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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Welcome Sharon Lathan--The Regency: A Time of Change


Linda Banche here. Historical Hussies is delighted to host guest blogger Sharon Lathan, author of My Dearest Mr. Darcy. Sharon writes best-selling stories that follow the Darcys of Pride And Prejudice after their marriage. Her newest book, My Dearest Mr. Darcy, is the third volume in her trilogy, after Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two Shall Become One, and Loving Mr. Darcy: Journeys Beyond Pemberley.

Today she shares with us her knowledge and love of the Regency era. Leave a comment with your email address for a chance to win a complete set of her books. Sharon will select the lucky winner. Please note that Sourcebooks can only mail to addresses in the USA and Canada.

Welcome, Sharon!

The Regency: A Time of Change

I am honored by the invitation to guest on Historical Hussies today! Thank you for allowing me to be here.

I was asked to share what drew me to writing during the Regency Era. The irony, as I look over Historical Hussies, is that I wasn’t drawn to the Regency per se, but to history.

I initially became inspired to write the continuing saga of Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth Darcy from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice because I was enamored by their relationship and how it unfolded against the historical backdrop. If Jane had set her story in medieval England or Renaissance Italy I am sure I would have delved in with the identical enthusiasm. My passion was for this profound love story and the fact that it took place in a long ago world was a happy bonus.

I adore historical cultures and the intriguing events of the past. My love for history arose in high school, thanks to a marvelous teacher named Mrs. Magar, who brought ancient civilizations, dates and facts, and past events to vivid, gritty life as no other teacher previously had. I have been hooked ever since.

Yet, aside from a few movie adaptations of Austen, et al, I knew zip about the Regency! Talk about needing a crash course to successfully and authentically write my couple moving through their day-to-day life! Luckily a plethora of folks have blazed the trails before me so there are about ten zillion websites and books out there to glean information from. What I quickly discovered was an Era that, albeit short, was alive with promise. In no time at all I fell as much in love with the time period as I did all my characters.

I was also asked to talk about my favorite things during the Regency, but I am not sure if I can limit what my “favorites” are within a reasonable length blog essay! LOL!

First off, oh yeah, gotta say the clothes. The gowns are just exquisite. The flowing fabrics and minimal extras are not only easier to imagine fitting any possible scenario but perfectly lend themselves to writing romance. The gentlemen’s garments are divine. And quite delicious, if you know what I mean! Together the silhouette is elegant, refined, dashing, and romantic, literally from feathered-head to booted-toe.

Culturally I have been mesmerized by the architecture, art, literature, poetry, fashion, society, and so on. The Regency Era, thanks to the Prince Regent in large part, was a time of shifting sensibilities to a more frivolous, romantic, graceful air. We all know the excesses and political upheavals had a downside, but one cannot deny how beautiful and glamorous it all was.

As a person who often bemoans our present-day declining moral and ethical values, I really love the refinement and manners that pervaded the Georgian period. Granted, among some it was a fa├žade and extremely shallow, the lower classes lived in squalor and were rough, and the ostentatious Regency bordered on the obscene at times. Yet the general attitude of respectability and propriety was real, admirable, and refreshing.

But for me, the best part of writing in this setting has been the thrilling inventions and advancements in technology. The first decades of the 19-th century were also the beginning decades of the Industrial Revolution that began in England and would sweep through the entire world. What an exciting time! On purpose I set my sequel in 1816, a few years later than Austen wrote it, so that I could embrace the marvels daily appearing.

Right away I wanted Mr. Darcy to be a broad-minded, forward thinking business man who expanded his interests beyond his estate lands and horse breeding to foreign investments, trade, shipping ventures, and ownership of mills. I instilled a fascination with modern inventions so that I could write in steel-tipped pens, a kaleidoscope, music boxes, and telescopes to name but a few.

Within my most recent novel, My Dearest Mr. Darcy, I was able to explore a number of awesome wonders of the day. These include magic lantern shows, hot air balloons, seaside bathing machines, medical innovations like the stethoscope, and restaurants, among others.

So, yes, I love the Regency. It is a blessing to be able to travel with the Darcys through such an amazing period of history. I consider it an honor to present my vision of a fulfilled marriage and life while simultaneously educating and entertaining the reader.

For fun, answer this query: If you could be dropped temporarily into any place and time from the past, where and when would it be? Why?


MY DEAREST MR. DARCY—IN STORES JANUARY 2010
Married life is bringing out the best in the Darcys. Their mutual attentiveness brings readers into a magical world of love and wedded bliss.

Elizabeth is growing into her role as Mistress of Pemberley, and Darcy has mellowed under her gentle teasing and light-heartedness. Pemberley becomes a true home and a welcoming environment for loving family and friends. The Darcys travel to the seaside, welcome their firstborn, celebrate their anniversary and second Christmas, and at every moment embrace the love gifted to them.

“I love you, my Elizabeth. You are my soul, my blood and bone, my very life.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sharon Lathan is the author of the bestselling Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two Shall Become One, and Loving Mr. Darcy: Journeys Beyond Pemberley. In addition to her writing, she works as a Registered Nurse in a Neonatal ICU. She resides in Hanford, California in the sunny San Joaquin Valley. For more information on Sharon and her saga, come to her website at: www.darcysaga.net

19 comments:

Linda Banche said...

Hi Sharon, and welcome to Historical Hussies. I read the first book of your series and love it. I especially like that the hero, Mr. Darcy, is a decent man. Love those nice guys!

Sharon Lathan said...

Good morning, Linda. And good morning to everyone else! Strangely, in my case I could actually say "good night" as I just finished a long 12-hour shift in my "real job" as an RN, and must soon hit the sheets for another fun-filled shift tonight. All that to say that I will not be able to check back in for several hours. I do apologize. Please continue to have fun and comment at will! You don't want to miss out on the drawing! How awesome that Sourcebooks is giving away all 3 novels! I didn't even know that! Ha!

Thanks again, Linda and the Historical Hussies for hosting me. I appreciate it so much. And Linda, I am so happy that you enjoyed my first book. Coming from you that is very high praise. :)

I'll be back! Sharon

Linda Banche said...

Sharon, you're welcome. We appreciate your being here, and we understand that real life often takes precedence. Looking forward to when you can return.

Melanie said...

I think if I could temporarily be dropped into another place and time, I'd like to go to Harlem during the renaissance! Sounds like it was so much fun back then!

Gotta love Mr. Darcy, though. I wouldn't mind going back into the Regency time period if I knew he would be there. :P

Loretta C. Rogers said...

Hi Sharon--read all your comments with interest. While I like the clothing, the manners, the time period, I've shied away from writing Regencys because I'm afraid avid fans of that period will challenge me if I get my history wrong. Kudos to you.

Judy said...

I love reading books of the Regency era!! Of course, Mr. Darcy is a favorite. My favorite is the clothing. We are now so spoiled with what we wear, I do not know if I could wear those beautiful dresses. I would love to have the chance :)

Judy (magnolias_1@msn.com)

Nora said...

I have often fantasised about living in many of the so called "romantic" time periods. That being said, I cannot possibly narrow it down to one era, as all have their own benefits. I love immersing myself into each era or genre as I am reading, and Sharon, your books are no different (although I will need to buy another copy of the second book since I still have not found my copy). I am grateful to people like you, Sharon, that can take the story in your head and put it down for others to see. I am much too self-conscious and critical of myself that I have been thus far unable to write my story. I hope you continue with the great job you are doing.

Mary Ricksen said...

I'd love to visit the era, but I know I wouldn't last long with my mouth.
I'd have to find one of those heroes who like a feisty and opinionated woman. Then we'd fall in love and go to fancy parties every nite. I wonder if they'd notice if I left off the corset thing?
So now I need to read your latest!

Sarah Simas said...

HI Sharon and Linda!

Great post, but then I love all your blogs, Sharon! I would have to agree about the manners and clothes idea. Today, society is very crude- have you seen reality TV? Sheesh! With Georgian clothes at least a gal didn't have to worry about her rear-end popping out the back. Why are they making pants sit so low on the wasit?LOL

Congrats on the new release, my friend! ((hugs!))

Sharon Lathan said...

Good morning all! Oh wait, I said that earlier. Now it is good afternoon, also my morning. Ah well, the confusion of a night shift worker, especially before the espresso kicks in!

Thanks for all of you who commented. Busy day!

Melanie, I am a big fan of the Renaissance as well, although not too sure about Harlem. I need to look into that! It does sound like they knew how to party, though.

Loretta, You have no idea! It is a major challenge for all history writers - getting it right. Of course, contemporaries writers have it just as hard. Maybe more. There are more people reading a contemporary who are going to know whether you describe something right or get the name correct than in a historical. Not too many people are going to know if I slip up on a date or some such!

Judy, It makes me laugh, in one respect, that this very short Era has become so huge in literature today. I am sure no one living at the time, even Jane Austen, would have imagined it.

Nora, I really couldn't narrow down one Era either, if I could be tossed literally into one. Truth is, I love imagining living in a long ago world, but I need my modern conveniences too much to ever survive! Thanks for faithfully reading my novels. Good luck finding Loving Mr. Darcy so you don't have to buy another!

Mary, Ha! So true! Sarcasm is my best friend and I am not sure how well that would go over 200 years ago!

Hi Sarah! Thanks for stopping by, buddy! You know, those dresses are gorgeous to be sure. But do you know how thin they were? And in England where it is perpetually foggy and glum? And with a bodice so low that even my boobies would be popping out? Not so sure.:)

Dina said...

Hi Sharon,

How do you do it? ;-)

I am excited abnout your books and hope to get to read them in the proper order. :)

Thanks,
Dina

My Eclectic Reads said...

If I could be dropped temporarily into any place and time from the past, I would have to chose the Regency Era, but only if I could dictate my circumstances! I'd chose to be an eccentric older (meaning 30-40'ish) widow who could get away with a few more scandals than some young miss. Someone who could make bolder choices with a lower risk of ostracism.

Oregon Kimm
oregonkimm(at)gmail(dot)com

Sharon Lathan said...

Hi Dina! How do I do what? This crazy thing called writing? Not really sure! It still amazes me sometimes how the ideas pop into my head. Rather surreal actually.

Howdy Kimm. I love Oregon. My sis lived near Roseburg for years and we visited frequently. Gorgeous State. Your conditions crack me up! I love writing eccentric characters. My Dr. Darcy was created just for that reason. He Rocks! Then, in the next novel coming up, I have another relative to Darcy that was largely inspired by Bess of Hardwick. Talk about a woman who could get away with scandal! I think people will love her too. *little hint*

Danielle Thorne said...

I totally agree that the aura of respect during the Regency was much to be admired. Having read P&P too many times, I absolutely love reading sequels and other forms of fan fiction. It's wonderful to see Jane's characters live on and it gives us fans a few more moments of that love story we never want to end!

Best of luck with your books--they sound wonderful and exciting.

Mona Risk said...

I love Regency novels. I read those of Stephanie Laurens and all the classic oldies, and of course P& P. I have seen the movie so many times and adore Collin Firth. Your books must be delightful.

Mona Risk (riskmona@bellsouth.net)

Sharon Lathan said...

Thank you Danielle and Mona. I appreciate the well wishes for my novels. I think it is so exciting how Jane's stories and characters continue to thrive after so long. Maybe it is just hopeful thinking, but perhaps a little bit of the time period's refinement and manners will rub off as more and more people read her novels.

Dina said...

Yes Sharon, you keep us to wanting more of the Darcys, lol.

I remember when your just started on your blog and it just keeps going. ;)

Diane Gibson said...

Hi Sharon,
I've made it to Lizzy's "conversation" with Lady Underwood. I love the detailed accounts of the gadgets and doodads in the story so far. The bathing machines seem so funny to me considering how immodest beaches are these days! I also find the architecture descriptions were interesting. I think I'm enjoying book 3 even more than the others! :)
Diane

Sharon Lathan said...

The time has come to pick a winner of the contest! I put all the names in a hat and my handsome assistant (my 6'4" gorgeous son) drew the lucky winner..... *drum roll please*....

Melanie!!

Congratulations, Melanie! I have contacted Linda Banche and she will email you, or you can email her with your snail mail address. I do hope you love my novels! I will look forward to hearing your report. :)

Happy reading! Sharon Lathan