When I was offered the opportunity to have Sharon Lathan write a guest blog – I did happy dance about the office. Then I began to think of what topic to ask her to write about. I tried to come up with something erudite and not something she’d answered a million times already. But, you know what? In the end, I simply asked the question that had been rolling around in the back of my mind. It’s the same one that I ask myself. Why do I feel drawn to this couple? Why do I read and reread Pride and Prejudice? So, I asked:
What got you started on writing follow-on stories for Elizabeth and Darcy from Pride and Prejudice? What drew you to these characters as opposed to say the sisters in Sense and Sensibilities or and of the couples in Austen’s other stories.
Hanging Out With The Darcys by Sharon Lathan
“Once upon a time..” is a phrase naturally associated with fairy tales and legends rather than real life happenings a mere five years ago, yet for me I already connect the phrase with how I began writing. Somehow the initial days and months feel like the stuff of myth rather than logical steps. Like the heroine on a written page my journey began simply when I walked into a movie theater to watch the 2005 cinema adaptation of Pride and Prejudice as directed by Joe Wright and starring Keira Knightley as Lizzy Bennet and Matthew Macfadyen as Mr. Darcy. The story was entirely new to me, I being largely a Jane Austen virgin at the time. Much like a literary heroine, emotions overtook me. Passion surged and curiosity raged! I was insatiable in my desire to learn more of Jane Austen, this story and these characters, the Regency Era, history in general, and so on.
Events snowballed and before I hardly knew what was happening I was writing a sequel. Wait, didn’t Mr. Darcy say something similar in regards to his love for Elizabeth? What was it again?
“I cannot fix on the hour or the spot or the look or the words which laid the foundation. It is too long ago. I was in the middle before I knew that I had begun.”
Yes, that sums it up well. Thank you Mr. Darcy! Just as our favorite hero was lost amid the throes of passionate love before he admitted it to himself, so was I. This story had captured my heart in a way no other story ever had. These characters were real, viscerally embedded within my soul, speaking inside my head. Rather frightening I suppose, but I wasted no time fretting over it. I simply sat down and started typing and researching and typing some more. It was heaven!
Later, especially after curious folks began asking me the questions of why and what, I tried to narrow it down. I am not sure if I have ever adequately explained why this story so mesmerized me. I am not sure if any artist can logically explain their creative inspiration. But I have tried to step aside – so to speak – and look at it objectively.
Everyone loves Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet! Sure the other characters who inhabit Austen’s wonderful novels are adored and appreciated, and some are even favored over Lizzy and Darcy, but there is little dispute that these lovers rank highest. Readers delight in Lizzy’s wit, spunk, personality, bravery, humanness, independence, etc. Readers swoon over the handsome, honorable, intelligent, misunderstood, and, yes, rich Mr. Darcy. For two centuries these two have provided joy to millions of readers, their love and infatuation similar to mine. Certainly in my case the visual of the movie spurred and enhanced my inspiration, but Colin Firth fans have experienced that for over a decade so nothing new in that regard!
I have often wondered if it also comes down to timing. Being in the right place at the right time in my life for the unrealized creative spark buried deep inside to be kindled. Honestly I do think that has something to do with it, but I also do not think the fire would have burst forth from any other story. At least it never had!
In truth I prefer to keep it a mystery. I know how this passion makes me feel and for once this clinically minded gal is content to ignore her obsessive need to figure out every puzzle. Maybe someday another Austen character or story will hit me in the same way. For the present I am fine with hanging out with the Darcys. They are quite hospitable!
Now, if you are up for a treat, here is an excerpt from The Trouble With Mr. Darcy. Enjoy!
“He is quite active at this moment.”
Her whispered words broke into the silence, momentarily halting the fingers trailing over her hipbone. Eagerly they altered their random path, purposefully brushing along her inner thigh until reaching the swell above. As she said, the baby was moving with gentle nudges against his palm.
“Hmm… Wonderful. You continually say ‘he’ as if sure of the sex. Another vivid dream as with Alexander?”
“No. Not this time. More of a feeling.”
“Ah, a feeling. So scientific.” He accented his tease with a tiny pinch.
“As scientific as my dream, but that proved true.”
“Very well then. I suppose that means we do not have to assign a female name, and since Alexander was instantly agreed upon, we have a task on our hands. Any choices? Do you wish to name him after your father?”
“Thomas? Perhaps, although we could reserve it as a secondary name after your father’s. James should be chosen before Thomas.”
“I do want to pay homage to my father if possible, yes. However, I do want to add Charles as a secondary name as well, if you do not mind? He is a dear friend and instrumental in my meeting you.” He gently drew her away from his chest, attempting to see her eyes in the dark, but to no avail so he kissed her instead, his fingertips flittering over her most sensitive zones while maintaining contact with their unborn child.
“How sweet,” she said once her mouth was released. “Charles is mutually agreed upon. So, we have numerous secondary name choices but nothing for the Christian name. Do you have a favorite?”
“I have always liked Nathaniel. And Adam. Not common, I know, but nice names.”
“Possible. What do you think of Gabriel? Lisle’s son is Gabriel and it struck me as pleasant.”
Suddenly Darcy chuckled. “Gabriel, Thomas, Nathaniel, Adam. I think we are cornering Biblical names!”
“Indeed,” she joined his laughter. “Of course, if we have this many babies you alluded to last night, we may work our way through the entire Bible. Just do not ask for Methuselah. I draw the line there.”
“Does that mean Shadrach and Meshach are eliminated? And no on Potiphar or Boaz?”
She shook with laughter and a fair dose of arousal now that his fingers had crept to the apex between her legs and were confounding her senses with their antics. “Absolutely not! I have no urge to torture our son with a hideous name. What say we remain in the realm of non-ridiculing names like Matthew or Daniel or Michael…”
“Michael,” Darcy interrupted, although Lizzy’s voice had paused on the name. Even his fingers had ceased moving, a fact Lizzy did not initially register as she too was dwelling on the name. “That has a nice ring. Michael. Michael Darcy. Michael Charles Darcy. What do you think?” He tried vainly to see her eyes, but the room was still too dark. He felt her gaze upon his face, the gap of inches separating allowing him to feel her exhaled breaths. Somehow he knew she was smiling.
“I love it. Yes, very much. It does not have to be definitively settled as yet, but… It fits for some inexplicable reason. Michael Darcy.”
“Michael Darcy. Yes. At least the choice for the present and much better than Methuselah. Shall we seal it with a kiss, Mrs. Darcy?”
About the Author: Sharon Lathan is the author of the bestselling novels Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two Shall Become One, Loving Mr. Darcy: Journeys Beyond Pemberley, My Dearest Mr. Darcy and In The Arms of Mr. Darcy. Sharon also wrote a novella as part of an anthology with Amanda Grange and Carolyn Eberhart, A Darcy Christmas. 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. Come to Austen Authors – www.austenauthors.com where Sharon and twenty other authors of Austen fiction blog together.
Sharon Lathan’s newest book:
The Trouble With Mr. Darcy by Sharon Lathan
Sourcebooks Landmark ISBN 1402237545
Even charmed lives will encounter troubles along the way….
After a time of happiness and strife, Darcy and Elizabeth gather with family and friends in Hertfordshire to celebrate the wedding of Kitty Bennet. Georgiana Darcy returns from a lengthy tour of the Continent with happy secrets to share, accompanied by the newlywed Colonel Fitzwilliam and Lady Simone, who may have secrets of their own. The stage is set for joy until the party is upset by the arrival of the long absent Mr. and Mrs. Wickham.
Wickham’s jealousy and resentment of Darcy has grown steadily throughout the years and Darcy rightly suspects that Wickham is up to no good. Darcy enlists the aid of Colonel Fitzwilliam to keep an eye on Wickham’s activity, but neither anticipate the extreme measures taken to exact his revenge. Nor do they fathom the layers of deception and persons involved in the scheme.
George Wickham returns to Hertfordshire bent on creating trouble, and Elizabeth and her son are thrown into danger. Knowing that Wickham has nothing left to lose, Darcy and Fitzwilliam rush to the rescue in a race against time. This lushly romantic story takes a turn for the swashbuckling when Mr. Darcy has to confront the villainous Wickham and his own demons at the same time… devoted as he is, what battles within will Mr. Darcy have to face?