Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Guest post by Sharon Lathan, author of Mr. & Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two Shall Become One (with giveaway)

Today I have the pleasure of welcoming Sharon Lathan, author of Mr. & Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two Shall Become One (which I reviewed here) to Diary of an Eccentric. I appreciate that Sharon took time out of her busy schedule to answer a question I had about why she chose to add to the numerous Pride and Prejudice sequels out there.

Here's what Sharon had to say:

Ignorance Is Bliss

All of us are familiar with the phrase and I bet could point to at least once in our life where the adage proved fortuitous for one reason or another. When Anna graciously invited me to be a guest blogger to promote my debut novel Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy ~ Two Shall Become One and then requested I address what motivated me to write another Pride and Prejudice sequel -- this common saying popped into my mind.

My journey down the long road of writing Jane Austen fan-fiction (JAFF) and then publishing is a tale all its own and can be read about on my website: The Darcy Saga. In a nutshell, and why the Thomas Gray quote applies to me, it was largely ignorance that started me on the blissful path of writing in the first place! I saw the 2005 movie with Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfayden -- loved it immensely -- and while the visions of 'what-happened-next' swirled through my head (as they always do after a romantic movie) I did what everyone does these days: hit the Internet! Lo and behold, I discovered JAFF! I was fairly stoked, scouring through a couple websites looking for the romantic account of Lizzy and Darcy married that met my dreams. I quickly gave up -- adding impatience to the ignorance, I suppose -- and decided if it wasn't out there, then I would just write it myself!

My whimsical lark ruled for over a year as the words flowed into chapter upon chapter, a saga of epic proportions evolving before I lifted my head above the water. So immersed was I in historical research, creative writing, and maintaining a website that I rarely expended my precious time trolling Austen websites or entering discussion forums. Gradually I became aware of the endless Austen-related debates, the plethora of websites, and the increasingly prolific Darcy-themed novels -- but by then it was too late.

The bliss portion of the maxim had consumed me. My personal joy in living life with the Darcys and their friends was augmented substantially by the happiness expressed in constant feedback from my readers. As my ignorance waned and my bliss was challenged, the encouragement from my fans strengthened me to press on. But, to be honest, I did have to answer the valid question: What makes my story unique? Ignorant I may have been going in, but now I knew what I was up against.

So I looked at it subjectively and realized several facts --

1. My initial desire, what I had vainly searched for, had not altered. I offer the romantic, happy marriage that we dream of. Not just for ourselves, but for all our favorite literary/movie couples. I present a marriage as it should be; as maybe it could be if lovers devoted themselves to each other completely. Portray the ideal! Reach for the stars! Give Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth that perfect union that few ever attain, but we all wish we could. Having them actually triumph in marriage, talk to each other, overcome their difficulties, and grow to love each other more is, sadly, somewhat revolutionary nowadays.

2. My saga is about life as it would historically be lived in the early 1800s. I want my reader to be the fly-on-the-wall who shares in the joys, sorrows, entertainments, annoyances, humor, and daily happenings both mundane and extraordinary as life progresses. There are wild incidents, dramas and traumas, conflicts to be resolved, etc. But the focus is on how the characters deal with it, grow stronger, and move on.

3. I am largely inspired by the 2005 movie -- and proud of it! I loved the passion, the highly romantic tones, the gritty realism, the characterization, the drama, and the actors. That is where the love of Austen was birthed for me, and my heart is still captured by Joe Wright's masterpiece.

4. My story is fun and positive! Wouldn't we rather laugh than cry? Don't we want to be filled with hope? Isn't humor, wild passion, and joyfulness a refreshing read now and again? Aren't you read to devour a book that puts a smile on your face and tender feelings in your heart?

I hope I have answered Anna's question sufficiently. I appreciate the opportunity to do so. And I pray I have inspired you to pick up Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy ~ Two Shall Become One. That is just the beginning! More novels in my Darcy Saga series are forthcoming, all designed to warm the cockles of your heart.

Thanks, Sharon! I look forward to the next installment in the Darcy Saga, and I wish you much success.

Danielle Jackson from Sourcebooks would like to offer a copy of Mr. & Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two Shall Become One to one lucky reader.

To enter:

1. Tell me what book or movie you wish would have a sequel.

2. Leave your email address or blog URL so I can contact you if you win.

Since the publisher is handling shipment, this giveaway is open to U.S. and Canada addresses only. The giveaway will end at midnight EST on Sunday, March 1.

Good luck!


Sandy Nawrot said...

Huh. I had no idea that Jane Austen sequels were a genre! I feel a little squeamish about the idea, since Pride & Prejudice is so perfect. In fact, sequels of love stories scare me. The cynical black-hearted soul that I am, I always figure that they go on to fight over money, become alcoholics and have affairs. A little tiny voice in me wanted "When Harry Met Sally" to have a sequel, but again, the idea also scared me. I hate to see reality muck up a good love story! I loved hearing Ms. Lathan's story...God love her for having the passion to pursue this venture! My e-mail is rnawrot at cfl dot rr dot com.

Serena said...

No need to enter me, but I loved Sharon's guest post. Her site is truly a catch-all for her motivation and writing. Those who have not checked it out, should.

Bcteagirl said...

About a month ago I finished reading Clara Callan (fiction, journals and letters of a teacher in the 1930's)... I would love to see a sequel to this book!

Sharon Lathan said...

Thanks again, Serena, for allowing me this opportunity. It was wonderful to write my thoughts. And I do appreciate the direction to my website. I have to confess that I am quite proud of it! And all this week I am hosting a Launch Fete in honor of my novel's official release. I, too, will be giving away signed copies, so everyone is invited to check it out.

Sandy, Be Cheered! I promise to give you a happy love story! No major fights or alcoholics or affairs. No mucking anything up! Thanks for popping in and commenting.

Janicu said...

Didn't take me long to think of it: I wish North and South had a sequel. Movie AND book!

I know that many people complain about too many Jane Austen spinoffs, but I like them! There. I said it!

Linda said...

I enjoyed this guest post and would love to read this book. A favorite historical fiction book was Through a Glass Darkly, eagerly read the sequel, and was so disappointed at the end of Now Face to Face - too many unanswered questions. It definitely screams for a sequel.

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Just popping in to let you know I posted about this guest blog at Win a Book. Don't enter me for anything! (and you know what book I want a sequel to! Now, back to writing it!)

~Sia McKye~ said...

Sharon, good for you! My writers soul has long for many a book to continue after the storybook wedding. Pride and Predjudice is on of those books and several of Georgette Hyers. Seeing characters diveloped a bit more, not just the main ones but some of the wonderful secondary characters.

I can see how daunting this project must have been when you started out. It's a big project and I'm glad to hear you kept at it!

Keep up the great work, ma'am.

Seli said...

I love how Sharon's characters are romantic and loving. It is a story about two people in love, geting to know each other, having to deal with the family and society around them and staying true to themselves no matter what. It is wonderful. I love everything about the book. The romatic moments are very special and true to the characters. I personally would love to see Two Shall Become One in a movie!!

My best to you always Sharon!

Staci said...

The Duchess...I would like to see what she did with the rest of her life.


Staci said...

Great post btw!! I love author interviews and the insights that they give in regards to their books!

Dawn said...

That's such a hard one Anna. I'm usually disappointed when a movie sequel comes out (Elizabeth: The Golden Age comes to mind) and most books I read do have sequels. I would say I'm waiting for the sequel from the series Death By Cashmere. I'm getting hooked on craft mysteries.

KR said...

I'm old! I'd love a sequel to Gone With the Wind!

Serena said...

Sharon: I really did enjoy learning about your inspiration for the novel. I look forward to your guest post on my blog!

Sharon Lathan said...

So many great sequel ideas. Hopefully some adventurous persons will accept the challenge, but I think I'll stick with the Darcys for now. :)

I have seen a couple web-based fan fiction sequels for North and South, Janicu. I believe it was over at A Happy Assembly. They have a section for non-JAFF stories. MJ, I think "Scarlett" was a written novel before being turned into a TV movie. I could be wrong though.

Sia and Seli, thanks for popping over. I really appreciate it.

I am looking forward to it as well, Serena! March 10, I'll be there with bells on!!

Kristi said...

Sharon - I loved the Keira Knightley movie also. It is cool to see where different authors come up with their ideas. Thanks for sharing.

As for what movie. . .I am a big Drew Barrymore fan so I would have to say Ever After or Never Been Kissed!


Ladytink_534 said...

Great guest post! I never go a single day without hearing something about Jane Austen so I'm wondering if ignorance is truly bliss in my case or if I really need to give in and read one of Austen's books?

No need to enter me

robynl said...

I'd love a sequel to Dirty Dancing; loved that movie and watch it over and over. How interesting to see what happened to the characters in the movie. I know Patrick Swayze is now playing on the TV show The Beast.

yourstrulee at sasktel dot net

Sharon Lathan said...

Oh Ladytink, you MUST read Jane Austen! She is wonderful, truly. You would not be sorry.

Robyn, a sequel to Dirty Dancing would be interesting.

Kristi, it is interesting that you mention Ever After. That was one that inspired me tremendously. As I hinted in the blog post, 'afterward' ideas were common for me well before P&P, and Ever After was a huge influence. I dreamed of what happens next for ages! I have to say that the wonderful story was more than enough to capture me, but I can't deny the appeal of Dougray Scott! He is right up there with Matthew Macfadyen as Mr. Darcy in the yummy category. LOL! Who knows, maybe someday I'll look into the copyright aspects of continuing from a movie like that!

Anonymous said...

Hey, enter me please. Thanks! The book I'd most love a sequel to at the moment is Stephenie Meyer's Midnight Sun, though Midnight Sun itself will have to be completed and formally published first.


Isabel said...

Great post! I love the Darceys.

I would like a sequel of About a Boy.

Did the adult grow up?
Did the boy go off to college with confidence?
Did the mom marry the guy from the charity?

HethRandSeth said...

Sharon I commend you for all the work and dedication you have put into Mr & Mrs Fitzwilliam Darcy...It is sure to be a favorite read of mine and that of many, many others!!

Meg89 said...

I wish When Harry Met Sally had a sequel. It's just so funny, I never want it to end.

Thanks for the great giveaway!

Jo-Jo said...

I would love to see a sequel of Gone With the Wind....because tomorrow is another day! And I want to know what happens on that day.

Toni said...

Hi I would love to have a sequel to East of Eden or Grapes of Wrath. Movie-wise I'd like to see a Forrest Gump Sequel.

Debs Desk said...

Please include me in your drawing. I would love a sequal to Never Been Kissed!

darbyscloset said...

I would love for the sound of music to have a sequel!!! Imagine, how great a show that would be!!!
Thanks so much,
darbyscloset at yahoo dot com

scottsgal said...

I would love for Breakfast at Tiffany's to have a sequel.

msboatgal at aol dot com

carlene said...

Please include me in your drawing. I would like a sequal to Dirty Dancing also.

Unknown said...

I am a huge Darcy fan, so I would love to get a chance to read this book =).

Hmmm...this is a toughy for me, many of my favorite books have good sequals. I would love to see a sequal to Princess Academy by Shannon doesn't need one, loose ends were tied up, but I loved the charachters and would love to see more.

kissyjensen at gmail dot com

Mels said...

I'd like to see a sequel to The Cossaks. I'd take almost anything by Tolstoy :)

Alaine said...

I would love to see Mansfield Park made into a modern romance. I loved Pride and Predjudice and watch it every couple of weeks. Also can't wait to read your book! Regards Alaine

Ginny said...

I wish the Magic Kingdom for sale series by Terry Brooks would have another book out!

The Brunette Librarian said...

I'm feeling a bit old fashioned, but I think I'd like a sequel to the last Laura Ingalls Wilder book! :) Love romances and historicals, but to definetly have a sequel, I guess I would choose that one! :)

Thank you for the contest!!


Nise' said...

Looking forward to reading this book as I love anything to do with P & P! I want a sequel to my 2nd favorite Austen book, Sense and Sensibility.

Anna said...

This contest is now closed. Thanks to everyone who entered. I really enjoyed reading your answers, though I wasn't able to respond to them individually. I will announce the winner soon!