Years ago an editor suggested that I try writing a YA medieval romance series. I was certainly open to the idea, but I didn't have a strong idea. It wasn't until I was in the midst of watching the BBC Robin Hood series with my son that a concept finally sparked to life in my mind. This series features a lot of strong, feisty women. Maid Marian is a thief and defender of the poor in her own right, and the Saracen character, Djaq, in this version is also a woman. Not to mention plenty of tough female bad guys. One day as I was walking and praying specifically about a YA medieval series, this new Robin Hood came to mind, the ideas started flowing, and before long Dauntless was playing like a movie in my mind. Here's a peek at their Maid Marian who helped to inspire my Merry Ellison.
I'm glad God heard your prayer! I enjoyed watching the Disney version of "Robin Hood" when I was a kid and am super excited about your novel "Dauntless"! :)ReplyDelete
Thanks, Laura! I like the Disney version too. They also have a movie called "Princess of Thieves" with a young Keira Knightley that I loved. I had her in mind when I was picturing my Merry Ellison character.ReplyDelete
I am so going to check that out Dina as I have never heard of that movie!Delete
Hopefully you can still find it.Delete
I personally did not feel that Djaq's characterization with consistent with her cultural background and religion, especially considering (spoiler alert) she went off with Will Scarlet in the end, as Muslim women are not actually allowed to marry non-Muslims and for a single woman to be shacking up in the forest with a bunch of them certainly wouldn't have been considered acceptable I'd have thought.ReplyDelete
That said, in series one, she seemed very much like a token character who was not especially developed and BBC wanted to be seen as 'inclusive'....I also thought the characterization of that I assume were meant to be the original Assassins was rather odd. They too were women if I recall- something like ninjas. I always thought they were young boys,... Just a little strange, but maybe I'm over analyzing things.
It always thought it rather funny that Marion seemed to keep the Nightwatchman garb on a mannequin in her house. I mean wouldn't that be a tad....obvious? Kind of a clue to 'his' identity?ReplyDelete
Well, I suppose any woman sold into slavery would be willing to go to great lengths to regain her freedom, and like any religion, Muslims practice their faith to differing degrees, but I would agree that Djaq would not be typical. Sometimes that's the fun though. I think of the whole series, the thing that struck me as hilarious was the ninja harem girls, which I think you are referring to. But I think if you spend all your time analyzing, you'll miss out on all the fun, which is the point of a show like that. Personally, I would not want to be known as the person who just goes around criticizing everything. And for me, the show was inspirational in coming up with my original idea, so I think it deserves credit for that. Also, it provided a lot of quality bonding time with my youngest child.ReplyDelete
I know. It inspired me to look at the character of Guy of Gisborne- that would be an interesting spin- a Robin Hood story from his perspective.Delete
I suppose the aspect of the connected with the addition Djaq's character that I found most objectionable was depiction of Europeans as ignorant, backwards, and stupid in comparison with the smart and advanced Middle Eastern people.
Not only is that idea outmoded historically, the way it was put across was downright condescending- I don't think the film-makers realized that they were in a sense, insulting their own ancestors.
What is ironic in it all is that most women in Harems were actually Christian or Jewish. Generally they had been kidnapped and sold as slaves- and that for hundreds of years before the Crusades the Vikings had been doing such to thousands of Europeans and selling them in the Middle East and North Africa. So its actually far more likely there were British slaves in Syria than Syrians in England......
There were of course fun elements too (I liked the misadventures of Much, being made and Earl etc), but I felt it was spoiled in a lot of ways by the tinges of bias and a certain degree anti-Christian sentiment (villains quoting the Bible when murdering people, evil nuns etc.) which is something, sadly, the BBC are notorious for..
Much was an awesome character :) I loved him.ReplyDelete
He was certainly endearing. I wanted to ask you one thing in the capacity of an editor. Are a lot of mainstream Christian publishers reluctant to accept authors from outside the US? I get that impression because I know of so few, and because a writing contest for one such major publisher only accepts entrants from the US. If this is the case why is it so?Delete
Huh, that's a really interesting question. I've never heard any editor specifically say they were hesitant. At WhiteFire, small as we are, we actually have a few writers who are American but live or have lived abroad. The contest probably has to do with laws and/or how to distribute the prizes.Delete
I would think, though, that being outside the states could serve a few disadvantages. 1) Networking. Most of the American authors get opportunities to meet editors and agents in person at conferences. Of course, that could be overcome if you're willing to travel farther. 2) Audience. Since most publishers serve a primarily American audience, it is possible that Americans would have an edge in understanding that audience. But again, not necessarily. 3) Accessibility. It would be easier to mail things in the U.S. and deal with U.S. tax laws etc...
My best insider info I can give you is that Monarch/Lion Hudson in England is looking to greatly expand its fiction line right now. You might have an edge with them! If you haven't you might look for opportunities to meet these people. http://WWW.LIONHUDSON.COM
I thought of another tip after I hit publish. There is a blog dedicated to International Christian Fiction Writers. I know several Canadians and Australians who have been published in America, but they also had to learn what American publishers were looking for. They might be able to answer your question better than me.Delete
Yes, I have actually requested and reviewed a few titles for or through Lion Hudson. I know they have an American division called Kregel, and one of their popular series is actually written by an American, Melvin Starr, but one of their new authors is a British born (Italian/Sri-Lankan by birth) archeologist- so maybe there is hope.Delete
The only other example I know of from a major publisher is Penelope Wilcock, whose titles were published by Crossway, though she seems to have gone over to Lion Hudson.
I will look at that website-though it looks familiar.....