I live in southern New Hampshire with my husband, son, and daughter, and my neurotic (half black lab/half greyhound) dog, Poseidon. I attended Boston College where I earned a B.A. and then a M.A. in history. I received my J.D. from Harvard Law School. I presently work as an attorney in Boston. I am an avid bicyclist. I love movies, the Red Sox, and travel.
Your newest book is called Mr. Darcy and the Secret of Becoming a Gentleman; can you tell me what it is about?
In Pride & Prejudice, the evolution of Fitzwilliam Darcy from an aloof man unable to understand his emotions to a gentleman worthy of Elizabeth Bennett’s love occurs primarily out of the reader’s view. My novel Mr. Darcy and the Secret of Becoming a Gentleman allows the reader to explore his unseen heart, his struggle to understand Elizabeth’s rejection, and his determination to win her regard despite his previous failings.
Mr. Darcy is my favorite because he has is so steadfast. His good qualities aren’t really apparent at first but you eventually come to respect him and then love him. He is smart, loyal, and if you listen very carefully, funny in a wry sort of way. Moreover, unlike most people, he has the capacity to change. He seems so self assured and even arrogant, but in the end, he has enough courage to humble himself in order to reassess his behavior. That sort of mix self-awareness and confidence is rare to find and very appealing to me.
Elizabeth Bennett, of course. She’s smart, witty, kind, thoughtful, well read, and occasionally petty and stubborn– what is not to love about her. I know Jane Austen once said that she thought her “as delightful a creature as ever appeared in print” and I agree. Her family situation is not ideal but there is real affection there. Each member of the Bennett family has both virtues and flaws and as a result, they all seem very real to me. I can therefore imagine what it would be like to live at Longbourne and imagine I would be as alternately happy and exasperated as Elizabeth is. Besides, wouldn’t I eventually get to marry Mr. Darcy and move to Pemberley.
I am working on two new variations. One explores a darker version of Pride & Prejudice where Mr. Darcy is not able to find Wickham or force him to marry Lydia. It has less traditional elements than other variations and focuses on how harsh it was for a woman to live in regency England. The other is a more traditional variation based on a short story I previously published on the internet. I alternately work on them depending on whether I am in a dark or light mood.
Sit down and write every day. As you write, keep track of your plot as it unfolds temporally and then go back and reexamine each character’s motives and separate journey to ensure each person in the story has full and logical “life” of their own. Each day you write, go back and edit what you wrote the day before. Try not to use the same adjective more than once in a chapter. Write for yourself and then worry about how you get published afterwards.
If you are interested in Maria’s writing style, she has two Pride & Prejudice short stories available on the internet at http://www.austeninterlude.org/maria/maria.html
Elizabeth’s family and friends misunderstand his intentions, and being in Elizabeth’s presence proves to be both excruciating for the shy Darcy-and a dream come true. For the first time in his life, he must please a woman worth having, and the transformation leads him to a depth of understanding and love that he never could have imagined.