January 21, 2010

Interview with Author Sharon Lathan

I am delighted to welcome Sharon Lathan, author of My Dearest Mr. Darcy, to Psychotic State.  She has graciously agreed to answer some questions for me and my readers.

Hi Sharon, welcome to Psychotic State and thank you for taking the time to chat with me and my readers.

Thank you, Lori! It is my pleasure to be here and I appreciate your willingness to share your blog with me today. Interviews are so fun.

First and foremost, can you tell us the background on how you started writing The Darcy Saga?

It began with a dream. Seriously! Well, technically it began when I saw the 2005 movie adaptation of Pride and Prejudice by Joe Wright starring Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen. But after that my passion for everything Austen took root and I started to dream of their life together as a married couple. Complete scenes and conversations played in my head over and over, eventually invading my waking hours until I was forced to write them down. One short story led to another, than another, with the saga evolving organically as the ideas continued to pour into my brain.

Having not read Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice beforehand, did you find it difficult to pen your take on what happened to Elizabeth and Darcy after the wedding?

Not at all. I had not read the novel before I saw the movie, but I did read it before I began writing. I also read a massive quantity of Jane Austen fan fiction. What I adore about fan fiction is that each writer is moved to approach Austen’s tale in a unique way. There isn’t a right or wrong to it as it is the artist’s interpretation. These stories are not meant to defame Austen. They are a fan’s way of paying homage.

For me, I knew the kind of life I would wish for Darcy and Lizzy. It is the same life I would want for any literary couple: happily ever after. How I interpret that is an amalgamation based on my vision of a good marriage, historical fact, Austen’s written words, and the emotions from the movie.

If you could address the Jane Austen purists and critics who take issue with Austen sequels, what would you say?

Pretty much what I said above. Austen-related novels, for the most part, are intended as an homage and inspired by positive emotions. They all point back to the original source, and that is certainly a great thing. Her legacy is more alive today than ever before.

Jane Austen was unique. All writers are unique. So expecting anyone to write just like her is a high expectation! I bring my voice, my inspiration, my desires, and so on to the life I give these characters. In doing so they become mine. I do not anticipate that everyone will like my novels or agree with my version. Why should they? I don’t like every novel written in the world so it makes sense that the whole world isn’t going to universally like mine! Heck, some people do not even like Austen, as shocking as that may seem! But I do believe and will defend each writer’s earned respect in accomplishing something that is so difficult.

Did you originally have a series in mind, or did it just evolve as you began writing?

Utterly beyond my control! I took me by surprise every step of the way. I think I was on about my tenth chapter before I realized there wasn’t an end in sight. At that point I gave the whole story a title, Two Shall Become One (published as Mr. & Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two Shall Become One by Sourcebooks in 2009) and fully embraced the joy of writing. But it was still many months and 3 books later before I acknowledged that my “hobby” was a possible alternative career! The series came about because I so love these characters and did not want to let them go. I needed to see all of them complete their individual arcs, and that can only be accomplished in the course of several books.

How much research goes into writing a series like The Darcy Saga?

Extensive. I have never taken the accuracy aspects for granted, even when it was just a fun diversion for my online readers. I love history. Learning about the Regency Era during my early months of just reading about Austen inspired me to write as much as the love story itself. As time has gone on, my constant research has led me down story pathways I never imagined. I truly do go to extremes to make sure I have every fact correct and even hunt down proper words and phrases. Occasionally creative license takes over and I am cognizant that I am writing for a modern audience, but I never blatantly ignore the facts.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

No! I have always wanted to be a nurse! Since I was 9 years old that is all I dreamed of and nursing is still my main profession. I work in a neonatal ICU, have done so for 25 years, and probably always will. No one was more surprised that me when this “gift” hit me. I guess decades of reading thousands of books have paid off.

Can you tell us what you’re working on now?

Right now I am hard at work on the first round of edits for the fourth novel in the series, tentatively titled Romancing Mr. Darcy. It will be released in October. I will probably just get that finished when my fabulous editor, Deb Werksman, will be sending me the edits for the novella I wrote as part of a Darcy Christmas anthology that is to be released mid-November.

After that I will be immersing myself into the fifth novel that is scheduled for a spring of 2011 release. I still have to finish it! Gah!!

My Dearest Mr. Darcy was released this month. What can you tell us about it?

My Dearest Mr. Darcy is the third novel in the series and covers the final four months of the Darcys' first year of marriage. The novels should be read in sequence, this one taking up precisely where Loving Mr. Darcy ended. The first portion follows the couple on their travels to a seaside resort where dozens of fun activities and some drama ensue. Then they return to Pemberley for the autumn into winter. It is a study in life on an estate with family and friends interacting as the Darcys prepare for the birth of their first child. That event does happen, the novel ending with the family now three members.

My story is unabashedly romantic with a strong emphasis on the intimate aspects of the Darcys' marriage. It is upbeat, positive, and intended to be a pleasant read. It is the tale of life, pure and simple, with some action and drama thrown in amid the historical entertainments.

If you could use one word to describe My Dearest Mr. Darcy, what would it be?

Oh man, I can think of so many! After much thought: Hopeful


My main aspiration in writing this saga is to show a life and marriage as perfectly realized. I believe in true love and the bonding of two people. I think the world needs more messages of hope, positive emotions, respect, devotion, and so on. I believe in a good marriage, know it is possible, and will always do my best to hold true to that vision.

Are there any particular authors that inspire you or that you enjoy reading?

I have many and for differing reasons. JRR Tolkien, for writing the best fantasy ever, for introducing me to the genre, and for teaching me the beauty of prose and poetry. Serial and saga writers like Laura Ingalls Wilder, James Michener, John Jakes, David Eddings, Diana Gabaldon, and so many others who proved that novels can be thematic and contain more than one conflict/resolution plot. Stephen King for his brilliant, vivid use of language and fearlessness to write whatever the heck he feels like! Karen Marie Moning for writing ultimate alpha men who are also compassionate and loving.

I really could keep going on this topic!

Can you take us through a normal day in the life of Sharon Lathan?

Not really! My days vary greatly, primarily because I work 12-hour night shifts at the hospital, so a “normal” schedule isn’t something I have had for over 20 years! I will say that I spend a great portion of my non-work time on the computer at a writing-related task of some kind. But I also make time for my husband and kids, and try to fit in escapist fun here and there. Oh yeah, I also have a house to maintain!

If you could offer one piece of advice to an unpublished author, what would it be?

I’ll give two: Trust in yourself and persevere. Don’t give up if writing and being published is what you really want. Secondly, start thinking of yourself as published now. Get a jump start on your website, marketing your image, and planning for the future. Being prepared is so important.

And lastly, if you could ask Jane Austen one question, what would it be?

I wouldn’t ask her anything. I would just share a pot of tea and some scones, and listen to her talk about her world. If she revealed her thoughts on romance, marriage, sequels, vampires, who is the best Mr. Darcy, or any of the other hot button topics, fine and dandy. But I really think it would be cool to merely hear her speak of the life she lived.

Thank you, Sharon, for taking the time to stop and chat with us today.  I wish you the best of success with My Dearest Mr. Darcy and your blog tour!


Married life is bringing out the best in the Darcys. Their mutual attentiveness brings readers into a magical world of love and wedded bliss.

Elizabeth is growing into her role as Mistress of Pemberley, and Darcy has mellowed under her gentle teasing and light-heartedness. Pemberley becomes a true home and a welcoming environment for loving family and friends. The Darcys travel to the seaside, welcome their firstborn, celebrate their anniversary and second Christmas, and at every moment embrace the love gifted to them.

“I love you, my Elizabeth. You are my soul, my blood and bone, my very life.”


Sharon Lathan is the author of the bestselling Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two Shall Become One, and Loving Mr. Darcy: Journeys Beyond Pemberley. In addition to her writing, she works as a Registered Nurse in a Neonatal ICU. She resides in Hanford, California in the sunny San Joaquin Valley. For more information on Sharon and her saga, come to her website at: http://www.darcysaga.net/

And now for the GIVEAWAY!  The lovely Danielle Jackson at Sourcebooks has offered a lucky reader a set of Sharon's books (Mr. & Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy, Loving Mr. Darcy and My Dearest Mr. Darcy). This is a terrific giveaway, so don't miss out!  All you have to do to enter is leave me a comment, with your email address.  The contest will end on January 31 and I will draw a winner on February 1.  US and Canada only, please. 

Good luck!


Laura Hartness said...

I've really been enjoying the interviews and postings with Sharon all around the blogosphere. Thanks for hosting your interview and giveaway!

Laura Hartness
The Calico Critic
CalicoCritic at gmail dot com

Laura Hartness said...

Oh, and if it's allowed, I would like to enter for only Books 1 & 2 in the series, as I've won Book 3 in another contest. Thanks!

Laura Hartness

Tales of Whimsy said...

Nice review! Very cool Lori :)

Sharon Lathan said...

Google alerts again, Laura? LOL! Good morning ladies! I am still extremely bleary-eyed. The espresso will kick in soon.

Best of luck, Laura. Thanks for following me about. Helps me to not feel lonely. :)

Welcome Juju. Good luck! I'll be checking in later since I have a hospital meeting, so don't hesitate to ask a question or comment. I'll be back, promise. :)

Katy said...

Please enter me in the giveaway! :) I haven't read any Pride & Prejudice sequels yet, and these sound lovely.

srfbluemama at gmail dot com

Lori Johnston said...

Laura, Juju and Katy -
Thanks so much for checking in and reading the review. Best of luck in the giveaway!

Sharon, I would like to ask - - if you've seen any other adaptations of P&P and if so, who in your opinion is the best Mr. Darcy? Will it be Matthew McFadyen? Colin Firth? Elliot Cowan? David Rintoul? Or Laurence Olivier? Inquiring minds (otherwise known as me) would love to know!

Sharon Lathan said...

Great question Lori! I would be happy to answer as I definitely DO have an opinion - Ha! - but I have to dash. I will be back after noon my time and will frankly share my thoughts on the Darcys.

Hi Katy! If I may be so bold, my sequels are the best! LOL!

Nora said...

Lori, I thought you had some good questions. Sharon, I'm really enjoying the blog tour. I think I'm becoming an addict. Looking forward to more.


Eliza Ya said...

Thank you for the blog, I really enjoy it.

I just want to say that I'm a big fan of your work . I have read all your books, and I love them and have recommend them to everyone I came across. I can’t wait for your next book to come out.

My question is, can you give us a synopsis on your fourth book? I really like to know?

Mary Simonsen said...

I've used Sharon's Regency page as a resource for my own writing. This was a very interesting interview.

Sharon Lathan said...

Finally home where it is warm. Man, way too cold and wet right now!

OK, to Lori's question, and I am prepared for a few rotten tomatoes!

I have seen the BBC version of P&P and "Lost in Austen" so those are the only other 2 Mr. Darcys besides Matthew Macfadyen that I can compare. Matthew was the first I ever saw and it is no secret that he is my inspiration and that I felt he was perfect. Was he exactly what Austen imagined? That is open to interpretation, I believe. Whether one agrees with the shy, vulnerable, socially inept version of Mr. Darcy as one way to interpret the text or not, it still does not change that Matthew played the role amazingly. He was a hero I could relate to and fell in love with.

Colin Firth was a huge disappointment to me. Obviously I saw that version after the movie (the next day, in fact) so I expected to see a similar softness of character. Firth played a perfect arrogant Darcy. He was brilliant at that part. Brilliant at haughty and obnoxiously proud. But, for me, I never felt the struggle, the love, the passion, the loss, and so on that Matthew put into the role. In the end I just did not get that giddy feeling of these two people being wildly in love and perfect for each other.

Elliot Cowan was a wonderful surprise. He did arrogant almost as well as Colin, but came to the point of vulnerability that Matthew brought to the role. A nice mix, and he is very good looking! Not as much as Matthew, but more than Colin. To me! LOL

Hope that wasn't too much!

Sharon Lathan said...

Hi Nora! I love hearing that one is addicted. In this situation,that is. :)

Thanks Eliza! I always love to hear from a fan! Romancing Mr. Darcy follows along immediately where My Dearest Mr. Darcy ends. Christmas events, the christening, and the masque are covered with some startling surprises and drama. After that time moves on a bit faster. In fact, just over a year is covered. Romance for several secondary characters is explored, the stage is set for the return of Wickham, Lizzy and Georgiana are presented at Court, Georgiana debuts, Lizzy and Darcy take another vacation this time finally going to the Peaks, and so much more!

More news will be revealed in the months ahead. I am working on first edits right now!

Hi Mary! I am so happy the Glossary has helped you! Wow.

Meredith said...

What a great interview, Lori and Sharon! I enjoyed learning more about you and your books since I have yet to read any! I also liked learning about the Christmas novella. Definitely looking forward to learning more about that!

Thanks for the wonderful opportunity!


Austenesque Reviews

Lori Johnston said...

Thank you for your honest reply, Sharon. No tomato throwing, I promise!

CF was the first Darcy I saw and as you pointed out, I'm sure formats preferences and opinions. He is the best Darcy in my opinion and the scene between him and Elizabeth at Pemberley, when she is at the piano with Georgiana . . . ah, it makes me giddy every time I see it. I too was pleasantly surprised with EC's version. In fact, while I thought he did a stupendous job the first time I saw Lost in Austen, I disliked the production itself. It took a second viewing for me to appreciate everything LIA brought to the genre.

Nora, Eliza, Mary and Meredith, many thanks to you for the compliments and stopping by. I hope you enjoyed Sharon's interview as much as I did.

Katherine Howe said...

Nice Interview Lori! And, I will definitely have to check out Sharon's Pride and Prejudice sequels. I'd like to chime in on the Mr. Darcy issue. I have always been partial to Colin Firth maybe because, like you Lori, I saw this series first. But, I adore the 2005 movie (have seen in tons of times) and love Mathew as Mr. Darcy too. Hmmm, I think there is room for both :).

Sharon Lathan said...

Hi Meredith! I am very excited about the novella too! October and November seem so far away, even to me!

Thanks for not throwing tomatoes, Lori! LOL! I really should have been clearer in that I did not dislike how Colin portrayed Darcy. I would agree that in general he was directed to act the role closer to what is typically considered how Austen wrote him. I think some of it does come down to which one you see first. Matthew Macfadyen is so amazing to me, in all his roles. I have become a huge fan. Colin Firth is handsome and a terrific actor, but he just has never "moved" me in the same way. I know that is just my personal taste, but that is the mystery for women! Right? LOL!

Lost in Austen takes a proper frame of mind. I knew it was very tongue in cheek, yet I had to watch it twice to fully appreciate how fun it is. I have a hard time letting go of my serious attitude when it comes to these characters!

I totally agree with there being room for both, or all 3, Darcys, Katherine. As years pass there will be others, I am sure. Every actor brings something different to the interpretation, just as each fan-fiction novel does. It is all part of the fun, IMHO. :)

vvb32 reads said...

i love how this blog tour tells us more about the author behind the book. would love a chance to read the trio. thanks. vvb32 at yahoo.com

question for sharon:
if you were to write a jane austen monster mashup (i.e. pride and prejudice and zombies), what creature would you feature and what would your title be?

Sharon Lathan said...

Whoa, that is an interesting question. First off, I can't fathom doing such a thing. BUT, if I was, I am certain I would go into a fantasy realm rather than monster. I am not much of a monster fan, per se. So I would have elves or dragons or wizards, and I guess the monsters would be orcs or ringwraiths or Gollum - hey, that's it! Pride & Prejudice in Middle Earth! Why hasn't anyone done that? Hmmm... maybe I should call my editor.....

Mrs. Duff said...

What a great review- I would love to read these books!


Vee said...

I LOVE everyone's opinion as to who is the best Mr Darcy!! Haha
I have loved P&P fpr 29 years and the first Darcy I saw was David Rintoul in 1980 version! Yes a very long time ago. Talk about stiff and pompous! But nonetheless I fell in love with him or more rightly DARCY!
I have found that through my love of P&P and my all time fav literary couple Darcy & Lizzy, I can appreciate every single interpretation i its own right. I did love Colin's Darcy for so very long, mainly because the TV series did the whole book (6 hours of P&P brilliant).
Matthew brings a whole new dimension to JA's Darcy and I must admit I look forward to seeing many more adaptations in the future.
In saying all this I know that I LOVE Sharon's Darcy best, for one reason I can imagine him to look exactly how I want. His noble mien is still intact however Sharon breathes new life into Darcy. We get to see how devoted and passionate he really is. The depth of his love to Lizzy is one of the best part of his character. But Sharon also makes him strong, vulnerable and even a bit of a goofball (only briefly). A beautifully perfect picture is painted of Darcy through Sharon's writing. Not perfect but in my mind perfection.
I hope everyone enjoys reading Sharon's saga as much as I do!
TSBO devotee

Simply Stacie said...

Please count me in.

simplystacieblog at gmail dot com

Oregon Kimm said...

Please enter me!! I've been following Sharon's blog tour and am excited about these books! Thank you for hosting too!

Oregon Kimm

vvb32 reads said...

ha! i love it sharon - pride and prejudice in middle earth. there could maybe be a tie-in with darcy and a ring???

g.g. said...

I would love to win these books. The interview is interesting and I like that she writes about real love the way it should be.

anjamie4 at gmail DOT com

Margay Leah Justice said...

I must admit that I've become something of a P & P nut over the past few years (I blame my daughter, who blazed the trail), so I would love to win this giveaway.


sharon54220 said...

I loved the interview. I hate to admit it, but I haven't had the opportunity to read any of Sharon's books yet. I think that this would be a good start.

Thanks for the chance.


distractedmusician said...

I absolutely love P&P, and I've been eyeing these books for a while now. Would love the chance to win them all!

alannakurt at gmail dot com


E.J. Stevens said...

Wow, great giveaway!


Sandie said...

What a great giveaway! I'd love to be entered.



Christina / Book Addict said...

This is a great giveaway! Thanks for hosting it!


SaundraM300 said...

What a great interview! I would love to read these 3 books. Thanks for the opportunity, ~Sandy~

Jonnie (JB) said...

This set looks great. I'd love to be entered.


Anonymous said...

That was a great interview! I'd love to win this book set!

readingatthebeach (@) gmail (.) com

Irene said...

Extensive review! Great insights... Please count me in. Thank you!

cyeates AT nycap DOT rr DOT com

Irene said...

Oh, can't wait to hear who is her favorite Mr. Darcy. Mine is Colin Firth.

Jennifer said...

Oh please do enter me to win! I have been following the dialogue and must say the only adaptation of Pride and Predjudice I truly enjoyed immensely was the 1940 version where the wonderful Sir Laurence Olivier played Mr. Darcy. The novel is of course, one of m all-time favourite books, but to watch it on telly, it can only be the 1940s version since for me, Sir Laurence Olivier shall always be Mr. Darcy.

knittingmomof3 (AT) gmail (DOT) com

holdenj said...

What a wonderful interview--how interesting about her career in nursing and love of reading eventually led to this writing gig! Please count me in for the giveaway. Thanks.

Unknown said...

Enter me! Yes, this is outside my realm of what I normally read but I said I was going out of my comfort zone this year in my "To Be Read" stack.

Great interview!



Miss Haley said...

I've been wanting to read these! i hope i win!!!


Mrs Hunt said...

What a great interview. I would love the opportunity to be entered into the contest. Any of the books would be great as I have never read any.

Laura at Library of Clean Reads said...

Enjoyed reading how the author was inspired to write these books. Please enter me.

Sheila Deeth said...

What a wonderful giveaway. I've read the first of this series and really enjoyed it. Nice to learn more about you Sharon, and best of luck with the books. I'd love to read more.

Margaret Metz said...

Pride and Prejudice is my favorite novel of all time! I have read lots of sequels and watched many movies. I have most of her books on DVD - some in multiple versions. lol

Thank you for a fabulous interview and a chance to win these books. I would love a chance to read them.

As for my favorite Darcy... that is really hard to pick. Can't we just decide to love parts of each one? :o)


Kristi said...

Loved the interview - would love the chance to win this set!

kherbrand at comcast dot net