Please help me welcome Jack Caldwell to my blog. His new book, The Three Colonels is out now and at the end of the interview there is a chance to win it.
1. Could you tell me a little about yourself?
Thank you for the opportunity to speak with you today! I’m an author, amateur historian, professional economic developer, playwright, and like many Cajuns, considered a darn good cook. I was born and raised in the Bayou County of Louisiana, and I lived there most of my life. My wife, Barbara, and I are Hurricane Katrina victims, and we now make the upper Midwest our home. We have three grown sons.
You may have heard of my nickname—The Cajun Cheesehead. It came from my devotion to my two favorite NFL teams: the New Orleans Saints and the Green Bay Packers. (Every now and then, I have to play the DVD again to make sure the Saints really won in 2010.)
When I’m not writing or traveling with Barbara, I attempt to play golf.
2. Could you tell me about your new book, The Three Colonels – Jane Austen’s Fighting Men?
The Three Colonels is a sequel of two of Jane Austen’s novels set during the Regency. I combine Pride & Prejudice with Sense & Sensibility. I find that by doing so, I’ve opened up the Austen universe to unlimited possibilities.
Three of Austen’s female characters are trying to find their happy ever after with their men. The former Marianne Dashwood has started a family with Colonel Brandon, Anne de Bourgh loves Colonel Fitzwilliam (to the displeasure of Lady Catherine), and Caroline Bingley enters into a marriage of convenience with a notorious war hero, Colonel Sir John Buford. Then everything goes to heck when Napoleon escapes from exile and Europe is at war again. The three colonels are sent to Waterloo and our ladies—Marianne, Anne, and Caroline—must face the possibility that their men might not return.
3. How did you come up with the idea to write about Colonels Brandon and Fitzwilliam?
Austen had several military characters, both major and minor, who served during the Napoleonic Wars. It would be realistic that in any sequel to Austen’s novels, one or more of her heroes would be caught up in Waterloo.
I decided to write about that. My plot would revolve around the Hundred Days Crisis, the epic turning point of the Regency, and that having a soldier in the family was not all wine and roses, because at any time they might be called upon to serve king and country. There is a price to pay for wearing the uniform; soldiers, sailors—and their loved ones—pay it just like the families of our service members pay it today.
The first two characters that came to mind were Brandon and Fitzwilliam. Both actually fought, unlike Colonel Forster of the —-shire militia. Of course, to make Brandon work, I had to tweak his career a bit. He served not only in India and the East Indies, but also in Italy, where he met Fitzwilliam and Buford.
4. Are you interested in war history?
Yes. I enjoy Napoleonic War fiction, particularly CS Forester’s Hornblower series and Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey/Maturin nautical adventures. Unfortunately, history is made by conflict. It changes our world forever. We may not like it, but it’s the truth. Waterloo in 1815 was one of those titanic battles where nothing is the same afterwards, like William the Conqueror’s Battle of Hastings in 1066, Gettysburg in 1863 during the American Civil War, and 1942’s Midway in World War II. To understand why wars happen is to understand us.
5. Sadly I have not seen many men love the books by Jane Austen, but how did you find your way to these books?
I was first introduced to Austen, like many people, by one of the filmed adaptations. Mine was the 1981 BBC mini-series starring Elizabeth Garvie shown in the US on PBS’s Masterpiece Theatre. It’s still the best version, IMHO. I went out and got a copy of The Collected Works of Jane Austen and read all of her major works. She is fantastic—you really ought to read her. Years later, around 2000, I discovered Jane Austen Fan Fiction, and the rest was history.
6. What’s up next from you?
I have several manuscripts being reviewed by my publisher, and I am currently writing a sequel to The Three Colonels entitled Rosings Park.
1 copy of The Three Colonels
1 copy of The Three Colonels
1. Open to US and Canada
2. Ends March 22
3. Just go ahead and enter
Or ask a question or tell me who you would choose, Brandon, Fitzwilliam or Buford
Jack Caldwell’s blog postings—The Cajun Cheesehead Chronicles—appear regularly at Austen Authors.
Web site – Ramblings of a Cajun in Exile
Blog – Austen Authors
Twitter – https://twitter.com/#!/JCaldwell25