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
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
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
“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
“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
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
“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
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
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
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
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.