There are a few sayings that my family anticipates from me, and I probably heard them from my mother. First is “If something happens three times, pay attention. God is trying to tell you something.” The other is “Never say never” or, as it is said in the Mists of Avalon, “Never name the well from which you will not drink.”
My husband is the biggest culprit in this one; we joke all the time about it. When he was younger, he said he would never own a blue house (2nd house he bought was blue), never own a blue car (we have owned 3 blue cars in the 20-some years we have been together), and never marry a white woman (here I am). Because we mess with him so frequently, I am exceedingly careful not to use the word never. That said, I had my never moment this past week and he loved it.
As you all know, I have been writing a story that begins when the Pride and Prejudice characters are children. It was my goal to have the first draft finished by Christmas or, at the latest, New Year’s as we weren’t going anywhere and no one was coming to see us. Somehow, I was still distracted to the point that it didn’t happen. No problem, New Year’s was on a Friday and both my husband and daughter were working that weekend, so I had the house to myself. One storm after another rolled through and I was down with barometric migraines. (I almost did a blog on treating migraines in the Regency, but it has been done frequently and well, so there was nothing for me to add to the conversation.) Finally, I was able to push ahead this past week and that’s when the never occurred.
My husband and I talk about my writing a couple times a year. We discuss what other writers are doing, improving my marketing, and how to make my writing more profitable (the man seriously wants to retire and needs just a bit more income to make it happen). One topic we come back to every so often is writing a series. There are many people who do this, but I’m not that crazy about the idea. My perspective has always been, if you can’t say it in one book, you need to edit better. That said, there are some who have mastered series writing and I cannot find fault with them.
As I began working on the last chapter, my characters travelled to London. My characters have been known to hijack my stories and go off someplace I had no intention of them going. In fact, when I was writing The Ball At Meryton, everyone up and travelled to London a week before the wedding and put me in a panic on how to get them back to Hertfordshire. But in this case, they were where I wanted them to be. The problem came when, instead of going along with the plan, one of my side stories stood up and stormed out of the room. This led to the question ‘why would he react this way?’ And now Viscount Grayson, Ashton Fitzwilliam, has demanded a story of his own. Luckily, Elizabeth and Darcy had achieved their happily ever after. So, it appears I will be writing a series in 2021.
For putting up with my rambling, here’s a bit of the scene which led to this new adventure. (Little bits have been edited or removed so as not to ruin the surprise.) Oh, as this was to be part of Elizabeth and Darcy’s story, it is currently written from Elizabeth’s point of view. Please forgive any typos, etc., as it is a first draft.
“But with Anne’s return, will not the rumours be revisited?” their son pressed.
“There will always be rumours, Ashton.” Lord Matlock sighed. “I am certain someone will create a more interesting and newer scandal once the ton returns in full.”
“May it not be Anne,” Ashton muttered.
“Which is why we must press for an engagement as quickly as feasible.” His father stared at him.
“I will not marry Anne de Bourgh!” The Viscount stood and paced the room.
“Have you another young lady whom you will be courting this season?” The earl sat forwards, his hands upon his knees.
“No, sir, but that does not preclude the possibility I will meet a young lady better suited to me.”
“Very well.” Lord Matlock sat back in his seat once more. “By Easter you will have had sufficient time to survey the available ladies and determine if there are any who ‘suit’ you, as you say. If no such lady has been found, you will propose to your cousin.”
Elizabeth had never seen Ashton in such a state. His jaw hung agape, his eyes raced about the room, and she was uncertain if he still drew breath. Finally, his gaze fell upon his brother and he found his voice.
“What of Phillip? He is in need of a fortune to marry. Surely, he is the better candidate to wed Anne. I have no need of another estate.”
“I have spoken to your brother and agreed not to press him at this time.”
“Why?” Ashton demanded.
Phillip cleared his throat. “I have been given time to explore a possible match.”
“Who?” His brother appeared wounded that he had not been consulted on the matter.
“Have you been blind?” Lady Matlock spoke up. “Your brother and Miss _____ danced twice at the ball and were often in conversation.”
“We were all frequently in conversation.” Ashton folded his arms. “You would approve of a courtship?” he asked his father.
“Your brother is a younger son.”
“And if I do not have a son, he would be next in line for the earldom.”
“Then I suggest you marry and have a son.”
Ashton stormed from the room without a backwards glance.
“Henry,” Lady Matlock said with a sigh.
Her husband reached out and patted her hand. “This is nothing which has not been said before.”
“But much has changed recently.” Her gaze fell upon Elizabeth sitting beside her husband.
“I fail to see how my marriage affects my cousin.” Fitzwilliam slipped Elizabeth’s hand about his arm.
“He has been witness to your happiness, Darcy. Forgive me, Elizabeth, but you are not the wife we anticipated for our nephew.” Her ladyship had the decency to blush. “In our circle, there are expectations.”
“Expectations be damned,” Fitzwilliam muttered. “Has Ashton met a lady in the past who did not meet the ton’s ridiculous expectations?” he asked, looking towards his cousin.
Phillip’s gaze fell upon his father, but he did not speak.
“It was years ago. The lady has since married elsewhere.” Lord Matlock pinched the bridge of his nose. “He was too young to marry and I do not believe he pines for her.”
Do you understand? I could not just brush the man’s demands under the rug, wave my magic pen, and bippity-boppity-boo him into a marriage. He must have his say, so I will be writing a series (there are at least two other couples who have stepped up to claim a piece of the spotlight as well). But for now, it is edit, edit, edit in order to get our dear couple’s story to the editor on time.
I would love your thoughts on series. Stay safe and be well!