What’s for the Encore?

Phew! It’s been a fun but busy month, launching Colonel Brandon in His Own Words and then taking him on a whirlwind book tour – originally planned as eight stops in three weeks, but it turned into ten. The only event that remains on the calendar is the day the audiobook goes live (which should be within a week, I hope). In case you missed out on any of the festivities along the way, though, here is the full list of tour stops with links below:

  1. July 1- Austenesque Reviews (excerpt: Colonel Brandon first meets Marianne)
  2. July 5 – Darcyholic Diversions (Mr. Collins interviews Shannon Winslow)
  3. July 8 – Babblings of a Bookworm (Theme: history repeats itself)
  4. July 11 – The Literary Assistant (Q&A with Shannon Winslow)
  5. July 13 – So Little Time (excerpt: young Colonel Brandon and Eliza)
  6. July 15 – My Jane Austen Book Club (What kind of hero is CB? Includes excerpt)
  7. July 17 – Faith, Science, Joy, and Jane Austen (role of faith in this book, plus review)
  8. July 19 – The Calico Critic (review of Colonel Brandon in His Own Words)
  9. July 21 – From Pemberley to Milton (guest post: inspiration and future plans)
  10. July 23 – BONUS stop at Jane Austen’s World (review, plus post on my writing philosophy)

Before moving on, I want to thank an army of friends who helped me along the way – friends too numerous to name, (but you know who you are). I couldn’t have done it without you! I’m talking about trusty beta readers, proof readers, ARC recipients, blog tour hosts, and everyone who took the time to share my news or post an early review. Wow! That’s a lot of people, not to mention the scores of others who have shown their support by purchasing the book. THANK YOU ALL! I really do appreciate your extraordinary kindness.

Elizabeth was glad to be taken to her immediately; and Jane…was delighted at her entrance. She was not equal, however, to much conversation, and… could attempt little besides expressions of gratitude for the extraordinary kindness she was treated with.

Pride and Prejudice, chapter 7

But now that Colonel Brandon is successfully launched and the party’s wrapping up, it’s time to look ahead. What do I do for an encore? What’s the next book going to be (because, of course, there will be a next book!)? I’ve got a few ideas rolling around in my head, but I haven’t decided yet which to work on first.

Idea #1: I plan to write an Emma book at some point; that’s the only one of Jane Austen’s six novels I’ve haven’t done anything with yet. Mr. Knightley in His Own Words? -or- The Gentlemen of Highbury perhaps, after the fashion of The Ladies of Rosings Park. What do you think?

Idea #2: But I may do another P&P book first. I’ve had a prequel, featuring the courtship of Mr. & Mrs. Gardiner alongside the courtship of Mr. & Mrs. Bennet, in mind for a long time. I even dashed off a potential prologue a few years ago. (I love prologues, btw). Here it is for your amusement:

Kneeling before a woman, even a decidedly pretty one, is a damned uncomfortable position to find oneself in. That was the undeniable fact of the matter. Not that Thomas Montgomery Bennet had any doubt of his reception being favorable. One’s proposal of marriage was generally accepted, he understood, and, judging from the eager look in Miss Fanny Gardiner’s eye, this would be no exceptional case. Still, someone might have warned him.

This was only one of the myriad of thoughts coursing through young Mr. Bennet’s brain at that critical moment, for his mind was quick enough to encompass a good deal at once, when he took the trouble of exerting himself. And what occasion could possibly justify – no, demand – his absolute attention more than this one, on which so much depended?

So now, when he perhaps ought to have been, to the exclusion of all else, anticipating his joy at soon being accepted, he was also anticipating his simultaneous relief at being allowed to return to a more upright, dignified posture. When he ought to have been fully engaged in celebrating Miss Gardiner’s considerable beauty and charming amiability – soon to be his and his alone in marriage – different, rather distracting ideas intruded.

“She has no money to speak of,” his friend Edward, the fair Miss Gardiner’s elder brother, had told him plainly enough. And his own father’s advice on the subject had carried an even stronger word of caution. “God willing, you will be married a very long time. Therefore, take care you do not choose your partner in life unwisely.”

Is that what he had done? Well, if so, it was clearly too late to reconsider; the question had been asked and now answered. Fanny had wasted no time in saying yes and then launching into long, rather noisy effusions of delight.

For better or for worse, young Mr. Bennet’s fate was sealed. Meanwhile, Edward Gardiner’s future remained uncertain, his lady love’s heart as yet unplighted. Who was to say which one would be happier in the end?

Poor Mr. Bennet. We know that his friend (and new brother-in-law) has chosen better. And yet we must be glad for the Bennets’ marriage, for without it there would be no Elizabeth Bennet to fall in love with Mr. Darcy. Right?

Idea #3. I think a P&P / Romeo and Juliet mashup would be a lot of fun. Tell me what YOU think I should write next – one of these or something else altogether?

About Shannon Winslow

author of historical fiction in the tradition of Jane Austen
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4 Responses to What’s for the Encore?

  1. wendym215 says:

    I have an idea also…I know maybe some have written of it but what about an early meeting of Darcy and Elizabeth with his parents alive …..as we know the Mrs Gardener knew the darcys…what if ….Mrs Gardener was a relative of the Darceys….it’s an idea ….I like the Romeo and juliet…but I really like MR KNIGHTLY IN HIS OWN WORDS ….OR CORNAL FITZWIALLIAM…..IM HERE IF YOU NEED ME AGAIN LOVE YOU

    • You’ve been one of my most generous supporters during the launch, Wendy, so that thank-you above is for YOU! *hugs*

      If I do the Bennet/Gardiner Prequel, I’m determined to bring at least a cameo of the Darcy family into it somewhere. But that might be about all I can manage without breaking my rule of not varying from canon, only adding to it. Yes, we know that Mrs. Gardiner knew OF the Darcys. I don’t think there’s any indication she and her family were are friendly terms with them, but it’s possible!

      Thanks for your ideas and your feedback!

  2. Ann says:

    Dear Shannon,
    I like this prequel for Bennet/Gardiner. What about a Wickham type figure to be around tempting the potential Mrs Gardiner so she can speak later to Elizabeth from experience ?

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