I am absolutely thrilled that Jack Caldwell, author of Pemberley Ranch, took time out of his busy schedule to answer my many questions about his interest in Jane Austen. I personally don’t know any men who like Austen’s work; in fact, my husband leaves the room every time I watch Persuasion, and his eyes glaze over when I gush about Austen’s humor and how much I love her books and all the retellings. Pemberley Ranch takes Pride and Prejudice out of Regency England and out to the Texas plains just after the Civil War. Read my review for all the details and my thoughts, but just know that it ranks among my most favorite Austen retellings. Please give a warm welcome to Jack Caldwell:
Do you find that people are surprised that a man writes Jane Austen sequels/retellings?
Yes, I do. It’s true that men aren’t the devoted followers of all things Austen like the ladies, but as was pointed out in The Jane Austen Book Club, men should pick up Dear Jane’s work. Not only is it great writing, but you might get lucky.
My wife just kicked me in the shin.
When did you first read Jane Austen, and what do you find most interesting about her novels and characters?
I started reading Jane Austen in 1981, after watching the BBC mini-series on PBS. First, I loved her humor. Austen is a very funny writer. I also feel I know her characters. Hasn’t everyone met a Rev. Collins or Lady Catherine? Lastly, her plots are timeless. I found it just as hard to find true love in 1980’s discos as Darcy did in Regency ballrooms.
What is your favorite Austen novel and character? Have you read all of Austen’s novels?
I have read all of Austen’s major novels, including Lady Susan (a particular favorite). My all-time favorite would have to be Persuasion and Captain Frederick Wentworth.
[I recently read Persuasion, fell in love with Captain Wentworth, and put the book at the top of my all-time favorites list. I finished Lady Susan and The Watsons not too long ago and will be reviewing them soon.]
I considered that if Elizabeth and Darcy found the walls of class and connections hard scaling in Regency England, how much more challenging would it be dealing with the animosities existing after a conflict like the US Civil War? I then realized that America did overcome the difficulties created by the war. I decided to use Austen’s characters to tell that tale. As for Texas, that decision can be summed up in four words: Darcy as a cowboy.
[Darcy makes a great cowboy. Seriously.]
Are you working on another novel? Any hints?
My next novel, out in the spring of 2012, is a Pride and Prejudice/Sense and Sensibility sequel entitled The Three Colonels. It’s set in 1815 during the Waterloo crisis and features some of Austen’s fighting men, such as Colonels Fitzwilliam and Brandon, and the women they love. Of course, Mr. and Mrs. Darcy are in there, as well as cameos from all of Austen’s works as well as my own original creations.
[People who know me well know that I'm always reading war novels and all things Austen. Put the two of them together, and I'm a happy reader. Well, "happy" probably isn't the right word to use when discussing war novels, but you all know what I mean.]
What do you do when you’re not writing?
I’m a Cajun, so I do most of the cooking at home. When not working, I enjoy golf and travel with my wife.
What was the best book you read recently?
Since I can’t choose between my fantastic Austen Authors comrades, I’ll say I really enjoyed the first three volumes of Dean Koontz’s Frankenstein series. I discovered them recently and they’re set in New Orleans—what’s not to like?
Thank you so much, Jack, for stopping by Diary of an Eccentric today. I wish you much success and definitely will be reading more of your work in the future.
Courtesy of Sourcebooks, I have 2 copies of Pemberley Ranch to offer my readers. Because the publisher is shipping the books, the giveaway is open to U.S. and Canada addresses only. To enter, simply leave a comment related to my interview with Jack Caldwell, along with your e-mail address, by 11:59 pm EST on Sunday, Dec. 12, 2010. The winners will be chosen randomly.
**Please note that this giveaway is now closed**
Disclosure: I am an Amazon associate.
© 2010 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.