Thank you for supporting the “Salute to our Veterans” event at Just Jane 1813. I loved reading your “Darcy’s Tale” series and my interest was peaked when I found out you were in the midst of publishing a JAFF story that has a focus on Colonel Fitzwilliam’s life. What made you decide to focus your book on Colonel Fitzwilliam?
I’m very happy to be part of your tribute, Claudine. The Colonel is a very likeable man, from what little we see of him; amiable, easy, and conversable. In Darcy’s Tale I expanded his role as Darcy’s close confidant and supporter, and liked who he turned out to be. I almost felt it was my responsibility to give his character a decent future, and so there you are!
In your book, you focus on Colonel Fitzwilliam’s war experiences and how the war has really affected his life. Why did you make this decision? I have felt that many JAFF authors have avoided this topic, so why did you decide to tackle it?
Probably just because it is ignored, not just by JAFF authors, but by Austen herself. One of the biggest wars Europe and the UK had ever seen was raging for most of her writing career, yet she hardly ever makes reference to it. It was a fascinating time, full of action, intrigue, opportunity and danger; what better backdrop for an action / romance novel?
What was the hardest thing about writing this book? How did you, as a writer, overcome these challenges?
For me, plots and characters grow as I write: I get a lot of fun out of seeing where a story goes. But the hard part is always the polishing – editing, re-writing, asking whether this or that would really be a natural response by one character or another. That is the longest part of writing, as I go about it. I might take a sixty thousand-word piece and re-write it a dozen times, adding about two or three thousand words each time; combing through the language, correcting characters, refining scenes. When I can re-read every section without gritting my teeth, the book’s done.
Please tell us more about this series.
Well, I’m not altogether sure it will be a series; that depends on its reception. I left it so the Colonel and Esparza are poised to continue their adventures, but who knows? If, however, it does turn out to have enough of a readership, the Colonel and Emily will both be off adventuring with Lord Estéban Esparza, as the Colonel and his lady work together to counter Bonaparte.
What inspires you to write JAFF?
Truthfully, I was displeased with the first JAFF I read, a Darcy POV, and I thought he deserved better. I gave it a try. The effort succeeded well beyond my expectations, and I found writing to be easy and enjoyable, so I just kept going.
Darcy’s relationship with Colonel Fitzwilliam has always been one that I have enjoyed reading about in JAFF books. What are your feelings about their relationship and why have you focused on it in your book?
I see them as being quite close; no one else in canon seems to sit in that particular familial position for Darcy, and the view we have of them at Rosings certainly suggests a friendly, intimate sort of relationship. Since I interpret them both as good men, their relationship is fairly well-defined. Darcy, somewhat reticent, and the genial, outgoing Colonel, make very a natural pairing. They are always there for each other, and can rely on one another under any and all circumstances.
Jane Austen is tremendously popular 200 years after the publication of her work. Why do you think she is so popular today and what do you think, in regards to Austen, really resonates with modern audiences?
Because she wrote of universal themes and emotions. There can be few people, even today, who cannot empathize with her plots and personae, and recognize their own acquaintance in her characters. Add to that her genius for prose, and voilà! we have the Jane Austen phenomenon. Unless and until the species evolves into something else, I believe her works will continue to enjoy the same popularity for another 200 years.
Tell us a little bit about your cover art. Who designed it? Why did you go with that particular image?
I have a daughter who is an artist. I select the image, generally, and she creates the layout. In this case, I need an Army officer from the period, one who was “about thirty, not handsome, but in person and address most truly the gentleman”. This portrait of Sir John Moore (1761-1809) seemed just right to me. I like his expression: open, confident, straight-forward. And he’s not too pretty to contradict Miss Austen’s description of him. 😉
What can we expect from you in the future?
I am working on Captain Wentworth’s story, from his first action off Santo Domingo through his marriage with Anne Elliot, and I am also writing a modern thriller / mystery along the lines of Dashiell Hammett or Mickey Spillane. The modern work will probably be done this spring, and I am hoping to be done with the good Captain in the fall.
What can readers who enjoy your book do to help make it successful?
Read it, of course, but most importantly, review it. On Amazon, on Goodreads, on FaceBook, wherever. Reviews can not only help an author’s sales, but they also serve to inspire and guide the author’s future work, so keep on writing them!
How can the readers discover more about you and your work?
Facebook: Stan Hurd
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Stanley-Hurd/e/B00EXB96PW/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0
I would like to thank Stan Hurd for his interview, as he illuminates for us the male perspective on writing JAFF. I also want to thank him for his generosity, by offering his readers an opportunity to win his new ebook and for supporting the launch of this blog.