Travel Writing: Chasing the Janes

By Jarm Del Boccio

“And of this place,” thought she, “I might have been Mistress!”

So says Lizzie when she visits Pemberley, Darcy’s magnificent estate, with her aunt and uncle. Because her sister Lydia, through her improper behavior, has tainted the family’s reputation, Lizzie is sure — especially after refusing his offer of marriage once — that he will never ask her again.

My daughter and I, both writers and avid Brontë and Austen fans, took a memorable trip to England on what I call a “Chasing the Janes” tour. It was quite the challenge to plan from over the pond, but well worth it.

We planned on one of our days to visit both ‘Pemberleys’ from the 1995 BBC film with Colin Firth (our favorite), and the latest Kiera Knightley version. We tried the impossible and succeeded to see those two and Haddon Hall, which is where our favorite 2006 BBC version of Jane Eyre was filmed. Two were only three miles apart, but our favorite Pemberley was over an hour away. I can’t tell you all the people who helped us get to our destinations, and the situations that made it possible, but, it was truly amazing to us.

First, we visited Chatsworth House, which is where Kiera’s version was filmed:

The outside was featured, as well as two locations in the house itself:

The Great Hall, and, of course, the sculpture gallery (not my usual photography, but I wanted to be discreet):

A little angel caught my eye . . .

This house’s original owners were Bess of Hartwick (Henry VIII) and her husband. It was eventually completely remodeled and became the residence of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire. The present D&D love modern art, and have pieces in almost every room. It was a little irritating to see it mixed in with Tudor and Medieval art. But, there were a few fascinating pieces:

A cozy library and seating area. . .

A chair in the sculpture gallery. . .

And the DNA of the present family interpreted as a 3D wall covering!

Well, this post isn’t about art, so on we go to our favorite Pemberley, (Lyme Park is its true name) owned by Mr. Darcy (Colin Firth), the handsome heart throb of many a young lady’s heart:

They call this the ‘iconic’ view of Pemberley. The one you see in all the photos. Funny thing is, in the film, Lizzie and her aunt and uncle were brought to the back door via the circular drive:

Here is the area where Lizzie and Darcy took a ‘turn’ in the garden together, which is to the right of the back door:

And just look at the beautiful scenery around Lyme Park:

Unfortunately, we arrived too late in the afternoon to take the tour of the interior, but, since nothing was filmed inside, we didn’t really mind. We were just thrilled that we made it onto the grounds so we could take pics. The Visitor’s Center was just closing as we walked up, but the young lady gave us ample information to make our visit a success!

In between the Pemberley visits, we toured Haddon Hall, the location for the filming of our favorite 2006 BBC version of Jane Eyre:

I can’t even describe what it was like to see this castle. We were ooo-ing and ahh-ing the entire visit. Feeling as if we fell back into time, we fully expected to see Jane walk down these stairs:

Here is the great hall where many scenes were filmed. I was disappointed that the ‘Tudors” were doing their reenactments, but you can get an idea of the space:

Here is the little room where Adele, her charge, took her lessons:

Then we went into the garden and were completely overwhelmed with its charm:

Some views of the backside of Haddon Hall (Thornfield in the 2006 BBC version of Jane Eyre):

And the beautiful surroundings:

We just couldn’t get enough of this place!

It’s always my goal, whenever I visit a new locale, to find an interesting site related to an author or piece of literature. We found a goldmine on this day.

Writing Prompt: Imagine Lizzie and Darcy strolling in the Pemberley gardens. Relate their conversation after Darcy changes clothes and Elizabeth realizes she has misunderstood Darcy’s character.


 The Heart Changer

Can an Israelite captive, wrenched from all she loves, serve the very man who destroyed her village?

Miriam is asked to do the impossible: serve the wife of Naaman, commander of the Syrian army. Clinging to treasured memories of home and faith, Miriam faces captivity with worry and bitterness. Little does she know the Heart Changer is wooing and preparing her for a greater mission—far beyond what she could imagine.

This middle-grade historical novel reflects the heartache and angst of a young refugee in a foreign land where all hope seems lost.

Link: https://amzn.to/2SCcPnx


Jarm (‘J’ pronounced as a ‘Y’) Del Boccio finds her inspiration in everyday life, but in particular, when she travels the globe, observing the quirky things that happen along the way. Focusing on lives of characters from the past, Jarm is devoted to breathing new life into the pages of history.

Jarm loves to travel, is passionate about visiting new places and determined never visit the same location twice. Unfortunately, sometimes she has to break her own rule. Having journeyed to six out of seven continents, she’s slowly checking off destinations on her bucket list. Jarm’s next dream destination is a stay in a Mongolian yurt with plenty of yak milk to drink!

Some interesting factoids about the author: Her first job was working in — no kidding — a Chinese laundromat! After meeting a bat head-on, Jarm had the distinct privilege of sporting black eyes for eighth grade graduation. Her secret desire? To get caught up in a flash mob singing a tune from a favorite musical.

Jarm has a background in elementary and high school art education, and served four years as school librarian. She spent two years in Papua New Guinea, teaching three missionary children in an isolated bush village without modern conveniences.

Jarm is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and American Christian Fiction Writers, Children’s Book Insiders and has published two articles in The Old Schoolhouse magazine.

Jarm Del Boccio is content with the journey God has placed her on, and lives with her husband, adult daughter and son (when he lands at home), in a tree-lined suburb of Chicago. Her debut middle-grade historical fiction, The Heart Changer released with Ambassador International April 26th. You can connect with her at: https://www.jarmdelboccio.com/  or her author’s Facebook or Instagram accounts.

My Passion is to Make Scripture and History Come Alive for my Readers: Illuminating the Past. Making Sense of the Present. Offering Hope for the Future

3 Questions Wednesday with Jarm Del Boccio

image2Happy Wednesday! Today the Inspired Prompt welcomes author, Jarm Del Boccio. We’re so happy you could join us. First question:

Who is your favorite author?

Jarm:  That is such a difficult question, because I have present and past authors I adore! Since I love classical literature, though, I’d have to say Charlotte Brontë, because her novel, Jane Eyre is my absolute favorite.

I love Jane’s strength in the face of tragedy and persecution, and her vow to do what is right in God’s sight, even though it means leaving behind who she loves most on this earth. In the end, her devotion is rewarded.

I agree, She is a great strong feminine character.  Next question…

 If you could write about anyone or anything fiction/nonfiction who or what would you write about?

Jarm: Hmmmmm. I’ve always admired (and love to read) novels set in WW2. There are so many heroes, especially in the resistance. The mystery and espionage woven in never ceases to awe me. How do authors plan a story with twists and turns, without giving away the ending? To think someone could write such a circuitous plot makes me a bit jealous. So, in answer to your question, I’d love to write a spy novel set in the 1940’s.

Inspired Prompts

Go for it! Last question:

If you could spend time with a character from your book or another book whom would it be? And what would you do during that day?

Jarm:  Wow! What a conundrum. In my yet unpublished MG historical fiction, Fair Investigations! the sibling pair, Henry and Alice spend their week soaking up mysteries and adventure at the 1893 World Colombian Exposition. Since I’ve always wanted to travel back in time to visit that awesome fair, I’d like to accompany Alice. She is actually much like me, and enjoys life in general, as long as there are new things to explore!

Sounds like it would be an adventurous day. Thanks so much for dropping by!

Click to tweet: Author Jarm Del Boccio talks about writing and a giveaway. #Writer #amwriting #JarmDelBoccio

Jarm is giving away an e-book, in either e-pub or mobi format, whichever the winner would  prefer!.  Leave a comment below to be entered in the drawing!


The Heart Changer

How to start writing, published, new writer, tips for writers, author, how to get published, how to write a book, inspiration, writer's block,

Can an Israelite captive, wrenched from all she loves, serve the very man who destroyed her village?

Miriam is asked to do the impossible: serve the wife of Naaman, commander of the Syrian army. Clinging to treasured memories of home and faith, Miriam faces captivity with worry and bitterness. Little does she know the Heart Changer is wooing and preparing her for a greater mission—far beyond what she could imagine.

This middle-grade historical novel reflects the heartache and angst of a young refugee in a foreign land where all hope seems lost.


How to start writing, published, new writer, tips for writers, author, how to get published, how to write a book, inspiration, writer's block,

Jarm (’J’ pronounced as a ‘Y’) Del Boccio finds her inspiration in everyday life, but in particular, when she travels the globe, observing the quirky things that happen along the way, as she slowly checks off destinations on her bucket list. Her latest wish is to be caught up in a flash mob singing a song from a favorite musical!

A former teacher and librarian, Jarm’s passion is to breathe new life into the pages of history. She believes with inspiration from the past, children can be the heroes of their own stories. You can find more about Jarm on her author’s website/blog at https://www.jarmdelboccio.com/

As a member of SCBWI, American Christian Fiction Writers and Word Weavers, Jarm desires to polish her manuscripts until they shine.

Content with the journey God has placed her on, Jarm lives with her husband, adult daughter and son (when he lands at home) in a tree-lined suburb of Chicago. The Heart Changer is her debut novel.

If you’d like to to receive her informative and inspirational newsletters relating to her author’s journey, sign up here: http://bit.ly/jarmsnews

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The Heart Changer can be purchased at major online stores including Amazon: Amazon

The Heart Changer by Jarm Del Boccio

image2.jpegGood morning, dear reader! Thank you for joining us on this lovely Saturday. We have Jarm Del Boccio with us this morning. Jarm is talking about the writing process and her newly released debut book, The Heart Changer.

Jarm, tell us a little about yourself.

Jarm:  I was an only child, who grew up in a single parent home. My dear dad, a kind and artistic man, died when I was only four — it broke my heart. But I still cherish his memory after all these years!

As a child, I loved to sing along with Disney songs, acting them out as I listened on my phonograph. I learned to read at a very early age – The Hat and the Cat Came Back was a favorite. I kept a diary almost all my life, into which I poured my joys and sorrows.

My mom and I took trips across the country every summer, visiting family and friends, along with natural and historical sites along the way. One year, she drove me (as an eight year old) and a friend with a broken leg, all the way from Chicago to Alaska and back! My favorite part was being the navigator, as I followed our route on an old-fashioned map. I believe it gave me a love for history and culture — and created in me an adventurous spirit.

I was a single schoolteacher and librarian, nannied for two years, then spent another two years as a missionary teacher in an isolated village of Papua New Guinea. When I arrived home, I got my RN, and soon after, married my husband Dan. Three years later, I discovered I was not able conceive, so we adopted a son and daughter from Russia. There has never been a dull moment since!

After home educating them for ten years, they left the nest, and I was able to pursue my writing passion. I began with picture books, but because I had a difficult time keeping my descriptions short, I was advised to write for middle-grade. I found my sweet spot and never looked back! Although one day, I would love to see one of my PB manuscripts in print.

I have a soft spot for kids in the Bible who have no name and backstory, but have made a huge impact on the people around them. With The Heart Changer, Naaman’s wife’s servant girl came to mind from 2 Kings 5. So, I gave Miriam a name AND a feasible backstory! I try to stay as close to the historical account as possible. Since my passion is to ‘breathe new life into the pages of history’ I delight in the ‘what-ifs’ and bring the story to life so children can relate to the Bible characters in a fresh way.

Some fun facts about me:

– I love to travel, and am passionate about visiting new places. My motto is: never visit the same location twice. Well — I’ve disregarded my own rule a few times, but otherwise, I stick to it as best I can. I’m slowly checking off destinations on my bucket list, and have journeyed to six of seven continents. I’ll let you decide which one I have yet to step foot on . . .

– I was accidentally hit in the head with a baseball bat and sported black and blue eyes for eight grade graduation. A well-meaning elderly man thought I had applied my makeup incorrectly. The ironic thing is — I am not a sports fan!

– When I was a junior in high school my first job was — no joke — in a Chinese laundromat.

– My secret desire? To get caught up in a flash mob singing a tune from a favorite musical.

– When I was in elementary school, I begged my Mom for a baby alligator from Florida, trying to convince her we could keep it in our bathtub. She gently asked me what I would do once it grew to full-size. I pondered the question for a minute or two, and reluctantly backed down. 

What do you love most about the writing process?

Jarm: I love the way words flow from my mind to my fingers, as a little-known person from history begs me to tell his or her story. Sometimes, it happens so fast, I wonder if the words are flowing from my heart to my pen, missing my mind altogether. I certainly don’t speak the way I write. It’s a unique process for me. I also thrive on critiques and love to edit to make my story shine. I’m disappointed if no one can find a problem with my manuscript.

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

Jarm: A plethora! One or two half-finished, but I’ve written a total of 30+ unpublished historical/Biblical fiction picture books and middle grade novels. Most of them have been critiqued and edited at least once, and for the last three years, I’ve been sending them out on submission — but no one has snatched them up at this point.

If you could give advice to your younger writing self, what would it be?

Jarm:  Be faithful in keeping a daily journal. Someday, you may become famous — and it’s discovery may change the world. Even if you don’t, it will leave a legacy for those you love. Also, dare to be different. Be who God meant you to be. And don’t be afraid to try new things or go out of your comfort zone. You’ll be able to write about them later.

What are common traps for aspiring writers?

Jarm:  One of the biggest, I believe, is to write for the market. The quality of your manuscripts will suffer if you do that, since your passion is not engaged in a book you force yourself to write. Another trap is to think you have nothing worth saying to readers. Of course, that’s a false assumption. Each person has a unique perspective on life, depending on their culture, faith and upbringing which can inspire a story. The challenge is having the skill to write it in the best way possible to make readers care — that’s the difficult part. If you are willing to work hard, and take constructive criticism, you will be successful!

What does literary success look like to you?

Jarm:  Of course, we think of the number of books an author has published and sold, and the rave reviews they receive. I’m not there yet. But if I heard from those who, by reading my novel, have been inspired to be the hero of their own stories — given confidence to be the person God has meant them to be — that’s the meaning of success for me!

Future projects or WIP you can talk about?

Jarm: I’m writing (with the help of the Institute of Children’s Literature) another middle-grade historical fiction, The Orphans Who Saved the World, set in early nineteenth century Spain, based on a little-known medical expedition. A completed MG historical novel, Fair Investigation! set at the 1893 World Columbian Exposition has been sent numerous times to editors and agents, but no bites yet. I have plenty of ideas but it’s difficult to know which one to focus on first!

Thank you for joining us today, Jarm!


image2Jarm Del Boccio

Jarm (‘J’ pronounced as a ‘Y’) Del Boccio finds her inspiration in everyday life, but in particular, when she travels the globe, observing the quirky things that happen along the way. Focusing on lives of characters from the past, Jarm is devoted to breathing new life into the pages of history.

Jarm has a background in elementary and high school education, and served for seven years as a school librarian. Grateful for the opportunity, she taught three missionary kids in an isolated area of Papua New Guinea. She is part of SCBWI and American Christian Fiction Writers, and has published articles in “The Old Schoolhouse” magazine.

The Heart Changer,” her debut MG historical/biblical fiction, releases with Ambassador International April 26th 2019. Jarm is content with the journey God has placed her on, and lives with her husband, adult daughter and son (when he lands at home) in a tree-lined suburb of Chicago. You can connect on her author’s website/blog at: https://www.jarmdelboccio.com/

My Passion is to Make Scripture and History Come Alive for my Readers: Illuminating the Past. Making Sense of the Present. Offering Hope for the Future.”


image1Can an Israelite captive, wrenched from all she loves, serve the very man who destroyed her village?

Miriam is asked to do the impossible: serve the wife of Naaman, commander of the Syrian army. Clinging to treasured memories of home and faith, Miriam faces captivity with worry and bitterness. Little does she know the Heart Changer is wooing and preparing her for a greater mission—far beyond what she could imagine.

This middle-grade historical novel reflects the heartache and angst of a young refugee in a foreign land where all hope seems lost.