There’s no easy way to say this.
I’ve met someone new.
Working with you on Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters was the most incredible experience of my writing life. We just fit together somehow, you and I: Your sly social satire and carefully constructed emotional entanglements meshing perfectly with my slime-slicked aquatic horrors and nefarious pirates.
We made beautiful music together. We turned young Margaret Dashwood into a hairless, raving cult member; we transformed Regency London into Submarine Station Beta.
But all that’s over. I’m with Leo now.
You must know, Jane, that I didn’t mean for this to happen. Sure, I’d experimented with The Russians before, in college. Who hasn’t? Never did I imagine I’d end up together with one, working side by side, as literary collaborators. But then there he was. Count Tolstoy! My Leo! With those dark and penetrating eyes! That long, unkempt beard! That singular combination of epic storytelling, emotional realism, and determinist philosophy!
Plus, he is a Count. I’m not, like, a snob or whatever, but I’m just saying.
So what does this mean for us? For our future? I don’t know, Jane. I just don’t know. Yes, we had talked about other projects. We were going to write Wolfmansfield Park. Emma: Matchmaker of the Damned. North by Northwestanger Abbey.
But let’s face it; none of these were ever going to happen. (Especially that last one. That’s actually pretty stupid). In our hearts we always knew Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters was lightning in a bottle, and that both of us would move on.
Take solace that in fifty or a hundred or a thousand years, you’ll remain one of the greatest prose stylists ever to write in English, discovered by yet another new generation of readers, who will be as charmed as I have been by your characters, your sparkling sense of humor, and the power of your stories...with or without the monsters.
And remember, Jane: We’ll always have Submarine Station Beta.
Ben H. Winters
Winters is the co-author of two novels in the Quirk CLassics series: Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters and (with Count Leo Tolstoy) the forthcoming Android Karenina. His website is www.BenHWinters.com