Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Meet Shannon Winslow

Shannon Winslow is my guest this week and it is such a pleasure to have her share her passion with us. Her book, The Darcys of Pemberley, is one of the first Austenesque sequels that I read. I was just beginning my obsession and was thrilled to read it. I also love all the covers on Shannon's books. You do a fantastic job with them. Thanks so much for agreeing to be my guest. Now please welcome, Shannon Winslow. (There is a great giveaway too!)

Thank you, Janet, for inviting me to visit with your readers here at More Agreeably Engaged. I love making connections with other fans of Jane Austen, and sharing something of my own story.

First of all, I must tell you that I was as surprised as anyone that I should turn out to be a novelist. You see, although I’ve always loved books, and I have dabbled in other creative mediums (music and art), I’d never given much serious thought to writing. Besides, I had a practical career as a dental hygienist, a house and husband to look after, and two sons to raise. I barely had time to read a book, much less write one. And yet now, I have written three. How do I explain this surprising turn of events? Allow me to paraphrase a few lines from Northanger Abbey:

No one who had ever seen me in my early life would have supposed me born to be a novelist. My situation in life, the habits of my mother and father, my own person and course of education, were all equally against me. But when a lady is to be a novelist, the perverseness of forty different circumstances cannot prevent her. Something must and will happen to throw a novel in her way.

And so it was that, through an impulse buy at Costco (a certain video with the handsome face of Colin Firth on the front), I discovered Pride and Prejudice about ten years ago. The video led me to the book, and I simply fell in love – with the story, with Darcy and Elizabeth, with the elegant period language, and with Austen’s witty writing style. I couldn’t get enough.

Pride and Prejudice became my passion – or arguably, my obsession – which soon enlarged to include Jane Austen’s other five novels. Still, it might easily have amounted to no more than yearly rereads of her entire canon and countless watchings of the film adaptations.

Undertaking a huge creative project, like writing a novel, requires a ton of inspiration (which I had, thanks to Jane Austen), but also a major dose of motivation. I found mine in an unexpected place: in the first Pride and Prejudice sequel I happened to stumble across.

I’m fascinated with the “what ifs” of life. What if this had happened instead of that? What if I had turned right instead of left at the crossroads? These questions play a role in my novels and also in my life – the genesis of my writing career specifically.

What if I’d resisted the impulse to buy that movie at Costco years ago? Would I ever have found Pride and Prejudice? I don’t know. But I’m pretty sure that if I had loved that first sequel I read (as many others have), if it had been everything I was personally looking for, I never would have written a sequel of my own. How much I would have missed out on then!

Fortunately, though, I didn’t care for that book (and that’s putting it mildly), and I began The Darcys of Pemberley in response. I wrote, first and foremost, to satisfy my own curiosity about what would happen next, to continue the story the way I thought Jane Austen would have done herself, to spend more time with her characters and in their world. In the process, I discovered another passion – a passion for writing that has changed my life.

Since that beginning, I’ve gone on to publish two more Austen-inspired novels – For Myself Alone (an independent story) and Return to Longbourn (the sequel to The Darcys of Pemberley). I’m currently working on a Persuasion tie-in, starring Jane Austen herself. God willing, there will be many more books to come after that.

 I always expected that people might read my novels because they were fans of Jane Austen’s, which is usually the case. However, I’ve been surprised (and delighted!) to find that it sometimes works the other way round – when a person decides to try reading Jane Austen because they like one of my books so much. Maybe by introducing new readers to her, I am in some measure repaying all the countless hours of enjoyment she has given me. At least I hope so.

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The Darcys of Pemberley – faithful sequel to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.
Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy have been happily married for almost a year, but how long can the honeymoon last? The couple’s idyllic life together at Pemberley is threatened by the secrets they keep, the troubles of their closest friends, and a villain in their midst. This is the tale of two romances: the continuation of Darcy & Elizabeth’s story, and the courtship of Miss Georgiana. If you didn’t want Pride and Prejudice to end, here’s the chance to learn what happens after the wedding, to revisit old friends, and to share the next chapter of their lives.

Return to Longbourn – the Pride and Prejudice saga continues. With Mr. Bennet barely cold in his grave, Mrs. Bennet hatches her plan. The new heir to Longbourn simply must marry one of her daughters. But will it be Mary or Kitty singled out for this dubious honor? When Mr. Tristan Collins turns out to be quite a catch after all, the contest between the sisters is on. Darcy, Elizabeth, and the rest of the cast are back as Mary emerges to take center stage in this long-awaited sequel to The Darcys of Pemberley. Learn what really makes Mary tick. Is she destined to be governess of Netherfield forever, or will she find love and her own happy ending?

For Myself Alone – the story Jane Austen might have written next. This is the tale of Josephine Walker, a bright, young woman whose life is turned upside-down by an unexpected inheritance. With a tempting fortune of twenty thousand pounds, she’s suddenly the most popular girl in town. Yet Jo longs to be valued for who she is, not for her bank balance. She cannot respect the men who pursue her for her money, and the only one she does admire is considered the rightful property of her best friend. Now, even the motives of her new fiancé are suspect. Will Jo have the courage to discover if he truly loves her for herself alone?

Find these novels, as well at Shannon Winslow’s tongue-in-cheek short story Mr. Collins’s Last Supper, at online booksellers Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Learn more about the author and her work at www.shannonwinslow.com

Thanks again, for sharing your passion with us. I have looked forward to your visit and enjoyed your post. I wish you much continued success with all your books now and in the future. I like that you want to tell your stories in a way that Jane Austen would have done herself. 

Shannon Winslow is kindly offering a trade paperback to one lucky domestic winner AND  two eBooks for your eReader to two lucky winners worldwide! To be entered leave a comment below as I always love reading your 'say in the conversation'! Share with us how your JA and PnP passion developed. Good luck to all. To be part of the giveaway, be sure to include your email address in the comment. To prevent unwanted spam, put your email address with an (at) instead of @.  Winners will be chosen in a random drawing. Giveaway ends at midnight, October 21. 

24 comments:

  1. Thanks so much for hosting me, Janet, and for your kind comments. I'm so glad I was able to help nurture your JA/P&P obsession with my books!

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    1. You are welcome as it is an honor to have you. You definitely helped nurture my obsession and my life has certainly made a big change because of JA and PnP.

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  2. The themes of P&P, the memorable characters, the lively writing, the vocabular - all of these elements bring me back to read P&P again and again as I am always learning something new. I love reading P&P prequels, sequels and anthing in-between. Thank you for your giveaway. emedmonds(at)myactv.net

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    1. My pleasure, Eva.
      You're right on too - it's the timeless themes of her stories, appealing characters, witty writing style, and elegant language that draws us in.

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  3. A novel seems like a steep mountain of writing to climb, but maybe I’ll tackle it one day. Your story inspires. Well done! Jane Austen is one of many authors I studied during my journey towards an English degree. Only recently did I re-visit her world when performing a Readers’ Theatre of her works – great fun!

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    1. You never know, Jo. You might discover that you're destined to be a novelist too! Love your name, btw. I suppose you noticed that the heroine of "For Myself Alone" shares it. ;)

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  4. I wonder if I would have ever read Jane Austen if it wasn't a set book at my school, from that I bought the complete set and read them all, I have recently just listened to all the audio books. Look forward to reading these.

    meikleblog at gmail dot com

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  5. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and your lovely stories with us, Shannon! I really liked your comment about the fascinating 'what if's' of life!

    I adore the 'what if's' of P&P fanfiction and the wonderful variations and it's such a comfort to know that a). the posibilities are endless and b). no matter what twists and turns are put in their path, Darcy and Elizabeth end up together, and all is well with the world :).
    Thanks for the giveaway and thanks for writing!
    All the best!

    joana[underscore]sw[at]yahoo[dot]co[dot]uk

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    1. I guess that's a pretty convincing arguement for fate (at least in fiction), that no matter the variables, D&E will/MUST end up together! Thanks for your comment, Joana!

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  6. I had never read P&P until adulthood, after which I went out hunting for fan fiction and 'what if' stories. Thanks for continuing to feed my addition!
    robmwmj at gmail dot com

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  7. I enjoyed your fate story of coming to P&P Shannon! I was eight years old when my mom bought me the set of Jane Austen's complete novels- unabridged and unillustrated for my birthday. We read a chapter each night before bed from Pride and Prejudice. I learned to laugh at her wit first before I even understood it was a romance. After that, I read each book on my own. I loved the old Greer Garson and Lawrence Olivier movie version of the story though I was a bit sad that it wasn't that close to the book. Then the other movies came along in the 80s. And then lastly, I discovered Austenesque fiction by a fated visit of my own to Costco where I saw and purchased Mr. Darcy's Diary by Amanda Grange. And I've loved so many more every since.

    sophiarose1816 at gmail dot com

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  8. What a great mom, to introduce you to JA at the tender age of eight! Thanks for sharing your story, Sophia, and your own Costco connection!

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  9. Hi Shannon..well having had the privilege of meeting you in person, I was in awe that you were writing. Someone I knew had or has been writing a book, fathom what that means. Countless hours of writing,rewriting, editing and engaging the artistic expression. I always loved reading your front cover at the local art fair having no time to actually peruse the materials I have been intrigued and I love the cover artwork you have incorparted to represent the Darcy's of Pemberton. Since you could admit to not having much time to devote to reading you can appreciate my own delema on how to incorporate this covetous time in my day. Since I am still at debate with this I can say that if I won your give away I could actually start there. How do I know Pand P or Jane Austin, the dewey decimal system had me glance in that direction somewhere in the 70's.I also welcomed a most recent battle of wills between Sheldon and his beloved Amy on Big Bang theory where he was trying to find flaw in Pride and Prejudice to outwit Amy who had pointed out several flaws in the creation of Indiana Jones. If you haven't seen this episode epic Sheldon material and it will make you anticipate your long awaited read of Pride and Prejudice. Shannon may your life be full of writing and may your wit continue to grace your friends and audience alike.

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    1. Wow, Anonymous, I thank you for your good wishes, and I hope you will find the time you crave to read - JA and otherwise. Things changed for me in that respect when my sons left the nest. I love having them close by, but I've found that I don't have to have them under my roof to be happy!

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    2. Didn't realize my name would not appear Shannon, this Jo Zumhof of Vanity Faire.

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  10. I was about 12 years old when I came across the abridged edition of Pride and Prejudice that my mom borrowed from her school library. As it is simple and easy-to-read, I love the story a lot. Three years later, I have the good fortune of reading the 'real' version of the story, thanks to the generosity of my good friend. And when I was able to purchase my own copy, I began an annual re-read of the novel.

    It was the 2005 film that led me to the brilliant 1995 mini-series, then on to the ITV Jane Austen adaptation in 2007. The trail lead me to the wonderful world of JAFF which is where I am now.

    Btw, I'm international so it's the e-book for me if I do win.
    evangelineace2020(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. That's a long and winding trail, but one well worth traveling! Thanks for your comment, Luthien.

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  11. I loved the paraphrasing from Northanger Abbey, Shannon! Really enjoyed reading this as I hadn't read about how you got into writing Austen inspired novels before.

    The Persuasion tie in with Jane Austen sounds fabulous! I adore Persuasion and it often vies with P&P for my favourite JA book. I think it just depends on my mood at the given time!

    (Janet has my email!)

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    1. Thanks, Cassandra! I think it's always interesting to hear how people discover their love for JA, and those are my two favorite her novels too. I'm having a lot of fun spending time in the world of Persuasion for a change after so much P&P.

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  12. it was a crazy & strange fluke that i've become a fan of P&P & JA!!!!
    it started off innocently by watching P&P w/Keira & Matthew!!! then i discovered variations, sequels, pre-quels & just about everything else which leads to becoming an all-obsessed fan!!!!

    thank you for the giveaway!!

    cyn209 at juno dot com

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