Thursday, July 11, 2019

The Colonel by Beau North ~ Guest Post & Giveaway!

Hello, friends! It's my pleasure to welcome Beau North to the blog today! She comes with an amazing playlist of song that helped inspire her in writing her new book, The Colonel

Colonel Fitzwilliam is my favorite secondary character of all of Austen's books. I can't wait to see what Beau North does with him in this story! 

Also, be sure to read to the bottom of the page for details to a nice giveaway!

A big thanks to Candy for hosting me today and letting me talk about my two favorite things, Music and Colonel Fitzwilliam! 

Anyone who has read my work knows what a big part music always plays in my stories. Modern Love was an exploration of connection and grief told through music. In The Many Lives of Fitzwilliam Darcy, our Mr. Darcy finds himself trapped in the opening refrain of the same song every day. And, of course, there is Longbourn’s Songbird, where Elizabeth Bennet finds freedom and purpose through music. So it may surprise some readers how little music enters into The Colonel

Unlike his cousin Will Darcy, Richard is not so easily spellbound by song. He doesn’t care for Jazz, and Elizabeth’s musical talents are seldom mentioned or thought of by him. By contrast, Richard’s son Ben often times finds himself caught up in music, in particular that of his cousin Tom Darcy, the son of Elizabeth and Will Darcy. 

The stage, set and ready, remained empty. Ben drank his Coke and watched the crowd, feeling unfashionably old and out of place until the lights on the stage went all the way down. The bubbling voice of the crowd died down to a murmur as the lone sound of a keyboard rang out. Three notes repeating in a delicate pattern. A brief smattering of  applause rang out before the crowd settled. Ben felt the gossamer pattern of those notes like butterflies, fluttering in the pit of his stomach. A throaty inhale into a microphone was followed by a familiar voice, high and silken, vibrating with emotion. A single light bloomed to life onstage, illuminating the man who stood there, dressed down in jeans and a t-shirt that still managed to be impossibly glamorous. Tom Darcy had somehow inherited the best parts of both of his parents: the tall, broad frame of his father; the black-eyed mystery of his mother. Not to mention that voice, a voice that could burrow under the skin, straight to the soul.

I didn’t have to dig deep for a reaction here, it was exactly how I felt the first time I heard Perfume Genius’ masterful ‘Otherside’, the song this paragraph inspired! For Ben, music heralds several big changes in his life, prompting him to repair relationships and family ties. Even though Richard, the titular Colonel, isn’t very musically inclined, it still played a vital role in creating and framing this story. ‘The Colonel’ is broken down into four parts, each titled with a song that expresses the themes of its chapters. 

“Couldn't see his used up body at the funeral
By virtue of the flailing of his conquests
They tied down his casket with the garter belt
Each troubled heart was beating in a sequin dress”

It was Father John Misty’s song ‘Only Son of the Ladiesman’ that gave me the idea to infuse this book with Ben’s story. It got me thinking about the legacy handed down from father to son, the mystery of not really knowing your parents, the way we touch the lives of others for good and ill. Part I serves as introduction to Ben and his world and begins exploring what Richard meant to him. 

“You read the answers by the shadows on the wall, we could be great
Drive myself crazy with mistakes, you know I'm better every day
Tell me there's something I can change”

Sharon Van Etten (who appears twice in this list!) has a talent for writing songs that slowly sink through my skin, right into my blood. This song in particular was in heavy rotation as I wrote Part II. It perfectly captures the confusion and pain of Richard’s grief, the helplessness of trauma, and how there’s never just an easy fix. We can’t expect other people to fix us. We have to want to fix ourselves. 

“You don't like to be touched,
Let alone kissed.
Does his love make your head spin?” 

Probably the quietest and most restrained song on the entire playlist, this song reflects several points of view in Part III. Richard and his pining. Anne finding herself in an unexpectedly uncomfortable situation. Georgiana reaching for love and the freedom of adulthood. Without getting into spoilers, this was the most difficult and the most rewarding part of this book to write. Austen Bonus: The actress featured in the video for this song is Sophie Thompson, who most of you will know as Mary Musgrove (Persuasion 95) and Miss Bates (Emma 96)! 

“Tell me not to trip or to lose sight
You are walking in my guided light
Take my hand and help me not to shake
Say I'm alright, I'm alright”

Part IV features the second selection from Sharon Van Etten, this one all about coping and support. The last section of the book is about finding the strength inside yourself to keep fighting, to keep trying even when the world makes it feel impossible. Part of learning how to do this is teaching yourself how to be vulnerable, how to reach out to the people you love and say “I need you.” It’s a lesson that both Ben and Richard have to learn in order to get their respective versions of a happy ending. 

While these songs were vital to the process of writing this book, they were by no means the only songs I went to for inspiration. In fact, the playlist for ‘The Colonel’ is quite a beast, with 78 songs it clocks in at five and a half hours of listening time. I hope you’ll hear these songs and think of the moments in this book that they inspired, or that they will inspire you in your own ways! 

Wow, Beau! That is an impressive list of songs! I love that music inspires you so much!  ~ Candy

The Colonel
by Beau North

“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.

Buy Links: AmazonKobo • Barnes & Noble
Add to Goodreads.

FTC Disclaimer: Link to Amazon. I am an Amazon Associate. Should you purchase a copy of the book through the link provided, I will receive a small commission. Thanks! 

About the Author

Beau North is the author of four books and contributor to multiple anthologies. Beau lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband. In her spare time, she is the co-host of the podcasts Excessively Diverted: Modern Classics On-Screen and Let’s Get Weirding: A Dune Podcast.

Connect with Beau North

* * * GIVEAWAY * * *

It's giveaway time! Beau North is giving away an e-copy of Longbourn Songbird and an e-copy of The Colonel to one lucky person as part of her blog tour celebration! 

  • One person will win an e-copy of Longbourn Songbird and The Colonel!
  • Enter through the Rafflecopter below.
  • Open Internationally! 
Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Many thanks to Beau for having me on her book tour, and a big congrats on the release of The Colonel

So, friends, what are your thoughts? Please show Beau some love by leaving a comment or question below! Or let us know, does music inspire you? Do you love Colonel Fitzwilliam as much as I do? We'd love to hear from you! 


  1. Thank you so very much for hosting me today, Candy! I love sharing my music obsession with everyone.

    1. Absolutely, Beau! You are always welcome here! Your playlist is incredible! Thanks for sharing it! :)

  2. What a great playlist! The scene with Ben’s cousin Tom Darcy was electric!

    I hope you like the book, Candy!

  3. Sounds great. Fantastic playlist. Thanks for the chance.

  4. I love music and enjoyed your playlist. Thanks for sharing it with us!

  5. That's one humungous playlist! It seems that quite a number of writers compile playlists that suit the mood of the particular story they're working on. This book is simply wonderful and I think it's Beau's best yet!

  6. Thank you for the song list. I will have to listen to some of it or perhaps all of it while reading The Colonel. It would be interesting to try. Thank you for the give away.

  7. Music do play an important part in my life. Without songs and hymns, life would be very dull and boring. It brings me joy and happiness when I'm feeling the blues. I prefer listening to classical and scores as it relaxes my mind and soul.

  8. Love how music plays such are great part in your stories. Can wait to listen to the playlist.

  9. Wonderful playlist. Looking forward to reading


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