Have you ever made a discovery that made you say, “How did I not know about this!”? That’s me today with the discovery of The Meryton Assembly and the subsequent fan fiction posting board A Happy Assembly, or AHA. A friend pointed me to the site today, and I felt my jaw drop as I perused the page.
It’s filled with Jane Austen Fan Fiction, or JAFF for short. To be sure, I knew all about JAFF. I spend a great deal of time reading and writing it after all! But I honestly had no idea about the existance of a site that was dedicated to the sharing of free JAFF and community building.
Needless to say, I signed up immediately.
Embarrassing as this may be…
I must admit that there is another reason I am astounded that I was not familiar with AHA before today. My publisher, Meryton Press, is directly connected to The Meryton Assembly. I’ll just go hide at the breakfast table now, drinking my tea and hoping Captain Wentworth doesn’t stumble upon me in all my embarrassment.
Today I share with you an idea that struck me some weeks ago. I have not been able to let it go, and so I believe it will develop into a full-fledged story. I love fairy tales. I love Jane Austen. In fact, my senior thesis paper was about fairy tales in the works of Jane Austen. Ah, college.
Inspiration, ideas, and knights
I shared the idea of somehow turning Pride and Prejudice into a more straightforward Cinderella story. And my idea-man knight said, “You could do all the fairy tales.”
He’s a man of few words. But what fun! All my favorite Jane Austen works and all of my favorite fairy tales? Yes, please. Alas, that is as far as I’ve gotten. Well, that’s not quite true. A lovely scene involving Elizabeth, Jane, Darcy, and Bingley at a ball has been swirling around my head. I hope to put fingers to keys soon and hash it out.
First is the above piece by Mahler. It’s the Adagietto from his Symphony No. 5, and it is just stunningly beautiful. The story goes that Mahler wrote this piece as a love letter of sorts to his wife, Alma. The music alone is enough to move me, but then add that bit about the love letter and I’m imagining all kinds of stories in my head. Oh, and this work was also largely composed while Mahler was visiting his summer cottage. So we have a beautiful piece of music, a love letter, and a summer cottage. The imaginative mind starts to bubble.
Another piece I discovered through Burton-Hill’s book, Edward Elgar’s Cello Concerto in E Minor, Op. 85: I. Adagio – Modereto. Don’t ask me what any of that musical notation means, because I do not know. All I know is that this music, composed right after World War I, is achingly beautiful. A bit of interesting history: the piece was not well received when first performed, owing at least in part to a lack of rehearsal time for the soloist. Its popularity stems from this beautiful interpretation of the work by cellist Jacqueline du Pre. You can read more about that here if you are interested.
Credit where it’s due
I have to give a nod to one of my all-time favorite podcasts, That Classical Podcast, for introducing me to both these pieces before I ever came across Burton-Hill’s book. If you’ve not heard of That Classical Podcast, please do go check it out. Two young people talk about their love of classical music while cracking my kind of ridiculous jokes. It doesn’t hurt that they are British, or that they are both artists in their own right. Seriously, check them out.
Not my usual fare
I usually listen to soundtrack music while I write. I actually create whole playlists for each writing project. I’ll be sharing more of my favorite pieces here soon, because I just feel like inspiration should be shared.
My daughter has always been my biggest fan. She enthusiastically tells everyone about my writing. She is an amazing, loving child.
When I told her I was writing a vignette about Darcy and Elizabeth, she was very interested. What’s a vignette? What’s the Lake District? What do they do there?
I told her a little of the story line for the vignette I’ve written, to be published later this summer as part of Meryton Press’ Summer Holiday blog series. After asking me a few questions for accuracy, she went off and created this illustration for me:
I love, love, love the way we only see Darcy and Elizabeth’s legs and feet. And I love the little detail of their Scottie dog. Of course, as soon as I asked her if I could post the picture on my website, she started fretting about getting it “right.” Luckily, I was able to convince her that it was this version I adored, and she let me have it without a fuss.
So there we have it. A perfect little illustration of my vignette that has something to do with Elizabeth and Darcy, the Lake District, and a picnic. (The Scottie dog was my kiddo’s addition, but I do wish I had thought of it!)
The exact date of publication is still to be determined, but I will let you know as soon as I know! In the meantime, check out the other vignettes already posted. They are so much fun.
How does one choose a favorite Jane Austen hero? I certainly cannot say which is my favorite definitively, but on any given day I can name my best-loved. Today it is Mr. Tilney, because today I had a small revelation while sitting for hours in the dentist’s chair.
That’s right. While in the dentists chair, desperately trying to distract myself from the many tools and noises around me, I decided to chose which Jane Austen hero my own husband was most like. At first, I thought of Mr. Darcy. He’s shy, passionate, can be gruff, and is also arrogant. Hmm…that last part didn’t quite fit. Also, he’s reserved beyond measure, much as I adore him.
If not Darcy, then who?
Then I realized, my husband may be shy, like Darcy, but he is forever teasing me and the kids. He loves the outdoors, has no interest in pleasing others at the detriment of himself or our family, and is generally a fun person to be around. He is my very own Henry Tilney. No, he may not have Henry Tilney’s ability to navigate a ballroom, but then, that suits me just fine.
I actually write in a few different genres, although all my pieces are romantic in nature. Why? Because I love a happily ever after ending. Quite simple, really. I adore historical romances, and have written several, including one that has actually been accepted (squee! check it out here). My current work in progress, however, is not historical in the slightest. In fact, it’s set in the future.
Tale as old as time
At its core, my latest work is a classic romance. A young woman meets a young man, there is attraction, obstacles to overcome, and love to be found. What’s different for me this time is the setting. Sora, the heroine, lives in Florida–in the future. Far enough in the future that hovercars are a thing, and people live on the moon, but not so far off that things are unrecognizable.
The hook brings you back…hopefully
So without further ado, I give you my hook. That is, the little sentence that gives you the briefest taste of what the novel is about. When 20-year-old programmer Sora intercepts an incriminating message from an unknown sender, she must decide whom to trust as she races to save Earth from intergalactic war.
The problem is, I don’t have a title. This is not surprising. Old professors at Maryville University could tell you all about my lame titles. I’m open to ideas! Naming stories is just plain difficult. I might have to let my husband name this one. He’s an idea man.