Sourcebooks has generously offered two copies of Pemberley Ranch for giveaway to two winners, see details at the end of this post.
DEB: Jack, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
JC: I’ve had a funny road to being a writer. I have an MBA from Tulane University in New Orleans, and have worked in the investment and economic development field. I did not take creative writing in college. However, being a voracious reader and a sometimes-actor/director in community theatre, I started to write down the stories in my head, both novels and plays.
I could not have done what I did without the incredible support from my team of editors, who I call my Beta Babes, led by my wife, Barbara.
DEB: Tell us a little about your book, Pemberley Ranch?
JC: I’ve taken the basic plot of Pride and Prejudice and moved it in time and space. The novel is set in 1870s Reconstruction Texas. It is the aftermath of the Civil War, and Beth Bennet moves with her family from Ohio to Rosings, Texas. Beth is a proud Yankee, and has vowed to hate Southerners for the rest of her life. Her only brother died during the war. Of course, she meets up with Will Darcy, ex-Confederate officer and owner of the biggest ranch in the county. Sparks fly, especially since carpetbagger George Whitehead is telling lies about Darcy. What Beth doesn’t know is her family is in deadly danger…
DEB: What was your inspiration for this book? What made you decide to transport Pride and Prejudice to the South?
JC: In Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, the prejudice and misunderstandings were a result of the Regency class system that limited open communication. A similar class system existed in America, but I also upped the ante by setting the story during the Reconstruction Era. Propaganda and resentment would be the forces at play in Pemberley Ranch. However, these barriers would be overcome in my story, as they were overcome in real life. The story of Pemberley Ranch is the story of America.
DEB: What type of research did you do for your book?
JC: I’m a Civil War buff, but I took the time to do additional research. I learned about Morgan’s Raid in Ohio and about the struggle for the rule of law in Texas during Reconstruction.
DEB: What is your normal writing day like? Do you have things that have to be in place to write comfortably?
JC: I write mostly in the mornings and evenings, particularly after my wife goes to bed. She claims I snore, which is ridiculous, as I have never heard me doing that. I have a very messy office in my house—a bedroom converted for that purpose. It looks like a disaster zone, and it is, but I know where everything is. I have my computer and printer in there, and no one disturbs me. I can concentrate there. I try to write a chapter a week.
DEB: What was it like when you got the word that your first novel would be published?
JC: I was particularly grateful, as I was facing open-heart surgery at the time. Fortunately, both the medical procedure and the editing on my manuscript went very well.
DEB: Do have any advice for new writers?
JC: Write every day. You need the practice. Also, read out aloud what you’re written, particularly dialogue. If it doesn’t sound right, change it.
DEB: When you’re not writing, what kinds of books do you like to read? Do you have a favorite author?
JC: I enjoy fiction and non-fiction. Most of my books deal with history—either straight history or historical fiction. I’ve read the entire Aubrey/Maturin series by Patrick O’Brian and the Hornblower series by C. S. Forester.
DEB: What are you working on right now?
JC: My next book is set during the Regency—in fact, during the great crisis of the Napoleonic Wars. It was the Hundred Days: Napoleon’s escape from Elba which led the Allies to form one last Coalition to fight him at Waterloo. The Three Colonels, a grand sequel to Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility, deals with Jane Austen’s fighting men and the ladies they love. You will meet old favorites, like the Darcys, the Brandons, Colonel Fitzwilliam, Anne de Bourgh, George Wickham, and Caroline Bingley. There will be new original characters, such as the dashing and dangerous Colonel Sir John Buford. It will be released by Sourcebooks in spring of 2012.
DEB: Tell us one thing that people may not know about you?
JC: I’m a darn good Cajun cook. I make Turkey Gumbo every Thanksgiving. Anybody who wants a recipe, just email me.
Sourcebooks has generously offered two copies of Pemberley Ranch to two readers from Debbie's Book Bag! It's easy to enter and the rules a very simple.
~You must be a Google Friend Connect follower to participate.
~This giveaway is for US and Canadian addresses only, as these books will be sent out directly from the publisher.
~The deadline to enter this giveaway is Midnight EST, January 11th.
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