Please join me today in welcoming author and actor C.C. Humphreys to Debbie's Book Bag. C.C. is here promoting the reprint edition of his historical fiction novel, Jack Absolute based on a character that he has also been privileged to play on the stage. My review of this book will post later today. See giveaway details at the end of the post for a chance to win a copy of Jack Absolute.
Many people who know me know me through my acting. Even though I do less of it these days – historical fiction writing being somewhat all-consuming (and which can be done wearing holed sweaters and a scraggly beard!) – I still consider myself an actor even if I call myself an ‘author-actor’ these days rather than an ‘actor-author’ as before.
My acting life has affected my writing so directly – in my heightened dialogue, my intensely dramatic situations. Most people who read me, the first thing they usually say is: ‘I can see the movie!’ (To which I usually reply: ‘I hope you do!’). But there’s probably no better example of direct affect than with my novel, ‘Jack Absolute’…
… because I stole the character from a play I was in!
Now before you all yell ‘Plagiarist!’ at me, let me explain. Yes, I took the name – from the 18th century comedy ‘The Rivals’. Yes, I borrowed certain aspects of the character created by Richard Brinsley Sheridan in the 1770’s. But here’s my defense It was my interpretation I stole, my performance of the role that shines through in all I subsequently wrote.
I LOVED being Jack Absolute. It was one of perhaps half a dozen roles in my 35 year career so far that I feel I truly, completely nailed. And I felt that if Sheridan was looking down he would say: ‘Yes! That’s right, me boy! Let me buy you a pint!’ I played him as a rogue, a conspirator, gallant, self confident – and a fool for love. I so enjoyed seeing his brilliant schemes fail, his thrashing around, his eventual success. I was in a great company with a great director and we made people laugh the length and breadth of England for six months. And when it was over I missed him terribly.
Then, fifteen years later, I became an author and, after my first two novels, found a way to be Jack once again. For when my publishers asked me what I wanted to write for them next, I found myself saying: ‘I want to write about Jack Absolute.’ ‘Who’s he,’ they inquired And since I knew he couldn't simply be the roguish lover I played, knew he had to do something, I had an answer ready. ‘He’s the Double-O-Seven of the 1770’s.’
They loved that. Three novels later, with more planned, I still do. And if I’ve added to my original conception of Jack a whole string of other passions – swordplay, theater, Mohawks, battles on sea and land, among them -why not? He’s still a fool for love and, I think, a grand fellow to spend time with. I am so thrilled he’s loose in America again. For then, in a way, so am I!
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~The deadline to enter this giveaway is Midnight EST, June 3rd.
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