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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Linda Gonschior: I Was a Darcyholic Before I Even Knew Jane Austen's Name

Linda Gonschior:
I Was a Darcyholic Before I Even Knew Jane Austen’s Name
Very happy to have Linda Gonschior (known to some as TEG) and Mickey!  TEG is someone that I met online on the fan fiction boards a long time ago. I was happy along with some of you that her story, Reflections, is now in book form! Hope you enjoy getting to know her.

Linda and Meryton Press are giving away a copy of Reflections to one lucky commenter.  Additional entries 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 Barbara Tiller Cole on Facebook,  clicking 'like’ on Barbara Tiller Cole, Author's Facebook Page.

Five times, at least, I watched Greer Garson and Lawrence Olivier grace my TV screen on a Sunday afternoon and still I’d never heard of Jane Austen.  Always missing the first fifteen minutes of the film, I never knew its title, that the story was from a famous novel nor that it actually bore little resemblance to the time period it represented.  Flouncy skirts on fluffy dresses were hardly Regency.

But I digress.

I loved that movie, obviously having watched it several times, and many years later when I picked a book from the shelf at a friend’s cottage, little did I realize what would happen.  About a third of the way into the story I was thinking ‘I’ve read this before, haven’t I?’ but I was wrong. I hadn’t read it. I had watched a skinny movie version that I loved.  However, this bit about five daughters and a rich guy ... I just knew there was going to be a failed proposal happening halfway through the telling.

At seven months pregnant I wasn’t feeling up to much more than sitting back and reading that day, and was too engrossed to put the book down anyway, let alone want to leave it behind when it was time to go home. Fortunately, our friend was horrified at the thought of a romance novel occupying the bookshelf in his cottage and he begged me to take it away.  Naturally, I obliged.

Eventually, after more readings than I can count, my first copy of Pride and Prejudice fell apart. By then I had a set of videos of the 1995 BBC series!  I could listen and look and love it endlessly!  Such immersion cannot but lead one to imagine, wish and then write down those imaginings.  What began as delightful escape from the stresses of normal, everyday life soon led to an obsession with the characters. They weren’t fictional. They lived in my head and insisted on being introduced to the world at large.  They argued while I washed the dishes, had full conversations while I walked the dog and inspired new adventures as I watched my son at play in the park.

I gathered notebooks and secretly wrote these snippets and stories, bits and pieces cobbled together so that Darcy and Elizabeth could live beyond the confines of their book.  One day the inspiration was so powerful that I wrote for twelve hours straight, from midafternoon to the wee hours of the next morning, and finished a full twenty-one typed pages story.  This was Reflections at its birth.  The only person with whom I shared this was a co-worker, a teacher who encouraged me to explore this interest I had in writing.  He had never read Austen but I lent him my copy of Pride and Prejudice, which he loved, and we had many a fine chat about her talents.

Then I discovered the online world of fellow Obsessives ...er...Darcyholics, which further fed my imagination.  I lurked for months before finally working up the courage to post the first chapter of Reflections, which by then had undergone a transformation and was about to become five times its original length.  It wasn’t long before a sequel started forming in my head and then another and more ideas and more ... Regency, modern, silly, serious, it didn’t matter.  Writing was as much an obsession as reading every story post.

Never having any intention of publishing, it was a surprise when Meryton Press contacted me about putting the Reflections series into print.  My life was a bit chaotic at the time and so it took several months before I revisited the question and said yes.  The adventure began and the stories I said I would never revise were suddenly priority one.

With the publication of Reflections now a reality I have been working hard on revising the second story in this modern series, A Tarnished Image.  These first two books are set in 1995, about the time I wrote them, and the final installment takes place 20 years later.  That one will present the challenge in revising as I did not anticipate how much technology would change in that time, how it would affect the way we live our lives, pursue relationships and maintain contact with our friends and family.

Why do I do it?

Writing allows me to explore the fascinating complexity of personal relationships, how people understand and misunderstand one another, as well as the challenges and tragedies of everyday life.  Jane Austen created characters so realistic in their strengths and weaknesses that it is easy to feel a part of their lives and that they could just as easily exist in our own.  Who doesn’t know a man who is a good and generous but somehow turns off those unfamiliar with him?  Or the affable guy who is everyone’s friend, so easily manipulated that you fear him getting involved with the wrong crowd.  Ladies with sharp wit, or one whose goal in life is to pair up her single friends with the perfect mate, and the naive girl with the big imagination are plentiful enough, too.

Strangely, I was never one for romance novels but what I have always liked in the books I read is the characterization and the relationships between those characters more than anything else.  I grow bored with narrative detail about settings, technical specs (I’ve read a LOT of Star Trek books) and ‘lecture material’ while I soak up the way dialogue is written, what it says or doesn’t say about the character uttering the line.  Right or wrong, my imagination fills in the blanks.

Isn’t that what we love most about Jane Austen’s works?  What she didn’t say is as important as what she did.  It certainly has left the door wide open for debate amongst her readers and, to our greatest delight, fuelled the imaginations of so many that the publishing world cannot ignore it.

So now my ‘secret’ is out.  My closet existence as a JAFF writer is exposed to friends and family who never had a clue.

Yes, I’m a Darcyholic and I wouldn’t trade it for anything!


  1. Love it!! I have read it and am looking forward to sequels!

  2. I'm so glad you shared your story, Linda. I love your stories -- all of them. What an exciting thing to publish them! It will be interesting to see how you update them.

    All the best.

  3. Yay, another Star Trek fan in JA! So, which characters in Star Trek remind you of which JA characters

    1. June, that's something I've not given much thought. I'm not into crossover ideas to that extent but I'm sure most people would match Darcy with Spock's character, just because of the deeply hidden emotional base. Bingley might be a Scotty (all those beautiful women and his soft heart) and, well, that leaves Kirk as the lothario Wickham. Lol! Nobody else is as much of a rake as our dear James T. Kirk. Can you see Colonel Fitz as Dr. McCoy? Always the bridesmaid.. never the bride.

      Having said all that, let's cast Miss Bingley in Chekov's role (the tendency to claim credit for the Russians for every invention vaguely echoes her habit of making Darcy's every opinion something to be revered) and Lady Cat must be Gorgon, the Friendly Angel.

      How's that? :)

    2. Bingley as Scotty -- perfect! I might add Lizzy as Uhura -- bright, popular, can charm even Darcy/Spock. Am sniggering at Kirk as Lothario Wickham. Heh-heh!

  4. I love that film, I don't care at all that it's not entirely faithful to plot, the dresses are huge and of the wrong period and Greer Garson, although gorgeous, is about 15 years too old for the part. It's good fun and very romantic! I wonder if Colin Firth was cast with Olivier in mind, they look quite alike to me.

  5. Okay this definitely one book I think I would like to read especially because of the personalities of the characters! About the 1940 version of Pride and Prejudice - it is actually quite good but it has its own charming faults! I will look forward to reading "Reflections" since it sounds like my kind of book! I think you are another great Author to add to my growing list of excellent authors! I wish all luck with all future and present works!

  6. Thank you for your lovely comments, ladies! I am, indeed, very excited about all of this!

    The support from the JAFF community is incredible and I'm so thrilled to hear that readers are enjoying this new, slightly revised, version of Reflections. The two sequels will have much more added to them as I flesh out the Wickham/Lydia story in the second one and deal with some challenging technology discrepancies in the third.

    JAFF readers are the most amazing people! :)

  7. Another published author. Congratulations to Linda and thank you for adding another Austenesque title into the publishing world. I'll be on the lookout for your book.

    GFC follower: Lúthien84
    Blogging: http://forloveofausten.blogspot.com/2012/10/austenesque-book-giveaways-for-15-21.html
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  8. Congratulations Linda! Kirk as Wickham....LOL I'm looking forward to reading your book!