Hello, and thanks so much for hosting me today! After nearly a decade of having this story kicking around in my head (and through countless incarnations on my Google Drive) I’m thrilled to be able to finally share ‘The Colonel’ with all of you. Some of you might be familiar with my first book, Longbourn’s Songbird, and the trials and tribulations of Will Darcy’s cousin, Richard Fitzwilliam. When I set out writing this story back in 2009, I had an idea of telling Pride and Prejudice from The Colonel’s point of view, in a more modern setting while still keeping the action at a pivotal moment in world history.
After several drafts, I put most of Fitzwilliam’s story aside in favor of getting to the juicy Darcy-and-Elizabeth story. But Richard lingered in my head. A kind-hearted rake, the archetype of men I’d been watching on AMC since I was a girl. The final product, this character I’d borrowed from my beloved Austen, had become a sort of Frankenstein of these leading men. My Richard would have the quiet intensity of Cary Grant’s TR Devlin in Notorious, his exterior cool while his eyes devoured every expression on his lady love’s face. He would have the gin-soaked humor and self-depreciating wit of Bogart’s Richard Blaine in Casablanca, and the looks and go-to-hell attitude of Gene Kelly’s Victor in Cross of Lorraine.
But getting the character beats just wasn’t enough. So much of this book is epistilatory, stories told through letters left behind. For this, I visited my local library.
And more than that, I had to know about the times, had to get a feeling for both WWII and the Korean War, both well before my time or even my parent’s time.
In addition to this, I bought bulk lots of old photographs, scoured antique malls for family albums, postcards, artifacts of the times. Some you may even recognize!
So when I say that a lot of work, time, and myself went into creating this book, you can see what I mean! I spent nearly 10 years working on Richard’s story between other projects. And it’s been a joy. At times an exhausting and heart-rending experience, but a joy nonetheless. Thank you, readers, for giving me the space and encouragement to make it happen!
About the book
“This isn’t a love story, but the end of one. The story of two ships forever passing in the night. This is the story of my father and the woman he spent most of his adult life loving, a woman who was never really his.”
After letting his chance at love with Elizabeth Bennet slip through his fingers a second time, Richard Fitzwilliam loses himself in women, whiskey, and war as he tries to forget what he left behind. Putting oceans, continents, and decades between himself and his heartbreak, Richard seeks his future, only to be pulled back to the past again and again.
Shaken by recent events, Ben Fitzwilliam has left everything familiar behind, walking away from his relationship, his Manhattan apartment, his career as a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist to return to his family home in Annapolis, Maryland. Struggling to navigate a world that makes less and less sense, Ben finds purpose where he least expected it: in his father’s private letters. With the help of Annapolis PD Officer Keisha Barnes, Ben attempts to uncover his father’s secrets, heal the rifts those secrets caused, and find the answers he seeks on far shores.
Spanning decades, continents, wars abroad and wars at home, The Colonel is the anticipated companion to Longbourn’s Songbird.