I just love having a new book out! Captain Wentworth's Diary is out tomorrow, and I can't wait to find out what readers think of it.
One of the best things about writing it was having a chance to write a section set in 1806 when Anne and Wentworth met for the first time.
We know a little about their first affair from Persuasion, but not very much, and I wanted to know more. In order to write it, I had to think myself into the character of Wentworth. I knew that he was a young man and that his life was going brilliantly well. He had just been promoted to Commander, and he knew he would captain his own ship as soon as a vessel became available.
He was bold, confident and daring, adored by Anne and mistrusted by Lady Russell. My challenge was to create a character who could realistically arouse the admiration of a nineteen-year-old girl but who would also arouse the suspicion of a middle-aged woman.
Anne was also very interesting and hugely enjoyable to write. Although Jane Austen says little about the younger Anne she tells us that, by 1814, Anne has suffered a loss of spirits, so it stands to reason that, in 1806, she was more spirited than she is in Persuasion. I very much enjoyed showing a younger Anne, who had not yet been ground down by her family's disdain, and by the knowledge that she had lost the love of her life.
I also introduced some of the minor characters into the early part of the book, for example Harville and Benwick. I wanted to explore the friendship between the three men and so I sent Wentworth to Harville's wedding, and then showed him telling Benwick that his fiancee was dead.
This latter circumstance sets the scene for some of the most important events of the book, as well as showing why Wentworth was so eager to be entertained by the Musgrove girls. After the distressing days spent with Benwick, helping him through his grief, Wentworth was ready for some light-hearted flirting with two pretty girls.
And then he saw Anne, and the past came flooding back . . .
I hope you like Captain Wentworth's Diary! In the UK, you can buy it from bookshops, or from Amazon by clicking here
You can also buy it direct from the publisher's website, which comes with a 30% discount and free UK postage, by clicking here
It isn't available yet in the US, I'm afraid, except by ordering from Amazon UK or direct from the publishers. A paperback version will be out next year, distributed in the US.