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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Lucy S.: A Large Amount of Darcy is the Best Recipe for Happiness!

Welcoming Lucy S.: JAFF author and Darcyholic

Hi, Darcyholics! I am excited to welcome Lucy S. to Darcyholic Diversions today.  Lucy is currently posting 'Being Mrs. Darcy' online for any of you who have not yet read any of her stories.  It is a very intriguing variation to can Pride and Prejudice.  In welcoming her to be a guest here, I wanted to be SURE she wouldn't get behind on her posting schedule as I am longing for the day that Mrs. Darcy realizes just now much Mr. Darcy cares for her!

Upcoming Guest Posts Are As Follows:
March 30--Elizabeth Kantor
April 3--Bonnie Carlson
April 6--China Fuentes-Montero
April 10--Jane Vivash
April 13--Regina Jeffers
April 17--Elizabeth Ashton
April 20--Susan Mason-Milks
April 24--Lynn Robson
April 27--Veronica (Dark Jane Austen Book Club)
May 1--Matt Duffy
May 4--Susan Adriani
May 8--Annette W.
May 11--Beth Massey
May 15--Erlynn K.
May 18--Rebecca T.
May 22--Candy M. (So Little Time...)
June 1--Kara Louise
June 5--Sharon Lathan
And Many more to come!


Comments on Lucy's post will be entered into our monthly drawings   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.

Lucy S: A Large Amount of Darcy is the Best Recipe for Happiness!

I am a proud Janeite and Darcyholic. My obsession with Jane Austen began a long time ago. As a child, I was a voracious reader and happiest when busy seeing to “the improvement of [my] mind by extensive reading”. I cannot recall when I read my first Jane Austen novel, but by the time I was twenty, I had done a pretty good job of devouring all of the 19th century literature my local bookshop had to offer (having fallen in love with Dickens by grade 10, I went about finding other books of roughly the same era). I remember being gobsmacked by Captain Wentworth’s letter, finding Marianne remarkably silly, thinking Fanny was too timid for her own good (and my patience), wanting Emma to grow up already and laughing at Catherine’s over-active imagination.

But what about Elizabeth and Mr Darcy (I cannot separate the two in my reflections)? I adored Elizabeth Bennet from the first time I read Pride and Prejudice. Yes, she made mistakes, but they were ones that I, in the 20th century, could understand and her strength of character and willingness to admit when she was wrong were inspiring. As for Mr Darcy, do I really need to explain why I came to love him? I will only say that, “I believe I must date it from my first seeing his beautiful grounds at Pemberley.” Like Elizabeth, he proved that he was an exceptional being because he could admit his faults and change. I was in a swoon by the time I learned that he had found Lydia and forced Wickham to marry her and needed Mrs Bennet’s salts by the time that he said, “My affections and wishes are unchanged, but one word from you will silence me on this subject for ever.” My love for Darcy reached a whole new level when I saw Colin Firth’s portrayal of him in the 1995 BBC production.
As for when I discovered JAFF, I first have to say that I have always been in the habit of ‘filling in the blanks’ of stories I read or saw on television or in films. I imagined what happened in the bits we didn’t read or see – the conversations characters might have had, the way that they felt or what they thought. Naturally, this extended to Austen’s incomparable novels. In 2002, I was wandering around London, England, my baby daughter with me, and at a used bookshop found a copy of a post-P&P novel. I was thrilled and could hardly wait to read it. I can’t remember which one it was, but it was (in my opinion) awful.

Despite this unfortunate introduction to Austen-inspired stories, I had had a taste of something new and potentially diverting and so, sometime later and back home in Canada, I did an Internet search on Jane Austen. I don’t know what I expected to find, but the hours spent with a baby (night or day) while she nursed were long and I needed something to occupy me and keep me awake.

What I found was life-altering – the world of online JAFF. I stumbled across Bits of Ivory first and then found the Derbyshire Writers’ Guild. I discovered that there were other people out there who shared my love of Austen and Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy and all of Austen’s other wonderful characters and that they, too, wondered what happened after the novels ended, or what would happen if some circumstance were changed.  

I read and I read and I read. Over time, I found other JAFF sites and kept reading. I read through every Regency-era story I could find and only then did I start in on the modern tales. I had lots of ideas for stories of my own, but no real inclination (or time) to write them. I was working on my doctorate (on a topic that had nothing to do with Austen) and that piece of writing had to take precedence.

As I said goodbye (at long last) to my student years, a particular version of Elizabeth and Darcy increasingly occupied my mind. They had been hanging around for a while, showing me glimpses of their lives and struggles. Their voices grew louder and louder and I knew what they wanted. They wanted me to tell their story and they would not leave me alone until I did. It was not going to be an easy story to write and it took a lot of time to sort through the bits and pieces I had floating around in my mind, creating order of the chaos. It was only the spring of 2009 that I found a way (thanks to U2’s song ‘Magnificent’) to tell the story of how a particular William Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet healed their emotional scars and learned to live happily ever after (‘The Course of True Love’). While writing and posting it, I met many wonderful friends (including Barbara) who inspired me and helped me through some very difficult times. They also made me laugh which is a gift without price.

Throughout it, my love for all things Austen has grown. As I sent one Darcy and Elizabeth off to live in bliss, a new couple started knocking around in my brain and this time I didn’t bother arguing with them; I just went ahead and wrote their story. I have given over every spare corner of my mind and every spare minute of my time to Austen and Darcy. I am following wise advice in doing so, for it was Jane herself who said (with a minor edit), “A large amount of Darcy is the best recipe for happiness I ever heard of.”



  1. Hi! I agree, Darcy is good for whatever ails you :) I don't believe I've had the pleasure of reading your stories but I'll have to look them up.

  2. It's been a long time since I left a comment for LucyS.
    I loved reading TCoTL when you were posting it. It was a great and D&E certainly did go through some hardships.
    I like that - "A large amount of Darcy is the best recipe for happiness I ever heard of".
    For me it's got to be Darcy & Elizabeth together. I can never even picture one without the other.
    Great to hear from you Lucy!

    1. Gotta' love the 'Darcy Cure'! LOL

      My stories are all posted at AHA & I have an author's page at the Meryton Reading Room. :)

    2. I think I'm messing up the replies. Oh well...it's early.

      Hi Trez! I did put CoTL's E&D through an awful lot, didn't I? LOL They really earned their happily ever after.

  3. Lucy:

    Thank you for being my guest! I really enjoyed your story. I hope you enjoyed the pictures I found for you! :D I really enjoyed listening to that U2 song. I was not familiar with it. I am always intrigued about what the inspiration is for various variations, etc.

    For anyone that is reading the comment thread and wondering about Lucy's work, you will find it at meryton.com/aha. It is a member only site. But it is easy to join as long as you are 18 or over. Trez mentioned 'The Course of True Love', a modern story. The course was rocky at times and it was full of angst, but it is worth a read! Her currently posting story, 'Being Mrs. Darcy' is a variation based on what would have happened if Darcy and Elizabeth had to marry before either of them even knew the other and before either of them changed at all. Full of angst, but very intriguing character development. She has other stories that she has written as well. But I will let her perhaps tell us a bit more as a comment to my comment?

    Hope that was a good plug Lucy!


    1. Thank you for asking me to write the post, Barb! It was fun.

      I do have various 'one-shots' as well as the two long stories Barb mentioned - 'The Course of True Love' (which I also posted in a PG version at DWG) and the current story 'Being Mrs Darcy'. In addition, I wrote a side-story to go with CoTL about one of the original couples (Rebecca and Sterling) and a short (10 chapters) Regency called 'Mr Darcy: The Man with a Plan'. It starts immediately after Darcy gives Elizabeth the letter. He decides to win her favour and, of course, does. A happy E&D is an essential ending to all of my stories - even if they get very angsty. :)

  4. After reading Barbara's comment, I will have to read 'Being Mrs. Darcy'. It sounds like a good read. Thanks for telling us where to find it.

    I have to agree with the statement too, "A large amount of Darcy is the best recipe for happiness I ever heard of." It has sure worked for me! I do love Darcy and Lizzy together too.

    I enjoyed your post Lucy. It was interesting to read of your road to writing. I will be looking for your stories too.

    1. Thank you, JT. I have been enjoying reading about other people's road to JAFF & Darcy-love/obsession. :)

  5. I too, was first introduced to JAFF via post P&P novels! I vividly remember spotting two in the local bookshop and grabbing them with excitement, only to be hugely disappointed when I read them. :(
    A browse thro' Amazon alerted me to Linda Berdoll's racy continuation and Pamela Aidan's fabulous trilogy - altho' it was only the first two that were in print then! Imagine my delight when I found she was posting the third part online!! That was in the days when we only had dial up broadband and I couldn't hog the phone line, so trying to read a whole chapter in one hit was nigh on impossible!
    How times have changed... but thank goodness for the WWWW... wonderful world wide web, which allows us to share our imaginings with a receptive audience!
    I'm enjoying BMD, very much, Lucy. I'm sorry I don't comment often enough. Sometimes I wish I could kick your couple's arses into gear with their thoughts and non communication!! But I know you will make it all good in the end!

    1. Thanks, Jane. I loved Pamela Aidan's triology! It was a great relief to find *good* JAFF after my introduction. I think the book I bought went into the nearest recycling bin once I was done. I was so disgusted with it. LOL

      Re: BMD - I will indeed make it all good in the end and E&D are moving forward. I always know how I will get them out of the mess I throw them into - and I do like to throw them into fine messes. :)

  6. Lucy, I just saw the link to here in the BMD comments thread.

    To steal some of JaneV's words "I'm enjoying BMD, very, very, very, very, very much, Lucy. I'm sorry I comment so excessively. Sometimes I wish I could kick your couple's arses into gear with their thoughts and non communication!! But I know you will make it all good in the end!

    I stumbled into JAFF via FFnet, by sheer luck. I came there while doing a text search for the Disney movie Tangled, and eventually got to AHA via DWG,Firthness and others.

    BMD is the second work-in-progress story I'm following, and interacting with readers in the comment threads adds so much to the experience of reading the story because there is that extra level of sharing one's analysis and comparing how others interpret the story. Your characters are so deep due to the level of detail and thought you put into their every word and action. It's actually quite exhausting, but I'm loving every moment!

    Thanks for sharing.


    1. I'm not sorry that you comment 'so excessively' (is there any such thing?)!

      One aspect I particularly appreciate about AHA is the discussion boards and the ability to have so much interaction between authors and readers and even just between other members (e.g. in the non-story threads). I think I should post a warning at the start of my stories - aside from the 'angst-o-meter' that is - the degree of difficulty, a.k.a. how much debate about interpretation or analysis is needed. LOL Thanks, Edith. :)

  7. hello fellow JAFF lovers! Lucy's CoTL was one of the first stories I followed as a WIP. And what a trip it was! It is a mega story with 100+ chapters that satiates all your jaff desires. her side characters - Rebecca and Sterling esp - are as endearing as any Jane Austen created. Thankfully, Lucy keeps giving us more little bits and pieces of their story.
    My reawakening to Jane Austen started with the discovery of Aiden's first book in the New Arrivals section of the library. Now I am obsessed, possessed, relentless and rarely depressed in the world of JA related stories.

    1. Hi Jan! Thanks for the kind words about CoTL and Rebecca and Sterling; I have to admit that they are one of my favourite outcomes of CoTL. I really came to enjoy writing them (Sterling makes me laugh and I adore Rebecca's willingness to throw herself into a friendship with Elizabeth - my Elizabeth's always seem to *need* her friendship).

      It is great fun to learn how other people came into JAFF. I enjoyed Aiden's trilogy so much that I gave a copy to one of my sisters-in-law (and thanked my husband very, very much - he found it for me).

  8. luv the creativity of your U2 inclusion ! TY ~
    and for candidly sharing your JA journey. having just discovered 2 Pamela Aidan JA Darcy novels while shopping a local charity's 1/2 price nite, i know the sense of delite an unexpected treasure offers. and since yours didn't turn out to be the treasure you expected, you've made the experience into a treasure for the rest of us !! Thank you...

    1. Thank you! I received the Aidan books for Christmas one year (thank you, Hubby) and I have to say, it was very difficult to go on with the family celebration after that! LOL I wanted to find a quiet room and just dive right into the first book. :)

  9. Wasn't it great - that moment when you found the treasure trove of stories online and realized "I am not alone"? That was such a wonderful time for me as I realized (despite what my family thought) that I was not the only crazy obsessed woman in the world - no, there are many, many like me!

    Lucy, I adored CoTL and love BMD even more! You are so talented and we are so fortunate that you share that with us, your avid readers!

    1. It was a truly wonderful moment! It illustrates one of the great benefits of the Internet - we can actually meet people who share our loves. I was just telling my husband and daughter of the many different countries represented on my favourite JAFF site and I could see the look of surprise on my husband's face. I still don't think he quite 'gets' that there are a lot of us out there.

      Thanks, Gail!