Today I welcome a dear friend of this blog and of Austen Authors. Jennifer Redlarczyk, who is releasing a novelette as a prelude to her first novel, Darcy’s Melody, which will arrive soon. Austen fans are in for a real treat.
Greetings, JAFF Lovers! And thank you, Regina, for hosting me here. Since I am a newly published author, I wanted to take this opportunity to tell you a little about myself and what inspired me to write in this genre.
By trade, I am a performer and private music teacher. For as long as I can remember, I have always loved music. While my parents were not formally trained musicians, it was a rare day that you didn’t hear one of them break out in song. As you might suspect I simply had to join in.
Growing up in Janesville, Wisconsin, my love of music followed me everywhere. In addition to voice, I studied violin and piano. When I attended college at Northwestern University, I majored in Vocal Performance. Currently, I live in Crown Point, Indiana, where I still continue to sing and have a delightful studio of young people who study with me.
I first discovered Jane Austen when I was but a teenager. My mother was a lover of old movies and introduced me and my sister to the 1940 movie version of Pride and Prejudice staring Greer Garson and Lawrence Olivier. What could be better than this old black and white film with lively music and lighthearted banter between our beloved characters, Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy?
Little did I know that this old film was just a sneak preview into the world of Jane Austen and the literary works that I would soon come to love and cherish. Following this introduction, I quickly sought out our local used book store to see if I might purchase the original. To my delight, I found a fat anthology containing not only Pride and Prejudice, but six of Jane Austen’s completed novels.
During the summer of 2011 while visiting my local Barnes and Noble Bookstore, I happened to notice a table of Jane Austen Fanfiction books. At the time, I wasn’t big into social media and never realized JAFF existed. Needless to say, I blew my budget and walked out of Barnes with an armload of books. From there I found the JAFF community on Facebook and became a moderator on DarcyandLizzy.com where I am an avid reader and have posted more than twenty short stories and one full-length novel, Darcy’s Melody.
At the time A Very Merry Mix-up was written, the forum had been offering various theme challenges to authors who wished to write short stories or flashes of inspiration. This particular story was written for All Fool’s Day. According to Wikipedia this particular day can be traced back to the days of Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales (1392). In preparation for publication of Darcy’s Melody, I decided to publish this novelette in an effort to explore more fully the realm of self-publishing. As a first time author, I was astounded to learn how much work goes into preparing one’s manuscript for publication. Consequentially, I have the greatest appreciation for authors such as Regina Jeffers, who have dedicated themselves to a career of writing and have continued to give us so many wonderful stories.
Jennifer Redlarczyk (Jen Red) ♫
Book Blurb for A Very Merry Mix-up
It all began when Fitzwilliam Darcy and his cousin Colonel Richard Fitzwilliam stopped at the posting station in Bromley on their way to Rosings Park for their annual visit. Looking for some diversion, the good colonel happened upon a local Romani woman who was selling her people’s treasured Moon Wine. Find out what happens to some of our favourite Jane Austen characters when her advice is ignored in A Very Merry Mix-up.
1 April 1811, All Fool’s Day
Quickly rising, Darcy felt a little unsteady and found it necessary to hold on to the bed post while searching for his robe. Catching a glimpse of himself in the mirror, he staggered closer to the glass and groaned in disbelief. Slowly rubbing his stubby fingers across his ruddy cheeks and through his oily hair, he wondered if he had indeed gone mad. Wiping those same fingers on the front of his nightshirt, he could not help but feel his flabby chest and the protrusion of his round stomach through the cloth. Grasping the reality of his predicament, Darcy stared at himself with revulsion.
“Merciful Heaven!” he thundered, turning back to the woman. “It is me, Fitzwilliam Darcy, in the body of that idiot rector! If you are Miss Elizabeth Bennet, as you claim, I fear we have both become the victims of some cruel joke. Will you not come and look for yourself?”
Picking up Charlotte’s dressing gown and quickly wrapping it around herself, Elizabeth guardedly went to the mirror as he requested. “Mr. Darcy?” She paled, realizing what he said was true.
Want to read a Longer Excerpt? Check out the one on Amazon at this LINK.