1) Why Romance? Did you choose this genre or were you ‘chosen’ by it?
I don’t know if my book, ‘Darcy and Fitzwilliam’ falls into the Romance category actually, although there is plenty of romance in there. In fact, evidently my book has a good deal more romance than the usual Pride and Prejudice sequel, or so I have been told. In fact my brother said it was “bawdy” which shocked me to hear. (Not that it was bawdy, just that I didn’t think anyone in the 21st Century used that word) Anyway, I describe my book more as a ‘bromance’, a story of the (non romantic) love and friendship between two men, cousins, competitors, and life long companions.
There is a genuine familial connection between the two, although their personalities are totally opposite. Whereas Darcy is elegant, proud, aloof and haughty, Fitzwilliam is charismatic, messy and a good deal of fun. The old adage ‘you can choose your friends but you can’t choose your family’ really rings true for these two. They love each other fiercely, like brothers, but they also aggravate each other to distraction. Just like family.
And, to answer your second question, I was definitely chosen by it. I was literally bursting with this story, almost overwhelmed with the need to write it. I have no idea where it came from and why it plagued me so, but it followed me around for months until I finally sat down and wrote.
2) Is there a romance author, living or dead, who inspires you particularly?
I love all romance writers, to name just a few: Judith McNaught, Mary Balogh (I love the “Simply” books and I keep reading and re reading ‘More than a Mistress), Nora Roberts, Sandra Brown, Carla Kelly for Regency Romance (‘Mrs. Drew Plays her Hand’ is wonderful). The only genre that doesn’t appeal to me is paranormal but I am in the minority there. That is wildly popular now. I prefer Historicals and Historical Romance, Medieval times Romance, the Western Romance, and for some reason ancient Rome Romance.
3) Please, tell us about your last book and, if you can, about your future projects.
‘Darcy and Fitzwilliam’ begins just where ‘Pride and Prejudice’ ended. The newly wedded Mr. and Mrs. Darcy are blissfully happy and silly like most young couples. His personality has opened up to embrace the joy of living and Lizzy adores him (as we all do). That’s the first year. The second year brings some tragedy into their lives, and some joy. They begin to argue a bit, just like most young couples. Their love has grown into much more than just the joy of physical union as they face what life throws at them.
Into the mix returns Colonel Fitzwilliam from the Peninsular Wars and Waterloo, a soldier facing a world at peace for the first time in years. He is soon to leave the service but with no prospects; a second son with no money. A basically happy soul, he is a charismatic charmer as he moves from home to home, visiting relatives, beset by both flashbacks to the war and his indecision about his future. He meets a young woman he cannot have and will not live without, falls immediately in love, and then the fun starts.
I am working on a sequel to my sequel but its slow going. I am not organized; I change plots from line to line. The way I write is chaotic and many times the characters have to take over the story from me – and that always is startling when it happens.
4) How was your writing journey? Was it difficult to find an agent and get published?
I am not a professional write in the least. Before the book I had never written anything – not a review, or a short story or even a letter to the editor. However, for some peculiar reason, I did know years ago that I would write a book. That sounds silly but it’s the truth. I began writing about five years ago at my husband’s suggestion, deciding to pursue Pride and Prejudice, my favorite book, movie and mini series. (I have never met a Darcy I did not fall in love with)
Once the book was finished (I think I judged by weight – it was HUGE) I started sending out query letters to agents, by snail mail and e-mail. Interesting bit of information – if you submit a letter by mail you are required to finance your own rejection by supplying a self addressed stamped envelope. I know. I became very upset after my 50th or so rejection so I went to the library and took out a book about publishing.
That book said more or less to forget about it – no one who is not famous already is being published. No one. It’s hopeless. Not what I wanted to hear after writing something for four years of my life. The library book also warned to NOT submit directly to a publisher. Publishers hate that and will hate you for doing it. But, I had nothing to lose and no more agents to harass so I submitted a query letter and five chapters to a publisher.
Eight weeks later I received the call that they would publish. It seems easy now that I look back – maybe too easy. But I never had any doubt about it really. Like I said, somehow I knew long ago this would happen.
5) What’s your opinion about this e-book revolution? Would you consider the indie route?
I think the e-book revolution is wonderful but how oh how do you have your book stand apart from the millions that are now flooding the market, not to mention the self published books everywhere. If you tell someone you wrote a book they tell you they know five or six people who have also written a book. Everyone is publishing something.
Since I have no assurance that my next book will be picked up by my publisher it is comforting to know that I can get the book out there myself. All this effort will not be wasted. And my percentage of earnings will be much, much more (if I manage to sell anything). No wonder the publishing houses are panicking. They must be really running scared now. I read somewhere that J K Rowling is self publishing now.
6) Nowadays many publishers expect their authors to use social media a lot to promote their books. Many authors, on the other hand, would prefer to write only, without being distracted by digital trivialities: what are your thoughts?
As usually I have gone overboard with this. It started with advice from a wonderful writer, Mary Simonson. She’s a very well established and incredibly popular Pride and Prejudice sequel author. She told me to immediately get a website, a Facebook page, a blog and start twitter. I was skeptical at first but – thank goodness for Mary. My blog, The League of British Artists, is doing very well and I can promote my book there. (One thing I discovered is that an unknown, first time writer really must push the book themselves – the publisher will NOT waste many resources on you) I also write on a blog called English Historical Fiction Authors.
The big problem I have with social media is that I love it. I spend too much time on it, time I should be putting toward my sequel to my sequel. But, who cares, really? I am having fun and the pressure is off. I had a book published. Unbelievable. That was nothing short of a miracle. Anymore more is just gravy.
Info about the author:
Karen V. Wasylowski is a retired accountant living in Bradenton, Florida, with her husband, Richard, and their many pets. Karen and Richard spend much of their free time volunteering with the St. Vincent DePaul Society and Stillpoint House of Prayer, both charitable organizations that assist the poor living in the Bradenton community.
To buy her book, simply click on the cover below: