When your firstborn turns 10, it’s only fitting that you should throw a party, right? That’s what’s happening today. My very first novel – The Darcys of Pemberley – was published exactly ten years ago today, and what a difference that decade has made in my life!
You should know that when I started writing the story in 2004, I had absolutely no idea that such a thing as Jane Austen Fan Fiction (JAFF) existed. I just knew that I wanted more Jane Austen – more Pride and Prejudice particularly.
What would happen after the wedding, I wondered. How would Darcy and Elizabeth deal with the first major crisis in their marriage? Did Georgiana have a secret love? What kind of trouble would Wickham cause next? And would Lady Catherine ever get her comeuppance? My inquiring mind needed to know!
So one day I sat down at the computer to try to answer those questions. I hoped to create what I desperately wanted myself: a faithful sequel to Pride and Prejudice. Since I had never attempted to write a novel before, I didn’t know if I could actually do it. And I certainly had no aspirations of publication at the time. I was doing it mostly for my own entertainment.
But I surprised myself. The book turned out so well – at least for my first try – that I thought I might be a legitimate novelist after all! Many hurdles remained, of course, but finally on July 28, 2011, my “darling child” was launched out into the world. Now I have ten novels (and one non-fiction) published, and my “day job” has long since disappeared from my rearview mirror. But it all began with The Darcys of Pemberley – my first, bestselling, and still most popular novel.
I want to tell you that I have got my own darling child from London. On Wednesday I received one copy sent down by Falkener… Miss B. dined with us on the very day of the book’s coming, and in the evening we fairly set at it, and read half the first vol. to her… she really does seem to admire Elizabeth. I must confess that I think her as delightful a creature as ever appeared in print, and how I shall be able to tolerate those who do not like her at least, I do not know.– Jane Austen, in a letter, regarding Pride and Prejudice
I can just imagine how Jane Austen felt when she wrote this about her newly published novel Pride and Prejudice. I felt much the same, I think, when I first held a copy of The Darcys of Pemberley in my hand10 years ago.
So let’s celebrate that big day with some games and prizes!
Game 1: Cover art puzzle. Just for fun, follow this link to do an online jigsaw puzzle of the artwork used for the full, wrap-around paperback cover of The Darcys of Pemberley. (You can adjust the numbers of pieces to make it more or less difficult if you want.)
Game 2: How about a little scavenger hunt through chapter one? (If you don’t own the book, you can read chapter one from the free sample at Amazon). First, discover who has died. Next, find a new character who was never mentioned in Pride and Prejudice. What’s her name and her relation to the deceased? Finally, what’s your favorite line in chapter one – something that made you laugh or smile perhaps?
You don’t have to play the games to win, but If you do play (game 2), you will double your chances by being entered twice in the random drawing! What’s at stake? I’m giving away 5 audio codes, 2 ebooks, and 1 signed paperback – that’s for the runners up. The grand prize winner gets all three, plus a limited-edition Darcys of Pemberley book bead, pictured! (Due to the high cost of international shipping, the physical prizes are offered to US residents only. Electronic alternatives will be substituted for all others.)
To be entered, just bop on over to Austen Variations (where this post is running concurrently), and leave a comment: your scavenger hunt answers and/or whatever else you’d like to say. Have you read The Darcys of Pemberley? If so, how long ago, and what did you enjoy about it? If you haven’t read it yet, would you like to? Why? Winners will be announced August 2nd, right here, on the Austen Variations post, and on the AuVar FB page. So be sure to check back.
And thank you for celebrating TDoP’s 10th birthday with me!