In November my seventh book was released – Miss Darcy Falls in Love – and the dust of that stampede had not yet settled before my loyal readers were asking me, “What is next?” I haven’t been secretive about what I am currently working on… I simply haven’t had the time to boldly broadcast it or put something on my website. In truth, I am very excited about my current work-in-progress and can’t wait to talk about it!
A bit of history: Several years ago I decided to expand on the Darcy family and give Mr. Darcy an eccentric uncle who had been away from England for years. After researching I made him a doctor who had traveled widely through India. Initially he was supposed to breeze in and breeze out, but in the classic way of all awesome characters with forceful personalities he took over, asserted himself, and pretty much told me he was staying! I fell utterly in love with Dr. George Darcy and so did my readers. I daresay some love Dr. Darcy more than Mr. Darcy! Some of his adventures were told within the pages of my Saga. However, most of his life has remained a mystery, even to me. Now, thankfully, I am given the opportunity to spend lots of time with George and discover more of his journey.
This is the official summarizing synopsis that I gave to my editor last June–
George Darcy is the second son of a wealthy landowner in Georgian Era England. At 22 he is one of the youngest medical doctorate graduates of Cambridge University and admitted licentiate from the London Royal College of Physicians, and thus considered a brilliant, rising star in England’s field of medicine. Yet Dr. Darcy refuses the easy, comfortable pathway and enlists as a physician with the British East India Company, embarking on a personal quest to broaden his education and practice his craft without the restraints imposed by British society.
Dr. George Darcy will cover roughly thirty-five years in the life of this incredible, eccentric man. Using vivid descriptions of the culture and atmosphere, the story will trace his early steps as a new doctor in a strange land on to his eventual return to England and his childhood home thirty years later. This is a story of India and the people as well as of the diseases and medical care available. Primarily, however, this is the story of one man who strived to change the face of medicine while yearning to fill the void left within his soul upon the death of his identical twin when they were 12. His search for family, enduring love, and lost companionship is a quest not wholly realized until returning to England and Pemberley. There a new generation of family and friends will heal the physician, and to his greatest surprise, the true love of his life awaits.
What do you think? Intrigued? I hope so! Luckily my editor Deb Werksman was, and so was the management team at Sourcebooks, including publisher Dominique Raccah. I signed the contract in late October! Now I am busily writing a manuscript that must be done by this spring for a planned release early in 2013.
Naturally I am hoping that this will be a story that appeals to lots of readers, even those unfamiliar with Dr. Darcy or even Jane Austen. In a way I am skirting the edges of true Austen literature with this novel. Still, it is set in the broad Regency Era and all of the Austen characters will make an appearance. In fact, you will meet some only mentioned, such as Darcy’s parents and grandfather.
I have lots of wonderful adventures planned for George. Most of this novel will take place in India and other parts of the far east, but George does return to Pemberley a few times to visit the family. The novel will end as an overlap with my Saga and if you read Miss Darcy Falls in Love you got a hint of who George spends his final years with.
For the present I am immersed in Indian culture, medicine, romance, and history as I dwell with a man I adore. I tried to hunt down an era-specific portrait that closely resembled the Dr. Darcy I see in my head but that was tough.
I initially described him thusly: “George Darcy, a man of some fifty years, so resembled his nephew it was uncanny. They were of an identical height, although Dr. Darcy was far leaner, almost skeletal, with sharp angles at every joint. His eyes were the same brilliant blue, hair the same brown, though with streaks of gray at the temples and wavy where Darcy’s was straight. His handsome face was a thinner, lined mirror image of Darcy’s, with skin tanned bronze by the harsh desert sun.”
Since my Mr. Darcy is inspired by Matthew Macfadyen, you can image what Dr. Darcy looks like to some degree, especially when young.
As time marches on I will post about my progress and share tidbits now and again. Keep an eye on my Facebook page and website for that. Now, for an added treat I am sharing a short, very short, snippet from a random chapter. I don’t want to give too much away as yet! Speculation is fine though. LOL! Enjoy…..
“ ‘Finest physicians’ my arse,” McIntyre whispered as soon as the door clicked. “More likely he hopes it is the plague and we’ll succumb to it.”
“At this point it could be the plague and I would not care. As long as I can leave this island and have an opportunity to put my skills to use it suits me just fine.” George countered. “And on the off chance it is a serious infection, it is a blessing he is sending us. Those poor people don’t know how lucky they are that we are coming to help instead of the alternative.”
“And what ‘alternative’ is that, Darcy?”
Dr. White’s growled question startled the men and they halted mid stride to turn about. George’s shock was mostly that the rotund doctor, who had never displayed a hint of grace, had been able to sneak up behind them until inches away. White’s fat face was flushed, his eyes belligerent and hard, and his fleshy hands balled into fists at his waist. George’s amazement tripled and the desire to burst out laughing choked his throat. Did the old dog really intend to engage him in a physical brawl here in the corridor? In the administration building filled with soldiers and one brawny Scotsman? With a man thirty years his junior and in superior condition? It was too ridiculous to fathom but on the off chance fisticuffs was on White’s personal agenda, George stifled the laughter with a cough.
“The alternative of no additional assistance for this Dr. Ullas with the potential of the infection becoming an epidemic and, or, a worsening sequelae for those afflicted—“
“Spare me the fancy dance and technical terms, Dr. Darcy. I know perfectly well what you meant.” George’s expression of innocent confusion was slightly overblown but well done nevertheless. Dr. White did not believe it for a second. “I know you meant the alternative of my medical skills versus yours. Oh yes. Dr. Darcy the brilliant young physician with the prestigious education—“
“Thank you, Dr. White.”
“It was not meant as a compliment!” He stepped closer, his face now a rather alarming shade of purple. “I know you think you are better than me, Darcy, but having a rich father who can buy your way through Cambridge and the Royal Academy in record time does not make you a better doctor!”
“Perhaps that is how you made it through medical school, and it does answer the mystery of how you ever obtained a license or the title of Physician General. Yet believe it or not, I earned my degree the old fashioned way: by being an apt pupil and having true skill. Now, if you will excuse me, I have to organize my instruments and medicines. You know, those necessary implements that real physicians use.”
George bowed and turned away, long-legged steps echoing across the wooden walls as he headed for the far stairwell. Dr. McIntyre fell into his colleague’s wake, leaving the sputtering and fuming Dr. White where he stood in the middle of the hall. It was at the door, George’s hand on the knob and twisting, when White shouted his final volley.
“Mark my words, Darcy. One of these days your arrogance and blunt tongue will bring you grief. I sincerely hope to be there when it happens, and better yet, to cause it.”
To McIntyre’s surprise George did not respond or break his stride. They stepped onto the outside landing and unhesitatingly descended the stairs to the first floor landing. Only then did George slow his pace. He inhaled deeply of the fresh, clean air smelling of camphire flowers and the sea, the sunlight and cool breeze drying the perspiration off his brow and calming his anger.
“Your self control surprised me, Darcy. I fully expected you to clobber him. I would have if he insulted me like that.”
George shrugged, the gesture at odds with the thunderous expression on his face. “Only because I do not want to miss our departure. Besides, he is a bellicose fool and not worth the time or effort. Certainly not worth the risk of damaging my hands on his ugly face.” He shrugged again, this time slightly more convincing, and stopped walking. “Truth is, McIntyre, men like White anger me because of their incompetence and how that affects those who are infirm and foolishly relying on them. At times I have wanted to physically beat some quack for maltreatment, but I never have. What would that accomplish? I would get clapped in chains and they would go on hurting innocent people. The problem is bigger than individuals such as White.” He shook his head and resumed their course along the wide veranda leading toward the front of the building. “Ultimately I am not sure if my skills will change anything, even as excellent as they are, but I intend to do everything in my power. Losing my temper is counterproductive no matter how good it might feel to bash Dr. White’s teeth loose or knock him onto his fat, useless ass—“
The double S morphed into a sound resembling a hissing snake as they rounded the corner to be abruptly drawn to a halt in words and momentum.
Standing not two feet away from George was Lady Sarah Chambers. She was leaning against the flat railing at the corner of the veranda, one hand wrapped around a curved post and the other toying with a diamond pendant hanging from the velvet ribbon encircling her slender throat. She was staring straight into his eyes, a small smile dancing on her lips, and instantly George knew that she had not only heard his diatribe but agreed with his vision of Dr. White sprawled onto his backside.