Haven’t you thought of stepping into a world where fortunes won or lost on a card, dress in the lovely gowns of the time, go riding in a phaeton, walk through the shops of Bond Street, or go to huge house parties or attend balls during the London season?
My guest, Abigail Reynolds, creates that sort of world set in the Regency period of England, that authors like Georgette Heyer and Jane Austen made so popular.
Abigail says writing about that world, and when you’re in the zone, everything fades away but the world being created. Unless something wrenches you abruptly two hundred years forward…but we’ll let Abigail tell you about it.
Writing is the ultimate escape from me. When I’m writing – as opposed to trying to write, which is a horse of a different color – the whole world fades away. Dishes don’t need to be done, the house doesn’t need to be cleaned, and I don’t have to worry about the latest front-page news, because none of it exists. It’s a haven, a safe harbor from the shoals of life, full of the sunshine of creativity and abundant possibilities in every blank page.
But it’s a very temporary haven, which brings me to the bane of my writing existence: interruptions. A few hours ago I was deep in the throes of powerful fight scene, almost in tears myself along with the heroine, and my son came down, distraught because he had lost one of his games in the war zone we refer to as his room. Now, before you tell me I should set some limits and tell him to look for it himself, let me mention that my son has autism and that for him, this truly was a disaster of cosmic importance. And, since I have a vested interest in him being able to complete his homework without a meltdown, I helped him find his game and came racing back to the computer.
The inspiration wasn’t there. I couldn’t feel my heroine’s sense of betrayal or get inside the head of the hero who is desperately trying to explain himself. But because I really wanted to write, I sat down and wrote. Bland, boring, excruciatingly dull sentences free of any spark of life. They even bored me. And I know from experience that it’s likely to be a couple of days before the characters come alive for me again.
That’s what happens when I get ripped out of the story. Little interruptions are annoying but tolerable – letting the dog out, getting a drink of water, closing the windows to keep out the rain. My characters will usually keep talking in my head through something minor that doesn’t require much thought. But when I have to do something that requires planning and interaction with real life people, they vanish without a trace. To make matters worse, it’s almost painful to be torn out of story when I’m deep inside it. I usually surface with an intense desire to murder the source of the interruption, and while I manage to put that aside, my family will happily tell you – at length – that I am very testy indeed under those circumstances.
That’s why I have my office, which isn’t actually an office. It’s a comfortable coffee shop nearby where nobody interrupts me, plus they provide great tea and dainties on request, something that never seems to happen at home! But that’s not all, because I’m not the only one who uses my office to write. There are a half dozen familiar faces that I’m likely to spot there, hunched over their laptops and typing away with that distant look in their eyes. I don’t actually know most of them beyond a first name and that they’re a writer, too, but I do know one thing about them. When I walk in this evening, I can go up to any one of them and say, “I am going to kill my son,” and they’ll look up and nod sympathetically, perhaps even making the suggestion of using a very sharp knife. We’ve all been there, and that makes us comrades at arms.
Then we smile at each other, and the coffee shop reverts to its other plane of existence as Pemberley, a London alleyway, the sewers of Paris (not for my books!) , and a multitude of other places. All of them with good coffee.
- How do you handle interruptions?
Mr Darcy's Obsession Blurb:
What if Mr. Darcy never had the opportunity to propose to Elizabeth Bennet at Hunsford, and did not meet her again until her circumstances were reduced? In Mr. Darcy's Obsession, Mr. Darcy has an even greater social distance to bridge if he wishes to marry Elizabeth. Add in some Fitzwilliam relations with links to the Prince Regent and the loose morals typical of Regency high society who feel that Elizabeth is the material of which mistresses, not wives, are made, and Mr. Darcy has to make a painful choice between the demands of a decadent society and his personal moral sense. The background of this novel is the morally bankrupt ton which Jane Austen knew well, but did not describe in detail in her novels, perhaps because it was a given to her and her contemporaneous readers. Against this backdrop, the characters of Mr. Darcy and Miss Bennet shine brightly as they seek to find an alternative to the bounds of decorum that constrain Darcy's usual marital prospects. Excerpt
The more he tries to stay away from her, the more his obsession grows... "[Reynolds] has creatively blended a classic love story with a saucy romance novel." -Austenprose
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Abigail Reynolds is a lifelong Jane Austen enthusiast and a physician. In addition to writing, she has a part-time private practice and enjoys spending time with her family. Originally from upstate New York, she studied Russian, theater, and marine biology before deciding to attend medical school. She began writing From Lambton to Longbourn in 2001 to spend more time with her favorite characters from Pride & Prejudice. Encouragement from fellow Austen fans convinced her to continue asking ‘What if…?’, which led to five other Pemberley Variations and her modern novel, The Man Who Loved Pride & Prejudice. She is currently at work on another Pemberley Variation and sequels to The Man Who Loved Pride & Prejudice. Her newest release is Mr. Darcy’s Obsession, available October 1, 2010. She is a lifetime member of JASNA and lives in Wisconsin with her husband, two teenaged children, and a menagerie of pets.
You can find Abigail: Abigail Reynolds Website
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