Friday, February 4, 2011


My guest is debut author, Karen Wasylowski. You may remember reading her holiday story, Lord of Misrule, I featured on Over Coffee. In that story we got a glimpse of a the strong friendship between Darcy and Fitz.

As writers we can only write what we understand, what we've experienced, what we know, and what we feel. For the reader to be touched by what we write it has to ring true. The dynamics of the emotion, situation, or time period.  

I love reading books where there are strong family ties and I love the sense of camaraderie, fussing and arguments, but where the love is solid. Books with strong friendships also appeal to me. In those stories the friends form a family of their own, not by blood, but by love. When the author writes them properly you're brought into their magic circle and are part of them and their adventures. That's the joy of reading a good book.

Today's topic is friendship. It’s a subject dear to my heart because friendship is so important to me. I look my friends as the jewels of my life. My friendships, like my family, have shaped my life—in different ways—but I wouldn’t be the person I am today without them. As a result it will also shape how I write about family and friendships. Karen tells a bit about the friendships that have shaped her life and hence her depiction of her characters, Darcy and Fitz.

My new novel, my only novel, Darcy and Fitzwilliam is about love, family and life- long friendships. Few of us have friends that last that long, that last a lifetime. We make acquaintances over the years and they play their parts in our lives at just the right moment of time then disappear again. Although we may regret their loss, it’s usually momentary, and they are gone from our thoughts quickly. Life long friends are different, they grow with you; their lives help in shaping your own. You may not agree all the time, you may not even like them occasionally, but they are as important to your being as breathing. I am very lucky. I have three life long friends; three women that I have known for decades, since my early childhood.

One such friend is Judy. We went to grammar school together, and although she is a few years older, she was placed in our class as an experiment in teaching the handicapped. She has been blind since birth. Each day the sister would ask someone to volunteer to take Judy to lunch and each day everyone would grumble because Judy walked slowly, she needed help with her food, her eyes looked funny. Many days I would volunteer; I felt so sorry for her standing there with her head bowed and her cheeks red with embarrassment. I wasn’t that kind every day, but many days I was. I learned a lot from Judy. I learned that people who looked different were just like you and me they just looked different. I learned that disabilities often could be overcome with greater abilities in other areas. She could play piano like an angel and we shared a love of music. Judy lives on her own, gripes about snow, taxes and her hair and gets mad at me for not liking the same books as she does. I get aggravated with her then often we gossip and always we laugh.

Another close friend from childhood is Fay. She moved next door to us when I was seven years old and she was nine and I remember her mother calling as we played in my yard and asking if Fay could join us. We got along great right from the start, but there were outside problems. Her family was the first Jewish family in our neighborhood and apparently that offended somehow. I could never understand why their religion mattered. Fay was my dear friend, our parents were friends, and it was warm and nice. A few neighbors were very angry with that. They wrote ugly words on our garage door that my mother wouldn’t let me see. She also would not let Fay’s mom have someone paint over. She said, “It’s just the truth, Dorothy. I do love you; and, you are a Jew. I’m proud of it, of our friendship – let it stay.” Some few days later the words mysteriously disappeared but the friendships remained, between my mom and Mrs. C, and between Fay and me. She encouraged my love of reading, my drive for learning, and gave me my first book. We complain about husbands, work and rotten movies. She’s hilarious.

My third friend from childhood is Diane; we met in kindergarten. She is my closest friend but I could never explain to you why she stands out from the rest. She and I always seemed to compete, we liked the same boys, we fought, we laughed, and we talked for hours on the phone (still do). Our friendship broke up over a guy. We didn’t speak to each other for at least twenty years – just drifted apart until about ten years ago when some mutual acquaintance gave Diane my number and she called. It was amazing; no time had gone by at all. I felt the same strong connection to her, the same bond - as if we had been living next door to each other since the beginning of time. Her life during those twenty years was very hard with divorce and sickness. I’m so sorry I wasn’t there for her then, but I am now. Diane and I relate on a whole different level. I love her now and will forever.

Friendship is not something any of us can arrange, it just happens deep within. It is an accidental connection that grabs you and stays with you, whether together or apart, whether related to each other or from different cultures and religions. It is a miracle.

I am lucky. I have had three good friends.

  • Readers: How have friendships shaped your life?
  • Writers: How have your friendships in life affected your writing?

DARCY AND FITZWILLIAM: A Tale of An Officer and a Gentleman

A gentleman in love cannot survive without his best friend...

Fitzwilliam Darcy and Colonel Fitzwilliam couldn't be more different, and that goes for the way each one woos and pursues the woman of his dreams. Darcy is quiet and reserved, careful and dutiful, and his qualms and hesitations are going to torpedo his courtship of Elizabeth. His affable and vivacious cousin, Colonel Fitzwilliam is a military hero whose devil-may-care personality hides the torments within, until he finds himself in a passionate, whirlwind affair with a beautiful widow who won't hear of his honorable intentions.

Cousins, best friends, and sparring partners, Darcy and Fitzwilliam have always been there for each other. So it's no surprise when the only one who can help Darcy fix his botched marriage proposals is Fitzwilliam, and the only one who can pull Fitzwilliam out of an increasingly dangerous entanglement is Darcy... Book Trailer (near the bottom)

A Truly original look into the life of Mr. Darcy and his cousin... This is Mr. Darcy as you've never seen him before, relaxed and at ease with the one person who knows him even better than he knows himself. A look into the private friendship of one of literature's most underappreciated pairs in a fascinating and historically accurate look at male friendship and fellowship in the Regency era.


Karen Wasylowski is a retired CPA. She and her husband spend their free time volunteering with charitable organizations that assist the poor. They also are actively involved with Project Light of Manatee, providing literacy instruction to immigrants and to members of the community. Karen and her husband live in Bradenton, Florida. Her debut, Darcy And Fitzwilliam, will be released February 1, 2011 by Sourcebooks.

You can find out more about Karen and her writing on her website.

You can also fined her at the Austen Blog, Facebook


MarySimonsen said...

Lovely post, Karen. Just from our "internet" friendship, I can tell what a giving person you are. Best of luck with your debut novel.

Marilyn Brant said...

Wonderful post, Karen! It's great seeing you here ;). *Waving to Sia, too!!*

As for friendship, it's an incredibly important part of my life. I don't think we always know how much someone touches our heart until we're faced with the possibility that they won't be there. One of my best friends from college died suddenly a few years back. Even though she and I only kept in touch a couple of times a year, just knowing that I could talk to her about certain things that no one else remembered was such a gift. Her passing was a very deep loss, but it also reminds me to tell my friends now (and often!) how much I appreciate them...

Jeffrey Beesler said...

Friendship is not something I take lightly. That said, there are varying degrees of friendship, precious few being anywhere close to the close friends which you have described.

But you're right. Our friends play important roles in our lives at one point or another. They come and go at will but the impact they've made stays with us forever.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Jeffrey, very true and I agree on the varying degrees of friendship. My dad once told me that you will have tons of acquaintances but if you're lucky, you'll be able to count your true friends on one hand. He's right.

thanks for stopping by.:-)

~Sia McKye~ said...

Hi Marilyn! I've lost a few too. There's a hole and there is no way around that.

What I enjoy about your books is you write great friendships too. Hope all is well up there. Might be good to have a snowmobile to get around.

~Sia McKye~ said...

KAREN! Welcome back to Over Coffee. I'm so glad you're visiting. :-) I don't read a lot of Austen Fan fiction--I have a few of my favorites, but I will tell you, I'll be reading yours. Fresh perspective and I like that.

The coffee bar will have fresh coffee and goodies in the morning. I'll see you then.

Houston A.W. Knight said...

Hey honey,

I've been MIA I know but I hope you don't forget me...I enjoyed the post on friends...

Many big hugs

Tonya Kappes said...

Karen, I love this topic. I also have a couple very, very good friends. I'd rather have a few great friends, than a room full. And I too write about family and finding the true meaning of life. I feel like if I can make one person smile through reading my books or touch their heart~ I've done my job. Nice post!

Helen Ginger said...

Loved reading about your friends. What great bonds you have. I treasure my friends. We try to get together, but it's sort of hit and miss. There are 7 of us and since our get-togethers are irregular, we've dubbed ourselves The Irregulars.

Talli Roland said...

Wonderful post! And such a beautiful cover... thank you! I live very far from many of my friends, but we still manage to keep it going through phone calls and emails.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Hawk, never happen, lol! Life has been busy for us all. At least down in your neck of the woods you're having nice weather, unlike us snow bound, internet working sometimes and sometimes not, northerners.

Hugs back atcha!

Houston A.W. Knight said...

OMG...I feel for you I do! I can't imagine what you guys are going through...the weather this year has been so odd!

Today, I'm wearing a T-shirt and shorts with moccasins. It's been nice summer weather here for almost four days....if you can dig your way out of the snow...I do have a guest house ready for you! ;-)
You know you're always welcome at my place!

Hugs and love

readwriteandedit said...

Karen, how great that you've got such long-lasting friends. I know they've touched you in ways no others could.

I admit I don't have any friends from that far back. I don't remember close friends from elementary school. But there were 5 kids in my family and so we played together a lot as well as with the neighborhood kids. But when someone moved, there was no keeping in touch.

I do have some wonderful friends from my college years. They are a treasure.

Another good post, Sia.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Oh Hawk, you do tempt me. Summer weather...what a treat. Lrt me savor that a moment...

Unfortunately, won't be digging out anytime soon since we're getting another 3 inches of snow this evening and more off and on Sunday through Wednesday. But you did make me check airline prices to Florida...IF I could get to an airport. lolol!

You're a sweetheart for the offer.

Houston A.W. Knight said...'s an open offer...any time you're welcome here me dear friend!


Lydia K said...

What a brilliant idea for a book. All the Austen fans finally get to read a male MC POV with their favorite guy, Darcy!

Great post, and wonderful tributes to friends!