Shocking! How did Lady Catherine manage to inspire my writing?
Meredith, first I want to thank you for hosting my post on your blog and to congratulate you for the wonderful event you have created this month. It has been such a joy to follow it and to be part of it!
My name is Lory Lilian, I am 43 — today — Romanian, and have been in love with Pride and Prejudice since I was 13. The day I discovered JAFF was one of the happiest of my life as I realized there were other people like me out there — people who simply could not have enough of Darcy and Elizabeth!
I have two books published by Meryton Press — and that was another happy moment of my life, as I never imagined my passion would come out in print form — LOL! I still am surprised, flattered, and grateful to see so many people interested in buying my books, especially since they are available on line for free in the Meryton Reading Room. As I got many messages asking about this, I would like to take this opportunity to say that both Remembrance and Rainy Days are in the process of being edited for e-book versions (Kindle, Nook, etc.) — together with second editions of the paperbacks.
So, dear readers — back to today’s post!
Those of you who haven’t read my books yet most likely never will after reading these confessions.
Those of you who have read my books — and especially those who know me by the name I was given by JAFF readers: “Queen of Mush” — will certainly raise their eyebrows in disbelief, saying “Yeah, right… What part exactly was influenced by Lady Catherine? Not the very detailed wedding nights, I hope!”
Yet, it is the truth: I have just realized that Lady C had a pretty important influence in my creation of the original (i.e., non-canon) characters in both books.
is a sweet, romantic love story with little angst, which tried to answer some questions, like: What if Darcy and Elizabeth had the chance to actually talk and listen to each other earlier than in the original story? What if Elizabeth’s eyes had been opened earlier to the impropriety of Wickham’s behavior and she had looked beyond his pleasant appearance? What if Darcy knew Elizabeth’s real opinion of him before the disastrous marriage proposal? What if Mr. Bennet had the chance to exchange a few words with him?
So, I put Darcy and Elizabeth together in forced circumstances two days before the Netherfield ball and forced them to talk. Of course, not all things are said in the open during that short encounter and not all the problems are solved, but the relationships among all the characters starts to change, and the Netherfield ball is an entirely different event.
I tried to introduce and develop a few characters with real impact in the story: Lord and Lady Matlock —strong personalities with different opinions and different reactions, engaged in battles of will during the story — and a small character (in size and importance!) named Rebecca Gardiner, a little girl of four and a half years, who was much loved by the readers and me.
Both Lord and Lady Matlock have many similarities to Lady Catherine.
Lady Matlock — like Lady C — is rich, stubborn, proud, a little selfish, preoccupied only with her family, and convinced that Elizabeth is a fortune hunter who trapped Darcy with her charms. However, I gave Lady Matlock many qualities that Lady C does not possess: beauty, wisdom, charm, tenderness, openness of mind, fairness — and many others.
Lord Matlock — well, he is Lady Catherine’s brother and much like her, but he is also Lady Matlock’s husband and never has a real chance to impose his will over his wife’s.
As for Becky — no, she has no resemblance to Lady Catherine at all!
Remembrance of the Past
is an entirely different story. It begins in London — just before Elizabeth and the Gardiners’ departure for the Lakes — while Elizabeth is still overwhelmed by Darcy’s disastrous proposal at Hunsford and by her own unfair, hasty reaction to it. One day the fates bring her face to face with Darcy, Georgiana and Colonel Fitzwilliam, and from that moment, there is turmoil as she fights to understand her heart, her feelings and her desires as they become stronger and stronger. Also, a new character, who is a stunningly beautiful and rich heiress — and a close friend of Darcy —only increases Elizabeth’s struggle. There is a fair amount of angst in this story.
Half of the readers loved Lady Cassandra from the beginning, while the other half hated her, especially as she seemed to be Elizabeth’s rival. She was a character who brought me great satisfaction while writing her, and the readers’ responses to her proved to me that she had captured everybody’s attention in one way or another. She is a strong character with lots of impact over the other characters and also has a hidden, emotional story from the past. And yes, she also has many similarities to Lady Catherine. I even took words that originally belonged to Lady C and put them in Cassandra’s mouth.
In fact, as some of my readers have noticed, she is a sort of Lady C, but much younger, more beautiful, more witty, more charming, and more fair and honest. Oh yes – and much more sexy!
In the end, Cassandra turns from a hateful character like Lady C into a very useful character for the storyline to show Elizabeth’s growth from a young girl full of uncertainties to a young woman, happily married, and trusting her own strengths as well as her husband’s love and devotion and the strength of their bond.
Last but not least, I just started a new story called “His Uncle’s Favorite” — which is being posted as a WIP at AHA — where the original character of Lord Matlock, Darcy’s uncle and Lady C’s brother, again appears and plays an important part in the story. And guess what? Once more, there are not only lots of Lady C’s words and behaviors in Lord Matlock’s interactions but also many likable qualities — and I dare say my readers will come to enjoy him much more than Lady Catherine!
So, thinking of all these and considering I do seem to allow Lady Catherine to influence my writing, do you, dear readers, think I should be worried?!
And — if you read my stories — please let me know your opinion: Do my characters really resemble Lady Catherine?