Celebrating 15 years of Suffering Love

LSLAIK - hard copy - 4Imagine the Internet without Facebook, without Twitter, without Blogspot or WordPress. This is the cyberworld we knew in 1999. The most popular provider was AOL, and yes, it was dial-up.

It was a heady time. Wondrous Austen adaptations burst onto our movie and television screens: Pride and Prejudice (1995), Sense and Sensibility (1995), Persuasion (1995).

Lovers of Jane Austen emerged from the woodwork. We swarmed on websites and message boards … and soon there was fan fiction. Many of these were re-tellings, with changes of scene or time or point of view. (Or featuring modern morals, but I won’t address that issue now.)

Susan Kaye and I posed a simple, provocative question: Why read fan fiction if you already know the ending? And also, what is real love all about?

Boldly, we removed a simple plot device of Jane’s in Persuasion and began to write. And write and write. The rest is history. If you were hanging out at DWG or Republic of Pemberley’s Bits of Ivory, you might remember seeing our posts.

Our But-What-If classic, Love Suffers Long and is Kind, is anything but the usual Anne and Frederick fare. It’s absorbing and entertaining and addictive. And best of all, readers have no idea how it will end. Isn’t that what you want with fan fiction? The series ran in weekly posts for almost two years. Pictures are of my printed hard copy.

Love Suffers Long and is Kind, print edition. All of it.

Love Suffers Long and is Kind, print edition. All of it.

Book 1

Book 1

On Friday, July 4, we celebrate the 15th anniversary of its launch by posting Love Suffers Long on Beyond Austen (BeyondAusten.com) in weekly installments. Membership is free. Bring your kleenex. You can also follow along with LSLAIK on Blogspot.

We’ve promised one another only light “Do No Harm” edits to the text. Even so, I smile to read my beginner’s prose. Those were the days.

And when we figure out how to share the copyright without incorporating—a spendy process—Love Suffers Long and is Kind will be released as a series of ebooks. Until then, you may enjoy it as so many others have—online, in all its unabridged glory.

18 thoughts on “Celebrating 15 years of Suffering Love

    1. Laura Hile Post author

      I take it this is a yes?πŸ˜€ The way we figure it, Gayle, many of the Beyond Austen readers came to the game after LSLAIK was no longer active on the story boards. A kick to give the old dear another run with new readers.

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  1. Susan Kaye

    Those were the days when everyone called the Internet the “Wild West.” Meaning of course lawless and too cowboy-esque for sophisticates. I call it the good old days before Kardashians and #hashtaghubris. My fondest memory of LSL is when I wrote a post that jacked up so many people on Derbyshire Writers’ Guild they threatened me with a parental warning if I didn’t change it. I made the change. One that didn’t alter the meaning of the passage in the slightest. It was all pointless, and now I think now I’m mature enough about my writing that I would have told them go climb a tree and taken it down. Laura was always there saying, “A confident advance is the best defense.” boy did we advance.

    Anyway, I hope you enjoy the ride.

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    1. Laura Hile Post author

      I was in a hurry this morning and did not dig up some of the original reader responses. As you say, there were some incredible remarks.

      What we learned about writing and public relations on those boards was a lot. “Just keep writing,” is the best defense, yes. Looking forward to Friday’s launch.

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  2. Susan Kaye

    The most incredible, I thought, were the MARY MUST DIE cheerleaders. What a bloodthirsty and truly frightening bunch!

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    1. Laura Hile Post author

      They transitioned into what was at that time the LSLAIK sequel, Mercy’s Embrace. I take the blame for Mary hatred, since I was the one who wrote her.

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    1. Laura Hile Post author

      Something I learned a long time ago in Lit class. Humor juxtaposed against tragedy magnifies each. So I tried it out. It’s not all heartbreaking. My very favorite hero, Captain James Benwick, steps onto the quarterdeck. He deserves a series of books. (Like five isn’t enough?)

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    1. Laura Hile Post author

      My fault, as I stacked the deck heavily in Benwick’s favor. I’m thinking now that his is a more idealized portrayal. Whereas Frederick Wentworth is shown in stark honesty. Anyway, my objective then was to show women on the fiction boards (who swooned over handsome heroes like Darcy) that attractiveness is more than personal magnetism and good looks.

      In person, however, when observed side-by-side, most would gravitate toward Wentworth. Maybe even me!πŸ™‚

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      1. Susan Kaye

        The motto of the story was “Anne must always be happy.” So, Anne would be angsty for about two and a quarter pages and then HAPPY again. This meant that James had to be the most intuitive guy in all of Britain to read her moods. In other words, a completely fictitious person. I was free to torture and maim Fredrick and Louisa to my heart’s content.

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    2. Susan Kaye

      And that, Gayle, is precisely why I was glad to quit writing this story. There was a contingency at Derbyshire Writers’ Guild who took it upon themselves to point out at every posting just how great Benwick had shown himself and how lousy Frederick was. In detail. Fan fiction readers, as a whole can be quite lovely. Just enough of them are mean girls disguised as thoughtful adults and they can take all the fun joy out of anything they touch.

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    1. Laura Hile Post author

      Thus my slogan “The best defense is a confident advance” is set in context.

      I can recall marveling that our critics continued to read. Why? Why not quit? But the story ground on, week after week…and I suppose they had to look.

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      1. Susan Kaye

        Yeah, like train wrecks, gory photos from murder scenes, and the latest stupid thing a Kardashian says, people just couldn’t help themselves.

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  3. Robin Helm

    I just read the first chapter, and it’s very interesting. Since I’ve read the books each of you have authored, I can attest that your styles have changed. At first, I attributed that to the blending of your styles, but after reading what Laura said, I’m not so sure.

    I’m looking forward to next Friday! You have a whole new audience at BAC. This should be good.

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  4. Laura Hile Post author

    Wait until you read my stuff, which will be up for the next two chapters. Yes, I have come a long, LONG way from my fledgling days. What you will read is my very first fiction work (outside of junior high!).

    But to rewrite the entire series is not worth it. We share it now out of love for the story itself, not because we (or rather, I) wrote particularly well.

    One’s current work is the springboard for one’s current (better) work, right? We wrote and we learned and we grew. We continue to grow.

    Maybe LSL will encourage others to jump in and get to writing.

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Why yes, we DO want a piece of your mind. ;-)

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