Saturday, November 2, 2013

A Pride and Prejudice Journey of Love with Pat Santarsiero

Pat Santarsiero, author of  Thursday's Child, is my guest today. Her journey to writing, her love for Pride and Prejudice and Mr. Darcy may have begun on a slightly different path than some but the end result is the same. We are all obsessed Janeites that keep begging for more good stories involving our favorite hero and heroine, Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet. I first learned about Pat and her book when I purchased it on Amazon a few months ago. As the old saying goes, "The rest is history." (Don't miss the giveaway!)

Please welcome Pat Santarsiero.

First, I must thank Janet Taylor for a few things; one, for inviting me as a guest on More Agreeably  Engaged; second, for allowing Thursday’s Child  to be part of her beautiful 2014 Elizabeth and Darcy calendar and lastly, for recreating so many wonderful Pride and Prejudice moments through her artistry.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!

How I came to write my first book was completely a fluke.   I have always considered myself a late bloomer; in everything, from boys to writing.  I am fairly new to writing and never had any literary ambitions.  I’m embarrassed to say that up until 2001 Jane Austen was just some author I had heard of who wrote unexciting books about Regency England. 

And then something quite ordinary happened that had an extraordinary affect on my life; I went to the movies and saw Bridget Jones’s Diary

To say that particular experience changed my life would be a vast understatement.  I saw Colin Firth and I was a goner.  I had never even heard of him before, but once I saw him, I had to know, watch and own everything he had ever done on film.

When I sent for the 1995 BBC version of Pride and Prejudice, it started a chain of events that continues to this very day.  I decided I had to read all of Jane Austen and I did.  I started searching the internet for Pride and Prejudice fan fiction sites and read every story I could find.  I think I read almost every one of them posted on Hyacinth Gardens.  I still miss that site as it was my favorite.

As I read all these stories, I came to know these characters so well, that I convinced myself I could write a story too.  I had never written anything before, but I always felt I had a flare for the dramatic, especially in my real life.  I have always imagined conversations in my head in anticipation of certain situations I had to face, and, of course, they were always in the extreme and nothing like the conversations that actually took place. 

I had this idea about Darcy and Lizzy, strangers entering into an usual agreement, each for their own reasons, rattling around in my head for at least two years before I finally sat down to write it .  I’ve been told I have an unusual process for writing, as I have no storyboard laid out as to what exactly comes next, but rather I envision what I consider certain key scenes in my mind and find ways to connect them.  Of course, I did have a beginning, a middle and an ending in mind before I started “Thursday’s Child”, but how I got there was just as much a surprise to me as to my readers.  One thing I believe to be true, is that you have to let the characters direct the story.  You can’t force them to do things contrary to the personality traits you have established for them.

Here is an excerpt from “Thursday’s Child” as Lizzy is being interviewed as a candidate for a most unusual position.          
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        
The older woman silently eyed her for a few moments.

“Have you any health impediments?” she asked.

“No, aside from the normal childhood ailments, I have never been ill.”

“What of your parents and siblings, do they also enjoy good health?”

“My father died about a year ago, but the rest of my family is alive and well.”

“What of mental impediments? Do any members of your family suffer from such a malady?”

If it wasn’t for her state of unease, Elizabeth might have found that particular inquiry almost humorous, for it was certainly subject to conjecture. Her mother suffered from many nervous conditions.

“Not to my knowledge,” was the best she could offer.

Elizabeth heard whispering and, for the first time, realized that there was someone else in the room. She looked slightly to the left of the woman and saw a silk screen that was completely devoid of light. Someone was sitting behind the screen, and, although she could not see them, they obviously could see her.

After the whispering stopped, the woman asked her to stand. Elizabeth rose from the chair and stared directly into the woman’s eyes. She then turned her gaze slightly to the left towards the source of the whispering voice. Imagining that she was staring directly at whoever was behind the screen, she raised her chin in an act of defiance.

Elizabeth was then asked to turn around and then finally to sit again. She complied with all that was asked. She was so nervous that she was starting to get lightheaded. She was also starting to get angry.
Again the woman conferred with the mystery person behind the screen. “Is there not some other more conventional way you might obtain the money you require?”

“No, there is not,” replied Elizabeth.

“No relatives from whom you might borrow? Or perhaps some young gentleman who might offer for you and resolve your financial situation?”

Elizabeth’s mind immediately went to Mr. Collins. She knew her mother still had not forgiven her for rejecting his offer of marriage. When he had proposed that day, Elizabeth had been adamant in her refusal. She was grateful that Jane had left for London on the previous day with her Aunt and Uncle Gardiner. She knew if Mr. Collins had met Jane first, she most likely would have been his first choice, as Jane was five times as pretty as the rest of the Bennet sisters. She knew, too, that Jane would have acquiesced in order to save her family.

“If borrowing the money I required was a possibility, I would not be here. And despite my situation, I have vowed never to marry if I cannot do so for love.”

Again, the whispering began. However, this time Elizabeth could discern that it was a male voice coming from behind the screen. The anger she had been suppressing began to rise in her chest.

“Does the gentleman suffer an impediment, a defect of speech perhaps, that prohibits him from speaking to me himself?” asked Elizabeth, trying to keep her voice as even as possible.

Taken somewhat by surprise at the young woman’s impertinence, the older woman said, “I’m sorry, but you cannot know the identity of the gentleman. This situation is of a very personal and confidential nature. If a mutual agreement is reached, a future meeting time and place will be arranged. Of course, he must have your word that you will not disclose any of the details of this arrangement to anyone.”

“I am not asking that he make himself known to me, only that I be allowed the opportunity to hear his voice.”

“To what purpose, my dear?”

Before Elizabeth could reply, the gentleman spoke. His voice was deep, yet softer than she had expected. “I have no objection to speaking with you directly, if that is your wish; though I cannot perceive what hearing my voice would reveal to you.”

“I believe the sound of a person’s voice and their manner of speaking can be quite telling, sir.”
The room was silent for a moment. Then the gentleman asked, “Can you tell me for what reason you require this money?”

“Just as you, sir, do not wish to have certain personal information disclosed to others, I, too, wish to keep the particulars of my situation private. I will only say that it is a personal family matter that must be acted upon quickly if it is to be resolved in a satisfactory manner.”

The gentleman again whispered something to the older woman who nodded her head. The gentleman then asked, “Is this something you have done before?”

“No, never, sir!” came Lizzy’s immediate reply.

The silence this time went on longer than the last. He stared at her from behind the screen. She sat uncomfortably in the straight back wooden chair. After several moments, the silence was broken as the gentleman finally spoke. “Do we have an agreement then?”

Elizabeth looked down at her hands in her lap and replied in an almost inaudible voice.

“Yes.”
                
The experience of posting my story on Austen Underground was exhilarating and gratifying and all the wonderful comments I received from the readers encouraged me to turn it into a book.  It is now available on all e-book devices and the soft cover version is online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

I am currently working on my next story, which is about half way finished and is tentatively titled “The Last Waltz”.  I am looking forward to the positing experience once again.

Of course, my Mr. Darcy will always be Colin and it is amazing to me how a simple crush (okay, I admit it’s more than a crush) on an actor could have such a positive, long range affect on my life.  For I am convinced had anyone else played the part of Mark Darcy in Bridget Jones’s Diary I would not have started down this road.  I would never have read Jane Austen, never have written a book and never have met so many amazing people who are just as obsessed with Jane Austen and Pride and Prejudice as I am.

It has been a wonderful experience.

I am so glad to have you as my guest today, Pat, and I loved reading how your adventure began. I think it is fascinating how the extreme love for Jane Austen can begin in such a variety of ways. Thank you for visiting today and for sharing your story. I was thrilled to have Thursday's Child as part of my 2014 calendar and am happy that you enjoy my interpretations of some favorite Pride and Prejudice 'moments'.

Pat Santarsiero is kindly offering two soft cover books to give away! This giveaway is international! Thank you very much! To be entered leave a comment below as I always love reading your 'say in the conversation'Good luck to all. 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, November 8. 



28 comments:

  1. Loved seeing YOUR backstory, Pat. And I love Thursday's Child. Can't wait to read your next story.

    Gayle Mills
    scmema at yahoo dot com

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  2. Thursday's Child sounds intriguing. Whatever are the two of them hiding? Thank you for the giveaway. emedmonds@gmail.com

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    1. Hi Eva. Each of their motives is transparent but their secret must never be discovered. Thanks for commenting and good luck!.

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  3. Thanks Gayle, you will probably be one of the first to read it as I hope to preview it on BeyondAusten. Thanks for being the first to comment (as always I appeciate it.)

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  4. I am so relieved to read of your conversations in your head in anticipation of facing certain situations as I do the very same thing. That is what I sometimes call 'stewing' over something. Seems the real conversations never go as they did in my head! :)

    I was a Jane Austen and PnP late bloomer too and now can't read enough. I have watched the 1995 miniseries more times than I can count. Colin Firth will forever be Mr. Darcy in my mind. I guess that is fairly obvious if anyone pays much attention to my drawings.

    I loved the excerpt! Now I MUST read the book. I hope to get my chance to do so very soon.

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    1. Yes, you really must read it! I know it's 420 pages, but it really does go by quickly. But be prepared to stay up all night as it is quite addictive. BTW, I didn't even know TC was available as a paperback on B&N unitl I clicked the link in my interview! Thanks for finding it for me and thans for commenting.

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  5. I just love reading people's journeys to Austen! I saw BJD before I knew it was based on P&P and before Austen-inspired fiction became a true love of mine. I didn't really think much of it then but I wonder if I would like it better now. I mean, one can't NOT like looking at Colin Firth at least, right?

    I have Thursday's Child on my Kindle, so you don't need to enter me for the giveaway. I haven't read it yet but I look forward to it, When I first saw it on Amazon, I was kind of unsure about the premise, and If I'd like it, but Gayle's review made me think "hmm, maybe I'm wrong, If she loves it!" lol

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    1. Hi Monica, looking at Colin is one of my favorite passtimes. I'm going to try to convince Janet to produce a life size cut out of him as Darcy. I'm sure it would be a big seller!

      I hope you do finally read Thursday's Child. I admit, it's different from all the other's you've read, but the story will draw you in, I promise. Thanks for commenting.

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  6. Bridget Jones seems to be one of the buzz words in the Austenite community now that the third book is coming up. Guess Mark Darcy doesn't make an appearance. That's fun how this particular movie brought you in. Thanks for sharing and for sharing the excerpt. I look forward to reading the rest of the story.

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    1. Hi Sophia Rose, I still cannot fatham a Bridget Jones without Mark Darcy, no more than I can fatham an Elizabeth without Fitzwilliam. But I'm sure it must have been Colin's decision to decline the third time aroumd.

      Thanks so much for commenting and good luck with the drawing. I hope you get a chance to read all of Thursday's Child.

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  7. I have started to read the sample so far love the story I can't wait to finish it.
    Thank you for sharing your wonderful ideas.

    kflores_21(at)yahoo.com

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    1. Hi Katie, I'm glad you enjoyed the excerpt and I hope you get the chance to continue reading the story; I am confident you won't be disappointed. Good Luck!

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  8. Thank you, Janet and Pat for this lovely interview. Pat, loved reading about your journey to Austen and the excerpt was absolutely finger-licking delicious!!!! So looking forward for more! Thanks!
    joana[underscore]sw[at]yahoo[dot]co[dot]uk

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    1. Hi Joana, You're the first one to ever use 'finger-licking delicious' to describe Thursday's Child, but that's almost exactly how I'd like to think of it (with maybe an ice cream Sundae to top it off!) Good Luck!

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    2. HI Joana. Thanks for visiting! Love your description!

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  9. Enjoyed the extract - and thank you for introducing me to a new author

    meikleblog at gmail dot com

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    1. Hi Vesper, Glad you enjoyed that short look into "Thursday's Child". I hope it was intriguing enough to make you want to read the rest. Good luck with the drawing and thanks for commenting.

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    2. Thanks, Vesper. Don't you just love finding new authors with good books?

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  10. I'm intrigued to see what happens next and what other elements are different than P and P, i.e. Jane never met Collins. Looking forward to reading this book after stumbling on this blog from the Austen Authors app. Laurenk1031 at gmail for com.

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    1. What a wonderful place to stumble upon! So glad you did and that my book captured your attention. I hope the rest of the book keeps;you just as intrigued. Thanks so much for commenting and good luck!

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    2. I am so glad that you found my blog, Lauren. Thanks for stopping by and good luck in the giveaway.

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  11. Thank you for the excerpt. I have actually already read this and enjoyed revisiting it. I was a little hesitant about the storyline before reading, but I must say you really pulled it off. I would love a copy of my own to reread. Thank you for the giveaway!
    cherringtonmb at sbcglobal dot net

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    1. Hi Becky, I'm so glad you said you were hesitant to read this story at first, as I know there are many out there that felt the same until they actually read the book. Hopefully, your comment will help convince those who are still a little leary. Thanks for commenting and good luck with the drawing!

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  12. Just to let you know, already read your book and loved it.

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    1. Words that every author hopes to hear (or see). Thank you..

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  13. Loved reading about your introduction to Austen, Pat! Thank you so much for sharing and to Janet for hosting yet another great post!

    Definitely an intriguing excerpt! Much to ponder on!

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    1. Hi Cassandra, I know I took the scenic route to Austen, but as they say, getting there is half the fun! Glad you found the excerpt intriguing and I hope you'll find some time to read the entire story. Thanks for commenting and good luck!

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    2. Thanks for visiting, Cassandra. I very much appreciate your support.

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