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An Interview with Sharon Lathan - Part 1

I am honored and thrilled to be given this opportunity to talk about my debut novel! Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy ~ Two Shall Become One is a romantic sequel detailing the initial honeymoon months of Darcy and Lizzy. This first in my Darcy Saga series is already available at Target, on Amazon and Barnes & Noble online, and occasionally even popping up on bookstore shelves despite not officially being released until March 1!

Jeane – blog owner and friend – has been wonderfully supportive of my efforts for years now. I owe her a tremendous debt of gratitude. Of course, our shared love of Joe Wright’s 2005 adaptation of Pride & Prejudice bonded us instantly! Nevertheless, mutual admiration did not immediately mean she would love my sequel, yet thankfully she does. Nor is publicizing my book or freely giving me leave to hijack her website for 3 whole days required, yet she has! I can never fully repay, but will do my best by answering her questions honestly and with humor.

Jeane came up with so many fabulous, thought-provoking questions that it was a marvelous joy to answer them. But, as I have a tendency to get wordy – major revelation there…NOT! - the answering got lengthy. Thus why we are dividing it up! Hopefully that will keep the anticipation high without the threat of putting you to sleep while muddling through! As further incentive, I will be giving away a signed copy of my book. To win, simply leave a comment or question for me. All names will be entered into the hat.




Part 1 ~ The Darcy Saga

1. When and how did you start writing your novels - better known to your faithful readers as the Darcy Saga? What inspired you to write them?

I put these two questions together since the answers intertwine. It was over the Thanksgiving weekend of 2005 when I saw the movie. I’ll talk about my detailed impressions later, but simply put: I was bewitched! Immediately I began weaving images, scenes, and conversations in my head that continued the story on. For as long as I can remember I have done this when particularly touched by a story, but it was never more than daydreams or something pleasant to help put me to sleep. To be honest I do not think it would have been different this time around if not for accidentally discovering the world of Jane Austen fan-fiction (JAFF). I was very excited, but my happiness soon diminished when I could not find an already written story that captured the happy-ever-after, true love, romantic life for Darcy and Lizzy that was daily cementing in my imagination. So, on a day somewhere in January of 2006 (I no longer remember exactly when) I sat down and started putting the images into words. My inspiration has never changed: I believe in marriage and joy therein; and I believe Miss Austen would have wanted that for her characters.


2. When you first wrote the Darcy Saga, was your intention to write it as just a one-shot story or an epic?

Oh, I was completely flying by the seat of my pants! I fully expected to be laughed off the website I posted at and was shocked when the response was overwhelmingly positive. I had no plans, no goals, and no thoughts beyond the wedding night. No one was more surprised than me when the visions kept popping into my brain! After covering the first two days of the Darcys’ marriage, I backtracked to their engagement months and wrote 2 short stories. Both are now incorporated into the saga, but aside from that detour I continued on in a chronological fashion. I was probably well into the thirty-something chapter before I finally admitted to myself that I had no desire to stop. The epic was born by then, my muse had taken control, the ‘hobby’ was an obsession, and there was nothing I could do to halt the tide!


3. How did you come up with the Darcy Saga title?

Around the time I was contemplating creating my own website to post my chapters on, rather than posting them on group forums, someone jokingly referred to the 13 or so chapters I had at the time as a ‘saga.’ I wish I could remember who that person was! I thought it was very funny. I did not at that time imagine I would still be writing all these years later with 3 complete novels under my belt! Calling it a ‘Saga’ was more of a saucy, tongue-in-cheek expression and sounded better than titling my website Sharon’s Place or some other inane phrase!

It did not take me long, however, before I realized the name fit the monster epic I was creating. A saga is defined as a form of novel in which the members or generations of a family or social group are chronicled in a long and leisurely narrative. Since this is precisely what I am striving to achieve, the word is perfect. My novels are not typical in having one plot of conflict and resolution, but are thematic, just as a saga is supposed to be. Now I love the appellation and can’t imagine ever not having The Darcy Saga as part of the package, and as my website name.


4. The Darcy Saga is split into volumes: Mr. & Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two Shall Become One, Loving Mr. Darcy: Journeys Beyond Pemberley, and The Darcys at Year's End. Are there 1 or 2 more volumes I'm missing?

No, you are missing nothing at this point! The 3 volumes noted above are completed and on the path to publication. Loving Mr. Darcy: Journeys Beyond Pemberley will be released September 1, 2009. The Darcys at Year’s End will follow in January of 2010.

I am currently writing two new volumes in the Saga. The first is a continuation focusing on the Darcys. The other is a separate but companion novel that centers on Georgiana Darcy. Both of them are more than half way completed and my editor is very excited, but I have nothing written in stone with Sourcebooks regarding publication dates.


5. The first volume was first titled and self-published as Two Shall Become One: Mr. & Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy, but now the title has been slightly altered to Mr. & Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two Shall Become One. Why is that?

It is all about the market! Books with ‘Darcy’ forefront in the name attract attention and sell well; it is as simple as that. It was important to me that Two Shall Become One stay as part of the title, but I completely understand the rationale in switching the two around. In fact, I think it is an improvement. Emphasizing the “Mr. and Mrs.” part, while also focusing on the “Darcy” name is much wiser and clearly states what the novel is about.


6. After the Darcy Saga, what's next for you? Any other book genre you plan to write in the near future?

The Darcy Saga continues! Currently I am simultaneously writing the fourth volume in the series – tentatively titled The Darcys Amid Friends and Family – and a companion novel focusing on the romance of Georgiana Darcy. Depending on how my novels sell and what my editor wants, I may also write a novel recounting Kitty Bennet’s romance. My editor is actually very excited at the idea, but no decisions are final. I have also, for a very long time now, desired to delve into the life of Dr. George Darcy, Darcy’s eccentric uncle who appears in Loving Mr. Darcy. Time will tell!

Beyond that, I have a few ideas swirling in my head that are contemporary stories, but none of those have taken firm hold of my heart. At this point in time my handsome muse is clearly leading me down the path of relating the life of the Darcys. Only time will tell what fate has in store for me! I am open and willing.


This ends Part 1 of my interview. Comments and questions are abundantly welcomed! Please return on February 27 for Part 2: Publishing Journey.

Comments

  1. Wow Sharon~

    What a wonderful post. I can totally relate to the saga. In my case, I called it the tome-- my first (and only) P&P story, a contemporary, ended at a whopping 330,000 words.

    When people ask me how many books I wrote before Romeo, Romeo I always say, it depends on how you look at it. The answer is either one or three....

    I can't wait until after my deadline when I'm off my reading diet so I can curl up with your book and not have to read about my favorite characters on my computer.

    Robin :)

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  2. Hi Robin! "Tome" is a great word too. I never thought of that one! What did you ever do with your tome? Still got it tucked away somewhere? You know Deb is looking for Austen stuff these days. :) Thanks for stopping by!

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  3. Hi Sharon!

    Wonderful question & answer interview. I look forward to Part 2 of your interview.

    I can't wait until you finish Vol. 4 and then the Georgiana book, but I will be patient.

    Thank you for your wonderful work.

    Take care and God Bless.

    Esther

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  4. Woohoo, super post, Sharon! :) I'm so with you on the writing as a pantser, the scenes popping into my head, so much fun. :) If I try to force the story, it just doesn't happen.

    I loved Pride and Prejudice and can't wait to buy your series! There's something about this period of history that just equates to romance for me. :) Thanks so much for sharing! Look forward to reading more, Sharon. You're truly on a roll! :) Terry

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  5. GREAT interview, Sharon!

    I do LURVE the 2005 P&P film, but maybe that's because I saw it on a cruise and they had an oversized screen. I felt like I was right there in those luscious English countryside shots! I also loved that the director gave a little realism in the dirty hems on the dresses, the splinters on the wooden plank floors... Yes, that HUGE screen showed lots of detail! On the same cruise, I also had to walk out of the theater during the crucial fight scene in Cinderella Man. Those punches were a bit too realistic.

    Like Robin, I'm in deadline hades, but am looking forward to reading Mr.& Mrs... once I get out. ;-)

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  6. Hi Esther! Thanks for stopping by. Don't worry, I have a really strong feeling that there will be more of the Darcys coming along in due time. :)

    Hi Terry and Cindy! I really appreciate you two stopping by. No need to explain, I totally understand deadlines! It took me forever to finish your book, Terry. :) See you gals around the blog-a-sphere!

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  7. I feel in love with the Pride and Prejudice movie and always felt like I wanted for the movie the continue sooo I started searching and searching and finally found you Sharon and your wonderful website. Since I did not know much about you and I found you late.. I started reading your novel passages and was hooked!! Since then your writting has been amazing and dear to me and my husband. Congratulations on getting your book about. It is absolutely beautiful and your story is very romantic and very true to me. Thank you for continuing the story and keep it alive. A true love story of soulmates!!

    Seli and Robert

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  8. Fantastic post, Sharon! And a wonderful book. I couldn't let your last copy at Target just stay there, so I gave it a good home. :}

    Linda

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  9. Firstly Jeane your questions are terrific really delving into the heart and soul of Sharon's creation.
    Sharon I love your honesty in the answers. I love reading about how you view the road to your current success. Everything has been amazing and it has been a joy to be part of it all. I wish you continuing success and joy in the fulfillment of your dream. I myself have had so much pleasure from your Saga and it is the dream sequel for my favourite literary characters.

    I look forward to the next part of this wonderful interview.
    TSBO devotee
    Vee

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  10. Hi Seli and Robert! Another wonderful couple who remind me that true love DOES exist no matter what the critics say. Thank you for your friendship and continued inspiration.

    Hi Linda! Thanks for stopping by. I can always count on my Casablanca sisters.

    G-day Vee! No matter what is going on in her life, Vee will always make time to comment. Just one of the many wonderful reasons I love you!

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  11. Thanks Vee (for the nice comments about my questions/interview with Sharon) and to everyone for visiting, reading, and commenting here.

    Good luck on the Book Giveaway contest to everyone! :)

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