Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Sharon Wildwind

“This novel is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination, or, if real, used fictitiously.”

My publisher chose to put the above disclaimer in my latest book, not only because the book made heavy references to a real events before, during, and after the fall of Saigon in April 1975, but also because I created a photograph to hang on a character’s wall. It was a photo of four golfers: one a famous professional golfer, two public figures who were avid players, and the fourth a character of my own invention.

I guess the publisher was concerned least family members of the three real golfers got upset that I’d had the temerity to suggest their relative had played golf with an imaginary person.

Considering what’s going on with historical figures in books and movies these days, a round of golf might be the least of their worries.

I’m sorry, but I draw the line at Abraham Lincoln, vampire hunter, and HRH Queen Victoria as a rare-animal-eating maniac who runs on clockwork gears. Strangely enough, I found Victoria attractive as a werewolf hunter.

I haven’t seen Benjamin Walker’s portrayal, so I can’t comment on whatever spin he gives to the young Mr. Lincoln. I object on general principles to turning the 16th President of the United States into a vampire-hunter. Lincoln had enough to contend with: depression, chronic illness, his son’s death, and the American Civil War. Let the man alone. Let him rest in peace.

I love Wallace and Gromit and Shaun The Sheep, both productions of Aardman Animations. If I were a tad younger I’d be tempted to catch a plane to Bristol and beg them to let me start anywhere. I’d sweep their floors if it would give me a chance to one day make figures for them.

While there were some raucously funny moments in The Pirates! Adventures with Scientists, they didn’t include the Queen Victoria character. Can’t fault Imelda Stanton’s voice or the clay/latex work, but the send-up just didn’t do it for me. Maybe I wasn’t sure of her motivation, or maybe she was too over the top.

The performance I did enjoy was Pauline Collins as Queen Victoria in the Dr. Who episode, Tooth and Claw. She was quite a believable queen—haughty, presumptuous, vulnerable, carrying on in spite of her grief over Albert’s death. Because she came across as a strong and multi-dimensional character, I was ready to swallow the rest of the plot, including the werewolf, the monks that came straight out of a Bruce Lee Movie, and the secret protection that Albert had had created because he feared that his wife and the werewolf would one day end up in the same place.

Just goes to show that writers have to make real people, real people in order for them to be believable.

Quote for the week:

Great events make me quiet and calm; it is only trifles that irritate my nerves.
~Her Royal Highness Alexandria Victoria Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (nee Hanover)


Elizabeth Zelvin said...

Sharon, the same disclaimer is in all of my books, from two different publishers, so I don't think it's a reference to content but rather a verbal spitting over the shoulder to avert liability.

Julia Buckley said...

Interesting notes on believability. BTW, I love Pauline Collins, and have ever since NO, HONESTLY. ;)