Monday, March 2, 2009

"Mr. & Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy" is off and running!

Now it is my turn to celebrate with my Casablanca sisters and our faithful visitors. It is fabulous to be able to share this experience with these wonderful authors. Plus, since they have been through it before, I can watch and learn! I have some thoughts to share and then I want to hear from you. I will be giving away a signed copy, so read on and be sure to comment!

Loving Them Sagas!

I think I was eight when my mom bought me the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I was captivated. Over and over I read those books, always wishing for more. I cried along with Laura when Jack the dog was lost in the rushing river, and cried again when he returned. I held my breath all during the Indian visitations. But I remember being equally enthralled learning how they made maple syrup and butchered the hog and harvested the wheat. Then there was “Little Women” and every other Louisa May Alcott novel. Growing up with the March girls was a pleasurable experience whether it was when Amy dramatically fell through the ice and almost died or when they were performing their silly plays. It was the sheer joy of experiencing a life that was so different from my own, learning of the past while becoming friends with these characters.

Serials have forever fascinated me. I suppose that is partially why I was drawn to fantasy. Thanks to Tolkien, fantasy writers seem destined to create trilogies at the very least and often way more. I love that because I never want to leave my favorite characters or worlds behind. I want to know as much about them as possible, no matter how trivial or mundane. And as much as I love the action, the sword fights or demon attacks, I am content to ride along as they gradually complete the mission.

Literature is abounding with serials, continuations, or even single books that recount the history of a family or group. I think of John Jakes’ Kent Family Chronicles or anything by Michener or Clavell. Howard Fast’s generational series is still a favorite, and Taylor Caldwell’s “Captains and the Kings” is one of the best examples of an individual novel that covers decades of one man’s life. In some cases there may be one overall conflict running throughout or the quest to save the world that they are striving to accomplish. But not always. By definition, a plot is not exclusively a single matter to resolve, but can involve numerous issues or even be thematic. A book can be just as relevant and legitimate if it rambles through one stage of life to the next with intriguing characters as it is if it has a main dilemma ending with an explosive climax.

My debut novel - Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy ~ Two Shall Become One – was conceived as a serial. The opening chapter of a leisurely, romantic, verisimilar tale of two people journeying through life. All the books included in The Darcy Saga are based on the desire to show how two people learn to be married, grow together, and evolve as they deal with the typical problems and activities of the era. I realize now that my life-long love affair with epic, continuation stories has affected me more than I thought! Thankfully, a multitude of readers have agreed with my philosophy, desiring the same for themselves, and better yet – Sourcebooks concurred!

Thus, today I am here to shout aloud: Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy is Launched!!

The official release day was March 1, but the truth is I have been in Target since late January and in Barnes & Noble for a couple weeks now. The sales figure reports are terrific so far, enough to convince Target to extend my time there and to put me in the Historical Romance Fiction top 40 on Amazon, so hopefully I will reach the stratosphere like the rocket in this photo! Only time will tell, but I am enjoying the ride wherever it goes.

Now that I have summarized the objective of my saga, what about the specifics regarding this book? Excellent question! So glad you asked! First off, I encourage anyone remotely interested to dash over to my website where I have page after page of information: The Darcy Saga. But here are a few brief answers……

Book One is set during the honeymoon phase, covering only the first 5 months of marriage between Elizabeth and Darcy. And here’s a shocker: They are happily married! *gasp* Yep, lots of sweet loving, enjoyment in being with each other, learning how to live together, the delight in mutual discovery, and so on. Darcy is in love with and kind to his wife and Lizzy is in love with and kind to her husband.

The pace for roughly half the novel is leisurely. No big surprises or wild adventures or major conflicts until the latter third. Again, this is on purpose. Lizzy is entering a whole new chapter as Mistress to a vast estate. Both of them are innocent as marital partners. I wanted to relate the daily and weekly freshness found in their new roles. I want the reader to relax, curl up in a comfy place, and smile as they immerse themselves into the pleasurable experience of young love.

The focus is very much Lizzy and Darcy. Additional people are gradually introduced, eventually a whole ballroom of them to wade through. But it is the Darcys’ tale, and it is their characters that I develop. We are at Pemberley the entire time and I intricately describe this backdrop. Setting the stage, detailing the lifestyle, and conveying the atmosphere was as important to me as cultivating the characters of our lovers.

I could go on and on – have been known to do so, matter of fact – but I’ll leave it there and encourage everyone to jet over to The Darcy Saga to glean more information. Plus, I am concluding my week long Launch Fete with a wealth of games, videos, excerpts, and a chance to win one of 5 signed books! It has been so fun and there are two days left to join in.

Lastly, to bring it back to the beginning point, Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy is the inaugural book to a series. One adventure follows the other, weeks flow into years, and people evolve as the business of happily-ever-after continues. “Loving Mr. Darcy ~ Journeys Beyond Pemberley” will be released in September followed by “The Darcys at Year’s End” in January of 2010. At least three more books are coming after that. So much to look forward to!

Do you like a good serial? I named a few of mine. Tell me about one that you particularly adored. And to extend the festivities - I will be giving away another signed book to one lucky commenter here at the Casablanca Authors blog! Hopefully I have enticed sufficiently! Share your thoughts, leave an email address for the drawing, and I’ll announce the winner on the 5th.

Oh, and don’t forget: Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy ~ Two Shall Become One can now be purchased EVERYWHERE! Whoo Hoo!!


  1. One of my favorite series is about the Bridgertons by Julia Quinn.

    Margay1122 (at) aol (dot) com

  2. Congratulations, Sharon!!!! So glad to hear the book is doing so well!! As for serials, I too loved the Laura Ingals books, the John Jakes series you mentioned as well as his North & South epic series, which I spent a whole summer reading when I was in college. Looking forward to getting your book in the mail this week!

  3. The Bridgerton series by Julian Quinn is also a favorite. I also liked very much Lisa Kleypas, Wallflower series.


  4. By far and away, my favorite series is Mary Stewart's Merlin trilogy, followed by The Lord of the Rings. Even after reading both of them numerous times, there are still places that give me goose bumps!
    Here's wishing you the best of luck with your Lizzy and Darcy series!

  5. How fabulous that the book is being so well received! You perfectly demonstrate my theory those who say we must "dumb down" to reach a large audience are wrong. Whether through lighthearted comedy or edge-of-the-seat suspence, or--in your case--romantic saga, romance readers are hungry for stories that address, intelligently, their relationship concerns.
    Good for you. You go, girl!

  6. I love Johanna Lindsay's Mallory Brothers.

    AND I am very much of fan of the Little House on the Prairie books, my favorite being a tie between On the Banks of Plum Creek and These Happy Golden Years.

    Congrats on your release.

  7. Congrats on the book, Sharon.

    As a kid I loved the Chronicles of Narnia--one of the few children's book I read. The series I love best now are Suzanne Brockmann's Trouble Shooters, Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series, and JD Robb's In Death series.

    Robin :)

  8. Ohhh, Robin, I totally forgot the In Death books, which I adore. They are the only books I buy in hard cover!

    (You guys--my dad is reading the ARC of LaFF sitting three feet from me. ACK! All I can think about are the naughty bits and that he is READING THEM! Sending out an SOS...)

  9. Heck yeah I love series and connected books and anything in between. Lauren Willig, Julia Quinn, the Wallflowers and Hathaways as already mentioned, Marianne Stillings. . . only ones the pooped brain can come up with.

    As a whole, I really do not read any authors (as of yet! LOL) that you must read one book before another (which is to me what you probably really mean by serial), but I'm anal with series and connected books, so I absolutely must read them in order! :)


  10. Good morning everyone! It is wonderful to see some new names saying hi.

    Margay, I keep hearing about Julia Quinn, so she is now on my must-read list. If I can just find the time I will definitely be adding the Bridgertons.

    Hi Marie!! I could have named everything by John Jakes. I just love him and probably learned more about American history that way than in a class! I hope you like my book. I am keeping my fingers crossed that I'll convert you to historical romance. :)

  11. Hi Seli! That is 2 for Julia Quinn now!

    Cheryl, I read Mary Stewart's series right after I read Tolkien. It not only firmly entrenched my feet into the fantasy genre, but I went on a long search for anything Arthurian. Love it all, but Stewart's are the best.

    Thank you Mary Margret. You are very sweet. And of course I totally agree with you! I have read nothing as yet that 'dumbs down' - I am sure it is out there, but then sometimes it can be a relief to read or watch something that takes minimal brain cells. But I certainly do not think that the norm in romance novels.

  12. Thanks for commenting Amy. I have never heard of Johanna Lindsay, so thanks for the recommendation.

    Hi Robin! Yes, I love the Chronicles of Narnia. A huge fav around our household. The others are new to me as well - I am learning so much today already!

    Hi Lois! Yeah, I do see what you mean about serials. It can be annoying. For me it has often been the lengthy waiting for the next one in line, especially in the fantasy realm where you really are dying to know how they save the day. But then when you do finally read it, all that anticipation adds to the thrill.

  13. CONGRATS, Sharon!!! On the launch, the Top 40 ranking and at least 3 more books! Woo hoo!!!

    My favorite series? I'm going with Margay - Julia Quinn's Bridgerton series. There were so many of them, they spawned Mrs. Whistledown, and I was so bummed they were over.

  14. My book budget died over Christmas, but I've seen your book, and picked it up, in Target, so one day... Meanwhile, congratulations! And thanks for reminded me of the joys of reading series when I was a kid.

  15. YAY Sharon!!!
    Super CONGRATS on your official launch of Mr.& Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy!

    I remember my 4th grade teacher reading the Little House books to us, and I glommed onto every one over the summer. My other favorite series as a child was the Black Stallion books of Walter Farley. As a horse crazy kid, I loved those! Also LOTR, which I have read so many times I've lost count, and Mary Stewart's Merlin books.

    More current series I can't WAIT for a new addition include Janet E's Stephanie Plum, Nora's In Death, and Diana Gabaldon's Outlander books.

    Looking forward to reading your book when I emerge from the writing cave.


  16. Hi Sharon! A big congrats on the book...sounds like you're off like a shot! Wonderful:-) I absolutely love Pride & Prejudice, so I'm happy to see you're taking us further along in Darcy and Lizzy's journey. We're all rooting for you, and them!

    Series-wise, I'm a big fan of Tolkien too. And I pre-ordered each new Harry Potter as it came along...that's still one of my favorite worlds to lose myself in! Romance-wise, lots of the Nora Roberts paranormal trilogies, and DEFINITELY Lisa Kleypas' Wallflowers!

  17. Hi Judi, Cindy, and Kendra! Always so wonderful to hear from you and I soooo appreciate the support.

    Of course Harry Potter is a big one of mine. And I will go ahead and beat someone to it an name The Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer. I never knew Nora Roberts wrote so many serial type novels. Very cool. I adore Diana Gabaldon as I think I have mentioned before. A very good example of what I am trying to do with the Darcys, although with a bit less intrigue and trauma. And no time travel. :)

    Sheila, Thanks for buying my book! I do hope you like it. You must tell me so when life allows you to read it. LOL! That I can totally relate to. :)

  18. I think my first experience with a family epic was a series of books written by Elsweth Thane in the 1930's about a family member that came from England. They were my grandmothers and they were well read by her and later, by me. Thane brings the family from pre Revolutionary War up through both World Wars. Rich in the history of times. Grandma had another author in her library I enjoyed reading as a kid, Gwen Bristol who was similar. I love history, as did my dad, so I read his John Jakes’ Kent Family Chronicles and loved it too.

    I loved Anne McCafferty's Pern series and it's still my favorite as is the Roselyne Chronicles by Roberta Gellis, the early books by Jude Deveraux. My sister and I love the Bridgertons. Christine Feehan did it well with her Carpathians. These are the books I go back and read many times. I love the connections and changes over the years to families.

    I like the premise of your series and intend to read it. Ten years from now, there will be others who name yours as a favorite series…

  19. I also loved the Laura Ingalls Wilde series. Another series I just finished and enjoyed was the Dakota series by Debbie Macomber.

    Thanks for the great giveaway

    msboatgal at aol dot com

  20. Recently, I enjoyed reading the O'Malley Series by Dee Henderson. The books intrigued me! When I was younger I liked the Saddle Club by Bonnie Bryant. I still haven't gotten over horses!