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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Welcome the lovely Sharon Lathan

I am so excited to welcome to Royal Reviews the lovely and delightful Sharon Lathan. After I read Sharon's first book Mr and Mrs Fitzwilliam Darcy I left a comment on her blog and thus began a online friendship with a gifted and talented author who is sure to blush at this statement!

Today’s authors do a fantastic job of making Pride and Prejudice, a classic romance, relevant in our modern world and I believe that’s the reason that Pride and Prejudice remains so popular today. As many others have, I read a Pride and Prejudice sequel before reading Austen’s original book. Many of us are interested in reading a story that has more modern language, a story that we can relate to, yet still gives us that connection to the past. Hence the reason for the popularity of Pride and Prejudice paranormal novels. Our poll shows that 47% of you would read a P & P paranormal with 26% of us (myself included) saying maybe!

Sharon Lathan’s Pride and Prejudice sequels bring to life the happiness and romance of this young, blissfully happy couple. She delivers a classic yet modern marriage that will not disappoint anyone and yet everyone can relate to. If you haven’t read a Pride and Prejudice sequel then I urge you to try Sharon’s first book, Mr & Mrs Fitzwilliam Darcy as this book leaves you floating blissfully on a cloud. You don’t need to have read the original Pride and Prejudice before picking up this sequel. I would however urge you to watch the movie and then read the book as Sharon's inspiration came from a viewing of the 2005 film version.

Without further delay, here's my interview with Sharon Lathan:

Sharon: I am so excited to be a part of Mr. Darcy Week! It is only fitting, in my admittedly prejudiced opinion, that the fine specimen of manhood known as Mr. Darcy should be granted a whole week. LOL! Of course, in my heart he rules and reigns supreme every day of the year. Therefore it is an incredible honor to be a part of this celebration, and to do so by talking about my novels where Mr. Darcy and his bride Elizabeth are the central characters.

Heartfelt, sincere thanks to the Royal Reviewers for hosting me today. A special thanks to Alaine, the Queen of Happy Endings, for taking the time to interview me. I have so enjoyed our newfound friendship and appreciate the chance to talk about my Darcy Saga series. Now, on to the questions!

Q - Why did you decide to write a Pride & Prejudice sequel?

A – The interesting aspect of this question is that it implies careful forethought and calculation. The truth is that it wasn’t so much a “decision” to write as much as it was an urgent desire to express what was in my heart and head. I simply could not let the story go after seeing it in the theater in 2005. I fell head over heels in love with these characters and wanted to continue to live with them. Reading the original and fruitlessly searching for a continuation as I envisioned only cemented the need to tell the happy ending swirling through my brain. I honestly believed, and still do, that it needed to be shared.


Q - If you could be one of the characters in your book, who would it be and why?

A - How does one resist saying Lizzy? It is the obvious answer and although we share few real life traits, she IS married to Mr. Darcy. So, yeah, I’ll be Lizzy! Of course it is more than just that she has a virile, handsome, protective, devoted, rich, handsome, passionate, romantic, and did I say handsome husband. Lizzy is fabulous. I, like every reader on down through the past 200 years, have fallen in love with her spunk, capabilities, sharp wit, intelligence, and backbone. She meets the man who is absolutely perfect for her, and no matter which sequel you may imagine, her life is charmed and happy. Who could not want to be her?

Q - How long did it take you to write Loving Mr. Darcy?

A – Loving Mr. Darcy, as it is now published in novel form, was originally part of a whole that included Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two Shall Become One and the third novel, The Darcys at Year’s End. How they were split apart is a tale all its own and can be read in full on my website. All together I wrote these original novels in just over a year! Ah, the days of intense, unencumbered writing, how I miss thee….

Q - How would you say that your personality or life experiences have emerged in your writing?

A – Life experiences to be sure. I am blessed with a very happy marriage to an extraordinarily romantic man. Couple this with a deep faith in marriage as intended, and it is easy to write of true love. Obviously it varies greatly as I am not English, nor filthy rich or married to an aristocrat! But the knowledge that love can grow, passion can remain, souls can increasingly bind, and fun can persist after 23 years is certainly inspiration for my writing.

Personality, hmmm, great question! I know that Darcy is very like me. He is far manlier and sportsmanlike – ha! – but his reserved shyness and gentle humor is very much like me. I suppose that is why I immediately understood his character. I am extremely organized and clinical. These traits clearly influence the chronological order to my saga. I think linearly, so knew I would tell a story that followed a pattern: days into weeks into months into years. I am also blessed, or cursed depending on the opinion, with a sarcastic wit. I think Dr. Darcy was created out of that portion of my psyche!

Many of my own passions and interests have found an outlet in my characters. My love of family and close relationship with my relatives led me to create the same community for the Darcys and Bennets. My fascination with history and exploring ruins was given to Lizzy and Darcy. My medical background influenced the choice of Uncle George being a physician and compelled me to deal with Anne de Bourgh. Detailed focusing on Lizzy’s pregnancy was natural due to my maternal health expertise. My love and years of interacting with children impelled me to write children into the novel.

Q - If you could ask your readers a question what would that be?

A – Well, there are the readers who love the books and the readers who do not! Although I am continually baffled as to why readers are so offended by a content, loving, passionate William and Lizzy, I have given up trying to comprehend it, so will not ask that question.

Of the readers who love my vision of the Darcys, I do not have a question as much as a statement: Thank you for your support. By buying books like mine, sharing with other people, writing to the author, and positively expressing your opinion on a review, you are spreading light and happiness into the world. And you are encouraging me to continue on. I just can’t say thanks enough.


Q - What would you like to say to Austen purists who have been critical of Jane Austen sequels?

A – Well, there is a great deal I could say, but probably little that I should! Bottom line: sequels, variations, moderns, spin-offs, vampires, zombies – they are here to stay and one may as well accept it. We all keep Austen alive by showing our love in our own unique way. Nastily fighting the inevitable reality of her created world now being a sub-genre in romance literature is not only pointless but casts a negative shadow on Jane herself. I think this is very sad and frankly mean spirited.

Q - What is your favourite genre and who is your favourite author?

A – My favorite genre has always been fantasy. In that category it is a tie between JRR Tolkien and David Eddings. But, I am a very eclectic reader and always have been. Narrowing down to one above all the rest is really impossible for me. And it is probably best I not start naming authors or this paragraph will go on indefinitely.

Q - What are you working on now?

A – I have three projects currently in the works. I am finishing up “Darcy 5” – as yet untitled – that will be released in Spring of 2011. I am also nearly finished with a companion novel centering on the love story of Georgiana Darcy. That one is not under contract as yet, but my editor is very interested so I am hopeful. I am also working on a novella for Sourcebooks that I cannot discuss at this point. Keep an eye on my website for news as I have it! Beyond that it is ideas floating in the wee brain!

Q - Do you think you might write a sequel to any other Jane Austen novel or another author in the future?

A – I know one is never supposed to say never, but… No, never! I adore the Darcys and know I was inspired to write of their life. I do not regret it. But I would be lying to say it has not been challenging and frequently painful. Maybe the devoted fans of Charlotte Bronte would not care if one wrote Jane Eyre and Rochester’s future, but I’ll let someone else find that out!

Aside from that, no other stories have so captured me as Lizzy and Darcy. Jane Austen created them, and I am eternally grateful, but I have molded them to be mine. I write with my voice and give them the future I want for them to have. I love them! Therefore, I will continue to write of their life and the life of various members of the family because it is my heart’s desire and I know for a fact that a large contingency want to read the life I weave for them. However, I can easily see myself creating entirely new stories and characters that are 100% mine. Time shall tell.

Q - What are you reading right now?

A – When I can find the time to read, I am seriously hooked on Karen Marie Moning. Her Highlander series is simply amazing. I am reading “Beyond the Highland Mist” and it is as fantastic as all her books. I just finished an Eloisa James Regency that was very nice. Fantasy has been put aside for a while in my newly discovered passion for romance!

Q - If you could be any Royal figure in history who would it be and why?

A - Queen Victoria of England. She ruled for a very long time and was a superb, well loved queen who also raised a family. And, as far as I have ever read, she and her husband, Prince Albert, were devoted to each other. What an excellent example all the way around.

Thanks for the interview Alaine. It was loads of fun.

A big thank you to Sharon for agreeing to the interview and for her thoughtful answers. We're having a great time hosting her here at Royal this week. Stay tuned tomorrow for Mr Darcy's Bio - Sharon Lathan style! We may just have a surprise...or two...for a lucky commenter!

Queen Signature

16 comments:

Vee said...

Alaine and Sharon wonderful interview!
I am eagerly awaiting my beautfully bound "Loving Mr Darcy".
I had read P&P for the first time 29 years ago and I agree the language used in JA's time doesn't lend to an instant understanding, so I had to reread it a few times and watch the 1980 miniseries to totally grasp what an extraordinary story it really is. My all time fav.
Luckily for me Sharon has the talent to express her ideas in writing through her story telling. I was instantly smitten with the beautiful passionate life she gave Darcy and Lizzy after P&P.
I hope Sharon's saga goes on forever, because I never tire of "visiting" my all time fav characters through her writing.
Happy reading, I'm sure you will all love her books as much as I do!
TSBO devotee
Vee

Sharon Lathan said...

I am blushing, Alaine! Thanks so much for the opportunity to participate in Mr. Darcy week. I am having a great time and hope all the visitors are as well. The interview questions were wonderful! I will be popping in throughout the day to respond to any additional questions or comments. Sharon

Sharon Lathan said...

Hi Vee! You and I were posting at exactly the same time! Except for you it is late in the evening, or something like that. I never can keep the time zones straight in my head!

You are very sweet, a devoted fan, and a dear friend. I love ya baby! Thanks for dropping by. I hope Loving Mr. Darcy makes its way to OZ in a timely manner. Heck, you may see it before I do as I still haven't received MY copies! LOL!

Vee said...

Very late! Naughty me, and I'll keep you posted on "Loving Mr Darcy's" arrival. Can't wait!
Luv ya
TSBO devotee
Vee

Michelle said...

like you sharon, while I love lizzy, I think I relate to Mr. Darcy more than any of the other characters both in personality and his actions. lizzy's character is something i aspire to in that i wish i have her (like you said) "spunk, capabilities, sharp wit, intelligence, and backbone."
thank you for the great interview alaine and sharon! I can't wait for Mr. Darcy's bio!

Sharon Lathan said...

Thanks for stopping by, Michelle. Indeed I do wish I was as sharp witted as Lizzy. I am in my dreams! Or hours after some weird confrontation when all the clever statements finally come to me! LOL!

Jenny Girl said...

Sorry Sharon, but I have not read any of your Darcy books (gasp). I intend though.
I put off reading some of the P&P sequels because I was afraid it would spoil the original for me, or just do it a great injustice. I have read a few since, and find these wrtiers are just as in love with Austen as I am!
Not sure about the Vampire aspect yet, but I like reading about Lizzy and Darcy continuing life together with children and crazy adventures. I'll be sure to get one of yours read by years end. Promise!

I am also currently reading one of Moning's, Dark Highlander actually, and loving it!

Lovely interview and nice to meet you :)

Armenia said...

Lovely interview. Sharon, I will have to read your sequel to P&P. It sounds like a wonderful story.

And I am a fan of KMM's Highlander series. I wish she would write more, because I can't seem to get into the Fever series. Oh well, hopelessly hooked on her highlander stories.

Jenny Girl said...

What is it about those Highlanders? Jaime Fraser got me hooked forever I suppose?

Sharon Lathan said...

Hi Jenny Girl and Armenia!

Don't get me started on KMM! OMG! I so love her! I finished all the Highlander books and it almost made me cry. I want more! Now I am reading her Faefever series. It is very different, but very good so far. But I do miss those hunky highlanders. :(

Thanks for the kind comments on the interview. Alaine gave me great questions to work with! I do hope you enjoy my books when you get around to reading them. No one can be Austen, so I understand the fear of being disappointed. You have to crack open a sequel with an open mind, recognizing that the author will have her distinct voice and style. But the love for Austen usually shines through. :)

Alaine - Queen of Happy Endings said...

WOW I woke up to a really busy blog this morning. Glad you all enjoyed the interview with Sharon, and those of you that havne't read Mr & Mrs Fitzwilliam Darcy, hope you buy your copy and read it very soon. You'll love it!

Armenia said...

Sharon, I really am interested now in reading MR AND MRS FITZWILLIAM DARCY. Just the imagination it takes to create a believable life beyond what JA had written is amazing to me.

You are so right about readers needing to keep an open mind with an author's distinct voice and style, when opening that sequel. It took me weeks to finish Linda Berdoll's book; it was tortuous in the sense it was like reading Shakespeare, but I could not stop because I was fascinated with her take on how the Darcys would live their lives.

Teddyree said...

Hi Sharon, have heard so much about you from Alaine, all good, I promise ;-) and it was lovely geting to know you a little better through the interview.

LOL your comment about being sharp witted in your dreams cracked me up. I can so relate to that, I'm forever saying, after the fact, Oh why didnt I think of that, why didnt I say...

Must confess to not having read your novels or any other P&P sequel. I have no qualms about doing so just havent done so yet. Alaine's reviews have certainly had me saying, I'm going to read this for sure.

Sharon Lathan said...

Oh man, Teddyree, isn't it true that we are eloquent and dazzling after the fact? Man I hate that. I can always think of the perfect witty repartee several hours later. Guess that is one reason I like writing. I can mull for hours, edit and rewrite that perfect statement that my character spits out instantly! LOL!

Alaine is too sweet. I value our friendship and am glad she has given me the chance to meet everyone here.

Lori said...

Great interview, Alaine! Thoroughly enjoyed it.
Thank you for visiting my blog and following. :)

ibeeeg said...

I loved reading this interview!

Here is what jumped out at me

{{ But the knowledge that love can grow, passion can remain, souls can increasingly bind, and fun can persist after 23 years is certainly inspiration for my writing.}}

My gosh...this is exactly how I feel ...well, except for the writing part. :)
I love it when I can a read a story that explores those thoughts.