Saturday, July 21, 2012

Bernadette E: What Brings A Story To Life

Welcome Bernadette E. to Darcyholic Diversions!
Hi, Darcyholics!  I am happy to welcome Bernadette E. to Darcyholic Diversions.  For those of you who read Jane Austen Inspired Fan Fiction online and have done so for many years, you most likely know about Derbyshire Writers Guild.  Bernadette has been writing a creative modern story that includes characters from three of Jane Austen's novels, and I have gotten to know her as she has been posting her story, 'Beautiful Friendship'.  Elizabeth Bennet is a ballet dancer in the story. Hopefully, for Bernadette and myself it has sparked a beautiful friendship. I hope that you enjoy getting to know her as well. 

If you have not yet reviewed the updated information about the Decatur Book Festival Jane Austen: Then And Now, review the tabs above.  The deadline for authors registering to join us is July 31st.  We are up to 18 authors participating (with 2 more close to committing in the wings)! It is NOT too late to join us!  We just added another tent today so we have room for you!

During the month of August we will be featuring many of the authors that are going to be at the event.  And don't forget to comment on the other July posts as there are still some give aways up for grabs!

Upcoming Guest Posts Are As Follows:
July 24--Barbara Tiller Cole: Christmas in July
July 27--Amy Cecil
July 29--William Deresiewicz
July 31--Maria Grace
August 3--Wendi S.
August 5--Laura Dabundo
August 7--Moira B.
August 10--Abigail Reynolds
August 12--Cynthia Hensley
August 14--Colette Saucier
August 17--Regina Jeffers
August 19--KaraLynne Mackrory
August 21--Sally Smith O'Rourke
August 24--Amber Godat
August 26--Lory Lilian
September 18--Laura Hile
November 2--Amy Patterson
November 13--Karen Doornebos
And Many more to come!

Comments on Bernadette's post will be entries into the monthly drawings here at Darcyholic Diversions.  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 via Google Friend Connect (GFC) (See the left hand column on the blog to join!), 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.
 What Brings A Story To Life?

What's that something special that says, yes, this is honest. This is compelling. This is life. Can you open Pride and Prejudice and watch the heroine grow? Can you feel the hero's heartbreak?

This is the charm of Jane Austen's characters. Mr. Darcy and Miss Woodhouse, Fanny Price or Frank Churchill. Everyone has a favorite.

Or perhaps many favorites. I think this is one of the joys of fiction. Your favorite is not your neighbor's favorite, which might not be his neighbor's favorite. Scan your local bookstore with a friend and they will say, yes, that book moved me. That book made me laugh. That book was beautiful, funny, exciting, interesting. That book was amazing. It goes on the shelf as a 'favorite'.

So Pride and Prejudice was placed on my shelf.

Prior to discovering Jane Austen's work, I'd never seen the Austen movies, the miniseries', the books on tape. I flipped open my first Austen book knowing nothing of story, its author, the tone of her pieces. I should also say I felt a touch cautious of 19th century literature. I'd just read Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert to rather disappointing results. I'd pulled it from a shelf with the false impression that it was a bonnet romance. Not even close.

Pride and Prejudice was everything I hoped to read, and more. The opening sentence, so witty and oft-quoted, was enough to assuage my fears. The book was charming. The dialogue was clever. Austen's characters weren't perfect, but neither were they tragic. They could be witty, kind, ill-tempered, or brave (sometimes all at once). The mistakes they made, they learned from.

And here of course, we come to Mr. Darcy. Tall, dark, handsome, certainly a man to notice across a crowded room. His mood could be prickly. That alone is enough to bring to mind the other famous 'leading man' of his era: Heathcliff. But Darcy was different. He had a unique charisma. He was smart. He could be aloof and funny, arrogant or kind. And, in the end, he strove to improve himself.

But of course, I could say that about many of Austen's heroes and heroines. They were good people, sometimes stumbling over their own mistakes, but always searching for what was right. Austen wrote of a privileged middle-upper class and yet her stories continue to resonate. Perhaps because they were characters who were allowed to discover things and are better for those discoveries. And that's life, isn't it?

Author Bio:
Bernadette is the author of the English Night Sky and Beautiful Friendship. She will never again believe that Gustave Flaubert was aiming to write a romance novel, but she's pleased about discovering Austen's oeuvre. She's honored and amazed that she was invited to guest blog at Darcyholic. If you'd like to email her about either piece, her contact email is:


  1. Bernadette: Thank you for taking your time to post here at Darcyholic Diversions! I hope that many people stop by and read your lovely work in progress at Derbyshire Writers Guild,

  2. I so love "Beautiful Friendship." I was lucky to visit Ireland a few years ago, and it is wonderful to be back there with Austen's characters in Bernadette's story.

  3. Hi Bernadette. I loved your line about Gustave Flaubert. Enjoyed the post.

  4. I have just been over to read this story and it has been withdrawn. I was so looking forward to reading it. I don't go over to dwg as much as I used to as I am now writing my second part the Colonel's diary and helping with betaing a story.

  5. I haven't read ABF yet (mainly because I'm trying to wean myself off reading so many WIPs - lol), but I've heard nothing but wonderful things about it. It definitely got lots of comments on dwg. I hope it will be re-posted there and I can read it in it's entirety.

    Love your statement about Austen's heroes and heroines learning and growing from their mistakes and striving to do the right thing. So true!

  6. "Perhaps because they were characters who were allowed to discover things and are better for those discoveries. And that's life, isn't it?"

    EXACTLY! that is the trait found in the best novels!!

    Thanks for sharing the Derbyshire Writers Guild - I'll look forward to reading your stories.

  7. I must say, I do not understand the appeal of Heathcliff, so brooding and angry. I know there's more to WH but I just didn't find the story at all romantic. Austen has such a lightness about her work yet the characters remain real. Life has tragedy but so much happiness and beauty, as well as humor, and thus I love Austen's focus.

    Thanks for posting :)

  8. definitely! the authenticity of characters connect with readers of every era. and our global connxns, ease of travel and availability to visit the story locations [author's too!] have the appeal that make it all realistic..

  9. But where can we keep reading "Beautiful Friendship"? It's no longer on DWG, and I can't find it anywhere.