If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

Check out our February author interviews: 2/7-debut author Keenan Powell (Alaskan lawyer), 2/14-Leslie Wheeler (Rattlesnake Hill), 2/21-bestselling author Krista Davis, who unveils a new series, 2/28-Diane Vallere answers my questions about Pajama Frame. Please join us in welcoming these authors to WWK.

Our February Saturday Guest Blogger Schedule: 2/3-Saralyn Richard, 2/10-Kathryn Lane. WWK's Margaret H. Hamilton will blog on 2/17, and Kait Carson on 2/24.

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.

In addition, our prolific KM has had the following shorts published as well: "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017 and "Turkey Underfoot," appears in the anthology The Killer Wore Cranberry: a Fifth Course of Chaos.


Saturday, April 9, 2016

A Thief Turned A Killer by Regina Jeffers

In 2008, I took the plunge in the publishing world when one of my AP students challenged me with “If you know how to do this, do it yourself.” Publishing was not on my radar. I was 37 years into a teaching career and counting down to 40. However, my self-published book rose quickly on the Amazon sales list, and I was offered a publishing contract with Ulysses Press. The one thing I should mention in this process is the fact that I am more than a writer who kills; I am also an unrepentant thief. How so? Permit me to explain.  
My writing career began with a retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice from Mr. Darcy’s point of view. Since that time, I have written 25 novels, about half of which are Austen related retellings, sequels, variations, and mysteries. In the dark hours of early evening, I regularly creep into the land of Austen and make away with our dearest Jane’s special treasures.

Why does a customarily law abiding citizen “borrow” someone else’s brilliant body of work? If someone had asked me that question before I wrote Darcy’s Passions, I would have told him that I had no intention of making a career from publishing; therefore, if all I was to do was to dabble in writing a novel in order to answer the challenge of all-too-smart student, why not choose a plot I dearly loved.

I ignored many other works within the realm of public domain to choose Jane Austen because Miss Austen is the friend I always wished I possessed. Jane would understand me; she would cheer for my success. Austen provides her readers a familiar starting point. So, I did not only “borrow” a plot, I also encouraged a plethora of favorite characters to follow me into a “second” life. With plot and characters in my bag, why not slip in a bit of tone and syntax. Although I initially thought only to manipulate the plot, I found some of the less famous of Austen’s characters demanded an introduction to modern audiences.

But why Austen? In Ian Watt’s Rise of the Novel, the author says that Austen combines the internal and external approaches to character. Austen possesses authenticity without diffuseness or trickery. Austen creates a sense of social order, which is not achieved at the expense of individuality and autonomy of the characters. Personally, I believe Austen to be an expert in plot-driven fiction. More than simply telling a story, Austen builds vivid worlds that capture the truths of an imperfect humanity.

Austen serves as both my bane and my salvation. I would not have a writing career without her, but because I write stories with familiar characters, some experts and reviewers look upon my stories as “cheating.” What these so-called experts do not realize is how many hours of study I have completed on Austen’s works. When I create a storyline around Austen’s most famous characters, Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet, not only must I develop a believable story from my own imagination, but I must also maintain Austen’s mastery in the new plot.

My first mystery The Phantom of Pemberley came out in 2010. In it, I explore multiple personality disorders in history. The Mysterious Death of Mr. Darcy is a twisted tale of grave robbers and resurrectionists who supply the medical schools of the early 19th Century. The Disappearance of Georgiana Darcy is based on the legend of Sawney Bean, a 14th Century Scottish cannibal. My most recent Pride and Prejudice mystery is The Prosecution of Mr. Darcy’s Cousin, which explores the effects of PTSD long before it was a recognized ailment. But more than a mystery, each of these books views our contemporary world through a narrow lens buried deep in the past. What I write is more than nostalgia. My novels analyze the social, cultural, and pedagogical conditions that reshape Austen’s story into mine. The past is, for all intents and purposes, always being reinvented.

In other words, I remain conscious of the canon and the past while I create new situations for familiar characters. I attempt to retain the specifics of the context and the historical setting, while highlighting and exploring current issues. I am in good company with well-known crime writer Phyllis Dorothy James (P.D. James), Baroness James of Holland Park, who released Death Comes to Pemberley in 2013, a year before her death. 

The Prosecution of Mr. Darcy’s Cousin: A Pride and Prejudice Mystery

Fitzwilliam Darcy is enjoying his marital bliss. His wife, the former Elizabeth Bennet, presented him two sons and a world of contentment. All is well until Darcy receives a note of urgency from his sister Georgiana. In truth, Darcy never fully approved of Georgiana’s joining with their cousin, Major General Edward Fitzwilliam for Darcy assumed the major general held Georgiana at arm’s length, dooming Darcy’s sister to a life of unhappiness.

Forced to seek his cousin in the slews of London’s underbelly, Darcy discovers the major general and returns Fitzwilliam to his family. Even so, the Darcys’ troubles are far from over. During the major general’s absence from home, witnesses note Fitzwilliam’s presence in the area of two horrific murders. When Edward Fitzwilliam is arrested for the crimes, Darcy must discover the real culprit before his cousin is hanged for the crimes and the Fitzwilliam name is marked by shame.

Meet the Author:                                                                           
Regina Jeffers is an award-winning author of Austenesque Regency romances, and historical mysteries. She is a retired English teacher and a sought after consultant for media literacy and language arts. Look for Regina at:

Every Woman Dreams Blog: reginajeffers.wordpress.com
Austen Authors Blog: austenauthors.net
Regina Jeffers Website: www.rjeffers.com
Twitter: @reginajeffers-https://twitter.com/reginajeffers


Jim Jackson said...

Regina -- Not to worry about stealing characters and stories. With Fan worlds proliferating, you are just the leading edge of a great movement. :)

~ Jim

Regina Jeffers said...

That is kind of you to say, Jim. I am always a bit from step, but mayhap I am leading the way!

Margaret Turkevich said...

what fun! Austen's characters are fascinating and I'll never tire of them.

Regina Silvia said...

Good insight into your writing process, Regina. I have always admired the history and culture of the times that you integrate into your novels. Best regards.

KM Rockwood said...

What delightful projects! I'm sure you immersion into the customs and practices of the times add considerably to your work. Of course, I love the originals, and will have to take a look at your novels.

Paula Gail Benson said...

Regina, thanks so much for visiting at WWK. I remember meeting with you at the High Country Festival of the Book in Boone and having a wonderful conversation. So delighted to hear your writing is thriving.

Regina Jeffers said...

I appreciate your words of encouragement, Margaret.

Regina Jeffers said...

Hello, Regina. Thanks for following me over here. You were very kind to do so.

Regina Jeffers said...

I am a bit late coming back to the computer. My son and grandson were racing in a 5 K today. Proud to say my son finished first in his age division, as did the grandson. My boy took second overall.
That being said, I am thankful for the opportunity to be here.

Regina Jeffers said...

KM Rockwood, the last book was the most challenging because of the court proceeding. Getting those details correct were absolutes.

Regina Jeffers said...

Oh, Paula, I am so glad we reconnected. How pleasant to find you here!

Gloria Alden said...

Welcome to WWK, Regina. As a big fan of Jane Austen, I look forward to reading your books.

Regina Jeffers said...

I thank you kindly, Gloria.

Kait said...

Delightful! A truly classic character will always raise the question what if. It's wonderful that you have responded to the query. And I love how you accepted the challenge. Congratulations.

Regina Jeffers said...

Staying true to Austen's canon, as well as the cozy is important to me, Kait. Thanks for the kind words.