What ever happened to Charlotte Lucas after she married Mr. Collins?
That question has now been answered in the Novel: Charlotte Collins: A Continuation of Pride and Prejudice!
Please welcome Author…
to my Austenesque Authors blog page! 🙂
I chose to write about Charlotte for two reasons: because I could relate to her and because I wondered what happened to her after ‘Pride and Prejudice‘ ended. As much as I would like to think of myself as a Lizzie, I certainly have some Charlotte-like qualities. Charlotte was a good, obedient daughter, and she sought to please her family in all her actions and choices, even those that might lead to her own unhappiness. And though I doubt I would have married someone as silly as Mr. Collins, I could understand why she did it. I wanted to know if Charlotte ever got to experience true love, as I’d always hoped she would.
I agree with you! In you next novel, you have chosen another Jane Austen character: Caroline Bingley. What is the premise of the book?
At the end of Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen tells us that “Miss Bingley was very deeply mortified by Darcy‘s marriage,” and I wondered how she might attempt to salvage her pride, attain her goal of marrying a wealthy gentleman, and still retain her invitation to Pemberley. In my sequel, Charles Bingley removes Caroline from his household and sends her back to their mother’s home in the north of England in an attempt to ease tensions and to allow his new bride to take over the housekeeping duties. Greatly displeased at having been sent away, Caroline, who refuses to apologize for any wrongs she committed, must find a way to return to her former privileged status. Upon arriving in Kendal and becoming reacquainted with Mr. Charlton, whom she finds will now inherit a barony, Caroline formulates her plan: to marry the baron and to return to her former companions with a title. This, she believes, will salvage her pride and secure her welcome in any great house in England, Pemberley included. Will Caroline’s plan work, or will she learn that there is something more important than climbing the ladder of society?
Interesting! Will Caroline be of the same characteristics as she was in ‘Pride and Prejudice’?
It is intimidating to attempt to write a beloved Austen character, especially when everyone’s interpretation will not be the same as mine. One of my goals in writing any of Austen’s characters is to remain as true as possible to author’s original intention for them, but at the same time, it is important for them to be allowed to grow and change as a result of what has happened in their lives.
Caroline especially has received rather harsh treatment in many Austen sequels, and while I agree that she was certainly an antagonist and an unkind woman, I did not view her as an evil villainess. I have endeavored to make Caroline the same creature we knew in ‘Pride and Prejudice’, but I also hope to bring out some of her motivations and hidden desires. ‘Caroline Bingley’ will be released on July 15, 2011!
Would you like to write a novel outside of the Jane Austen genre?
Yes, absolutely. I entered the Jane Austen sequel market quite by accident. I had slaved over a literary novel for years, and when I finally completed it, it was a disaster. I was discouraged, but after reading about a high-velocity approach to novel-writing, I decided to give it a try. And I wanted to write something fun. So I chose to write Charlotte’s story. I never had any aspirations to publish it; I just wrote it for the pure joy of doing so. After sharing it with some of my family and a friend who is a published author, I was encouraged to submit it for publication.
I did so and was told that, even though it was well-written, sequels about minor characters do not sell; however, if I could prove a market existed by selling 1,000 copies of a self-published edition, they would reconsider. I took up the challenge, sold 1,000 copies in a little more than 4 months, and resubmitted the manuscript, which was again rejected on the basis that it would not sell. Well, this book that would not sell has, in fact, sold more than 3,000 copies at this time. Caroline Bingley* was written as a thank-you for all those who read Charlotte Collins; if it had not been for Charlotte, I would not have learned about the changes coming to the publishing industry and the growing independent publishing movement. All that to say: I am releasing my first thriller due this summer.
Did you always want to be a Writer?
Since childhood, I’ve had a great affinity for books, and after my mother read ‘Anne of Green Gables‘ by L. M. Montgomery to me for the first time, I knew I wanted to be a writer. I did not write much fiction in high school or college, but I always enjoyed writing essays. (I know, I’m odd.) But the dream of writing and publishing a novel remained strong within me. After I graduated from college, I took a job as a copy-editor, and ten years ago, I started my own freelance editing and writing business. Since then, I’ve written four novels.
Is there any advice you could share with us up-and-coming writers?
If I could offer only one piece of advice, I would tell aspiring writers not to give up. Never give up. Novel-writing is hard work, and it can become disheartening. Keep reading, writing, and learning, and if you keep it up, you will be a published writer sooner than you think.
Thank you Jennifer! One last question…if you could speak to Jane Austen today, what would ask her?
If I had the honor of speaking with Miss Austen today, I would have to ask where I ought to send the check. I am indebted to Jane Austen for the creation of such wonderful characters, and if she were alive today and her works were under copyright, I would owe her a great sum indeed. As it is, I owe her my thanks for the many hours of reading pleasure and the moments of inspiration her writing has brought me.
Thank you Jennifer for this great interview! Thank you for sharing your thoughts and your aspirations. I know Jane Austen would be proud too! My readers and I look forward to your upcoming literary works!
About the Author:
Jennifer studied at Mercer University, where she earned a bachelor of arts in Christianity and French, majors that emphasized research, writing, and literature. She is next writing a thriller, the first of which will be released in summer 2011, under the pseudo-pseudonym J. W. Becton. She is also coauthoring a book on overcoming horseback riding fear with Laura Daley.
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