Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Classics remade

by Suzanne Welsh
I'm currently reading a book in the Scoundrel Of St. James series by Lorraine Heath. (Who will be joining us in December as a guest in the lair again.)
The series is an interesting concept where the street kids of the book Oliver Twist have grown up and shows us what their lives might be like now. Cool idea for a series of books. Cool for me because I loved Dickens when I was in middle and high school. Oliver Twist, Great Expectations, David Copperfield and of course The Christmas Carol. I'm secretly hoping to see Dickens make an appearance in one of these books...but then that will be up to Lorraine.

So, as I try to market this to my friends and family, I've said "You read Oliver Twist didn't you?" And to my surprise many have said, "Uh, no." So then I go for the chessy 70's musical, "You saw Oliver!, right?" Again, the perplexed look and "Uh, no." Geesh...

What did these people read in high school? How could they have missed the movie with the cute boy holding out his bowl in the orphanage and ask "More, please?" And the twinkle in the Artful Dodger's eye as he picked a pocket and scampered away?

This got me to thinking. If I had a chance to do a book about child characters from my favorite classics in literature, what book would I pick? Which characters would I choose?

How about Nancy Drew? Would she still be trying to solve crimes? Maybe she's a profiler for the FBI? Or maybe an undercover police officer? Or maybe a DA? Or maybe even a CSI?

How about the March girls from Little Women? Would you write their stories different?

Or Laura Ingalls Wilder and The Little House On The Prarie series? Would you write their stories different? Or maybe write their children's stories?

How about you? What book would you like to write a character's story in a different way or in a more adult life?


Natalie Hatch said...


Donna MacMeans said...

Natalie! You slipped the GR out from my grasp by two minutes! You're a quick one, you.

Natalie Hatch said...

There are soo many great kids books out there that I'd like to read more of. Perhaps The Hardy Boys? I think they'd be quite sexy when they grew up.

Natalie Hatch said...

Ah ha Donna, I knew someone was about to get him... snuck in first. Now he has to spend the day learning to hula hoop and be downright sexy!

Donna MacMeans said...

I'm drawing a complete blank on books I read in school! Hmmm...maybe Salinger's Catcher in the Rye. Wait - I know - Romeo and Juliet if they both didn't die in the end. I'd do an alternate ending and finish out their lives complete with interfering in-laws (grin).

limecello said...

Ack haha I kept checking the past hour then definitely missed it today :P Congrats on the GR, Natalie!
As for classics... I love love love children's classics.
I'd love to see "These Happy Golden Years" with more romance - ;) or Little Women... I have to admit I hated Amy and Laurie :X. Amy was such a brat and I could never entirely forgive her. I know Jo's happy in the end but... and maybe Island of the Blue Dolphins. The poor girl... just... goes.

jo robertson said...

What a clever idea for a series, Suz! Love that one.

Every time I think of "Oliver," I want to burst into the song with "Food, glorious food!"

I'd probably do Nancy Drew or the Hardy Boys, both series that I loved as a girl. Maybe both of them growing up and being in opposing law enforcement offices, maybe put a little romance in there.

Natalie, you tricky dicky! I swear, sometimes the golden rooster is an elusive dream. Uh, hoola hoop? It is a 70's flashback at your house?

Natalie Hatch said...

I've learned how to hula hoop (yeah I know I'm a bit late in life). I also learned to make my own which is fantastic. There's this woman on youtube called Hoopgirl. She lost 30kgs just from hula hooping 30minutes a day and eating healthier. Oh my you should see how fantastic she looks and she's my age. So if she can do it I can... although at the moment I despair at ever being as good as her. But I can keep the hoop going on my hips.
Maybe at RWA Brisbane conference I can share my amazing feats of hooping with everyone. Certainly sexy in a strange sort of way. lol.

Helen said...

Well done Natalie we had a great day yesterday with lots of Tim Tams now you can get him healthy again hoola hooping.

Great post Suz and I loved that book of Lorraines and am really looking forward to the next one in the series.

I loved The Secret Seven and Famous Five when I was a young girl and they would probably be into crime solving some how I think that would be great to read.
I am sorry to say I have never read Oliver Twist either Suz but have seen the movie and loved it.

Have Fun

Suzanne Welsh said...

Hey Natalie! Congrats on the GR snag! And you beat out Donna...hehehe

Suzanne Welsh said...

Natalie, I always thought Nancy should hang with one of the Hardy boys....

But can't you see it? She's for the DA and he's for the defense? Conflict galore!

Suzanne Welsh said...

ooooooooo Donna, I like the way you think! Two star crossed lovers who actually end up with a HEA?

Suzanne Welsh said...

Hey limecello!

You know, I always thought Laurie didn't deserve Jo...but then Christian Bale played him in the latest version, and dang if I didn't want him to end up with her!

Suzanne Welsh said...

JoMama!! Someone else who loved that movie! And the songs were so great....

Food, glorious food!

Consider yourself at home, consider yourself one of the family!

oh and one I've always loved...

As long as he needs me, I know where I must be


Suzanne Welsh said...

Natalie, hoolahooping to a slimmer trimmer you! Whodathunk it? Might add that to the exercise program from heck!

Suzanne Welsh said...

Yep, helen, I can see the secret seven solving crimes as adults. Maybe they form a secre society to solve the crimes the police can't?

Suzanne Welsh said...

I'd love to find out what happens to the other member of the Scarlet Pimpernel's league...wouldn't that be cool to get a whole lot of romances out of those daring men!

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

Congrats on the GR Natalie, I found a hula hoop in my basement. I have pictures of when I was a kid so once upon a time I could make it stay but not now.

Limecello I am with you, I didn't like Amy one little bit and though Jo is happy with her professor and their boy's school I think she should have had a grand passion. Of course on the other side of that story, I agree with Suzanne, Laurie didn't deserve Jo, he was just as spoiled as Amy.

Deb Marlowe said...

Oh, Suz, I love the Scarlet Pimpernel idea!

Hmm, maybe I'd write a contem romance with Trixie Belden and Jim. My favorite redhead!


Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Oooh, I love Dickens too, Suz! How can anyone have missed Oliver? I'm as perplexed as you are. :>

I love some of the ideas people have proposed, especially the league of the Scarlet Pimpernel. LOVED that book. The Baroness was a good writer.

I'd like to know "the rest of the story" of the Boxcar Children, and Julie of the Wolves, and what did the girl from My Friend Flicka grow up to be and do? L.M Montgomery grows Anne of Green Gables up quite nicely, but a modern version would let us in on her and Gilbert's love affaire. "Wink, wink. They had a LOT of kids, wink, wink" is about all you get in the originals. :>

I wouldn't mind knowing what happened to Scrooge and all the Marley children, as well as doing something far more constructive with Barrie's The Water Babies, than sending them all off in despair. Revenge might have been nice. *VEG*

Great topic, Suz! (And great idea about a Hardy/Drew showdown)

Anna Sugden said...

Great topic, Suz! I'm another fan of those Dickens' books.

Add me to the list of those who'd have liked a Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys romance.

I loved the romance in both Laura Ingalls Wilder's books and LM Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables series. It would be fun though, to write your own version of what happened. Especially to Anne and Gilbert.

Or, perhaps to write about some of the other characters - Laura's sisters or the redemption of Nellie Olson.

I loved the characters in Enid Blyton's Mallory Towers series (probably because I went to boarding school too). I wonder what happened to their lives and loves.

And what about the children from The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe?

MsHellion said...

*LOL* I was always wildly in love with Almanzo Wilder. I would have loved to read a "hotter" version of the newlywed years of Laura and Manny. *LOL* (That feels almost sacrilegious to say.)

Louisa Cornell said...

Nice hooping of the GR, Natalie! He could probably use the exercise after all of those Tim Tams at Helen's!

I love Lorraine Heath's latest and am looking forward to the rest of the series.

How about a story about what happened to the children in A Christmas Carol? Scrooge could have a granddaughter he didn't know about and when he finds her she ends up falling in love with Tiny Tim!

Oooh, Anna, I LOVE Enid Blyton's books and the Mallory Towers series would be a great one to continue. I still have all of my well-worn paperbacks that I bought with my pocket money when we lived in England.

And I would love to see a continuation of Black Beauty, one of my favorite books of all time.

I love Dickens's stories and I can't believe anyone hasn't seen Oliver! After my students read the book I let them watch the musical and it was a hoot to see all of these rough and tumble Southern delinquents singing "Food, glorious food" at the top of their lungs.

Nancy said...

Natalie, congratulations! I liked the Hardy Boys on TV but didn't read them growing up. My mom figured they were "for boys."

Suz, I think I'd go with Nancy Drew. Or maybe the Bobbsey twins. I never did read Oliver Twist, though I did read the Classics Illustrated Comic book version, which convinced me it was way too grim and dreary for me.

Nancy Drew did hang with Frank Hardy on the TV series, when they crossed over.

Donna, Romeo and Juliet would be cool. I never read Salinger.

Limecello, I loved Island of the Blue Dolphins, though I did wish the wolves could've all gone, too.

Helen, our library had a handful of Famous Five. Years later, I bought Five Run Away Together in England, just so I could have it.

Suz and Jeanne and Deb, Lauren Willig has a series about the League of the Pink Carnation, which is clearly modeled after the Pimpernel's crew. Have you seen those? I liked them. I love the book The Scarlet Pimpernel, too! The old, old movie version--grainy and hard to find on DVD--with Leslie Howard and Merle Oberon is wonderful.

Elyssa Papa said...

You know, I'm with Hellion...bring on more Almanzo. He was a hottie!

As to Little Women, I want Jo with Teddy. 'Nuff said.

Suzanne Welsh said...

Hey Diana! Sorry it took me so long to get back to you, but sleeping for work sometimes takes over my days!

And yes, Laurie was way too spoiled for Jo. I have a feeling he would've made her miserable in a very, very short time.

Suzanne Welsh said...

Hey Deb! Can't you see more of those Scarlet Pimpernel league men getting either a fiesty french lass or maybe an English lady who wants to joing the league? Hmmmmmm

And oh, I'd forgotten about Trixie Belden and Jim...I think that would be a former friends turned lovers book!

Suzanne Welsh said...

Hey Jeanne! I was very content with the Anne of Green Gables series and also the Anne of Green Gables/Avonlea movies. Sigh...will have to look for a DVD for those. BUT don't you imagine Anne had at least one redheaded daughter that perhaps has just as interesting a love story to tell???

Suzanne Welsh said...

Ooooooooo Anna, I'd love to see the hero who could really redeem Nellie Olson. (The little guy in the tv show did not do it for me.)

And I know the kids in the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe left Narnia and went back to England. Do you suppose their time in Narnia changed the kind of people they were in England as they grew up?

Suzanne Welsh said...

MsHellion...You know those country girls. I'd bet an older man like Manly probably cozed her out of her bloomers at least once before they wed, don't you?

Suzanne Welsh said...

Hey Louisa! That might have happend with Scrooge having a granddaughter. Wouldn't it be interesting to see what those kids did with his generosity? What kind of adults they became and if they paid it forward, or maybe one of them became greedy too?

Suzanne Welsh said...

You know what Dickens character I'd like to see his life from the point his book ended? Pip in Great Expectations. That man SOOOOOOOO deserves the love of a GOOD woman, one that won't use, abuse and leave him.

Suzanne Welsh said...

Oh Nancy, there's a much more modern version of the Scarlet Pimpernel, with Jane Seymour and Anthony Andrews (be still my heart) as the Pimpernel.

My daughter read this as a "classic" for her 7th grade class, when her teacher told them no romances (which highly ticked her off) or Stephen King, etc. She fell in love with the story AND learned a bit about the French Revolution. When she gave her book report she said she had the boys on the edges of their seats as she told about the guillotine beheading and sword fights, then she grinned at the teacher and said, "And it's a love story!" hehehe

So natrually I found a VHS of this version for her as a reward. She and my son watched it almost daily the summer we moved to TX. Anthony Andrews is so easy to watch...even as an English fop!

Suzanne Welsh said...

Hey Elyssa! I think we're pretty much in agreement that Jo got the man of her heart...while Laurie was the man of her youth.

And as for Almonzo? Yep, the strong, silent type can be very intimidating and sexy, huh?