AT: One of my biggest curiosities heading into the book was how you were going to introduce new characters and tie up their story lines before the events of P&P take place.
SH: Yes, that was one of the challenges because it is a prequel that takes you to a predetermined point and then it had to, to a point, have romantic elements to it. But if you know that Elizabeth and Jane end up with these characters that you don’t even meet until P&P or P&P&Z – which ever way you want to look at it, then you know that these romances have a conclusion.
What I tried to do is use the romances that are in the book to explain in someway, or cast some light upon, why Jane and Elizabeth would be drawn to the men they ultimately are. I especially think that this is the case for Elizabeth. She meets two guys in this book, both of whom have strong points in their favor, both of whom have elements of Darcy in them, and yet they’re not Darcy. One thing I think some people might have done, and I dug my heels in before I could even be pushed in this direction, I think some people might have done a story where we see Elizabeth’s first true love – whoever it was who came before Darcy. I was determined not to do that because for me Elizabeth has one true love, and that is Darcy. I was not going to mess with that. I wasn’t going to have the tragic pre-Darcy guy who is everything that Darcy is, but dies.
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AT: So after all you’ve learned, if you encountered a zombie, what would you do?
SH: I would run shrieking in the other direction because I know all of those great skills that the Bennett acquire over the course of the book, I have none of them. It could be a zombie grandma with a walker – Oh, boy! See there’s a great idea. Has anybody done a zombie with a walker? See, I need to keep doing this stuff. So yeah, it could be a zombie grandma with a walker hobbling after me and I would still scream and run in the other direction. I’m a writer not a fighter. My self-defense skills were not improved by the writing of the book, but perhaps my awareness of my lack of self-defense skills was improved. At least I can say that.
AT: What’s next to for you? Any other mash ups in the works?
SH: We’re definitely kicking around ideas. Hopefully we can have something to trumpet to the world soon.