The UK cover for Unleashing Mr. Darcy
by Teri Wilson
I've just come home from a whirlwind trip to England, where Unleashing Mr. Darcy, my very first international trade paperback, was released on April 4. I have never been so excited about a book release before, because London has a special place in my heart.
The first words of mine that were ever published appeared in Seventeen Magazine. The year was 1981. I don’t quite remember what exactly my letter to the editor said, but I’m sure it went something like, “Dear Editor, I loved the article in your magazine about Prince Charles’ new fiancé, Diana Spencer. And thank you for the instructions on how to cut her hairstyle. I am taking them to my hairdresser this Friday after school.”
Like most girls my age, I idolized Diana. She was a real girl, set to marry a real prince. She was living a fairy tale. And the stage for this fairy tale was a real place—England.
I’m thinking this must have been how my lifelong fascination with England came about. Throughout the years, it stuck. Far longer than that Princess Diana haircut did. (For the record, she rocked that hairstyle better than I ever could). I’d just begun writing my first book set in England when I finally made it across the pond. I only had three chapters of Unleashing Mr. Darcy under my belt when I set foot in London.
The night before I left, I was watching television as I packed. A Friends re-run was on. And as fate would have it, it was the episode where the gang goes to London for Ross’ wedding. I was beside myself. I especially loved how Joey kept yelling “London, baby!” much to the annoyance of Chandler and the rest of the gang. The next day when my friend Connie drove me to the airport, I said to her, “I wish I could go to London with Joey Tribbiani. He might be the only person who would be as excited as I am right now.”
Obviously, I knew he was a fictional character. But I’m a writer. Writers love imaginary people. And guess what happened once I got to London…the very night I arrived, I went to dinner at a nice Italian restaurant with my family in South Kensington. I’d only been on British soil for a matter of hours, and when the maître d’ escorted me to my table, he proceeded to seat me right next to Matt LeBlanc. Yes, that’s right. Joey Tribbiani in the flesh.
I’d been enamored by the idea of London since the Princess Di days, but that night sealed the deal. I was officially in love with England. For this reason, Unleashing Mr. Darcy is more than simply a contemporary Austen retelling. It’s something of a love letter to my favorite city in the world. Readers get to experience the excitement of seeing London for the first time through the eyes of our heroine, Elizabeth Scott. They get to eat orange cake at Kensington Palace with Mr. Darcy and travel through the English countryside to his rambling country estate. They go to Harrods, drink fancy champagne, try on fancy tulle dresses in Mayfair. There are gossiping aristocrats, stolen kisses, breathless moments and one Prince Harry reference. See if you can spot it.
Oh, and how could I forget? There are also dogs. Lots of dogs. This is the England of fairy tales and romance.
The US cover for Unleashing Mr. Darcy
Teri Wilson is the author of Alaskan Hearts, Alaskan Hero and Sleigh Bell Sweethearts, all for Love Inspired, as well as Unleashing Mr. Darcy and the upcoming Unmasking Juliet for Harlequin HQN. Learn more at www.teriwilson.net.