Just getting back into the swing of the backstory again – Felicity in Marriage Part Three is emerging from the brain percolator. It’s been bubbling away there on the back burner, giving off lots of tantalizing aromas and ideas, and now, finally, it’s at full strength and ready to be poured.
I’ll keep you updated …
Given the choice, I would always choose the old, battered, secondhand book over the brand new version. I’m not sure what it is about old books – whether it’s the feel of the well-worn cover in my hands; whether it’s the faded name on the flyleaf written in an elaborate hand no longer seen nor aspired to these days; or whether it’s the idea that so many other people have used it, read it, carried it around with them. Well: maybe I am sure. It is all of those things combined.
I long to know who “Frances, Christmas 1940” was, other than being the recipient of a lovely collection of poems by Longfellow. Did she read every poem, I want to know, because there is no clue left on the pages: no pencilled-in thoughts or questions; no dog-eared corners; no tiny notes slipped between pages – Oh! the excitement that would cause! Perhaps Frances did not even like Longfellow and forced a thin smile in thanks for the unwanted present; or perhaps it was such a treasure that it remained unread, unopened, unappreciated on a shelf except for its cover which would be dusted religiously every Monday – that would be a shame indeed.
If a library is giving away books,or a second-hand book store is having a sale, I can’t walk past, and the idea of a book being tossed into a recycling bin and being mulched up is horrifying. While I know I cannot save every book I see, I certainly have come home with many more than I should. These books have all had a life and deserve to have it extended as long as possible.
Not that I can hang onto every book I save; please don’t imagine some crazy hoarder person gradually losing rooms to increasing piles of salvaged books. Some prove themselves to be worthy of the recycler’s chipper; some smugly hiding behind a very artistic and gripping cover, prove themselves unable to live up to the outward show, but I still can’t be the one to actually throw them away. I guiltily pack them up and hand them over to the nearest charity shop in the belief that someone else will not only be intrigued, as I was, by the cover, but might also find the content worthwhile, too.
One book-lover’s trash, hopefully, is another book-lover’s treasure.
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.
For those of you who have read Prudence and Practicality, this post is to advise that the next one is just steaming along and due for publishing early 2014. It is, happily, requiring much research of Ramsgate, Brighton, and London during Regency times, and for those of you really familiar with Pride and Prejudice you will probably already be figuring out who and what this next novel deals with; suffice it to say that “the woman in whose character we were most unhappily deceived” plays a leading role, and we have all certainly been deceived by Darcy’s opinion of her!