Good morning! I hope you all had a great weekend.
Today I am thrilled to share a few goodies with my readers from the lovely Beau North. As readers know, I fell in love with Beau’s writing when I read Longbourn’s Songbird, which won the 2017 Silver IPPY Award for Romance. Since then, I make it a point to read everything she writes because she’s just an amazing author!
Once I heard the exciting plans she has for her latest JAFF work, I asked her to drop by to chat for a visit Just Jane 1813 and I think you’ll just LOVE what she’s sharing with readers today! Please join me to welcome Beau to Just Jane 1813…
Welcome back to Just Jane 1813, Beau. It’s a real pleasure to have you back for a visit. I know you have been super busy writing and producing podcasts for your podcast channel, Excessively Diverted. Can you share with my readers what’s new and upcoming from you?
Thanks so much for having me back! In a way, I feel like I got my start here at Just Jane 1813, so it’s always a pleasure to come back. I do have several things in play currently. Excessively Diverted is in its second season, and I’ve already started recording episodes of The JAFFcast for season two, which will only feature discussions on JAFF books that are not based on Pride & Prejudice. I’ve got The Colonel in the works, but you can also check out another story by me soon in another JAFF project that will be announced in the next few weeks.
Since it’s your latest story, can you tell us more about Modern Love and what was behind your decision to publish a story outside of JAFF?
Modern Love is a story that is near and dear to my heart. Alice Aberdeen might be the best character I’ve ever written and since this story began it’s life as JAFF, I suppose I have Elizabeth Bennet to thank for that. The framework of Pride and Prejudice is still firmly in place, but since I wrote it as a way to process the death of David Bowie, I decided I’d see if it would translate into contemporary romance. The response was very gratifying, and I’ve already planned an additional 2 books involving characters from Modern Love.
I hear you have some new plans for one of my favorite JAFF stories, Longbourn’s Songbird. Can you give us an update on the plans?
Yes! I know several people have asked me about the availability of Longbourn’s Songbird, and I’m thrilled to announce that I will be re-releasing a revised edition in early October! There were a few passages that, in light of recent events, I wanted to expand on. It will even have a new cover!
Wow, a new cover too! Will you share your decision-making process behind the design of the new cover?
I had a very specific idea for the cover in mind, so once again I reached out to my friend Josh Hollis who made my beautiful cover for The Many Lives of Fitzwilliam Darcy. I knew I wanted to give the cover pieces of all the things that made this story special to me and give it a sense of time and place. As always, Josh came through with flying colors!
Wow, I just adore this cover! When I read this story, your Elizabeth Bennet reminded me a little of Edith Piaf, whose music I just adore, (and who Elizabeth also tries to emulate in this story) so I am thrilled that this cover incorporates Elizabeth as an alluring songbird.
I remember reading a post where you shared an excerpt from another story you are working on related to Longbourn’s Songbird and I just fell in love with the premise. Can you share more of this story with us and tell us your plans for this story?
The Colonel has always been my planned follow-up that follows the exploits of Richard, both from 1945-1948 and after the events of Longbourn’s Songbird. I had the idea to tell this long family saga through letters exchanged by the family being read in the present day by Richard’s grown son, Ben. There is also some present-day interactions with an entirely different Mr. Darcy. As it is now, The Colonel is novella length. My plans are to expand it to a full-length novel and release it this year.
What would you say to readers who haven’t read Longbourn’s Songbird to encourage them to give it a try?
Oh gosh, that is a difficult one! I know that the setting turns some people away because some readers won’t read anything outside of the Regency era. I would say that the place and time that Longbourn’s Songbird is set in makes it a good mix of a modern story with Regency sensibilities. And it’s not just about a great romance (though that is important too) but life in a small town, in an evolving country, in a world that’s still shaken from war. It’s about familial love, and loss, and finding one’s own place in the world.
Is it fair to say you have a pretty big crush on Colonel Fitzwilliam? I have found that so many JAFF readers love him too, even though he plays such a small role in canon. Why do you think we love him so much?
A crush might be putting it mildly! It’s fair to say that I’m absolutely smitten with our dear Colonel. The appeal of Colonel Fitzwilliam is that he occupies the balancing role in Darcy’s life before Elizabeth Bennet comes along. He’s light and congenial to Darcy’s stiff broodiness, he softens Darcy’s sharper edges and is, in a way, the more accessible version of Darcy.
Who is your Colonel Fitzwilliam on the big screen?
Tom Mison, without a doubt. Or James Badge Dale. But Tom will always be my go-to, his eyes are just amazing. Haunted one second and the next looking like he’s already undressed you and really likes what he sees. Tom also does this incredible hand-acting, which I’ve always seen as a part of Richard’s character. He fidgets, but elegantly.
Since we’re talking about Colonel Fitzwilliam, would you answer these questions for my readers?
I’m happy to try!
Fitzwilliam Darcy or Colonel Fitzwilliam? Oh, that is difficult! Darcy is so good and steady, and there’s the additional inducement of Pemberley!
What vices do you think belong to Colonel Fitzwilliam? I can only speak as to what vices belong to my version of Fitzwilliam. He’s obsessive, prone to drink and falls into bed too easily with women. His sensitive nature is both a burden and blessing. He feels deeply, which causes him to fixate on the worst parts of his life–The war and loss of his brother James, his rocky relationship with his father. It also makes him connect that much more with the people he loves. He’s fiercely devoted to Darcy, Georgiana, and Anne. His feelings for Elizabeth are always evolving. He even has an unusual relationship with Charlotte.
Is he a one-woman man or a bit of a heartbreaker? He’s the worst of both – a heartbreaker who wants to be a one-woman man. He’s just overly particular about which woman.
If he was preparing for a duel, what’s his weapon of choice? A killer smile and a mean right hook.
What is a JAFF story that you love that’s based on Colonel Fitzwilliam? Joana Starnes gave us a Colonel to truly swoon over in The Unthinkable Triangle, didn’t she? Colonel Fitzwilliam and the Countess of Sainte Toulours by Stanley Michael Hurd gave us a Colonel Fitzwilliam that was not only brave and brilliant but deeply romantic and so incredibly noble.
Thank you for visiting today at Just Jane 1813 and for your fabulous giveaway for my readers. I look forward to having you return here when your next project is ready for readers!
It was entirely my pleasure!
Beau has two excerpts to share today with my readers. The first is from Longbourn’s Songbird and the second one is from her upcoming release, The Colonel.
Longbourn’s Songbird Excerpt:
“Ladies, it’s wonderful to meet you all. This is my friend Will Darcy.” Darcy felt something like a smile on his face, superficially polite over his clenched teeth.
Bingley joked, making the women titter. “He’s not normally so talkative.” The sound of her chuckle was like being poked between the eyes. Darcy forced his face into a smooth expression, silently cursing his friend. He murmured a terse “good evening” to the women. The mother examined him keenly for a moment as if she were inspecting a piece of meat from the butcher. After a moment, she sniffed haughtily and looked away. Darcy paid her no mind, turning his attention to the other Bennet girls.
The younger of the girls, he dismissed immediately; she was pretty but didn’t shine like the others. The elder two sisters were indeed beautiful, very similar in features from the full bottom lip to the slightly pointed nose, but for all that could not have been more different. Jane, with her lake-blue eyes and golden hair, seemed to be made of sunlight. Her smile, the crushed petal-pink of her blush, even her genteel manners were all that was good and innocent. It reminded him, disturbingly, of his mother. Darcy had to admit that Bingley could have picked far worse for himself.
As conversation flowed easily from Bingley to the Bennets and back again, Darcy allowed himself to look at her, the other. Elizabeth. The name suits her, he thought.
While not so tantalizing as she’d been that day in the pond, she was darkly beautiful, a woman made for night and all its shadowy promise. Heat prickled his neck at the thought of seeing her clad in nothing but moonlight. Despite the neatness of her hair and the smooth lines of her dress, there seemed to be a natural wildness in her looks that called out him from behind the facade of proper young lady. He saw an alluring challenge in the intelligent expression of her dark eyes—eyes that were like two pools of liquid ink—full of secrets waiting to be discovered. Perhaps sensing his observation, she glanced up and caught his eye just as a thought blazed like a comet across his mind.
A man could drown in those eyes.
The Colonel Excerpt
October 15, 1945
I don’t know why I still write you. In a way I think it helps me keep you while letting you go. I don’t think I’ll ever be bold enough to send you these. They will likely–rightfully–find their way into an ash heap.
But I miss you. And so I write.
October in Maryland is beauty without remorse. I’d forgotten how much I loved autumn here. The clear air is like apples and dead leaves, seasoned with the ocean salt. You can begin to feel the sharp edges of the cruelty to come, the last reprieve before winter.
There was a ceremony for my father, at Arlington. Full honors, George Marshall himself was there. I went with Darcy and our aunt Catherine, the old battle axe. We stopped at James’ marker to pay our respects. I wanted to tell him about you, about father, about all of it…but he isn’t really there. A ceremonial gesture for a ceremonial grave.
I’m learning about the family concerns, the companies we are vested in, the charities we fund. I just signed over my brother’s legacy to the War Widows fund. My father would probably hate that, ungenerous miser that he was. I feel like some of that should go to you. I’ve made you a war widow of a sort, haven’t I?
I’ve wandered down to the docks today, and I sit here with the autumn sun warming me as I watch the rich boys at the yacht club trying to impress their girls, the sailors strutting by trying to steal them away. The wind coming off of the bay is cold, a promise of what’s to come, and I can’t help but think of the sweltering heat of Charleston, how it felt like sex, all humidity and ocean smells. I think of that birthmark of yours, the one shaped like a strawberry that I liked to nip with my teeth. You know the one. How is it I still want you so much?
It’s still so strange to call you that. It seems like the girl I knew is gone while a stranger with her face smiles in all those family photos.
I was just wasting time, trying to decide if I should try to catch the next train home or if I wanted another drink or another girl or both. I wondered why I keep doing these things to myself and then I said it’s the only time I’m not thinking of you. But we both know that’s a lie, don’t we? I was about to leave when I saw a guy here writing a letter so I asked him if I could have some paper and now I find myself writing to you surrounded by drunks. I can’t lie to you, my head is killing me, so I will order another drink.
Now that I’m properly lubricated I should continue. Thank you for your last letter. You are still too kind to me. That, I believe, is part of the problem. You make loving you so damned effortless. I wish you had cruelty in you, I think it’s the only thing that will kill this. Abigail was a cruel, amusing little thing, but I never loved her. Everyone tells me to let it go, did you know that? Will, Anne…hell, even Georgie has suggested it with her usual ruthless tact. And I nod and say yes, of course, it’s the right thing to do, but we all know that I’m not even going to try. I don’t want to try. I want to love you until it kills us both. I need that thing – that undefinable thing in you that helps me to forget the things that need forgetting. What is the word for it, Slim? I know how crazy I sound, how selfish and mean. Maybe the world is nicer than I am today.
I can’t believe we have found ourselves here. I can’t believe how callously time marches on. Maybe everyone is right. In fact, I know they are. I need you to tell me what to do. What do I do, Slim?
Didn’t you love these excerpts? If you’d like to read two more letters from Longbourn’s Songbird that were written for Just Jane 1813, you can visit my post from November 2015. You can also listen to the beautiful Spotify playlist for this story too.
Meet Beau North
Beau North is a native southerner who now calls Portland, Oregon home with her husband and two cats. She attended the University of South Carolina where she began a lifelong obsession with English Literature. In her spare time, Beau is the brains behind Rhymes With Nerdy, an internet collective focused on pop culture. You can also see what she’s up to at her website, Beau North Writes, on Facebook, Twitter, and on Instagram.
Today Beau also has a giveaway for my readers. Readers with U.S. mailing addresses will receive a paperback of Longbourn’s Songbird and a choice between receiving a copy of The Many Lives of Fitzwilliam Darcy or Beau’s latest book, Modern Love. International readers can receive these in eBook formats. Please leave a comment on this blog by midnight, ET on August 31st to enter this giveaway.
I’d like to thank Beau North for sharing her new cover for Longbourn’s Songbird and her excerpts from The Colonel with us. I can’t wait to get the new Longbourn’s Songbird and The Colonel into my very own hands!
To preorder Longbourn’s Songbird, you can visit here.
You can also visit Beau North’s Author Page on Goodreads.