Please join us today in welcoming Austenesque author Susan Adriani for the official launch of her blog tour of The Truth About Mr. Darcy, a new Pride and Prejudice variation that was released on May 1, 2011, by Sourcebooks.
If someone had told me I would end up writing a novel someday (never mind that it would actually be published) I would have laughed at them. As a matter of fact, I’m laughing right now. I can’t help it—the entire experience has been completely surreal.
I never set out to be an author. I was a freelance illustrator turned stir-crazy stay-at-home mom; and I’d discovered early on it was nearly impossible to lay down a watercolor wash and work on a commission when there was a very determined little person clinging to my arm, trying to “help” me all the time. As much as I appreciated my daughter’s assistance (she meant well and was ridiculously cute), it soon became apparent that I needed to find an alternative outlet for my creativity, or completely sacrifice my sanity.
The quick fix was to submerse myself in Jane Austen’s world. During that time, I read Pride and Prejudice repeatedly, all the while wondering what happened to Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet after the story ended. To my very great pleasure, I found Helen Halstead and Pamela Aiden in my local Borders, and later, Abigail Reynolds online. I quickly fell in love with Abigail’s writing, but even more than that, I was awed by her ability to ask “what if…” and captivated by her talented storytelling. It didn’t take long for my head to become flooded with ideas and possibilities of my own.
The end result was my first book, The Truth About Mr. Darcy (formerly titled Affinity and Affection). Based on the premise of Mr. Darcy actually getting off his high horse (both figuratively and literally) to warn Elizabeth Bennet about George Wickham’s dissolute character. It is the story of a very different journey for our couple. With Darcy’s honesty, Elizabeth is able to see him with a new perspective, and Darcy, because he recognizes Elizabeth’s value earlier in their acquaintance, is far more willing to swallow his pride and attempt to win her good opinion. And of course, there is passion!
I’ve included an excerpt from the first chapter, and hope you’ll enjoy reading it as much as I’ve enjoyed being here today.
That evening, in the privacy of their room, Elizabeth disclosed to Jane the particulars of her conversation with Darcy. Never wanting to think ill of anyone, Jane insisted Wickham could not possibly be so very bad as Darcy’s account of him made him seem. “But, Lizzy, are you certain, absolutely certain, he has such designs at this time? Perhaps he has come to regret his past actions and is anxious to reestablish his character in the eyes of the world. He seems to possess such an expression of goodness in his addresses.”
Elizabeth shook her head. “No, Jane. I would well wish to think as you do, but I cannot help but believe it unlikely. Though Mr. Darcy’s countenance bespoke the most vehement dislike of Mr. Wickham, you did not notice the way Mr. Wickham looked at Mr. Darcy. His expression was one of such derision and insolence. No, I cannot so easily acquit him of the crimes Mr. Darcy has laid at his door. I feel most inclined to believe he is not a man to be trusted.”
“By this account, then, Lizzy, he appears to feel as passionately for Mr. Darcy as Mr. Darcy does for him. Something very bad, perhaps even worse than what Mr. Darcy has related to you with regard to their association, must surely have occurred to promote such strong feelings of aversion.”
“I confess I am of your opinion on this matter. Mr. Darcy was most disturbed, Jane. Even as he was speaking privately to me of Mr. Wickham, he remained visibly so. It is most out of character for him to reveal such emotions on any matter, and given this, I cannot help but wonder whether he may yet be keeping something further to himself.”
Jane was thoughtful for a long moment before saying quietly, “Lizzy, I do believe Mr. Darcy must be in love with you.”
Elizabeth stared at her and laughed. “Jane! Whatever makes you think such a thing? Surely Mr. Darcy feels nothing for me. You remember his comment at the assembly, do you not?”
“Indeed, it was very wrong of him to say such a thing at all, never mind in company, but, Lizzy, does it not strike you as incredible that a man of Mr. Darcy’s notoriety—such a proud, private man of much significance in the world—would speak with you so willingly and openly about his dealings with such a man as Mr. Wickham? I can hardly credit it. No, it could only be a compliment to you, my dearest sister.”
“Really, Jane, this is too absurd!” She laughed again. “You know just as well as I do, Mr. Darcy holds me in contempt for my decided opinions and my impertinent manner. He would never deign to pay his addresses to me, an unknown country miss with nothing more than fifty pounds and my charms to recommend me, not when he could have a fashionable woman with fifty thousand and a title.”
Jane smiled. “I beg to differ.”
Elizabeth made to protest, but Jane silenced her. “You forget, Lizzy, I, as well as Charlotte, have noticed the attention Mr. Darcy pays you, even if it is nothing more than staring at you from across the room. It cannot have escaped your keen observation that you are, indeed, the only lady he stares at.” Jane shook her head. “No, there is no other explanation for it. Mr. Darcy must be in love with you.” The discussion was continued in earnest, and half the night was spent in conversation.
Thank you, Laurel Ann, for having me on Austenprose today as your guest blogger. It was a pleasure for me to be here, and wonderful fun!
Susan Adriani has been a fan of Jane Austen and her beloved characters for as long as she can remember. Originally from New England, she attended a small art college close to her home, where she majored in illustration. In 2007, after contemplating the unexplored possibilities in one of Miss Austen’s most celebrated novels, Pride and Prejudice, she began to write her first novel-length story, The Truth About Mr. Darcy (formerly Affinity and Affection). With encouragement from fellow Austen enthusiasts she continued, and is currently at work on her second and third books. She lives in Southern New England with her husband, young daughter, and a very impertinent cat. Website: Austen Inspired Fiction by Susan Adriani, Blog: Austen Authors, Facebook: Susan Adriani, Twitter: @DarcyBabe1.
Giveaway of The Truth About Mr. Darcy
Enter a chance to win one of three copies of The Truth About Mr. Darcy, by leaving a comment answering what intrigues you most about reading a Pride and Prejudice variation, or which of Austen’s novels you would like to see Susan write about next, by midnight PT, Wednesday, May 11, 2011. Winner announced on Thursday, May 12, 2010. Shipment to US and Canadian addresses only. Good luck!
The Truth About Mr. Darcy, by Susan Adriani
Trade paperback (512) pages
2007 – 2011 Susan Adriani, Austenprose