I love all things Pride and Prejudice, which makes me an ardent Jane Austen fan. Still, I have a way to go before I can be considered a Janeite, in the truest sense of the word. Of all the Austen novels, I have only read Pride and Prejudice from cover to cover and listened to the audio narrations from start to finish in various formats ranging from the DVD version I borrowed from Netflix, to the MP3 version I downloaded from the internet, and eventually the audiobook version I bought from Audible.
I owe my love of Pride and Prejudice, in particular, to my fascination with Mr. Darcy and it all started with the 2005 film. During a lull in my predominately career-centric life, I had an opportunity to watch the film on HBO, not just once but over and over again. Then I bought the book and quickly devoured it. Wanting more, I started buying variations. The more I read, the more I wanted. At length, I discovered the online Jane Austen fan fiction community. Need I say more?
I cannot say I was entirely unhappy about having all the time in the world to indulge my newfound passion, but it was only meant to be temporary. More than anything, I wanted to get back to the business of advancing my professional career—in other words, earning the big bucks.
Soon enough, I landed a lucrative contract that found me, among other things, sitting at the table with corporate big wheels and high-priced consultants, mapping out strategic initiatives by day, while all the time I was secretly indulging my passion for Jane Austen fan fiction, by night—sharing my stories with like-minded people around the world and telling no one other than my dear husband.
After a year or so, I let a close friend in on my secret, insisting it was all in fun and looking at her as though she had a third eye when she suggested I might one day leave the corporate world behind. What was she thinking? At long last, I had arrived in the exact place in my career that I wanted to be and nothing was more important to me. Nothing would tempt me to give it all up and how dare she suggest otherwise?
Then came the ending date of my contract and all I could think of was the upcoming release of my fourth Pride and Prejudice variation, He Taught Me to Hope. Finally, there were no more distractions—endless meetings, status reports, and implementation plans—impeding my getting the next book out. Indeed, this highly lucrative career that fulfilled my every notion of what I was supposed to be doing with my life, I regarded as a distraction.
Without my even knowing it, my professional career had ended some time ago and my life as a writer had already begun. Now, when anyone asks, I confess to them that being a writer is exactly what I was meant to be.
(Originally posted on AustenAuthors.com on February 12, 2015)