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Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Wednesday Spotlight: Sourcebook Casablanca
Pemberley Manor by Kathryn Nelson
When I started writing the story that became Pemberley Manor, it was simply an exercise in imagination. Why would Darcy have such a difficult temperament in the first place? And was he truly so very much improved by Elizabeth in the space of a few brief conversations that he would never revert to his original arrogance? And then there’s Elizabeth, so annoyed by the idea of marriages of convenience, and yet succumbing to the allure of a fine estate.
I’m a sensible woman, raised in a family of contractors. I generally play by the rules, and the rules don’t usually include writing sequels to other people’s books. I still remember the furor over the sequel to Gone With the Wind. Imagine my surprise when Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle introduced me in 1995 to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice in such a way that I couldn’t stop thinking about them.
I still have the urge to giggle when I think about the impudence of tackling one of the most romantic and beloved couples of all time, not to mention trying to imitate the style of arguably the world’s greatest romantic novelist.
And what is it about the language of Jane Austen? After watching the Andrew Davies’ BBC/A&E production easily a dozen times, I reread every Jane Austen book with a new eye and a sense of wonder about her prowess as a comedienne as well as a wordsmith. I hate to admit that I missed the irony in my first reading of Austen’s work, but, sigh, I was very young then. Life has now amply demonstrated to me that we often end up on a path we didn’t intend to take – Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy being cases in point.
Once I admitted that I had actually written a book, I embarked on a tour of discovery that led me to the dozens of other sequel writers. Who knew? I believe at this point there are well over a hundred sequels to Jane Austen’s work. So, good company, good fun, and let the critics say what they will. I’ve loved every minute of this adventure, and if readers enjoy the story – well, that’s the icing…
If you’ve enjoyed my book or any of the other sequels, I’d love to hear your point of view. Thanks for the inviting the Sourcebooks authors on board this week – if you’re an Austen fan, check out the Austenfans.com website.