunny day is about to change. Time to pull the laundry in as the ash…. well, it makes a mess.
|Picture from Joy Dawn King|
Tell me something about Joy Dawn King that few people know.
Two years ago I had a stroke that has seriously impacted my short term memory. Before that, if you told me a credit card number I would never forget it, which is why I could never work at a bank. Since then, I struggle with remembering the simplest things. For example, I can read my story, put it down, pick it back up in a week or so, and not remember that I wrote much of the content. It’s a challenge when writing because I have to start from the beginning each time I sit down to type. It is great exercise for the brain, though, so I will keep it up. Continuity is my biggest challenge; however, I now am a diligent list maker.
Could you tell us something more about your book, please?
How do Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet overcome the consequences of poor decisions made by their fathers when Darcy and Elizabeth were young?
In A Father's Sins, Mr. George Darcy, father of an illegitimate child raised by his steward, Mr. Wickham, agreed with his wife, Anne, that the firstborn son of their marriage would be heir to Pemberley. However, Mr. Darcy loved his eldest son, George Wickham, and indulged him by bringing him to Pemberley to live after the death of his wife. His heir, Fitzwilliam Darcy, paid a heavy price for this decision.
Mr. Thomas Bennet, an educated gentleman and father of five daughters, favored his second born, Elizabeth. Unexpectedly, his wife gave birth to a son and heir. Mr. Bennet, at the persistent urging of his wife, chose not to have his youngest children vaccinated for smallpox. When the plague hit Longbourn it devastated their family. Elizabeth paid the heaviest price for this decision of her father.
What happens when Darcy and Elizabeth meet? Will they be able to overcome the consequences of the choices their fathers made? When George Wickham, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, Mr. William Collins, and the Fitzwilliam family arrive in Meryton, how will that impact their growing attraction? How does the same decision by Mr. Bennet influence the relationship between Jane Bennet and Mr. Bingley? Will love have a chance?
That's all for now, Joy. Thanks for your time. It's been a great pleasure to discover more about you and your book. Good luck and best wishes for everything.
About the author
First time author Joy Dawn King fell in love with Jane Austen's writings two years ago and discovered the world of fan fiction shortly after. Intrigued with the many possibilities, she began developing her own story for Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet.
Living high in the Andes Mountains of South America, Joy loves to take an occasional break from the Latin culture and bury herself in reading English literature about her favorite English characters.
Joy, and her husband of 34 years, live next door to their only child, Jennifer, her husband, and twin grandchildren and is a native Oregonian.
The author is currently writing about Mr. Bingley's and Jane Bennet's struggles with happily ever after and will follow with the tale of what happens when Colonel Fitzwilliam immediately falls in love with Constance Wickham, who hates him bitterly.
Two lucky winners will have the chance to win an ebook copy of "A Father's Sins" + $25 Amazon Gift Card.
The giveway is open world wide and will end on April 30. Take your chances to win in the rafflecopter form below.
Many thanks to Joy Dawn King for granting us the 2 ebook copies to giveaway and the 2 Amazon Gift Cards.
Good luck, everyone!