It is with great pleasure that I inform you of my guest today. I had seen the book, The Houseguest, by Elizabeth Adams, on Amazon and decided to get it, as it sounded interesting to me. When I started reading it, I was immediately involved. I loved the premise of the story and the story itself. It had lots of Darcy and Lizzy time, which I always like, (let's face it, love) and Georgiana was also a central character. I truly enjoyed the book and didn't want to put it down. I decided to contact Ms. Adams and see if she would consider being a guest on my blog. (that was back in July) Thankfully, she agreed!
Please join me in welcoming Elizabeth Adams and be sure to check out the giveaway at the end of the post.
Blurb for the Houseguest: When Georgiana Darcy comes to Netherfield to visit her brother, she becomes friends with a neighbor, Elizabeth Bennet. After Miss Darcy has returned to London, she invites her new friend to stay with her at the Darcy home in town ... unbeknownst to Mr. Darcy.
Will this change in circumstances lead to a change in affections?
I’ve been writing for years. My mother tells me that I used to take stories to school for my first grade teacher to read, but I don’t remember that. I do remember using writing as a way to express things I couldn’t in any other way, and as a way to live in a world much nicer, prettier, and more romantic than my own. And of course I love the costumes.
When I discovered JAFF in 2010, I couldn’t stop seeing the possibilities; all the twists and turns the story could take, the seemingly endless what-if scenarios. That’s the magic of Austen. She gives us enough of the characters to inspire, challenge, and fall in love, but she also leaves enough gaps for you to fill in with your own imagination, which can be frustrating, but also great food for the muse.
My mind was whirling with the possibilities. Once I had decided to write my own, I actually made a list – in very type-A fashion – of plausible alternate scenarios. I didn’t know what story I was going to write or where it would take the characters, but I did know that I wanted it to be mostly realistic.
I began working on a story that featured Colonel Fitzwilliam heavily. I had always been intrigued by his affability and lack of detail in the original P&P. I particularly wondered how he really felt about Elizabeth. He walks with her, visits her – sometimes alone and late in the evening – and seems to seek her out in company. All signs of serious crushing. But, we mustn’t forget that he was stuck with Lady Catherine, so can you really blame him for wanting to get away?
When he tells Elizabeth that he must marry for money, is it because he thinks she has expectations? Or does he have them – or perhaps would like to have them? Does he think his own behavior is reproachable, hence his need to pseudo-apologize and explain why there will be no forthcoming marriage proposal? Which begs the question, how flirtatious did those two get?
Does he know anything of Darcy’s feelings for Elizabeth? Perhaps that is why he warns her off? He doesn’t want her attention on him when he knows his cousin is smitten. Or he knows Darcy is interested but thinks he will never act – as Darcy himself thought he wouldn’t – and considers her fair game. Or maybe he likes getting one over on his stodgy cousin; the one with all that money and well-dowered women fawning over him.
Wait. Who are we kidding? He’s a guy. He was probably completely oblivious to one of the world’s greatest love stories happening right under his nose.
Thus began the first three chapters of my abandoned Colonel Fitzwilliam story: he has a crush but knows he can’t have her, then a chance meeting and an unlikely inheritance change everything. I got a few chapters in and made family trees and character dossiers and everything before the plot bunny for The Houseguest bit my ankle and wouldn’t let go.
I was completely sucked into the idea of two people with such animosity between them being stuck under one roof together and being forced to be nice because innocent eyes are watching. Once I got rolling with it, it took on a life of its own. The characters misbehaved and had to be punished (Darcy particularly disliked time-outs), they said things I told them not to say (although impertinence is part of Elizabeth’s charm), and they continually surprised me.
Nearly 300 pages later, The Houseguest was a living, breathing entity that had somehow grown a life all its own. Maybe I will pick up my other story in the future, but I don’t know. Colonel Fitzwilliam’s charm has me rooting for him a little too heartily, and I know you all would kill me if Elizabeth threw over Darcy for his cousin. But what can I say? I love a man in uniform.
Which reminds me… Currently, I’m working on a modern story featuring a naval officer and school teacher. I’ll let you fill in the blanks (and the uniform), but it’s over half-way complete and I hope to begin posting sometime around the holidays or shortly after. Feel free to send lots of happy writing thoughts my way. Or leave me a comment on my website: www.elizabethadamswrites.wordpress.com.
In the meantime, here’s a clip from The Houseguest to hold you over. This is from Chapter 1, before Darcy knows Elizabeth is at his home as his sister’s guest.The Saturday air was crisp and cold as Darcy walked into his London town home; he hated traveling in January, but there was nothing to be done for it. Hearing music drift up from the back of the house, he smiled to himself, happy to hear his sister playing. He handed his hat and gloves to the footman, all the while thinking how relieved he was that Georgiana seemed to be coming out of her despair of the last summer. As he walked toward his study, he was arrested by the sound of Georgiana laughing.
Curiously, he walked up the stairs to the music room. Just before he opened the door, he heard something that made him stop in his tracks. He knew that laugh. But surely it couldn't be; she of all people wouldn't be here, in his home, with his sister, playing on his pianoforte? Sure his mind was playing tricks on him, he opened the door and was met by the picturesque sight of his sister sitting next to Elizabeth Bennet on the bench, both playing terribly while laughing so hard they were on the verge of tears. They were so close they were nearly embracing as they giggled and continued to play out of sync.
The sight of Georgiana laughing was so foreign to him that he stood there watching them for a few silent moments before he could force himself to advance into the room. Eventually Georgiana became aware of his presence and looked up, her blue eyes turning to saucers as she gasped and stopped playing. Elizabeth followed her gaze, and her mouth dropped open as her eyes widened in shock at the sight of Darcy before her.
“Brother! I did not know you had returned!”
“Only just. I heard the music and decided to come say hello.”
Elizabeth and Georgiana had risen with his entrance, and he made a quick bow as he acknowledged Miss Bennet. The ladies curtsied in return.
“Was your journey pleasant, Brother?”
“Yes, quite uneventful. I'm afraid I have some letters to write. I'll see you at dinner?”
At her nod, Darcy quit the room and headed to his study. He would have to sort out this business of Elizabeth Bennet later. For now he knew he had a stack of correspondence to deal with, and it would be rude to question Georgiana in front of her guest; he would simply wait until Elizabeth went home to wherever it was she was staying and then speak with Georgiana later. Surely there was an explanation for all of this. Didn't Elizabeth have family in town? Maybe she was visiting them and Georgiana had invited her to call; yes that made perfect sense. That must be it.
Thank you, Elizabeth Adams, for agreeing to be my guest. I enjoyed reading your post and loved the excerpts! The new cover is very nice! I,too, have always been fascinated with Colonel Fitzwilliam. I love his character, his loyalty and his liveliness. Ms. Adams would love to know what you, the readers, think of Colonel Fitzwilliam's motives. Please share your thoughts in your comments below. Your comment will also enter you in the giveaway for one eBook of The Houseguest and this giveaway is international! Be sure to include your email address in the comment. To prevent unwanted spam, put your email address with an (at) instead of @. Winner will be chosen in a random drawing. Giveaway ends at midnight, September 9.