Geetings to Austen lovers everywhere and thank you for hosting me at My Jane Austen Book Club and allowing me to talk about my debut publication, Letters from the Heart!
I don’t think I can talk about this story without talking about the online Jane Austen experience. I am so incredibly thankful to the Jane Austen community. It has welcomed me, challenged me, and absolutely pushed me to do more than I thought I could. I still have a little trouble believing that a series of letters I wrote almost on a whim has grown into this!
I first published this story on fanfiction.net as Letters from Elizabeth. Clicking that button was both terrifying and exhilarating. It’s not entirely unlike the way I feel now, except now it’s much more intense. The reviewers there were amazing and were the entire reason I created the companion piece, Letters from Mr Darcy. Those reviewers also introduced me to A Happy Assembly where I published the combined letters under a new title, Letters from the Heart. It is impossible for me to under state how much the friends I made there encouraged and inspired me.
I didn’t really “discover” Jane Austen until I was in my late thirties, but my journey to discover sequels and variations started almost as soon as I finished Pride and Prejudice. I was in love with Darcy and Elizabeth and I wanted more! I couldn’t have imagined how that desire would change me in the years to come. I found Sharon Lathan’s works at my local library and they left me wanting still more. I was greedy, but I hadn’t learned where to look. Time moved on, the internet grew, and one happy day, many years later, I discovered a whole new world of joy – online fan fiction. Oh, the bliss! The more I read, the more I began to consider…what if? What if Darcy and Elizabeth reached an earlier understanding, what if Mrs Bennet was truly awful, what if Georgiana eloped with Wickham, what if Mr Bennet died? What if? What if? What if? Finally, the questions demanded answers and I began to write the story I wanted to read.
Of course, like many other authors in this genre, I found I had more story ideas than I had time to write and that first story sat in the background while others clamored for more attention. Letters from the Heart was one of those that would not be silenced. I’d recently read several stories where Elizabeth was forced to marry Mr Collins and / or where Mr Collins turned out to be a terrible man. I started to wonder, what if? What if she had to marry Mr Collins when he first proposed? What if she couldn’t see her family? As I was contemplating all of that, an old song by the Forester Sisters popped in my head. It’s called Letter Home. Then I picked up my pen (Yes, a pen. Most of Letters from the Heart was initially hand-written) and wrote those first lines, Dear Jane, I must apologize…
About the Book
The Bennet sisters of Longbourn lack both decorum and connections and do not possess a decent dowry between them. Even the best of the them is in every way unsuitable for a man whose income is as a good as a lord. But love is not so easily set aside and in January 1812, Mr Darcy persuades Mr Bingley to reopen Netherfield Park, the country estate from which they both fled only two months before. On returning to Hertfordshire, they discover a near tragedy took place three days after the Netherfield Ball and has changed the lives of the Bennet family forever. Mrs Bennet’s relentless fear of losing her place in society has led her to condemn her least favourite daughter to a life of isolation and pain that will greatly complicate Darcy and Elizabeth’s journey to happiness. Old bonds are strengthened, family ties are severed, and unlikely allies emerge as each of them struggles to make sense of the changes they face.
About the Author
Kay Bea is an administrative assistant and Jane Austen lover living in Kansas City with her husband of twenty-five years, her mother-in-law, and her fur kids. She has written several short stories and drabbles on fanfiction.net as “I Found My Mr. Darcy” and on A Happy Assembly as MrsDarcy2032.
Kay grew up in Wyoming, enjoyed a two-year adventure in Maryland, and now calls Missouri home. When she isn’t writing, Kay enjoys photography, cooking, and spending time with her adult children and three granddaughters.
You can win a $50 Amazon gift card! The contents ends on September 19. To be eligible, just comment on any of the blog tour stops. You need not visit all the stops (one point per stop and comment), however, it does increase your chances of winning by earning more entry points.
The Blog Tour
*Tuesday, September 3: My Jane Austen Book Club
*Wednesday, September 4: Austenesque Reviews
*Thursday, September 5: My Vices & Weaknesses
*Friday, September 6: Calico Critic
*Monday, September 9: Babblings of a Bookworm
*Tuesday, September 10: Savvy Verse & Wit
*Wednesday, September 11: Margie’s Must Reads
*Thursday, September 12: From Pemberley to Milton