How I Wrote Who Needs Mr Darcy?
I once heard an agent say that there was no female equivalent of the picaresque novel –those tales of men in former times having adventures everywhere, swashing their buckles and wowing the ladies. There were obvious reasons for this. Women did not get about very much in past eras and their behaviour was circumscribed.
Nevertheless, some were able to defy custom. Leaving aside female pirates and those possibly mythical Amazons, I wanted a heroine from literature. Becky Sharpe from Vanity Fair would not do because by the end of the novel she is middle aged and retiring to Bath. I needed a heroine with longevity –it had to be one of the Bennet sisters. Who else but Lydia? When you make a runaway marriage with an unsuitable man at the age of sixteen, things can only get worse.
And so The Bad Miss Bennet was born, also known as Who Needs Mr Darcy? Having killed off Mr Wickham at Waterloo, I gave Lydia plenty of scope for adventures in various parts of the world, in which she grows older but not a great deal wiser. She follows her hero Lord Byron to Venice, becomes embroiled with a dashing Austrian Count…and eventually… but you need to read the book!
Of course, she continues to annoy Mr Darcy considerably especially when she turns up at Pemberley needing money.
Everyone has an Austen fantasy and this is mine.
How I Wrote The Bad Miss Bennet Abroad
The sequel takes up where the first book ended. Lydia is en route to Brazil as a lady-in-waiting to an Austrian princess. After a very long sea voyage she joins the highly eccentric Portuguese court in Rio where she attracts the attention of the heir to the throne, Dom Pedro.
After many adventures and a banishment to the seaside paradise of Paraty (not quite as idyllic as it sounds) she leaves Brazil for England and during a stopover in Jamaica meets the plantation owner who becomes her second husband- a shipboard wedding.
Eventually they arrive back at Pemberley where Lydia’s new husband does not endear himself to Mr. Darcy (due to some very bad habits).
Things go from bad to worse and there is an unexpected twist in the tale…but you need to read the book!
How I wrote Vagabond Shoes
You are never too old for a gap year and this book relates my year as “the world’s oldest backpacker” -my daughter’s description. I wanted to channel the Victorian lady explorers who were so intrepid and who wrote some very amusing accounts of their expeditions (often unintentionally).
I jumped from Europe to India to the Caucasus to Latin America and California…it’s all here!
Free short story
Download the vampire short story of mine in PDF format which appeared on the Bloodlust website.