Hi friends! I’m so excited to welcome Lory Lilian, one of my favorite authors, back to Austenesque Reviews today! As many readers in the Austenesque genre, I’ve been a long-time admirer of Lory’s stories and love the exquisitely beautiful romances she creates between Darcy and Lizzy! I’m especially glad that Lory has published so many of her stories and that she is continuing to write more!! ::happy dance:: Today Lory is sharing a very special, thrilling, and inspiring post about her writing journey! We hope you enjoy!!
Turning the Dream into a Dream Job
Dear Meredith, it gives me so much joy and such a boost of energy every time I visit your site. How long has it been since you invited me the first time? Maybe eight years? Or more?
I am here today to celebrate with you and with your awesome readers (many of them my cyber friends too) some round numbers:
- 50 years of life
- 35 years of being in love with Pride and Prejudice and dreaming about Darcy and Elizabeth
- 15 years since I first heard of JAFF and realised many other people shared my passion
- 13 years since I finished my first JAFF story, Rainy Days
- 5 years since my first attempt at becoming a full-time writer, which has failed until now. Hopefully, that will change soon.
After so many years in fandom, what can I say about myself that people do not already know?
Everything started about three and a half decades ago when I first read Pride and Prejudice.
For a long while, I dreamed about Darcy, but I had no luck finding one. (I had twenty years of a good marriage, though, with a fabulous daughter and a very amiable divorce.) So, instead of seeking Darcy, I decided to use my imagination and create several versions of him.
I discovered JAFF a few years after I fell in love with the BBC series, and I was spellbound by the richness of fabulous stories and the welcoming warmth of JAFF sites: Hyacinth Gardens, Firthness, DWG, and the Republic of Pemberley.
Now—just imagine a non-native English speaker from Romania, reading thousands of stories during countless nights and gathering the courage to write one herself. What? Really?
I was equally terrified and excited—and then overwhelmed and astonished by the excellent reception of Rainy Days! The idea of putting Elizabeth and Darcy alone in a cottage and forcing them to speak openly from the beginning of their relationship come to me out of nowhere, and people seemed to love it! Their positive feedback back inspired me, and I ended up writing 390 pages in about 3 months! Keep in mind that I had a 9-year-old daughter, and I was working full time!
Then Remembrance of the Past and His Uncle’s Favourite followed, and several kindreaders called me the “queen of hot mush.” Back then, I did not know exactly what “hot mush” meant, but I loved it nevertheless.
During that time, I never imagined that my stories could ever be published and even less that someday I could make a living from my greatest passion. But the future put things together in a better way than I could have dreamed. So I became a published author. Me? Truly?
After publishing the first stories with Meryton Press—a truly wonderful experience—I decided to delve into the daunting world of self-publishing. Another big, scary step.
But, since I am neither as brave nor as decided as Elizabeth—as I said, this might be because I did not find my Darcy—I never gave up my professional career. For about 15 years, I worked in customer relations, sales, HR, training, and development. I coordinated and built teams, trained people, and supported them to grow and develop. I loved my job, and I put lots of energy and time (and health) into it.
But my heart still belonged to writing and to E&D! So I used any remaining time (very little) for my passion, and I managed to publish five long books and three short ones in about 13 years.
The year that marked a half century for me, 2017, was one of the hardest ever—from every point of view. And it was the year that made me understand that I could not afford to lose any more time and neglect my fabulous luck: the chance to turn my hobby into a living and my dreams of E&D into a dream job.
So, since July 1, I have been writing full time—in a structured, manager-like way—LOL!—with daily, weekly, and monthly targets and with a folder for each story that comes into my mind. I never allow an idea to fly away any more. One day, a plot bunny came to my mind while waiting for a friend in a supermarket. I wrote the storyline on my phone from the start to the end. It took me about five minutes. Now it waits in the queue behind another five stories that are works-in-progress.
The change is major, and I am still frightened. I am among the very, very few people from Romania ( I mean VERY FEW!) who make a living writing and publishing books on Amazon.
But I will go further. I love creating original characters to fill ODC’s story, and I am slowly gathering the courage to put angst into my mushy stories. I wish to offer stories to my kind, supportive readers that they will enjoy and that will give them some pleasant moments.
One of the greatest gifts the JAFF community granted me was the friendship of some remarkable people that I consider dear friends. Some of them I have met in person, others not yet. But it is never too late, right?
The best compliment I ever received was from someone who had a difficult surgery and took Rainy Days with her to the hospital. What more flattering reward could I ask for?
I am excited and satisfied with my new “business of the heart.” I finished Bitterness of Spirit (now in the editing phase) in about three months, and I look forward to the next one. I struggle to add a trace of originality to every story, and I always try to do something that “has never been done before in JAFF.” Of course, that becomes an increasingly daunting task as there are so many fabulous stories out there. But, as I said, I will go further. And I hope to have some lovely surprises with E&D up my sleeve in the very near future and more reasons to celebrate than I have had in the recent past.
Did I mention the giveaway? No? Ok, I will allow Meredith to do that while I eagerly wait for your comments. Anything you want to ask or tell me will be a great pleasure for me to read and answer. Hugs and thanks for being here!
Wow! Thanks you so much for sharing such an inspiring journey with us, Lory! I am thrilled that you are able to live your dream! It sounds like you are very organized and disciplined, and how great that you are free to chase any and all plot bunnies! I’m so eager to see you write and publish more books! I cannot wait to learn more about Bitterness of Spirit – the title alone has me intrigued!
Lory generously brings with her 3 LOVELY ebooks (WINNER’S CHOICE) for me to randomly give away to THREE lucky readers. Woot Woot!!!
To enter this giveaway, leave a comment, question, or some love for Lory below!
(And just for fun: tell us which book you’d choose if you were to win!)
- This giveaway is open worldwide. Thank you, Lory!
- This giveaway ends September 14th!