author of the new JAFF release
Hi Pamela! Thanks for wanting to be a victim of Ask the Author!
I’m excited to host another fellow Chat Chit, and congratulations on the publication of Dearest Friends. I know it has been a long road for you.
Anyway, we’ve received a lot of great questions. We had a few repeat questions, particularly in regards to the newly announced Dearest Friends sequel (Family Portraits). I’ve put the similar questions together, so you can address them separately or at the same time. It’s your choice. I know you’re probably raring to get started, so let’s get to it!
What made you decide to start writing P&P JAFF? How did you develop your story line?
Hi Dung! I started writing after I read pretty much every completed story the forums and Amazon had to offer. I remember reading a few stories where Caroline had somehow tried to compromise Darcy, Bingley didn’t chastise her, yet he and Darcy stayed friends. My mind started working what I feel is a more likely scenario—Bingley supports Caroline and loses Darcy’s friendship. I also know how unlikely it would have been in those times that Mr. Bennet would not expect one of his daughters to marry Collins. The fact that he didn’t really accentuates his carelessness. Combine those two scenarios and there you go.
I would love to know how you develop a story.
Hi tgruy. That’s kind of a hard question to answer given I’ve only completed one novel length story so far. DF developed as a work in progress (WIP) at AHA and really had a mind of its own. What I am working on now, Sketching Character, is much more structured. Like DF, though, I know where I want Darcy and Elizabeth to be at the end, so the process is pretty much just working toward that.
Do you write down an outline first before starting your story and rigorously follow it or are you fly-by-your-pants kind of writer? Or a mixture of both?
Hi Luthien. I suppose it is a mixture of both. I did not have an outline for DF, but I always knew where it was going for the majority of the characters. With Sketching Character, it is completely mapped out with each section outlined. We’ll see how that works!
I like to ask other authors how much research they do when writing a book. So, Pam, fess up! And do you ever model your characters after people you know? Enquiring minds want to know. I already have your book but I had to get in on the questions.
Hi Brenda! DF is so character driven that I did not need to do quite as much research as I find myself doing now. However, there were a few things that required delving into the Regency Encyclopedia. I kept a 1812 calendar up the entire time I was writing to make sure I got the dates right. I also did some reading on the weather in early 1812 and thankfully it coincided with what I was doing. It was important to me that Mr. Gardiner was able to hold his own against Darcy’s relations. I had to look into possible businesses he could be involved with to make that happen. That was fun. I answer your second question a bit further down.
You say DF is character driven, so did your characters ever take off in their own direction? Did you rein them back in or did you follow their lead entirely?
Hi Leslie. I could answer that with one word—Jane! That girl gave me fits. When I started, I had in mind that she would be redeemed pretty early on and then become sort of a mama bear. She had other ideas and, obviously, I let her fly.
There’s a few things I would like to know.
In the 1995 movie of P&P, Mr. Bennet is portrayed as being a warm/fuzzy father and Jane is all sweetness. Your character portrayal of these two are much different. Any flack from readers?
Hi Joy. I never read/saw Mr. Bennet as warm and fuzzy. I read him as lazy and irresponsible. I’ve said it before—a lazy parent is asking for trouble and he found it. Jane probably was everything Austen wrote her to be, given her relationship with her own sister. However, we really only get Elizabeth’s POV when it comes to Jane. We know how flawed her character assessments are. So, what if she was wrong about Jane, too?
I didn’t really get flack when I posted it on the forums. We’ve seen some worse Jane’s there. There have been some Amazon reviewers, however, who could follow such a selfish characterisation.
What was your biggest challenge setting your story in the Regency period?
Keeping the dialogue true to the time. I don’t try so hard with the narration since I am a modern writer writing for a modern audience, but I try to get the dialogue as accurate as possible. I removed a lot of contractions as I edited as well as some more modern phrasings. I probably still got a lot wrong.
The cover of your book is gorgeous. What drew you to this particular setting of our dear couple?
Thank you! I am so pleased with it. Leslie is awesome. We had a bit of a time at first. Leslie was trying to give me what I wanted, but what I wanted just wasn’t working. I started going through stock images for inspiration and at the same time, Leslie was exploring England, her new home. I found an image that displayed several windows and a light dawned. Darcy and Elizabeth as well as Sebastian and Mary all looked out of windows at pivotal points in the book. I told Leslie about the idea and she told me about an estate (Oxburgh Hall) she had just toured with beautiful windows. That got everything going. Have I ever mentioned Leslie is awesome?
Are any of the characters’ personalities based on people you know or are related to? Will we see more of Porter (& will he have better taste next time)?
Hi Gail. I have never intentionally modelled characters after real life acquaintances, but they have certainly seeped into my writing. DF was very cathartic for me and when I read through it I see so many people from my life. My husband, my father, my first love–they are all there. There’s even a section where I vent about the unnecessary drama that is found on the forums and poke at my hypocrisy in the process. I think writing it all out has saved me from being a hot mess!
Yes, we will see more of Porter. He plays a big role in Family Portraits.
What prompted you to steer Mary and Sebastian’s relationship in such a different direction? (I know it’s a vague question, but I don’t want to give anything away!)
I always knew they would be important to each other and that there would be an attraction on Sebastian’s part. From the beginning I told myself I would not Mulder and Scully them up by getting them together in the end or even having them fall in love. But, damn if they didn’t Mulder and Scully themselves. I really wanted to show a male/female friendship that wasn’t in any way sexual. Oh well, the muse wants what it wants. After I finished it and read it all the way through, I saw many RL parallels in Mary and Sebastian and realized it could not have gone any other way. I cherish those two.
Hi Pam, We had such fun with Dearest Friends. I already have my copy but aside from more Regency, I was wondering if you’ve ever thought about trying your hand at a modern, or are you leaving that one up to Cat? Best Wishes with your new publication.
Hi Jen. I do have a modern bunny hopping around, Building Pemberley. I had actually planned on it being my next story, but the another Regency took over. To be honest, moderns scare me. I feel more comfortable in the past.
Will you eventually write something which is not related to Pride and Prejudice or even non-Austenesque books?
I don’t know. If a bunny presents itself I would probably pursue it. Right now I am committed to JAFF.
There were three questions that were all very much the same. I didn’t want to exclude anyone, so I included all of them. However, I did give Pamela the option to address them in one answer, which she did.
What’s the next book in the works and when is it due to be released?
Pam, I see that you are doing a sequel or something. When will it be out? Will Mary and Sebastian *finally* get together in there somewhere? I can kill their spouses off for you if you like! 😉 I already have a Kindle copy of DF…and I read it immediately
I think this is a question that many will ask – when will the sequel be ready?
I am planning a series of short stories that take place at 2, 5 and 10 years after the close of DF. If all goes well they will be published next month. Mary and Sebastian do spend time in each other’s company. No, Zoe, you can’t kill off any poor innocent spouses.
After that I will get back to work on Sketching Character which has been in the works for over a year. Look for it to come out in early Spring.
So Yay!!! Thanks so much Pamela, for stopping by and answering everyone’s questions!!!!
Now to continue the giveaway!
If you submitted a question, you are already submitted once for the drawing. A comment on the finished interview will gain you another chance to win that e-book of Dearest Friends, so get typing!
Pam has even offered a pretty Christmas ornament for those who have already purchased Dearest Friends!
So those who already have the e-book, send in your comments, too!
Just let me know that you already have Dearest Friends in your comment.
Last day to submit a comment for the giveaway is