Brave

So I just went to see the movie Brave with my two girls, and I’ve decided that I want to write a blog about it.  It was absolutely wonderful, first of all.  But as we  left the movie theatre, my oldest daughter made an observation.  She said that she thought it was the first Disney movie she’d seen where the mom wasn’t either killed or missing in action.  At first laughed at the quirky comment.  But then I started to think about it, and realized that she was right. After all, kids have a way of seeing things that adults simply can’t grasp. Could my daughter be on to something?  Could Disney have conspired to produce a subculture within their corporation that suppressed female caregivers over the past seventy years?

I love a good conspiracy theory, so I jumped on that one.

Let’s look at the facts.  Bambi is one of Disney’s most beloved animated features, adored by millions.  But what’s the one scene that everyone hates about the movie?  I bet you can guess it without me even having to say anything.  It’s toward the start of the movie, when the mom gets shot between the eyes.  In fact I think it happens within the first ten minutes.  And how about The Little Mermaid?  No mother there, and she’s never even mentioned.  Same goes for Cinderella – never met her, never cared to ask.  How about Snow White?  Mom was dead by page seven, depending on which version you read.  She certainly didn’t last longer than two scenes in any of the movies.
Pinocchio had a (fake) dad, but no mom.  Tangled – we meet the mom, but only briefly. Same goes for Lion King and Sleeping Beauty.

So I ask you.  What exactly are we to make of this?  I have no idea, but it’s fun to speculate. By the way, I’ve put about ten minutes of research into this, so please don’t write Disney and ask whether I’m telling the truth or not.

Just for the record, I don’t have many moms in my book, either.  Jason’s mom is dead, Paul’s mom is … well.  And Tatiana has a psychotic father and a rather doddering old grandfather. There’s no reason for this, really – it’s just the way the dice fell.  Maybe I should take a tip from Brave and get some sort of mother figure into the next book, just so I’m not making the same moves as Disney…

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My First Post!!

My first blog, how exciting!!  I guess I should start off by telling you who I am.  I’m a lucky husband blessed with two young, exceptionally bright, beautiful girls.  I’m also a very lucky soon-to-be released author, which is still almost more than I can hold in my head.  Ever since I was young, I’ve always enjoyed writing, and I LOVED history.  Several years ago, I realized that I wasn’t getting any younger (big shocker) and if I didn’t pursue my dreams shortly, I would always live to regret it.  With a lot of encouragement from family and friends, and an exceptionally adventurous and ambitious publisher, here I am.

I thought it would be cool to answer a few questions to get the ball rolling.  This is partially cool for getting to know me, and also partially for myself, because I’ve never blogged before and I’m still trying to get my feet under me.  So here we go.  Questions I’ve received from some of my friends.

Q: How do authors come up with character names?
A: I can only speak for myself, but Jason and Paul were friends of mine growing up (along with my neighbor Eric), and we all lived close to one another.  That made them easy choices when it came to naming characters, though I have to say that the characters quickly developed their own personalities.  They certainly don’t reflect my friends as much as I thought they would.  In regard to the girls, Tatiana is named after my wife, Katherine and Cristina are named for my daughters (Cristina – who had a larger part in the first manuscript before it got cut – is getting an Iphone for that loss).

Q: Where the heck is Lebanon, NH?
A: Another easy question.  I promise this town does actually exist.  In fact, I grew up there.  Another (slight) cheat here – the description of Jason’s home is identical to my real life friend Paul’s.  And yes, that town is actually as small as I say it is in the book.

Q: The Battle of Bosworth and Old England, really?  Why did you choose them as the backdrop for your first book?  Aren’t there more exciting periods of history?
A: More exciting?  Maybe, maybe not, but that’s why I’m the author – I get to decide on these kinds of things (and what a heady power it is… until my editor gets a hold of it)!  I loved the idea of Jason viewing 15th-century living up close and personal.  Talk about culture shock!  I also loved the idea of featuring that relatively unknown battle, which ended up guiding history into what we know as the present.  From there, it was just a stream of brainstorming … what if that battle had gone differently?  What if the players had chosen different sides?  What if someone had really gone back in time and screwed it all up, and there was no one to stop them?  Where exactly would we be today?  And would we even still exist?

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