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An Interview with Sharon Lathan - Part 3

Greetings everyone! I am back for the final portion of my interview with the 2005 P&P Blog owner, the lovely Jeane. My deepest thanks to Jeane for allowing me this opportunity to talk about my novel. Mr. & Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy ~ Two Shall Become One is now released! Oh happy day!!

It has been wonderful to reminisce about how I began this journey.
Part 1 and Part 2 can be read by clicking the links.

Now I am going to talk about me and my inspiration in more depth.


Part 3 ~ Me and My Inspiration

1. What type of books do you like to read and which is your favorite?

Until recently I have been firmly entrenched in the fantasy genre. Fantasy is far and away my favorite type of story and has been since I read The Hobbit when I was 12. I do read other types of books – sci-fi, classics, mystery, adventure, historical fiction – but rarely have I read pure romance. Recently I have rediscovered the joy of a good romantic story beyond my own. I am methodically working my way through the novels written by my fellow Sourcebooks authors and loving them immensely. Nevertheless, I have to say that my heart loves a fantasy above all.

2. Who is your favorite author?

It is a tie between JRR Tolkien and David Eddings. Tolkien is the master of fantasy to be sure, but Eddings has created a stunning world with wildly diverse characters and great humor. Other honorable mentions go to JK Rowling, Stephenie Meyer, Raymond Feist, Robert Ludlum, John Jakes, Barbara Hambley, Anne McCaffrey (best dragons), Terry Goodkind, Stephen King (The Stand is a classic), Terry Pratchett, and Ken Follett just to skim the surface. Childhood favs are Laura Ingalls Wilder and Louisa May Alcott. For gothic romance I adore Mary Stewart and Victoria Holt, and of course Agatha Christie is the queen of the murder mystery! I truly do have very eclectic tastes and will give just about anything a try.

3. Had you read some (or all) of Jane Austen novels prior to writing the Darcy Saga?

My experience with Jane Austen was limited to the movie versions of Sense and Sensibility and Emma, and the modern adaptations like Bridget Jones’ Diary and Clueless. I had heard of her, knew that she was a classic English novelist, but had never picked up a book. Not really sure why except that as stated above, I leaned toward fantasy in my reading material. When I walked into the theater to watch Pride & Prejudice I was an utter ignorant. I knew very little of the general story having never read the book or seen the BBC miniseries. I mean, everyone has heard of Mr. Darcy, but other than vague sketches and references to Colin Firth in a wet shirt, I was clueless!

By the time I finally sat down and began writing what was to become my Saga, I had seen more Austen adaptations and read the original novel. So, yes I did have that knowledge by the time I wrote anything, but I was far from an Austen expert and my heart was firmly captured by the movie’s presentation. However, I have now immersed myself in the world of Austen, been living and breathing the Regency, and haunted and memorized more websites on the subject than most folks know exist for over three years. I think that makes me highly knowledgeable on the topic!

4. Which of Jane Austen's 6 classic novels is your most favorite?

OK, I am sure I will be tarred and feathered for confessing this, but the truth is I have only read P&P in its entirety. *she ducks from tossed tomatoes* This is not from lack of desire, but simply because I have so little time to READ a book these days! Since I began writing over 3 years ago I think I have completed 10 books – and I used to easily read a book every week or two! And, I further confess, I still prefer fantasy! *she ducks again*

As for Austen, I have to base my answer on the various dramatizations since I have seen them all. I still would say that P&P is my favorite, but the others all hold their individual appeals. I loved the play on gothic romance and frivolous fancy in Northanger Abbey. I adore the theme of constancy and devotion and abiding love in Persuasion. Mansfield Park presents the question of friendship turning to love and passion, a theme I am pursuing in my story of Georgiana. All of them are on my to-be-read list, I promise.

5. Which Pride & Prejudice TV/film adaptation version is your favorite and why?

Well, this is an easy one for me! But, before I go further let me clarify in bold terms that just because my heart lies with the 2005 movie, that does not mean I disliked the 1995 BBC version! I honestly do not comprehend the ‘one or the other’ attitude that seems prevalent in some circles. Both adaptations have their virtues and criticisms. I have only seen these two versions of P&P, but I know many people who also enjoyed certain aspects of the 1980 miniseries and even the 1940 Lawrence Olivier movie! Heck, I even liked Elliot Cowan in the recent Lost in Austen play on P&P! The more the merrier as far as I am concerned.

Additionally, like it or not, the BBC miniseries was an adaptation of a novel same as all the rest. It was no more endorsed by a ghostly Austen with her benediction placed on Andrew Davies than was the movie version. I can’t argue that it followed the book closer, having 6+ hours to do so, but it is nonetheless an interpretation. Colin Firth is not Mr. Darcy, but merely an actor told to play him a certain way just as Matthew Macfadyen was!

Perhaps a portion of my love boils down to timing: I saw the movie version first. But, it is more than that. I am a passionate person. I prefer movies and books and TV shows that have sparkle, excitement, action, drama, feeling, etc. I want to be moved, touched in some way whether it is laughter or tears. If I am watching a love story, I want to see chemistry between the lovers. I want to believe that they are wildly, wantonly, crazily, deeply in love with each other. When they finally kiss, I need to hear the fireworks, to know that they are made-for-each-other, and will live happily-ever-after and defeat the odds.

I am a history buff so I love a good period-piece. Yet too often they are cleaned up and plodding; as if no one in the past ever got dirty or said an ill word or felt any emotion. Aside from this just not being historically accurate, it is boring! I instantly fell in love with the movie’s gritty realism in portraying the past. I was captivated by the stunning cinematography, the exalting music, the incredible acting, and the dazzling intensity. These people are REAL; they possess passion and a zeal for life. I can relate to them and wholeheartedly care about them. It is their story I wanted to tell. I am afraid that the miniseries fell flat for me on numerous counts, although, again, I reiterate that I did enjoy it very much. It simply did not stir my insides as the movie did.

6. Why do you prefer Matthew Macfadyen as Mr. Darcy over Colin Firth?
On a very superficial level, he is better looking! My humble opinion, but I know what kind of man stirs my innards and Matthew is that kind of man. I am not saying that Colin is not a handsome man. But he simply has never appealed to me in that melting, fluttering stomach way. Sorry, but there it is. Matthew is physically manlier. He has a presence on screen that screams strength and confidence and capability. The final kicker for me was when he strode across the misty moor. OMG! I defy any red-blooded woman to honestly admit that isn’t a knee weakening moment! Hands down it supplants Colin in a wet shirt.

Aside from his virility and masculinity that leapt off the screen, I adored the vulnerability and gentleness that was portrayed in the character of Mr. Darcy. I sensed early on that this was a man who was not deliberately arrogant, conceited, selfish, or hurtful. His pride and superior attitude made sense to me knowing the class structure of the era; yet I never felt that he was malicious in it. Matthew is very skilled at acting tough and sensitive at the same time. I was drawn to the complexity of a man that is accomplished, aristocratic, mature, and intelligent while also being introverted, awkward, hesitant, and reserved.

I truly sensed that he was profoundly affected by Lizzy. That his world was rocked by the love he gradually began to feel for her. I saw his character as not being changed because of his sentiments, but rather stabilized and completed. The innocence and confusion over his blossoming affection was marvelous to observe. Matthew conveyed the emotions of first love so beautifully.

7. After watching P&P you've become a big Matthew Macfadyen fan. How many MM movies have you seen and besides P&P, which is your favorite?

I think I have seen everything now! No, wait; I have not seen “Warriors.” My favorite role after Mr. Darcy is Tom Quinn in Spooks/MI5. Not only did Matthew look absolutely mouth watering in every last scene of his 2.25 seasons on that show, but his character reminded me the most of Mr. Darcy. A man who is commanding, capable, ruthless, and even lethal, while also being vulnerable, sensitive, emotive, and searching for love and normalcy. It was a brilliant role and he played it brilliantly. Here is a secret: I often imagine Tom Quinn when I am writing Darcy in a Master of Pemberley situation!

8. Obviously, MM is your favorite actor to have portrayed Mr. Darcy in any P&P adaptation (TV or film). How about the actress to have portrayed Elizabeth Bennet. Who did you prefer Keira Knightley or Jennifer Ehle?

I actually did not mind Jennifer Ehle’s portrayal that much. She was very pretty, possessed the spunk and wit necessary for the role, and is an excellent actress. I do believe she was too old to adequately be the Lizzy Bennet of Austen’s novel, however, lending a maturity that I do not think a sheltered, country raised young woman of 18 would have possessed. Therefore, my favorite Lizzy is Keira.

She was 18 when she played LizzyMatthew also the correct age unlike Colin – and that youthfulness showed in how she was innocent and uncertain of herself; impetuously dashing into conclusions and circumstances as a reckless youth would do. She was witty, confident, and impertinent as we expect Lizzy to be, but with an air of impulsiveness and immaturity that I found appealing and believable.

I love that Keira, although beautiful, is not physically voluptuous. She is feminine, graceful, and naively sensual – surely noticed by Darcy – but her forceful personality is what truly stands out. There was no doubt in my mind that although sexual attraction was certainly present (as it always is), Darcy was not driven by lust for her flesh, but for the vivacious person within.

Whew! That was fun! I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed sharing my thoughts. Again, comments and questions are welcome and I will do my best to answer. Plus, that is how you get entered into the drawing for a signed copy of my book.

As for the drawing: All names will be placed into a hat and pulled by an impartial party (probably my daughter) on or about March 5. Return to the blog on March 6 to see if your name is listed as the winner! Instructions on how to email me (privately) with your mailing information will be given. If I am not contacted by the 9th, I will pick another winner.

Comments

  1. I loved your comments, Sharon. As a Eng major I was forced to read many novels from Miss Austen. I didn't like them. P&P was not one of them.. but I fell in love with the 2005 movie. I completely agree with you on the points you make comparing the actors/actresses

    ~Ninja Elizabeth.

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  2. Keira Knightly was 18 when she played Lizzy? Really? It feels like she's been around for a long, long time - wasn't she in the first Star Wars remake (she died very quickly in a bomb blast meant for Queen Amydala)all those years ago?

    I'm with you on the Matthew vs. Colin thing, though.

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  3. Wonderful interview Sharon and insightful! It makes me want to rent some more MM movies - I'm just not sure if it would ruin the "Darcy" image for me as that is the only movie I have watched with MM! Maybe not, hopefully not!

    As far as the debate of who plays who better in the P&P movies, I wasn't really aware there were any other versions other than the 1995 and 2005 versions - maybe I'll rent the other versions and compare but I think the 2005 version will remain my favorite as that is who I picture when I read your novels.

    Your interview was great and your writing is one of a kind. I'm hooked!

    Hava Meronk

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  4. Hi Ninja and M! Thanks for stopping by.

    Ninja, it is interesting that as an English major you did not care for Austen. That sounds like a story I would be interested to hear!

    Yes, M, she was the 'decoy' in Star Wars. It does seem like she has done so many things, but I think when she was originally cast for P&P she was relatively new. Not unknown, of course, but not yet the big star she is now.

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  5. Hi Hava! Nice to see you over here! Thanks for your kind words. By all means you MUST see Matthew in his other roles! He is so diverse in everything he does, but really an amazing actor. You can never get enough Matthew, IMHO. :)

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  6. I like your points regarding the 2005 v. 1995 version debates. I have hated the fact that you had to be one or the other. I have read all of Austen's works and seen all of the adaptations of the novels and enjoy them all in their own way. Of course we have favorites. Kudos to you for such a great comparision of actors/actresses and a discussion of the movie debates.

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  7. I love what you said about the "Love it or Hate it" mentality! Bravo!!!!

    And yes, I must say that my favorite scene in P&P would have to be the early morning Moor stroll!!!! HEAVENLY!

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  8. Thanks for stopping by Elizabeth and Sunshine. I know I am not the only one who wearies of the debate. Bring on more of Austen, that is my motto!

    I appreciate the comments.

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  9. Hey Sharon and Jeane another great part to the whole interview. I thoroughly enjoyed the provoking questions that enabled Sharon to get into the heart and soul of the why how and where of writing this amazing Saga.
    As always Sharon you have a magic wat with words and it was a joy to read your comments. Intriging to read your thought process even after all these years.
    Excellent!
    TSBO devotee
    Vee

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  10. I've read several interviews over the last few days on the release of your book. I love series books so this one really intrigues me and is on by TBR list for sure. I've read all I can about it on your website and can't wait to pick this one up (if I dont' win!)

    msboatgal at aol . com

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  11. Hi Scottsgal! Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I wish you and everyone else luck with the drawing. I appreciate your thoroughness in checking out whether my story is the one for you. I hope you will be pleased. Keep me informed!

    Vee, you are the best! Thanks for chiming in. :)

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  12. Thanks again, Vee, for the nice comments. Glad you enjoyed reading all 3-parts of my interview with Sharon.

    Of course, a special and big thank you to the amazing, lovely, and talented Sharon herself, for letting me interview her as well as for her posting them here. You're very welcome, Sharon. Glad I could help you (the best way I could) to promote your awesome novels...as I'm a big fan of them and looking forward to the next vol. release in September and the other in 2010...and hopefully, many more of your future book releases. So glad and happy for you. You truly deserves nothing but the best.

    Thanks again to everyone for visiting, reading, and taking the time to comment on these 3-parts interview. You are all awesome. Good luck to all of you on the book giveaway contest!

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  13. I love Louisa May Alcott! She is one of my favorite writers. I don't think I'll ever be able to forget "Little Women".

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  14. I just found your site and am so excited to continue with the stories of the Darcy's. My sister and I are huge Jane Austen fans. She has all the versions of Pride & Prejudice. I just sent her and email telling her to go to the website and try to catch up a.s.a.p. Thank you to God for your obvious talent he has blessed you with. I can't wait to read more!!!

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  15. Aaw Jeane, you are making me blush!

    Hi Melanie. Got ya down for the contest!

    Welcome aboard Dava! I am thrilled that you discovered me and my novels. If you love P&P I do not think you will be disappointed. Keep me posted and say Hi to sis for me. :)

    The contest will close tomorrow afternoon (March 5) - so there is still time to comment for a chance to win my book!

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  16. Sharon, my sister actually screamed when she got on your site. She's a real hoot anyway but was truely excited at having an opportunity to continue with the "Darcy Saga's." We will keep checking in with you and give you our comments as we read your wonderful books.

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  17. I'm so glad that I'm not the only one that prefered the 05 movie to the 95! and I agree with you! I'd take matthew over colin any day!

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  18. Wow Dava, I don't think I have ever had someone scream over my books! How cool is that?! :) You must let me know what you think.

    Oh no Katie! You are NOT the only one! Far from it in fact. Sadly I think too many are intimidated and hesitant to speak up. Don't worry, I'll shout it out for all of the movie lovers! Thanks for dropping by.

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  19. Katie, you sure aren't the only one who prefered the '05 movie over the '95. We or at least most of us here at the P&P '05 Blog and forum (bias and proudly speaking) loved this movie and prefer it over the '95 one and will also take Matthew over Colin any day as well, lol...still, we don't mind and are open to the other P&P adaptations. They are all good in their own different ways, like Sharon said. :)

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