Today I am very excited to have Jan Hahn, author of The Secret Betrothal, here to answer some questions about herself and her new book. Thank you to Jakki of Leatherbound reviews for hosting the tour. :) Stay tuned for my review on the 14th.
Hello, Ms. Hahn! Welcome to Songs & Stories! Would you like a cup of tea? Or anything else?
Thank you so much for inviting me to visit with you. A cup of tea would be lovely.
Can you tell us a little about yourself and how you became an Austenesque author?
I am a widow, having been married many, many years to my Mr. Darcy. We were more than happy, and I have lots of good memories. In fact, there’s a special song from The King and I with which I strongly identify.
Hello, young lovers whoever you are Don’t cry young lovers, whatever you do
I hope your troubles are few Don’t cry because I’m alone
All my good wishes go with you tonight All of my memories are happy tonight
I’ve been in love like you. I’ve had a love of my own.
I have also been blessed with five children and seven beautiful grandchildren. After my dear husband suggested I quit the world of business and devote myself to writing (and to him), in 2002 I began creating stories based on Pride and Prejudice. The Republic of Pemberley opened my eyes to the possibility of sharing my creations online, and I posted on various Austen sites for several years until my first book, An Arranged Marriage, was published by Meryton Press in 2011.
What was your writing process for The Secret Betrothal?
The first edition of The Secret Betrothal was written and posted in 2003 and entitled The Engagement. I was never satisfied with it, and two years ago I decided to rewrite the story. I prefer writing in first person because of the intimacy it provides between the writer and the reader. This book, however, did not lend itself to that tense because Elizabeth could not be privy to certain pivotal scenes. I played around with writing it from three first person views ―those of Darcy, Elizabeth and Wickham―but after numerous drafts I decided that wasn’t going to work. I grew discouraged and put the project away for about six months. Some of my family and my good friend, Janet Taylor, would not let it be. Thus, with their poking and prodding, I finally sat down and rewrote the entire book. Can you see why it took two years?
I loved Elizabeth’s thoughts throughout her illicit relationship; she seemed to be at odds with herself for a time. Darcy had a similar, briefer and more intense battle later on. Were these inner struggles difficult to write?
Elizabeth’s struggles were somewhat difficult to write. The secrecy of her engagement went against her honest nature. She had never experienced romantic love for a man, and she questioned her feelings for Wickham. Then she struggled with her conviction that Wickham was the worthy man she had thought him to be when evidence of his bad behavior occurred time and again. Darcy’s inner struggles were not as hard to write. In fact, my favorite passage was the confrontation between Colonel Fitzwilliam and Darcy, and the intense battle Darcy waged with his pride.
Have you ever been at war with yourself?
Many times. When I began to fall in love with my husband, I fought it with everything I could because a previous love had broken my heart. That’s why I understood Darcy’s feelings. He thought there were valid reasons why he should not love Elizabeth, and yet there she was tugging at his heart.
Did you enjoy writing Darcy or Elizabeth more?
That’s impossible for me to answer because I love them both, and I especially enjoy writing scenes when they are together.
Most importantly, for this question has been plaguing me since I read The Secret Betrothal, where do Elizabeth’s shoes go when they disappear?
[Laughter] You tell me!
Three quick questions:
Mini-series or movie version of P&P?
If you could dance with any real-life Regency gentleman, who would it be?
Is Colin Firth considered real-life Regency? He’s my answer anyway.
High-heels or flats? (Speaking of shoes…)
I’m short, and Mr. Darcy is tall. I’d need the high-heels.
Thank you so much for stopping by! It was lovely meeting you. :)
Why would a gentleman ask a lady to conceal their betrothal?
Jane Austen writes of secret engagements in more than one of her novels, and in The Secret Betrothal, author Jan Hahn explores the question of what would happen if Austen’s most famous heroine from Pride and Prejudice reluctantly agrees to accept such a proposal.
When Fitzwilliam Darcy learns that Elizabeth Bennet has committed herself to such an arrangement, his hopes of winning her hand are shattered. After circumstances continue to bring the two together—from Hertfordshire to Rosings Park to the seaside town of Brighton―he finds he is unable to tame his desire for the woman who has stolen his heart.
Will Darcy’s efforts to win Elizabeth succeed, or will his sworn enemy lead her to the altar?
Jan Hahn left the world of business and plunged into her love for writing. She has created stories since childhood, spending hours entertaining friends with her tales. For years, she has been enlisted by various local organizations to write skits and dramas. Until recently, she recorded, edited, and published oral histories. Currently, she is working with her editor on The Journey, her second novel to be published in the fall. She is blessed to have five children and to have been married to her own Mr. Darcy until his death in 2008. She lives in Texas, but in her heart, she longs to spend a season in Derbyshire. An Arranged Marriage is her debut novel.