So apparently I’m not doing this blogging thing right because after my last post, Summer happened and that flew by and I completely forgot I had a blog. But. Here we go again.
July 15 marked not only the release of the last Harry Potter film, which I attended at midnight, equipped with tissues, but also the release of my first published work.
In junior high school I had an English teacher named Carol Johnson who taught me to really love the written word, and I have been writing ever since. I suspect I may have started writing anyway, but I don’t think the power of a skilled and enthusiastic teacher should be underestimated.
Since I was first introduced to it (oddly, I suppose, by way of the 1995 BBC miniseries), Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice has, far and away, been my very favorite book. (The Little Princess ranks right up there, too, having been one of the first novels I ever read.) I think one of the things that makes any written work endure is the amount of truth in it. Pride and Prejudice is about two otherwise great people who don’t see their own flaws, but are perfectly willing to point out each other’s, and 200 years later that kind of Stupid still goes on. Add to that Austen’s masterful turn of phrase, very English wit and humor, and a dash of romance, and voila! A masterpiece.
At that point in my life (1996-ish), my writing had come to something of a standstill. I graduated and got married and moved within a very short amount of time. But these two items (writing + P&P) collided one day when I stumbled upon a place on the interwebs called The Republic of Pemberley. This is a web site dedicated to Jane Austen and her work, including a group called The Derbyshire Writer’s Guild. This was my first introduction to fan fiction, and writing quickly became an outlet again.
It’s laughable, what I first wrote, thought was good, and shared with that community. I still have it – I read it sometimes for self-punishment. But it was welcomed and encouraged and I kept writing, which meant I kept getting better.
Several years ago – maybe five or six, before Jane Austen fan fiction was commonly published – a group of people in the Jane Austen fan community wanted to put together an anthology of all-new work, and they asked me to join them. I originally pitched a brief, modernized story which was rejected (although I wrote it anyway, and you can read it at your own risk here).
When I went back to the drawing board I decided to take a completely different route. Georgiana, Darcy’s sister, is a curiosity in that she is an integral part of the story, yet we see so little of her. Once I had decided to write about her, it seemed natural to explore what her life might have been like and how she might have influenced the course of Darcy and Elizabeth’s story. I wrote her tale, but the anthology never happened; I had only just finished a second draft when those of us involved in the book were contacted and told that – more or less – nobody wanted to do it anymore.
I was disappointed but decided to post it online when it was finished, because honestly, what else was I going to do with it? Then last November I was contacted randomly by Marsha Altman, who was in the process of putting together an anthology of short stories for Ulysses Press. Long story short: She asked me to submit Georgiana’s Voice, and I did, and now you can buy a copy of it at your friendly neighborhood Barnes and Noble.
I, of course, have still not received my copies, although those of my darling friends who are reviewing it for me have received theirs. And naturally, now that it’s been published, I can see the flaws and glaring omissions. Still, it's pretty damn cool - now I just have to worry about all those reviews I asked for.
Now… Don’t you have something to go buy?