The Words Which Laid the Foundation

The Words Which Laid the Foundation

I’m always amazed by the power of a single line or two from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice to inspire a “what-if” story. With over 122,000 words to choose from, fashioned into such charming and witty prose, is there any wonder we have so many fantastic variations and sequels to entertain us? Better still, we have more and more enticing stories coming our way each month.

Here are some of the Austen quotes that have inspired my writing.

“Well, my comfort is, I am sure Jane will die of a broken heart; and then he will be sorry for what he has done.”

“In vain I have struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.”


My current work-in-progress is inspired by a particular quote as well.

“My dearest child,” she cried, “I can think of nothing else! Ten thousand a year, and very likely more! ‘Tis as good as a Lord! And a special license. You must and shall be married by a special license. But my dearest love, tell me what dish Mr. Darcy is particularly fond of, that I may have it tomorrow.”


I love this story. It will be available in September 2015. I was progressing quite nicely on As Good as a Lord until another idea came to mind. It’s my newest release titled, To Refuse Such a Man. Here are the inspiring words drawn from the pages of Pride and Prejudice.

“Steady to his purpose, he scarcely spoke ten words to her through the whole of Saturday, and though they were at one time left by themselves for half-an-hour, he adhered most conscientiously to his book, and would not even look at her.”

I invite you to enjoy an excerpt from Chapter 2.

Achingly aware of her, thoughts that no gentleman ought to entertain in the presence of a gentlewoman crept into his mind as he began to feel the danger of being in such proximity to Miss Elizabeth Bennet.

Darcy had but one purpose in being in Hertfordshire: to help his friend Charles Bingley in navigating the tricky waters of being the master of his own estate. The last thing he expected was to meet the woman whose nearness caused him to entertain ideas of what it would be like to know her as his wife.

At seven and twenty, Darcy had managed to avoid any entanglement that might give rise to an expectation of marriage. At first, it might be said that he took some comfort in the presumption that those who knew him best held that he would marry his cousin Miss Anne de Bourgh. However, when Anne herself began to entertain such notions, Darcy put an end to that by declaring to anyone who dared ask that such a union would never be. Anne took the information as well as could be expected; however the same could not be said of her mother, Lady Catherine de Bourgh. The older sister of his late mother, Lady Catherine insisted that it was the favorite wish of her sister that the two young people should be married.

Anne and Darcy were fashioned for each other at birth, she always pontificated. Even Darcy’s own words to the contrary were insufficient to douse her hopes that such a union would one day unfold. Oh, what a determined advocate Lady Catherine could be when she put her mind to it. Satisfied in the knowledge that his aunt’s wishes were not and would never be his own, Darcy simply pretended not to hear a word she spoke about his future marital prospects.

He took his responsibilities as a landlord, a master of hundreds, and an older brother and co-guardian of his younger sister, Miss Georgiana Darcy, quite seriously. Among those responsibilities was choosing the next mistress of Pemberley wisely.

The next thing he knew, the thought of how Miss Elizabeth Bennet would be received in London crossed his mind. Darcy could hardly fathom why he would be picturing Miss Elizabeth traveling in his sphere in town. Then again, there were places in town where tradesmen of means cavorted with the ton: the park, the shops, and the theater. He then began to wonder if, indeed, they had frequented some of the same places. Her only connection in London that he was aware of was the uncle who resided in Cheapside.

Surely if there were other, more consequential, connections, she or her mother would have said something.

Speaking of her mother, there was a woman whom he barely tolerated. His intercourse with Mrs. Bennet had been marred by contentiousness. When he rightly pointed out how the company in town was far more varied than in such a small place as Meryton, she took umbrage, insisting that they regularly dined with four and twenty families. As insignificant a number as that was compared to the Society he was referring to, he did not see how it could even be that high. Arguing with the woman was hardly something he wanted to do.

I have done quite enough of that with her beguiling daughter since the young woman’s arrival at Netherfield.


What say you to an exciting giveaway to conclude this post? I have two copies of To Refuse Such a Man up for grabs: one paperback (US mailing address required) and one eBook (International). The giveaway ends on Tuesday, August 4th at 11:59 pm PST. Leave a comment for a chance to win!

85 Responses to The Words Which Laid the Foundation

  1. I loved all the books that I have read by PO Dixon and Pam knows it. What can I say about Mrs Calbry in “Still a young man”. I am pretty sure that after reading this excerpt, I will, again, love the book 🙂 but now I will gladly read “To refuse such a man” 😀
    Thank you for doing the giveaway!

    • Knowing how much you enjoy my stories means so much to me, Anadarcy. I can’t thank you enough. “What can I say about Mrs Calbry …” That’s my sentiment as well. I had so much fun writing that story. 🙂 I hope you’ll love To Refuse Such a Man.

  2. So interesting to find out how you are inspired to write P&P variations. Can’t wait for this next one to come out!

  3. I’m constantly amazed by how many what-if tales have been created from a single novel, never mind a few lines! Congrats on your new release, and thanks for the giveaway!

  4. Definitely reads like another home run for ms dixon. I love the way she imagines and then writes such beautiful prose.

  5. This was a really interesting little post. I have wondered before how some Austen Authors find the inspiration for their stories, but I hadn’t thought about one quote from the original making the difference. I think it’s super fascinating to learn what stands out for other Jane Austen lovers. Really excited to dig into these books now, knowing a little more about your thoughts in writing them!

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