What’s Next?

Fitzwilliam Darcy in His Own Words has been out in the world for almost a month, and the book tour is now completed. In case you missed any of that, read recent posts here and visit these other blogs:

Note: A big THANK-YOU to those who have read it and then told your friends or left lovely reviews for the book at Amazon and Goodreads. I SO appreciate your taking a few minutes to do that!!!

The only task still ahead is to see the audio version – being recorded right now by Harry Frost – through to publication (end of June or in July). So it’s about time I get serious about starting another book!

I have in mind doing a Sense and Sensibility book next. As you may know, my goal is to write at least one novel related to each of Jane Austen’s six, and only Emma and S&S remain. Also, S&S is the book that will be featured at the 2022 JASNA AGM, which I hope to attend since it will be relatively close by (Victoria, BC, Canada).

I’ve considered a couple of options for this next book. See what you think.

1) I’ve thought of doing a S&S sequel in the style of a mystery, since I had so much fun writing Murder at Northanger Abbey. Strange things start happening at Delaford, and it appears Marianne’s life might be in danger. The main focus would be on her relationship with her husband Col. Brandon, before and then after their happiness is disrupted. Edward and Elinor, who live so close by at the parsonage, naturally get into the act too, helping to solve the mystery. I don’t know what the title would be, though. Danger at Delaford?

2) Since I enjoyed writing from Darcy’s point of view, I could do another book in the same format: Colonel Brandon in His Own Words. I could delve a little deeper into his backstory – his relationships with his family members and especially with Eliza, their forced separation, a bit about his army years, returning home to find Eliza dying and him inheriting Delaford. Then his life is reanimated by meeting Marianne – their relationship evolving from one-sided through to mutual love. (Aside: Since it would be Brandon’s first-person account, wouldn’t it have been a dream-come-true if Alan Rickman could have narrated the audio book?)

3) Actually, I don’t exactly have a third option in mind, but I’m totally open to suggestions!

In any case, it’s Colonel Brandon that I find the most appealing and possibility-filled character.

Colonel Brandon… was silent and grave. His appearance however was not unpleasing, in spite of his being in the opinion of Marianne and Margaret an absolute old bachelor, for he was on the wrong side of five and thirty; but though his face was not handsome his countenance was sensible, and his address was particularly gentlemanlike. – Sense and Sensibility, chapter 7

So, what do you think? Do you have more enthusiasm for option #1 or 2, or is there a different sort of Sense and Sensibility book you’re dying to read?

Where does S&S rank on your list of Jane Austen’s novel? (For me, it’s probably about the middle of the pack – somewhere after P&P and Persuasion, and somewhere before Mansfield Park.

Which character in the book do you think is most intriguing?

Which film adaptation do you think is the best?

I’d love to hear your opinions. Help me decide What’s Next!

About Shannon Winslow

author of historical fiction in the tradition of Jane Austen
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24 Responses to What’s Next?

  1. Jen D says:

    Frankly, I would like a Colonel Brandon prologue of sorts: I would begin with his original relationship with Eliza, then through his adventures in India, and to being the ward of Eliza’s daughter and the happenings associated with it. This would explain his melancholy and why he had such feelings for Marianne.

    • That sounds like a vote for #2, Jen. Thanks for your feedback! To tell you the truth, I’m a bit terrified of trying to write about his military adventures in India, since I know absolutely NOTHING about that world, and JA didn’t write about it either. But it could definitely be interesting enough to make it worth the research required.

  2. Marie H says:

    Oh, the CB in his own words definitely gets my vote! I don’t think it’s ever been done either, unlike the many Darcy diary variations, and I love how you gave Darcy’s story an interesting twist. I’m really looking forward to the FDIHOW audiobook.

    • That’s what got me thinking about the possibility, Marie – my experience writing FDiHOW (possibly followed by “Mr. Knightley in His Own Words” later on?). And I’m not aware that it’s been done either. It would be fun to be the first. 🙂

  3. I love both ideas, but a Colonel Brandon’s POV tale sounds amazing!! 😀

    I love S&S — my top four JA’s are basically tied: Mansfield Park, P&P, Persuasion, S&SMP is slightly ahead of the other three for me because I identify with Fanny so much; I have just felt so Fannyish for most of my life.

    In grad school, I wrote a seminar essay on the concept of civility in MP, P&P, and S&S, so I spent several months poring over these three books (the first time I ever read Austen although I faked a book report on P&P in high school … the only book report I ever faked, and I was such a good girl that my teachers never suspected.) Persuasion was the last of the six I read, so I put it off for years, not wanting to have the magic of a new-to-me Austen novel to read end. Since finally surrendering during a very rough pregnancy with our youngest, I read it over and over, just savoring the last Austen. 😉

    I like NA but I just haven’t read it as much as the others. But I can’t stand Emma. Really, really hate it … with the single exception of Clueless.

    So all of this to say, YES to S&S and Colonel Brandon!! I have toyed with the idea of writing a Jane Eyre FF from Rochester’s POV, but simply don’t have the time.

    Soli Deo Gloria,
    Susanne 🙂

  4. Patricia Finnegan says:

    I like the first option with the mystery

  5. deborahanne2 says:

    I like the first option. A mysyety intrigues me a great deal more than the second option.

  6. Stephanie says:

    How about Deception at Delaford. There could be a villain from the Colonel’s past who makes trouble. The colonel had tried to prevent a scandal, but things spiral out of control.

  7. I love the mystery idea! But what if Marianne was the sleuth, and the mystery was about Brandon’s past – perhaps about his older brother (who married then divorced Brandon’s first love, Eliza). He died a few years later – maybe that’s the mystery, his brother’s death? Perhaps he was killed because of how badly he treated Eliza! Was it the kindly housekeeper who adored Eliza? Was it Colonel Brandon himself? Or???

  8. JanisB says:

    S&S is #3 for me: #1 is Northanger Abbey, #2 is Emma, #3 is S&S. I much prefer the 2008 adaptation with David Morrissey as Brandon, in part because he looks like Marianne’s suitor/husband, unlike Alan Rickman who looks like her father. All of your ideas sound lovely and I would no doubt be wild to read the resulting story, altho’ I’m with those who are partial to the idea of Brandon in his own words.

  9. Jennifer Redlarczyk says:

    I would like the mystery. Good luck with your writing. Lovely books!

  10. caroleincanada says:

    Not to add to your writing workload, but I’m game for both!! Maybe do Colonel Brandon’s POV first and then your next one can be the mystery? Maybe Elinor and Marianne could be in danger. Two different sets of villains for two different reasons. 1) Fanny Dashwood and Lucy Ferrars, due to their jealousy, concoct a plan to either ruin through scandal or hire someone to see them ‘accidentally’ killed! 2) Someone from the Colonel’s past wants him to lose everything.

    As for which S&S is my favourite…I love both…but Kate Winslet and Emma Thompson portray Elinor and Marianne the best for me. I love Alan Rickman as Colonel Brandon but David Morrissey is a very close second. The same for Hugh Grant and Dan Stevens.

    Sense and Sensibility is probably #3 or #4 for me…it is a close tie with Northanger Abbey.

    Good luck!

  11. I agree with Carole, Shannon. I think a mystery would be great, and I love Jane’s idea of figuring out what happened to the brother, and having someone from the past appear to make mischief. I also think another IN HIS OWN WORDS. So, like Carole, I’d say BOTH!!

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