Today is World Book Day, and what better way to celebrate the printed word than with an Austenesque author?
Please join us today in welcoming Jack Caldwell on the first stop in his blog tour in celebration of the release of his second novel, The Three Colonels, published today by Sourcebooks. Jack has generously shared with us some insights into creating the novel, and offered a giveaway to three lucky readers.
Greetings, everyone. I’m Jack Caldwell, author of Pemberley Ranch, that western-themed re-imagining of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. I’m happy that Laurel Ann invited me back to Austenprose to talk about my new book, The Three Colonels – Jane Austen’s Fighting Men.
Unlike Pemberley Ranch which was a re-imagining, The Three Colonels is a sequel of the original novels set during the Regency. That’s right, novels—I combine Pride and Prejudice with another of Austen’s beloved books, Sense and Sensibility. I find that by doing so, I’ve opened up the Austen universe to unlimited possibilities.
So who are my three colonels?
- Colonel Christopher Brandon (from Sense and Sensibility) – The romantic hero of Austen’s first novel is married to the former Marianne Dashwood, and they live happily with their baby daughter at Brandon’s estate of Delaford. For purposes of my novel, I’ve tweaked Brandon’s career a bit. He served not only in India and the East Indies, but also in Italy, where he met the future Duke of Wellington and the next of my colonels.
- Colonel Richard Fitzwilliam (from Pride and Prejudice) – Possibly the most popular minor character in Austen’s entire canon. An officer in the Light Dragoons, Fitzwilliam has taken the place of Mr. Darcy as Lady Catherine de Bourgh’s favorite nephew and court jester. However, he’s still a second son with no fortune or estate of his own, and Lady Catherine well knows it. Fitzwilliam’s best friend, besides Darcy, is—
- Colonel Sir John Buford (an original character) – Buford is a Welsh gentleman, an extraordinarily brave and capable officer in the Light Dragoons, and a particularly popular figure with the ladies. This “Dark Darcy” won his knighthood in Spain and comes to realize that his rakish conduct has not served him well. Valued by his superiors for his abilities, particularly with languages, he is distrusted for his dishonorable personal habits. Buford seeks redemption through better behavior and a good marriage.
But what’s a romance without the ladies?
- Marianne Brandon (from Sense and Sensibility) – Marianne has come into her own with marriage and motherhood. However, being the colonel’s wife is one thing, and being Mistress of Delaford in Brandon’s absence is quite another, particularly when a certain former suitor returns.
- Anne de Bourgh (from Pride and Prejudice) – Now cured of the mysterious malady that harmed her health, she dreams of marrying the cousin she has always loved. Unfortunately, he’s the wrong Fitzwilliam as far as Lady Catherine is concerned, and she will stop at nothing to keep Anne at Rosings.
- Caroline Bingley (from Pride and Prejudice) – Buford is not the only character seeking redemption. Miss Bingley enters into a marriage of convenience with Sir John, thrilled that she will finally have her place in society. Buford serves in the British delegation at the Congress of Vienna, and Caroline is thrust into a social order above the ton in London. Here the stakes are far higher, and so is the treachery. Can Caroline find love with her husband and avoid the pitfalls that could hurt not only herself but her country as well?
In 1815, Napoleon escapes from exile and Europe is at war again. Who will live and who will never come home again from the fields of Waterloo?
As you can see, the plot is full and complex. There are plenty of the readers’ favorite Austen characters, including Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth Darcy, Elinor and Edward Ferrars, George Wickham, Mr. Collins and Charlotte, John Willoughby, Georgiana Darcy, and Mary Bennet. I’ve also included actual historical figures, such as the Duke of Wellington and Emperor Napoleon.
Some have said I write Jane Austen from a man’s perspective. I take that as a compliment. One of Austen’s great accomplishments was that she could write men very well. She saw us as we are, warts and all, and not as women wish we were. Her male characters leap off the page. She makes it very easy for a man to use her characters, and I hope you will approve of my attempt to honor one of the greats of British literature. I also honor the brave men and women who wear their nation’s uniform and the families they leave behind.
So, who are your favorites of Jane Austen’s fighting men? Brandon? Fitzwilliam? Captain Frederick Wentworth of Persuasion? How about Northanger Abbey’s Captain Tilney? Who do you want to know more about?
Or, what other Austen novels would you like to see mashed together? Let me know! Have fun!
Author Bio: Jack Caldwell is an author, amateur historian, professional economic developer, playwright, and like many Cajuns, a darn good cook. Born and raised in the Bayou County of Louisiana, Jack and his wife, Barbara, are Hurricane Katrina victims who now make the upper Midwest their home.
Always a history buff, Jack found and fell in love with Jane Austen in his twenties, struck by her innate understanding of the human condition. Jack uses his work to share his knowledge of history. Through his characters, he hopes the reader gains a better understanding of what went on before, developing an appreciation for our ancestors’ trials and tribulations.
When not writing or traveling with Barbara, Jack attempts to play golf. A devout convert to Roman Catholicism, Jack is married with three grown sons. Visit Jack at his website: Ramblings of a Cajun in Exile; Blog: Austen Authors; on Facebook: as Jack Caldwell Author; and on Twitter: as @JCadwell25.
Grand Giveaway of The Three Colonels
Enter a chance to win one of three copies of The Three Colonels, by Jack Caldwell by leaving a comment stating what intrigues you about this new sequel to Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility, or which other Austen novel you would like to see Jack write about next, by 11:59 PT, Wednesday, March 14, 2012. Winner announced on Thursday, March 15, 2012. Print editions and eBooks are available. Shipment of print books to US and Canadian addresses only. Ebook shipment Internationally. Good luck!
Many thanks to Jack Caldwell for his delightful guest blog and to his publisher Sourcebooks for the giveaway!
© 2007- 2012 Jack Caldwell, Austenprose