I'm super excited to have Mary Lydon Simonsen on my blog today! It is such an honor! Last Thursday I posted my review of Mary's new book Darcy Goes to War and I thought it would be fun to ask her a few questions about her new book. Don't forget to enter the Rafflecopter below!
Thank you, Candy, for having me back at So Little Time… It’s always a pleasure. You have asked me to answer a few questions.
I know you have written a few books set in the World War I and World War II eras, like Searching for Pemberley and Mr. Darcy’s Angel of Mercy, what is it about these periods that you find fascinating?
When I was in high school, I found a picture of my grandfather, William Mahady, born in 1888, sitting in front of a pup tent. Although he was married and had two children, he had been drafted to fight in World War I. He was on a ship on its way to France when the armistice was signed. Because of that picture, I started to read about The Great War, as it was then known, which led me to World War II. To understand the reason for these two epic wars, you must read the history of both.
Since writing the first two, how much research did you have to put into Darcy Goes to War?
In addition to stories told to me by my parents, uncles, and aunts, who were all young adults during World War II, I have done a ton of research on both wars. I particularly enjoy reading British authors. They have a different slant on things, and their research is impeccable. I have a whole bookcase dedicated entirely to the two wars. Through my brother-in-law, I also have the German side of the story. He was born in Germany two days after the German surrender. His mother first had to escape the Russians, and then the whole family fled from East Germany to West Germany to escape the Communists before coming to America in the early 1950s. One of our favorite topics of conversation is the history of World War II.
How hard was it to drop Elizabeth and Darcy into this period?
It wasn’t hard at all. Both Elizabeth and Darcy are solid characters, who always do the right thing. Their temperaments would have been well suited for the ordeal the British faced between 1939 and 1945 as well as the post-war years. In Pride and Prejudice, Darcy races off to London to save Lydia from Wickham. In Darcy Goes to War, he climbs into his bomber to save England from Germany.
Why did you decide to have Darcy's parent still living in this story?
Because Jane Austen had so little to say about Darcy’s parents, I have always wondered what Old Mr. Darcy and Lady Anne Fitzwilliam Darcy were like. I once started a story about Lady Anne, but it’s on the “did not finish” shelf. Because of lengthening life spans, I thought that Darcy’s parents would still be alive in 1944. Through them, I was able to illuminate the devastating effect a second war had on those who had lived through the first conflagration.
What's up next for you?
I am doing a final edit on my second mystery in the Patrick Shea series, A Killing in Kensington. My first novel, Three’s A Crowd, featured Detective Sergeant Shea, who wants to be on a murder investigation team at Scotland Yard. In A Killing in Kensington, he gets his wish and investigates his first high-profile murder. It will be released in early October.
On the Jane Austen front, I am working on two novels. The first is a sequel to Mr. Darcy’s Bite, in which Darcy is a werewolf. The story takes place in the first year of Darcy and Elizabeth’s marriage. The hook: Is it possible that someone knows of Darcy’s secret and is trying to expose him? The second has Darcy and Elizabeth meeting in Italy several years after his failed proposal at Hunsford. I’m still working on it.
Thank you, Mary! It was a pleasure having you here today!
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Blog: Austen Inspired Fan Fiction