Interview with Author, Sharon Lathan
Sharon Lathan, Author of Miss Darcy Falls in Love
Ms. Lathan is a native Californian and resides in Hanford, California in the sunny San Joaquin Valley; with her own Mr. Darcy of 25 years and their two lovely grown children. By profession, she is a Registered Nurse in the Neonatal ICU and when not working you can find her busily typing away her latest story or when time permits reading or watching TV.
SL: Thank you so much for having me, Miguelina. It is an honor to answer your questions and spend some time with your readers!
MP: You are very welcome, but the honor is really mine. So, tell us about Sharon Lathan the woman and the writer.
SL: Sharon Lathan the Woman is reserved, a little bit shy even, completely a homebody who loves nothing more than curling up in her chair and watching TV with her family. She is not at all adventurous or overly exciting, believe me! She lives in an average residential area of a small town within the same state she has lived her entire life.
Sharon Lathan the Writer is a world traveler, both literally and figuratively. She gets to dress up and attend conferences where she meets exciting, famous people and interacts with strangers who know her name! She is creative in a bunch of ways, can express herself quite eloquently, serves as a mentor to others, and gets to cut loose from time to time. Her life is much more interesting than Sharon Lathan the Woman!
MP: I wouldn’t mind hanging out with Sharon the Writer. I happen to do a lot of Sharon the Woman and I could use some excitement. So tell me, besides Jane Austen, can you name another author you favor? Why?
SL: I have many authors that are favorites. Historically I prefer the fantasy genre with my favorite authors JRR Tolkien, David Eddings, Raymond Feist, Stephen King, Terry Brooks, and Barbara Hambly to name but a few. I also love the works of Laura Ingalls Wilder, James Michener, John Jakes, and Taylor Caldwell, all of whom write such extraordinary family dramas. In the romance genre I am very fond of Karen Marie Moning, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Marie Force, Julia Quinn, Diana Gabaldon, Delilah Marvelle, Julie James…. I better stop or we will be here all day!
MP: Wow! I think I have my own list. What is about Austen’s novels that compel you to write the story either by introducing new characters or providing your audience a different perspective from another character’s point of view?
SL: It isn’t a secret that I fell in love with Austen first via the 2005 Pride and Prejudice film with Keira Knightly. That was my introduction to her world, but of course it did not stop there! I honestly don’t know why these characters so touched me. I fell in love with the entire world Austen created – more so when I read the novels – and simply cannot get enough of them. Now they have evolved and are my own creations as I envision their lives, and in that respect I am not unlike any other author who falls in love with their characters and cannot let them go.
MP: For me and others, I think it is great because I can then enjoy them. We know that the Regency period had a lot of exciting developments, such as the manners of its society, class structure, industrial developments, etc. What is it about that period that appeals to you as a woman? And as a writer?
SL: I am an old-fashioned person. I miss proper manners and respect, so it is wonderful to inhabit a world where those attitudes are the norm. I also love history, especially in regard to how it was evolving. Research is a passion for me. I get a thrill when I uncover some fact I never knew and will go to great lengths to incorporate that into my story. I think that I possess an educator’s heart in that I adore passing on what I learn to my readers.
MP: I think that is what makes an author’s writing special. What role has Jane played in your writing?
SL: Jane Austen is the original creator and I never forget that. She laid the foundation and gave the characters their core personalities. When I began writing my sequel I turned to Pride and Prejudice at every turn for inspiration and to make sure I was on track. However, I soon realized that interpretations varied and that how I was seeing the characters, especially as they matured, was my vision. Ultimately, I believe this would make Jane happy since every author wants their readers to enjoy their novels as it speaks to them. MP: From all of the books you have written, which one do you consider your masterpiece? Why?
SL: Oh my! I am not bold enough to consider any of my novels as a “masterpiece”! I am proud of each one but do think my writing has improved as time has passed. The characters have become mine so writing them has become more fun, I suppose. I am very proud of the action and intrigue in The Trouble With Mr. Darcy, plus I love writing the children as I could in that one. I am very happy with Miss Darcy Falls in Love because it is a complete love story all on its own. And I adore Georgiana and Sebastian! I think my novella in A Darcy Christmas is excellent because it gives a glimpse of the Darcys as a family through 20+ years. In some ways I am most proud of that one, but it is a close contest!
MP: I can’t wait to read Miss Darcy Falls in Love. I noticed that while writing The Vicar’s Deadly Sin, there were instances when I felt taken over by some unseen force and ended up with a fantastic scene or dialogue that I initially had not thought of. At what point during the writing process for Miss Darcy Falls in Love did this happen to you?
SL: Oh yes! This happens many times, doesn’t it? The muse hits and away we go! In Miss Darcy Falls in Love there is a scene where Georgiana and Sebastian have a fight. That ended up being much more powerful than I had initially envisioned. Then there is a scene where Sebastian is having a conversation with a friend named Gaston. This man who was only meant to lend a bit of advice ended up having a fabulous personality that completely took me by surprise! It is a small moment but I can’t tell you how many people have commented positively about Gaston!
MP: Awesome! I am looking forward to reading “Miss Darcy Falls in Love.” Can you tell us a little about it without giving away any spoilers?
SL: How about the official blurb to state it for me—
Noble young ladies were expected to play an instrument, but Georgiana Darcy is an accomplished musician who hungers to pursue her talents. She embarks upon a tour of Europe, ending in Paris where two very different men will ignite her heart in entirely different ways and begin a bitter rivalry to win her. But only one holds the key to her happiness.
Set in post-Napoleonic Empire France, Miss Darcy Falls in Love is a riveting love story that enters a world of passion where gentlemen know exactly how to please and a young woman learns to direct her destiny and understand her heart.
MP: Can’t wait! What are your feelings or thoughts on Miss Darcy? Why compelled to tell her story?
SL: For one thing, I am drawn to giving a personality to those who are not given much of one by Austen. Colonel Fitzwilliam, Anne de Bourgh, and Kitty Bennet all have a fleshed-out role within my novels. Naturally I wanted to do the same with Georgiana. She grew on me while she literally grew as the years passed in my sequel. I began to see the future for her early on, but it was when I randomly introduced this man named Sebastian at a ball that I suddenly knew the whole tale. Instantly I recognized that it was worthy of an entire book rather than just a sub-plot in the series. Thankfully my editor agreed!
MP: If you can go back in your writing career what would you do differently or wouldn’t?
SL: I know I would make a few different editing choices in my early books if I could. Nothing major, but just that I have grown as a writer and think I could apply that knowledge to making the first novel even better. From a career standpoint I would have gotten involved with other writer groups sooner than I did. The support from fellow authors is amazing and it helps so much.
MP: As a writer do you feel you have come full circle, i.e., are you achieving your passion?
SL: I am achieving my passion, yes, but I don’t think a writer ever comes full circle. That would imply there are no more goals to strive for. I hope to always be searching for ways to improve and stretch myself.
MP: Is there a character from one of your books that you molded after yourself?
SL: Not specifically, no. I have always said that Mr. Darcy is a lot like me, which is probably why I can relate to him. Same for Georgiana. I have no musical talent whatsoever, and of course I live in a liberated world where a woman having a profession is not a problem. But I am very like her in being shy, reserved, and desiring the simple things in life even while pursuing a career. It is a tough balance.
MP: Any advice to new authors?
SL: Never give up! Keep writing and keep exploring all the options that are now available. It truly is an exciting time for authors with the opportunities myriad. Also, don’t be shy. Work hard and be savvy on what is possible and on what you need to do to be a success.
MP: What are your thoughts on publishing the traditional way versus e-publishing?
SL: Both pathways have pros and cons. One is not “better” than the other nor is one way the only option. An author needs to look at the whole picture and decide what is best for them. I also don’t think it has to be one way or the other. An author can pursue both and I think they should. I love knowing that my novels are on a store shelf. It means a great deal to me, but as long as they are getting into the hands of readers who long for a happily-ever-after for the Darcys it does not matter to me what format it is in or how the reader finds it.
MP: Thank you so much, Sharon for taking the time from your busy schedule to tell us about Sharon Lathan the Woman and the Writer.
SL: It was my pleasure.
Ms. Lathan is the best-selling author of The Darcy Saga sequel series to Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice. Her previously published novels are: Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two Shall Become One, Loving Mr. Darcy, My Dearest Mr. Darcy, In the Arms of Mr. Darcy, A Darcy Christmas, and The Trouble With Mr. Darcy. Miss Darcy Falls in Love is Georgiana’s tale of love and adventure while in France. Complete with a happy ending.
About our Columnist
Ms. Miguelina Perez is a writer, and jewelry artist. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of the District of Columbia. As a jewelry artist one of her lariats was showcased in the San Antonio Express-News. She has won several awards including a critical Writing award for an essay on the gender roles of Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn and Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women.
It was during her high school years at the school’s library that she first encountered her first romance mystery writer – Ms. Victoria Holt and then Ms. Phyllis J. Whitney. Her love of romance novels stems from those discoveries, especially the Romance mystery genre.
Several of her poems have been published in anthologies, and she was named “Poet of Year in 1995”. She finished her first book, The Vicar’s Deadly Sin – a Regency romance mystery, the first of a seven-part serial based on the Seven Deadly Sins.
Currently, she is editing the sequel to the Vicar’s Deadly Sin, “Angel’s Lust.” Her next project is a contemporary romance thriller called “A Hero of Her Own.”
You can read Miguelina's column on the 3rd Saturday each month here at Pandora's Box Gazette.