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Please welcome Jane Odiwe, author of the new novel, Mr. Darcy’s Secret!

by Jane Odiwe

Hello Vera, thank you so much for inviting me on to your blog to talk about Mr. Darcy’s Secret.

I’d always wanted to write the story of what happened after Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy got married at the end of Pride And Prejudice. The inspiration for the book came partly from research, and partly because I’d been thinking about Mr. Darcy! Don’t we all from time to time? I realized that we know very little about him apart from the fact that he is a landowner.

As I re-read Pride And Prejudice, and started to research into the history of Derbyshire where Mr. Darcy’s estate is to be found, I was fascinated by what it would have been like to have been a part of the circles that he moved in. I visited Chatsworth, Haddon and Kedleston Hall; all great houses that could have been the inspiration for Pemberley. I wanted to echo Jane’s themes of pride and prejudice and was thinking about how her books always revolve around a small community with its propensity for gossip and hearsay, as well as the society events that bring people together. As I wandered round these beautiful places I could imagine how daunting it would have been for Elizabeth to be thrust into a new set of people, and wondered how others that she already knew well would react to her marriage. Would Caroline Bingley be happy for her, or might she try to drive a wedge between her and Darcy?

[amazonify]1402245270[/amazonify]There was a lovely exhibition about the Duchess of Devonshire at Chatsworth, and in a case with beautiful objects there were examples of her correspondence. Writing letters was the only way of keeping in touch and we know that when Jane Austen and her sister were apart they kept in almost daily contact. Nowadays, we delete mail from our computer inboxes with a click, but then letters were kept, treasured and occasionally hidden. What if Elizabeth found herself listening to the local gossips, and what if she were to find a secret stash of letters that seemed to confirm her worst fears about some scandal attached to her husband?

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed writing Mr. Darcy’s Secret, and brought back most of the characters from the original including Jane and Bingley, Mr. and Mrs. Bennet, Mr. and Mrs Collins, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, Lydia and Mr. Wickham.

When I start a new book, I like a notebook especially to write down my ideas, and I tend to hand write a lot getting the basic plot in place and deciding which characters are going to be centre stage. Then, I’m ready to start on my laptop. I’m lucky because I do have a room I can escape to and I prefer solitude, but I have written in the living room with all my noisy family in attendance!

My luxury?

If I can have a slightly unusual one, a must-have luxury for me is TIME – that is, time to write and paint in particular! One other must-have luxury is scent or perfume, which can be spritzed from a bottle or wafted from a bowl of lilies or hyacinths.

I consider my many, many books necessities, to the point where they have taken over my kitchen. But if I ever build my dream house, I will have a bookshelf that swings open to reveal a hidden room—lined with even more bookshelves. Luxe!

Check out Jane Odiwe’s website and our review of Mr. Darcy’s Secret!