The Birth of an Author
Thanks so much for allowing me the opportunity to share with you today. I am excited to tell you a little bit about how I got interested in writing Jane Austen. I thought I would break this question down into its two logical parts. I will first tell you how I got interested in writing, and then I’ll share how Jane Austen figured into that.
I can’t say that I’ve always wanted to be a writer. Unlike our son, who recited stories to us as early as four years of age and went on to major in Creative Writing at college, I never really had that burning desire to write a story. (Our son has now pretty much gone in a completely different direction than writing.)
I can remember my first attempt at a poem in maybe the 1st or 2nd grade. If I recollect correctly, however, my older sister helped me with it a little – or maybe it was a lot.
Then in the 5th grade, a teacher held up a picture and told the class to write a sentence the captured what was happening in it. We were supposed to write what might be the very first line of a book and needed to hook the reader. I can still remember my sentence. It was, “The dark, quiet, and sleepy street was suddenly awakened by a flash of light.” Unfortunately, I didn’t have any more to a story than that.
Several years later (I won’t bore you with the exact span of time), in the early days of home computers, I decided to make an attempt to type out a story. I got to page 3 and came to the conclusion that I could not do this.
Then came the internet. I was doing some genealogical research and actually found some family members from my grandfather’s side of the family that we had never known. (There is no one left living on my dad’s side of the family except the kids and we’re the ones trying to do this on our own!) These newly discovered family members provided me with some information about our ancestors back in Norway, I found the story fascinating and decided to try to write a fictionalized story based on these events.
I actually finished 3 chapters (much better than the earlier 3 pages!). I really enjoyed crafting this story. But writing that story came to an abrupt halt when I saw the 1995 version of “Pride and Prejudice.”
Whether you initially read one of her novels or saw any of the film adaptations, do you remember how you felt the first time you were introduced to one of Jane Austen’s stories?
I will never forget my introduction to “Pride and Prejudice.” There has never been a book or movie that moved me in such a way. I went online to find out more about it. When I discovered there were hundreds of stories written that continued, changed, or provided missing scenes to “Pride and Prejudice,” I was in heaven and began reading all I could!
After reading several dozen stories and checking daily for updates on works in progress, I began to get an idea for my own story. When I began writing it, I estimated it would be just about 7 chapters. When I had finished it, however, it had grown to 18 chapters. That was my first novel, “Assumed Engagement,” which is now one of my self-published books.
There is something very rewarding about delving into these characters’ lives, pondering the information Jane Austen gave us and speculating about what she did not. Since she only provides information about Mr. Darcy as seen from the point of view of Elizabeth, Mrs. Bennet, Meryton, Wickham, etc., it gives us a little freedom to explore him more fully and give him added dimension.
Writing these variations of “Pride and Prejudice” has opened up a whole new hobby for me. While loving creative things (crafts of all sorts!), writing was not something I had ever previously considered. But it certainly has proven to be not only enjoyable, but a most gratifying diversion!
“Only Mr. Darcy Will Do” is my most recently completed novel, originally written and self-published a year and a half ago under the title, “Something Like Regret.” In it, Mr. Bennet has died and Mr. and Mrs. Collins have taken their rightful ownership of Longbourn. The book begins a year after Elizabeth’s visit to Kent, so she still harbors resentment toward Mr. Darcy for his part in separating Jane from Mr. Bingley. She and Jane become governesses; Jane to the Gardiners and Elizabeth to a family that turns out having a long-time acquaintance with Mr. Darcy. As she is unwittingly thrown into his presence, she gradually comes to see the good in him while realizing that now she is much further beneath him and he will likely never renew his offer.
I hope you will enjoy the book! Thanks again for letting me stop by!
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