In trying to close out the year, I wrote and scrapped several posts about accomplishments of the year (that felt like bragging, so it’s trashed), summaries of stuff (that felt stuffy <- haha) and then it occured to me that there were several things I’d like to share about The Yellow Hoods, that I never got asked in interviews, that I’d like to get out of my mind so I can reclaim the space. Sort of like spring cleaning, in the middle of winter, at the end of the year. Well, you know what I mean.
So here are 5 things that you might not know about The Yellow Hoods book series:
Despite my mother-in-law’s insistence, even arguing with a colleague at her work, The Yellow Hoods is not a book written for children. Rather, as most of you know, it’s a series that kids as young as 9 are able to appreciate on one level, whereas adults are able to appreciate it on a different level all together. It also matures through the books, pushing the boundaries and limits, but always staying within the confines of what I consider young adult fiction. I don’t think, however, the M-i-l will ever understand, and yes, she read book 2 and yes, she enjoyed both of them. *throws up hands*
HOWEVER, what you might don’t know, is that in the first draft of book 1, I started it as a kid’s story but the more I wrote, the more me came out, and the layering started. When I’d finished book 1, I stopped revising it when I felt that I shouldn’t take away any of the innocence of the first part of Along Came a Wolf. That initial innocence is important, to allows for the arrival of the villain, particularly in the second half of the book, give a darker more serious feel to the series.
Note: I’m using the word gay as a generic term for LGBTQ. Therefore, don’t assume one or both of the the characters are male. This is to avoid spoiling it for those who want to figure it out.
The amazing people of my life will always fill the pool from which I draw my creative juices, and create the characters of my worlds.
While my books aren’t sexual in any way, I came to discover that these two characters were gay and it naturally flowed into the book. I wanted a hint, a nudge to the reader, to provide some additional texture to those specific characters, in the same way that I provide a nudge in the other direction for one or more other characters. This hint is in book 2 for one character, and book 2 in another.
Why do this? Why even bring this up?
Firstly, it fit. It was natural, those characters from conception were that way, just like for the people in my world. Have I lost at least 1 reader over this? Yes, moreover because I said it was ‘normal’. Why do I think it normal? Maybe because when I was in grade 4 I figured out that my friend Rene, in grade 5, seemed to like boys the way I was starting to like girls, and that otherwise he was just like me. Well, except for his amazing costuming skills and dramatic personality (okay, I’m a dramatic personality sometimes, so let’s stick with costuming). That man had an eye for colour and could pull things together like no one else I knew. Oh to have grown up in this era of cons, but oh well.
Just as I did with having Mounira represent kids who have a physically identifiable difference from the norm or know someone who does (like a military family member), I wanted my friends who are LGBTQ to see themselves in my world. More specifically, I wanted the younger versions of my friends like Sylvain, Alice and Anna to see themselves as part of my fictional worlds without it being a story centered around the subject. They aren’t the center of my universe personally, but they are in it.
Similarly, my books aren’t “Girl Power” books, but they have strong female characters in them.
If The Yellow Hoods ever became really popular, Harry Potter popular, I’d love that so many people who have meant a lot to me would be able to see themselves reflected in it.
This is one of those elements that are there to enrich the tapestry of the story and world. It’s part of the details that I think through, and then put a dot on the page to represent it. If it bothers some people? Then hey, there’s plenty of other stuff out there for you, and I wish you well.
It’s hard to imagine now, but when I wrote and printed the first edition of book 1, there was no reference to Steampunk. I was just thinking of this as low-tech world without magic, and that I would step it up, bit by bit, with more inventions and science fiction elements, leveraging my science and technology background. I didn’t like how all the Steampunk novels I knew all seemed to give you a world that was really, just magic but they said it was gears or clockwork. There was no inventiveness, no engineering ideas in it. There was no social friction that’s caused by those who have the emerging technologies, and those who don’t.
Then standing there, talking to Expo-goers, it dawned on me that I did have a Steampunk book, but I did’t want to have people think it was a ‘regular’ Steampunk book, i.e. fully established. Thus I coined the term “Emergent Steampunk.”
I’ve received criticism for having left Tee’s parents by the wayside in the first book, and it was a conscious decision. I know what they were up to, I also know what they were doing in book 2, but I didn’t want to have too much going on in book 1.
Now, if I’d had the skill and confidence that I’ve now got as I wrap up book three, back when I was writing book 1, it wouldn’t have been an issue. I would have known how to bring them more to life without compromising any of the spotlight, but I didn’t.
As you’ve come to see through the books so far, each book allows you to get to know a few characters a lot better. While spreading it out over time has certain drawbacks, it allows you to appreciate them more ( I believe, I could be wrong).
I’ve been planning to release a short story or novelette of what happens with them, and am considering weaving it into book 1 when I finish the series. I have several such side-tales in mind.
In book 2, you meet Franklin-Charles-David Watt. You might ask yourself, geez, did Adam really have to choose such a mouthful? For a while in the drafts, I called him FCD but if you pronounce that with a hard C, you’ll know why I kept laughing. After you read book 3, you’ll really laugh at that idea.
Anyway, the reason for the name is that it was the name of my maternal grandfather that I never met. Book 2 has a lot of ‘family’ elements for me, and book 3 is about bringing that even tighter.
It was shortly after I decided on using the name Mounira (of an aunt of mine), that I decided to add Franklin. They had a lot of good contrasting elements, both on the page and in my mind.