It's a capitol day, Pride and Prejudiced Fans!! A capitol day, indeed!
The Incomparable SHARON LATHAN is hanging out amongst the newbies today! Somebody better pinch me!
For those of you new to the Pemberley scene, Sharon's books give Jane Austen addicts a tantalizing look into legendary lovers, Elizabeth Bennet and her handsome Mr. Darcy's life after the nuptials.
If Regency England is your idea of a good time, better stick around because Sharon is showing some love to TLNers!
Not only is she passing along tidbits on doing research, but she's also giving away a SET of her books, LOVING MR. DARCY and MR. and MRS. FITZWILLIAM DARCY, to one lucky commenter!
Now, don't get your pantaloons in a bunch, the best is yet to come!!
1) If you were a book, what would your blurb be?
Small town mountain girl fulfills her dream of becoming a nurse. But can she find true love? Numerous heartbreaks dampen her hope until one day, freezing on the seaside boardwalk, she meets her destined mate, a man with a tragic past. Can their hearts be healed and their souls become one? Will they live the fairytale happily-ever-after? Or will it be an ofttimes rocky road with struggles and trials of epic proportions?
2) Using 3 words, describe your writer’s voice.
Man, this is tough! I want more than 3!! Ok, whining over. How about these: Emotive. Picturesque. Positive.
3) Looking back to your pre-pubbed days and then to 2009 with two books already on stores shelves-- In what ways have you seen growth in your writing?
I always took my writing seriously in that I did not want to present to my readers (who were at that time Jane Austen fan-fiction readers on websites) a short story or chapter that was badly written. My philosophy was to write a story that was entertaining to read, detailed so one could easily visualize the scene, and historically accurate. That ideal has never changed.
What I have found is a greater confidence in my style as time has passed. I took chances, tried different phrasing, and eventually developed a natural cadence in my writing, a rhythm that flowed harmoniously as I typed. I discovered the perfect melding between dialogue and exposition within the chapters, how and when to use the history I unearthed, the comfortable level of sensuality, and the colorful prose I prefer. Basically I found my voice! And it happened intuitively based on who I am inside and what style of writing I enjoy as a reader. I have learned to trust the inner voice and have faith in my instincts.
Another great advantage is in writing a serial. The characters have been with me for years now. I know them and their world intimately making it almost effortless to write. In most cases I see the big picture, or the long road ahead of them, so it is fun to weave the here-and-now for each character knowing where I want them to be years down the line.
4) Love scenes: Which scenes do you like to write more? Tame or Oh, baby! Drop-it-like-it's-hot!
I think I am somewhere in the middle, if you refer to a ratings scale! PG-17, I always say.
I initially wrote no love scenes, stopping firmly in front of the closed bedroom door. But I quickly realized that my intended aspiration of disclosing the fullness of a marriage as it should be could not be accomplished without delving into those intimate moments between lovers. So I began experimenting with detailed love scenes and for a while I went full-bore erotica. It was fun to stretch my creativity that far, but I soon realized I was not comfortable with it. Too detailed lovemaking not only grew awkward, but I felt that it took away from my purpose in writing intimate moments – that being to highlight the emotions attached and the bonding that results both spiritually and from the relaxed bedroom conversations that occur in the afterglow.
That being said, lovemaking can take many forms. It can be very tender, fast and furious, playful, cleansing, overwhelmed with need, etc. I try to explore that aspect of a couple’s intimate, sexual relationship rather than describing the clinical mechanics! I write the sexual interlude that fits into whatever is happening at the moment, so sometimes it is focusing on the emotions, while other times it may be more lustful and hot!
5) In doing research of your books, what have been some of your favorite Regency tidbits?
I love all the history I have had to learn to write in an age 200 years ago. But the favorites for me are the obscure minutiae I uncover. A favorite was delving into toys and games of the time. It was a kick to learn that tennis was only played inside, that kaleidoscopes were just invented, babies gnawed on rings of silver or hard gum, and that music boxes were in tiny snuff cartons, to name a few. I learned and wrote about the origins of hot air balloons, steel-tipped writing pens, restaurants, and fireworks. Several times I needed to read about early medical techniques, a topic very fascinating to me since I am a nurse. I read about herbal remedies, the first stethoscope, doctors vs. surgeons, and how digitalis was discovered! These aren’t exactly Regency tidbits per se, but the Regency Era encompassed the early years of the Industrial Revolution so it was an exciting time. I love being able to incorporate that into my story.
6) Do you have any tips on how to stay organized when conducting research?
Well, I do organize the hundreds of websites I have bookmarked into neat folders, does that count? LOL! I am notorious for getting lost while researching, so am not so sure I can give tips. For me it often works to my advantage because I have discovered so many fascinating facts while getting lost browsing from website to website. I am very thorough when I read an article because I learn so much and never know what gems I may uncover.
I bookmark tons of places, especially if I don’t have time to investigate comprehensively right then. You never know when a cool website will come in handy! Then I will periodically set aside an hour to click on each bookmarked site to refresh my memory and see if some fact now sparks an interest that it didn’t before. I always rename the title to reflect what it is that interested me about that site, and I keep the name short. For instance, I found a terrific website about carriages that I simply call “carriages” – the actual title is: rack1.ul.cs.cmu.edu/is/driving Now, how is THAT going to stick in your head?
I keep all my photos in marked computer folders for easy reference. I often cut/paste short references, keeping those documents well labeled.
7) Do you see yourself writing another genre of romance?
I think anything is possible and would never want to trammel my inner muse! I love writing historicals, so see myself moving into another era of the past before I would tackle a contemporary. There is still so much within the Regency/Georgian Era that I have not explored. I next want to tell Kitty Bennet’s story, which would mean (as I am seeing it) delving into the military of the day. I have touched on that with Col. Fitzwilliam, but this would be much more in depth. I also dream of writing Dr. George Darcy’s story and that would take me to late 1790s India and the British East India Company. So that is really what I envision myself pursuing, at least in the nearer future.
8) What can your fans look forward to in the months to come?
2010 is shaping up to be a full year for me. “The Darcys at Year’s End” is firm to be released on January 1. The fourth novel in the Saga – tentative title “The Family Darcy: Seasons of Romance” – is fluctuating between a Sept. or Oct. release. And then I have a novella that is part of a Darcy Christmas themed anthology to be released in November. While those completed works are going through the stages of marketing, editing, reviewing, etc., I will be busily writing the novels under contract for 2011. Publishing is a far-ahead thinking business, I have learned!
Thank you, Sarah, for honoring me with a guest spot on your fantastic blog. I had a blast answering your questions! Talking about the tidbits I have uncovered for these novels led me to this passage, although there are so many I could have chosen. This section occurs toward the end of “Loving Mr. Darcy: Journeys Beyond Pemberley” as Darcy takes Lizzy to Derby for a shopping and sightseeing adventure.
“Elizabeth, you will not believe my luck… Oh thank you, Mr. Howe. Place it there.” Entering cautiously was one of the inn’s manservants carrying an enormous rocking horse. Lizzy retrieved three of the boxes as they tumbled from Darcy’s arms, nearly dropping them herself in her astonished amazement at the horse. Darcy bent and deposited the mass of bags and packages onto the sofa, straightening with a stretch. “What a relief,” he declared, “some of those are heavy.” He turned to his wife with a grin, planting a hearty kiss as the door closed behind Mr. Howe.
“Are you going to explain all this or must I remain in suspense?”
“Yes! So, I am departing the Academy, walking down the street as I have a dozen times in the past, when I glance over, not two doors down, and there is a toy store! Can you believe I never noticed it before? This,” he patted the horses head, sending it gliding, “was in the window, calling to me as it were.”
“I see. You entered and left some time later, having bought all the merchandise the store had to offer?” She swept her arm toward the pile on the sofa with a laugh.
“Do not be ridiculous, Elizabeth. I can show some restraint when necessary.” He was beaming, Lizzy laughing harder.
“Oh really? We have a rocking horse, as you are well aware, William, as it was yours.”
“Yes, but it is quite old and used roughly. I yet need to refinish and repair it. Besides, this is the newer model set on gliders rather than large bowed rockers, and now we can station one upstairs in the playroom and the other downstairs.”
“Well, since you have apparently given this a tremendous amount of forethought, I shall not argue the matter. He really is beautiful,” she said as she gave the horse a push, stroking the polished wood, “although I am surprised he is dappled grey rather than coal black.”
She smiled at her husband, who answered absently, “They did not carry a black one.” Lizzy laughed anew. The hobbyhorse was pearly grey with a long flowing white mane and tail of genuine horsehair. The saddle was pliable leather, thick, cushioned, and tanned a rich brown. A leather detailed wool blanket lay underneath, stirrups of sturdy steel attached with durable leather straps. The horse itself sat on a raised wooden base, also polished to a gleam, metal hinges and bars through the legs providing the gentle rocking motion upon the simple sway of a child’s body. It was a masterpiece of craftsmanship and detail, easily imaginable as enduring for generations to come.
Darcy cleared a place on the sofa. “Here, Elizabeth, have a seat.” He dragged a chair over, sitting on the edge and reaching for the largest box. Ripping apart the strings, he explained, “The shop was amazing. Every kind of toy you could imagine, my love. Many familiar from my own youth. In fact, I am sure there are boxes in storage I have yet to uncover containing old toys of mine and Georgie’s. However, there were many that were unusual to me. Of course, you will recognize these.” Inside was a collection of building blocks, at least fifty, of all shapes, sizes, and colors.
Lizzy laughed. “I always wanted blocks, but it was not considered a girl’s toy. These are wonderful, William.” With sudden stunned amazement she stared at her husband. “You carried these all the way from Oak Street?”
Darcy flushed slightly. “Well, no. They piled the parcels into a wheelbarrow and a clerk followed me with them. I only carried them from downstairs. I did carry the horse all the way, if that impresses you sufficiently.” He grinned and flexed his right arm, Lizzy laughing and leaning in for a kiss.
A tasty morsel? I hope it piques your interest! If so, come to my website to learn more about my Saga and how to obtain my novels: http://www.darcysaga.net/
Thanks again, Sarah! I’ll be checking in to answer any questions or respond to comments. So my question for your readers is this: Tell us about a cool historical fact you learned from reading a so-called fluffy romance novel!
NO, Thank YOU, Sharon for letting me interview you! And ~THANK YOU~ TLNers for swinging by. Remember to leave a kickin' comment for a chance to win a set of Sharon's books. I'll post the lucky name next Friday! Good Luck!
To send us off into the weekend, I wanted to pay homeage to one of my favorite leading men. Here is a fantastic montage of Patrick Swayze in Ghost set to UNCHAINED MELODY. (the song hubby-man and I danced our first dance to at our wedding 8yrs ago. Aw, ain't that sweet!) Have a good weekend and remember to hug somebody you love.