It is no secret that Lory Lilian is one of my favourite authors!
Lory creates secondary characters you will adore and keeps her primary characters as close to Austen's as possible.
Lory's description of thoughts, feelings, wit, banter and humour, are what make Lory such a brilliant storyteller.
Therefore it should come as no surprise that I have been besides myself with excitement since discovering Lory had a fifth book on the way and lo and behold it is a forced marriage scenario, my favourite!
I am elated to be welcoming Lory today, for an interview, excerpt and giveaway!
I had a task deciding what to ask as I had a million questions but I hope the few I have asked, you will enjoy.
Hello Lory and welcome!
Q. When did you fall in love with Jane Austen?
I first came across Jane Austen when I was 13, and the first book I read was Pride and Prejudice. It was love at first sight and it is my favourite book in the world! I still carry a copy of PnP with me (paper!) wherever I travel! It is therapy for hard moments. Of course I love all the other Jane Austen’s books- she was a genius!
Q. What compelled you to write JAFF, much to our delight?
In the winter of 2004, I was searching the internet for Pride and Prejudice information during a break from a very demanding job. I discovered Derbyshire Writers Guild, then Firthness, and then Hyacinth Gardens. At that time, especially after seeing PnP 95, I have been already obsessed with Darcy and Elizabeth for many years, imagining them in various scenes that did not belong to the original story. To be honest, I thought I was a little bit crazy and I was ashamed to admit this obsession to anyone (LOL). Then I suddenly discovered that there were thousands of people out there sharing the same passion and the same madness. I spent the next six months reading hundreds of stories (and, of course, sleeping very, very little) and interacting with many JAFF fans. Neither Firthness nor Hyacinth Gardens is alive now, sadly. I miss those times. I have some wonderful cyber friends from those days whom I miss, too.
Then, in 2005, I started to write, because I have lots and lots of ideas spinning in my mind! Rainy Days—my first book — was first posted on DWG, so it was PG general; I finished it, and I even wrote the wedding night, keeping it PG 13! Then, I started posting it on HG — which was an adult site — and some cyber friends started to “demand” me to enhance some scenes – so this is how my NC 17 writing carrier started lol.
So here I am, on my fifth book – and my first forced marriage scenario!
Why I am doing it? Because I just cannot have enough of Darcy and Elizabeth. Jane Austen implied so much and told us so little, and I simply cannot have enough of them. I keep thinking of scenes, dialog, situations involving them, and every time I read Pride and Prejudice again or watch P&P-95 once more, these scenes came to my mind with overwhelming insistence (LOL). I could easily fill 10 books if I had enough time.
The reason why I love this story so much (besides Jane Austen’s genius and her fabulous writing) is Elizabeth and Darcy’s relationship.
For me, Darcy and Elizabeth can only belong together with no other men or women interfering with them. Despite pride, prejudice and many other things, Darcy and Elizabeth are meant to be together and they will be ‘the happiest couple in the world’, no question about that for me!
And I think this is part of the answer regarding the desire of reading (and writing) more about this aspect of their happy married life. Jane Austen implied so much and told us so little, and we simply cannot have enough of it.
Q. Favourite Pride & Prejudice scene and why?
The Netherfield Ball dance – it is like a duel of wit with two opponents with different kind of skills but equal value, ready to perform to their best
Q. How did you come up with the idea for your new book?
The idea for Sketching Mr. Darcy came to me during a 600 km drive, alone in my car ! In two days I had the entire story planned! Of course, it took me two years to actually publish it, but this is a … different story lol. The first title was “My husband, Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy”, but I changed it after some debate with my awesome editors Ellen and Margaret.
It is my first FMS, and the first challenge was that most of the book takes place in a month time! Can Elizabeth fall in love with her husband in such a short time? Well – let’s see: in canon, she met him again and witnessed his changes at Pemberley – and a few days ago, when she found about Lydia’s elopement, she was already certain that he could have been the right man for her! So yes, I think it was possible, even more so if she was “trapped” in the same house with him and “forced” to be the recipient of his generous care and tender affection.
The second challenge for me was to keep the right amount of mush and angst, to come with new characters and new situation to avoid boring the readers.
And the third one was to keep the story under 400 pages, which I almost did.
LASTLY THE QUESTION I LIKE TO ASK EVERYONE! BE HONEST LOL
Q. If you were in Elizabeth’s place in that era, knowing of the entail, would you have accepted Mr Collin’s proposal?
Mr. Collins’s proposal? No way – under no circumstances, because of his lack of wit and common sense (I have a long passage dedicated to him in my new book)
About Darcy’s proposal at the parsonage – a proposal from a man who is bright, well educated, witty and handsome, and very rich –in 1811 - knowing this would have helped my family ? Most likely I would have said yes, despite his faults. If he looked like Colin in PnP 95 – hell YES ! lol
The book is a forced marriage scenario and I hope you will read it to see how things got to the point to make the marriage necessary. This is an excerpt from chapter 6, following Darcy’s proposal, which did not go very well, but not as bad as in the cannon, either, due to the fact that he already had the chance to redeem himself a little bit in Elizabeth’s eyes. The following scene is between Elizabeth and Mrs. Gardiner. - Lory Lilian
“Lizzy, what worry me are the feelings with which you accepted Mr. Darcy’s proposal. It is not your will but rather the burden you agreed to carry, the sacrifice you agreed to make for your family. You seem angry and bitter, so I must ask: Are you angry with Mr. Darcy because there is another man whom you had hoped to marry?”
“Not at all, Aunt; I might be angry and bitter, but it does not have to do with Mr. Darcy himself. We had the chance to speak today more than we did during his entire stay at Netherfield. I have little with which to reproach him regarding his behaviour towards me. ”
“Very well—I am relieved to hear that. I was afraid that… You mentioned Mr. Wickham quite often in your letters, and I thought you might—”
“Oh, Mr. Wickham is not… I mean—he is, beyond all comparison, the most agreeable man I ever saw, but he is certainly not the reason for my concern regarding this marriage.”
“I see…Lizzy, you know that I grew up in Lambton—a small town only five miles from the Darcys’ estate, Pemberley. I knew Lady Anne Darcy quite well; she was the most wonderful lady that ever existed.”
“Yes, you told me that. You seemed quite charmed by everything related to Pemberley.”
“You may laugh, but you do not understand what it means to be part of this family. You do not know the extent of their name and their fortune. I would never imagine that someone from my family could one day become a Darcy and I cannot help wondering why Mr. Darcy would want to marry you! Yes, you are beautiful, smart, witty, kind, and generous, and I love you dearly. But I imagine there are many other young ladies equally beautiful and smart with impressive fortunes and connections who would be happy to marry him.”
“I asked myself and I asked him the same. He said the gossip was his fault, and it was his duty to propose to me and protect both our families from the rumours. I felt he was forced by his honour and by his concern for his family to propose, and that is unfair to both of us.”
“Yes, I understand that—partially. I mean—he heard the reports, and he came to propose to you, though he could have pretended to be oblivious and waited for the rumours to disappear in time. But once you refused him, he could have left. Yet, he persisted and tried to persuade you to accept him. Why? Forgive me for being insensitive to your feelings, but you and your family have everything to gain from this marriage while he wins nothing.”
“I asked him that too. He said that he wanted to put an end to the gossip as soon as possible to protect his family. And he said he was certain that I would be suited for the position of his wife. He said he would not have proposed to me, all gossip aside, had he not been certain that I would be a proper Mrs. Darcy,” Elizabeth replied, her emotions growing.
“He seems a very sensible and wise man, capable of recognising and appreciating your qualities, Lizzy. And, if he considers you suited to be the future Mrs. Darcy, he has made you an extraordinary compliment. I hope you are wise and sensible enough to recognise that.”
“Do you not believe me capable of accomplishing the duties required of being Mrs. Darcy? Do you doubt I am suited for the role?”
“I believe you capable of accomplishing anything you want, Lizzy. The question is: Do you want to do this? Are you willing to go through the circumstances that forced this alliance and to really become Mrs. Darcy? I am sure Mr. Darcy is not an easy man to live with, and the fact that you do not really know each other—nor will you have time to do so before the marriage—will only make things more difficult. You will need patience, wisdom, and strength. As Mrs. Darcy, you will have a duty to raise this marriage to the level of your predecessors. I am sure Mr. Darcy will expect and demand a lot from you, and so will everyone else. It is not something to be taken lightly.”
“I know that, Aunt. There are many things I need to think of before tomorrow. Besides, Mr. Darcy already told me that he has some requirements. I shall see if I can—or want to—accept them. Both he and I have time to change our minds. Nothing is decided yet.”
“You should search both your heart and your mind before making the final decision, Lizzy. Search deeply and earnestly; this is a decision for your entire life, a decision that will affect many people besides you and Mr. Darcy, starting tomorrow.”
“I know that, Aunt. If I could only make ‘tomorrow’ wait a little longer.”
Thank you for stopping by today Lory, as always it has been a pleasure.
I am thoroughly enjoying reading 'Sketching Mr Darcy' and I hope readers will enjoy it also. Thank you for kindly answering my questions, for the excerpt and the generous giveaway!
Are FMS one of your favourites too?
Comment below for a chance to win a copy of Sketching Mr Darcy!
The Giveaway is open internationally!!
2 x paperbacks and 1 x e-book.
The Winners will be announced on 29th July 2015.
Good luck Everyone!!!!
Sketching Mr Darcy is now available to buy!!
As always I delight in hearing your thoughts!