Dark Jane Austen Book Club would like to welcome Barbara Tiller Cole, who has been interviewed several times by Elizabeth Darcy and has once again graciously agreed to allow another interview to shared here with us.
Additionally, if you read through the post you’ll find details on winning your very own copy of Fitzwilliam Ebenezer Darcy!
First of all, I would like to thank Veronica for the invitation to post here at Dark Jane Austen Book Club. While my recent book—Fitzwilliam Ebenezer Darcy—does not include Zombies, it does include visitations from 4 Ghosts (one quite dark one) and 2 angels. Ebenezer’s struggle takes him through some dark moments, but there is also some ghostly comic relief.
I was thrilled that I have an interview Elizabeth Darcy conducted to share with you. How she continues to be able to visit me, we have yet to determine, but we are enjoying our growing friendship nonetheless.
Elizabeth Darcy: Barbara, I am quite blessed that you are able to receive me yet again. Today I have some questions related to the moving picture discs you sent back with me. But before I start, thank you for recommending the hand cranked battery charger. Without it we would not have been able to watch so many of these films on the portable player you assisted me in purchasing.
Fitzwilliam and I were quite enthralled in watching these visual picture book presentations. I will not pretend to understand the engineering feat that must be required to present such a moving visual play before us, but I hope you will not mine my impertinence in asking you a few questions.
Barbara Tiller Cole: Not at all, Mrs. Darcy—I mean Elizabeth. What can I help you understand?
Elizabeth Darcy: These were all visual references of the written works of Jane Austen. Am I correct in that?
Barbara Tiller Cole: Yes, I thought you would like to know that modern audiences still learn from Jane Austen and the characters that lived during the Regency period.
Elizabeth Darcy: How did you come to be so fascinated with Miss Austen’s works?
Barbara Tiller Cole: I read them all when I was in high school, Elizabeth, and truly enjoyed them at that time. However, I confess that it was not until I had surgery in 2000, and watched the BBC A&E version of Pride and Prejudice while recovering that I became quite fascinated and a bit obsessed I must say.
Elizabeth Darcy: How long ago was that, Barbara?
Barbara Tiller Cole: Eleven years now.
Elizabeth Darcy: What drew you to that particular moving play, Barbara? Was it the words of the author?
Barbara Tiller Cole: To be honest with you, Elizabeth, it was the idea that your husband would change in such a way to be able to win your love and affection. That, and the vision of Colin Firth diving into the pond.
Elizabeth Darcy: Yes, about that, this Colin Firth—he portrayed my husband. And did a good job of it, actually. Fitzwilliam does have an amazing physic and looks amazing when wet—I am going to blush now. But how in the world did Jane Austen and the makers of this visual interpretation of our lives know that Fitzwilliam had gone swimming the day I met him again at Pemberley? I read Miss Austen’s works and this was not in her book. I do not understand how anyone would know to put that into the script?
Barbara Tiller Cole: So, Mr. Darcy actually did dive into the pond you say? I am quite gratified to know that.
Elizabeth Darcy: And why is that Ms. Cole?
Barbara Tiller Cole: It was my favorite scene in the entire movie, and has occupied my fantasies from time to time.
Elizabeth Darcy: You have fantasized about my husband! I am not sure how I feel about that. It seems highly improper, and makes me question our growing friendship.
Barbara Tiller Cole: If it helps you, honestly, I have fantasized about Colin Firth as he plays Mr. Darcy. Truly, not about your husband himself.
Elizabeth Darcy: I suppose that makes it somewhat better. So, is Pride and Prejudice your favorite of Miss Austen’s novels?
Barbara Tiller Cole: Yes, it is. Second would be a tie between Emma and Sense and Sensibility.
Elizabeth Darcy: I first read Pride and Prejudice when it was originally called First Impressions. I did not initially believe that it was about my husband and myself–that anyone could know such details about our lives. I managed to find a way to meet the author herself. She was a fascinating individual; almost as impertinent as myself, I dare say. And her philosophy was the same as mine—“Think only of the past as its remembrance gives you pleasure.” I am not sure whether she was able to transport herself to view and write about my life, and that was what made it so realistic; or if she brought me into existence in the first place.
But you, Ms. Tiller Cole, you advanced the idea of my existence into a closer approximation of what actually transpired. My Fitzwilliam hadfallen into a sad drunken state of wretchedness, and your story challenged him to try again to win my love—which he already had by the time he returned to Hertfordshire. Thank you for writing your story and allowing him to return to me. I had all but given up hope. It is apparent that Miss Austen’s works have provided great inspiration to you.
Barbara Tiller Cole: You are quite correct about that, Mrs. Darcy. I have long admired Miss Austen’s talents; particularly, her ability to use her wit to point out the inaccuracies and foibles of the intricate characters she met in her daily life. I also appreciate her ability to transform the human tendencies towards pride and conceit, as well as anger and resentment. Her characters are willing to transform their very natures in order to find true happiness.
Elizabeth Darcy: So this transformation process is what you admire most about Ms. Austen.
Barbara Tiller Cole: Yes, I would say so. Did you have any particular questions that I can answer for you?
Elizabeth Darcy: Yes. In the longer of the Pride and Prejudice films, why did the picture maker determine that Caroline Bingley had a penchant for wearing orange? She had red hair, you see, and when she did wear clothes of orange hue it clashed with her hair and skin tone.
Barbara Tiller Cole: I believe the filmmakers did it for comedic effect.
Elizabeth Darcy: In the shorter film, the one with the man named Matthew, why would they consider having Fitzwilliam come to see me at night, when I am in my bed clothes at the Parsonage, with my hair down? And later, for me to have met him at dawn in my nightclothes–well, it just goes against all the rules of propriety. Neither happened you understand. It was marvelously romantic, and my Fitzwilliam is indeed quite the romantic now, but he would not so flagrantly ignore all decency to come into a house uninvited in the middle of the night! Please do not think that I would have allowed it. It would cause a great scandal in my family was it true.
Barbara Tiller Cole: I think that the makers of the 2005 film wished to shorten the tale and thought that giving a little literary license to the story would assist them in that purpose. Some also believe that it made the story more romantic and sensual. In fact, when someone uses the original story, and changes it in a way to make it new to the reader or viewer, today we call that Fan Fiction. It has been abbreviated now to simply call it JAFF for Jane Austen Fan Fiction.
Elizabeth Darcy: That does help me. Thanks you, Barbara. That is what you will do when you work on the sequel to your recent story? I understand that you are considering writing the story of my grandmother’s visitations to Lady Catherine. I hope that everyone will enjoy that next holiday season.
Barbara Tiller Cole: I do as well, Elizabeth. I hope that we get to speak again soon. I look forward to talking more about the differences between a modern Christmas and a Regency Christmas celebration. Hope to see you soon.
Elizabeth Darcy: If I were allowed to continue to visit, it would be quite lovely. I am enjoying getting to know you.
Pride and Prejudice meets A Christmas Carol
A Jane Austen/Charles Dickens crossover story, Fitzwilliam Ebenezer Darcy takes the best of both classics and spins them into a delightful Holiday treat! F.E. Darcy has fallen into pitiful self-loathing and sorrowful angst-ridden despair; all of this due to his belief that he has lost forever the chance to marry the only woman he has ever loved—Elizabeth Bennet. Seeing her son in such a state, the Ghost of Anne Darcy reaches out to him; informing him that three ghosts would visit him and give him hope. Will these Spirits provide him with the courage to try again to win the esteem of his one true soul mate? Barbara Tiller Cole, an Atlanta native and the writer of the popular book White Lies and Other Half Truths, presents this family friendly classic—a delightful combination of the best of her two favorite authors, Jane Austen and Charles Dickens. Barbara credits her parents with fostering a love for both of these authors. Each Christmas, Barbara’s father would sit and read Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol to the family. Her mother consistently challenged her to improve her mind by extensive reading, Jane Austen style. This book is dedicated to the memory of Cliff and Jeanne and the season they loved the best.
To enter our 1st ever giveaway:
Mandatory entry: please leave a comment on this post expressing how Austen has influenced you, your thoughts on adding ghosts and angels to Austen, or perhaps, a brief note of encouragement for our guest poster.
Bonus entries: Additonal entries can also be claimed, please leave a SEPARATE COMMENT for each entry! You may have a total of 5 possible entries!
- Join the Dark Jane Austen Book Club site(you will have access to additional materials and discussions and it’s free!)
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*Photos, as well as giveaway, provided by Barbara Tiller Cole: 1) Barbara Tiller Cole 2) Cover of Fitzwilliam Ebenezer Darcy