35-Day Author Blog Challenge 2015 · Book Production Stuff · Laura Hile · Mercy's Embrace novels

Day 9: Book Idea Dawning

Mercy's FB cover
Sing it with me: “Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale…” Thank you, Gilligan’s Island, for the loan of the theme song. Because today’s prompt asks how I came up with the idea for my first book–a “three-hour-tour” concept that mushroomed into a series.

Mercy’s Embrace, a romantic romp in three parts, was a hoot to write.. It’s a what-if continuation of Jane Austen’s Persuasion, and it grew out of a fan fiction series I wrote with Susan Kaye. The hero, Admiral McGillvary, was created by Sue. What fun we had talking over story ideas! McGillvary turned out to be the perfect foil for Mercy’s snooty heroine, Elizabeth Elliot.

I was intending to focus on Anne, but her lovely older sister elbowed her way to the front. What could I do? Elizabeth is more lively than Anne, and more beautiful, and far more opinionated. She’s also just as desperate and is not too proud to scheme. But she’s not as smart as she thinks, and that’s where the fun begins.

I soon discovered that Austen’s “Other Elizabeth” and I have much in common. From being an eldest daughter to experiencing a social and financial slide, I understood her plight. And if I were beautiful enough to get away with saying what I think, I would be just as much trouble as she is!

Austen left groundwork that made Elizabeth’s humanization possible, so I ran with it. And then I remembered that very beautiful women are sometimes quite lonely. Oh, they have busy social lives, but their friendships are often conditional. Here was the perfect opening for McGillvary, a man whom Elizabeth dismissed as too unimportant to matter. Their unlikely friendship had readers turning pages. Would she lose her heart? Would he?

Mercy’s grew over eight summers and gathered a loyal following. By the time I finished, Austen fiction was becoming popular, so I tossed my hat into the publishing ring. In 2009 the first Mercy’s book was released by Wytherngate Press, and the other two followed at six-month intervals.

So these friends (at the Jane Austen Festival, Louisville 2013) is *not quite* Elizabeth Elliot and Admiral McGillvary--he looks like a long-haired pirate journeyman! --but the vibe is there.
So these friends (at the Jane Austen Festival, Louisville, 2013) are not *quite* Elizabeth Elliot and Admiral McGillvary–she is elegant, but he looks like a long-haired pirate! –and yet the vibe is right.

The 35-Day Challenge continues! If you’d like to see what the other participants are blogging about, you can find their blogs here.

Photo Credit: Ozimanndias8 (Creative Commons Flickr)

12 thoughts on “Day 9: Book Idea Dawning

  1. You really ought to be thanking a guy named Chris (I think) on DWG. Every time he made a comment on Elizabeth’s ways you started muttering about writing her before he did.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You know what, you’re right. I need to remember that–finish the book before someone else comes up with the same idea.

    I’ve been disheartened to hear reports of open stealing of stories from the larger fiction sites (not Beyond Austen!). The nerve of someone, to publish something they have not written! All the more reason to push ahead and get the book done, I tell myself. Moving slowly these days–I’ve learned the concept of “energy bucks,” and that once those are spent, my day is over. Even a small advance with writing is a good one.

    Thanks for the reminder that opposition can give motivation. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. On a trip of nostalgia, I wandered back to Pemberley dot com’s Bits of Ivory and I think the guy’s name was Bill. And, poor Patrick. I created him to be Frederick’s foil, and then he fell for EE and you elaborated on that. I wonder who next will be called into service to … service?

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      1. BoI … that is a Memory Lane destination. I didn’t realize that it was still up. How the years fly by.

        As for McGillvary, he remains untouched by the passing years, forever…what was his age? Forty-two or three? Our own age when we began writing, he remains.

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  3. About plagarism, our Vice President did it. Some Kennedy’s got caught doing it. Chief Justice Roberts has been accused of it. Some of the “best and brightest” do it. What’s a bit of harmless theiving of JAFF among cyber acquaintances?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Plagiarism software isn’t worth the investment for our small high school, but our academic writing teacher has an eagle eye and busts students when they try it.

      For fun, I entered the first chapter of Darcy By Any Other Name into Grammarly’s plagiarism checker–because I use several lines of Mrs. Bennet’s lifted straight out of Pride and Prejudice. Grammarly caught them. I think. I have to sign up (pay) to find out.

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      1. The Web is like a city and these niche areas–Austen Fandom being one–seem like out-of-the-way places where a thief can steal with impunity. No matter how you put your work into the world, there is someone willing to put their grubby mits all over it.

        Liked by 1 person

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