Sharon Lathan makes trouble for Mr. Darcy!

Even charmed lives will encounter troubles along the way….
We welcome back to the Riskies Sharon Lathan, author of the bestselling novels Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two Shall Become One, Loving Mr. Darcy: Journeys Beyond Pemberley, My Dearest Mr. Darcy and In The Arms of Mr. Darcy. Sharon also wrote a novella as part of an anthology with Amanda Grange and Carolyn Eberhart, A Darcy Christmas. You can find her online at her website and at the Austen Authors blog.

Congrats on your new book and another lovely cover! Tell us about The Trouble with Mr. Darcy.

Thank you Janet, and it is a fabulous cover, isn’t it? I confess that at first I was sad to see the design changed from the previous four, but now I really love this new, exciting look!

The Trouble With Mr. Darcy is a slight departure for me although I am still the happily-ever-after, romantic gal so no worries there. (More on that in the next question). However, I wanted to explore areas of greater drama and difficulty with this novel. I moved forward in time in order to show Darcy and Lizzy as a couple further along in their relationship with some of the issues that arise as parents. I also wanted to deal with the mystery of Mr. Wickham and the history between him and Darcy. I knew it was time to do this and figured if I was going to go that route I was going to do it right! I think I have accomplished this with a great deal of bang and surprise.

Yet at the same time I carried on with my typical saga-style, living-the-life themes. Other family members, such as Kitty Bennet and Georgiana Darcy, are given their portions of the story. History and travel is covered as well with the Darcys moving through parts of Europe and celebrating Easter, for example. Glimpses of all the major characters are strewn throughout the book so the readers will know how everyone is fairing. There are a bunch of threads to tie up and events to cover besides just Wickham!

Do you ever consider writing about marital problems–for instance, Darcy getting a seven year itch, or an ex-mistress or illegitimate child showing up?

Believe it or not this is a somewhat controversial topic! From the very beginning I took an untypical approach in presenting a couple who are truly happy, in love, passionate, committed, and able to work through their issues. Many readers do not want to see this with Darcy and Lizzy, or believe it is impossible. Of course, many readers want to believe it is possible, and I am determined to give them this. So my version of the Darcys will never suffer what too many insist are the necessary woes and dramas. I simply do not agree that affairs, past indiscretions, waning desire, lies and deceit, constant bickering, disrespect, and so on are standard in all marriages.

Now, that does not mean I have a completely Pollyanna attitude! I show Lizzy and Darcy arguing many times, and in this novel particularly they do suffer a major difficulty that nearly brings the end of their marriage. Yet, they overcome, proving that love indeed does prevail and can grow stronger as a result. This is my belief and vision. I will never alter that approach.

In your bio you say you saw the movie first (Macfadyen/Knightley) and read P&P afterward. What was your initial reaction to the book?

I loved it! Yes, I saw the movie first – my initiation as it were. Then I watched the 1995 miniseries with Firth and Ehle. (Loved it!) Then I read the book, incidentally at the same time my daughter was reading it in her AP Literature class so we studied it together. All of this combined, adding in reading numerous discussions on web forums and various academic papers, to enhance my passion, understanding, and love for this story.

One of the things I have always enjoyed is talking about books (or movies) with other people and hearing their impressions. Everyone catches something different or has a varied interpretation or is moved by something unique. No one person will ever feel the same as someone else. That is the beauty of reading: It is a very personal experience. My initial reading of Pride and Prejudice was colored by feelings and impressions from the cinematic offerings, and each subsequent time I have read it I “see” something new. It is constantly evolving, so all I honestly recall from that first reading is awe at Austen’s use of language and hunger for more.

Why do you think people are so fascinated by Lizzy and Darcy and why is there such a demand for more about Austen’s characters?

This is a question some of the best minds in the business have attempted to answer and I am not sure anyone has been able to figure it out! It is rather insane when you look at the demand from a certain point of view. I honestly don’t worry over it. I know how I feel about these characters and figure as long as readers are caught up in the craziness I am content to add to it!

Tell us about other members of the Darcy family you’ve created. Do you have a favorite?

I have had a great time exploring the other characters, both those originally created by Austen and those of my own making. I felt obliged to give every last one a moment to shine at some point within my saga. Some, such as Colonel Fitzwilliam and Georgiana Darcy, are Austen creations but so vague in her novel that they easily become a modern writers own character. Both Col. Fitzwilliam and Georgiana are favorites of mine and each have significant story lines within my novels. Of those that I have created from scratch I am partial to the Darcy children, all of whom were focused on in my Christmas novella. But the ultimate favorite is Mr. Darcy’s eccentric uncle, Dr. George Darcy. He is the bomb!

Do you have a particular location in mind for Pemberley?

Chatsworth House in Derbyshire, home of the Duke of Devonshire, is my Pemberley. It was the exterior and partial interior used as Pemberley in the 2005 movie, but even if that had not been the case it is such an amazing manor that I think I would have chosen it. Of course I have tweaked it a bit to fit my story!

Which of other Austen’s books do you think might inspire spin-offs and riffs and improvisations as P&P does?

None of the others have taken the world by storm as yet, but I am seeing more of them given their fair due as time goes on and that is fabulous. Several authors, many of whom share in Austen Authors with me, have taken on the other novels. Persuasion is probably the next favorite, due I am sure to the allure of Captain Wentworth.

If you had the chance to meet Jane Austen through the wonders of time travel, what would you ask her?

Out of curiosity I suppose I would have to ask her what she thought of all this spin-off craziness! Of course, her response if in the negative (and I personally don’t think it would be negative) really wouldn’t change anything so is somewhat of a moot point! Aside from that I would simply want to chat, girl to girl, about men, life, family, literature, and whatever else ladies gossip about while sipping tea.

What’s next for you?

Speaking of other family members, the next novel due out in November, is Miss Darcy Falls in Love. It is the story of Georgiana Darcy. Completely set in France, with Darcy and Lizzy no where to be seen, it is wholly devoted to giving a now mature Georgiana of twenty years her chance to embrace her future. It is a romance, of course, but also the exploration of a woman at that time and what she could accomplish as an artist.

Continuing my love for secondary characters, the Darcys are going on hiatus for a spell as I delve into the life of Dr. George Darcy. My next novel, God willing, will cover the adventures of this incredible man spanning the thirty years he dwelt in India as a physician with the East India Company, culminating with his return to Pemberley and the surprising future he encounters there at the twilight of his life.

Thank you, Janet, for again hosting me here on Risky Regencies. History is my passion so no matter what my characters tell me to do with them, I will exert whatever control I can manage over their antics to make sure I highlight the world they live in.

Let’s chat about Mr. Darcy! Make a comment or ask Sharon a question and you’ll be entered into a drawing to win a copy of the book!

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Linda
11 years ago

Sounds great, I’m esp. curious to learn more about Darcy’s history with Wickham. thanks for the giveaway.
lcbrower40(at)gmail(dot)com

Margay
11 years ago

I’m really interested to learn more about the riff between Darcy and Wickham, too, as it sets up so much of what happens in P&P. Part of why Darcy behaves the way he does is because of the conflict with Wickham.

Margay1122ATaolDOTcom

Diane Gaston
11 years ago

Welcome back to Risky Regencies, Sharon.

I love that your passion for Lizzie and Darcy was kindled by the 2005 movie. Even though the Austen purists complained about the movie, I always believed it would draw more readers to her wonderful books.

And look what a change it made in your life.

Congratulations on yet another dip in the P&P world.

Sharon Lathan
11 years ago

I am so happy to be here and can’t thank Janet, and the other amazing ladies of Risky Regencies, for inviting me. Thanks again for the great questions, Janet.

Linda, gradually throughout my series I have dropped hints and revealed pieces to the puzzle of the Darcy and Wickham animosity. I always knew I would deal with them eventually and as time went on Wickham became more evil. Pretty fun!

Hi Margay! You must let me know what you think of it once you read the book! You are correct that the “relationship” between Darcy and Wickham is quite central to Austen’s novel. I had to create a valid, believable history.

Sharon Lathan
11 years ago

Hello Diane. It is my great pleasure to be here.

I love the 2005 P&P and have no problem saying so. I know for a fact that, as you said, it has drawn thousands of readers to the books. All movie adaptations do. In addition, it has changed my life! That is a wonderful accomplishment.

If anyone is interested, there is a great article on about Deborah Moggach, the screenwriter for the 2005 P&P, posted on Friday. Here is the link:
http://www.picktainment.com/blog/2011/04/scripting-pride-prejudice-with-deborah-moggach-part-i/

charlie
11 years ago

love your books and havent read this one yet, got loving Mr Darcy and Dearest Mr Darcy

charlie
11 years ago

love your books, Dearest Mr Darcy and Loving Mr Darcy xx

Cathy P
11 years ago

Hi, Sharon! You are a new author for me. Haven’t read any of your Darcy stories yet, but I loved P&P. Did you have to get anyone’s permission to write the books?

kscathy@yahoo.com

Danielle Gorman
11 years ago

Wow this really sounds great. I’m so ashamed because I’ve never actually read P&P but I have seen both of the movies. I have it on my TBR pile I just need to read it.

Your book sounds really good. I too am curious as to what happens with Georgiana.

iqb99@yahoo.com

Jo's Daughter
11 years ago

Ah, Mr.Darcy I don’t think a more perfectly imperfect man was ever created. I’m interested to see how he’s evolved in his life with Lizzie and their children…

Sharon Lathan
11 years ago

Thanks Charlie! I do hope you love this one as much.

Greetings Cathy P. I love when new people “discover” me! LOL! No permission was required, thankfully. Jane Austen has been dead for over 100 years, that amount of time the expiration of copyrights. If you decide to give my novels a go be sure to let me know what you thing. Also, check out the many, many Austenesque writers who partake of my group blog at Austen Authors.

Thanks Danielle! Happy to know I have intrigued you. 🙂 Many people never get around to the novels, trusting to the movies for the basic storyline. I encourage everyone to read Austen, of course, but figure even a partial exposure to her world and brilliance is better than none at all.

So true, Jo’s Daughter, so true. I love writing the imperfections of Mr. Darcy – and Lizzy loves it too so then she can point them out! But no matter how I try he is ends up fairly wonderful. *sigh…..

Louisa Cornell
11 years ago

I’m so glad to meet someone else who loves the 2005 P&P ! I read all of Jane Austen very young and continued to read them year after year.

And like you, I am a huge fan of Chatsworth! I actually visited the house when I was nine or so years old. Didn’t remember much about it until I was watching the 2005 movie! I kept thinking. I’ve seen that house before!

Do you take Austen’s characterizations verbatim or do you expand on them with each book you write? How hard is it to develop the characters without offending the Austen purists?

I think the appeal of Darcy is that he is the sort of man we have all fantasized at one time or another. Who wouldn’t love a man who flaunts society’s rules and declares his love with not thought to the consequences? And a man who is knocked back by a very pointed refusal to his proposal who continues to love the woman anyway? You don’t find that in today’s average male!

Ninja Elizabeth
11 years ago

I love this book. I’m a bit sad that it will be the end of Mr & Mrs for a while, but I can’t wait to read the full account of G Darcy’s time in Paris.

I prefer ‘happy together’ stories.. but too many just don’t do them right.. Sharon does.

Sharon Lathan
11 years ago

Louisa, I am SO envious that you saw Chatsworth, even if you were 9! LOL! I hope to finally make it to England this fall and I assure you “Pemberley” will be the first stop.

You are far from alone in loving the 2005 P&P, trust me. There are legions of fans who appreciate all the various adaptations.

The interesting aspect of your first query, IMHO, is that there isn’t a “verbatim” characterization. Sure we can agree on the basics: Darcy is proud and not exactly verbose; Lizzy is witty and outgoing. But the deeper motivations, private thoughts, and how they would evolve as humans naturally do is widely open to interpretation. “Purists” will inevitably be offended since they do not concur with what I just said! LOL!

You final paragraph is precisely why we all love Mr. Darcy. Excellent summation!

Sharon Lathan
11 years ago

Aah, thanks Ninja/Sheila. But don’t be sad! I can’t say adieu to the Darcys forever, you know that!

shannonwinslow
11 years ago

Wow, Sharon, if your JA obsession was inspired by the 2005 P&P movie, you’ve come a long way in a short amount of time. I hope to someday have half your success. I would love to read your book. Thanks for offering the giveaway.

Vee
Vee
11 years ago

Janet and Sharon this is a wonderful interview! Thoroughly enjoyed it!
I love your novels Sharon because you give Darcy and Lizzy a wonderful life together! You make it all very real by throwing in the odd argument and disagreement which is in line with the personalities of each but I feel easy knowing that you want them to be happy!
In this beautiful novel the heartwrenching scenes certainly go deep with emotional turmoil but lucky for us you bring the Darcy’s back to being blissful again!
The dark drama that unfolds with WIckham is spectacular! You attack the drama with gusto and so you can definitely add high drama and intrigue to being a beautifully romantic and historical writer!
I have to agree with you Sharon that Chatsworth is perfect as Pemberley. When I was strolling the grounds a few years ago I half expected to see Darcy and Lizzy pop up somewhere. It is a beautiful estate.
This latest novel is as exquisite as the rest, many congrats on its success!
TSBO devotee
Vee

jhosszu
11 years ago

Sharon, congratulations on another excellent book. I just finished reading it tonight and I am thrilled that Georgiana gets her own book next. I am excited to see if the example that Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam provided her as a deeply in love married couple affect her in her marriage to Mr.Butler. I am also thrilled that you will be exploring George Darcy’s time in India. I have for a while now been extremely curious as to his experiences there. We got a taste of it the earlier books, but I am excited to learn more! Thank you for providing us readers and lovers of these characters with more opportunities to read about them. I love your books!

librarypat
11 years ago

I think the strength of Austen’s characters’ personalities is a big factor in their enduring popularity and the interest in spin-offs. She made them very real to us and they became friends. Who wouldn’t want to keep in touch with such good friends? As real as their are to us, we don’t expect them or their lives to be perfect.
I am glad you and other authors have decided to give us more of their stories.

Luthien84
11 years ago

Congrats, Sharon on your success. Lovely interview. I would like to ask whether will you venture to write other Jane Austen’s characters besides the ones from P&P? Perhaps Emma, MP or NA? There are always not enough of those but the market is flooding with the Darcys.

evangelineace2020(at)yahoo(dot)com

Sharon Lathan
11 years ago

Yes Shannon, it has been a whirlwind. No wonder I am so tired! LOL!

Hey Vee! You are the best! I am really pleased that TTWMD delighted you so thoroughly. Hopefully I will be able to stroll the grounds of Chatsworth this year.

Sharon Lathan
11 years ago

Jhosszu, I do pray my loyal readers will follow me into the lives of Georgiana and George. I love them both so much! Hopefully everyone will feel the time spent with them and away from the Darcys is worth it.

Thank you librarypat. Very well said and I totally agree, of course!

Luthien, for me the passion remains with the Darcys. But I am very excited to see the other Austen novels getting their time in the sun.

pageturner
11 years ago

Oo, a new one to read. I’m intrigued by the darcy Wickham relationship too.

oageturner345@gmail.com

catslady
11 years ago

It’s all so very fascinating and I think I am going to enjoy your evil Mr. Wickham. Do you feel your books must be read in order or can they be read stand alone?

Lieder Madchen
11 years ago

This book looks great! Have you ever thought about writing sequels to Jane Austen’s other stories?
liedermadchen(at)hotmail.com

Sharon Lathan
11 years ago

Welcome pageturner. I love meeting new people searching for a new read!

catslady, I do believe the novels build upon each other, yes. Being read in order gives the complete scope of the story since it is, in truth, a Saga. However, many have read them out of order or picked up the fourth or fifth without realizing, and enjoyed it just fine.

Lieder, the Darcys are keeping me fairly occupied for the present! I am happy to report that many other, excellent authors are taking up the other novels by Austen.

Jakki L.
11 years ago

Sharon, I love what you said about marriage. I have found myself pondering quite a bit as to whether or not Darcy would have had mistresses given his station in life. I keep coming back to the answer of “no.” I like to think that just because he was rich and a man of the world, that he really wasn’t “a man of the world” if you know what I mean. Darcy appears to be too honorable and responsible to have had mistresses (even if that was the thing to do). I also don’t feel that marital problems are necessary. I know people disagree and have arguments, but not every couple has knockdown-drag out fights. I enjoyed reading your take on this! Like you, I do not want to sound like Pollyanna; I know there are some bad marriages out there, but I also know of marriages out there like Lizzy and Darcy’s. Thanks again for sharing! 🙂

LisaS
11 years ago

“Of course, many readers want to believe it is possible, and I am determined to give them this. So my version of the Darcys will never suffer what too many insist are the necessary woes and dramas. I simply do not agree that affairs, past indiscretions, waning desire, lies and deceit, constant bickering, disrespect, and so on are standard in all marriages.”

Dearest Sharon. This is one of the many reasons why I absolutely love your novels, and your Darcy and Elizabeth. I do believe it’s possible and that’s the kind of relationship I want to read about for my D&E — a relationship built on love and respect. And yes, hardships come, but my ideal D&E will always put in the hard work that is required to make their relationship not only survive, but thrive, in the face of all of life’s adversities!!! Thank you forgiving me that kind of D&E to read about, admire, and respect!

LisaS
lcsieck at gmail dot com

Sharon Lathan
11 years ago

Jakki, I disagree with the idea that having a mistress was “the thing to do” during times past any more than it is the “thing to do” now. Yes, it happened. There is nothing new under the sun, as they say. But to somehow translate that into meaning Mr. Darcy could not exist or be a man without being sexually promiscuous is a leap I simply don’t agree with. It is nice to know others agree with me!

Thank you Lisa. Confirmation is always appreciated. And it is my pleasure to give readers this kind of D&E.