If you have seen some of my latest posts you know that Nicole Clarkston released a new North and South variation book called Northern Rain, and today the blog tour stops at From Pemberley to Milton with a character interview.
Even though he is a very busy man, Mr. Thornton conceded some of his time to a young journalist whose family I’m sure you all know very well. But I won’t say much more. I’ll leave you to read the interview and get your own conclusions about John Thornton’s state of mind and the young journalists identity. Even though we share the same initials, I’m sorry to say I am not part of his family 🙂
Interview with a Mill Master
RD: Pardon me, Mr Thornton, sir?
JT: Yes? What can I do for you?
RD: Forgive my intrusion, sir. I am from the Times, and I was hoping to speak to some of Milton’s mill owners on the outlook of the cotton trade.
JT: By all means, my good man, although I have only a few moments. I had another appointment which had to be rescheduled, and I am to depart again shortly.
RD: Of course, sir, I will try not to take too much of your time. I only wished to be able to quote an experienced master such as yourself. If I may, how do the mills fare at present?
JT: Excellently, sir. I think there is no stronger export just now, particularly with war looming in the Baltic, and our increased presence in India. Cotton is certainly a utilitarian material in both cases.
RD: Yes, I would expect as much. Now, there was a rather bad strike last year affecting a number of mills. How did that affect your business, and do you expect future difficulties?
JT: Naturally, any disruption to the flow of commerce is an unfavourable circumstance. It is unfortunate, but the mills and laborers involved have since come to a working agreement. I do not expect it shall be the last strike we will see, but at present, I see no immediate cause for concern.
RD: So the Union is presently content with your terms?
JT: (Laughing) The Union is rarely content, but their grievances are not serious enough at this juncture to cause any real trouble. I pay my men better than others, sir, and Marlborough Mills is equipped with many new innovations to make the work safer and more comfortable. Of course, I would pay good men more if such an expense were justified, because I have an interest in keeping the best working for me. As profitable as cotton is, however, even I have my limits.
RD: Quite so. Mr Thornton, I am very glad to speak with you, in particular, because I have been told something of how you came to your position here. You are rather unique among Milton’s masters, in that your father did-
JT: My father had nothing to do with it, sir. I can account for my success purely by tireless diligence and careful planning.
RD: You do not find any circumstances in your past to be the work of fortune?
JT: Not at all. If you will forgive me, sir, I am afraid I must make my appointment. Had you still some questions?
RD: Indeed, sir, I should like to speak with you further. May I wait on you later this afternoon?
JT: That would be agreeable. I shall return by three o’ clock. Will that suit?
JT: Do forgive my tardiness, sir.
RD: Not to worry, Mr Thornton, your overseer has given me a most enlightening tour.
JT: Tour? Oh, yes, that is well.
RD: Sir… do forgive me, sir, but you look as though you have had some bad news. I hope that is not the case!
JT: Bad news? No! Nothing of the kind. A gentleman has just moved to Milton to become a Classics teacher, and he was referred to me by a mutual friend for assistance in settling. He… and his daughter… were having some difficulty in securing lodgings.
RD: I am glad it was nothing serious, sir. Now, we were speaking of how you got your start here at Marlborough Mills.
JT: Pardon me, what was that?
RD: Ahem. I was wondering, sir, how a man like you starts from nothing, and then finds himself confidently the master of the finest mill in the city.
JT: Confidently? Nothing is certain in this industry, sir.
RD: Mr Thornton, I have heard nothing but that your peers admire and respect your opinions. I should say you have every reason for confidence.
JT: I have, then, do I? Tell me, sir, have you ever covered any story relating to the labour unions?
RD: Er… Well, no, Mr Thornton. I know little of them.
JT: They can be fickle, like a woman. One moment, a man might fancy himself the master, and the next… and the next… he finds himself quite humbled.
RD: That is an interesting analogy. You are not married, are you Mr Thornton? I wonder that you should think of such a comparison.
JT: Half of the people in this country are women, sir. I encounter their kind daily… though I do not wish to sound a churl, for most of them are gentle enough.
RD: Forgive me, Mr Thornton, but you are looking rather unwell. Might you wish to call off the remainder of the interview?
JT: I am quite well, sir. Now, then, you were asking how I got my start in the mill?
RD: Let us return to that in a moment. You have made me think of something else. Are you not the only mill master in the city who is presently unmarried, Mr Thornton?
JT: That is rather a personal question, sir!
RD: Not necessarily. A married man is seen as stable, where an unmarried man might be prone to take greater risks in his business.
JT: I have my mother and sister, sir. You cannot think I would act rashly with them in my care!
RD: I did not mean to imply that you would, sir. Only that a family man has greater incentive toward stability. There is a vast difference between having a mother who keeps house for you and a having wife and children of your own.
JT: A… a wife?
RD: I say, Mr Thornton, have you taken a chill?
JT: No! I only… Sir, are you married?
RD: (Laughing) No, sir, but I am well familiar with the power a woman might hold over a man. My grandfather still gets a look on his face very much like yours when my grandmother chooses to contradict him!
JT: Your grandmother must be a rather provoking woman. I wonder that your grandfather does not put some stop to it!
RD: My grandfather counts himself the most fortunate of men, I assure you. Were I heir to the estate, I should do exactly as he did- find a sharp-tongued, clever woman such as my grandmother, and marry her regardless of circumstance. It will be a number of years before I have earned the security which would permit such a marriage, but… well, a man in your position, on the other hand….
JT: Did you not come here to ask questions about the mill?
RD: I believe I have what I need for my article, Mr Thornton. Perhaps I may call for another interview should the occasion arise?
JT: What? Oh, yes, certainly. Forgive me, sir, but I do not think we were properly introduced.
RD: That was intentional, sir. I beg your pardon. I am but a humble reporter, wishing to succeed on my own merits, but it becomes rather awkward when I tell people my last name. Richard Darcy, at your service. I hope, sir, that… er… your new friend and his family find Milton to their satisfaction. Good day, sir.
As I said this interview is part of the Northern Rain blog tour organized by the talented Janet B Taylor of More Agreeably Engaged, so along with the interview I bring more information on the book, the author and a very generous giveaway. Continue reading for more details 🙂
John Thornton is a man of heavy responsibilities who has many things on his mind, but the most troublesome of them all is Margaret Hale. She wants nothing to do with him, and he wishes he could feel the same. When a moment of vulnerability allows her a glimpse into his heart, she begins to see him very differently.
Is something so simple as friendship even possible after all that has passed between them? Thornton has every good reason to move on, not the least of which is the lovely Genevieve Hamilton and her wealthy father. Will Thornton act according to duty and accept an opportunity to save his mill, or will he take a chance on love, hoping to change Margaret’s mind?
Nicole Clarkston is the pen name of a very bashful writer who will not allow any of her family or friends to read what she writes. She grew up in Idaho on horseback, and if she could have figured out how to read a book at the same time, she would have. She initially pursued a degree in foreign languages and education, and then lost patience with it, switched her major, and changed schools. She now resides in Oregon with her husband of 15 years, 3 homeschooled kids, and a very worthless degree in Poultry Science (don’t ask). Nicole discovered Jane Austen rather by guilt in her early thirties- how does any book worm really live that long without a little P&P? She has never looked back. A year or so later, during a major house renovation project (undertaken when her husband unsuspectingly left town for a few days) she discovered Elizabeth Gaskell and fell completely in love. Nicole’s books are her pitiful homage to two authors who have so deeply inspired her.
If you want to contact Nicole Clarkston, you can do so using the following social media:
And if you are curious about Northern Rain or any of Nicole Clarkston’s books, including the Pride and Prejudice variation Rumours and Recklessness, you can find them in the below links:
Don’t miss out the other stops of the blog tours for more excerpts, vignettes, reviews and giveaways 🙂
7/8-9: Launch Vignette, Excerpt & Giveaway at Fly High
7/10: Guest Post & Giveaway at Babblings of a Bookworm
7/11: Vignette & Giveaway at My Kids Led Me Back to Pride & Prejudice
7/12: Author Interview at More Than Thornton
7/14: Review & Giveaway at Just Jane 1813
7/15: Excerpt & Giveaway at My Kids Led Me Back to Pride & Prejudice
7/16: Excerpt & Giveaway at Half Agony, Half Hope
7/17: Vignette & Giveaway at Laughing With Lizzie
7/18: Author/Character Interview & Giveaway at From Pemberley to Milton
7/19: Guest Post, Excerpt & Giveaway at So little time…
7/20: Vignette & Giveaway at Stories from the Past
7/21: Vignette & Giveaway at More Agreeably Engaged
7/24: Review, Excerpt & Giveaway at Margie’s Must Reads
7/26: Guest Post & Giveaway at A Covent Garden Gilflurt’s Guide to Life
9/10: Review & Giveaway at The Calico Critic
***It’s Giveaway time***
As I said, today’s posts brings all of you an opportunity to win several goodies, namely 4 ebook copies of Northern Rain. To enter the giveaway, just click the below link: