Thanks for letting me visit your blog today, Pippa! Thanks for visiting, JC!
Welcome to this stop on my Big Damn Heroes Blog Tour supporting last week’s release of my debut novel, SOVRAN’S PAWN: Book One of THE BLACK WING CHRONICLES.
Just this morning, Pippa asked me if I’d submitted to traditional publishers before and was surprised to learn I’d been knocking on publishers’ doors with THE BLACK WING CHRONICLES for twenty years. With some surprise, I realized that these characters first became a part of my life more than thirty years ago!
It was Summer 1980 and I was completely obsessed with The Empire Strikes Back, the recently-released sequel to Star Wars. I read the novel tie-in so many times that I could quote it verbatim. I already had my order placed with Santa to receive the screenplay for my Christmas present. My friends were not quite as taken with the film as I, and quickly grew tired of speculation about who Yoda meant when he said there was “another.” Was Vader lying about being Luke’s father? I had questions, dagnabbit and George Lucas was going to make me wait three whole years to find out!
My Great-aunt Gladys, weary of the endless speculation, looked for a way to forestall three years of angst-ridden obsession. “Why don’t you write your own story?” she suggested. “Then you can make up your own answers.”
It sounded like a great idea. With the promise of being able to use Gladys’s 8mm movie camera, I wrote a screenplay. For the most part, it was an adolescent retelling of Star Wars, blocked for my rather limited technology. As the project developed, one of the characters completely captured my imagination. The Han Solo inspired space pirate, Bo Barron – and Bo was a GIRL!!
As the youngest of five with three older brothers, I was a bit of tomboy, growing up playing soldier and throwing army surplus hand grenades from makeshift foxholes. I kept up with my brothers, playing Robin Hood, James West, or WWII corsair pilot. Every now and then, my sweetly deluded older brothers would try to talk me into playing the damsel in distress. There are only so many times a girl will tolerate being tied-up and left in the tree house while big brothers ride off on their bicycles. Out of necessity, I grew adept at rescuing myself.
My role models weren’t Wonder Woman or Bat Girl. I didn’t want to be Barbie. I wanted to be Evel Knievel. I did try that at home and I’ve got the scars to prove it! It wasn’t the feisty princess with the cinnamon rolls strapped to her head who caught my imagination, it was the smart-mouthed space pirate in the souped-up hot rod. Despite my brothers’ insistence that girls couldn’t be tough guys, Bo Barron was one.
For years, I developed her in secret, scribbling stories about her exploits during class when I was supposed to be paying attention to geometry. My grades suffered but Bo came to life. I drew heavily from the 1960’s adventure shows that I loved. She was bits and pieces of James West, Captain Kirk, and Emma Peel, all wrapped up into one tidy package and dusted with Han Solo.
I tried out one male lead after another opposite the great and mighty Bo Barron. He had to be part John Wayne, part Sean Connery’s James Bond, part Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Mostly, he had to be Errol Flynn.
Inspired by the 1983 re-release of Flynn’s autobiography, Blade Devon, actor-turned-mercenary was born. Bo and I fell in love with him.
When I think about Big Damn Heroes, I think of Blade. I also think of Bo. Though in SOVRAN’S PAWN their story is just beginning, THE BLACK WING CHRONICLES tell the story of how they saved the Commonwealth… and how they saved each other along the way.
Links to purchase SOVRAN’S PAWN: