Incredibly useful to have a daughter who is also a writer. She brings a feel for genre, for rhythm, for what works, for what doesn’t work, and conveys it to me with great tact.
Yesterday we hammered out some of the bits that are just not right. It partly arises from the way the book was written – I didn’t know how it was going to end when I started it. Even though I’ve done a lot of editing and tweaking, it’s been nagging away at me that it’s still not how it should be.
Now I have loads of homework and rewriting to do. Dang.
In Pride and Prejudice, Mary is a caricature: she is vain, stupid, pompous, self-righteous and completely lacking in self-awareness. I’ve seen other sequels which have taken Mary as their starting point, and the writer has wanted to make her into a modern heroine – feisty, clever, talented, a square peg in a round hole. I can see the attraction of that, but I’m much more interested in the reality of Mary as Jane Austen created her.
I was intrigued by imagining the interior world of this poor, empty, conceited and lonely young woman. And of course, I wanted her to have a chance, to see if anything could be made of her life, if she could change and develop.
You can probably work out what my answer was to that question: how it happens – well, you’ll have to read the book.
Yes, the hat is embarrassing, my mother made me wear it.