Are You a Jane Austen Kind of Girl (or Guy)?
Thank you, Shelley, for inviting me to share my story with your readers!
First, I should confess that I was as surprised as anyone that I turned out to be a novelist! I had a practical career, a house and husband to look after, and two sons to raise. I barely had time to read a book, let alone write one.
Then about ten years ago, I discovered Jane Austen and simply fell in love – with her beautiful stories, with the elegant period language she used, and with her witty writing style. I read and reread all her novels. I watched the movies based on them. But I kept coming back to my favorite: Pride and Prejudice – the book itself and the ’95 film adaptation with Colin Firth.
I didn’t want the story to end. The characters – the Bennets, the Darcys, the Bingleys, Mr. Collins, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, Wickham – all seemed so real to me, and I wanted to spend more time in their world. I wondered what would come next for them. Would Elizabeth and Darcy really live happily ever after? Did Georgiana have romance waiting for her? What trouble would that wicked Wickham get into next? Would bossy Lady Catherine ever get her comeuppance?
With questions like these rolling around in my mind, I simply sat down at the computer one day and began to type. I had no idea if I could write a novel, but I decided to find out.
I used the clues Jane Austen left in her epilogue chapter as my jumping-off point, and I continued on from there, taking great care to be true to her characters and faithful as possible to her style. The result is The Darcys of Pemberley, published in August 2011. It’s the tale of two romances: the continuation of Darcy and Elizabeth’s story (yes, I do believe in romance after marriage!), and the courtship of Miss Georgiana Darcy. All the other P&P characters get into the act as well. (By the way, writing this sequel didn’t violate any copyright laws because the original book is 200 years old).
So it turns out that I can write a novel after all! Actually, more than one. My second, For Myself Alone, came out this past April. And I just finished my third, Return to Longbourn, to be published early next year. What started out as a lark – just an experiment to satisfy my own curiosity – has turned into a wonderful second career. And the biggest blessing comes from being able to share my stories with others.
Shannon Winslow, her two sons now grown, devotes much of her time to her diverse interests in music, literature, and the visual arts – writing claiming the lion’s share of her creative energies in recent years.
In addition to three short stories, Ms. Winslow has published two novels to date. The Darcys of Pemberley, a sequel to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, was her debut. For Myself Alone, a stand-alone Austenesque story, now follows. She is currently working on the next installment of her Pride and Prejudice series entitled Return to Longbourn.
Shannon lives with her husband in the log home they built in the countryside south of Seattle, where she writes and paints in her studio facing Mt. Rainier.
Learn more at Shannon’s website/blog (www.shannonwinslow.com), and follow her on Twitter (as JaneAustenSays..) and on Facebook.
Shelley here: I’m so thankful to Shannon for continuing the Elizabeth/Mr. Darcy/Jane/Mr. Bingley/Pemberley and Longbourne/silliest girls ever stories! The Darcy’s of Pemberley is one of my absolute favorite books, so I encourage you to download it, too. And I’m thankful that Shannon shares her encouraging words and blessings here. Do you have comments or questions for her? Leave them all week, and she’ll post responses.