While I was waiting for the edits to roll in I enjoyed several months of freedom, so to speak. It was the “lull period” as I called it. Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy was doing it’s thing with no further involvement needed from me, and I knew the above mentioned edits would not be ready until early June. So, I utilized my time to work on “Darcy 4” as I was calling it. I have a contract signed for two more novels in the series and have taken that obligation very seriously. My editor Deb requested a completed manuscript by September, but since I had the bulk of it already written, I set a personal deadline of mid-June at the latest.Well, I am happy to report that I delivered what I have titled The Family Darcy ~ Seasons of Romanceon June 1!
At 154,000 words, this novel is slightly shorter than Loving Mr. Darcy but longer than the other two. Naturally this is the raw manuscript that will go through all the editing procedures before reaching the eyes of my readers in September of 2010. But, considering how the process has gone thus far, I am hoping the changes will be minimal. I am an enormous perfectionist and would never send a novel off to my editor that I wasn’t very sure of!
So, what can I tell you about The Family Darcy? Well, first, the title. I agonized over this one! I knew the themes of this novel were very strongly of family – both the now 3 Darcys but also the extended relatives – and romance played a huge factor with a number of characters finding love. It also covers four full seasons. Yes, it moves at a far faster pace than the previous three leisurely journeys. I also knew that Sourcebooks would want “Darcy” in the title somewhere. So I played endlessly with various ways to interconnect the themes without the title being stupid or too like the other ones. It is VERY hard! I like The Family Darcy for its simplicity. But needless to say, the creative folks at Sourcebooks may come up with something else, so I am thinking of it as very tentative for now. But at least I have something better to call it than “Darcy 4.”
The action begins just prior to Christmas, 1817. The first several chapters are rewritten versions of what was in my self-published version of The Darcys at Year’s End. The latter two-thirds of the novel is completely new material that no one has seen. Among the events: Christmas and the Cole’s masque with dramatic encounters for several people, including Caroline Bingley; a murder; the christening of Baby Darcy; Georgiana and Lizzy are presented at the Court of Saint James to the Prince Regent; another season in London is enjoyed with Georgiana’s official debut; Richard falls in love, but the road is a rocky one; a ball at Darcy House with significant introductions; Kitty Bennet’s misfortunes in romance; the history of Wickham and Darcy; an extensive tour of The Peaks; a visit to Matlock Bath with surprising consequences; three weddings; and so much more! Naturally Lizzy and Darcy with their growing infant are the stars, but the family members play a part. The novel ends just after the new year turning, it now 1819.
The plan is still for a September 2010 release. That gives me plenty of time to share more information as we go along.
Next up for me is to work on “Darcy 5” – untitled at this point! I have some 85,000 words already written. We have talked of a Spring 2011 release, so I have until at least the end of this year to complete it. My personal goal is more like October, but we shall see how busy I get with two books being released four months apart! My head is already spinning just thinking about that!
First I will need to carefully read through what I have already written, altering and writing anew as inspiration strikes. Then I will allow my handsome muse to lead me in whatever direction he decides. I already have ideas, but time will allow them to coalesce and take flight. After that I intend to return to Georgiana Darcy’s story, it more than halfway done and my editor very interested. Beyond that I want to write Kitty’s story of romance in fuller detail. The hints of her future are within the pages of the last two novels, as are Georgiana’s, but the story is dramatic enough to warrant it’s own novel. Time will tell. My future is not set by any means!
So there you have it. Now, because I love you all and appreciate your support of me, I am giving you a tasty treat. A snippet from the unedited The Family Darcy. Here is the link: The Court of St. James Read, enjoy, and comment is so desired.