Today we welcome Joy Dawn King. Joy and I met online through our mutual love of Jane Austen. I asked her to come over to “Deeds of Darkness; Deeds of Light to talk about her life and her new book.
Thank you for inviting me to be on your blog, Donna. Just a quick note: I thoroughly enjoyed your Richard and Elizabeth tale centered on Jane Austen’s life in England.
Thank you, Joy. First, tell me about living in Ecuador – that has to be an incredible change from the Oregon Coast.
Ecuador and Oregon are polar opposites, in fact. Having spent the past 50+ years at sea level, it was an adjustment to get used to the altitude. We live in a valley at almost 9,000 ft. elevation. We are surrounded by active volcanoes, especially Tungurahua, which means “Throat of Fire” in the indigenous language of Quichua. Our apartment is only 16 air miles from the summit. We can hear it, see it, and smell it when it spews lava, which is quite often.
As a rule, the people in the Andes are very small in stature and their hair stays dark brownish-black all their lives. I am 5’9” with gray hair and my husband is over 6’ so we really stand out. The people are kind and tolerate patiently our efforts with Spanish. As a new writer, I have to pay particular attention to how I use my words. It is the same in another language. It has been embarrassing to confuse words such as fish/sin, counsel/rabbit, or married/tired. They sound very similar but are not.
And, I understand, you have a near-by volcano.
Yes, a few days ago our neighboring volcano blew again. We live in Ambato, Ecuador which is 8,700 ft elevation, in a valley surrounded by volcanoes. Tungurahua is the only one active right now. Makes a mess when all that ash hits newly hung-out laundry. It rained all day yesterday. Often, at this time of year we get all four seasons within an hour or two. The volcano ash doesn't help.
What brought you to Jane Austen?
Two years ago I was diagnosed with a very severe health problem and I was confined to my bed. I loaded my Kindle with a pile of free classics, some of which were by Jane Austen. I completely fell in love with Pride and Prejudice. I could not get enough and wanted to know more. Imagine my surprise when I discovered a whole world of adaptations and variations. The one that had the most impact was Jan Hahn’s “The Journey”. I read it four times and could not stop thinking about it. Stories began forming in my mind so on January 22nd of this year I sat with pen in hand and wrote the outline for “A Father’s Sins”. It was published exactly two months later.
What an incredible timeline, Joy! Is Jane Austen popular in Ecuador?
The 1995 BBC mini-series with Colin Firth and the 2005 movie with Keira Knightley and Matthew MacFadyen are popular with young women from the coast to the jungle. We have not had one female guest that didn’t want to watch them when they were here. The other novels are not as well known, at least among the Ecuadorians that we know.
Now tell us about “A Father’s Sins: A Pride and Prejudice Variation”. What inspired you to write it?
Donald Sutherland played the part of Mr. Bennet in the 2005 movie version of Pride and Prejudice. He did an outstanding job and who could not love those eyebrows! As I watched that movie for the hundredth time, I thought beyond what a wonderful father he seemed to portray to the reality. Mr. Bennet was selfish. He put his desire to spend time in the library with his books before providing what his five daughters needed most vitally, a good dowry. Elizabeth’s father also did not restrain his wife in her vulgar attempts to thrust her daughter’s forward, nor did he provide needed discipline and training to his youngest daughter. He was indolent and self-absorbed. My story was born from pondering the repercussions of having such a father. Basically he was a good, moral man. However, his failure had terrible consequences on his children.
A very perceptive analysis, Joy. What has your experience as a debut author been like?
It has been busy. My naiveté with the whole writing/publishing/marketing business has kept me spinning my wheels. This life appears filled with non-stop efforts to get the word out that there is a new book that everyone needs to read. My goal for my first month was to sell fifty books. Imagine my delight when the response far exceeded that.
The downside comes when you sit down to type another story and the demands of marketing pull my attention away. Also, I have yet to learn to handle negative feedback without tears, but I am trying.
My favorite part of being a “newbie” is finding out how many of my friends secretly long to write as well. It is joyous for me to hear their ideas.
So you have another book on the way?
Yes, Donna, I do. There are three secondary characters in Pride and Prejudice that I also love: Charles Bingley, Jane Bennet, and Colonel Fitzwilliam. My next book, which I hope to finish by the end of May, will focus on Bingley and Jane. I left their relationship troubled at the end of A Father’s Sins. They both desperately needed to grow up. Their path to happily ever after is fraught with one obstacle after another. It will be interesting to see how it ends.
Colonel Fitzwilliam? Well, that good man needs to learn how to treat a good woman. For him, it is love at first sight when he meets George Wickham’s younger sister, Constance. She loathes him with every fiber of her being. This will be my third and final story in the series. Each one is a stand-alone book so can be read in any order. My plan is to have this done by summer’s end.
What else would you like to share about your life with our readers?
Donna, the truth is that I am a closet mystery aficionado. I grew up with Agatha Christie books and, in my own mind, I was as clever as Miss Marple. Nonetheless, in reality I am not that clever. It is my dream to write a mystery where absolutely nobody can figure it out until the very end.
Also, I live in a country where the Amazon jungle starts just 45 minutes east of my home. That jungle houses the largest snakes in the world. Snakes are my biggest fear. You would think we would have moved to the Arctic where there are none. However, when our twin five-year-old grandkids moved to Ecuador, we followed.
Fascinating, thank you so much for sharing. Where can readers find you on the web?
My twitter name is: @jdawnking
Facebook: J Dawn King
Notice the theme?
And where can they buy your book?
It is at Amazon.com, (http://j.mp/1jrjofO) and Barnes and Noble. “A Father’s Sins” is also being translated into Spanish and will be finished mid-summer. The audio version is now being produced and will also be available at that time.
Publication Date: March 21, 2014
How do Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet overcome the consequences of poor decisions made by their fathers when Darcy and Elizabeth were young?
In A Father's Sins, Mr. George Darcy, father of an illegitimate child raised by his steward, Mr. Wickham, agreed with his wife, Anne, that the firstborn son of their marriage would be heir to Pemberley. However, Mr. Darcy loved his eldest son, George Wickham, and indulged him by bringing him to Pemberley to live after the death of his wife. His heir, Fitzwilliam Darcy, paid a heavy price for this decision.
Mr. Thomas Bennet, an educated gentleman and father of five daughters, favored his second born, Elizabeth. Unexpectedly, his wife gave birth to a son and heir. Mr. Bennet, at the persistent urging of his wife, chose not to have his youngest children vaccinated for smallpox. When the plague hit Longbourn it devastated their family. Elizabeth paid the heaviest price for this decision of her father.
What happens when Darcy and Elizabeth meet? Will they be able to overcome the consequences of the choices their fathers made? When George Wickham, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, Mr. William Collins, and the Fitzwilliam family arrive in Meryton, how will that impact their growing attraction? How does the same decision by Mr. Bennet influence the relationship between Jane Bennet and Mr. Bingley? Will love have a chance?
First time author Joy Dawn King fell in love with Jane Austen's writings two years ago and discovered the world of fan fiction shortly after. Intrigued with the many possibilities, she began developing her own story for Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet.
Living high in the Andes Mountains of South America, Joy loves to take an occasional break from the Latin culture and bury herself in reading English literature about her favorite English characters.
Joy, and her husband of 34 years, live next door to their only child, Jennifer, her husband, and twin grandchildren and is a native Oregonian.
The author is currently writing about Mr. Bingley's and Jane Bennet's struggles with happily ever after and will follow with the tale of what happens when Colonel Fitzwilliam immediately falls in love with Constance Wickham, who hates him bitterly.
Donna Fletcher Crow (US) is the author of forty-some books, mostly novels dealing with the history of British Christianity. She is the author of The Monastery Murders series; The Lord Danvers Victorian True-Crime series; The Elizabeth & Richard literary mysteries, GLASTONBURY,A Novel of the Holy Grail and more.