Dear Ms. Reynolds,
It is very kind of you to agree to answer my enquiries as to your versions of my Adventures. My husband has some concerns as to your revelations of his Private Feelings, but I personally find it comforting to know that I am not the only one who appreciates his more Amiable Qualities. I think he believes it to be somewhat Demeaning to his Masculine Pride that he has anything in the way of Tender Emotions. (He still has his occasional Moments of Pigheadedness, but I am working on that.) Well, without Further Ado, here are the questions that have been plaguing my Curiosity.
Do your writings proceed from the impulse of the moment, or are they the result of previous study?
In this case it is both, as I have previously studied Miss Austen’s version of your Adventures in great detail, but my own spring from the impulse of the moment (especially for Impulse & Initiative). A thought will come to me and it will be as if I hear your voice telling me what to write.
Which of your portrayals of my character do you consider to be the most accurate? I hear such different accounts of myself as to puzzle me exceedingly.
Indeed you must be quite puzzled, since I pride myself in finding new aspects of your personality to explore in each of my books. It is, after all, your own fault for having such depth of character! I am particularly fond of your characterization in To Conquer Mr. Darcy/Impulse & Initiative for your wit, charm, and willingness to explore the unknown. It is your characterization in Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy: The Last Man in the World which often provokes the most comment, usually from readers who claim melancholia would be foreign to your nature. However, since Miss Austen describes two separate periods of extended melancholia, first when your spirits were low for some time after you received Mr. Darcy’s letter at Hunsford, and secondly when you thought you might never see him again after Lydia’s elopement, a sorrow which caused you as many sleepless nights as your sister’s unfortunate situation.
Are you in love with my husband? I assure you that I would have the utmost sympathy if you are, it is a remarkably easy state in which to find one's self.
It is, indeed, remarkably easy to love your husband, and I can say this from the vantage point of being married to a gentleman very similar to him in temperament and character, though, alas, somewhat less well-heeled.
Are you by any chance a relation of the invaluable Mrs. Reynolds, housekeeper of Pemberley?
I cannot claim such an honor, although I did choose to borrow her name for my pen name. Unfortunately, in this modern age it is no longer possible to publish a book as “By a Lady” so we are forced to greater lengths of subterfuge.
How did you begin your career as my chronicler? I can comprehend your going on charmingly when you had once made a beginning; but what could set you off in the first place?
As others have said, I was in the middle of it before I knew I had begun. I was a voracious reader of other chroniclers of your adventures. When I reached the end of the available chronicles (this being in 2001, when such a thing was still possible owing to the limited availability), I had no choice but to write one of my own.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that an author in possession of a published work must be in want of another. If I may ask, what scandalous new adventures are you penning at the present?
I am currently exploring what might have happened had you refused to read Mr. Darcy’s letter, as many young ladies might have done given the risk involved with a single lady reading a letter from a single gentleman. Having explored the option, I must say that you made a wise choice in flouting convention to read it. The title, naturally, will be Mr. Darcy’s Letter. As for scandalous adventures, why, you could do no better than to read my novella “The Most Natural Thing”, which can be found in my new volume of short stories, A Pemberley Medley. Once I complete these projects, there are three possible stories I may pursue. In one of them, you are stranded with Mr. Darcy in the midst of a flood, and in another, Mr. Darcy has the misfortune not to arrive at Ramsgate in time to halt Miss Darcy’s elopement with Mr. Wickham.
Have you ever considered continuing my story beyond the initial matrimonial bliss of my marriage to Fitzwilliam? There were many hints left in Mr. Darcy's Obsession that I am sure your devoted readers would love to know the truth of.
That is the third book I am considering. You and Mr. Darcy live through such changing times that events must occur even in the most blissful of marriages. Such a book would explore what happens to Miss Darcy and to her friend and cousin Mary, and the gentlemen who court them.
Are there any other literary figures that have especially caught your attention?
Of late I have heard Captain Wentworth whispering in my ear, and it may come to pass that I will write a book about him. It is hard, though, for any character to live up to the level of interest provided by you and your husband!
I thank you for honoring me with your questions!
Dear Ms. Reynolds,
I thank you for answering my questions in such a concise and illuminating fashion. I am now convinced that I am one of those Fortunate Beings who has a most Imaginative Chronicler. Mrs. Reynolds was quite flattered by your compliment and turned a lovely shade of rose when I informed her of it. Fitzwilliam seemed quite reassured as to your intentions and (somewhat grumpily) conceded that if someone had to pry about in our private affairs, you were more acceptable than most. I look forward to your upcoming portrayals of myself and my family with great anticipation.
Mrs. Elizabeth Darcy
Ms. Reynolds and her publisher, Sourcebooks, are offering a copy of What Would Mr. Darcy Do? and an e-book of A Pemberley Medley to two fortunate personages. To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment with something nice for Ms. Reynolds and your e-mail address. If you like, you can also say which book you would prefer, but I cannot guarantee that it will be the one you win.
For one extra entry, please spread the word and leave a link in your comment.
This giveaway runs through June 10th.