Writing superheroes: Kim Rendfeld

 A superhero disguised as a copy editor and keeping the grammar police at bay!  Read on and find out more…

 

superhero copy

 If you were to write the ‘origin’s episode’ of your writing what would be the most important scenes?

Thanks for this opportunity, Grace. I started creating stories when I was in high school and would sketch cartoonish scenes kind of like a comic book, so this question is apropos. I was and still am a fan of The Lord of the Rings series, and my earliest efforts were knock-off fantasies. I left them behind when I went to college and don’t know where those efforts reside now.

 

All super heroes have their mild-mannered secret identity, what is yours? I promise we won’t tell.

 My alter ego protects my employer from the grammar police. That’s right. I’m a copy editor in a university marketing and public relations office. I doubt my colleagues would call me mild-mannered when my notes in the margins say “Death to all caps!” and “Only one exclamation point!”

 I live in Indiana with my husband and spoiled cats. My husband and I enjoy travelling, especially to visit our daughter and three adorable granddaughters. KimBookPhotoSmaller

 

Who are your partners in crime? What are their superpowers?

My husband cooks for me and does a lot of things to give me more time to write. I also owe a lot to my critique partners in Lafayette, Indiana, whose insights brought The Cross and the Dragon and The Ashes of Heaven’s Pillar closer to publication. Many thanks also to my friend and fellow novelist Jessica Knauss.

 

Where do you get your superpowers from?

 Of course, there is the original inspiration, the story that latches onto you and just won’t leave you alone until you place yourself in front of a computer and write – never mind you know very little about the Middle Ages. Sustaining those powers enough to produce a novel that is publishable, however, takes a willingness to do the research, to revise and revise and revise yet again, and to be open to criticism.

 

 Where is your secret lair and what does it look like?

 My lair is a bedroom in my house converted into my study. To the untrained eye, it is quite ordinary: laptop with docking station, bookshelves, a comfy couch, and many to-do lists on scrap paper. Sometimes a spoiled cat will stop by wanting attention. Or food. Or is meowing at me to get off the Facebook and come to bed.

 

 What kind of training do you do to keep your superpowers in world saving form? How do you ensure they are used only for good?

 I read a lot. My research is mostly reading primary sources in translation and academic papers. (Historical novelist’s disclaimer: Any goofs are mine and no one else’s.) I often consult Google maps and Google Earth to estimate how long a trip took or prompt my imagination for what a city might have looked like 1,200 years ago. I also enjoy other authors’ novels. And a newly formed critique group will help me stay on track.

 As I write I sometimes must remind myself that I am telling the story from my medieval characters’ points of view, not that of a tolerant 21st century American, and I must let them do things I don’t like and believe in ideas I disagree with. In other words, I must trust the reader to understand.

 

 Granted, you probably don’t’ get to wear your superhero costume a lot, but if you did, what would it look like?

 Does that mean khakis and a comfy top don’t count? It’s hard to say what costume I’d choose, but nothing skin tight or midriff baring. And definitely no high heels.

 

 What is your kryptonite? What are the biggest challenges faced with in your writing?

Lack of time and distractions. How’d it get so late? And where did all this laundry come from? And what do these cats want now?

 

What was the supervillain that threatened to stop your latest project and how did you vanquish it?

 In this line of work, writers face rejection multiple times as we try to get the attention of an editor or agent – so many in fact, we have the term “good rejections,” although I prefer to call them useful. It is a frustrating process and can lead to self-doubt and asking oneself, “Am I really one of those people who only thinks she’s a good writer like the ones I encountered in my newspaper days?” The encouragement from my friends, critique partners, and family helped me persist, along with a dose of optimism present in all writers.

 

 What important lessons have you learned along the way?

 If you get a useful rejection – one that speicifies why the book did not work for an editor – take what they say seriously. I can recall two such letters, and addressing the editors’ concerns made the novel better, even though neither of them took on the book later. I will admit that lopping off two chapters in my first book to introduce tension felt a bit like murdering the proverbial babies, but the story was better for it.

 “Never give up” also comes to mind, but I would add “if you’re heading nowhere, take a different direction.” I spent several years trying to get published with what is now the Big 5 before contacting my current publisher, Fireship Press. I am glad I went this route. Small presses like Fireship are willing to take a chance on a story that has a different premise such as a pagan, peasant mother protecting her children, and the author has more control over the finished book.

 

 What have been the best/most memorable experiences along the way?

 One of the most pleasant surprises came while I was promoting my first book. During interviews, I mentioned that I was working on The Ashes of Heaven’s Pillar and one day I got a note from Fireship saying that they were interested in the manuscript. Thrilled does not begin to describe how I felt.

 

 If you did this again what would you do differently and what would you not change?

 I would tell my past self to quit trying to prove how intelligent she is, stop trying to jam in so much backstory at the beginning, and above all, trust the reader. What I would not change is having a critique group review the story. This group of wonderful writers told me things I did not want to hear but absolutely needed to hear, and that got the manuscript closer to publication.perf6.000x9.000.indd

 

 What is the best (writing or otherwise) advice you have ever gotten and why.

 During the first Historical Novel Society conference in North America, the guest of honor told the crowd that the First Commandment of Writing is “Thou shalt not bore the reader.”

 If you are a storehouse of historical knowledge and have perfect grammar and spelling, it won’t matter if you cannot tell an interesting story in an interesting way.

 

Tell us about you new book and why we need to drop everything and get it now.

 In The Ashes of Heaven’s Pillar, Leova must grapple with why her gods let a holy monument burn and how to protect her children when she’s lost everything—her husband, her home, her faith, even her freedom.

 This novel gives readers a little told side of the early Middle Ages. When source documents depict pagans as brutes, treat war captives like war booty, and rarely mention peasants at all, historical fiction such as The Ashes of Heaven’s Pillar fills a gap. In fact, it might be the only way to see historical events, including Charlemagne’s destruction of a pillar sacred to the Continental Saxon peoples, through the eyes of pagans and peasants.

 Although separated from Leova by more than 1,200 years, modern readers will identify with her as she sacrifices her own honor for the sake of her children. They will grieve with her at the pyres of her loved ones, understand her desire for justice against the relatives who betrayed her, and agonize with her as she tries to determine who is friend and who is foe.

 

 What’s in store for you in the future? Do you have any other big projects on the horizon?

 I am working on my third novel, which I’m now calling Fastrada. The title character was Charlemagne’s influential fourth wife, whose supposed cruelty was the cause of a rebellion by Pepin, Charles’s son by his first wife. Never mind that Pepin probably felt cheated that he was not going to inherit a kingdom like his three younger brothers by wife No. 3. Never mind the resentment of the divorced first wife and her aristocratic family.

 So who was Fastrada, really? Was she so awful that she inspired a rebellion, or was she a strong-willed woman used as an excuse by a son angry to be cut out of the succession?

 

 

    You can find Kim at:

Amazon~Facebook~Blog~Website~Twitter@kimrendfeld~GoodReads

 

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

Get to know Abigail Reynolds

Join me this morning in getting to know fellow Austen Author, Abigail Renyolds.

 

Writing is such a challenging endeavor. What got you started on it and what keeps you doing it? 

*  I started writing out of desperation in 2001 when I ran out of JAFF to read, which wasn’t that hard to do in 2001.

I didn’t intend to keep going after that one story, but the feedback was so positive I kept going.  As for what keeps me doing it, there are lots of reasons, the primary one being that it’s addictive.  I also love the interaction with readers.  There are days, though, when I really want to throw in the towel!

What did you do with your earliest efforts? Did anyone read them? Did you still have them? 

*                  My very earliest efforts were when I was 13 years old, and while I still have them, nobody but me will ever read them!  Actually, when I looked back at them recently, I discovered they aren’t as bad as I thought.

What made you choose to write in the genres/time periods you write in? 

*   I write Regency JAFF because that’s what I liked best when I started reading it.  My modern novels were more inspired by the setting on Cape Cod, which is a place I love dearly.

What do you enjoy most in the writing process? What parts of it do you really dislike?  

*The best is when the words are flowing and the characters start heading off in unexpected directions.  It’s like something new has come to life.  The worst?  Finding the motivation to keep my butt in the chair writing.  Ignoring bad reviews is a close second.  ;)

If you write in multiple genres how do you make the switch from one to the other? Do you find it a welcome change, crazy-making or a little of both? 

*        It’s a welcome change when I switch from Regency to modern and back.  There’s much less research and guesswork with writing a modern, but the language is, oddly enough, much more difficult for me.  Modern writing needs to be very tight and concise, while Regency language is very forgiving of excessive verbiage.

Historical fiction takes a lot of research. What is the most memorable or interesting thing you’ve learned along the way? 

*  I’m not sure I can pick any one thing.  Learning about premarital sex in the Regency was a shocker.  Another big one was when I researched beverages of the time, and discovered that when all the ladies were throwing back those glasses of ratafia, they were getting a serious alcohol hit.  It made me rethink a lot about the role of women in Regency society.

What do you to keep all your research information and plot ideas organized and accessible?

*  Anything I can!  I keep a list of story ideas on my computer, and I often jot notes about the current story at the beginning or end of the story itself.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever gotten? 

*  Write quickly, edit later.  Otherwise my internal editor slows the writing pace to a crawl and the story loses life.

Tell us a little about your current project.

*   I’m working on a Pride & Prejudice variation with a few characters from other Austen books appearing in supporting roles.  It’s set at a country house party a month after Hunsford.  Darcy is still angry with Elizabeth, and he finds out that Henry Crawford has a substantial bet on whether he’ll be able to seduce Elizabeth by the end of the party.

What’s up next for you?

*  Another book in my modern Woods Hole series, this one starring Cassie’s younger brother Ryan, and I have plots for several other Regency set Pride & Prejudice variations cooking in my head.  I have too many ideas and not enough time to write them all!

You can find Abigail on line:

Facebook

Twitter:  @abigailreynolds

Google+

You can get Mr. Darcy’s Refuge on

Amazon    B&N  Kobo

Get to know Linda Wells

 Happy Mother’s Day! Please help me welcome super mom, Linda Wells this morning.

Writing is such a challenging endeavor. What got you started on it and what keeps you doing it?

I worked in the environmental engineering industry until I had a son who was born with severe developmental delays, and I needed to stay home and care for him. I found different ways to find some respite, but had not really read anything besides children’s books for twelve years.  I read the first Harry Potter book when I bought it for my nephew, and rediscovered the pleasure of escaping into a story.  When I saw the 2005 Pride and Prejudice film, I fell in love with Matthew Macfadyen’s portrayal of Darcy, and returned to reading Jane Austen.  Eventually I discovered JAFF and became a voracious reader.  I began imagining my own story, and could hear and see the characters talking to me at the oddest moments.  My husband didn’t have a clue what I was doing scribbling in notebooks, and I couldn’t really explain it to him, but it felt so good to be focused on something like that.  When I only had twenty-five chapters written, I took the plunge and started posting.  I had discovered the challenging and creative outlet that I was searching for.

If you were to write the ‘origin’s episode’ of your writing career, what would be the most important scenes?

Purchasing Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone for my nephew, catching by chance the end of Pride and Prejudice on HBO one day (and becoming obsessed), discovering JAFF, and finally, watching my hand shaking so badly when I posted my first chapter of Chance Encounters.

Who are your partners in crime? What are their superpowers?

My readers, the people who leave comments as I post my WIP stories.   There is never an outline, and the readers tell me where I’m doing well, where I’m screwing up, and ask endless questions that force me to think in directions I hadn’t considered.  The most important readers are the first ones, my betas who often tell me no.

Where is your secret lair and what does it look like?

It’s my living room.  Imagine a big loveseat with reference books stuffed in the cushions, maps hanging over the back, Crabtree and Evelyn hand cream at the ready, and a photo of Darcy nearby.  For inspirational purposes, of course.

What did you do with your earliest efforts? Did anyone read them? Did you still have them?

My first effort was Chance Encounters, and I published it because I thought it would be neat to have a copy for my own.  There was a little box on the setup page that asked if I wanted to put it up for sale, and I checked it just for the heck of it.  The last thing creative thing I wrote before that was my senior paper at Penn State for Geography 404.  I got an A+ !!

What made you choose to write in the genres/time periods you write in?

Pride and Predjudice is a Regency story!  Moving it into modern times is a challenge.

What do you enjoy most in the writing process? What parts of it do you really dislike?

I love the brainstorming with my betas, and I love becoming lost in the research.  I dislike getting stuck and staring at a page, willing something to happen.  And I have a terrible time remembering character names!

Historical fiction takes a lot of research. What is the most memorable or interesting thing you’ve learned along the way?

I try to include as many little fun facts as I can in the stories.  The one that made me say, “ewww” was learning about the chamber pot kept in a sideboard for the men to use after the ladies depart the dining room.

What do you do to keep all your research information and plot ideas organized and accessible?

I have lots of bookmarks in a file specific to each story on my computer, and make use of the notepad feature on my ipad when I’m not at home, for writing down dialogue that pops into my head.  Oh, and I have a very battered notebook that is always next to me.  I really do need to get a new one.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever gotten?

Write what you know, and let the characters lead the way.

What have been your most memorable experiences along the way?

Oh, I remember feeling absolute terror when I posted my very first time, and the amazing, wonderful reception the chapter received from the readers.  I remember being giddy and stunned when I sold 100 books (before kindle!) in one month.  And the best experience has been making so many friends, some who have become part of my daily life, all from that connection to Jane Austen.

Tell us a little about your current project.

I am posting my WIP Keeping Calm at AHA and AU.  It is a Pride and Prejudice variation set at the time of WWII in England.  Darcy and Elizabeth meet when she and the Gardiners come to visit Pemberley about seven weeks before the war begins.    It is such a rich time to explore.  The war is the backdrop, but I’m very interested in the home front and the loss of so many of the great estates during the years following the two world wars.

What’s up next for you?

After I finish Keeping Calm, I plan to return to Imperative and continue that story.  I’ve been asked to continue Memory, too, and there is a story I have begun called Perception.  I would love to try something that has nothing to do with JAFF!

You can find Linda online at:

My Amazon Author page:  amazon.com/author/lindawells

My Facebook page:  www.facebook.com/lindawellsbooknut

Twitter:  LindaWells  @booknut893

About Me:  http://about.me/LindaWells.

Get to know Mary Lydon Simenson

Please join me this morning in welcoming Mary Lydon Simenson.

What got you started as a writer?

An arthritic knee! I was waiting to have knee replacement surgery, and to fill in time, I started to write my first novel right after seeing the 2005 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice.

 What did your early efforts look like? Are they still around to be used as bribes and blackmail material?

My first effort was a self-published novel that was bought by Sourcebooks and re-titled Searching for Pemberley. I’ve learned a lot since writing that book, but it’s pretty good for my first effort.

Where is your secret lair and what does it look like?

 I share a home office with my husband, and we work back-to-back. There are days when we hardly talk, and others, when you would think we had just started dating! It’s a nice arrangement. He’s an excellent sounding board.

What are the biggest challenges faced with in your writing?

The biggest challenge is definitely getting out that first draft. The story’s there. It’s just getting it out on paper. It’s very much like having a long and difficult labor.

What important lessons have you learned along the way?

 To thine own self be true. Advice is good, but in the end, it’s my story.

What have been the best/most memorable experiences along the way?

Getting to know the JAFF community. I have friends all over the world, and I’ve even visited with a few of them. Lucky me!

 If you did this again what would you do differently?

 I would never again write a story in the first person as I did in Searching for Pemberley—too limiting.

What is the best writing advice you have ever gotten and why.

Every time I get a bad review, my husband tells me: remember why you write. I just really enjoy pulling together all the threads necessary to write a story.

Tell us about your new book and why we need to drop everything and get it now.

 When They Fall in Love is a story about second chances. There is a lapse of seven years from the time of Darcy’s proposal to Elizabeth at Hunsford Parsonage, and in that time, life has changed them. It is the older and wiser Darcy and Elizabeth who meet in Florence. And who would not want to read a book about our favorite couple that is set against the background of Renaissance Florence.

What’s in store for your art in the future? Do you have any other big projects on the horizon?

 I also write British mysteries, and my next book will be the third in the Patrick Shea mystery series. I am also kicking around the idea of writing a modern retelling of Persuasion set in Hawaii in the days leading up to Pearl Harbor. I love writing historical fiction.

Thank you for having me, Maria. This was fun!

You can find Mary on line at:

Her blog

Facebook

When They Fall in Love: Available on Amazon Nook

Related articles

Get to know Jack Caldwell

Join me in welcoming my friend Jack Caldwell this morning.

I’ve always had stories in my head, but I never tried to write, until about ten years ago. I was reading Jane Austen Fan Fiction, and complained to my wife that while much of it was good, much was not. She challenged me to do better. Now that I’ve started, I can’t stop.

·         What did you do with your earliest efforts? Did anyone read them? Did you still have them?

My first effort became my second published novel—THE THREE COLONELS – Jane Austen’s Fighting Men. Eventually, all my efforts will be published.

·         What made you choose to write in the genres/time periods you write in?

I enjoy history. It’s the real reason I write. It’s easier to get people to read historical fiction than pure history. My influences have been James Michener, Herman Wonk, Patrick O’Brian, and Georgette Heyer, among others.

The most interesting periods in history have been the turning points, and those, unfortunately, are influenced by warfare. Much of my writing is set in the Regency, because this is the end of England’s competition with France and the beginning of the British Empire.  PEMBERLEY RANCH is set after the US Civil War, when America stopped being a collection of states and became a nation.

·         What do you enjoy most in the writing process? What parts of it do you really dislike?

I enjoy putting words on paper, particularly conversation between characters. What I dislike is the discipline of writing thousands of words a day. It must be done if a book is going to be written.

·         If you write in multiple genres how do you make the switch from one to the other? Do you find it a welcome change, crazy-making or a little of both?

My switching is more of time periods than genres. I’ve written moderns and westerns, and soon I’ll attempt a WWII novel.

·         Historical fiction takes a lot of research. What is the most memorable or interesting thing you’ve learned along the way?

Something I picked up about WWII. It seems the Allies recruited Cajun French-speaking men from Louisiana to act as translators in France during the Invasion of Europe. Also, Cajuns were recurred by the OSS, the predecessor of the CIA, to work with the French Resistance. It seems Cajun French sounded more like the Provençal French spoken in the countryside than the Parisian French spoken by Canadians, and therefore easier to fool the Germans and Vichy. I plan to write a story about that.

·         What do you to keep all your research information and plot ideas organized and accessible?

Maria Grace and Jack Caldwell at Decatur Book Festival 2012

I turned one of the bedrooms in my house into a study/office. It’s cluttered with books and papers. Also, I have hundreds of links stored in my computer.

As I get plot ideas, I quickly write a short outline and store it in its own folder on my computer. Once I get ready to write, I flesh that out to a full outline. Then and only then do I start writing.

·         What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever gotten?

Write every day, without fail.

·         Tell us a little about your current project.

My new book is called MR. DARCY CAME TO DINNER – a Jane Austen Farce. It’s a mash-up of Pride & Prejudice with The Man Who Came to Dinner, the great theatrical farce and movie by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart.  Basically, Lizzy Bennet accidently causes Mr. Darcy to break his leg, forcing him to recuperate at Longbourn. He can’t escape the antics of the Bennet family. Rather than complain, he slowly wins them all over—except for Lizzy. It’s very funny.

·         What’s up next for you?

I’m finishing a sequel to THE THREE COLONELS called ROSINGS PARK. It explores the Late Regency, after Waterloo. I should have it out in late 2013.

I then begin a series of novels about the history of the City of New Orleans, as seen through the lives of one family. It’s called THE CRESCENT CITY SERIES. It will lay out the history of New Orleans from 1812 to 2006. I will be writing the first novel, THE PLAINS OF CHALMETTE, after ROSINGS PARK is done. This will introduce the family as well as tell the real story of the Battle of New Orleans. CHALMETTE is planned to be released in 2014.

At the same time, I’ll be editing the three-volume, 300,000-word centerpiece of the epic, CRESCENT CITY, set in modern day New Orleans. Eventually, there will be at least three other books written, one during the Civil War, one during the Yellow Fever and Storyville period at the Turn of the Century, and the WWII book I talked about earlier.

They’ll be other Regency novels released too, such as THE COMPANION OF HIS FUTURE LIFE, THE LAST ADVENTURE OF THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL, and PERSUADED TO SAIL.

 

Jack Caldwell’s works can be found on-line at Amazon and B&N, both in print and e-book.

WEB SITE  Ramblings of a Cajun in Exile

WHITE SOUP PRESS

AUSTEN AUTHORS – The Cajun Cheesehead Chronicles

FACEBOOK

TWITTER – JCaldwell25

PEMBERLEY RANCH –

Amazon:

B&N:

THE THREE COLONELS – Jane Austen’s Fighting Men –

Amazon:

B&N:

MR. DARCY CAME TO DINNER –

Amazon:

B&N: COMING SOON!

Get to know Barbara Monajem

Please help me welcome Barbara Monajem this morning.

 

Writing is such a challenging endeavor. What got you started on it and what keeps you doing it?

I learned how to read! Or maybe it started earlier than that, when my mother read aloud stories such as Winnie-the-Pooh. Regardless, I started writing as soon as I could both read and write. I had no idea it would be a challenge. At first it seemed easy, but the more you learn and know, the harder it becomes to get everything right—or at least it seems that way.

What did you do with your earliest efforts? Did anyone read them? Do you still have them?

The earliest effort I remember is a story about apple tree gnomes which I wrote when I was eight years old. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find it. My teacher really liked it and encouraged me, which scared me so much that I gave it a lame ending. I guess I wasn’t ready for the pressure! Continue reading

Get to know Janet Taylor

Please join me this morning in welcoming artist Janet Taylor.

What got you started as an artist? What did your early efforts look like? Are they still around to be used as bribes and blackmail material?

I have always liked to draw, even as a child. Some of my early efforts still exist and are quite entertaining to view. I was going to be the first female astronaut and did many drawings of solar systems and anything that pertained to space. Then I started drawing dress designs that were similar to some of the early Barbie dresses. I came across some of those recently and they did bring a chuckle.  Don’t think I would care to share either of those early attempts with anyone!

What got you started along the path to creating your calendar?

A friend, Jan Hahn, asked if I could draw a scene for a possible book cover. After much thought, I decided to give it a try. The fun I had doing that first drawing awakened the desire in me to attempt different scenes from the miniseries. With the 200th anniversary of the publication of P n P coming up in 2013, Jan’s original suggestion turned into the making of a  calendar. Continue reading

Get to know TJ MAcKay

 I am delighted to host the warm and wonderful TJ MacKay, founder of In D’Tale magazine today. I hope you enjoy getting to know her as much as I have!

What got you started along the path to creating InD’Tale?

Oddly enough, I was working as the Special Features Editor for another, traditionally focused  magazine.  I kept receiving requests from authors who had decided to self-pub, however, asking if I would review their books.  Many of them turned out to be every bit as good, if not better, than the traditional ones I was reading for review!  As I looked into the situation more closely, I realized how incredibly hard it was for authors, who may be absolutely gifted but who don’t fit the traditional mold for whatever reason, to be successful.  Thus, the germ of the idea took root! Continue reading

Get to know Sue Millard

Please join me this morning in getting to know Sue Millard!

Writing is such a challenging endeavor. What got you started on it and what keeps you doing it?

I started aged 7 writing consciously “for” other people to read. A very good teacher when I was 10  used to read both prose and poetry to the whole class every Friday afternoon. He spotted my ability with words and encouraged me, and once you’re launched you never really stop loving words. I sold my first poem at 10, tried a novel when I was 12 (it was crap) and then studied literature at Chester College (now the University of Chester; I was on one of its first degree courses).

What keeps me writing? It depends. Poetry comes and goes, because it needs a powerful inner source. Prose – fiction and non-fiction – are more workmanlike, but I still want to produce something worthwhile, that buyers will want to keep. I do enjoy people saying that they liked my books and poems. I think that’s a given, isn’t it?

I’d like to say that money keeps me motivated to write, but it takes a long while to see profit, especially on paperbacks where you have costs up front. I have to take the view that it’s a long haul and once set up a book should go on earning. Continue reading

Get to know Shannon Winslow

Please join me this morning in getting to know fellow Austen Author, Shannon Winslow!

Writing is such a challenging endeavor. What got you started on it and what keeps you doing it?

I’ve always loved books and reading, but I had no clue that I was a writer at heart until about ten years ago. That’s when, after becoming obsessed with Pride and Prejudice, I stumbled onto a sequel. “Yay! What could be better?” I thought. I had always wanted Darcy and Elizabeth’s story to continue. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), the book was a big disappointment. It didn’t seem true to the original, and it didn’t match my vision of for what the sequel ought to be. So, I decided to try my hand at writing one that was. That’s how I got started. What keeps me going is that I’ve never had so much fun in my life! I’ve explored other creative mediums, but nothing else has ever so thoroughly captured my imagination and delighted my intellect as the challenge of writing.

What did you do with your earliest efforts? Did anyone read them? Do you still have them?

My first serious effort at writing became my first novel, The Darcys of Pemberley. After months of work and some needed revisions, I got brave, went to a writer’s conference, and submitted the manuscript to a literary agent I met there. A couple weeks later, I got the call from New York that we all hope for. The agent loved the book and she wanted to represent me! I was an overnight success! Well, not really. It took a few more years before the book actually made it into print. Continue reading