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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Jack Caldwell – a guy who writes Jane Austen-themed Historical Fiction. Really. (as interviewed by Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy, Esq.)

Today’s Guest Blog Post and Give-Away by Jack Caldwell
Hi, Darcyholics!  Today’s Guest post brings with it a male view of Darcyholism.  I am happy to have Jack Caldwell with us today. 

Upcoming Guest Posts Are As Follows:

February 3--Jan Hahn
February 7--Abigail Reynolds

February 10--Ola Wegner
February 14--Sandy Cook! Celebrating Mr. Darcy and Valentine’s Day

February 17--Nancy Kelley

February 21--Janet Taylor

February 24--Nina Benneton

And Many more to come!

Jack is giving away a copy of each of Pemberley Ranch, US and Canada only.  Entries will be based on comments on the blog post; but additional chances will be given for joining this site, tweeting this post, sharing this on Facebook or your blog, clicking 'like' on Barbara Tiller Cole, Author's Facebook page, or following BarbTCole on Twitter; you can also follow Jack on Twitter or Facebook or his blog on her blog. Please note any of these things that you do in your blog post for extra entries.
And Now...I present...Jack Caldwell!
Jack Caldwell – a guy who writes Jane Austen-themed Historical Fiction. Really(as interviewed by Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy, Esq.)
MR. FITZWILLIAM DARCY –Good day, everyone. The lovely hostess of this web site has requested a favor of me. Of course, I have no idea what a “web site” is, but that is neither here nor there. I have been asked most prettily, and as I have no objection to the exercise, I have complied.
I have been asked to interview Mr. Jack Caldwell, the author of two Jane Austen themed novels: PEMBERLEY RANCH and THE THREE COLONELS. As you may know, Mr. Caldwell has been fond of interviewing characters from Miss Jane Austen’s novels and publishing these so-called Austen Interviews in his Cajun Cheesehead Chronicles at another web site. Without further ado—Mr. Jack Caldwell.
JACK CALDWELL – Thanks, Mr. Darcy. I’m glad to be here. We’re kinda casual on this side of the pond, so what do I call you? Darcy, Fitz, or Will?
FD – Mr. Darcy will do, thank you very much. Mr. Caldwell, I have a series of questions from the mistress of Darcyholic Diversions, but I would like to begin with two of my own. Firstly—what is a Cajun Cheesehead?
JC – I’m a native of the State of Louisiana in the United States of America. We’re known as Cajuns. Upon moving several years ago to the State of Wisconsin, also in the US, I became a Cheesehead, as they refer to fans of the local American professional football team, the Green Bay Packers. You see, they tend to wear these large, yellow foam cheese hats to the games—
FD – It sounds very fashionable, I am sure. By the way, I know where both Louisiana and Wisconsin are.
JC – Sorry ‘bout that.
FD – Yes. Secondly—why have you not interviewed either my wife or me for your Cajun Cheesehead Chronicles?
JC – You think I’m dumb?
FD – I beg your pardon?
JC – Mr. Darcy, there’s no way I could get away with interviewing either you or Lizzy—
FD – Sir! She is Mrs. Darcy to you!
JC – Oops. As I was saying, the fans have definite ideas about you and your wife. As powerful as I claim my author’s imagination to be, I can’t overcome the readers’ pride in their prejudiced opinions about their favorite couple in all of literature —Mr. and Mrs. Darcy.
FD – Pride in their prejudiced opinions? I suppose you believe yourself clever.
JC – I do, actually.
FD – You think that if it gives you comfort. As to the questions at hand: When did you first discover Jane Austen Fan Fiction?
JC – It was over a dozen years ago. You see, I discovered Jane Austen after I finished college. In 1981 I saw the PBS broadcast of the BBC production of Pride and Prejudice. I had already decided to read the classics that I had not in school, and I started with The Collected Works of Jane Austen because of that broadcast.
FD – Am I to understand you have read all of Miss Jane Austen’s works?
JC – Her major works, yes, several times. In 1995, I saw both the A&E production of Pride and Prejudice and the film adaptation of Persuasion, and they reignited my interest in Austen. In 2000, I began looking around the Internet for sequels to P&P when I stumbled across JAFF. Abigail Reynolds was one of the first authors I read—this was before she was published. I’ve been hooked ever since.
FD – When did you begin your own writing?
JC – For about five years, I read hundreds of stories. Many were good, and some were excellent. But to be honest, there were some that were, to be kind, not well written. I complained to my wife, the lovely Barbara, about it. She then asked, “Well, can you do better?” That was a challenge I couldn’t resist. In 2005, I wrote my first JAFF story, and the rest is history.
FD – So you are saying it is Mrs. Jack Caldwell who is to blame for your writing?
JC – ‘Fraid so.
FD – We have solved that mystery.
JC – It was Abigail who convinced me to send one of my stories to Sourcebooks. That was PEMBERLEY RANCH, which came out in December of 2010.
FD – Is that the story in which you move me to Texas and make me a … what is it called? A cowboy?
JC – Yep.
FD – And you have my Elizabeth riding a horse?
JC – Yep. A paint named Turner.
FD – You must know that Elizabeth does not ride horses of any type.
JC – Beth does.
FD – (*sigh*) I see there is no arguing with you.
JC – You must be used to that by now with all us authors out there.
FD – Too true. Let me refer back to my list of questions.  Ah … You are man writing Austen-themed novels, a genre dominated by women. That is very rare. Why Austen?
JC – Two reasons. First, my real love is historical fiction. History is the great story of humanity. I use my work to explain how we got where we are. Why our civilization turned out this way. And how we’re not so very different from people in our distant past.
FD – Yes. "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
JC – You’ve read George Santayana? But Reason in Common Sense didn’t come out until 1905!
FD – My friend, Colonel Brandon, explained that one can move about in space and time. I believe you are the one who taught him.
JC – Me and my big author’s imagination.
FD – Your second reason, sir?
JC – I like Austen. Her characters are real, and their personalities transcend the Regency. They’re timeless. Besides, Austen writes really good men. What I mean is, she gets us. The male characters act like men, not the way women think men ought to act. So, Austen is a good hook to hang my stories. The reader enjoys the plot while I sneak in a history lesson or two.
FD – I cannot approve of that. Disguise of any sort is my abhorrence.
JC – Excuse me, but how is that different from Shakespeare?
FD – You compare yourself to the Bard of Avon?
JC – Of course not, except that we’re using the same device. What better way to honor the greats than to imitate their greatness? That’s how we learn and grow.
FD – I see your point. I understand you have a second novel.
JC – Yeah. THE THREE COLONELS will be released by Sourcebooks Landmark on March 1, 2012.
FD – Do I appear in this novel?
JC – Sure. It’s a sequel to Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility. Both you and Lizzy—um, Mrs. Darcy are in it (and happily married, I may add), as well as Colonel and Mrs. Brandon, Colonel Fitzwilliam, Anne de Bourgh, and Caroline Bingley. There are other Austen characters, as well as original ones like Colonel Sir John Buford.
FD – Must you have Miss Bingley in this story? She can be so tiresome.
JC – Don’t worry, she won’t be bugging you. Trust me.
FD – I will hold you to that, sir. Let me see… Do you have anything else to promote?
JC – Sure. My web site is Ramblings of a Cajun Cheesehead – I have previews of my stories and free stuff, too. I post regularly at Austen Authors blog – Austen Authors-- I’m also on Facebook (/Jack-Caldwell-author) and Twitter (@JCaldwell25).
FD – “Facebook.” “Twitter.” Such silly names.
JC – Can’t disagree with you.
FD – By the way, I have noticed there are no pictures of me in this posting.
JC – Yeah, because I don’t know what you really look like. Laurence Olivier? David Rintoul? Colin Firth? Matthew Macfadyen? Which one resembles you the best?
FD – I cannot say. I look just like myself.
JC – You know, some fangirls can get into fisticuffs over Colin and Matthew.
FD – Really? Women are far more violent today.
JC – This coming from Lady Catherine de Bourgh’s nephew.
FD – I take your point. Thank you for your time, Mr. Caldwell.
JC – Anytime. So, you’re going home to Pemberley now?
FD – Directly.
JC – How are you getting there?
FD – Just like this. (SOUND OF MR. DARCY RISING FROM HIS CHAIR) I stand, click my heels together and say, “There’s no place like Pemberley!”
JC – Wow, it worked!
LADY CATHERINE DE BOURGH – Where is he? Where is my nephew? I must have my share of the conversation!
JC – Damn that shifting in space and time!

About the Author - 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, and 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. A devout convert to Roman Catholicism, Jack is married with three grown sons.


  1. Ha! Loved it, Jack. Just let me state categorically, for the record, that Darcy looks like Colin Firth. *dodges tomatoes*

    I am Facebooking, tweeting, twittering, and linking with everyone in sight already, so this comment will have to be my entry. Jack has already said that he can't sign my Kindle without defacing the screen, so I need a print copy with his fine signature.

    1. I do so agree with you, Robin, on Darcy and Colin Firth!!!

    2. I have to agree with both of you - I'm also a Firthaholic.

    3. Thank you, Robin, jt, and Wendi.

  2. What an enlightening interview and one I immensely enjoyed. I was very 'diverted' and laughed out loud more than once. How fortunate for you, Mr. Caldwell, to be interviewed by my favorite, Mr. Darcy. I have not read your book but it is on my TBR list as I had heard you were a very good author. Thank you for the giveaway and the fun post!

    1. Thanks. Please let me know what you think about PEMBERLEY RANCH.

  3. Hilarious Jack!
    This was very enjoyable.
    I loved reading Pemberley Ranch. We don't get too many western P&P's and reading this was a treat.
    I also love the book cover. I think it's one of my favorites as well.
    Don't count me in for the free give away, as I already own Pemberley Ranch. I just thought I'd pop in and say how very much I really enjoy your writing.
    Congratulations on you second novel. I look forward to purchasing it.
    And just for the record - I'm all for Matthew :)

    1. So far it's 3-to-1 for CF. Hey MM fans! Cast your vote!

      Thanks, Trez.

  4. I loved this interview, especially the end. I certainly hope you were able to get away from Lady Cat in the same manner!

    1. The restraining order is still in effect.

    2. Hilarious! Poor you Jack! Just call Mr. Collins to fetch Lady C. "make haste".....

    3. Wait till you read THE THREE COLONELS. Then, tell me what you think my Mr. Collins will do. Just sayin...

  5. Oh Jack…I love that Darcy maintains his ‘formality’ of Mr and Mrs…really had to chuckle! At least you could reassure him that Caroline won’t be fawning over him.
    Only...now poor Barb is stuck with Lady Catherine de Bourgh in her blog space…Yikes!!

    I’ve been visiting your website for a long time and love your stories. I look forward to “The Three Colonels” coming out...it’s on my wish list. Thanks for the fun, Jack!

    Oh yes...and the face I think of as I read about Darcy is my Firth choice...Colin! *grin*

    1. Okay, 4-to-1.

      As for Caroline, she's gonna be busy...

      Thanks for popping by.

  6. That was fun, Jack! Your experience reminds me of my doctor (also a man). After seeing P&P on PBS, he promptly sat down and read all of Jane Austen's novels and became a true proficient. Unfortunately, he has yet to improve his mind by the extensive reading of fan fiction.

    1. Maybe he should try PEMBERLEY RANCH. The action should appeal to the men in your lives! Thanks for the comment.

  7. Mr. Jack Caldwell, Esquire:

    I want to thank you again for your fun and witty post! I laughed most delightfully at your responses. I truly hope that our readership will be as engaged with your impertinent responses as was I.

    I will also thank Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy, Esq. for his willingness to conduct this interview. As several of you know, I have had the opportunity to become acquainted with Mrs. Elizabeth Darcy through her ability to time travel and speak with me. She assured me that her husband would be quite willing and able to conduct this interview.

    But Mr. Caldwell! Leaving Lady Catherine to roam the posts of this blog and raise havoc is NOT to be bourne! I must insist upon your attention to this! Perhaps, when your new book is released you will come back and visit us again, and TAKE Lady Catherine away with you at that time if not before!

    Barbara Tiller Cole

    1. I believe that can be arranged, but I'll need help. Now, who should I ask to appear with me? Hmm...

  8. You're so lucky to be interviewed by Mr Darcy! I love your CCC interviews, and Pemberley Ranch is one of my favorites. When you come back you should bring Col Buford with you. I wish to make his acquaintance. It was interesting what you said about the way Austen writes men...I'll have to think on that some more.

    1. You might be meeting Sir John sooner than you think. He's next up for the Austen Interviews -- Feb. 21.

  9. I forgot to say I also think Mr Darcy looks like Colin. :)

    Also, I tweeted this: http://twitter.com/jaffobsession/status/164519675408039937

    I also follow this blog, and Barb and Jack on Twitter.

  10. WOW. This was a great interview, but I am sure that you Jack, the one that has really seen Mr. Darcy, agrees with me that it is Matthew!
    Congrats for your new book, China

    1. Okay, 5-to-2. Any other MM fans out there?

    2. Well, I didn't realize Jackman was in the running.
      My vote is definitely for Hugh!

    3. For Cowboy-Darcy, I'd say you were right on.

  11. Okay, let me stir up trouble and make it 5-to-2-to-1 by voting for David Rintoul. Still wish I could see the 1952 TV mini-series with Peter Cushing. Yes, Grand Moff Tarkin was once Darcy. Actually, I'd like to see Richard Armitage or Hugh Jackman play Darcy, but no JA for them yet.

    Looking forward to seeing Colonel Buford survive Waterloo in the new version!

    PS - I Tweeted this article and started following you on Twitter; I already follow you on Facebook

    1. Great minds think alike, as Rintoul is my man as well. Armitage or Jackman could play a great Will Darcy if I could ever get some honcho in Hollywood to consider PEMBERLEY RANCH.

      Or maybe Buford in a film version of THE THREE COLONELS? Just sayin...

    2. Have you considered adapting it in screenplay format and asking your agent if he/she can do the Hollywood route too?

    3. I'd have to get an agent first, but a good idea.

  12. Mr. Caldwell, you got yourself a new fan!!! If your books come with this amount of humor and wit, I am hooked already. Your book was on my wish list and now was bumped to MUST READ list. It is always interesting to read a man's point of view on Jane Austen and her characters. This post is quite amusing and it a delightful diversion as Kara Louise would say. I particulary love the bit about Darcy saying how women are more violent now and enjoyed your answer as well. Touché!

    1. Almost forgot to ask...is Colin, I mean, Mr. Darcy as handsome in person as we think? And about this MM...is that the guy from Little Dorrit...LOL!

    2. It's now 6-to-2-to-2 in favor of CF. Thanks for the kind comments, Rita. For more about my humor, take a look at a little something at my web site - Mr. Darcy Came to Dinner (http://webpages.charter.net/jvcla25/mdctd_home.html)

    3. Hi, Jack.
      I have never laughed so much over an interview as I have just done! You are the man, who have written "Mr. Darcy came to Dinner" on fanfiction? Just one question, is Mr. Darcy as polite and handsome as we think?? (My personal opinion is that he looks like Matthew!) Thank you for a very intertaining interview, couldn't you put it into a book once?

    4. Let's see -- 6-to-3-to-2.

      Yeah, I plead guilty over "Mr. Darcy Came to Dinner." As for Darcy being polite--of course, he's polite! He's Austen's uber-male!

  13. What a great interview! The book sounds very good.


  14. David Rintoul will always be my favorite Mr. Darcy! Great interview-I enjoyed it very much!
    I'd love to read this book!

    1. Now it's 6-to-3-to-3. Tight race. Thanks for stopping by!