An Author's Love For Darcy: Jeanna Ellsworth
(Continuing our Month Long Celebration of "All For The Love Of Darcy", I am happy to welcome Jeanne Ellsworth to Darcyholic Diversions today! She is giving away a copy of her book, Mr. Darcy's Promise after it's release (July), so be sure and leave a comment here. As well as all the other regular things, liking her author page will give you an additional entry to this contest as well as to the Grand Prize for the Anniversary Month Kindle Give away. Visit HERE for a chance to win the Kindle and eBooks by some of your favorite JAFF authors.)
I am thrilled to have this opportunity to introduce myself and explain how I got started writing JAFF. It all started a little over a year ago when my sister, KaraLynne Mackrory, had a dream about Darcy and Elizabeth. It prompted her to write a book, which she sent to me chapter by chapter, for my loyal, sisterly opinion. I couldn’t get enough of it, and hated to wait for each blessed, but cursed email containing the next (and only one) chapter. I was impatient for more, so in the meantime she suggested I read Jan Hahn’s An Arranged Marriage, then she referred me to all of Kara Louise’s works. I was so enthralled that I asked her for other suggestions. She directed me to www.Meryton.com, and pointed out a few other stories that she liked. All the while I read and adored her book, Falling for Mr. Darcy, as the chapters trickled in. So this process went on for a month until I started recognizing this insatiable thirst for each new plot, each new crisis, and each new path Darcy and Elizabeth would take to fall in love. I had just celebrated the one year anniversary of my divorce, and was doing the single working mom thing; working 36-48 hours a week as a nurse, but still found time to read. My sister was published by Meryton Press, which I had no doubt of, but that just left me to seek out other stories. So from January to April I read over 50 published JAFF books, as well as the ones I devoured on Meryton.com/A Happy Assembly. I would have three books lined up or on my wish list, sometimes reading an entire book in one day.
Now, when a single, celibate woman starts having dreams at night about a fictional man, and hearing the voices of 200 year old fictional characters in her head when awake, or seeing entire conversations or scenes play out as she is driving kids to school, one should question her sanity. I knew then I was a little obsessed. Hooked. Preoccupied. Fanatical. Fixated. Infatuated. Possessed. I had plot ideas coming to me everywhere, in every situation, and in every conversation. Finally I called my sister and asked what I should do about it. She suggested I write a plot outline. So I did. Then she encouraged me to write the first chapter. So I did. I thought I had come to terms with the fact that I had been obsessed with reading JAFF, but I learned what true obsession was when I began my own writing. I wrote in every spare moment I had. I didn’t watch a bit of T.V., wrote on public transit on the hour commute to and from work, wrote late into the night, and I don’t doubt it, but I probably wrote in my sleep. I would send my chapters to KaraLynne to edit and give Regency accuracy to it and to edit out my modern language. In what felt like a lightning-fast two months, I had finished Mr. Darcy’s Promise. A book where Darcy makes an honorable promise to Elizabeth in an attempt to comfort her, but soon learns that his promise is nearly impossible for him to keep, and becomes somewhat vexing for Elizabeth as they fall in love. There were moments where I cried as I wrote. Laughed as I typed. Swooned as I edited. I was completely in love all over again, this time for keeps. I was in love with Darcy, with Elizabeth, and with the creative outlet of writing. I still have a voicemail I refuse to delete from my sister Donna, who also receiving my chapter updates, and in it she said such wonderful things about my book and it kept me motivated. So I wrote Mr. Darcy’s Promise in two months, fully neglecting to do any deep cleaning for that entire time. I did however pay my daughters to do the toilets. You can’t neglect your toilets. I suppose it is possible, but not suggested.
I don’t remember reading Jane Austen in high school but I do remember reading her works in my early adulthood. I owned the 2005 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, so I was a fan, just not a stalker. I completely owe my love of JAFF to Falling for Mr. Darcy and my sister, KaraLynne Mackrory, as well as her patience with me as I delved into the writing world. Of course, as soon as I had finished Mr. Darcy’s Promise, I had the same difficulties as before. I had plots and ideas coming at me from all directions, but it wasn’t until a thwarted attempt to take a nap before a night shift when the idea for Pride and Persistence came to me. I am a Neurological ICU nurse, so I deal with head traumas, major strokes, aneurisms, tumors, brain surgeries, etc. every day I work. There are certain patients that zap your patience faster than anything because they are so confused but yet have few physical limitations; patients with frontal lobe injuries. The frontal lobe is where complex thought, emotion, reasoning, memory, and personality are stored. I imagined how funny it would be if Darcy lacked all of these qualities. What if he hit his head after his first proposal, and forgot that he had proposed, and had already been angrily rejected? What if his memory continued to fail him for days and so he repeatedly sought after the one thing his mind was perseverating on; winning Elizabeth’s hand? That epiphany of a “what if” scenario made for a light, humorous journey of writing yet another lovely tale about my favorite couple. I did take a little longer to write the second book, 3 ½ months in fact, because I decided I couldn’t neglect my household deep cleaning (like my showers….gross), and paying my daughters to clean the toilets was getting expensive.
So you might be asking, what now? I have uploaded my books to Meryton.com/A Happy Assembly and have received good reviews, which has motivated me to get them published. I just hired a fantastic editor (a senior in her PhD creative writing program!) for Mr. Darcy’s Promise so the process of getting it self-published is officially in the works! I plan on having it ready to buy in late July! I have submitted Pride and Persistence to four different traditional publishers but I suspect I will chose to self-publish it as well. I have created a company, Hey Lady Publications, and a website for those who are interested in reading the first chapter of each of my books. You can find it at www.heyladypublications.com. Although self-publishing my first two books will take a great deal of time, I am already working on the a third book, since once again, I am afflicted with ideas invading both my waking and sleeping mind. This one occurs before Darcy even comes to Hertfordshire. The Gardiner’s inherit an estate outside of Lambton, so Elizabeth and Darcy meet that way and they get off to a much better start, (no comments made at assemblies about how Elizabeth is not handsome enough to tempt Darcy, leading to a little less pride and a little less prejudice.) But no matter what book I am currently editing, or in what stage I am working on it, I am thrilled to say that I am in for the long haul, and I am loving the ride! I have never been so addicted to anything before, and as Barbara Tiller Cole says, “I don’t want a cure”.