Thank you, Janet, for hosting an additional stop on our Dangerous to Know blog tour.
Christina Boyd’s latest anthology features ten captivating stories of swoon-worthy rakes and gentlemen rogues, tales that evoke compas-sion for Austen’s anti-heroes, backstories that — at least somewhat — redeem cads we love to hate. Then there’s my contribution.
Why, you may ask, would I chose to write about John Thorpe, the loutish liar?
The truth is …
Christina made me do it!
She mentioned ‘John Thorpe’ and ‘puns’ in the same sentence.
So I, of course, said, “I’m in!”
Then I changed my mind. “Sorry, Christina, but I can’t do this. I don’t know what to write. John Thorpe is unredeemable and … icky. There’s no way he’d ever attract a human female. And I really should concen-trate on my next book-length story.” (That novel, by the way, should be available in the year 2525, if my current rate of progress is any indica-tion.)
Christina, being the kind soul she is, understood.
What did I do next? Instead of working on my novel, I reread Northanger Abbey. Subsequently — as is a woman’s prerogative — I changed my mind and wanted to write the rat’s backstory after all.
Too late! Another writer had snatched up John Thorpe.
“Oh,” I said. “Okay, Christina. Good.” Drat!
When the other author bowed out, the character was up for grabs again, if I wanted him. Ugh! I didn’t want to touch John Thorpe with a ten-foot pole! How could I write about a character no one likes? So I said, “Okay. Great! Thanks, Christina.” Crikey.
Let me tell you, John Thorpe is dangerous to know. Poor, innocent Catherine Morland suffered the consequences of his lies. And I, having accepted Christina’s challenge, consequently suffered the agony (oth-erwise known as writer’s block) of making Thorpe a sympathetic charac-ter.
How, you ask, did I redeem John Thorpe? I didn’t. I couldn’t. I failed as miserably as he fails at being the rake he fancies himself in my story. He’s a loser, a rattle, a buffoon; and buffoons are to be laughed at. Hence, The Art of Sinking became a farce (based, in part, on Shake-speare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor).
In The Art of Sinking, John Thorpe, the buffoon, became the butt of a few jokes. Some were original, some weren’t. Some made it to the first draft, some didn’t. Here are four out-takes:
“Do you not like to dance, Mr. Thorpe?” asked Miss Andrews, catching his eye and turning hers deliberately towards the two lines of dancers.
“I do,” said John, “but my feet do not.”
“Well,” said she, “they are certainly big enough to know their own mind.”
“You, sir, remind me of the sea,” said the town trollop, after falling from the gig John had driven into a ditch.
“You mean romantic, wild, and restless?”
“No,” she said in a huff. “You make me sick.”
“I keep hearing the word buffoon,” said John. “I hope you are not re-ferring to me.”
“Oh, do not be so vainglorious, Thorpe,” said James Morland, grin-ning. “As if there are no other buffoons in the world!”
Sir Humphrey Sumner and John Thorpe, sworn enemies, spent the night at the home of Peregrine Bathos, a mutual friend from St. John’s College, Oxford.
Having risen early the following morning, John went to the door of Sir Humphrey's bedchamber and wrote upon it, in chalk, the word ‘rogue’.
A half hour later, at breakfast, Sir Humphrey sauntered past John’s chair. “Thank you, Thorpe,” he said with a sneer, “for showing interest in my welfare.”
“What?” sputtered John, spitting toast crumbs clear across the table.
“You,” said Sir Humphrey, “left your calling card at my door this morn-ing.”
• is a comic dramatic work ✅
• uses buffoonery and horseplay ✅
• typically includes crude characterisation ✅
• includes ludicrously improbable situations ✅
Yep. A farcical backstory about John Thorpe seemed right up my alley, and I thank Christina Boyd for prodding me into writing it.
Can’t you just picture this scathing headline, though?
JAFF Author Accused of Using Excessive Farce on Austen Character
I can see that headline now! LOL I cannot wait to read your farcical backstory about John Thorpe. I know it will be excessively diverting! Thank you, J. Marie Croft, for telling us a little about your backstory in writing about John Thorpe. It was delightful. I'm so glad you made this 'extra' stop on the Dangerous to Know Blog Tour.
J. MARIE CROFT https://www.amazon.com/J.-Marie-Croft/e/B004HZD22W/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1508353662&sr=1-1 is a self-proclaimed word nerd and adherent of Jane Austen’s quote “Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery.” Bearing witness to Joanne’s fondness for Pride and Prejudice, wordplay, and laughter are her light-hearted novel, Love at First Slight (a Babblings of a Bookworm Favourite Read of 2014), her playful novella, A Little Whimsical in His Civilities (Just Jane 1813’s Favourite 2016 JAFF Novella), and her humorous short stories: “Spyglasses and Sunburns” in the Sun-kissed: Effusions of Summer anthology and “From the Ashes” in The Darcy Monologues. Joanne lives in Nova Scotia, Canada.nerd and adherent of Jane Austen’
Grand Prize #1.
Enter Rafflecopter to win fifteen books from the anthology authors! One winner. Fifteen books! Contest ends midnight, December 30, 2017. One “Grand Prize #1 winner” will be announced January 2, 2018.a Rafflecopter giveaway
Grand Prize #2.
Follow our “Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen’s #RakesAndGentlemenRogues” Blog Tour and comment on each stop to be eligible for #RakesAndGentlemenRogues Pleasures prize pack: ‘Pride & Prejudice’ Print, autographed by Colin Firth & Jennifer Ehle; Bingley’s Teas (Willoughby & The Colonel); Jane Austen playing cards; set of 6 Austen postcards; and ‘The Compleat Housewife’ notecards set. (All guest comments will be entered in drawing to win. Comment at each site to increase your odds.) Contest ends midnight, December 30, 2017. One “Grand Prize #2 winner” will be announced January 2, 2018.
THE #RakesAndGentlemenRogues BLOG TOUR
💗Monday, November 6: REVIEW: Margie's Must Reads, https://margiesmustreads.com
💗Thursday, November 9: REVIEW, Obsessed with Mr. Darcy, https://obsessedwithmrdarcy.wordpress.com
💗Monday, November 13: REVIEW, Austenesque Reviews, http://austenesquereviews.com
💗Tuesday, November 14: REVIEW, Olga of ROSIE AMBER team, http://www.authortranslatorolga.com/
💗Wednesday, November 15: (release day) REVIEW, Just Jane 1813, http://justjane1813.com
💗Thursday, November 16: REVIEW, Diary of an Eccentric, https://diaryofaneccentric.wordpress.com
🎩Monday, November 20: FEATURE w/Katie Oliver (George Wickham), From Pemberley to Milton, https://frompemberleytomilton.wordpress.com
🎩Wednesday, November 22: FEATURE w/Joana Starnes (Willoughby), Babblings of a Bookworm, http://babblingsofabookworm.blogspot.com
🎩Friday, November 24: FEATURE w/Sophia Rose, (General Tilney), Herding Cats & Burning Soup, http://www.herdingcats-burningsoup.com
🎩Monday, November 27: FEATURE w/Amy D'Orazio (Captain Tilney), My Jane Austen Book Club, http://thesecretunderstandingofthehearts.blogspot.com
🎩Wednesday, November 29: FEATURE w/Brooke West (Henry Crawford), VVB32 Reads, https://vvb32reads.blogspot.com
🎩Thursday, November 30: FEATURE w/Lona Manning (Tom Bertram), Lit 4 Ladies, http://lit4ladies.com
💗Friday, December 1: REVIEW, Lit 4 Ladies, http://lit4ladies.com
🎩Monday, December 4: FEATURE w/Beau North (Colonel Fitzwilliam), Obsessed with Mr. Darcy, https://obsessedwithmrdarcy.wordpress.com
🎩Thursday, December 7: FEATURE w/J. Marie Croft (John Thorpe), Harry Rodell blog/ROSIE AMBER team, https://harryrodell.wordpress.com/author/rodellh
💗Friday, December 8: REVIEW, From Pemberley to Milton, https://frompemberleytomilton.wordpress.com
🎩Monday, December 11: FEATURE w/Jenetta James Hannah McSorley (William Elliot), Austenesque Reviews, http://austenesquereviews.com
🎩Thursday, December 14: FEATURE w/Karen M Cox (Frank Churchill), Darcyholic Diversions, http://darcyholic.blogspot.com
🎩Monday, December 17: FEATURE w/Christina Morland (Sir Walter Elliot), Of Pens & Pages, http://www.ofpensandpages.com
Even though my blog stop is not featured in the blog tour, any entries via the Rafflecopter will still be part of Giveaway #1. According to the giveaway instructions above, your comments at my blog will be counted toward Giveaway #2. If I not mistaken, the eBook promo price of $2.99, goes to $4.99 after today. Thank you for stopping by. I hope you will have your share in the conversation. Good luck to all.