“ELIZABETH’S COURAGE DID NOT FAIL HER.” ––Jane Austen in narrating Elizabeth’s first encounter with Lady Catherine
I find myself slightly more apprehensive about submitting this book than the other two. Perhaps because it is a little unique. Not only do I take the reader on a romantic love story where our dear favorite couple fall in love, but I have a very strong subplot that is very spiritual. It is a prequel to Pride and Prejudice in that Elizabeth meets Darcy in Derbyshire before he ever comes to Hertfordshire. I also make some adjustments to Elizabeth’s background. I asked myself, “In canon, why is Elizabeth so confident and courageous? What made her that way?” So in To Refine Like Silver, I give her a reason. Several reasons in fact. I make it painfully obvious that she has struggled with serious life challenges and yet she has learned to conquer everything that has come her way. And it is only because she struggled so deeply that she is able to be that wonderful glowing support to Darcy and Georgiana. She grew from her trials and she teaches her lessons she learned along the way to the Darcys. So as we see Darcy fall madly and irresistibly in love with her glowing personality, we get to see him adopt some of her beliefs and he too learns a valuable lesson. That lesson is that our trials should not be lamented because in reality, our trials do not define us, rather that they refine us.
So I felt very strongly that I should write the book exactly as I did. First and foremost, it was a love story, second it was a spiritual journey of enlightenment where more than one of our favorite characters evolve into a better, even more lovable and memorable (is that possible?) person. This meant that I had to put a great deal of my personal beliefs in it, much of which I have learned through my own trials. Much of which is directly linked to my personal belief in God. God? You ask? Yes. I wrote a JAFF book that has a strong spiritual theme and therefor has personal thoughts and feelings that were at one point literal life savers in getting me through my own trials. So all those mottos, all those quotable self-help sticky notes on my mirror all those years, all those prayers I sent in His direction . . .they all got permanently etched into my laptop. I now have a love story with elements of my testimony interlaced through it.
So this is the core reason I took a moment longer to pause before I hit the send button to the publishers this morning. My heart is on those pages. My lessons I’ve learned are now available for anyone to see. This really isn’t such a bad thing, but it did cause me to pause. Could I handle the criticism of something so personal? In the end, I did hit send. As Jane Austen narrates, “Elizabeth’s courage did not fail her.” For Elizabeth, she was going to meet the great Lady Catherine. For me, I was exposing a deeply personal belief system. I have been uploading it chapter by chapter on www.Meryton.com/A Happy Assembly and have had very good comments. Many of which were telling me how I have touched them with my story. There have been a few who felt it was a little too religious, maybe even preachy, but since I consider it as having a spiritual subplot rather than a religious subplot, I took it with a grain of salt. Nevertheless I am confident that the love story is a good one and if I happen to touch even one life with my thoughts and lessons I weave into it then it was worth the journey.
So I am here to stand strong in the face of possible–– and from my history, probable–– refusals, and make the attempt anyway. I believe I was to write it the way I did for a reason. I believe in God. How could I not write God as the reason for Elizabeth’s courage? For God has been the reason for my courage under fire. With all that said, I did hit the send button with a deep breath and an enormous heartfelt prayer. After all, I have learned the hard way that having courage to stand up for what you believe is the only way to live your life. So whether or not anyone ever accepts it for publishing, I know that I held strong and was courageous enough to one, write it, two, send it out for others to pick apart. My courage did not fail me.
Hey Lady Publications