It is a tremendous pleasure to welcome my pal and fellow Austen Author Brenda J Webb. Brenda came into my life at a time I was feeling especially alone and betrayed. She gave her friendship selflessly, her honesty and sincere support a soothing balm when I desperately needed it. Now we are working together on Austen Authors, and it is MAH-velous!
Before my obsession with all things Jane Austen, I worked as an administrative assistant to the president of a CPA firm. Since leaving that industry, I enjoy spending time with my family and indulging my love of storytelling.
Born on a farm in Cullman, Alabama, I proudly admit to being a country girl, and after years of living in the city, I have finally achieved my dream of moving back to the country. My husband and I now reside on a three acre mini-farm, sporting chickens and numerous rescued dogs and cats.
Always a voracious reader, I rediscovered Jane Austen books after watching the 2005 Pride and Prejudice movie. Searching for everything relating to Miss Austen, I eventually stumbled into the world of Jane Austen fan fiction. After reading other people’s stories, I decided to try my hand at writing a tale that kept coming to mind. I began posting that story online, and by November of 2010, started my own forum, DarcyandLizzy.com. Several of my friends insisted that I publish my story and in April 2011, Fitzwilliam Darcy an Honourable Man became available on Amazon.com.
It was followed by Mr. Darcy’s Forbidden Love in December 2012, and Darcy and Elizabeth, A Most Unlikely Couple in November 2014.
~ An Interview with Brenda Webb ~
Q – What were you like as a youngster? Tell us about where you grew up. Share a favorite childhood memory. Which high school group did you fit in to?
A – Actually, I was a very shy but responsible child. My older sister was carefree and my younger brother was spoiled, so I was the one my parents counted on to handle everything while they worked.
I was born on a farm, but we moved to a very small town, reminiscent of Mayberry, when I began first grade. It was an idyllic time to be a child, and my friends and I spent the entire day roaming all over town and the outlying countryside. As long as we got home by dark, we were not in trouble. That was a time when doors were never locked, people were basically good and everyone looked out for their neighbors.
In high school I was in the middle/average student. At that point, I began to enjoy getting good grades and was often criticized for being too studious. Rather than try to fit in with the ‘popular’ crowd, I usually sought out the least popular person in my classes and befriended them.
You are forced to live on a desert island for six months. Food and bare survival equipment will be provided but that is all. You can take one person and five items to relieve the boredom and enhance the experience. Who is the person and what are the items? Why?
My husband. We are like two sides of the same coin and I would miss him. For the items, I am tempted to name five books because I love to read. Most definitely I would want my Bible, my animals (can they count as one?), games/cards, and if we have electricity, a short-wave radio, and my laptop. If there is no electricity, I would bring my entire JAFF library hidden in one bag!
If you could rewrite any classic novel, and change a plot point or the ending to suit you, what would it be and what would you change?
Dr. Zhivago. I would change the ending so that when Zhivago gets off the bus, he catches up with Lara. Even if he were to die shortly after, I would have loved for them to meet once more.
Do you have any particular talents? Anything outside of the norm? Any other artistic skills besides writing?
I can draw, although I am self-taught. I drew several likenesses of my son when he was small. I really wanted to be an artist. Perhaps I’ll take it up again one day.
If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?
The ability to read minds because I have always been too trusting.
If you had a time machine, where would you go? Would you live there or just visit for a while?
1812 England, but just to visit. I am too set in my ways to put up with all the rules.
Do you have a passion for any particular causes or charities?
I support orphans in Haiti and Africa, and any cause that touches my heart. Presently I am trying to help a JAFF member’s son get a service dog by giving away three free JAFF books by various authors for a $25 donation. The details are on DarcyandLizzy.com. The child’s name is Alex Martin, and he is twenty months old and desperately needs this animal to alert for seizures.
When did you begin writing?
I have written most of my life, but I got serious about it in 2007.
What is your most difficult writing challenge on a daily basis?
Finding time to be alone. My husband is a talker and loves to tell me everything he will do before he does it and then afterward all that he did!
Do you have a favorite character or two amongst the many you have created?
My favorite JAFF character to write is Colonel Fitzwilliam, but I loved creating the characters of Joseph and Olivia Fitzwilliam, Darcy’s uncle and aunt, in my newest book.
Do you have a strict writing schedule and process, or does it vary all the time? Are there certain “must haves” to get the muse properly inspired?
I usually write every day once I start a story. I must have absolute quiet to write though, and it helps if I am not preoccupied with pressing matters. I usually have the story in my head, but the details come to me as I write, so an outline is useless.
Do you have beta readers and/or critique partners? Or are you a lone wolf writer?
I have a wonderful friend and editor who has graciously worked with me for about six years, and I consider her my critique partner. I come up with the plots, but she tells me exactly what she thinks, and I have learned to trust her opinion. Along the way, I have acquired several wonderful betas as well, all of whom help me with grammar, punctuation, typos and keeping the facts straight.
Tell us what is next on your writer’s agenda.
Next, I plan to polish a shorter story I wrote and publish it. Then, I’ll begin another long story that has been on my mind since 2012.
Like me, you are a devout Christian. How does you personal faith and convictions influence your writing?
I believe in the scriptural view of marriage between one man and one woman, coming together as one. I write my hero and heroine to portray that ideal. My main characters have faith in God and are familiar with scripture and biblical values.
How do you personally arrive at the level of sensuality within your novels?
I find it very hard to write true-to-life love scenes. I try to balance the innate feelings between a man and woman desperately in love without going overboard with descriptions. I hope I accomplish that in my tales.
You are very outspoken as to your faith and political leanings on Facebook. I applaud you for this, but do wonder if you have experienced fallout or controversy.
I have always been the type of person who stands up for what I believe. In this politically correct world, however, that has becoming less acceptable. However, though I have been criticized for voicing my beliefs, I have also gotten many private notes from people, saying, “Bravo. I wish I could speak up, but because of (fill in the blank) I cannot. I am glad that you have though.” I find that very encouraging.
You have a forum – DarcyandLizzy.com. Tell us about the forum’s history, goals, and purpose.
I established DarcyandLizzy.com in November 2010 because I needed a place to post my own stories. At the time I was posting “Fitzwilliam Darcy An Honourable Man” on a large JAFF site, and it was so popular that when I started D&L, over 500 people joined the site in a matter of days.
Afterward, several writers asked to post at D&L and I agreed. Not certain if I had the time, money or desire to run a regular JAFF forum, I modeled it after the Mrs. Darcy site, where there were only a few writers. Over time, I was able to recruit help, purchase more bandwidth and open the forum to all who wish to post. It has continued to grow, and we have close to 3800 members with approximately 100 online at any given time.
Thanks for sharing your time with my readers, Brenda. It is great to have you here! Lucky for me, between Facebook and Austen Authors, I get to “see” you often.