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Friday, March 16, 2012

Darcyholism? It First Began in High School!

Guest Post by Mary Simonsen
Hi, Darcyholics!  I am very happy to welcome Mary Simonsen to Darcyholic Diversions today.  I was fortunate to meet Mary in Arizona a couple years ago at a place that specializes in Mexican Chinese food. And know I didn't make a mistake in writing that, it was a combination of both!  I knew that Mary was prolific, but until she sent me all of her book covers, I don't think I had put together just how many books she has written.  A blessing for all of us.  Please join me in welcoming her here today.

Upcoming Guest Posts Are As Follows:
March 17--Jennifer Hickling (michchick)
March 20--Jan Hahn (release of The Journey)
March 23--Jeane Alvarez (P&P2005 blog)
March 27--Lucy S.
March 30--Elizabeth Kantor
April 3--Bonnie Carlson
April 6--China Fuentes-Montero
April 10--Matt Duffy
April 13--Regina Jeffers
April 17--Elizabeth Ashton
April 20--Susan Mason-Milks
April 24--Lynne Robson
April 27--Veronica (Dark Jane Austen Book Club)
May 1--Jane Vivash and Matthew MacFadyen
May 4--Susan Adriani
May 8--Annette W.
May 11--Beth Massey
May 15--Erlynn K
May 18--Rebecca Thumann (release of Longbourn State of Mind)
May 22--Kara Louise
June 5--Sharon Lathan

And Many more to come!

Comments on Mary's post will be entered into the monthly give away here at Darcyholic Diversions.  Mary is providing a copy of The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy.  Entries will be based on comments on blog posts; but additional chances will be given for joining this site, tweeting this post, Joining this site as a member!, sharing this on Facebook or your blog, Friend me on Facebook, clicking 'like’ on Barbara Tiller Cole, Author's Facebook page, Join Darcyholic Diversions Facebook Page or following BarbTCole on Twitter.

Darcyholism? It First Began in High School.

Our hostess has asked that I write about when I first fell in love with the novels of Jane Austen. The answer is a very long time ago. In fact, it was 1969 during my senior year high school English class in North Jersey, a time when yearbook pictures were in black and white, a wide-screen television was twenty-five inches, and gasoline cost .27 a gallon.

But time marches on, and Jane Austen and I did not cross paths again until the 1980 Masterpiece Theatre presentation of Pride and Prejudice. I greatly admired how Elizabeth Garvie performed the role I was born to play, i.e., Lizzy Bennet, if I had ever been called upon to do so, and she remains my favorite Lizzy Bennet. I was once again bowled over by the 1995 A&E adaptation of P&P. The gowns, locations, casting, and acting were all magnificent. And Colin Firth? Need I say more than “Colin Firth?”
Although I admired those adaptations, it was Matthew Macfadyen’s portrayal of Fitzwilliam Darcy that touched me the most. In his performance, I saw the evolution of Darcy’s love for Elizabeth, and I was smitten by the handsome actor (mother/son sort of love), so much so that it inspired me to write a novel.

Authors of an Austen re-imagining come to write their novels by different paths. My journey involved a good deal of limping. While waiting for my insurance company to sign off on a total knee replacement, I became bored and asked myself, “What am I going to do with all this time on my hands?” The answer: write a three-generation novel with a tie-in to Pride and Prejudice and set it in post-World War II England.

My efforts resulted in my self-published work, Pemberley Remembered. A complete failure at self-promotion, I sent my manuscript to Sourcebooks. I remember saying to my husband, “Well, if I am lucky, I’ll hear back in three months.” I heard back that afternoon! My editor, Deb Werksman, called to say she had already read my novel and wanted to purchase the publishing rights. They had been looking for my contact information when my e-mail came in. This is the absolute truth!

After much reworking, Searching for Pemberley came out in December 2009. By that time, I was an Austen fan-fiction addict and a writing fool and had written two additional novels, The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy and A Wife for Mr. Darcy. A fourth novel, involving Mr. Darcy as a werewolf, followed in October 2011.

Why Austen? More specifically, why Pride and Prejudice? For me, it is Jane Austen’s brilliant use of language that keeps me reading her books and watching the various adaptations. How many authors have the talent to draw you in with the first sentence and hold you enthralled for hundreds of pages? Who else inspires so many writers, young and old, to try their hands at penning something they hope will compliment the master’s body of work? Why write Pride and Prejudice re-imaginings? Because in my mind, I get to be Elizabeth Bennet: strong, confident, practical, and, eventually, Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy. It doesn’t get any better than that.

Other works by Mary Simonsen: Becoming Elizabeth Darcy; Darcy on the Hudson; For All the Wrong Reasons; Mr. Darcy’s Angel of Mercy; A Walk in the Meadows at Rosings Park; Captain Wentworth Home from the Sea; Anne Elliot, A New Beginning; and The Second Date, Love Italian-American Style.

Blog: marysimonsenfanfiction.blogspot.com


  1. Woo Hoo! I'm first.

    That is an amazing story of how Searching for Pemberley come to be published. True talent rewarded!

    I just bought Mr. Darcy's Bite and will be haunting Mexican Chinese food places to get a signature. ;)

    1. Hi Nina. Thanks for stopping by. There is an Asian Mexican place in Phoenix that was on Dinner Dives. I met LE there for lunch.

  2. Wow! That is an amazing story about Searching for Pemberley! So fast! Very cool!
    If I wrote, the character I would want to write is Elizabeth because she is everything I would love to be!

    1. Candy, You could easily be Lizzy Bennet: cool, graceful, friendly and fun.

    2. Mary, I'm not witty enough! ;) Every time I take one of those test "Which JA character are you" I am always Elinor Dashwood! Dang! I want to be Lizzy! LOL

    3. Oh Candy Elinor is a cool character! I like her because she is the master of her feelings until the end where Edward finally asks her to marry him!
      Not to rub it in, - but I am Lizzie in all those tests! :-)
      But I am sure you are more like Lizzie!

    4. Sophia-Elizabeth, thank you, Elinor is very level headed and I suppose that's me, but oh to be witty! I would love that!

      Thanks, Mary, for saying such lovely things about me! :)

  3. I just love how Mary Simonsen feel in love with Jane Austen. She is so right Jane Austen use of language, the way she writes makes you step back in time. You feel as though you are a silent character in her books watching everyone. Jane paints a picture that dribbles off the pages and falls into your lap.
    I too will be haunting Mexican Food places just to get a signature. Beautiful post!

    1. Thanks for coming by Krista. I love your description of Jane's writing.

  4. I don't know if I have to comment it but I follow your beautiful blog, tweeted post, shared on FB, Already like Barbara on FB, Follow Barbara on twitter and I already belong to Darcy FB page. For the extra chances in the drawing. Thank you

  5. Mary:

    I want to thank you again for your taking the time to post here. I hope your travels are going well as I know you are on the road today. I, also, can trace the very beginning of my fascination with Darcy back to high school. I did not see the 1980 BBC production though. I do now have a copy and have watched it and enjoyed. But my obsession truly bloomed from medical problems as well. Post surgery and a copy of the 3 VHS tape set of P&P 1995 which I could rewind and watch Colin jump into the lake over and over and over again.

    My personal favorite of your novels is 'Mr. Darcy's Bite'. But my baby girl dog, BooBooBear, as you recently saw on the facebook group for this blog particularly loves 'A Wife For Mr. Darcy'.

    Thanks again Mary! Barbara

  6. Hi Barbara. Thank you for hosting me on your blog. It's a huge success. I'll be contacting you when I get back from my visit with my sisters.

  7. Mary, I'm so glad you decided to write that first story! Your knee replacement has turned into a boon for the rest of us. :)

  8. Thanks for sharing your story, Mary! I am so glad that you were laid up, if that is what it took for you to write! You know I absolutely love your books, especially Searching for Pemberley (I think because it was my first Mary Simonsen novel I read)! Looking forward to what you publish next! :)

  9. I've loved every one of your P&P re-imaginings, Mary, and I'm even more delighted to learn that my favourite Darcy, Matthew Macfadyen, has played such an important role in inspiring you to pen your first novel :)
    Looking forward to your next offering!
    Thanks, Jane

    1. Jane you and I are Matthew gals. Thanks for all your kind words.

  10. So cool and unusual that your favorite Elisabeth portrayed in film is the first one- mine too. Your book was almost the first Austen related story that I read when I happened to be book browsing at late and still lamented Borders store. I've read several of your other books since and loved them.

    Enjoyed the post!

    GFC: Sophia Rose
    FB: Sally Michele Shaw

    1. Sally, It's always good to see your name pop up. I love Elizabeth Garvie!

  11. I love your work, Mary, and it's very interesting to read about how you became an Austen fan. I suppose it's good for the rest of us that you had to have knee surgery. Otherwise, we may have missed your wonderful writing!


    1. Hi Robin. Always good to hear from a fellow author.

  12. Mary,

    Wonderful book, I completely agree with Abigail, your knee replacement was a good send and a sign for you to write one of the best Post-World War II book with a tie to Pride and Prejudice!
    Thank you for telling how you became one of the famous Austen writers! It was a joy to read about, and I look forward to read "To become Elizabeth Darcy"!
    I long to see more books from you!


  13. See, Mary? Every cloud has a silver lining. Here's to more great stories!

    Gayle / S.C.Mema

  14. Hi, Mary!

    Congratulations on your long list of books! It is so good to know there is more yummy stories waiting for me!!!! I just discovered JAFF a couple of months ago and have been overwhelmed with the amount of books to read. At the same time I don't want to read them all at once. I want to savor each one of them. Please keep writing!


  15. Isn't it amazing how certain things touch us in different ways at different times at our lives? Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your wonderful work!

  16. It is such fun to read how so many of you authors came to love Jane Austen and more specifically, to write. I enjoyed your post and have enjoyed the three books that I have read by you, 'Mr. Darcy's Bite', 'A Walk in the Meadow at Rosings Park' and 'A Wife for Mr. Darcy'. I will review them, I promise, for being so long about it! (I keep reading more instead of reviewing! :) )

    I too love Jane's use of language and her wonderful insight into human nature, especially men. I find that exceedingly fascinating for a single woman. Her wit is quite charming as are her characters! Thanks for continuing to write about her books and my favorite hero and heroine.

  17. Hearing back that same afternoon that is amazing! I am also a particular fan of P&P. I love the sharp wit and dialogue of that time. I wish we still spoke like that on a daily basis. That would be tough to text lol! Keep writing Mary because love your book!

    I did all the extras like a good girl!


  18. To All of Mary's commenters and readers of this post:

    Mary let me know that she is providing a copy of 'The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy' for a commenter on her post. Please see all the things you can do for additional entries in the drawing for this book above in the post.

    Thanks to all of you who take the time to share your thoughts and commenters with those who post here. I KNOW it means to a lot to them, and to me.


  19. Mary, I have only read one of your JA books so far but have two more on my nightstand ready to go! I loved Searching for Pemberley so have made it a priority to read more of yours. I also read, and absolutely adored, Second Date. Maybe because I am also Italian, the characters really hit home with me and the story was so wonderful! I look forward to more happy reading with your books!


  20. Wow, thanks Mary for your generous gift. I haven't read The Perfect Bride for Mr Darcy so hopefully I can win it.

    Thanks for sharing your story of how you are addicted to Darcy and JA.

    Barbara, I'm a follower of your blog, I friend you on Facebook, I 'like' your author's Facebook page and join Darcyholic Diversions Facebook Page.


  21. I have only read one of your books and i am curious to read your Anne Elliot book soon. It is interesting to read different variations of any kinds of fav. books.