Please welcome Carol Cromlin, author of Fitzwilliam Darcy, Such as I Was!
Jane Austen fan fiction falls into two categories. Some prequels and sequels follow the premise of the original work, while others veer off into uncharted waters (think vampires, modern day adaptations, &c.).
For the prequel or sequel author who chooses to stay true to the original story, it is at once a help and a hindrance that many elements of your story are predetermined. Clearly, you have a head start because the main characters and their personality traits are known; their relationships with each other defined and the world in which they exist established. The challenge is in setting a course for your story that does not contradict any of the established “facts.”
When I was writing my Pride & Prejudice prequel, Fitzwilliam Darcy such I was, a significant challenge arose as I tried to imagine how Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley came to be such good friends. This back story was of no importance in the original work, so Jane Austen never explained it. What she did tell us is that Mr. Bingley was 22 – or two and twenty, for he “had not been of age two years when he [let] Netherfield House.” We also know Mr. Darcy was eight and twenty when Elizabeth’s censure began to make him see the deficiencies of his character. This was a significant difference in age. Distance was an issue as well. One gentleman was from Derbyshire; the other from “the north of England.”
What circumstance could possibly account for so strong a friendship developing between two men who, on its face, shared no similarities and seemingly would have had no occasion of ever crossing each other’s path? I finally settled on what seemed to me a logical and plausible explanation, based on Austen’s facts.
Another challenge lies in staying on course when your story begins to take on a life of its own. For me, the timing of the death of Mr. Darcy senior proved a complicated issue. In Pride and Prejudice, Darcy, in his letter to Elizabeth, says his father had died, “about five years ago.” Thank goodness for me he added the qualifier, “about” because meshing the loss of his father with other events that would certainly have been occurring in the life of a Georgian gentleman, aged three and twenty, was a very sticky wicket. In order to present the story line I envisioned, I needed to stretch the “about” as far as reason would allow; I placed the loss of his father 4½ years prior to the writing of his letter to Elizabeth.
Staying true to the original work requires an author to constantly validate his or her story line but this test makes you a better writer and in the end you prevail because you are determined to pay homage to an Author you greatly admire.
Carol Cromlin has a great appreciation for history, tradition and all things British, and is someone who has always needed to know how and why; researching and writing this book drew naturally on those traits. Cromlin graduated from Hofstra University and has a graduate degree from Fordham University. She lives in the United States with her husband, son and dogs. You can visit Carol’s website to learn more about her and her books.
Fitzwilliam Darcy is arguably the best known, most charismatic hero Jane Austen ever created but he is also the most unfathomable. Who exactly was Mr. Darcy? What principles guided him? What desires drove him? How did he come to be the character Austen, so vividly, portrayed?
Carol Cromlin offers a window into the private life of this young, landed, Georgian gentleman. Her story presents events during the first eight and twenty years of Fitzwilliam Darcy’s life that shaped his personality and established his character, making him the man who so decidedly won Elizabeth Bennet’s heart, despite her absolute determination against him.
Carol has generously offered to give away two signed paperback copies of her book, each with a pair of custom book marks (US, Canada, UK)! The giveaway is open only to participants of this event. To enter, just engage with us in the comment section below (be sure to leave an email where you can be reached, if you want to be entered into the drawing). A winner will be chosen on August 15th! Good luck!