Tuesday, December 19, 2017

J. Marie Croft and John Thorpe

J. Marie Croft visits today with a witty tale about her efforts to redeem or write about John Thorpe.  I laughed often when reading this post. I think no one, but you, Ms. Croft, could write about this most unredeemable character and make an interesting story. The jokes you share, the dilemma of writing about John Thorpe, all were so fun to read. You, dear lady, have a remarkable way with words. I'm glad to have you stop by and tell us a little about your troubles! :) This story is part of the latest anthology edited by Christina Boyd, Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen's Rakes & Gentleman Rogues.


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.”

A farce:
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.

Author Bio:

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
πŸ’—Monday, November 6: REVIEW: Margie's Must Reads, https://margiesmustreads.com

πŸ’—Thursday, November 9: REVIEW, Obsessed with Mr. Darcy, https://obsessedwithmrdarcy.wordpress.com

πŸ’—Monday, November 13: REVIEW, Austenesque Reviews, http://austenesquereviews.com

πŸ’—Tuesday, November 14: REVIEW, Olga of ROSIE AMBER team, http://www.authortranslatorolga.com/

πŸ’—Wednesday, November 15: (release day) REVIEW, Just Jane 1813, http://justjane1813.com

πŸ’—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

πŸ’—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

πŸ’—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.


  1. I love this feature interview! Brilliant and so clever. Just as you are, J. Marie Croft. Btw I never had a doubt you could write John Thorpe. To perfection. Thank you for taking the challenge.

    Thank you, Janet, for hosting us on our last stop of our epic 6 week blog tour. (Means so much --all your efforts.) We've had a great time. Happy holiday season to all.

    Thank you to all who have supported the authors and the tour. Hope you enjoy our #RakesAndGentlemenRogues Happy reading!

  2. Buahaha! Joanne, you clever minx. Thanks so much for sharing the outtakes. I already loved your John Thorpe story, but now more fun to appreciate.

    Appreciate you hosting our Dangerous to Know tour, Janet. :)

  3. These made me laugh - as your writing always does, Miz Croft! Thanks for the feature article, ladies!

  4. I honestly cannot see how anyone could redeem him! Your story had me laughing out loud and sniggering. Yes, the award of Bumbling Buffoon goes to John Thorpe! Thank you for the further chuckles!

  5. The story reminded me of Chaucer and the Wife of Bath. "Uses excessive farce!" Very punny. And thanks for sharing the backstory of how the story came to be! I agree, John Thorpe was the most daunting rogue in the canon to take on and your approach was brilliant and hilarious.

  6. Thanks for the lovely comments, Christina, Sophia Rose, Karen, Carole, and Lona.

    Janet, your support of the JAFF community is always appreciated; but such dedication during illness and loss is truly extraordinary. I hope the New Year will bring you comfort and joy.

    Happy holidays, everyone!

  7. Such a funny interview! I loved the outtakes and I really enjoyed the story. I was sceptical about anyone causing me to enjoy reading about John Thorpe but you managed it. Yes farce does sum it up but I think you also portrayed him as a bit chidlike and easily led, which evoked a little (a very little) sympathy.
    I'm now looking forward to 2525 and reading your new book (I hope you will release it as an audio book as I'm not sure how good my eyes will be by then, I'll just pray that my ears still work ��)

    1. Thanks, Glynis, for reading, commenting, and seeing beneath the farce. While I couldn’t make John Thorpe a sympathetic character, I wanted to show he was influenced by a blowhard father, by a mother who approved aversion of truth, and by a selfish, manipulative sister.
      Your remark about my work-in-progress novel made me laugh. So, here’s to the years 2018 and 2525. May we never lose our senses … or sense of humour!

  8. John Thorpe "icky"? Yes I must agree. However, I can be convinced otherwise.

    1. I do hope you’ll read the anthology, Mary. The other ten stories do a splendid job of, at least somewhat, redeeming their bad boys; but the sad truth is that John Thorpe is just plain icky. My story won’t convince you otherwise.

  9. You were definitely meant to write about this Austen bad boy! It will take much to convince me of redemption for him.

  10. Thank you for sharing your motivation for writing John Thorpe's story. I'm glad the author pulled out and make room for your hillarious story. I look forward to reading it.

  11. Very funny, J. Marie! I look forward to the stories in this book.

  12. Not all of Austen's bad boys can be redeemed if we were to stay on the parameters of her original masterpieces. Joanne was a star I taking this very, VERY difficult character in making him human. As in life some just can't be helped. But maybe in knowing him better you might... No. John Thorpe is a lout. But J Marie Croft credibly presents him with her flourish for chuckles as the rake-wannabe is truly is.

  13. Janet, Thank you for hosting this #RakesAndGentlemenRogues blog stop and supporting our anthology. The winner of the rafflecopter draw for all the books from the authors is Becky Cherrington. The winner for the blog tour comments (announced by a live draw on Facebook) for the Bingley's Teas, assortment of notecards, postcards, and playing cards as well as the autographed Colin Firth & Jennifer Ehle poster was dholcomb1 (Denise Holcomb). Congratulations! And thank you to all who supported "Dangerus to Know: Jane Austen's Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues" blog tour. So appreciate all your efforts.