Hello, my friends! I hope you had a fantastic Thanksgiving or a great weekend! Today I have an interesting interview with Sue Barr as she discusses her new book, Fitzwilliam Darcy Undone!
What would Pride & Prejudice be like if Darcy and Elizabeth had a touch of magic in their lives?
What first inspired you to the story, and what do you personally love about the voice, style, and legacy of Miss Austen?
There is a LOT of back story to this book. The genesis began in 2012 when I wrote erotica under a pen name for a publishing house. I began an epic naughty trilogy called The Miatharan Chronicles: Craven Desires / Dark Desires / Forbidden Desires. When I left the publishing house in 2014 and got all the rights of my books back, I switched genres and began self-publishing. The Desire manuscripts languished on my hard drive. Then, on A Happy Assembly (a Jane Austen Fan Fiction site), one of the playground themes was magic. Lightbulb moment. Could I adapt one of the scenes into a Pride & Prejudice variation? I did, and it was quite successful with clamours for more from those devoted, lovely readers. I added a few more scenes over the year, and finally, after much virtual pleading from a few writer friends, Melanie Rachel being one of the ring leaders, I put hands on the keyboard and began to seriously adapt the vignette into Fitzwilliam Darcy ~ Undone.
How does this relate to the style and legacy of Miss Austen? Well… I don’t think she’d approve of some aspects of Fitzwilliam Darcy ~ Undone, my style is my own. I love her wit and her complete understanding of human nature and how things worked in ‘her time’. For the first half of the book, I stayed as close to canon as possible in order to retain her theme. Of course, once the magic came out full-blown the story took on a totally different direction. That’s where my voice definitely became stronger than hers.
What did you intuit about Darcy, his nature, that made you want to tell this particular story?
I’d always wondered how Darcy would behave if he met Elizabeth and circumstances allowed him to show his passion. I wanted her to get under his skin in a way he could not control because we all know he is about control and decorum. With the advent of magic and soul marks (fated destiny), it was easy to write his passionate nature. At first, lust drove his actions, then certain physical manifestations caused him to really look at Elizabeth in a different light. Of course, he fell in love with her but once again, societal expectations (this time with a magical bent) threatened to keep them apart. Maybe the tag line of this book should read, "He wanted her but couldn’t have her".
Did you have a favourite scene in the novel? And if so, what was it about it that drew you in as deeply as it had?
I have several and all for different reasons. I had fun writing the scene where Lizzy’s magic is revealed to Darcy in a fun and unique way and the following sensual scene. However, my secret favourite is Lizzy and her mother. We see a different side to Mrs. Bennet that surprises everyone. It’s a sliding fastball through the strike zone that the batter (ie: reader) never sees coming. It gave me great joy to drop in that unexpected nugget of fun.
What extra research did you do to prep for this novel? How did you approach getting into the head and heart of Darcy?
My research was done years before and centered on the Tuath de Naan. In order to write about magic I needed to understand the reason for it. When I began to convert some of the Craven scenes into Darcy Undone, I already had an inherent knowledge of how the magic worked in my story. As for the head and heart of Darcy, well, I’ve read a LOT of JAFF and over time I’ve developed my own sense of who he is. To me, Darcy is akin to a dormant volcano. Forbidding. Strong. A ton of hot lava flowing beneath that calm surface, and when it wakes up… Whoa Mama! I adore hot alpha males, and he is one of my top three.
Were there any secondary characters or non-canon characters that you particularly enjoyed writing?
Anyone who’s read my JAFF books knows I love to redeem secondary characters, and I started with one of the most hated - Caroline Bingley. Although I do think she’s redeemable, in this story I portrayed her in an extremely vile manner. Miss Bingley spouts opinions that will, frankly, shock some readers, but I wanted her to become undone in her own twisted way.