I started to write A Fair Prospect in the summer of 2006. It was a tumultuous time in my life: we had been living in Connecticut for five years, and I was busy planning our marriage blessing (which was taking place back in the UK in July) and to add madness to mayhem we then found out we were moving back permanently to England at the end of August! Despite this, I leapt into the story. I didn’t have a completely clear idea at that stage of what the full tale would be, but I did know where I wanted to begin.
The story itself was inspired by a couple of things: firstly, the train-wreck scene of the failed marriage proposal by Mr Darcy to Elizabeth Bennet in the 2005 film adaptation of Pride & Prejudice. This took place in a rainstorm in the grounds of Rosings Park (the home of Mr Darcy’s aunt) – or at Stourhead in Wiltshire, if you want to be precise! Wherever the location, the scene had imprinted itself in my head and that inspired what has become the starting point for the story.
The second thing that inspired it came from my wondering about the lack of physical contact between men and unmarried women in Jane Austen’s day and what effect it might have on someone if something happened to force a couple into physical contact. I mean, they nearly always wore gloves so that even if dancing their skin never made contact. How might an innocent but relatively intimate encounter affect their view of each other? Would it awaken a response in them, make them so much more ‘aware’ of the other person? Would it change anything – could it, should it?
I can relate to this, as something along these lines is what turned my husband from being just an old friend into my partner for life. At first, I thought I had just developed a bit of a crush on him and that it would pass; well, I’m still waiting and I’m thankful to say it shows no sign of abating!
So I decided to take both these ideas and run with them, adding the ‘innocent but intimate’ encounter to the opening chapters and taking the theme ‘can there be so much awareness in a man’s touch’ throughout all three volumes.
Little did I know back in 2006 what a journey this story would be. It ended up taking four years to write (I’m not as lazy as that sounds, I do work full time and did have the interruption of some illness in the middle!) and then two years of intermittent editing. After all that, Volume I is finally ready to be released and thus we come to the anti-climax!
I am both excited (having wanted to be a writer all my life) and terrified by putting myself out there, but I finally hit that ‘approve proof’ button last night. This morning I awoke to this thought: I’ve done it; I am the author of a published book, and then I came to the PC to see it for myself and yes, there it is, in Createspace’s e-store (available only to those in the USA, unless someone is prepared to wait six weeks for delivery – by pigeon-post, I assume) and there alone it lies. It will be several days before it’s up on Amazon and several weeks (yes, shock horror, even in this age of technology) before it reaches the far-off outposts of Amazon Europe etc etc. So I have no one to share this news with yet and there is little point in promoting it until it is easily accessible…
Therefore, although I am a published author, the only ones in the know are my husband and the two cats (and now you!)
Cassandra, I must thank you for bringing a wonderful creation to the attention of all of us P & P addicts out there. This is by far one of the best-written sequels / variations that I’ve come across, and I’ve read a wide variety of them. Your book is so realistic, so carefully researched, the fact that it has been a labor of love is communicated on every page. I admit that I have the quirks of both friends you mentioned, so trilogies are an agony of anticipation. I don’t know where your final volume ends in terms of Darcy and Elizabeth’s story, but if you were to find yourself so inclined as to continue to write about them after their vows were exchanged, I’m sure that you would find legions of adoring fans hanging on every word. Congratulations and sincere thanks for this remarkable addition to the P & P canon. It’s far superior to much of what is available out there!!!!!
Becca, thank you SO much! It is always lovely to hear from readers, especially when they have enjoyed the story. I appreciate very much your taking the time to come here and tell me this – you have made my day!
I do hope you enjoy the other 2 parts as much!