Monday, March 12, 2012

Shannon Winslow - Return to Longbourn

Published Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Coffee with Colette
Good morning, my delightful readers!  I hope your Monday has not sucked the very life out of you because I have a special treat for you today! Joining me for coffee this week is another Austen Author, the lovely and talented Shannon Winslow! She empathizes with all lovers of Pride and Prejudice. Although "(h)appy for all her maternal feelings was the day on which Mrs. Bennet got rid of her two most deserving daughters" (I believe Miss Austen had a modifier dangling there, as I doubt "the day" had maternal feelings!), we readers, on the other hand, were not so eager to see the story end! Shannon has taken pity on us - first with her sequel The Darcys of Pemberley, and now with her newest release Return to Longbourn. I know I can't wait to go back as the Darcys' and Bennets' tale continues, and I'm sure you'll agree. So grab a cup of coffee, get an ample serving of Baked Apple Betty; and sit back, relax, and enjoy this time with Shannon!

My third novel just debuted, and I’m on blog tour to get the word out. So thanks, Colette, for inviting me to share my story with your readers!

Years ago, when I started writing novels, I was given two excellent pieces of advice: 1) Write, not necessarily what you know (as the popular saying goes), but what you love. You can always learn what you don’t know, but you can’t fake a passion you don’t feel. 2) Find out what you do best and then do it.

That’s why I write historical fiction in the vein of Jane Austen – because I love it and because I seem to have a natural flare for her language and style. That means no red-hot sex scenes in my books. Sorry. No vampires or zombies either. I’ll leave those things to the authors who do them so well. For me, it’s a more traditional approach. I write what I most wanted to read – more of the kind of stories Jane Austen penned herself.

I began with a sequel to my favorite of her books (Pride and Prejudice) called The Darcys of Pemberley. What a treat it was to live in that world again as I continued Darcy and Elizabeth’s story into marriage, as well as portraying the courtship of Miss Georgiana Darcy. Next, I took on the new challenge of creating an Austenesque novel from scratch. For Myself Alone is my idea of the story our dear Jane might have written next.

Then, I was irresistibly drawn back to Pride and Prejudice as the basis for my newest book, Return to Longbourn. Mary Bennet had been on my mind, you see. Although Jane Austen doesn’t paint a very flattering portrait of her, I thought there might be more to Mary than first meets the eye. I wondered what made her tick. I wondered if she might be redeemable, if she might even have the hidden makings of a heroine.

Yes, Elizabeth is the lively, pert, popular, and beautiful one. She’s the Homecoming queen type, and it’s easy to see how she wins over the handsome and aloof Mr. Darcy. But does that mean there isn’t any hope for those of us more like Mary – socially awkward, somewhat plain, and bookish? “Nonsense!” I say. “Plain girls unite!” I say. “We too deserve our day in the sun!”

Okay, so I’ve gotten carried away again. Over dramatizing is an occupational hazard. As for Mary, though, I thought she deserved at least