Monthly Archives: March 2014

Wickham’s Wife

In a divergence from my usual posts about other writers and their novels, I thought I would introduce my new novel instead! Wickham’s Wife: A Backstory to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice is now published. The cover image is taken from a 19th century playing card, and, considering the protagonist of the novel, seemed a most fitting background.
I am quite pleased with this story and hope readers will enjoy it also. Wickham’s Wife goes into the colorful back-story of that gentleman; his past, his secrets and his motivations are not quite what readers of Pride and Prejudice might have imagined! It covers more territory and time than Prudence and Practicality did, following Wickham from Cambridge to London to Ramsgate, back to London, and thence to Meryton, Brighton and back to London. We all know the hints given by Darcy in the original story with regards to Wickham’s past, but in this novel I hope to have filled out his character and presented him in a slightly different light than has previously been shone on him. After all, even Darcy couldn’t know exactly what his life was; even he admits to losing contact with him for over three years!
It has been great fun imagining how Wickham’s life unfolded between him refusing the living at Pemberley and his meeting with Darcy on the Meryton street, and has involved many hours of reading and research about the Regency lifestyle in London, Ramsgate and Brighton; particularly that of the Regency Dandy. Hopefully, I have managed to capture the essence of the time period as well as of the man.
Naturally, I bow to the imagination of the great lady herself whose vivid writing brought these ideas for her characters to light and upon which I depend for my inspiration. I often wonder what Austen would think if she knew just how much pleasure her writing has given to so many people, and just how much inspiration she has given to writers like me! I hope she would be pleased, or amused at least.
Wickham’s Wife is now available for download at Smashwords and at the e-bookstores Smashwords supplies: Barnes and Noble, Kobo, iTunes amongst others, and on Amazon.
Go to any of those sites and enjoy the free sample of Wickham’s Wife. Happy reading everyone.

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Writing Life

I suppose the most surprising thing I have discovered about writing is that once people know that’s what you do in your ‘spare’ time, they ask about it. It shouldn’t be surprising – people are interested in anyone’s line of work – but now that my writing life is out in the open as it were, it feels strange to be asked how the ‘writing’ is coming along.
Before I published my first book, my writing was a secret. No one knew: I didn’t know really. For four years it was just something I returned to and added to and re-read and edited just to see if it could be done, and to satisfy myself that there was another story underneath my favourite story of all time; that the characters could behave differently or have a better ending than everyone thought.
It wasn’t until there was enough written down that I could see that within another chapter or so, I would have told the story I had set out to tell. Then what?
Then I published and people have read those words that I wrote in secret; hundreds of people all over the world and some have commented politely about my secret writing and I am glad they enjoyed it. But it is still very weird to think that words and ideas from inside my head are being read and discussed. And now, when I sit down to write, not only do I wonder if anyone will enquire how the writing is coming along, but also I feel all those people watching over my shoulder, reading and commenting and making suggestions.
It’s much easier to write in secret. The pressure is not there, the expectation is nil. There are no spectators or commentators or critics.
Fortunately, the characters don’t put up with my neuroses. I put two in a chapter together and they have their own conversations, and while they are organising the way their lives will unfold, I discover the fact that where I thought I was going with the story – my story, I believed – is not actually where it’s going at all. And so, with a fierce argument between two characters, all sorts of dynamics change, and earlier action has to be re-vamped to fit. It’s an ever-changing world inside my head apparently; I’m just the last to know about it until it appears in front of me on the screen.
So even though people ask how the writing is coming along, I still don’t know even though, for the second time, I am closing in on the end of a story I set out to write.
The trick now is to decide when the end will be; I could continue on with the characters’ lives ad infinitum; follow their every move until they die in the distant future. Perhaps I will; perhaps I will continue for another hundred thousand words. That will delay all the queries and comments for a while.
Perhaps not. The right stopping place is the key. When is it? I certainly don’t know.
Perhaps the characters will let me know when they want me to butt out of their lives, and I’ll get back to you.

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Filed under Writing Progress