JOURNEYING THROUGH PAGES: Carolyn Miller

Carolyn Miller shares the inspiration behind her modern romcom retelling of Pride and Prejudice in collaboration with Meredith Resce to bring Daring Mr Darcy to life.

What do you love about writing novels?

I love writing novels for so many reasons. I think people are fascinating and that everyone has a story, so delving deeper into what makes people do what they do is a lot of fun. I think as a Christian author it’s wonderful to have a medium to explore some of the things I’ve been learning about God or my walk with Him too, and I’ve had many readers write to tell me how much a particular book or character or scenario resonated with them. I love how God can use fiction to speak truth.

What inspired you to write Daring Mr Darcy?

I’m a long time fan of Jane Austen, and while I've written some Pride and Prejudice-inspired historical books before (such as The Elusive Miss Ellison) I thought it’d be fun to write a contemporary romcom that more directly used the storyline of Austen’s novel. When I heard about a clean romcom multi-author opportunity I reached out to fellow Austen fan Meredith Resce to see if she’d like to co-write this with me, and she said yes. So we had a lot of fun putting a modern take on this famous book and giving it a romcom contemporary feel.

Did you have any personal experiences that contributed to this book?

Daring Mr Darcy is set in Trinity Lakes, Washington state USA, which is a fictional town but based on an area in south east Washington that my family and I visited in 2019. The rural town, ranches and big skies were fun to incorporate into this book, along with some other places we were blessed with the opportunity to see, such as Seattle and Las Vegas. The description in the book of late night Las Vegas is a direct reflection of the crazy busyness we experienced there - and showed a great contrast to the more relaxed nature of the Darcy ranch and Trinity Lakes. 

In addition, a few of the other scenes were also grounded in reality, such as the unfortunate misadventure at a dance (something similar may have happened to my husband once upon a time), and the Bellbird cafe, which is a direct description of a local cafe in my Australian home town. 

What was it like to co-write this story with Meredith Resce? How did this compare to your typical writing process for new books?

It really helped to write a book with a fellow Austen fan because it meant we both knew the storyline pretty well, so we could write it fast. We each took different characters, which meant writing in that character’s first person point of view. I took Liam Darcy’s POV and Meredith took Elissa Bennett’s perspective. Having familiarity with the basic storyline and only writing one POV meant we could write it much faster than normal. I’d write my ‘half’ of the chapter, then email it to Meredith, who then read it through then wrote hers in response, before emailing it back.

What was the biggest hurdle in writing Daring Mr Darcy?

I think the biggest hurdle in writing Daring Mr Darcy involved negotiating around some of the finer details such as character traits and sustainability practices. It was also challenging when the group project we were part of had its own issues regarding the content of some of the other books involved, and interpretations of just how ‘clean’ a clean read should be. We’re glad we stuck it out, and it was a learning process for sure.

What aspect of Daring Mr Darcy are you most excited about?

The aspect of Daring Mr Darcy I’m most excited about what is twofold: one, I loved the romcom vibe of this book. It was SO fun to write in first person POV, and extremely fun to include all the laugh-out-loud moments we could. Two, it’s exciting to have this book be a kind of precursor to the Trinity Lakes romance series, in which both Meredith and I have several books. It’s like we’re giving people a taster of some of the characters and settings they can come to expect, such as the Bellbird cafe, and the Reilly ranch, which are featured in my Trinity Lakes books Love Somebody Like You and Tangled up in Love.

What do you hope your readers will take away from Daring Mr Darcy?

I hope people finish reading Daring Mr Darcy with a smile on their face and hope in their heart. I write all of my books with the goal to offer some hope and humour amid the heartfelt stories, whether they be seriously heart wrenching  or more lighthearted. I also hope that readers will check out our other books!

Do you have any other projects in the works?

For me, I have a bunch of other writing projects in the works. I’ve just celebrated the release of a contemporary western (A Cameo for a Cowgirl - about a rancher’s daughter who manages the family’s own western town movie set - which is based on a real place!), and my next book releasing in July is a Christian hockey romance, Pointe, Shoots, and Scores, about a former ballerina who teams up with a reluctant hockey hero on a Dancing with the Stars kind of show to raise money for breast cancer research. It’s a lot of fun, and readers of my other hockey books can’t wait to read it. 

Later in the year both Meredith and I have books releasing in the Our House multi-author collection, which sees a book release each week from a different author in various genres all based on a street in a fictional English town called Eden Cove. After that, I have another historical novella set in my Australian home town that uses real historical events in the Courting the Country Preacher collection from Barbour - I love showcasing Australian-based stories to American readers. Then I need to write my next couple of Christian hockey books, and finish organising the Omega Writers conference in Sydney this September - so I’ve got a lot going on in my writing world!