Give us the one to two sentence tagline for your book.
For Charlotte Lucas and William Collins, it was just a marriage of convenience…or was it?
What surprised you the most while writing this book?
How hard it is to write a historical novel! There were so many things I discovered I needed to research, everything from what a Regency wedding might entail, to what kind of expressions and slang they might use, to what types of carriages they rode in. Elevating the language also came as a surprising challenge. Our manner of speech today is so casual and simple, compared with how people spoke 200 years ago. Every sentence had to be made more complex, and if it came down to two synonyms, I found it was always better to pick the more elegant-sounding one. Immersing myself in re-reading Jane Austen novels helped, so I could get a feel for her way of writing and attempt to mimic it to some degree.
Why did you pick the setting you used for your book?
I chose to explore two of the minor characters from Pride and Prejudice who I feel are often misunderstood. Mr. Collins is usually painted as a ridiculous bore, and Charlotte Lucas as a pragmatic opportunist. I wanted to show the reader other sides of these characters besides these flaws. Also, most fanfiction writers can only see these two in an unhappy marriage, one that usually ends in an affair or the convenient death of Mr. Collins. I aimed to give Charlotte and William Collins the happy ending they deserve.
What is the sexiest trait of your hero?
Admittedly, William is not what most people would consider “sexy”, but there are moments when his deep love for Charlotte and his courage are displayed, and these, along with his sweetness and awkwardness, make him endearing. Charlotte, also, is someone who has always been considered plain, but in William’s eyes, she is like a goddess. Her kindness, compassion, and determination make her a loveable character.
What is your favorite scene/moment in your book?
The scene where William reenacts a passage from the Song of Solomon while reading it to his wife and she confesses her feelings. It’s one of the most tender and romantic parts of the whole book.
What scene did you have to cut but wish could have been included?
I originally had a scene where William accidentally used the word “intercourse” during a sermon in a very funny way. It was directly taken from the 2005 movie version of Pride and Prejudice, and so I had to cut it to avoid plagiarizing that adaptation.
Tropes get a bad name, but they’re often the biggest draw for readers. What tropes do you love to write and read?
For some reason, I’m drawn to marriage of convenience or arranged marriage stories where the couple ends up falling in love after the wedding. Perhaps it’s because they seem so atypical compared to many romances where the wedding only takes place at the end when the couple realizes their love.
What are your favorite genres/sub-genres to write in? Are there any you love to read but cannot write in?
I love to write Regency historical fiction, especially Jane Austen variations. I am fascinated by steampunk sci-fi and fantasy, but I don’t have the guts to try writing it yet!
Which do you love to write best: dialogue, setting, action, love scenes, or other?
Dialogue comes easiest to me. Maybe because I like talking so much myself, it feels natural to give my characters conversations. When it comes to summarizing a conversation or writing it out as dialogue, I’m more likely to write it out.
Which do you hate to write: dialogue, setting, action, love scenes, or other?
Action scenes are hard to write; it’s difficult to pack in all the details that would give the reader a true sense of the energy of that moment and to draw it out in length to fill that space. Most action scenes could be written in very few sentences, but the reader would miss the intensity of the scene.
Marriage and Ministry: a Pride and Prejudice Novel
Charlotte is a single woman who’s been “stuck on the shelf”. William is visiting town solely to pick out a suitable wife. Seizing the opportunity just days after they meet, they agree to wed. Their marriage of convenience soon grows into something more, but can it survive when Charlotte’s ministry to a group of fallen women splits their parish community and sets them against each other? Set within the timeline of Jane Austen’s beloved classic, this Pride and Prejudice fan fiction is told through the eyes of Charlotte Lucas, a devoted Christian, and William Collins, a minister whose shallow faith runs contrary to the deeply rooted values his new bride holds. Against a backdrop of prejudice, religious hypocrisy, and moral vice, it will take compassion, love, and the power of faith to rescue Charlotte’s prostitute friends from the grip of their evil employer and restore happiness to Charlotte and William in their Marriage and Ministry.
An Excerpt from Marriage and Ministry: a Pride and Prejudice Novel
I was just returning from making my parish rounds when I saw Lady Catherine’s barouche in the yard. Not wanting to waste a moment, I hurried to the door. I hoped her great condescension meant she was over the ordeal of Charlotte’s scandal and ready to put the past behind us. I greeted her as warmly as ever. “Why Lady Catherine, what an utmost pleasure it is to see you today!”
Lady Catherine coldly ordered me to sit down. As I obeyed, my body was a basket of nerves. Something must be horribly amiss. I dared hope it might at least be something unconnected to Charlotte’s friend. I was wrong.
“Mr. Collins,” Lady Catherine began. “Upon your previous assurance that your wife would countenance no further communication with that filthy harlot, I was under the impression this whole dreadful affair concerning them was over.”
“Is it not?” I squeaked.
“Perhaps you are unaware then- or at least I fondly hope you are innocent of the knowledge- that your wife continues to meet with not one, but four women of this character, in your very own house, no less!” she said with a glare towards Charlotte.
I looked to my wife in shock. The truth was written for all to see. I was speechless, but I thought, Charlotte, how could you betray me with this deception? Had I known, I could have put a stop to this before her ladyship found out.