Guest blog by Mary Lydon Simonsen, author of Mr. Darcy's Bite
Hi Keira. It’s good to be back at Love Romance Passion. In setting up this guest post, you mentioned that I love writing about history and that I’m pretty finicky about getting my historical facts right. Correct on both points.
Your question: How did you feel about adding elements of pure supernatural fantasy to Pride and Prejudice? What was easy/hard about it?
First, let me tell you how it was that I came to write a werewolf story. For two years, I was a contributor and reader of stories on A Happy Assembly, a Jane Austen fan fiction site. A contributor posted a werewolf story that was getting hundreds of hits and dozens of comments every time a chapter went up. Although I had never read a paranormal story, I was drawn in by the sinister atmosphere the author had created. Because Halloween was just around the corner, as a goof, I decided to write a short story called “Mr. Darcy on the Eve of All Saints’ Day” about a werewolf. The reception was so great that I expanded it to a full-length novel.
As mentioned, I love reading history and writing historical fiction, so, naturally, I had to research werewolves. But when I learned that these creatures of the night dined on exhumed corpses, I decided that, in this case, I was going to write my own history. I just could not imagine Jane Austen’s Mr. Darcy visiting local cemeteries for reasons other than paying his respects.
Completely liberated from the shackles of being historically accurate, I went down my own path—werewolf wise. My intent was to write a love story about Darcy and Elizabeth, one in which Mr. Darcy just happens to be a werewolf. Of course, there were difficulties because what is more complicated than Elizabeth finding out that the man she loves grows fur, fangs, and a bushy tail and roams the woods of Pemberley’s for two days in every moon cycle?
It was easier to write the story than I thought it would be, and that is because I love wolves. I once spent a half hour watching a wolf in Yellowstone National Park trying to catch field mice. He was a determined critter, but on this day, the mice won. Here in Arizona, we successfully reintroduced Mexican wolves into the White Mountains. But people of the Middle Ages did not share my admiration for lupines. By the time of Alfred the Great (circa 900), wolves had been completely eradicated from England, and possibly, the whole of the British Isles. Considering my love of wolves, it seemed appropriate for me to reintroduce, not only wolves to England, but werewolves as well.
Here is the set-up for the story: Mr. Darcy had been calling on Elizabeth Bennet for six months. Although a proposal was expected, Darcy did not make an offer because he was unsure if Elizabeth could accept his dual nature. When he invites her to Pemberley, she must decide if she can love a man who is part beast, and if she does, she must understand that she will always be looking over her shoulder in order to protect the man she loves from those who would harm him. To thicken the plot, there is danger of exposure as well as another woman vying for his affections. Doesn’t that sound interesting? I hope you will want to find out and read Mr. Darcy's Bite.
So what would you say if Mr. Darcy made you an offer of marriage and then revealed that he was a werewolf? I know what I’d say.