Monday, October 4, 2010

Guest Sharon Lathan: Writing A Long Life

Today I welcome Sharon Lathan, author of In the Arms of Mr. Darcy, the latest installment in her Pride and Prejudice sequels. Here she talks about the family saga, those long, delicious books that carried you through generations of well-loved characters--and that are thin on the ground of late.

Leave a comment with your email for a chance to win one of the two copies of In the Arms of Mr. Darcy which Sourcebooks has generously provided. Sharon will select the winners. Check the comments to see who won, and how to contact me to claim your book. If I cannot contact the winners within a week of their selection, I will award the books to alternates. Note, Sourcebooks can mail to USA and Canada addresses only.

Sharon selected the winners catslady and Jessica. I've sent you both emails. Please respond by October 16 or I will award the books to alternates.

And see the bottom of this post for how to download the ebook of Sharon's Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two Shall Become One.

Welcome, Sharon!

On one of the Regency historical groups I belong to the question was recently asked, “Is the family saga dead?” The responses were numerous with a definitive decision not reached. All I could think was that I sure hope not!

I firmly believe that readers come in all shapes and sizes, want a variety of reading material, and therefore literature should not be limited or whole genres ever considered “dead.” A friend of mine was recently dished by an “expert” critique and contest judge for extolling the descriptive virtues of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Days later my husband and I chatted with our waitress, a girl about 19, who loves Shakespeare and just finished reading War and Peace – for fun! Certainly one can point to the popularity of Jane Austen as proof that classic novels written in older styles and not following “the rules” remain vital and reading-worthy.

I grew up reading books three inches thick or that were a serial because I love meaty novels and traveling through the years with characters I enjoy. Last I looked the Little House on the Prairie novels, Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, and Gone With the Wind were still considered classics and must-reads. Those are just a few examples of literature falling under the “family saga” umbrella.

I am not expecting my saga to ever be noted alongside John Jakes’ Kent Family Chronicles or James Michener’s Centennial. Yet perhaps writers like me who embrace saga-style plotlines, themes, and pacing will prove that the family centered story is not dead.

In the three books that began my sequel series to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice I only covered the first year of Darcy and Lizzy’s married life. But what an eventful year it was! In The Arms of Mr. Darcy picks up the pace a bit, spanning just over one year, from winter 1817 to winter 1819, and remains as eventful. Yet, in true family saga form, we flow gradually over the weeks and months, journeying with the characters as they live life amid this exciting time in history.

For me the greatest fun was watching these characters I love so much change with the experiences tossed at them! I really wanted to turn the spotlight upon some of the secondary characters, while also centering on Lizzy and Darcy. Not so easy!

What can one expect from In The Arms of Mr. Darcy?

Darcy and Lizzy learn how to be parents. Their day-to-day life changes with the addition of a baby, naturally. Everything from a first Christmas, resuming their intimate relationship, dealing with relatives and christening interruptions, and learning to prioritize what is most important is explored. There are adventures at The Peaks and Matlock Bath. Intrigue in Derby and London. And as they set to embark upon a tour of the Continent the question of additional little Darcys is discussed.

They aren’t the only ones whose lives are changing! Charles and Jane Bingley establish roots in the community and prepare for parenthood. Anne de Bourgh and Mary Bennet say, “I Do.” Word of the Wickhams and their dramas will upset a number of people, especially Darcy who reveals more of his past.

New love and romance touches several members of their extended family. Caroline Bingley is torn between two potential mates, but only one has the power to unnerve her and awaken her stony heart. Colonel Fitzwilliam, confirmed bachelor that he is, falls in love with an elusive widow who may or may not return his affections. Or is it another young lady who will wrest his heart away? Kitty Bennet, flighty and flirty as always, falls in love but it is doomed from the start, her entire world turned upside down as a consequence. Georgiana Darcy matures and is the toast of London – much to Darcy’s dismay. Will she find true love amid the music and dancing? Or will her eyes be opened to someone closer to home? Or will her romance have to wait for another novel!

All of that in one book! And there is more I didn’t hint at! See why I love family sagas?

If you ask me, I will assure you the saga is not dead. I plan to do everything in my power to make sure it never is.

What do you think? Tell me some of your favorite meaty stories or classic literature or sagas that carry you through the years. Then, after we discuss that, pop over to my website to read more about my offering: The Darcy Saga by Sharon Lathan at

You can also join me at Austen Authors ( and Casablanca Authors (

If only everyone could be as happy as they are…

Darcy and Elizabeth are as much in love as ever—even more so as their relationship matures. Their passion inspires everyone around them, and as winter turns to spring, romance blossoms around them.

Confirmed bachelor Richard Fitzwilliam sets his sights on a seemingly unattainable, beautiful widow; Georgiana Darcy learns to flirt outrageously; the very flighty Kitty Bennet develops her first crush, and Caroline Bingley meets her match.

But the path of true love never does run smooth, and Elizabeth and Darcy are kept busy navigating their friends and loved ones through the inevitable separations, misunderstandings, misgivings, and lovers’ quarrels to reach their own happily ever afters…

About the Author
Sharon Lathan is the author of the bestselling Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two Shall Become One, and Loving Mr. Darcy: Journeys Beyond Pemberley. In addition to her writing, she works as a Registered Nurse in a Neonatal ICU. She resides with her family in Hanford, California in the sunny San Joaquin Valley. Fore more information, please visit

Sourcebooks eBook Promotion: Sharon Lathan’s bestselling book, Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two Shall Become One, (epub: 9781402235184, pdf: 9781402228865) will be available for free download from 10/5 – 10/11. Please visit for more information!


Linda Banche said...

Hi Sharon. Who says people nowadays only want to read short books? I love thick, long books and I mourn their demise. Recent books are long on dialog and short on description. I love description!

From what I understand, family sagas are very popular in the UK. Rebecca Ann Collins's PEMBERLEY CHRONICLES is another recent popular P&P saga.

I like your secondary characters' stories in IN THE ARMS OF MR. DARCY. Especially Colonel Fitzwilliam. What a hero. Sigh.

Sharon Lathan said...

Good morning Linda and everyone else! I am in Anaheim, CA having just finished 2 days of fun at Disneyland. Now we have to make the nearly 4 hour trek home. But, I will check in as often as possible, so please comment!

Rebecca Collins is a great example, Linda. Like you, I love descriptiveness. That is probably obvious in my writing! I firmly believe that most people do want a vivid scene as the backdrop to the action.

And thanks again for mentioning the Colonel. Now I wish I had given him a separate story!

catslady said...

I agree whole heartedly. When I first started reading novels for pleasure I found out right away that I enjoyed the sagas - I wanted to know everything about the characters and descriptions and I mourned when the book was finished. Since most authors were knew to me, I bought many a book on thickness alone lol. James Michener and Taylor Caldwell were two of my favorites. I could name so many more. And I have a wonderful collection of classics. I remember reading A Tale of Two Cities in sixth grade lol. P&P was such a memorable book and I'm thrilled to find that authors are continuing the story. Yours sounds especially intriguing and true to the original. I look forward to it.

aarbaugh said...

I finally read Pride & Prejudice about three years ago (watched the movie many times). Sharon's books sound like they're great additions to "the family". Though I love reading books around 300 pages, it's nice to get the longer ones. I enjoy following characters through sequels, too.

Sharon Lathan said...

Well, the looonnnggg trip home from Disneyland is done. Whew! It was wonderful as always - Disneyland that is - but there is no place like home, as Dorothy said. It feels good to be back in my desk chair. And now I can respond!

Hi catslady! I am glad you mentioned Taylor Caldwell. She is one of my absolutely favs. And talk about description and detail! Wow. She is incredible and I must say an inspiration to me when I write and try to paint a picture of the surrounds. I know I am not as skilled as her, or Michener or Tolkien to name a few others, but I do try. I hope you will be pleased.

Welcome to the P&P world aarbaugh! Once you get hooked there is no going back! My novels aren't too much longer than 300 pages, so you should feel right at home. :-)

Vee said...

Hi Linda,

I have to admit I haven't read any other "sagas". Sharon's beautifully exquisite Saga had me captivated from the very first lines!
It will always remain my favourite, because I dreamt and longed for a passionate romantic life for Darcy & Lizzy and Sharon certainly provides this for me with her wonderful style.
I adore all her characters and Richard is one of my favs his story is thrilling touching and very romantic too.
Can never get enough of this amazing story. I hope it goes on forever.
TSBO devotee

Vee said...

ok woops I just realised Sharon's love of sci fi adventures and romance have rubbed off on me and when some books were recommended a gave them ago. I am part way through (6th book)reading Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth series/saga. I am really enjoying it and love the main characters love story mostly.
So there you go I have read another saga if this counts. Sharons will always be my fav though
TSBO devotee

Sharon Lathan said...

It does count, Vee! another reason I have been a fan of the fantasy/sci-fi genre is because of the tendency toward series. You can take the quest with the characters over a long period of time (in some cases) and travel all over the world with them.

Thanks for stopping by! I'm glad you are enjoying Goodkind. :-)

Jessica said...

Um, do Star Wars novels count as a family saga? :) ALthough, I only approve of the Timothy Zahn novels, so that does limit me. . .

Other than that I haven't read a ton of family sagas, except for the children's lit ones such as Little House on the Prairie etc.

Sharon - I probably walked by you at Disneyland a couple of times while you were here and didn't even know! We have annual passes as we live about 10 minutes away ;)

Margaret Tanner said...

Wow Sharon, Good for you. I love sagas. In my humble opinion, they have never really died out, just got pushed to the said and not given the recognition they deserve.



susan said...

You are a new author to me but love the sounds of your book here and the cover is great. I am glad to have had the chance to be here and enjoy the article you took time to put together for all of us. Susan L.

Sharon Lathan said...

It would have been great to bump into you at Disneyland, Jessica! I met up with another fan-turned-friend and we had a blast together. Maybe next time. We are AP holders so visit often.

I agree with you, Margaret. I love long sagas - obviously - and hope other will follow suit!

Thank you Susan! I love hearing that new people are intrigued. That is music to my ears!

LK Hunsaker said...

Hi Sharon and Linda,

Count me as another who loves family sagas, particularly the Kent Family Chronicles. I love following characters through time and watching the effects of one generation on the next.

Sharon Lathan said...

LK, The Kent Family Chronicles are among my favorites. I swear I learned more history reading John Jakes than in all 4 years of high school!

catslady said...

Oh, John Jakes... I reread very rarely but this is one series I've read twice and enjoyed it just as much the second time around. There weren't too many series back then as I remember.

catslady said...

Thank you both so much!!