Good Afternoon everyone,
I’m very pleased to welcome to From Pemberley to Milton a fellow reader who has taken the great challenge of putting her ideas into paper and writing her own Pride and Prejudice story. Leigh Dreyer has been a follower of this blog for some time and I have discussed several books with her before she decided to become an author herself, she reminded me of how and why most authors used to start writing this genre, because of their love for Austen’s work and characters, and that makes her even more special because there is nothing better than a book that comes out of love.
She has written a guest post to explain how her book came to life and to present herself to you. I hope you enjoy getting to know her better, and that you like the excerpt she has brough to From Pemberley to Milton.
I will only add, welcome Leigh!!!
Hello Dear Readers!
My name is Leigh Dreyer and today I have been blessed to be invited to From Pemberley to Milton to write about my debut novel, The Best Laid Flight Plans.
Let me introduce myself. I am happily married to a wonderful United States Air Force pilot and have two amazing children. We currently live in Las Vegas, although since getting married five years ago, this is our sixth base, so we do quite a bit of moving because of my husband’s flying. I met my husband when he, himself, was in pilot training at a base called Laughlin Air Force Base in Southwest Texas.
While I am a pretty voracious reader, I have loved romances since I was a young teenager. I first found JAFF in 2012 when I was working in Washington DC and riding the metro to and from work every day. I lived across the street from a Barnes and Noble and on a whim picked up the booksDeath Comes to Pemberleyby P. D. James and Longbourn by Jo Baker and loved them. I immediately started looking for other JAFF titles–browsing the shelves of the bookstore and Amazon. Soon, I moved to Hawaii, had my son, and while up at night with went through between 7 and 10 books a week. I devoured every JAFF novel I could find. I love them and these days have to force myself to read something else! I also love the amazing online community of authors and fans that really make the genre such a wonderful place to be.
About a year ago, my sister-in-law was looking for a book for her book club and I suggested One Thread Pulledby Diana J Oaks. I went to the book club meeting together with her and was able to meet Diana (who is fabulous, by the way). On the way home, I off-handedly mentioned to my sister-in-law that I had this idea for Pride and Prejudice, but set in pilot training and she encouraged me to write it, so I started and thus The Best Laid Flight Plans was born.
My father is a Master Instructor Pilot and he was the one who actually introduced me to my husband while he was in pilot training at Laughlin Air Force Base. Additionally, my father in law is a pilot. It was incredible to work on this book and be able to interview men who have been through nearly every experience a pilot can have (aside from crashing, thank goodness). The knowledge of these men was invaluable as I was able to make the language and actions of the flight scenes authentic.
In the original Austen or any P&P-based JAFF, my favorite moment is always when Darcy and Elizabeth finally get together. I love all the angst and build up before, but I adore when Darcy declares his love. There’s very few things in this world more beautiful than two people in love and my romantic heart goes pitter-patter. Those are the moments I curl up and can’t stop reading and the world around me falls away.
In this modern Pride and Prejudice variation, Captain William “Fitz” Darcy has just received a new assignment as an instructor pilot at Meryton Air Force Base. Soon he meets the intrepid 2nd Lieutenant Elizabeth Bennet, a new student at the base that he cannot keep out of his head. Elizabeth, on the other hand, finds Captain Darcy to be arrogant and prideful and attempts to avoid him at every turn. Despite Darcy’s insulting manners, Elizabeth soars her way through pilot training, but can she soar her way into love as well?
You can find The Best Laid Flight Plans at:
Excerpt from Chapter Two of The Best Laid Flight Plans
Elizabeth Bennet smoothed her hands downs her starched camouflage ABUs once more and reached absently to the pins in her brunette hair, exhaling nervously. Again, she rehearsed what she would say, muttering under her breath. Putting her hand on the large, wooden door, she paused, stretched out as tall as her petite frame would allow, and walked in.
“Major Warby, sir,” Elizabeth said crisply.
The major did not look up from the papers on his desk, his hand hovering over one particular sheet, and staring back at his computer. Over his slouched frame, she could see the top of his bald head reflecting the cheap fluorescent office lighting.
“Major Warby?” To her dismay, Elizabeth’s voice lilted higher in question.
The major let out a noisy sigh and looked up, rolling his eyes as he did so. As he rustled the papers on his desk, tiny dust particles danced into the air.
“Hmm?” He grunted the question. Elizabeth hated when men grunted that way. They tended to do it a lot to her. And sighed. The sigh, especially, was always a sign she had disappointed them. The difficulty was however, she could never figure out precisely what she had done to offend. She persevered, thinking it would be best to have this sorry excuse for an interview over with.
“Sir, I’ve shredded and replaced the regulation binders as you asked. It took a little while because it was difficult to find all of the appropriate AFI’s for each flight when no one could tell me where the binders were exactly. You should be ready for inspection next week.”
“Thanks.” Major Warby grunted his response and gave her a bored look that seemed to politely invite her to get the hell out. She stepped forward, fidgeting, but ventured forth regardless.
“Sir, is there any other work I can complete?” She hoped against hope that there would be a task, anything, for her to do. Elizabeth Bennet hated to be idle. She was a useful sort of person who thrived in activity and one more day of mediocrity might just kill her.
“Bennet, look”—Major Warby spoke to her like he spoke to his three-year-old at the last Family Day picnic—“You’re in casual status. Do you know what casual lieutenants do?”
“Yes sir. They complete all work assigned to them and are available to their commanders for additional assignments as needed. Sir.” The sarcastic answer dripped from her lips before she could stop herself, so she smiled as she spoke to ensure it sounded more polite than she felt.
“Bennet. That was a lovely book answer, but really, do you know what you guys do?”
“Umm.” Elizabeth glanced at the white-painted cinderblock wall to her left and saw the clock ticking. She could almost hear its silent taunting.
“Bennet.” Elizabeth could hear the sigh as he said her name. “You wait. That’s it. Nobody cares about what you do or don’t do because you don’t have a real job. You just sit around waiting for your slot to come up. Now, can I do anything for you or are you just here to distract me from what I’m trying to finish before I can go home and have a drink?” He punctuated his question by raising his eyebrows, the wrinkles on his forehead becoming deep creases.
“No, sir. I’m sorry to have bothered you. I’ll just go sit at scheduling in case you need me.”
The major grunted in reply as Elizabeth exited, letting the door slam behind her. Her boots squeaked as she strode down the dull, tile floors. Oh, but she was bored. The assignment the major had given her had taken her two days. Two whole days that she was not sitting, bored, at the scheduling desk waiting for life to happen to her.
She turned left down the hall and looked at her favorite picture in the squadron. It was small and in a cheap, plain black frame, but she loved it. A loaded A-10 aircraft flying right above the cloud line where she could see the colors of the clouds. Most people thought clouds were big, white puffy cotton balls in the sky, but Elizabeth Bennet knew better. Clouds were a million colors: white and pale yellow with streaks of bright cerulean and cornflower blues, sparkling like pearls in the sunshine or darken in a sinister instant. This picture somehow captured what Elizabeth was so anxious to see for herself.
Elizabeth had only ever had one dream. She wanted to fly. When she was eight, she wanted to bend her legs, jump, and take off swirling through the skies. When she was twelve, she met a pilot during career day at school and decided to do everything she could to become one. She worked hard and blasted through her classes as fast as she could. And now, here she was, not quite twenty-one…and stagnant. Stuck as a casual lieutenant in a squadron that did not care whether she showed up to work or not. Elizabeth took another long look at the painting and sighed. She hated to wait.
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Good Luck everyone!