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.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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.