Jul 292019
 

Hi readers! We are so happy to start our Monday off by welcoming back Heather Moll to Austenesque Reviews! A few weeks back Heather was here celebrating her upcoming release, His Choice of a Wife, with a lovely cover reveal!  Now Heather is back to share her story about becoming a writer! We hope you enjoy!

Thank you for hosting me today Meredith! I’m so glad that I get a chance to introduce myself to your readers and share an excerpt from His Choice of a Wife with all of you. I also have a small confession to make…

I was in the closet for a long time. No, I don’t mean sexual orientation—I mean about writing JAFF. I was in the back of the closet buried behind the jeans that will never fit again and trapped under dust bunnies. I never told anyone about my hobby. Sure, family and friends knew I liked Jane Austen. A few of them even knew who Jane Austen was! But no one knew about the writing. Years ago, I participated twice when Meredith hosted a series of ‘Ardent Admirers’ events with readers. I talked about finding JAFF, about me and my family, about what I was reading, what I loved about Austen, but I never mentioned that, by that time, I had a complete His Choice of a Wife on my hard drive.

How did I end up like this? How does a card-carrying JASNA member who adds every Austen-related title to her Goodreads page end up a secret JAFF writer?

I wrote His Choice of a Wife eight years ago. Eight! And no one in ‘real life’ knew until after I submitted it to a publisher last year. Not my husband, not my friends, not my parents, not my fellow local JASNA members. I was proud of the story, immensely proud of it, but I still didn’t tell anyone what I had accomplished.

Why?

Because fanfic tends to be disparaged. It’s thought by many to be derivative and not ‘real’ writing. Maybe you’ve heard some of the same pejorative comments as I have:

Can’t you write your own characters?” “Isn’t fanfic all slash or pornography?” “I thought fics were just junk written by shippers?”

By now you’re probably thinking how ridiculous I was. None of us would be in this Austen fandom if we didn’t know those assumptions aren’t true.

It’s one thing to admit that you read variations and that you’re part of a fandom, but I wasn’t ready to stand up and say to someone outside this special Austen community, “In my spare time I wrote a full-length story where I took the well-known characters someone else created and changed what happened to them.”

I didn’t want to explain how seriously I took this hobby only to hear one of those dismissive remarks. I wasn’t ready to account for how much time I had spent writing His Choice of a Wife, how I carefully plot and research my stories, that no one is harder on my writing than me, how much I care about Darcy and Elizabeth and what I put them through even if I wasn’t the one who initially created them. I didn’t want to have something I enjoyed and that was important to me shrugged off as ‘just fanfic’.

I didn’t want anyone to invalidate me, so I did it myself by staying quiet.

Obviously, I came around. I had to be able to answer yes to an important question before I could step out of the closet: Are you a real writer if you don’t write your own original characters?

It took me a long time to realize that the answer was an unequivocal yes. I think it’s harder to get someone else’s characters right than ones you’ve created yourself. Is the effort you put into crafting a good story any less meaningful because the main characters are named Darcy and Elizabeth? Of course not. You know that and, now, I finally do, too.

I still get a few odd looks when say that I write Jane Austen variations, usually because they don’t love Austen or because they don’t understand fandoms. But in general, everyone I’ve told has been as excited and as proud as I felt when I wrote His Choice of a Wife all those years ago. Especially my husband, who has been incredibly supportive after I had to begin a conversation with, “So, you know how I like Jane Austen and Jane Austen fanfic? Well …. years ago I wrote this story…”

This is incredible, Heather! It is amazing how you kept it to yourself for so long, and I’m so glad you are sharing your writing with the world, now! Hopefully your story can inspire others to do the same. Also, I think Jane Austen would very much understand your feelings as she had probably heard many of the same kind of remarks – her “it is only a novel” is our modern-day “just fan-fic.”

Excerpt from His Choice of a Wife

This excerpt takes place after Elizabeth and Darcy have had several encounters in Kent and in London since the ill-fated proposal. Elizabeth was introduced Georgiana at the Gardiners, and in this scene the next day Darcy overhears something while at his house in town that he can’t explain.

Darcy was engrossed in writing letters of business, but was interrupted by the ring of girlish laughter. Intermixed with shrieks and giggles came the muffled sounds of heavy items being jostled. Darcy was at a loss to explain it. The servants never made noise as they carried out their duties, and he was sure the dance lesson had ended half an hour ago.

Darcy threw down his pen and, without donning his coat, opened his door and found the laughter and voices got louder as he approached his sister’s sitting room.

“Ow, that is my foot!”

“I do apologize! I shall never learn this shocking dance.”

The chime of the musical box slowed as he opened the door to his sister’s room. He could scarcely credit the sight before him, for there, with hands clasped and spinning about the room, were his sister and Elizabeth Bennet, laughing as if they had known one another all their lives. Georgiana was totally devoid of composure and was wildly smiling as she pivoted Elizabeth and narrowly avoided grazing a side table. Elizabeth had her eyes on the floor and was muttering “slide, back, turn, one, two, three.”

The music stopped, and both ladies looked at the table. Georgiana gasped as she saw her brother in the doorway, but Elizabeth still did not see him.

“My dear Miss Darcy, you are a talented partner, but I fear I need further practice!”

Georgiana stifled her countenance and dropped Elizabeth’s hands; Elizabeth asked whether she was well. She received no reply but followed Georgiana’s gaze to the door. A deep blush immediately spread across her cheeks. It was then that he realized he was only in his shirtsleeves and likely wore a similar expression of utter astonishment as she did.

He absolutely stared, but shortly recovering himself, he advanced towards them. Every idea seemed to fail him, and after standing a few moments without saying a word, he recollected himself and greeted her.

“I, Eli—Miss Bennet, I thought you were to return home this morning?” Darcy thought her eyes appeared bright and lovely. How could I have decided only an hour ago not to follow her to Hertfordshire? Until she explicitly sent him away, Darcy would use every power within his means to make Elizabeth Bennet fall as much in love with him as he was with her.

“We were obliged to wait for a new team from the posting inn, and I found myself at my leisure,” came her answer in a rush. “I thought I might further my acquaintance with Miss Darcy. We were speaking of dancing and, well, we have passed our time delightfully!”

His sister offered a timid smile. “We have enjoyed ourselves although I am afraid, for all our efforts, Miss Bennet still cannot waltz.”

“You offered…to teach Miss Bennet…a waltz?” Darcy asked, still trying to accept that Elizabeth was in his house and that she was smiling at him.

“I must tell you that I insisted,” Elizabeth interjected, “although I can hardly credit the scandalous reputation of such a dance. I think your sister will agree when I say that we managed to face each other for fifteen minutes and our moral compasses remain pointed true north.”

While Darcy hoped that would hold true in his sister’s case, the desire came, unbidden, that perhaps waltzing would do violence to Elizabeth’s invaluable notions of delicacy and reserve and she might throw aside all propriety and kiss him.

“Fitzwilliam, will you wind the musical box?”

“Do you wish to keep dancing?”

“No, but since you are here, you may teach Miss Bennet. I am afraid that my skill at turning a partner is poor.”

His younger sister could not know how affected he was by the suggestion of clasping Elizabeth in his arms. Since he could only stare at Elizabeth in silence, Georgiana wound the box herself. She then sat and waited for them to begin.

“As we discussed yesterday, Miss Darcy, I believe your brother is fond of neither music nor dancing, and we ought not to put him on display.”

“Do you again refuse to dance with me? My tally is now one success for four requests. Perhaps I should cease petitioning for your hand.” The unintended double meaning of this was not lost on him, and Darcy winced.

“But you have not asked me. Your sister has put me forward as being in want of a partner, but perhaps you do not find me handsome enough to dance with?”

“Who could object to such a partner?”

If any of you joining me here today want to know more about waltzing you can join me tomorrow at Pemberley to Milton where I’ll be talking about what it really meant to waltz in Regency England.

Ahhhhhhhhh! 😍😍😍 That was such a lovely excerpt, Heather! I love the idea of Darcy and Elizabeth waltzing together! Thank you so much for sharing! I cannot wait to see more of what happens between them in His Choice of a Wife!

~~~

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GIVEAWAY TIME!!!

Meryton Press is generously giving away 8 ebook editions of His Choice of a Wife in conjunction with this blog tour!!  Woot woot!  

Commenting on this post and entering through the rafflecopter widget on this blog enters you in a chance to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

  • This giveaway is open worldwide.  Thank you, Meryton Press!
  • This giveaway ends August 7th!

Thank you to Janet Taylor, Meryton Press, and Heather Moll for making this blog tour possible! Be sure to check out the rest of this tour!

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  79 Responses to “Guest Post + Giveaway with Author Heather Moll!!!”

  1.  

    What a scene! I love hearing Darcy’s thoughts – so romantic! I also love when the waltz is used as a plot device, so I can’t wait to read about it tomorrow 🙂

  2.  

    I’ve been looking forward to this story, Heather. Thank you.

  3.  

    Thanks for letting me talk with your readers and share an excerpt, Meredith! I’m so thankful for your support 🙂

  4.  

    Lovely confessional, Heather. Many of us have been there, as JAFF authors and as JAFF readers. (My family still doesn’t know I got my start reading X-Files fanfic.)

    •  

      It’s so nice to know I’m not alone in my former dirty little secret! (*smiles fondly at the thought of old X-Files*) Thanks for being here, Jan 🙂

  5.  

    So has Ramsgate happen in your variation

    •  

      It’s canon up through Darcy’s proposal. You’ll have to read it if you want to know more 😉 Thanks Vesper!

  6.  

    Enjoyed the excerpt and anxiously await to read your book. Thank you for the chance to win a copy.

  7.  

    Heather — love your story of living in the “JAFF closet”! I’m a closet reader. I tell people I read a lot; they ask what do I read; I stammer away something about Romance. I’m sure some of them picture me as a porno aficionado since I don’t give them the full picture.

    Congratulations on your venture out of the closet. I approve.

    •  

      I had to laugh about people wondering if you’re a porn aficionado. When I was in the closet, I often felt a little silly. It’s not like it’s a gambling addiction or an affair! It’s writing and reading JAFF lol. It’s nice to know everyone out our the closet is as welcoming as you are, Rose.

  8.  

    How bold of you to reveal your writing secret! Only my husband knows that I read fan-fic. It’s bad enough that I confess to a weakness for reading time-travel stories… Best wishes for the success of your new novel.

    •  

      I totally get where you’re coming from, Leslie! It’s not an easy thing to confess. You like time-travel, too? I feel like you and I could be friends 🙂 Thanks for the well wishes!

  9.  

    I am very glad you came out of the closet…this is a lovely teaser and can’t wait to read more.
    Thanks for the giveaway..hope to win a copy or it will be going on my wish list ASAP

  10.  

    I love that last line in except!

  11.  

    Enjoyed reading about your secret, Heather, but so glad that you “came out” with your writing! Most of my siblings do not understand why I love Austenesque novels so much. All I can say, they haven’t read any! 🙂 If they had, there would be no question why!

    Loved this scene when reading the book! It was so romantic!

    •  

      It’s so nice to know that I’m not alone and so many other readers and writers have felt the same! If those outside the fandom only knew what they were missing… 🙂 Thanks Janet!

  12.  

    This sounds like a book I would enjoy. I look forward to reading it. Thanks for sharing here.

  13.  

    How on Earth did you manage to keep it secret for so long? Well I’m glad you finally found the courage to share your story and I so look forward to reading it!
    None of my friends or relations share my obsession with JAFF but are quite happy to indulge me and luckily I have a number of wonderful friends among the JAFF community!
    Thank you for sharing this lovely scene, how can Elizabeth resist him? Hopefully she will give in soon.

    •  

      I don’t even know, Glynis! It’s really rather ridiculous. I was DEEP in the closet. I’m so happy that I’ve found friends among the JAFF community because none of my friends or family get it, either. Thanks for telling me you liked the scene.

  14.  

    Enjoyed the excerpt and could definitely relate to your “secret” as I’ve had the same struggle, not as a writer but a reader.

  15.  

    So lovely to hear about your path to writing JAFF, Heather. Glad you’re not in the closet any more. 😉 The excerpt was lovely and I’d love to read your book. I’ve entered the giveaway – fingers crossed! Good luck with your new release!

    •  

      It was a fun path but a very dusty one from the back of the closet and into the light. I’m so pleased that you liked the excerpt. Best of luck in the giveaway and the for the well-wishes, Elaine!

  16.  

    Congratulations Heather on your first release! Best wishes for a successful blog tour and publication!

  17.  

    congrats Heather! You are so brave and beautiful!

  18.  

    Thanks, Heather. I enjoyed your guest post, as well as the excerpt; I also echo many of the same feelings you have had when it comes to telling others about my writing, and have encountered some of the same questions. Thank you also to Meredith, for hosting. 🙂

    •  

      I had no idea so many readers and writers had some of the same feelings, Kelly. All the more reason to be glad that I’m out in the light now. Thanks for stopping by

    •  

      My pleasure, Kelly! I’m so thankful that you all are brave and shared your stories with us!

  19.  

    This was an amazing post and excerpt. Blessings on your continued writing. I have this on my wish-list and look forward to reading it. Thanks to Meredith for hosting [say hello to your Mr. Bingley] and to our author Heather for the generous giveaway.

  20.  

    Thank you Heather for sharing and this excerpt. Thank you also for the chance to win the book. Am excited to know how Darcy captures EB’s heart and affirmative response

    •  

      I’m glad you enjoyed the excerpt. I think you’ll like watching Darcy and Elizabeth get more attached to one another. Thanks for saying hello!

  21.  

    The excerpt was certainly entertaining and intriguing. I definitely want to read this book from a first time author. Congrats on publishing! I’d love a chance to win this book.

  22.  

    What a wonderful excerpt. Congratulation on come “out of the closet” with your book. Thank you for the giveaway.

  23.  

    You have me at a waltz for Darcy and Elizabeth! I too discovered my love of Austen and JAFF as an adult. Even though my birth name really is Darcy! Look forward to finishing this lovely variation.

    •  

      Your given name is Darcy? I love that. Did you hold off reading Austen on purpose after too many P&P comments or did it just happen that way? I’m so glad the waltzing piqued your interest, Darcy. Thanks for saying hello 🙂

  24.  

    Congratulations Heather on your book! I loved the excerpt and would love to continue reading. Thanks for the giveaway. –Leslie

  25.  

    Congratulations, Heather on getting your book out into the world. Brava. The excerpt is lovely. I enjoy stories where Darcy doesn’t give up on trying to win Lizzy’s love after she finds out she was entirely clueless. I look forward to reading your story and hope to win it :0)

  26.  

    Such a lovely excerpt, Heather! And congratulations on releasing your first book–so exciting!! I am crossing my fingers and hoping very much to win a copy!! I love reading and reviewing Austenesque literature!! 😀

    Warmly,
    Susanne 🙂

    •  

      Thank you so much for your warm wishes 🙂 I really hope you get a chance to read and review, Susanne!

  27.  

    I can definitely relate to your story, Heather! Thank you for sharing it and good luck! 🙂

  28.  

    Amazing story. Loved this excerpt!

  29.  

    Congratulations on your novel. Loved the excerpt. Can’t wait to read it.

  30.  

    I loved your personal story. It’s so interesting. The excerpt was enticing as well. Thanks so much for sharing, and congrats on a continuing fun blog tour, Heather. Thanks, Meredith, for hosting once again.

  31.  

    Sounds like a fun read

  32.  

    I loved this excerpt. I will add this book to my TBR pile.

  33.  

    That was a lovely and sweet scene, Heather. It reminds me of the quote of falling in love while dancing. Could this be the moment that Elizabeth realised that she loves Darcy? I hope so.

    As for me, I’m still hiding in the closet. Not many of my friends know that I like JAFF and it’s difficult for me to explain to them since I’m not good with words.

    •  

      I’m rather relieved to learn that I’m not the only one who struggled or continues to struggle to come out of the closet about this hobby/passion/profession/fandom we’re all so devoted to. It’s not an easy thing to explain to outsiders. I guess that’s why blogs like this one and yours are so valuable because they’re a community of likeminded people that we often don’t find in real life. I’m very glad that you’re participating in the blog tour:)

  34.  

    Oh, SNAP anther book for my TRL I hope I live long enough to read them all

    •  

      I have the same problem. For every book that I finish, I add another three books to the to-read pile. Thanks for adding mine to your pile Sharon 🙂

  35.  

    Oh my, how scandalous! A waltz! Will Darcy persuade Elizabeth to partner him in this? I do hope so.

    Thanks for sharing your ‘coming out’ story, Heather. I’m so glad you did, even if it took you eight years, as your debut work looks amazing

    As a reader, it depends on how well I know someone as to whether I ‘come out’. Currently, to folk I don’t know well, I’m reading a 1980s Cold War spy thriller. My lovely friends from the Austenesque world will recognise Karen M. Cox’s Undeceived.

    •  

      It’s nice to know that I’m far from alone is keeping a big JAFF secret. I thought I was the only one who struggled with it. Thanks for reading, and I think you’ll like the waltzing scene if you read it 🙂

  36.  

    I, too, hid my JAFF activities for years and only disclosed them with some trepidation. Most of my family still does not know. I wonder how many of us would have similar stories, whether about reading or writing JA variations if we could take a poll. 😀 The excerpt was lovely!

    •  

      There was and still is some trepidation on my side too, Lucy. I would love to see the results of that poll; I should post one. I’m so glad you liked the excerpt. Thank you for reading!

  37.  

    Oh, the excerpt made my heart race. I want to see them waltz! Congratulations on your new release, Heather, and I’m so glad you decided to publish!

    •  

      I’m so pleased you liked the excerpt! This scene is a favorite of mine among everything I’ve written 🙂 thanks for your well-wishes!

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